links for 2010-09-28

  • Today is September 26th, Petrov Day, celebrated to honor the deed of Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov on September 26th, 1983.  Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, take a minute to not destroy the world. The story begins on September 1st, 1983, when Soviet jet interceptors shot down a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner after the aircraft crossed into Soviet airspace and then, for reasons still unknown, failed to respond to radio hails.  269 passengers and crew died, including US Congressman Lawrence McDonald.  Ronald Reagan called it "barbarism", "inhuman brutality", "a crime against humanity that must never be forgotten".  Note that this was already a very, very poor time for US/USSR relations.  Andropov, the ailing Soviet leader, was half-convinced the US was planning a first strike.  The KGB sent a flash message to its operatives warning them to prepare for possible nuclear war.
  • Movie trailers are liars. If they’re not using the only two funny scenes to make you think the entire movie is funny, or splicing scenes together to misrepresent the movie, they’re using scenes that don’t even make it into the movie. The New York Times once ran an entire story about how many scenes in the National Treasure: Book of Secrets trailer weren’t in the finished film. (We expect more from Nic Cage.) Why do the suits who market movies create misleading trailers? Because they’ll do anything to convince suckers like us to shell out for a ticket.
  • Tonight, Jon Stewart tackled the subject of Stephen Colbert's recent congressional testimony. In the process, Stewart ripped Congress itself, Fox News (and its anchorbot, Megyn Kelly), "arrogant douche" Tucker Carlson, and more, before showing just how useless Congress has been.
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