Welcome to theopinionatedinternet.blogspot.com, a whirling hotpot of political opinion, poetry, prose, philosophy, reviewing, and other assorted wild ramblings! Here you will find: PWN, Grand Reviewer and assistant thinker; JAFHR, head of Philosophy, Literature, and Ambassador for France; JHWW, critic/comic materialist; and iTech, computer technician, pilot-in-the-making and co-politician. Fare Thee Well!

Pour les Francophones

Cher Lecteur/lectrice,
Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue A notre blog, L'Internet Dogmatique. Vous trouverez ici tout votre bonheur- Literature, Philosophie, Politique, Revues, Technologie... Par dessus tout, vous trouverez des opinions. Ne manquez pas a publiez le votre!
Pour rendre tout cet Anglais lisible, traduisez simplement cette page en utilisant le gadget que vous trouverez sur votre droite, un peu en bas. Nous regrettons que cette traduction est rarement exacte; il serait peut-etre plus sage d'utiliser ce blog pour pratiquer votre Anglais.
Bien le Bonjour, Messires et Demoiselles,
JAFHR, le Fou Francophone.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why The Dark Knight Rises will be Epic (or not)

If you've read even half my posts, you may have gathered that I'm quite a fan of Christopher Nolan (although not quite to the extent that you might think), a veritable Orson Welles among Batman film directors (his other films deserve credit as well though). Therefore I am naturally very excited about his next film, The Dark Knight Rises, out on the 20th of July. So here are five reasons why it's going to be good:

1) Tom Hardy - I initially thought that was an odd choice to play Bane, since I'd always thought of Hardy as the suave British guy from Inception. How can Bane be suave? That doesn't make any sense. But when I heard he was in Bronson and Warrior, it started to make sense. And he actually put on some extra muscle to play the part too, so he ought to be suitably bulky to play Bane, yet I'm sure he'll give the character his own unique twist. He may just be the first good Bane ever to grace the screen (except maybe the Bane from Batman: The Animated Series, which was pretty good).

2) Hans Zimmer - In case you haven't heard his soundtracks for Christopher Nolan's previous films, I shall say that they fit each of the films perfectly, and are in fact good songs just on there own. I can't really phrase Zimmer's composing abilities enough so I won't try to, I'll just say that they're good.

3) Inception - Well if his last film was good, surely his next one will be too? Okay, maybe not. But nonetheless, I can hope.

4) Anne Hathaway - On IMDb, it describes Hathaway's trademark as 'sassy, free-spirited women who attempt to remain independent', which pretty much fits her role as Catwomen. Besides, she can't be worse than Halle Berry (Catwoman, 2004).

5) The Prologue - The first six minutes of the film were released a few months back, so I read a review of it which seemed pretty positive. Overall reception is good (although not great), so can the rest of the film really be much worse?

Well... perhaps. Because there are some things the film has got going against it. Here are a few of them:

1) Heath Ledger - In my opinion, the two best single things about The Dark Knight were the the Joker and the soundtrack. Now, without Heath Ledger as the Joker, it's all down to Hans Zimmer to serve up a stellar soundtrack, but that won't make the film great on it's own. I can only hope that Tom Hardy is a suitable replacement villain.

2) The Trailer - The trailer was pretty poorly received by critics, but to be honest this factor can be ignored because the prologue provides much more detailed information.

3) The Ending - No matter what they do with the ending, it won't work. If Batman dies, it will be the end of that continuity and many people will be annoyed. If Bane dies, it will be too simple. If Catwoman dies, it will be a cliche. If no one dies, it will be too happy for such a dark series.

4) The Bat... thing - How can they possibly explain this? Seriously, when I saw that all the film's realism and grittiness died. Just look at it. Admittedly, it looks good for what it is, but really.

What do I personally think? To be honest, I expect it to be the worst of the trilogy. I know that's going against pretty much everything I said to begin with, but it's true. I just can not see the setup they've got working.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cabin Pressure

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Cabin Pressure, the BBC Radio 4 comedy written by John Finnemore is a simple, continuously uproarious masterpiece.  Now, you ask: what is it and why is it so good?
Well, the BBC themselves can describe it better than I, but in summary, it is the story of a budget charter airline which is run by a formidable 63 year-old who received her ancient Lockheed McDonnell 312 (a fictional jet) G-ERTI as part of a divorce settlement from her enormously rich husband.  It is expertly crewed around its somewhat eccentric range of trips by four almost devoted people one of which is herself, as manager and part time steward.  The usual steward is her idiotic yet entirely devoted 29 year old son, who still lives with her and who often finds the world in general rather baffling.  He is excellently portrayed by John Finnemore himself.  Then there is the captain, Martin Crieff, when not mistaken for one of the cleaners is delighted in his hobbey of being a commercial pilot: having failed his CPL several times, he was not accepted by most airlines and so eventually agreed to be not a first officer as one would usually start but a captain, with the caveat that he would be unpaid.  He gets by through running a "man with a van" service.  He is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame.  Finally there is (assuming he actually did bother to come to work at all today, that is) the first officer (copilot) Douglas Richardson, who considers himself to be very nearly omnipotent, and once says "God moves in strange ways, in order to do lovely things for Douglas Richardson."  He is resented by Martin in most ways, be it his height, his voice, his public-school education, his luck or his many years with "Air England" and is generally working some sort of a fiddle, having been sacked from Air England for smuggling.

I was pleased to hear that Cabin Pressure is to run for a fourth series in 2012 - let us hope it runs as long as that other classic British comedy "The Navy Lark" which is another favourite of mine having run from 1958 to 1977. 
I thoroughly recommend Cabin Pressure.  Enjoy it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

iFAQ: Science

How fast is the speed of light?

In a vacuum, the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, but it can change. In a prism, light can almost be stopped, while outside of a vacuum, light does not travel as fast, slowed down by numerous particles in the air. Sound, however, travels faster where there are more particles, as that is a wave that relies on particles to move, while light is a wave that does not.

What is the difference between dynamite and TNT?

TNT is not the chemical name for dynamite, nor has dynamite got anything to do with TNT at all. Dynamite is stabilised nitroglycerine wrapped in a cylinder, developed by Alfred Nobel, who later created the fund for the Nobel Prize after feeling guilty about having developed an explosive which was later used in warfare. TNT is an abbreviation of trinitrotoluene, another explosive which is less powerful yet safer to work with than dynamite. However, it has proved to be toxic, causing yellow colouration of skin. This is what caused the female workers in munitions factories to have yellow skin, leading to the nickname 'Canary Girls'. It can also cause organ damage and increased risk of cancer.

What is radar?

Radar, standing for radio detection and ranging, is a device that allows users to detect objects by bouncing radio waves off objects. Its most famous usage was during World War II, when the government spread the rumour that ace pilots were aided in seeing in the dark by carrots, to distract the Germans from the possibility of radar. This mistruth has persisted to this day, although it is true that carrots contain a vitamin necessary for quickly switching between normal vision and night vision, but there is a difference between a lack of something causing damage and an excess of something causing good.


iFAQ: Miscellany

What is an iFAQ?

An iFAQ is not a new Apple product, instead it is something that takes little bit of effort to create (fine, hate me for it). An iFAQ is a collection of infrequently asked questions, because, let's be honest, most questions in other FAQs are never asked by anyone. Some of the questions featured in these were first published in a magazine I used to edit, then later in a blog I edited. Hopefully they won't be republished again. All of them were written by me or a direct associate anyway so I don't think it necessary to make to much of it. In short, the aim of an iFAQ is to provide answers to questions that are seldom asked, but deserve to earn recognition.

How does a turbocharger work?

Turbochargers work by pressurising air entering an engine and adding more fuel to combust it, so that you can get more torque from fewer cylinders. Superchargers are probably different, but as Jeremy Clarkson puts it: "with a supercharger, air goes in, witchcraft happens and you go faster". In reality, superchargers are less sophisticated versions of turbochargers where the pump to increase pressure is mechanically driven, thus taking horsepower from the engine. Some very large superchargers can use more than a hundred horsepower from the engine to keep them running. Superchargers therefore aid top speed, while turbochargers aid acceleration. Turbochargers are more efficient because they utilise exhaust gases, rather than power from the engine.

What is the lowest point in Microsoft Excel?

1048576. If you're wondering how I found this out, press Ctrl and the down key at the same time in an Excel document.


Dark Lords (Part Two - The Collector vs. Darth Sidious)

Hey readers, following on from JAFHR's earlier post, I've decided to make my own view on who my favourite Dark Lord/ Evil Villain is. In case you didn't know(haven't read my Introduction), I am a huge fan of The PS3 game Little Big Planet. As with most role-playing-games, there is a villain who you have to defeat. In Little Big Planet, he is called The Collector. I will also be comparing him to the other Dark Lord on our poll; Darth Sidious...

The Collector

The Collector- Sackpeople hater
Aims: To capture all of the sackpeople and take over the world
Do Mention: Almost no Sackpeople except Sackboy left; Able to set things on fire/electrify
Don't Mention: Doesn't look scary at all

Darth Sidious

Darth Sidious- Grandpa
AKA: Emperor Palpatine
Aims: keep control of the galaxy, learn the full power of the  Dark side of the force,  find an anti-ageing lotion.
Do mention: The youths these days have no respect...
Don't mention: Hey, I've got your false teeth!

Past Appearance of The Collector                                          Past appearance of Darth Sidious

One of The Collectors soldiers                                                   One of Darth Sidious' soldiers

The Collectors trusted servant                                                  Darth Sidious' trusted servant

Cause of The Collectors death                                                     Cause of Darth Sidious' death


The Collectors source of power                                                Darth Sidious' source of power

As You can see, the ultimate, uncontested winner is...


Feel free to leave Comments!

PS: This is completely biased

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Life in Words

Hong Kong
Anywhere I go, I always get asked the same question- are you Chinese or Japanese (in some cases Korean). In truth, I am neither of the three, and I usually make people guess where exactly I'm from.
A list of guesses.

North Korea ?!

It usually takes a couple more guesses, and a few obvious hints before they can figure out I'm from Hong Kong. This is nearly always followed by a debate as to why I said Hong Kong, and why not China, as after all, Hong Kong is now officially a part of China. So is Hong Kong really a country then? Is it just an island in a country (China)? Should I really be saying I'm from Hong Kong, and not China? Well I'll tell you the situation of Hong Kong now.
Hong Kong originally belonged to the British. In 1997, however, it was handed over to China, and is now officially known as a special administrative region- one of two China owns (the other being the island Macau, originally belonging to Portugal, but handed over in 19999). Thus, Hong Kong is recognised as not a part of China, when China is referred to as China PR-Peoples Republic. Governance and legal laws are different in Hong Kong to mainland China, and most importantly, when England "gave it back," there was a condition that it would be separately administered from China for 50 years. Hong Kong has its own currency system as opposed to mainland China(the HKD, Hong Kong Dollar). Border crossings are also important, as there are special stops needed for people from mainland China to go to Hong Kong. Similarly, shortly I was after born in London(which could actually mean I'm British, but more later), I was flown with my twin sister to Hong Kong, and got a special "slip" stating I can live in Hong Kong whenever I want. This, however, does not mean I can live in China, as after all, it is a country of its own. It is also worthwhile mentioning that Hong Kong performs in the Olympics as a separate team to China, and it is officially recognised as a country.
So there you go- Hong Kong is in fact its own country, and not a part of China- to all you reading out there who've always questioned me, here's your answer!
So does it actually mean in British, if I'm born here and have a British passport? In my opinion, no, because both my parents are Cantonese (from Hong Kong), and I can also live in Hong Kong, as well as Britain. Feel free to leave a comment if you think differently!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I don't particularly like Twitter, I'm more of the Facebook type, but I thought it might increase awareness of the blog if I created a Twitter page. So here's the link, and follow us @BiasedWeb if you want to get infrequent and dull updates about what going on. Leave your opinions about Twitter and what we should use it for in the comments below.


Dark Lords (Part One - Voldemort vs. Sauron)

This is not an entirely serious post: I am deciding which dark lord deserves the most publicity- Lord Voldemort, or Sauron the Deceiver.

Voldemort- Business man
Aims: To eradicate "mudbloods", conquer the Muggle world, and grow hair.
AKA: Tom Marvolo Riddle.
Do Mention: Who needs hair anyway?
Do not mention: So what did your father do for a living?
Eye of Sauron
Aims: To retake possession of his ring, his body, his glasses and the world.
Do Not Mention: but grandma, what big eyes you've got!

Past appearance of Voldemort
Past appearance of Sauron

One of Voldemort's soldiers
One of Sauron's soldiers

Sauron's trusted Servant

Voldemort's trusted servant
Cause of Voldemort's Death

Cause of Sauron's Death

Source of Voldemort's Power

Source of Sauron's power
Sauron is the uncontested Winner! Go back to teaching, Voldy...
P.S I am not serious, I just want a laugh- if you argue:
a) You have no sense of humour
b) You have no life.
It's nothing personal.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cheap Classics (Part One - Introduction and Strategy)


In this miniseries I'll be looking at some of the best video games that are now available for under £10. Please remember that this is my list and is in no way objective. Please leave any angry opinions in the comments section below. And if you're trying to persuade parents to buy them, they're all rated 12+ or below and are available on PC.

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (2007)

I'll cut to the chase here and say that this is really good. Really, really good. I'm not really sure where to start because there's so much to explain, but I'll start by saying what it is I like about it so much and I'll get onto the bad stuff later. Firstly, the  soundtrack is fitting (see my mini-series about video game soundtracks). I know that's an odd thing to start with, but this was really one of the things that made it a much better game for me, and I've been humming it ever since I first played the original. Okay, it might be a bit generic at times but it suits the game's epic scale and military sci-fi style.

Now what is probably the best thing. The scale. This game is epic in every sense of the word. The maps are massive (some take several minutes to cross even with the fastest units), there are at least forty units for each faction (although there are only three factions) and at the highest tech level you can build massive 'experimental' units (like the 'Fatboy' in the picture above). I chose the expansion Forged Alliance mainly because of its campaign and updated interface, both of which are a massive improvements on the previous game, where reviewers pointed out the weaknesses of both.

So what's wrong with it? It pains me to say it, but it is true that in creating a game with such an epic scale some details have been overlooked.  The multiplayer network GPG.net is great for downloading mods but makes it pretty difficult to actually set up a game online. Also, the AI is average at best. Sure it's challenging, but it can never pull off the crazy strategies that someone online is able to. The pathfinding is an improvement on the original, but it's still a little cumbersome and while I like the general aesthetic of the game, it's nothing new and some may find it a little too blocky.

If you want to buy this game, it's now on Steam for £9.99 (or £14.99 for the original as well) or order it on  Amazon for slightly less.

Rome: Total War (2003)

Widely accepted as one of the best strategy games of all time, it is my personal favorite of the entire Total War series because of its simplicity, realism and soul. Everything has been thought through and it is a definite improvement on Shogun and Medieval, unlike the modern games which are all a bit similar, not building enough on the previous games (I'm talking about Empire and NapoleonShogun II I haven't played).

I can't really think of anything bad about this game, except that I hated the expansions (although I must admit I barely played either of them, the just didn't grab my interest) and the fact that there is no naval combat. This was only introduced two games later, in Empire, when really this was the game that needed ship combat and in Empire it was far too late. Also, the multiplayer is somewhat limited. I don't know what I wanted from it, but I didn't get it.

The reason I love it is because it is so realistic, yet also so much fun. It combines turn-based and real-time strategy perfectly. If you want to just be a Roman general, then just play skirmishes all the time. If you want to conquer the world, then auto-resolve all of the battles. There's not much more I can say, sorry this has been so short. It's really cheap now to, so check it out on Steam or  Amazon, just avoid the expansions.

Age of Empires II: Age of Kings (1999)

While I haven't played it for a while, this remains the definitive real-time strategy (RTS) game because of its simplicity and its personality. As soon as you see the title screen, you'll realize that this is a properly heartfelt game. Before I get any further, I'd like to say that this is not realisitic in the same way as Rome: Total War or even Supreme Commander. Instead of expecting a historical game, expect an RTS that incorporates parts of history into it. This is perhaps what makes it so enjoyable. In the end, the game mechanics are simple, and I was constantly frustrated with the lack of strategic zoom that Supreme Commander made such great use of. But when you consider that this is a really old game, it's perfectly excusable.

I played this a lot when I was a lot younger (about six or seven years old) because it was so simple to understand. It did take me a while to work out what some more complicated things do (such as advancing an epoch), which severely limited my chances of winning any games. Despite this, I loved it and I think that it deserves some recognition, as new maps can always be made using the excellent map editor. If mythology  (I'm looking at you, JAFHR) or the colonization of America is more your cup of tea, then there are sequels that fill those niches, although in my opinion none were quite as good as the second game (the first is a little too dated).

It's now available on Amazon for about £10.


P.S. Sorry, about the weird spacing. I think it's something to do with the picture, I'll try and fix it later.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Five Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time

Need I even explain this? Sure, it doesn't really fit the rest of the game, but it's so memorable, I didn't care, and neither should you. Just love it. I might get a bit hate for not mentioning the Battlefield 3 soundtrack. The reason I didn't mention it is that I thought that the extra distortion didn't add the piece. I liked it and it suited the game, but to me the instrumental version is unbeatable.

2) Halo 3

This is a nice, orchestral piece. That's pretty much it. It fits the scale of the game, I suppose, but I always thought it was building up to something that didn't really deliver. I mean, wasn't Reach supposed to be the emotional climax? From this trailer you'd think that Halo 3 was meant to be the end of it all, and the music gives the same message. Oh well, maybe it's just me. I always thought that the Reach soundtrack was a little less emotional, despite the ending and the overall mood being more emotionally engaging.

Personally, I've never played Skyrim and I'm not a huge fan of the soundtrack but I have to admit, it gets the atmosphere across pretty effectively. I don't like the whole singing thing in Fus-Ro-Dah, and in the soundtrack I chose for the link in the title I thought it was a little less... stupid. In it, I felt that the singing added to the orchestral feel rather than acting like a massive distraction. In both cases, however, the actual tune is really good, I just didn't like the voices. It might just be something to do with getting caught up into the hype of the game, since all the people I know who like this theme play Skyrim.

I'm probably being a bit too negative, as this is my number 3 choice. It's just that I thought the singing was a bit of a cliche, although it's probably the best example of it that I've seen. Also, it's good that they're actually singing what could be considered a language, not just saying nonsense.

It's simple, yes, but that's the point. This soundtrack is creepy, sad, memorable and beautiful in equal measure, much like the game. All the tracks are brilliant simply because they're so simple. If a soundtrack ever fitted a game, this one does. Admittedly, it's not as polished as, say, Halo's but it doesn't matter. I think of them as a pure reflection of what I felt while playing Minecraft, which I know is a corny thing to say but it's true. I put the 'Calm 3' track link in the title because I thought it summed up everything I said best, but that's just my opinion and the others are also excellent. Perhaps the best thing about these songs is that they really capture the loneliness that is the core of the game (at least in singleplayer).

It may be generically militaristic, but this theme is surprisingly good for a real time strategy game. It works very well in game, and there are plenty of tracks so that they get familiar, but never boring. My choice was Risk, Relief and Victory, because I think that it has the most universal appeal, but the others are also good.