Wired, A Harsh Mistresses, Mercury Rising, and Panamanian Tailors

The Nuff’s Inbox (Nuff stands for “Nuketown Founding Father”, otherwise known as me) is a new feature I’m adding to serve as a sort of catch-all for all the miscellaneous stuff that crosses my desk, but doesn’t make it into Nuketown. It’ll be published about once a week in Nuketown’s News Hub section.

Magazine: Wired

The cover story for October 2001 looks at the upcoming Lord of the Rings movies, the first of which — The Fellowship of the Ring — will be released in December. It focuses on the history of Tolkien fandom and how it influenced the upcoming movies. A good read. Also featured in this edition are articles on “The new Alchemy of Artificial Atoms”, which is a cool look at new ways we may be able to manipulate matter, and “How Tomorrow’s Content Will Own You”, which is a long piece about Big Media’s plans to own the content of the future. Illuminati anyone?

Magazine: Yahoo Internet Life

The October 2001 edition includes YIL’s “Top 100 Most Wired Colleges” list, which can also be found online at www.wiredcolleges.com.

Book: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Heinlein’s classic novel about a libertarian revolution on the moon has been on my reading list for a long time. Two weeks ago I finally ordered it from Amazon.com, and have been reading it at odd moments ever since. A good book written in that classic Heinlein voice — I’ll be posting a review of it sometime in October.

Movie: Mercury Rising

I rented this movie Tuesday night after reading a review at www.missliberty.com extolling it’s libertarian virtues. Bruce Willis is an undercover FBI agent busted down the beaucratic ladder for going apeshit when gung-ho federal agents cutdown a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears bank robbers. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency has created a new uncrackable code, one that they’re so sure of that they published encrypted messages using it in gaming magazines. One problem: an autistic kid manages to crack the code.

The ambitious NSA agent responsible for the code’s now-widespread use by the U.S. government (played by Alec Baldwin) sees an easy solution: kill the kid to save the code. Thus the movie sets up a great philosophical battle: the individual versus the state (as well as “the good of the many versus the good of the one”.)

Unfortunately, the execution is choppy, with Bruce Willis’ character repeatedly being forced to dump the kid with an unlikely baby sitter so that he can go and fight the bad guys. The flashbacks to the opening shoot-out are unneeded — we already know that he feels bad about the FBI attack. The final shoot-out is anti-climactic and a bit strained. It’s an ok mid-week movie, but not one that I’d urge people to run out and rent.

Movie: The Tailor of Panama

Pierce Brosnan’s starred in some of my favorite movies, notably the recent James Bond films (particularly Goldeneye) and the excellent The Thomas Crown Affair. I’d seen the trailers over at Quicktime.com when it was in the theaters, and it looked like a nice little movie. I snagged it at Blockbuster over the weekend, and unfortunately it didn’t live up to my expectations. I was expecting a nice little comedy about a tailor in Panama who gets in way over his head when he starts telling outrageous tales to a British spy. But instead it’s an uneven drama with occasionally light moments — I would have done better to have re-watched one of Brosnan’s Bond flicks.

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