Disney’s Very Own Evil Empire

Disney last night announced the $4 billion acquisition of studio giant, LucasFilm – and promptly confirmed their intention to make three new Star Wars movies.

The family film-making titan has in recent years embarked upon a strategy of diversifying their portfolio, gradually absorbing ESPN, Pixar and Marvel into the brand.

Now, with the addition of LucasFilm, Disney have in their hands sci-fi’s most iconic saga.

While the three prequels in the existing cannon fell short of the original trilogy by quite some distance, there is now concern among fans that Disney are set to ruin the franchise with three movies which will follow Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo in the aftermath of “Return Of The Jedi.”

George Lucas has built LucasFilm from the ground up over a period of almost four decades, and, given the price Disney have paid for his studios, he was decidedly less concerned.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition in my lifetime.”

Despite Lucas’ relaxed attitude on the subject, social media sites have been quick to criticise the decision in comical fashion.

One image has been widely circulated with Death Star space stations from the movies being used to recreate Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse logo.

The first of the new trilogy, with the working title “Episode VII” is scheduled for release in 2015.

Secretary General of the UN dances Gangnam Style

Globally renowned for his YouTube viral hit “Gangnam Style,” which is not only a hit single but is paired with a unique horse-trot, the K-pop superstar PSY recently visited the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon… and taught him how to dance. At almost 532 million views on YouTube, Ban admitted that he could no longer hold the title for most famous Korean in the world against PSY.

During their meeting PSY slyly put his arms out in front of himself coaxing Ban to join, soon the two were horse-trotting together in a fit of laughter. Whether Ban will whip out his new dance moves during UN negotiations is doubtful, however it cannot be said that he hasn’t learned from the best.

The full article and clip of the meeting can be seen here.

Europe Wins The Peace Prize, Causing Controversy

It has just been announced that the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 is the European Union. Frankly, I find this ridiculous.

The awarding committee in Norway justified their decision by claiming Europe has brought countries like France & Germany together and has also enforced democracy in southern Europe.
I completely disagree.
The euro was intended to further bond Union members together but in the wake of the current recession has done the complete opposite. In Germany it has caused a public hatred towards Greece, Ireland and Spain as their excellent economy is having to fund other’s debt.
Also, the European Union doesn’t enforce democracy, it does the complete opposite for many countries, including the United Kingdom.
Around 80% of decisions affecting the UK are made by the European Parliament in Brussels, however the UK doesn’t have much say in who forms the parliament. An example of this would be the Common Fisheries Policy where the majority of fish in British water cannot be taken by British fishermen. Instead countries such as Spain and the Netherlands, with very low amounts of fish in their water, can come and fish in British water.
If the UK wanted to leave the CFP, Spain and the Netherlands would have enough power to veto our decision.
Despite all of this, the EU have now won a prize worth $1.2 Million and I can guarantee none of this money will help the UK, Germany or any other large economies in it simply for the free market.

It’s about time we ended this dictatorship before it starts enforcing the phrase ‘peace is war’.

Is human behavior increasingly getting labeled as a mental disorder?

This is my first post and I am quite excited to talk about the book I read this week. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson is a New York Times bestseller that uncovers the hidden world of psychopaths and mental illnesses.

 

Ronson is a Welsh journalist that is most famously known for his investigative works and pieces on conspiracy theories. In The Psychopath Test, Ronson’s random examination of a mystery package opens his eyes to the endless world of psychiatry, psychopaths and infinite mental illnesses. Having always been interest in the human mind, especially the ones that are not “wired properly”, I was delighted to get my hands on this book. The high point of this book is Ronson study of the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist Revised), this is a rating scale that assesses your level of psychopathy. You can actually look up the checklist online and test your “psychopathy level” by clicking here. I scored a 5 which is a safe score, but had I scored 30 or higher it would mean I was most likely a psychopath. I personally find the use of a scale of any sort to identify a mental illness very unscientific. I respect that the various researchers that compiled this list did it with a good intention but while reading The Psychopath Test we see how this list is often misused by not only ordinary people but doctors.

Throughout his book, Ronson uses a variety of examples to illustrate his points including a very interesting one of a man called Tony. Tony scammed his way into a mental hospital while trying to get away from prison. While he was effectively convincing in faking a “mental illness”, he was never able to convince the doctors of his sanity. Which made me think, it is a lot easier to convince someone that you are insane than it is to convince someone that you are sane. How do you even convince someone you are sane? On his quest to find out more about Tony, Ronson learns from the doctors that Tony was actually diagnosed as a psychopath.

What makes this book great and different in my opinion is how Ronson turns a gloomy, disturbing subject into something light and humorous. The fact that he is a British journalist made this novel not only an enjoyable read but also academically relevant because he would make some analysis of the media industry that were very insightful. One of his points that resonated with me was how the media is always seeking madness, but it has got to be the right kind of level of madness. Not enough madness is not interesting, and if there is too much madness then people cannot relate. He interviews a lady that worked in the production of “The Jeremy Kyle Show” and she bluntly tells that the best guest they would have in the show would be the mad ones. They particularly liked the ones on drugs because it made them “mad enough to be enterntaining”. As horrible as it sounds, that is the sad reality. Normalcy does not sell.

Ronson’s conclusion after his journey through madness is that we need to have a balanced approach of mental illness. We cannot go around trying to “spot and diagnose” everyone we see nor classify every single idiocrasy we witness as a mental illness.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is interest in the subject of the human mind and mental illness, like psychopathy. Although, beware that he does not always have positive things to say about psychiatrist but I think his overall tone in the book is relatively balanced.

Aline Siekierski (twitter:@alinesieks)

Haiti’s Problems aren’t over – Online Report

The earthquake was only the beginning of Haiti’s problems. Gary Bruce, a humanitarian worker, discusses the ongoing issue of cholera in the country.

Continue reading

The Anti-Social Non-Smoker

by Morag Robertson.

Smoking kills. Everyone knows it; no one can doubt it. Continue reading

Cultured meat … yum!

by Karen `kelly
In the face of a burgeoning population and millions of people starving each year, scientists are trying hard to create a meat that would mirror all aspects of “normal” meat. But will people accept and eat it?