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Entries from January 2008

Mass Effect

January 27th, 2008 · No Comments

I was so impressed with the first two minutes of Mass Effect, the new sci-fi RPG for the Xbox 360, that I had to play through it twice and then show everyone at work. While it’s essentially nothing but an extended cutscene, it’s a beautiful, well-directed, well-paced and astonishingly atmospheric introduction to the game. If [...]

Tags: games · review · sf

English Literature

January 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment

At my school, all students were entered into the English Literature GCSE. What this meant was that a couple of times a week, we would take out copies of ‘English Literature’ – things like The Crucible, A Passage To India, various Shakespeare plays, poems – and take turns reading them out.
There is nothing that kills [...]

Tags: adrian · book · edu · mefi · theatre

Brief thoughts on futile presents

January 9th, 2008 · 1 Comment

There exists a class of products – DVD boardgames, TV tie-in books, themed calendars – that I believe no-one actually buys for themselves. Instead, they are only bought as Christmas presents for other people who ‘like cars’ or ‘watch 24′. There are obviously other products that are only bought as gifts, the most obvious being [...]

Tags: shopping · silly

Getting old younger

January 8th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Imagine a device, similar in appearance to the iPhone, that you could point at a street sign in a foreign language, and it would display that sign on the screen – translated. I described this dream device to some friends a few weeks ago, explaining that there was nothing technically insurmountable about it – optical [...]

Tags: future · tech

The GiveWell Fraud

January 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I read a New York Times article about a new charity organisation called GiveWell, founded by two young ex-hedge fund managers. The story described how these two mavericks were about to shake up the charity world by using their financial skills to demand and interpret data from charities, and thus discover [...]

Tags: charity · mefi

A Suit’s Story

January 1st, 2008 · 2 Comments

I’d heard about Todd McEwen’s famous essay about Cary’s Grant’s suit in North by Northwest (’North By Northwest isn’t a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it’s about what happens to his suit’) but I’d never gotten around to reading it. It turns out it’s online, and it’s a brilliant, hilarious read, getting more [...]

Tags: film · silly