Randomly Related Slightly Salient Stuff 11

We’re less than a week away! So I’m going dark, but hope to leave you with a few fun things to check out while your biding your time when you’re not rewatching Young Justice, catching up on Supergirl and Flash, and more. I’m doing a jury trial and grading exams, so no planned MOSAIC episodes before Batman v. Superman. Just enough time to make brief comments on each link. Enjoy the RRSSS until we meet again!

Randomly Related Slightly Salient Stuff

Zack Snyder on spoilers | Opie
Zack Snyder on spoilers | MTV

So with less than a week to go and more than satisfied with everything I’ve seen, I’m making the personal choice to go dark. You can make that choice for yourself and try to set boundaries and exercise self-control (as well as a little bit of grace and good fortune, because it’s easy to be faultlessly spoiled and not worth being embittered by in an age where it can be unavoidable). Until the 21st, I’m going to follow Zack’s advice and “Quit watching the Internet then!”

Snyder: I think that one thing that’s been amazing- if you look at Star Wars- I feel like there’s been a lot of cinematic respect to that movie with regards to what happens in the film as far as spoilers go. When I saw it… no one had said anything… and I hope that people can control themselves after seeing my film… and not just run immediately to Facebook and… “OH MY GOD! THIS HAPPENED!” You know?

Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice Rap Video | Jorel Blu

[Mild language advisory] A clever rap from the perspective of our two protagonists.

Man of Steel Kryptonian Writing System | Darren Doyle

Over Twitter, Dr. Schreyer revealed to Darren extra pronunciation rules that apply to her version of Kryptonian, now updated to site.

Henry Cavill says his Clark Kent in ‘Batman V Superman’ is from the comics | inSing TV

Cavill is an incredible trooper! At the Chinese premiere, then at Midway Comics in Manhattan, and Good Morning America the next day. One of the things I admire is how seriously he approaches the mantle out of the reverence and respect others have for it. I hope his Superman catches on, people open their minds more, so that he can be more carefree in the future. That said, every ounce of effort he puts into measured and thoughtful responses now (while the scrutiny is still in full effect) is genuinely appreciated. Just a little longer, Henry! Until then you’re doing all your fans proud!

Karl Marx on Alienation | BBC Radio 4

Cavill’s response touches on one of the main ways we can identify with Superman and one of the ways he can be hurt. The disconnect between what you do and how it relates to you can result in alienation. Socialism aside, the Justice League will present Superman with the ability to connect with his good deeds as he was meant to do.

Episode 35: Imagining Wonder Woman | Imaginary Worlds

Eric Molinsky’s podcast is one of my favorites and if you’re looking for a survey into Wonder Woman, this is a great episode with Jill Lepore (“The Secret History of Wonder Woman”), former DC exec Jenette Kahn, and artist Cliff Chiang.

Episode 36: Why They Fight | Imaginary Worlds

Eric examines the concept of character alignments from the paper-n-pencil dice-rolling role-playing games as an exploration of ethics, law, and character conflict.

Infographic: Superhero Movies Until 2020 | ComicsAlliance

An updated infographic showing the wealth of incoming films.

NASA Wants to Make a Supersonic Jet With No Boom | WIRED

In the MOSAIC episodes about sonic booms, I mentioned that NASA was studying how to lower or dampen the sound and here we have ideas on how it will be accomplished. The shape of the fuselage and the placement of the engines contribute significantly. In theory, if Superman can shape the field that surrounds him when he flies, he could achieve a similar effect and rip through urban airspace without leaving a wake of sonic booms behind him. Funny how science fiction predicts something and then the science comes later right?

What Makes An Idea Go Viral? – Seth Godin | TED

A lot of little parallels you might apply to Superman or Man of Steel… and I suspect, Batman v. Superman.  Godin says:

What marketers used to do is make average products for average people. That’s what mass marketing is. They would ignore the geeks, and – God forbid – the laggards. It was all about going for the center. I don’t think that’s the strategy we want to use anymore. Instead, you have to find a group that really desperately cares about what it is you have to say. Talk to them. They have something I call otaku. It’s a great Japanese word. It describes the desire of someone who’s obsessed to, say, drive across Tokyo to try a new Ramen noodle place ’cause that’s what they do, they get obsessed with it. To make a product, to market an idea, to come up with any problem you want to solve that doesn’t have a constituency within otaku is almost impossible. There’s a hot sauce otaku, but there’s no mustard otaku. That’s why there’s lots and lots and lots of kinds of hot sauces and not so many kinds of mustard. Not ’cause it’s hard to make interesting mustard – you can make interesting mustard. But people don’t because no one’s obsessed with it, and thus no one tells their friends.

Why Did Humans Become The Most Successful Species On Earth? – Yuval Harari | TED

Harari presents a thesis that what distinguishes humans above other animals is that we’re the only collective animal capable of both flexibility and large numbers (contrast to insects- large numbers but inflexible programming- versus higher order mammalian groups- very flexible but limited numbers)… achieved through communication of abstract ideas like laws, religion, symbols, and stories. Interesting when applied to a collective ideal like Superman.

Is bilingual better? | The World in Words

Some of the linguistic and thinking benefits that natural born Kal-El may have acquired while carried to term within Lara’s womb.

Glowing life in an underwater world – Edith Widder | TED

Between 80 and 90 percent of undersea life has some form of bioluminescence. That means as far as life on Earth is concerned, the emanation of radiation is predominant… the rule rather than the exception. Is it really surprising that life on another planet may have proceeded down a path where irradiation might be a passive metabolic advantage or an active projection? What if we were to look at flight…?

Jason Silva on Transhumanism: Are We Decommissioning Evolution? | Big Think

Bookmarked for future reference to Cyborg.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Met Superman – CONAN on TBS | Team CoCo

Neil loves telling this story!

107: One Man Two Heroes | Fatman on Batman

Brandon Routh dishes with Kevin Smith.

22: Originals: How To Spot One, How To Be One | Hidden Brain

Again some applicability to Superman and Man of Steel.

Classical music for bros: The origins of NFL’s Theme Music | Studio 360

The importance of music in creating empathy int he audience, DC Films faces a similar challenge as NFL Films in overcoming character loyalties when Batman and Superman face off:

Music became indispensable to NFL Films by conveying emotion at an epic scale. According to Tom Hedden, “Point of view in filmmaking is part of what music can do. With NFL Films, the point of view has to overcome the inherent team loyalty of the audience.”

NFL Film’s tonality comes from Batman:

The origins of the NFL on Fox theme are from an unlikely source: Batman. 

In 1994, after landing the contract to broadcast NFL games, Fox Sports’ founder David Hill was on the hunt for a theme song. He had just taken his kids to an amusement park, and loved the Batman music he’d heard there on one of the rides.

Commercial jingle writer Scott Schrear got the chance to write a song that he was instructed to make sound like a “Batman on steroids.”

05: Micro But Mighty | Flash Forward

Flash Forward (formerly known as Meanwhile In The Future) is a podcast which contemplates alternate futures based on the advancement of a technology or the impact of a “What if?” relying on expert interviews and illustrative sketches (press and the like). In a previous MOSAIC episode we talked about whether Kryptonians are born sterile or carry a microbiome, an issue raised by whether Superman carries any pathogens, his natural birth, and whatever Jor-El was seeking to preserve. It’s surprising how robust Man of Steel is even with science like this which doesn’t get confronted in something like, say, Ant-Man.

Do Animals in the Wild Get Drunk? | Completely Optional Knowledge

When we get back to our regular commentary episodes we’re going to address Clark drinking beer since the issue of alcohol is of concern for some (while walking into a church an issue for others). As something vaguely related, it’s interesting that animals can become inebriated in the wild. It was a brief plot point in Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and the punchline to the story of Buzzwinkle in Anchorage, Alaska. The Completely Optional Knowledge podcast is filled with tangentially related facts potentially applicable to Man of Steel.

I skipped using “What Do Tornadoes Smell Like” in MOSAIC 40, but I could use “What Does the Sun Sound Like” to talk about sun-dipping. Another source of random knowledge is the “What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” by XKDC.

Turn and Face the Strange (Authenticity) | Where There’s Smoke

An episode about David Bowie’s fluid and on-going pursuit of identity and a discussion about how to define authenticity. Interesting when applied to Superman (or Batman) since many are quick to rigidly assign identities and authenticity to each identity for Superman. This suggests it may be less clear than that.

687: Buy This Passport | Planet Money

The commodification of citizenship raises the question of how bound to the United States is Superman really? Goyer wrote the extremely controversial (and probably problematic) short story where Superman surrenders his American citizenship, but he also wrote Man of Steel‘s affirmation of nationality. It’ll be interesting to see where Batman v. Superman and Justice League take us with respect to national borders.

2016 Episodes | RadioLab

I generally prefer RadioLab’s science stories to their human interest ones. That said, if there’s an on-going theme to the most recent collection of episodes, it is how the rules to a societal system can turn through the efforts of innovative individuals (for better, worse, or somewhere in between). The Fix is about the narrative of alcoholism and what it means if it can be cured by essentially a pill. I Don’t Have To Answer That is how the wall between the personal lives of American politicians came down. K-Poparazzi is about western celebrity journalism practices entering a completely different culture. Debatable is about how competition debate circuit predilections was confronted. And so on. All of these real-world examples of change make me excited by the potential for change to the world of Batman v. Superman, both after years of Superman acting in public and the fallout to the events of the film.

Five Fallacies | Idea Channel
Even More Fallacies! | Idea Channel

A little bit behind-the-scenes. Short version: I’m too busy to put out an episode.

With work, I’m on a jury trial, constantly at court and prepping for each day of trial at night. With teaching, I’ve been prepping my students for their exams. With friends, my compsci doctoral dissertation was in artificial intelligence, so I’ve been keeping close tabs on AlphaGo with colleagues and friends which just about exhausts what remains of my free time (even diligently following my checklists)!

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to get together with my special guests for a Man of Steel commentary track as hoped.

My spoiler-free fallback was to merge trial prep with an episode by walking you through some procedural protections, presumptions, and objections used in trial and how they apply to logical analysis and argument. However, I don’t want people going into Batman v. Superman with such a rigidly mechanical a view; I don’t want people to use these tools to incite fights; and- even laced with a lot of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman examples- it’s pretty academic when there are much more visceral things to enjoy right now. So, I don’t expect to put anything out before I see Batman v. Superman on the 21st. (There’s a teeny tiny chance of everything aligning just right for a commentary or a spontaneous episode, but don’t count on it!)

That said, for your own edification, recognizing logical fallacies can help you sort invalid fallacious criticism and think critically… and used defensively this way can go a long ways towards allowing you to not sweating poorly reasoned or unfounded criticism. To that end, here’s two videos with eight common internet argument fallacies… again for defense not offense (not that it isn’t incredibly tempting considering how right now, many people are experiencing Man of Steel and raising old, easily argued issues). I’ll finish and release my law-based episode eventually, but I hope we can open with discussion before adversarial debate or start a cold war!

I can’t wait to talk about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with you!

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  1. BvS is gaining big ticket sales ahead of successful blockbusters.


    Things are looking good.

  2. I’m surprised you didn’t get a chance to go over Chris Terrio’s comments. It was full of intriguing little details for you to dive into.

  3. Dr. Awkward, I have a question for you.
    Many of the TV spots for Batman V Superman are making it seem like Batman will beat Superman. There’s a recent TV spot called “You’ve Lost” where it looks like Batman will actually win. At Comic-Con years ago Zack Snyder said that Batman could NOT beat Superman (something I was glad to hear). But now it seems like Snyder is going against his own words because these TV Spots are showing Batman dominating Superman both physically and verbally. Do you think Warner Brothers put in a mandate for Snyder to make Batman to win? Or do you think Zack Snyder changed his mind and will have Batman win the fight? (I hope Superman wins or it’s at least a tie).

    Here’s the TV Spot:

      • Thanks Heart Of Steel. Yes, I admit that I’m worrying too much. So thanks for providing the link to the article.
        I remember reading that Henry Cavill interview a while ago. It puts me at ease, at least a little. But I’m not sure if Henry Cavill meant something along the lines of, “Of course most people know Superman would win” when he said that “Of course Superman’s going to win.”

        So to me it’s still unclear because in other interviews, when they’ve asked Henry Cavill who “would” win between Superman and Batman, Henry Cavill has replied by saying that Superman would just hold back and doesn’t want to hurt a human.
        Anyway, if I continue on then I’ll be rambling. So I’ll stop here.

        • No need to thank me, just feel that since the Doctor went dark, he won’t be passing by the website for the next week or so, thus I don’t think he’ll be answering any questions until after the film’s premiere.

          Personally I wouldn’t worry that much since, assuming Cavill’s statement was serious, the Kryptonite alongside all of Batman’s trickery and strategy would only make his victory even greater: If Superman were to one punch K.O. Batman, such victory would be uninteresting and kinda lame, but if his opponent has all the edges and advantages, all types of contingency plans prepared for any type of scenario with almost 100% chances of victory, then the fact that Superman was able to defeat Batman even against all those odds and holding back would really depict him in a very respectable and glorified way.

          I like to think that DC and WB realize that Batman doesn’t needs more highlight since he’s already a really big brand, and thus are willing to give the spotlight to Superman in order for the general audiences to grow fond of him and learn to respect him as well. That way they will have more than one “Gold Brand” to exploit and we can get more good Superman stuff in the future.

          • Interesting perspective there. You’ve got some great points that have caused me to reevaluate my thoughts on their fight. Your logic and reasoning have put me at ease for now. Let’s hope it turns out the way you said.

  4. I hope you return soon Doctor, your advice is certainly needed now more than ever. People more worried about the ‘Critical consensus’ than their own enjoyment. Easily forgetting that critics didn’t helped “Superman Returns” at all, that critics really didn’t dented MoS’s B.O. long term.

    I’m exhausted of trying to calm worries among fans. I better just leave them on their own and hope they enjoy the film regardless. I hope you do enjoy the film Doctor, and I’m eager to hear your commentary, just wish more people would give more weight to their own excitement and enjoyment over that of others’.

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