I was watching the previously mentioned MPEG of The Phantom of the Opera with an eye toward cleaning up it, and found that by and large, it really is dreadful. The transfer seems very poorly focussed, so getting any reasonable detail out of it seemed difficult.
But, I thought I'd experiment anyway. I extracted five consecutive frames, averaged them, did a bit of burning and manipulation with softlight filters in the Gimp, and came up with:
Addendum: I worked up a second one to, showing the phantom. Yep, it's blurry.
Last night there was not that much going on, Tivo showed nothing really worth watching, the baseball season is over, and Carmen and I needed something to do. What do you do when you don't know what to do? Why, the movies of course! And yesterday's movie was the movie version of the video game Doom starring The Rock, and directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak.
There is a long history of video games drawing plots from movies, and strangely enough, vice versa as well. After all, who could forget Super Mario Bros. or the science fiction classic Wing Commander? No one. No matter how hard they tried.
Doom joins them in the pantheon of strictly mediocre action movies loosely inspired by video games. A military rapid response team is sent through "The Ark" (a mysterious alien transporter that uses Jello® technology) to the Oluvai research center on Mars, where, somewhat predictably, scientists have been playing God, chromosome 24, mutation, disembowelment, you get the idea.
It's not bad. It's got a few clever bits, a few nods to the classic video game, but the original video game made a much bigger impression than this utterly forgettable movie. It didn't leave me with the feeling that somebody looted $9 out of my wallet, maybe only $3.50, so see it in a matinee if you have to.
As a counterpoint: my wife mysteriously loved it, and thought it was the equal to the years earlier (and IMO, truly great) science fiction fare, Serenity. I can only shake my head and wonder if she's taking too much cold medicine.
I give it a 6/10.
From Craig on our internal Pixar science mailing list: Mr Angry and Mrs Calm.
As the Kansas Board of Education
review gut their science standards to appease creationists, the NAS and the NSTA have decided to revoke their permssion to use their copyrighted materials in the new proposed standard. Yeow. From their letter to the Kansas BOE:
While there is much in the Kansas Science Education Standards that is outstanding and could serve as a model for other states, our primary concern is that the draft KSES inappropriately singles out evolution as a controversial theory despite the strength of the scientific evidence supporting evolution as an explanation for the diversity of life on Earth and its acceptance by an overwhelming majority of scientists. The use of the word controversial to suggest that there are flaws in evolution is confusing to students and the public and is entirely misleading.
In addition, the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding. Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified and distorting the definition of science are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science and evolution also violate the document's mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards. Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage as they take their place in the world.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.