My WATCHMEN film reviews

Today I got to see WATCHMEN at a screening! Thanks to Brady who came along to keep me company in the absence of a ‘special other’ and did the first part of the review with me.



G’day World #363 – Ben Templesmith, Comic Book Artist / Writer

If you read comics at all, you’re probably know who Ben Templesmith is already. If you don’t read comics – then why not?

Anyway, Templesmith is an Australian-born comic book artist / writer who now lives and works in the USA where is perhaps best known for his work on 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (which he co-created and which was subsequently turned into a hit Hollywood film), WORMWOOD, HELLSPAWN and FELL (which is authored by Warren Ellis, perhaps the best known comic book writer working today).

Ben has a new book THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES which just came out, as well as a new comic GROOM LAKE and a one-off DOCTOR WHO.

I chatted with him recently about how you become a world-famous comic book artist and what motivates his art.




Teaching The Scientific Method

My project with my kids this month is to teach them the scientific method. I think that this is perhaps one of the most important things we can teach our kids. They obviously aren’t doing a good enough job of it in the schools. If they did, I wouldn’t have so many bozos say to me “science doesn’t know everything” when trying to justify their irrational belief in Jesus or crystal healing or Mayan predictions of the end of the world. So it’s up to us to teach our kids why the scientific method is the best way that humans have so-far devised to work out what is likely to be true when it comes to working out how the universe works. It’s not just important for sorting out fact from fiction when it comes to things like religion, either. Having a solid evidential view of things is important when politicians tell you things such as “Saddam has WMD – believe me.” As a society we need to start asking “show me the evidence” to our religious, political, military and corporate leaders on a more regular basis.

So on the weekend I set my kids a project to give me a 5 minute presentation on the scientific method before they could turn the XBOX on. They knew nothing about it before they started. So I told them to Google it and to specifically look for sites that explained it in kid-friendly terms (bonus lesson contained within – how to create good search terms in Google). I told them to answer four questions in their presentation:

1. What is it?
2. Why is it important?
3. What is the process?
4. Who invented it and when? (trick question but worth asking so they get some perspective on the history)

They came out after about 30 minutes and presented what they had. It was about one minute long. They basically just wrote down a one line answer to each question which they had copied and pasted from different sites. When I did the Q&A they failed. So I sent them back to expand on it a bit. This process went on about 3 or 4 times until they were finally able to present on it credibly for 5 minutes including a Q&A.

Later that day I re-inforced their understanding and ability to communicate it in the pool when we played “science swim”. This is a variation on a game I often play with them in the pool, the other variants being “spell swim” and “maths swim”. The basic idea is that I ask them both a question. In this case “What’s the first step in the scientific method?”. The first person to answer it correctly gets a pass. The one who either gets it wrong or is too slow, has to swim two laps (bonus lesson contained within – improves their swimming ability).

I’ve kept it up over the last couple of days while walking them to school, asking them to explain, in their own words, why the scientific method is the best way to determine fact from fiction. They are getting pretty good at it. I’ll keep this up for the next few weeks until it’s drilled into them. Then we’ll start on the theory of evolution.

GDay World 362 – Mara Bun, Green Cross Aust

My guest today is Mara Bun, CEO of Green Cross Australia. According to their site:

Green Cross Australia is a new national NGO that works on the frontline of climate change: the human dimension. We anticipate and resolve conflicts over natural resources that put our environment at risk, and we foster sustainable partnerships between business, government and the community. We prepare communities for environmental impacts in Australia and overseas. This ranges from the impact of fires, floods and environmental disasters on Australian cities to the mass displacement of populations due to rising sea levels.

Pretty topical, with the floods in QLD and the fires in VIC. Mara talks about her background (which is an interesting story) and the vision of Green Cross.


GDay World 361 – Livewire Launch

Today my guests are Omar Kalifa, Managing Director, and Cinnamon Pollard, Partnership and Marketing Manager, of a new social networking site that is bring officially launched today called LIVEWIRE. According to their site:

Livewire is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Clever Networks Program and in-kind contributions from Starlight and Livewire partners.

Together we are working towards keeping children & young people living with illness or disability connected

It’s estimated there are over 400,000 children and young people aged 10-21 years old coping with the impact of living with a serious illness, a chronic condition or a disability in Australia.

While I think a social networking community for young people with serious illnesses is a good thing, I am concerned that this site has cost $14.7 million to set up, with half of that money coming from the Federal Government. I asked Omar and Cinnamon where the money went.