Fantasy Round 50: Wizard School Reform

2017/01/15 1 comment

There’s an element that commonly appears in fantasy novels.  In some cases, as in Harry Potter, it’s explicitly constructed as a school.  In many others, it’s more of a master-apprentice system.

But the bottom line is this: none of the improved pedagogical methods that are used in modern-day Muggle classrooms are making it into the magical community.  Worse, many of the methods of magical instruction are downright abusive.

Since I just gave up on watching a show that was supposedly about a graduate school in magic, let’s talk about this mess.

Hogwarts: It looks nice, but it's not everything that it's cracked up to be.

Hogwarts: It looks nice, but there’s a lot of ugly on the inside.

Read more…

Science Fiction Round 67: Arrival

2017/01/08 Leave a comment

Arrival is a gorgeous film.  The music and ambiance are flawlessly done, and, because of how the movie is put together, I expect it will have some extra meaning on a second viewing.

You should probably go see it before I spoil it below.

I kind of want one of those spaceships. I like the aesthetics.

I kind of want one of those spaceships. I like the aesthetics and the gravity manipulation.  And, also, well… spaceship.

Read more…

Categories: Clement's Game Tags:

Science Fiction Round 66: Rogue One

2017/01/03 3 comments

I went to go see Rogue One last weekend.  It’s a good film, and as you might expect, something of a tearjerker.

As ever, here be spoilers.

Hey, these characters all show up in the film! Not all the stuff from the trailers did, though.

Hey, these characters all show up in the film! Not all the stuff from the trailers did, though.

Read more…

Superheroes Round 23: What The Love Interest Doesn’t Know

2016/12/18 Leave a comment

Since I’ve been on a bit of a superhero binge (with the current distraction being The Flash, which is fairly fun), I’ve had a few thoughts about some of the standard superhero tropes that I find most irritating.  I note that I may spoil some content in the Flash up through the halfway point of the second season, but not thereafter.

Number one is the attempt to protect the love interest by not explaining anything about what’s going on, especially not the fact that you’re actually <insert superhero name here>.

News flash: villains are not the equivalent of the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal.  Just because your love interest doesn’t know you’re the superhero, doesn’t mean they’re not in danger of being accosted by your nemesis.

Ignorance is no defense. Read more…

Superheroes Round 22: Captain America’s Back Pay

2016/12/06 1 comment

At some point in the Captain America: Civil War movie, the titular character declares that he can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood where he grew up, because the rents are so high.

But Michael noticed something important: US servicemembers, while listed as missing in action, are entitled to back pay.  If they have dependents (such as a spouse or child), they receive the pay.  Otherwise, the servicemember gets it on returning.

On the other hand, someone who has been missing for twelve months is subject to have the status reviewed.  Captain America could then be declared officially dead, so he may only be entitled to the first twelve months of back pay.

Assuming $200 a month, which is about right for a captain in WWII with a very short service record, gets you a back pay total of $2400.

But back pay is required to be paid with interest… daily.

With compounding interest for about, say, 64 years, at an 8% interest rate per year (based on the older years listed here, as recent years have had lower than the usual interest rates)… gives you about $401,000 in back pay.  At a slightly higher interest rate (11% or so, matching the oldest years listed) that could get you about $2.7 million.

But!  That $200 base pay is without any bonuses for hazard pay or special duty.   (Being turned into a super-soldier and battling HYDRA supervillains should probably count as hazardous special duty.)  That might allow for as much as a 50% increase, or more.

Rent in Brooklyn these days could be $1700 per month for a one bedroom apartment.  If you’ve got $400,000 in the bank account, you could afford that, plus living expenses, for more than ten years without having too many problems.

Of course, he only gets the back pay if he makes a point of both being alive, and asking for it…

Categories: Marvel Tags: ,