29 January 2008

The height of irresponsibility

From today's IMDB:

Despite encountering outrage from the American Academy of Pediatrics, ABC said Monday that it plans to go ahead with the planned broadcast of an episode of the new legal drama Eli Stone in which the title character convinces a jury that mercury in a vaccine was responsible for a child's autism. The Academy and numerous health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, dispute such claims, citing many studies that rule out any link between childhood vaccines and autism. In a statement, AAP President Dr. Renée Jenkins said, "A television show that perpetuates the myth that vaccines cause autism is the height of reckless irresponsibility." She said that if parents who watch the program "choose to deny their children immunizations, ABC will share in the responsibility for the suffering and deaths that occur as a result." The network said that it would agree to air a
disclaimer at the opening of the show stating that the story is fictional.

Whoever (whomever?) greenlit this script should be beaten. Anyone who doesn't vaccinate their kids because they're worried about the unproven and unlikely mercury-autism link should be beaten. Anyone who chooses not to vaccinate their kids because they watched Eli Stone should be beaten twice.

My kid (due in 6 weeks) will get the Hep B vaccine within an hour of birth, and he'll get every vaccine on the vaccination schedule. If I were having a girl (or already had one), she'd be getting the HPV vaccine ASAP.

I'm doubly bummed by this news because I really like Jonny Lee Miller (although I hadn't planned to watch the show).

Other links:

I'm sure Bad Science will have something shortly, too.

24 January 2008

Reviews of new January TV

Breaking Bad: Damn, what a pilot. While most folks know Bryan Cranston as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, he'll always be the moody Buzz Aldrin in From the Earth to the Moon to me. At least until now. He plays a dying, broke chemistry teacher who decides to supplement his income by cooking crystal meth out in the New Mexico desert with one of his old miscreant students. He's phenomenal. The cast is great. The writing is excellent (and profanity-laden). Interestly enough, some nudity was blurred out and some extreme profanity was "silenced" out. I imagine they shot this pilot for HBO or something and had to tone it down for basic cable. Bring on Episode 2!

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: First, let me say that I'm wholly of the opinion that if a show has to resort to voiceovers to let you know what's going on, neither the writer nor the director has done their jobs. Once in awhile there's an exception to the rule (e.g. American Beauty), but in general, let the story unfold without undue exposition. There's way too much voiceover on this show. Also, there was a major mistake made in part 2 of the pilot that pretty much screws up the entire premise of the show. Since no one reads this, I'll explain. The whole point of the Terminators-looking-like-humans thing is that only items sheathed in organic material can travel through the time tunnel. Maybe that's ridiculous, but I didn't make up the rules of the show. So when Sarah, John, and Cameron (played unevenly by Firefly's Summer Glau) rocket forward to 2007, there's NO WAY that the busted-up skeleton of the Terminator can go with them. NO WAY. This really bugs me. This show won't survive, though, since they'll have to focus on teen (and adult) angst for a good 25-50% of every episode to avoid the kind of action that would kill hundreds of Los Angelinos every week. I've given it 3 episodes. I'll probably give it one more before it's off of the DVR menu. On the bright side, I only gave The Bionic Woman three chances, and it starred a far hotter woman.

23 January 2008

January 2008 Movies

Thanks to another free DVD rental from RedBox, we finally saw Ocean's 13, which was better than 12, but not as good as 11. Very much style over substance. Call it 2.75 stars.

Also caught Spidey 3 via RedBox. Awful film. The only reason to watch it is Bruce Campbell. And the effects, which are admittedly amazing.

Here's my top 20-or-so. The ones in bold are still in the theatres or haven't been released yet.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Darjeeling Limited
4. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End
5. Sweeney Todd
6. National Treasure II
7. No Country for Old Men
8. There Will Be Blood
9. Idiocracy
10. Children of Men
11. The Departed
12. The Golden Compass
13. Stardust
14. Invincible
15. Pan's Labyrinth
16. Hot Fuzz
17. Crank
18. Live Free or Die Hard
19. The Simpsons Movie
20. The Prestige
21. The Fountain
22. Gone Baby Gone
23. Persepolis
24. King of California
25. Michael Clayton

18 January 2008

We're screwed.

Just attended a colloquium by Robert Strom, author of Hot House, a comprehensive overview of Global Warming, Climate Change, and essentially how screwed we are. Or, rather, our kids and grandkids are.

Items I gleaned from the talk:

1. Small planet-average temperature changes can result in large climate changes.
2. Atmospheric CO2 increases track almost directly with temperature increases.
3. Aerosols banned by the clean air act actually staved off global warming to a degree by making the atmosphere more reflective.
4. Even if we turned off all carbon-based pollutants tomorrow, the inertia of the global ecosystem is such that it's unlikely to avoid reaching a ~4ºC increase in average planet temperature, which is sufficient to cause catastrophic weather events (to date, the temperature increase is ~0.5ºC).
5. Extracting CO2 from the atmosphere is very expensive at ~$500/ton.

While I've always been a believer that whatever can be done to reduce emissions is a good thing, the end result of a global weather crisis is a greatly reduced population (say in the billions). This, ironically, is the most likely solution to the crisis, however, in that a pandemic would result in the population decrease necessary to exact emissions decreases.

So, either way, people die. To put it another way, we're screwed.

To be fair, though, the Earth is fine. It'll outlive us all.

02 January 2008

Flight of the Conchords....is awesome.

Finally caught up on the fantastic adventures of Bret and Jemaine over Christmas. What a great, great show. Nice work, HBO.