Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Month: July, 2008

Ten Years of Sequels, Prequels and “Based-on”s


As The Dark Knight is poised to become the highest grossing movie of the year, it is interesting to note that 1998 was the last year that the highest grossing movie in the U.S. was an original script.

Not a sequel, prequel, based on a comic, based on a book or anything else. An original screenplay. Since then, we’ve had two Star Wars, a Grinch, a Potter, two Spider-Men, a returning King, a green ogre, the chest of a dead pirate, and now a dark knight.

Of note, also, is that prior to Star Wars in ’99 we had four straight years of original screenplays- Toy Story, Independence Day, Titanic and Saving Private Ryan.

I’m not saying I don’t like the movies we’ve gotten in the last ten years- I can’t, I am a confessed Star Wars addict and have shed tears for a few fallen wizards- but this does tell you why big studios pump millions in to a steady diet of sequels, super heroes and wizards. We’ve voted with our dollars.

Campaigning to Lose Votes

A few months ago, I was at a popular local ice cream place, digging in to a much-too-large-to-be-kiddie-sized cup of ice cream when I noticed a prominent local politician approach other ice cream eaters around me.

“Ooh, cool,” this political junkie thought to himself. “One day when this person is nationally important, I’ll be able to say to blog that I shook them by the hand.”

Except, I didn’t.

This local politician of some renown walked up to the people on the bench in front of me and talked with them for a while. Then to the bench next to me. Then behind me. And then to every other bench in the area except mine. And then they- politician+entourage- left.

I may not fit any ‘demographic’ that the campaign was trying to target. And I may not even look like a citizen to the narrow-minded suburban. But even if the potential upside of shaking my hand was negligible, the potential downside is significant. I was turned from a voter indifferent to a voter scorned. More importantly, a blogger scorned.

And dictatorships hath no fury like a blogger scorned.


I would just like to say that I love doodling on my iPhone.

Oh, and the WordPress blogging app rocks.


Why This Blog is CC Licensed


You may not have noticed it (how dare you!), but this blog is licensed CC-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This means:

You are free to:

  • Share– copy, distribute, transmit (send it to your enemies!)
  • Remix– adapt the articles (I’m waiting for the musical)

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution– You must attribute it to me.
  • Noncommercial– You may not use it for commercial purposes.
  • ShareAlike– If you alter, transform or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same license.

So why did I choose this license?

  • To paraphrase Cory Doctorow, the only thing worse than an author who’s work is pirated is an author who’s work is not read. So share!
  • The Internet isn’t one-way. It is interactive. There is an archaic notion that my job is to write this blog and your job is to read. You and me are standing on the shoulders of giants. On the Internet, you stand on my shoulders, I’ll stand on yours and we’ll make one weird circus freak. So adapt and remix!
  • I have an ego, and I don’t like people taking credit for my work. So attribute (to me)!
  • Stand on my shoulders if you want, but don’t sell tickets to it (without my permission). So non-commercial! This is basically so that no one is making money off me without my knowledge. When asked, I’ve been known to give permission.
  • And clearly, I can’t let you share and remix my work, but then allow you to prevent further sharing and remixing. So share alike!

You’re free to use this license (or one of the many others Creative Commons has written) for any of your creative works. There’s even a comic (CC-licensed of course) to explain all the licenses.

Bill is Innocent!

Bill Stickers!

Oh noes!

Big Book of Apple Hacks


A long time ago, Chris Seibold, one of my co-writers at Apple Matters, asked if I had any ideas for a book he was writing for O’Reilly publishers called “The Big Book of Apple Hacks“. That email turned in to a little brainstorming which led to five chapters that I have in the book.

  • MacFuse
  • SSH Tunnels
  • ImageMagick
  • Tivo + Mac
  • Fink & MacPorts

Of course, those chapters have much better names in the book. Unfortunately, a publishing error left my name off the acknowledgments at the end of the book (seriously!), but my name is at the end of each chapter I wrote. Hopefully the book will have many reprints in the future which will include my name!

Obama, Montana and Jones

So, what’s hot this summer, asks

Science Addiction Referenced in a Law Paper

No kidding. The paper (by Gary Pulsinelli) is about the ownership rights of artistic works among goblins in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Last year, I had noted that they sounded a lot like the RIAA/MPAA/ MAFIAA. This paper has a different take, but tips its hat to this blog post and the reader comments. If you read the paper, it is in footnote #29 on page 5.

Rushdie at Harvard

Rushdie at HarvardSalman Rushdie was at the Memorial Church at Harvard last night, for a reading organized by the Harvard Book Store. He read from his newest novel “The Enchantress of Florence” (which I had him sign) but I had another agenda. I got my father’s 20-year-old copy of Midnight’s Children signed, the copy (and father) that introduced me to Rushdie.

Rushdie was everything his novels indicated he might be- frighteningly smart, witty and with an uncanny ability to keep an audience surprised and entertained.

The new novel sounds fascinating, with a classical mix of history, fantasy and Rushdie. It is one of those what-ifs that every student of history has when they look at ancient contemporaries and wonder if they had ever met. (What if Picasso met Einstein in Paris in 1904?). What if the Mughal Emperor Akbar in India had contact with rennaissance Europe, asks Rushdie. In his words, the unbelievable stuff in his book is true; the believable is what he made up.

(An exercise for the reader: one of the people in the picture is Rushdie and one is me. And the purple book is my wrinkled old Midnight’s Children.)

Congress, change the rules. Ta…

Congress, change the rules. Talk to us on our social networks. Let our Congress Tweet! #LOCT08