Thursday, March 31, 2011

_Irredeemable_ by Mark Waid

Just received Irredeemable Volume 1 in the mail today, and have already read it twice. Couldn't be more excited about it. This is one of the scariest stories I've read.

The premise is that The Plutonian, a Superman-analog hero (anything you can do, he can do better) has gone rogue for some reason and no one seems able to stop him. The story really drives home the fear involved: what do you do when someone super strong, super fast, and able to hear a pin drop from ten miles is out to get you? He doesn't really need the death ray eyes, but they don't subtract from the terror.

Add to that the fact that this version of Superman hasn't let anyone discover his Kryptonite, and the fear ramps up.

By the time the story starts, the Plutonian is already a mass murderer who has leveled a city. A few heroes are left scrambling to stay alive long enough to learn how to stop him.

I knew a lot of this already, from reading volumes 1 and 2 of Incorruptible...which I also greatly enjoyed. Reading those stories, I had trouble believing that Waid could make a character who committed Plutonian's crimes into a believable person. But he has.

I'm going to be collecting Irredeemable now. I can hardly wait to get volume 2.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fresh Air interviews author of 'After Qaddafi'

I heard a bit of this interview with Dirk Vandewalle on the radio earlier this month. The full transcript is available online, which is darn cool....made it easy to find.

Some highlights:

  • Qadaffi systematically destroyed basically all organizations in Libya. They don't even have organizations of doctors, or stamp collectors. There's no way for people to group or congregate, because that might lead to dissent.
  • Qadaffi's got a serious yes-man problem. No one can speak against him, so he just hears his own words back alla time.
  • Qadaffi also ended most private business, including rental of apartments and houses, and restaurants. He created a membership-required system of supermarkets. If you displeased him, you could lose membership, and be unable to buy food.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All energy disasters lead to coal, which is an energy disaster

Here's a thought-provoking piece on how nuclear power problems scare us more than they should. Maybe we just can't stand the idea of death via invisible radiation? But the point is, we need power, and if we swap nuclear for something else, that doesn't make us safer.

I think the easiest way to imagine this is to think of a dam. If a tsunami or earthquake busts a dam, thousands are likely to be killed. Meanwhile, go coal and people die from it every day.