What’s So Appealing about Comic Book Movies?

X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by Bryan Singer, as of this writing, surpassed its franchise predecessors and grossed over $500 million, which is not far behind 2012’s blockbuster, Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon. Avengers grossed over $600 million. As long as comic book movies keep winning in the box office, Hollywood is happy to indulge. Indeed, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is set to come out in theaters in May 2015, and X-Men: Apocalypse will come out sometime in 2016. What is it about comic book movies that have such mass appeal? 1) The Obvious: Over-the-top fight-scenes using high-tech graphics all done by super-fit people in tight-fitting outfits (or in the case of Mystique, no outfit) More than mere eye-candy, there is something to the visual component of all of the recent comic book movies. Comics have always been about visual as well as verbal communication, but now the visual is accomplished with striking effects. Consider the high-budget fight scene guaranteed to appear in every comic book movie. The viewer not only sees or reads about the fight, but is able to experience it through the use of camera angles, lighting, and choreography. <Minor Spoiler Alert> For example, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the scenes in which the future mutants are fighting the sentinels intentionally uses lighting and backdrop to convey despair, while the fight scene between the past mutants and the sentinels, is well-lit and hopeful. 2) The Just: The good guys beat up on the bad guys Human beings have an innate desire to see justice done. mu legend zen for sale The protagonist(s) winning over the antagonist(s) satisfies some deep yearning for cosmic justice. One major theme in comic books is good versus evil. Stan Lee originally wrote Tony Stark (Ironman) to be an unlikable protagonist in the comic books. But, the appeal of the Ironman movies, particularly the first movie, is his redemption and subsequent fight against evil to make things right. 3) The Alien: Mutants are weird, but not too weird One literary device that writers often employ is the “alien” or the “savage”. adidas zx flux store This character is an outsider to the world as we know it that causes us to look beyond ourselves. Sweatshirts It introduces the other. One classic example is the noble savage in Huxley’s Brave New World. He serves to question the infrastructure of the world that all of the other characters find completely normal, and in questioning the fictional world, he is questioning those similar elements in our world. Marvel’s mutants are not aliens, but serve the same purpose of representing the other. A theme in several of the X-Men movies is prejudice and dehumanization. 4) The Myth: Superheroes as modern-day gods It is no secret that there are many parallels between comic book heroes and pagan gods, the writers even going so far as to borrow gods, such as Thor and Loki. Comic book heroes are inhumanly powerful, but with human flaws, making them both relatable and god-like. And, like pagan gods, they can be intimate with humans (Wolverine, The Wolverine), they can hate humans (Magneto), and they can have compassion on humanity (Professor X). Comic book movies appeal to a mass audience because they touch on timeless elements, including, but not limited to its visual appeal. It’s the old story retold in modern trappings.

Are We Bored Yet? The Apple Watch and New Technologies

One of the plights of modernity and postmodernity is hyperboredom. louboutin chaussure Maglia James Harden This is not the kind of boredom that comes out of having nothing to do, but the kind of boredom that comes out of having too many options and no way to distinguish which one is better than the other. We are jolted out of this boredom when we encounter disruptive technologies. These are technologies that fundamentally change a particular market and have an impact on our culture. Kelvin Benjamin Panthers Jersey According to Ian Bogost, Apple is a company that is as much in the business of shaking us out of our routine with disruptive technologies as it is in the business of manufacturing them. Adidas Zx Flux Femme Blanche This may explain why people flock to Apple’s announcements (either virtually, or in person) with a big-tent revival fervor in hopes of seeing what groundbreaking new technology Apple has in store for us. Kanken No.2 For a brief moment, the hyperbordom is replaced with anticipation and excitement over the possibility that the multitude of options will become passé to be replaced by that one technology that supersedes all of them. Take, for example, Steve Jobs’ announcement in January, 2007 of this little gadget called the iPhone. He knew the implications of this device and where it stood in the grand scheme of things: (Quoted from “How Apple Introduced the iPhone” in The Atlantic):

This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years. Victor Cruz Jersey Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes around that changes everything and Apple has been—well, first of all, one is very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career—Apple has been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world. Maglie Chicago Bulls In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. Goedkoop Nike Air Max 2016 It didn’t just change Apple. It changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod. It didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry. Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. Asics Gel Kayano Evo Homme The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. New Balance 997 damskie And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. Nike Lebron An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. Nike Air Max 2016 Heren grijs These are not three separate devices. New Balance 446 femme This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. adidas yeezy boost 350 v2 damskie Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.(emphasis added)

Since then, every time Apple unveils a new iPhone, people flock to stores in anxious anticipation, some of them going so far as to sleep outside the Apple store’s doors in hopes of being the first to get the latest and best that Apple has to offer. Air Jordan 3 Donna And, it does not seem to be slowing down. Nike Air Max 2017 Dames wit

Sales for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus broke last year’s record, selling ten million phones last weekend, an opening weekend that was strategically timed to ensure that there will be visions of iPhones dancing in everyone’s head by December. So with such excitement and Apple’s track record of disruptive technology, what happened with the Apple Watch?* Apple had not released a new device in four years. This was to be the next device after the death of Steve Jobs that shows Apple is still changing markets. However, rather than the fanfare of groundbreaking technology, the Apple Watch was met with mixed reactions.. NIKE ZOOM ALL OUT Los Angeles Clippers In his article “Future Ennui” Ian Bogost says that the problem is not the technology itself, but the burden that comes with it.

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    Unlike its competitor Google, with its eyeglass wearables and delivery drones and autonomous cars, Apple’s products are reasonable and expected—prosaic even, despite their refined design. AIR ZOOM STRUCTURE 20

    Google’s future is truly science fictional, whereas Apple’s is mostly foreseeable. You can imagine wearing Apple Watch, in no small part because you remember thinking that you could imagine carrying Apple’s iPhone—and then you did, and now you always do.

    Bogost may be giving Google too much of a pass, though. The Google Glass has sparked some controversy among those paranoid of being filmed by its wearers.

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  • Perhaps the difference between Google’s innovations and Apple’s innovations can be compared to the difference between reading Isaac Asimov and Margaret Atwood. Asimov writes about robots and artificial intelligence, and even explores some of the ways that this technology can go awry, but Asimov’s stories do not come with a sense of prophetic inevitability that Atwood’s do. Atwood writes speculative fiction, not science fiction (See Atwood’s book In Other Worlds). Atwood’s stories, like her recent Madd Adam trilogy, are disconcerting because they are a little too plausible. Air Jordan 11 Donna

    Maglia Scottie Pippen Rather than something that may be fifty years from now, her books describe a near-future in which technologies that are already in place are ratcheted up. Similarly, while people will likely not drive automatic cars in the next ten years, it is much more likely that they will be wearing technology that is collecting data on all of their bodily process, purchases, and locations in the next two years. While the fervor over the iPhone 6 hit record levels, perhaps the mixed response to the Apple Watch signifies that we are tempering our enthusiasm over internet-in-our-pocket technologies. Madison Bumgarner Authentic Jersey Clive Thompson, quoted in an in an opinion piece in the New York Times, says that our attitudes toward technology follows a predictable pattern, “We are so intoxicated by it, and then there’s a fairly predictable curve of us recognizing as a society that this is untenable, and we’re acting like freaks.” Thompson is an optimistic writer on technology who believes that there are many benefits to the kind of community interactions that are possible with the internet. Rather than focusing on the doom-and-gloom of the here-and-now, Thompson takes a broader, historical perspective, reminding us, in an interview with The New Yorker that we have been through this before,

    We have a long track record of adapting to the challenges of new technologies and new media, and of figuring out self-control…More recently, we tamed our addition [sic] to talking incessantly on mobile phones. People forget this, but when mobile phones came along, in the nineties, people were so captivated by the idea that you could talk to someone else—anywhere—on the sidewalk, on a mountaintop—that they answered them every single time they rang. It took ten years, and a ton of quite useful scrutiny—and mockery of our own poor behavior—to pull back.

    Indeed, studies on cell phone addiction and parents neglecting their children and state laws addressing car accident deaths because people cannot pull away from their cell phones are all indications that we are becoming keenly aware that we might be acting like “freaks.” While disruptive technologies may also disrupt our postmodern malaise, there does come a point when we become weary of the constant announcements of the next-big-tech. nike air max 1 essential uomo Bogost’s article is compelling because he touches on this very notion. nike bianche alte zalando Once there are too many next-big-tech options available, the hyperboredom of modernity and postmodernity sets in.

    What Does Death Have to Do with Having a Happy Holidays?

    Two Christmas stories that have stood the test of time are Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Nick Chubb UGA Jersey Both stories invite the main character to suppose he were dead. In A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Christmas future asks Scrooge to look at how people will talk about him once he has died. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is taken to an alternative world in which he sees how things in his town would be different had he never lived. nike free run swarovski Additionally, both main characters must look into the face of death, confronting their own mortality, before they are ready to see that their problems originate in their own hearts. New Balance 996 femme In A Christmas Carol, before Scrooge faces his own death, he encounters Marley’s ghost who warns Scrooge that if he continues in this path, he will end up like Marley, chained to his idol. adidas schoenen In It’s a Wonderful Life, George sinks into such deep despair that he ends up standing on the edge of the bridge considering suicide, but instead rescues another jumper from the bridge. Incidentally, the other jumper was Clarence who, similar to Marley, was once alive but now is dead, and whose mission is to help George live a better life. Nike Air Max 95 Homme Florida Gulf Coast Eagles Scrooge and George Bailey are vastly different characters, yet both are miserable because of the same seed of discontent growing within them, and both are cured through similar means. Interestingly, what is different about George Bailey and Ebenezer Scrooge is telling. nike free run 3.0 homme Scrooge is the lonely wealthy man who seeks to rob others of joy because he cannot feel it himself. George is the sympathetic family man who begrudges his tender-heartedness because it has left him poor and stagnant.

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  • Both the rich man and the poor man struggle with discontent, and both the rich man and the poor man believe that money is the key to their happiness. kobe 9 cheap Fjallraven Kanken Classic Both men are plagued by the same disease, discontent. chaussure homme louboutin Canotte NBA a Poco Prezzo When a person is discontent in poverty, he does not see the mercies and blessings he has been given, but only his lack. Nike Air Max 95 Puritan writer, Thomas Watson, points out that a man who is discontent in this estate will think even bitter things taste sweet. We see this when George Bailey considers compromising his standards and partnering with Mr. Canotte Memphis Grizzlies Potter, the town tyrant. Air Max 1 Pas Cher

    Jordan 12 Sale When a person is discontent in wealth, he can never accumulate enough to satisfy his true needs. adidas gazelle homme grise Nike Free Run +3 Scrooge hoarded his wealth as a kind of security. Canotte Sacramento Kings

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    Canotte Chicago Bulls Yes, George got the lost money back, but his town didn’t change, his house still had the broken bannister, and he still had four children to feed. Air Jordan 12 Homme New Balance 009 mujer Scrooge still lived in the same dark house and Bob Cratchit was still his employee. new balance 530 femme What changed was their state of mind. And that is the lesson. New Balance France Contentment is a state of mind, not some perfect combination of annual income, a home’s square footage, stock investments, luxury car, or vacation experiences. Nike Roshe Run Femme Porté Andrew Luck – Stanford Cardinal George Bailey and Ebenezer Scrooge may not be characters in our time and place, but their lesson applies now as it did then. louboutin pas cher Ours is a culture that thrives on us never having enough. There are noble things that we should not be content to endure, like children dying from leukemia, or grandparents whose mind has been ravaged by Alzheimer’s, or diseases that destroy the body and injuries that result in loss of function. 2015 new balance 530 However, wanting to rid the world of innocent suffering is not the kind of discontent that haunted George Bailey or Ebenezer Scrooge and it is not the kind of discontent that is endemic in our own time. Nike Air Max 2017 Heren Ours is a discontent that says “You deserve the best.” It is a discontent that comes from a sense of entitlement and a lack of thankfulness. Adidas Superstar Homme AIR ZOOM STRUCTURE 20 Many people blame our cultural sense of discontent on commercials that tell us that you will be happier driving a particular car or technology industries selling newer and better products before the warranty is out on your old one or magazines with air-brushed models sporting impossibly perfect bodies. Adidas Shop van Nederland

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    Cell Phone Addiction, Texting Anxiety, and Email Bankruptcy

    A new study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions by Roberts, et al looks at the incidence of cell phone addiction among college-age males and females. Nike Air Max 2017 damskie The study also looked at what types of programs or behaviors had a positive correlation to addiction. As it turns out, some people do seem to be addicted to their cell phone, but perhaps the more accurate statement is that people are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Incidentally, I am writing this as I am sitting at a Starbucks, the enabler, par excellence, of socially acceptable addictions. Both men and women are sitting on their cell phones doing something with their thumbs. If any of these people were to leave home without their cell phones, would they suffer from withdrawal? That’s one of several questions from the study. Another is whether you find yourself using your cell phone more and more. Ole Miss Rebels Withdrawal is one of several indicators of addiction. Canada Goose Constable Parka Roberts, et al use the standard definition of addiction to identify whether college co-eds are addicts. They look for the presence of salience, euphoria, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse, as well as the incidence of continued use despite negative consequences. They found that many people have a cell phone addiction that is comparable to a behavior addiction, like compulsive shopping or compulsive gambling. (This is different from a substance addiction, which can involve not only neurological changes due to the formation of a habit, but also neurological effects that are a result of how the substance interacts with the body). In an effort to determine how and why a cell phone addiction forms, they focused on identifying the “tipping point” in which the cell phone goes from being a tool that people like to use, to becoming a need.

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  • When exactly this tipping point occurs is difficult to identify. Incidence of phone addiction seems to correlate with the prevalence of Smart Phones, which means the underlying issue is what the phone is being used for. Furthermore, many of the students they surveyed consider their cell phone an integral part of their identity, meaning that the cell phone is viewed as something more than a tool or business or diversion. According to Kent Dunnington in his book Addiction and Virtue in which he looks at addiction from the perspective of Aristotle and Aquinas, addiction has an orienting nature to it that provides a semblance of identity and order (priorities) in a disordered, fragmented world. Asics Gel Lyte 3 Homme As the authors of the study point out, “Cell phones have become inextricably woven into our daily lives – an almost invisible driver of modern life.” The study determined that men and women, who are addicted to their cell phones, use the cell phone slightly differently. Activities that positively correlate to cell phone addiction in men were number of emails sent, reading books, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, number of phone calls, and number of texts. Adidas Zx 700 Femme Blanche nike air max 2017 grijs Activities that positively correlate to cell phone addiction in women were Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, Facebook, number of calls made, and number of texts and emails. Women spent significantly more time on their phones compared to men (10 hours per day versus 8 hours per day), but had the same number of calls, texts, and emails as men. Women spent more time on Facebook, but Facebook was a stronger predictor of addiction in men. The authors contend that the addiction has to do with being socially connected. Gaming, for example, was not strongly correlated with cell phone addiction, while social media was. Furthermore, mental health issues as a result of cell phone use indicate that social connection is much more important to people than entertainment. nike roshe run mesh Consider two issues that have arisen since Smart phones became popular: Text bubble anxiety and email inbox overload. Jordan 1 enfants Ben Crair has a thought-provoking piece in the New Republic on the concept of “text bubble anxiety” or the sense of tension someone has when they know that another person is typing a message but the message has not been sent. The longer someone takes to type, indicated by ellipses on iPhones or “Bob is typing…” in Google Chat, the more anxious the other person becomes because the longer someone types, the more we tend to assume it is something bad. In reality, the other person may have been interrupted by another phone call or had to re-type the message for some other reason. When the person finally does send the text, and it happens to have trivial content, then we tend to be disappointed. This roller coaster ride of assumptions takes an emotional toll. nike air max 1 ultra moire uomo Jessica Bennett, in an op-ed in the New York Times, confesses that her therapist recommended turning off the typing awareness indicator because it was causing her mental distress. Adidas NMD Homme Maglie Orlando Magic Another mental health issue is due to an overwhelming email inbox. Some people become so burdened by a burgeoning inbox that they must declare what Sherry Turkel, sociologist at MIT, calls “email bankruptcy.” Similar to financial bankruptcy, email bankruptcy is when your inbox becomes so full of unread or unaddressed emails, that it has become too unwieldy. This can cause some people additional stress and anxiety. One solution is to archive all emails, clear their inbox, and send a message to contacts saying that if they want to continue to do business with you to send a new email. When it comes to addiction, the behavior is really a symptom of a deeper problem. This study indicates that cell phone addiction is really an addiction to mediated socializing. Dunnington says that addictive behavior, which is based on something more than mere sensory pleasure, can tell us what human beings most deeply desire. Nike Free 5.0 Heren While addictions, like addictions to social networking, may begin as diversions to deal with boredom, they morph from diversions to addictions because they provide a sense of purpose or, in this case, a sense of community that is lacking in our modern individualistic culture. Nike Air Max 95 Homme Sherry Turkel says that it is important for people in our culture to demarcate sacred spaces where one will not engage in internet mediated socializing because people need to interact with one another in a more substantive way. asics kayano 21 uomo ASICS PAS CHER FR She also says that people need to learn the practice of privacy and solitude, or put another way, people need to set personal boundaries and to cultivate an ability to be alone without being lonely.

    Creepy Critters in Our Gut

    What is the microbiome? The microbiome is the bacteria that reside within and on our bodies. Often these bacteria do more than just hang out with us. Nike kyrie 2

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    It’s composition is just too dynamic. Asics Mexico m?skie Additionally, the microbiome’s composition (the types of bacteria that make up the biome) are different at different times depending on the individual’s diet and environment.

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  • Scientists also know that the gut biome plays a role in aiding digestion of certain hard-to-digest foods, such as carbohydrates. Furthermore, they have found differences between the gut biomes of obese people and non-obese people and between people with digestive diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. However, whether the different gut biome is the cause or is the result is unclear. Healthy skepticism There are several other correlations between the microbiome and physiological effects.

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  • The difficulty is whether these are merely correlations or causation. William Hanage has an excellent article in Nature, “Microbiology: Microbiome Science Needs a Healthy Dose of Skepticism” in which he discusses five key questions to help discern the truth from the hype:

    1. Can experiments detect differences that matter?
    2. Does the study show causation or just correlation?
    3. What is the mechanism?
    4. How much do experiments really reflect reality?
    5. Could anything else explain the results?

    Many studies show that the gut biome is very responsive to diet and environment, which means the differences we see in people with a certain disease (or condition) may be the gut responding to the disease rather than causing it. Nike Air Max Pas Cher The gut biome is a new area of research that may shed some light on digestive disorders and the effects of antibiotics on the body.

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    Disabilities, Super-Abilities, and “Normal”

    Tim Howard (Wikipedia)

    A recent ABC News report asks whether Tourette’s syndrome can give athletes an advantage. AIR MAX 90 Women
    Two examples given in the report are soccer player, Tim Howard, and swimmer, Anthony Ervin. Goal-keeper, Tim Howard, made history in the recent United States versus Belgium World Cup game in which he blocked a record-breaking sixteen goals. Nike Air Max 95 m?skie This is the latest in several career successes for Howard, who believes his Tourette’s gives him an advantage on the field. Maglia James Harden Olympic gold-medalist, swimmer, Anthony Ervin believes that his tics, caused by Tourette’s syndrome, help him with speed by channeling his nervousness. Studies indicate that athletes with Tourette’s do not have a noticeably faster response time or move faster than athletes without Tourette’s, but there may be other factors that contribute to an advantage on the field, or in the pool. nike air jordan 11 mujer Oregon Ducks It may be that Howard and Ervin’s mental and physical discipline needed to manage their Tourette’s works to their advantage.

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  • Another recent study, reported in Scientific American, looked at how people with dyslexia can identify visual cues better than those without dyslexia. Apparently, people with dyslexia can look at pictures of impossible figures, like the three-dimensional impossible figures in an Escher print, and pick out the problem more quickly than other people. This ability can translate to the real world. nike lebron 13 pas cher Often people with dyslexia can look at room and find what looks out-of-place. adidas nmd m?skie

    Waterfall, 1961 (Wikipedia)

    Scientists are not entirely sure why this happens, but they speculate that it may have to do with the brain changes that occur in people who read a lot versus people who do not read as often or read slowly. Mujer Air Jordan 4 nike tn noir People who read less tend to have a more holistic perspective of a particular setting rather than focusing on one thing and tuning out the rest of their surroundings. This coincides with studies on entrepreneurs with dyslexia. Nike KD Trey 5 III Air Jordan 7 In the United States, about 35% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia. Many of these entrepreneurs say that dealing with their dyslexia has helped them to become very good at sifting information and grasping the “big picture” better than other people. Clayton Kershaw Authentic Jersey Both of these studies demonstrate perceived advantages from something that is labeled as a disability or abnormality. Buty Adidas Damskie adidas italia It may be that while abilities in one area are diminished, abilities in another area are enhanced. Adidas Zx 800 Heren David Epstein in his book, The Sports Gene, says that most of the people we celebrate as great athletes and examples of human achievement, have attributes that fall outside of the norm. One of his many examples is that of elite-level basketball players.

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    Longer arm span is not necessarily considered a disability, although in some cases, it can be and indicator of Marfan syndrome. This is just one of many examples in Epstein’s book where an “abnormality” leads to an athletic advantage. One article on the OCD Foundation’s website on Tourette’s syndrome points out that metaphors are everything, and a child who is told his Tourette’s is like driving a Ferrari while everyone else is driving a Toyota will grow up thinking quite differently about himself and his abilities than a child who believes he is limited due to a disability. asics gel lyte 3 mujer azules Additionally, several of the entrepreneurs with dyslexia said that they had supportive parents and mentors who helped them see their abilities rather than their disabilities.