Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beware of Diet Coke and Mentos


Jewish date:  10 Tammuz 5769.

Today’s holiday:  Thursday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time.

Worthy cause of the day:  “END THESE PLANES, OR OBAMA WILL”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. I have been tardy again on reporting on the latest episode of Kings again, this time “Pilgrimage”.  (Very sorry.)  The writers have been having fun again playing the various characters against each other with seemingly no regard for anything that happened in the Book of Samuel.  This is a very busy episode with enough plot threads tied together to make an impressive knot.  (Enough that I will probably forget one or two and not put those I do remember in the most sensible order.)  David and Michelle are sneaking around behind King Silas’s back and feeling guilt over their affair.  Michelle is also feeling guilty over having broken her vow.  David’s apartment is robbed, and the camera with the naughty pictures on it is among the item taken, which naturally leads to more panic.  Silas goes on “pilgrimage” for inspiration and takes David with him, leaving Michelle to deal with the problem of the missing camera.  Jack’s homosexual lover Joseph mails out multiple copies of a confession and commits suicide.  Jack attends Joseph’s funeral, where both he and Joseph receive compassionate treatment from Reverend Samuels.  It turns out that Queen Rose had her brother William Cross ransack David’s apartment to get information on him.  William’s son Andrewgoes through the items stolen from David, finds the camera, and quickly realizes what the contents are.  Seeking to fulfill his father’s behest to do something more with himself since his return from exile than read newspapers, he gives the pictures to evil Minister of Information Katrina Ghent, who plans on releasing them to the public due to being snubbed by Rose.  Meanwhile Rose, aided by palace secretary and aide-de-camp Thomasina, has her hands on one copy of Jack’s confession and undertakes massive efforts to find the other copies.  One of those copies is leaked to Katrina.  Rose ends up trying to bargain with Katrina, who agrees to embarrass only one of Rose’s children; Rose chooses to spare Jack.  Jack finds out, and he begs Katrina to embarrass him instead to spare Michelle.  Katrina instead wants Jack to marry her and to embarrass Rose instead.  Meanwhile, it turns out that Silas’s pilgrimage is to see his mistress and illegitimate child by her; David is trusted with Silas’s secret, and he wants to know David’s secrets.  Upon their return, Michelle confesses to her father her affair with David.  It is clear that David did not tell Silas about the affair, and thus ends the episode.  In all this bewildering array of twists and turns and evil politics, coming out best is perhaps Jack, who puts his own honor aside for the sake of the honor of Joseph and Michelle.  Andrew at least puts an interesting twist on honoring his father, though he clearly needs some serious help to avoid spending the rest of his life playing petty politics.  Threads that need to be taken up in future episodes are fairly obvious.
  2. More lack of freedom of religion:  “Winds of Islamism make Pakistani artists shiver”, “Catholic bishops: between 'hope and fear', Iraq witnesses the withdrawal of U.S. troops”
  3. “Opinion: Can Games Become 'Virtual Murder?'”:  This article asks the question of how realistic is too realistic in video games, especially considering that games are getting more realistic all the time and people can be desensitized to violence.  No clear answer is given—and indeed, no clear answer is possible without a specific moral system to work in—but the moral worries are valid in a variety of moral systems.  Correctly noted is that most systems agree that “killing humans is usually bad”, which makes for a big question why killing humans, even in simulation, is being passed off as being fun.  What does this say about the industry?  What does this say about those who play the games?  And what are the effects of such “fun” going to be on us, both as individuals and on society as a whole?
Today’s news and commentary:
By now, most of us have heard of Diet Coke and Mentos eruption.  Not long ago I came up with a variation on this idea, but, alas, someone else beat me to it.  (That’s the way it works sometimes with creative ideas.)  Nevertheless, it is an idea worth sharing, so today’s weird thing is the Diet Coke/Mentos Rocket.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

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