Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snub City At The Oscars

Of the Best Picture nominees, The Artist is currently the highest rated on imdb, at 8.4, though it will drop. A good comparison is Avatar, because both movies are technically adventurous, and they both have terrifyingly trite plots.

The main difference between Avatar and The Artist is that the latter is about the past, triggering nostalgia, whereas the former is about one possible version of the future, and is thus discomforting. This is why The Artist will win Best Picture and Avatar didn't come close. (No movie set in at any point in the future has ever won the award.)

But of course, the best movie of the past year is A Separation. The fact that it wasn't even nominated just showcases the Academy's striking anti-foreign film bias.


It is obviously very fun to hate on the Academy, and there are many good reasons to do so, but as imdb user Fish_Beauty reminds us, this year is highly unlikely to go down as the biggest black mark of all time. Here are the lowest rated Best Picture winners:

Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) 6.8/10 9,106 (which won over the amazing The Killing)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) 6.7/10 5,177 (which won over High Noon)
The Broadway Melody (1929) 6.4/10 2,459
Cavalcade (1933) 6.3/10 1,421
Cimarron (1931) 6.1/10 1,739 (which won over the best silent film ever, City Lights)

These are truly embarrassingly bad films.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Statisticz: Pick Your Poison At Starbucks

Every healthy drink is the same, every unhealthy drink is unhealthy in its own way. That's my conclusion upon analyzing this data set containing nutrition info of Starbucks drinks from the data set aggregator Factual

It turns out that there's an inverse, non-linear relationship between the sodium and sugar content of a drink. Drinks with very little sodium tend to have lots of sugar. These are mainly things like lemonade and iced tea. (Of course, it's controversial whether salt is bad for you, but the prevailing evidence points to yes.) 

normalized to the number of calories, filtered for >50 calories only; code

Surely this is not a universal trade-off, but it seems to indicate that in order to survive as a popular drink, you have to offer consumers something that they'll enjoy. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inspiration To Be Better

There's always someone whose monster won't go to sleep, no matter what Molotov cocktail of drugs and poison the medical miracle-makers can concoct to throw at it. Good people, better than I, are doomed to such a fate. The thought of it just seems to drain all of the air out of the room. But it makes me want to be better. I know those people won't stop fighting until that final breath, and that's a lifetime's worth of inspiration for me. I will forever hesitate to take a simple moment in this life for granted, though it will probably take some getting used to, because I've never lived that way before. But, having thought about it, there's really no other way to live. It's all just too fleeting and too ephemeral to fail to take the time we do have here to try and be better. I'm going to be better to myself, more forgiving of my mistakes, better to those around me and to those close to me, because they deserve it. We all deserve it...
My friend Jon passed away a couple of days ago. Much of his writing, including the above, can be found here. I have many memories of our time together, and I cherish them. He will be missed.