Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 13, 2021

The 70 percent of Americans who disapprove of excessive government secrecy should get a kick out of this: Reporter Seth Rosenfeld’s 1981 Freedom of Information Act request is still in the queue, 24 years later, despite the law clearly stating that all such requests be fulfilled within 20 days.

There’s high comedy in the response from the FBI, which is the subject of Rosenfeld’s request:

“Basically, the FOIA is a matter between the FBI and Mr. Rosenfeld,” [FBI spokeswoman Megan Baroska] said. “Mr. Rosenfeld could file a request to get further information about his request.”

And I’m sure that request on the request will be acted upon — 24 years from now.

Between that, and Washington’s traditional habit of running roughshod over pending and even ratified treaties, it’s looking like a murky time for accountable and respresentative government in America. I’m just crossing my fingers that the current powers-that-be get enough rope with which to hang themselves.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/13/2005 01:45:27 PM
Category: Political | Permalink | Feedback (2)

The hype for Sin City has begun, with ads and teasers spread across a spectrum of media. The most recent one to catch my attention: A new-look Brittany Murphy’s mini-spread in April’s Esquire.

It’s looking like a budding blockbuster. I’m glad to say I’ll be going into it fresh; despite being a fan of Frank Miller’s work from 20 years ago, I haven’t kept up with much of his stuff since. The exception to that is “300″, which is also slated for movie treatment, next year (and hopefully will do a better job with this type of material than Troy did — not that that would be hard).

The TV spots for Sin City emphasize the directorial troika helming this flick: Robert Rodriguez and Miller as co-directors, and then Quentin Tarantino as a “guest director”.

A guest director in a movie? It seems as absurd as a movie having a guest star (which I’ve also seen in the past), and comes across as more of a marketing ploy than anything else, almost like product placement. On top of that, there’s the notion of too many chefs in the kitchen — there’s a reason why most films have one director running the show.

As far as the multiple-director approach, dividing the movie into separate (but related) story segments helps make that more workable. The rest of the explanation:

Rodriguez, who credits Miller’s visual style in the comic as relevant as his own in the film, insisted that Miller receive a “co-director” credit with him. The Directors’ Guild of America would not allow it. As a result, Rodriguez resigned from the DGA, saying “It was easier for me to quietly resign before shooting because otherwise I’d be forced to make compromises I was unwilling to make or set a precedent that might hurt the guild later on.” Unfortunately, by resigning from the DGA, Rodriguez was also forced to relinquish his director’s seat on the film John Carter of Mars (2006) (at the time “A Princess of Mars” after the book on which it was based) for Paramount. Rodriguez had already signed-on and been announced as director of that film when the DGA situation took place, planning to begin filming soon after wrapping this film…

Robert Rodriguez scored Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) for $1. Quentin Tarantino said he would repay him by directing a segment of this movie for $1. Tarantino, a vocal proponent of film-over-digital, has said that he was curious to get hands-on experience with the HD cameras which Rodriguez lauds. When asked about his experience, Tarantino merely replied, “Mission Accomplished.”

So that explains that. (Not that IMDb’s reader-submitted stuff is always accurate, but I’ll accept it in this instance.)

Last thought on this coming fun-ride: I’ll be interested to see if Alexis Bledel can really pull off the break from her “Gilmore Girls” squeaky-clean persona. She’s been on the TV show for so long that she’s dangerously close to being typecast.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/13/2005 01:24:16 PM
Category: Movies | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Enjoy your everyday electrical playground while you can, because with hundreds of hackers trying break into the U.S. power grid management system daily, it’s only a matter of time before the lights go out.

I understand that determined saboteurs are going to find a way to probe regardless. However, I have a simple question:

Why is something as vital as the nation’s power grid even accessible via the Internet?

Just because you can put something online doesn’t mean you should, and this seems like a prime example. The most hack-proof computer is one that’s had it’s phone or Ethernet line physically unplugged; unless there’s a compelling reason to have Web interfaces leading to the power grid, I’d say pull that plug, thus preventing a more important plug from getting pulled.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/13/2005 12:40:31 PM
Category: Internet, Tech | Permalink | Feedback

How much moo-juice should you pour down your kids’ throats? Maybe less than has been the conventional wisdom — and maybe not. A new review article in the medical journal Pediatrics that suggests less dairy-derived calcium in childrens’ diets is being challenged by the dairy industry as a screen for promoting vegetarian agendas.

An abstract of the article, “Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence” (catchy title!) can be found here.

Personally, I’ve never been much on milk and related products. I’d just as soon have calcium-infused orange juice. And my boss raised her daughter on a low-dairy diet, substituting other calcium sources like broccoli, almonds and such; the kid is now 17, something like 5′8″, and athletic as anybody. So it wouldn’t be surprising to find that dairy’s benefits are overhyped.

The counterattack by dairy producers follows a trend of late, similar to the Florida Department of Citrus’ PR efforts against recent problem findings with grapefruit juice’s health benefits. It’s a system of checks of balances, and a deft use of public relations strategy; still, I’m not sure if it’s a favorable development. Industry interests aren’t going to present anything but a favorably sanitized story that doesn’t have to be particularly deep to be effective. The long-term result is the intimidation of researchers from making definitive statements.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/13/2005 12:18:30 PM
Category: Food, Science | Permalink | Feedback