Yearly Archives: 2008

A Christmas Story by Bob Clark

A Christmas Story Bob Clark 1983 My favorite holiday movie. Great portrayal of a the trials and tribulations of a young boy growing up in the Midwest. The main character’s obsession with getting a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas is one of the best portrayals of what it’s like to be a child that […]

Our National Bird

For all its splendor and power, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) has a dark side: opportunist and bully. I once watched one harass an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) until the later gave up its catch. In addition to stealing from other birds, Bald Eagles can subsist completely on carrion. In spite of the name, Bald Eagles are more closely related […]

Breach by Billy Ray

Breach Billy Ray 2007 A real spy story, well told. Probably the biggest intelligence breach in US history. Acting is superb.

The Grid by Mikael Salomon

The Grid Mikael Salomon 2004 This six part series is one of the best post-9/11 terrorism stories I’ve seen. Manages to include some subtle issues and humanize all sides. Update 2012: On re-watching this series I’m still impressed, however, the motivations of the head terrorist now seem very vague and diffuse.

The Bank Job by Roger Donaldson

The Bank Job Roger Donaldson 2008 Apparently based on a true story, it would be hard to make-up all the twists and turns and interconnections. This is a near perfect thriller!

Incredible Saturn Aurora Photo

This is an incredible Cassini photo showing two amazing phenomena. The blue areas are Saturn’s northern lights (aurora borealis, just like on Earth!). Underneath the blue there is a dark hexagon 15,000 miles in diameter. This is Saturn’s polar vortex (again, just like Earth, but six-sided instead of round.

Boundary Waters Canoe Trip 2008

I learned to canoe in Northern Minnesota and the BWCA. I recently returned for a five day trip with an old friend. We went to the extreme northeast corner along the Canadian border. The lakes in this area are mostly long and narrow, running west to east between steep hills. The water clarity was remarkable. […]

Better Passwords?

The best passwords are completely random—strong but almost impossible to remember. This report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests a better solution—long pass phrases. Entropy is a measure of password strength. The more entropy a password has, the harder it is to crack. Many systems enforce dictionary and composition rules (numbers, […]

Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo

In 1972 the musical prodigy Frank Zappa released two amazing records with two amazing title cuts. Both feature large ensembles with a big jazz band sound. This is some of the best jazz/rock fusion you’ll ever hear! Waka/Jawaka (listen) begins with an aggressive (triumphant!) brass anthem that still amazes me every time I listen to […]

The Orphanage by Juan Antonio Bayona

The Orphanage Juan Antonio Bayona 2008 A different kind of horror story, one that is less about gore and more about instilling dread in the viewer’s mind. Very effective! Obvious connections with the 2001 Devil’s Backbone.