Monthly Archives: November 2010

Even more stupid walking dead

The third episode wasn’t so bad on the stupid scale, but the fourth and fifth just defy belief. There are only six episodes in the first season, so I’ll go ahead and watch the sixth, but this series is deep in “so bad it’s good” territory and threatening to cross over into “so bad it was good but is now bad again.”

From episode four (many of these were pointed out in a comment by sui):

We see that the camp has put up tin cans on strings as an early warning system. Of course, they then get overrun by the undead with no warning, so obviously they did this on only one side of the camp because they got tired or ran out of cans or something.

Of course, having someone standing guard at all times would be a bad idea, as would camping someplace where you have clear line of sight for more than ten feet. I don’t know why those are bad ideas, but they must be because otherwise the people in this show are just too stupid to live. Wait, many of them died in this episode, so I guess they are too stupid to live.

In the second episode they make a point of not getting zombie guts on themselves. Now they (not for the first time) beat the crap out of immobile zombies and their own dead, splattering guts everywhere. The director even helps point out what a bad idea this is by having some of the gore splatter on the camera lens. Do these idiots pay attention to the director helpfully reminding us all that spiking a zombie in the head repeatedly with a pickaxe is likely to get some on you? No, of course not.

In episode five, they let a woman cradle her dead sister until that sister turns into a zombie, so she can then apologize to the zombie for missing her birthday, and then shoot her in the head, again at point blank range, guaranteeing that she splatters infected sister-brain all over herself.  The only sensible person at this point was the brother of the racist, who suggested earlier that they plug the sister from a distance while she was still pre-zombie. It still would have gotten some on the live sister, but would have been less risky.

They yet again split up for no good reason: some of them have family elsewhere (that they’ve been ignoring for over a month now) that they’d rather go see. I’d say you never split up in a zombie apocalypse, but I would run away as fast as I could from all these idiots. I can only assume that the family that split off was like me: they knew their chances with this crew were zero, so they came up with any excuse to get the heck away.

One of their party has been bitten. I think they’ve established by this point that this is a death sentence. If there’s one thing that’s clear from every zombie movie ever made, leaving someone like this alive is a bad idea, but not satisfied with just bad, they first keep him around, then abandon him by the side of the road. He asks for it, but seriously, this is the worst possible idea. Can it possibly be unclear to anyone that once you’ve been bitten, the kindest possible outcome is a bullet (or two) to the head? 

They finally establish that, as unlikely as it seems, gas is hard to come by (probably because they’re driving a behemoth RV getting 6 MPG and a half dozen other vehicles). Hard as that is to believe, take it as a given: would you risk driving into Atlanta, a town you’ve already experienced to be a hell-hole crawling with the undead, without having enough gas to drive the heck back out if the CDC visit doesn’t pan out? No, instead you go without enough gas to leave, and you head in around sunset so you literally have five minutes before it gets dark to convince the (possible) people in the CDC to let you in, pleading with them that they’re killing you if they don’t. Where to start, where to start… okay:

What if there had been no people in the CDC: they’re all dead.

What if they had been unable or unwilling to let you in: they’re all dead.

What if they were taking a nap when you came knocking, or didn’t notice you were there: they’re all dead.

Jeez — the guy in the CDC was a moron to let them in. He should have let them face the fate they deserved: walking their idiot asses back out of Atlanta in the dark, getting eaten by zombies about five blocks away.

But he did let them in, proving he’s safe from the zombies since he has no brain. Actually, we already knew he was a moron, since he helpfully points out that he hasn’t been sleeping well since he’s underground and doesn’t know whether it’s night or day — because, you know, he doesn’t have a watch. Or a laptop. Or a cell phone. Or a computer of any kind. Oh wait, he has a bunch of those things, so it’s obvious: he’s too stupid to tell time.

He deserves them, and they him.

One final thing: Mr. CDC seems to be saying that this is a biological issue, not a mystical one. He has tissue samples where he observes unusual activity. Therefore the zombies aren’t supernatural, just messed up chemically. Therefore the problem will largely solve itself in the coming months as the zombies run out of energy and die. They’re not fast enough/smart enough to hunt anything except creatures stupider than a dog (i.e. the protagonists) and agriculture seems like a stretch as well. That leaves scavenging. If we assume they can waste away to almost nothing before really dying (as the half-bodied woman in the premiere indicates) it might take a year or two, but they’ll likely eventually stabilize at no more than a few million world wide.

When It’s Darkest Men See the Stars « Steve Blank


Steve Blank on the explosion of entrepreneurship. He proposes that we’re at the start of a “startup revolution” similar to the industrial revolution or the scientific revolution. The limitations to mass entrepreneurship are falling away, so the growth is likely to continue and even expand.

Over 200 Students Admit to Cheating on Test After Professor Dedicates Lecture to Proving He Knows They Cheated « Thought Catalog

Using statistical analysis, this UCF professor recently caught over 200 students cheating on a midterm exam. He proceeded to dedicate an entire lecture to how he caught them, how he felt (“disillusioned” and “disgusted,”) and what would happen if they didn’t come clean (they wouldn’t graduate).

Shortly after the lecture, over 200 students admitted they had cheated.

Don’t mess with statistics, people.

Epilepsy’s Big, Fat Miracle –

For children with certain kinds of drug-resistant seizures, Thiele’s clinical data show an even better response: 7 out of 10 were able to reduce their count more than 90 percent with the diet. Those statistics are as good as those for any antiepileptic drug ever made. Other pediatric neurologists get similar results. The diet has cut Sam’s seizures by 75 percent.

Another reason a low-carb diet is good for you (in this case, if you have epilepsy). These people are going low-carb to the extreme extent Dr. Bernstein does for his diabetes.

HP sets the sales bar for the Slate 500 ridiculously low, manages to surpass it


“HP Slate sees surprise demand, orders delayed into 2011,” the headline reads. Tom’s Hardware says, “HP Scrambling to Meet Demand for Windows Slate.”

Yeah, they made 5,000 of them, and got 9,000 orders. In a little under a month. In the same time frame Apple sold a million iPads. That’s 100 times as many if you’re math-challenged.

Some thoughts on waterboarding

I waterboard! – Straight Dope Message Board — A guy who once swam underwater until he lost consciousness (on purpose) pours the water over his own face. His reaction: “It took me ten minutes to recover my senses once I tried this. I was shuddering in a corner, convinced I narrowly escaped killing myself.”


Christopher Hitchens waterboarded – Believe Me, It’s Torture (video). He writes: “… if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

A note from Hitchens on whether you can cheat at waterboarding: ‘What I do recall clearly, though, is a hard finger feeling for my solar plexus as the water was being poured. What was that for? “That’s to find out if you are trying to cheat, and timing your breathing to the doses. If you try that, we can outsmart you. We have all kinds of enhancements.”’


Former Navy Seal waterboarded — Short VersionFull Version (24 minutes) It appears that he sometimes lasts for thirty or forty seconds before full panic sets in, but the interogators also talk about him holding his breath, so it’s possible he cracked within a few seconds of actually trying to breathe. He does get credit for resisting their questions through repeated 10-40 second sessions of waterboarding.


Playboy journalist — lasts six seconds.


UPDATE: 22 May 2009: Radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller calls waterboarding torture after lasting less than ten seconds.


UPDATE: 12 November 2010: A writer for the Sun newspaper lasts 12 seconds, says that “This is no ‘interrogation technique’ but torture pure and simple”

I have to say, 24 is a lot less entertaining these days when Jack Bauer says “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, then it’ll just be a question of how much you want it to hurt.”