31 July 2021

Exit Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall

So, Jodie Whittaker is following the example of her three predecessors being doing "three seasons and out"; her final Doctor Who story will be broadcast next autumn. Chris Chibnall will be out of the door as well.

Jodie Whittaker is a very good actor and ultimately never got the material needed to fully shine as the Doctor. I hope she does some Big Finish, which very much redeemed Colin Baker in the eyes of the fandom.

Chibnall, while having done some good stuff in the past, like Broadchurch, ultimately proved out of his depth for the show. You need someone with strong fantasy/science fiction experience as well, which he ultimately didn't have. Some of the stories were a bit too preachy - while political commentary has a strong place in science fiction, it works best when it's subtle and wrapped in an entertaining story.

As to the next Doctor, I would definitely like another woman in the role.

17 July 2021

Black Widow & Loki

Went and saw this last weekend. Definitely highly recommended, with a great story and excellent characters. Florence Pugh is worth the price of admission on her own and definitely deserves a long stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As always with Marvel movies, you should stay right to the end of the credits; there's a scene that is well worth seeing.

Also, Loki is well worth watching on Disney+; it very much fulfils its glorious purpose and while Tom Hiddleston is brilliant, Sophia Di Martino is the icing on the cake.

All in all, Marvel is doing very well at the moment and What If? in particular looks very interesting.

10 July 2021

Coronavirus #31: To mask or not to mask

With increasing cases of the highly contagious Delta variant in the UK, there is concern that making masks voluntary on 19 July will simply make things worse.

Masks are more about protecting others from expelled virus than protecting yourself, but their impact is limited and they are not themselves a substitute for other measures like test-and-trace, self-isolation and physical distancing where possible. From my own observation, a lot fewer people are wearing masks than used to be and I am sure many of them don't have exemptions.

Public compliance and goodwill have largely gone; Matt Hancock's antics were a final straw, I would wager. 

For my part, I intend to do as Professor Chris Whitty has advised after the 19th; I will wear a mask when asked or when I can't physically keep my distance from others. I'm double jabbed anyway and also do twice-weekly lateral flow tests, which I doubt is common.

10 June 2021

Coronavirus #30 - The final unlock?

This weekend, the government will decide whether to go to Stage 4 of the roadmap and eliminate nearly all the remaining domestic restrictions, although some like the self-isolation policy for red and amber list countries will almost certainly stay for a while - I can see an exemption for the fully vaccinated incorporated at some point there.

With the current case trajectory and a slight increase in hospital admissions, caused by the more infectious 'Delta' variant as we are now calling it, I feel there are grounds for a two week daily to 'Freedom Day' to double jab as many of the most vulnerable as possible.

22 May 2021

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey

Got the latest DLC for this game and it's a huge upgrade, knocking Star Citizen, still stuck in Alpha after eight years, into a cocked hat.

It's nice to get out of your ship and walk around stations. I'm amazed at just how big my Krait, Coventry Speedboat II, actually is when I walk up to it.

Also, here's my commander, Stephen Hunter, out and about.

See you in the deep black! O7

15 May 2021

Israel destroying the media building

It may well have been the case that Hamas was using that building to store equipment, but it was probably not a good idea for Israel to destroy it, even though they warned everyone to leave. People will be using that as an example of 'Zionist crimes' for years to come.

As for the popular narrative of 'the oppressed becoming the oppressor', there is a certain element of truth to that. If the Palestinians are doing what they are doing because of Israeli actions and a traumatic history, then the reverse is true. Arguably much more so considering the impact of the Holocaust.

13 May 2021

Another round of violence in the Middle East

Hamas needs to stop its rocket attacks permanently. There is no self-defence justification for them whatsoever.

Israel needs to stop further settlement building in the West Bank and should frankly let those families faced with eviction stay.

Both sides should not do things they shouldn't be doing just because of the actions of others and those who seek to excuse terrorism need to examine their moral compasses.