SciFi.StackExchange in Practical Use – In what order should the Star Wars movies be watched?

This question was posted on Feb 1st, 2011 inquiring about what the is the best order to watch all six of the the [tag]Star-Wars[/tag] saga movies.

After receiving my own copy of the newly released Blu-ray version of the epic tale, I brought it upon myself to actually do what the most popular, and accepted answer to this question was as a test to see if the answer to the question has merit, or just looked good on paper.

The sugested reading order given by user Mike Scott with graphic by neilfein

56 of the users of SciFi.SE voted the answer “Watch the movie in this order: Episode IV -> Episode V -> Episode I -> Episode II -> Episode III -> and finally Episode VI.” I even upvoted this question. But alas, I haven’t actually watched this series in order (any relative order, in fact) ever. The last time I watched a Star Wars movie was when Episode III came to theatres in 2005. And before that I watched Episode II and I. I never actually watched all 3 of the original trilogy in order either. I only ever watched it when it was on the TV in passing. I did see the re-release in theatres in 1997 but before that, I don’t think I ever actually saw the whole trilogy.

I always considered myself a fan of the series, but when I look back on what I have actually exposed myself to, my main viewing of Star Wars has been mostly the New Trilogy.

This got me thinking about more than just how I voted on that one question, but how I vote on a lot of questions. I fully support ever answer I upvote, but in all honesty, most of the answers that I have given the “big up arrow” to were ones I just believed were right.

But I wanted to change that. I wanted to actually use the information given to me on this wonderful site and put it to practical use.

So, lets get started…

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Contagion – ‘Jaws’ for the Flu


Comparison of physical copy vs a digital copy

Back in 1975 a movie came out that terrified people to not want to ever go into the ocean again. That movie was Jaws.

Similarly, there have been other movies that tried to be the “Jaws of [insert mundane activity here]” to no avail. But Contagion, at least for me, was quite successful in making me paranoid of every day life.

Contagion, written by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh, follows a young woman returning from Hong Kong to a very serious flu/disease. The beginning of the film shows how this disease was contracted by about 5-6 different people. Eventually, the virus starts killing people within days of being contracted.

News breaks out soon that people are dying and the remainder of the film follows a Man and his daughter, the WHO as they follow the contagion, a CDC agent, and a freelance reporter.

The movie does a very good job of showing how easily a virus can become an epidemic and how easily the population can react to it. It even mentions the H1N1 virus and how the CDC didn’t do a very good job of informing the people about its actual dangers (or lack thereof).

There’s also a great deal of information on how the CDC and WHO actually create vaccines and the protocols for containing a virus of that magnitude. I learned a lot about bio-chemistry from this movie without even knowing it (Like what an R-0 of a virus is, or how a virus mutates, or that the average human touches their face 2500 times a day).

A social aspect of the movie that I found quite interesting was how it showed how some people followed rules and suggestions to the T, while others (mostly those who were in charge of said rules) created their own personal protocols for selfish reasons. See how sane people rationalize or go into a mob mentality when the urge to survive kicks in.

Another interesting theme I found was how it explored the idea of using a social network to bend the minds of the masses into either avoiding or taking a specific treatment. That is to say, how the use of Facebook or a blog can actually influence a certain population to do something that may or may not be the right thing to do, and how this control could be coming from a very unlikely place.

After the movie, I was literally scared to touch anything. I was scared to even use the bathroom in the theatre. This movie did exactly what it was intending to do, and that was to make me paranoid. I know this winter season, I’m now going to be carrying extra Purel and probably investing into a medical mask. All-in-all I would highly recommend this movie for those who like thrillers where there is no mystery, only the instinct to survive at the character’s grasp.

Amazon Kindle now servicing over 11,000 public libraries

Have you ever wanted to read a scifi or fantasy novel someone recommended to you, but didn’t want to pay for it? Or you wanted to see if it was good before making the purchase?

You would normally go to a library and see if it was available and then check it out. At least, that’s what we used to do before the internet.

Lately libraries have started to wane with their patron numbers largely due to online stores and ease of access to other, digital, means. Amazon (our favorite online shopping conglomerate), who produces the ever popular Kindle (and all the related mobile/desktop apps) has just agreed to allow wireless transfer of available ebooks from local libraries to patron’s Kindle or mobile device.

The only requirements for this amazing free feature: you need a library card from the participating public library, and an Kindle account (which is free).

The service is quite simple. You get your library card, and go to the library’s online establishment and sign up with the preferred eBook service (my library here in Kansas City uses OverDrive. William Gibson would be so proud!). You then enter your library card number and it will take you to the virtual library. You then find your selection and select “Send to Kindle” which will prompt you to sign into Then you will have the book sent to the device and available to read for however long the standard checkout time is at your library.

Hopefully, through this program, libraries will start to see more and more customers checking out books and enjoying the vast amounts of free information available to them.

To see if your local library is participating, click here and enter your zipcode (if you reside in the USA).

Digital Vs. Physical – How do digital comics stand up to the tried and true?

(This article is based off of reading digital comics on an iPad using the comiXology app available in the iTunes App Store. Also available on the Android Market.)

Comparison of physical copy vs a digital copy

When I was younger, I normally wasn’t able to read comics. My mom thought that they would rot my brain. But every so often, I would be able to sneak a peek at one of my friends’ collection and read an issue or two, or a whole story arc if they had enough issues.

I have to say, there was nothing to compare the experience of having one of those small magazines and opening to an action packed scenario that my favorite superhero team was always managing to get into.

But today, there’s a vastly growing movement from reading these comics in a physical version to reading them on an eReader. Today’s technology has been able to represent these stories in a way that could revolutionize how we experience comics in general.

I got my hands on a copy of [tag]justice-league[/tag] #1 (Sept 2011) and the same copy on my iPad; reading it on the comiXology app available in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. This review will be based on those two facts.

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