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Monday, August 22, 2011

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? -

Really interesting research at the New York Times on decision fatigue. Basically, it's just as dangerous as I thought for me to make decisions when I'm hungry, and I'm not wrong when I say that my brain -- and the rest of me -- are exhausted by grading and other things that sap mental energy. Some of it I feel like I already knew from experience, but it surprises me to see what normally feel like separate problems all inked together. It's a bad idea to grade too many papers at once for reasons that relate to why it's hard to stick to a diet, both of which relate to why I crave cookies when I'm doing certain types of work (like packing). I think the segments about decision fatigue and class are especially interesting.

Spears and other researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major — and hitherto ignored — factor in trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. It’s hard to know exactly how important this factor is, but there’s no doubt that willpower is a special problem for poor people. Study after study has shown that low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games
5 of 5 stars

Just read this today. Yes -- all of it. That's your review right there.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire
3 of 5 stars

Not as tight as the first, but still engrossing enough to launch me straight into the next book.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay
4 of 5 stars
Wow. I was not prepared for how dark these books went. They're not always the best-written things going, but the overall story is engaging, much more complex than I initially expected, and certainly more emotionally challenging that I would have predicted. After a certain point, I had honestly come to expect a Hamlet-level bloodbath, and only a secondary, maybe tertiary character to left to give us the narrative window into the denouement. It's not quite that hopeless at the end, but the bittersweet is heavy on the bitter.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Superhero Edition, part 1

I'm going to say something now that hurts me a bit (*deep breath*): this new picture of H. Cavill as Superman

Click picture for ginormous version

does absolutely nothing for me. Ok, not *absolutely* nothing. I don't like the way the suit looks. The texturing looks fine on Spiderman, but I don't like it here. And, I'm beginning to feel like texturing on superheroes is the equivalent of distressing on jeans. Don't like. And I really don't like the way his hair looks. I've seen Cavill with better hair both as himself and as other characters. And I don't love the look of him, but as I said before, I'm withholding judgment on that. The first pictures I saw of Tom Welling, when they were just starting to promote Smallville, had him looking not at all Clark-ish enough for my taste, but then he turned out to look very much the part. So, yeah -- I'm not loving this picture.

Now, let me be clear: unless the trailers stink it up something *really* awful (like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra awful), I will see it. Because I might like it. I seem to be in the minority on this, but I like Superman, and I feel like there's a great Superman story possible. I don't expect Zach Snyder's movie to tell that story, but it could still be fun to watch...

Oh, and I did say that I don't *absolutely* hate the picture. So, I'm hoping that's angry face, and not Blue Steel. I like it that maybe there will be some AngrySuperman. And I'm very excited to see the first Billowy Cape shot, because that cape is obviously going to billow well.