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Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

crime documentary that avoids the usual moral panic

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The Violent Highway is unusual for TV programmes about violent crime. Instead of an unquestioning “everything is getting worse” angle, the documentary instead looks at crime past and present, through the device of a single London street.

“the film recreates key incidents taken from 300 years of muggings, wife-beatings, pub brawls and serial killings. Historians, psychologists, residents of The Highway and former gang members discuss whether we are more or less violent than we used to be, and what this street can reveal about the violence in all of us.”

At one point the narrator starts the usual hackneyed point about how violent modern TV and video games are, but this only leads into Steven Pinker pointing out how we take pleasure in the violence in  Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, and in murder mysteries too.

BBC Two Programmes – The Violent Highway

Written by Karen

May 22nd, 2009 at 7:45 pm

why isn’t AI a GM-like bogeyman?

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I listened to the Gardeners Question Time GM debate recently. Afterwards I tried to explain to PW why anti-GM protesters annoy me, when I mostly agree that turning propagation into something controlled by corporations is a bad thing.

I suppose I get annoyed with the focus on GM as the science that will destroy the world. Pretty much any technology has that capability but we only seem to be allowed to worry about one at a time (fretting about nuclear is very last century, it seems).

Co-incidently I’ve just finished Dan Simmon’s Hyperion series (tetralogy? cantos?) which features sinister artificial intelligence that may be intent on genocide. The AI takeover of the world (AI apocalypse, Cybernetic revolt, Machine Rule, Grey Goo) is such a common theme in modern Sci-Fi that it seems curious that there has not yet been tabloid outrage at the reckless scientists working in the field of AI. Think Matrix, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and 2001. And after all, what’s is the etymology of ‘Frankenstein Foods’?

Perhaps it is just a little too early.

(I’m also regularly referred to as the AI, as in “we’ll get the AI to knock out some wireframes”, so I’m looking forward to being mistaken for a tabloid threat to humanity)

Written by Karen

December 31st, 2008 at 7:12 am

Posted in fear,future,science


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When I was a kid I remember being freaked out buy watching Stephen King’s It at a slumber party. Well, actually it was noticing the clown mask in the back seat of the car in front whilst being driven home that did it. I never liked clowns much and I was reasonably convinced they were a sick grown-ups joke after that.

So I was amused to read that children are ‘scared of hospital clowns’. Coincidentally(?) BBC 2 showed a documentary about Clowns yesterday. Not sure it will have boosted the popularity of clowns at children’s parties.

Written by Karen

April 8th, 2008 at 7:34 am

Posted in fear