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Another possible explanation for the BP oil spill

something stirring in the Earth’s crust…

In 2015, the most ambitious drilling project in history is under way. Dr Nasreen Chaudry and her team have reached 21 kilometers into the Earth’s crust – but something is stirring far below. Amy Pond discovers there’s nowhere to run when you can’t even trust the ground at your feet. (via ONEDDL.)

Have “ambitious drilling projects” ever not led to disastrous consequences?

Of course, if the Doctor were here, we wouldn’t still be waiting for the oil spill to be stopped. After a lot of running around and shouting – which, frankly, we could do with a bit more of from BP, who have seemed remarkably torpid in their response – the whole thing would be sorted in an hour. Where’s the Doctor when you need him? Let’s have more of that British export and a bit less of BP, thank you very much.

BBC – BBC One Programmes – Doctor Who: Series 5.

Filed under: Pop Culture, ,

Song of the Day: “Heart Like a Wheel”

Like Doctor Who on a bicycle….

That’s a fairly lame attempt at a riddle on the name of today’s Song of the Day, or rather pair of songs – two versions of “Heart Like a Wheel.” Two of them, so two hearts and two wheels. Time Lords, like Doctor Who, have two hearts, and bicycles… Get it? Okay, sorry, sorry. Let’s just get on with it…

The song “Heart Like a Wheel” was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Anna McGarrigle, who performed and recorded with her sister Kate McGarrigle from 1975 until Kate’s death in 2010. Their most productive period and time of greatest popularity was in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their work isn’t as widely known as it should be – they are quite wonderful.

“Heart Like a Wheel” was the title of Linda Rondstadt’s fifth solo album (1974), a commercial breakthrough for her and perhaps her best album, which featured the first recording of the eponymous McGarrigle song, as well as “You’re No Good,” one of Rondstadt’s biggest hits. “Heart Like a Wheel” was also the title of a 1983 film about Shirley Muldowney, “the First Lady of Drag Racing,” starring Bonnie Bedelia in the title role.

Here are two recordings of “Heart Like a Wheel” – the first by Kate & Anna McGarrigle from their self-titled debut album, and the second by Billy Bragg:

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, “Heart Like a Wheel” – from the album Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1975)

Billy Bragg, “Heart Like a Wheel” – from the album Reaching to the Converted

Okay, they wrote it and it’s a great song, but to me the McGarrigles’ version seems a bit pale and bloodless next to Billy Bragg’s performance. They sound sad, but… disengaged; it’s a bit precious. Billy sounds introspective, looking back on a lost love, and at moments, which is appropriate, truly heart-broken.

Billy Bragg is of course best known for his political songs – and justly so. “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward,” “Between the Wars,” “NPWA,” “It Says Here,” and his reworking of “The Internationale” are all terrific. I’ve been a huge fan of his since first hearing “Between the Wars” on the radio in 1985 – I was blown away at the time, and still am.

But over the years, I’ve come to love him as much for his quieter troubadour side as for his socialist songster moments, and that quieter side is in good form on “Heart Like a Wheel.” Of course, sometimes the two sides come together and produce some of Billy’s best work – at least for me – which is why William Bloke (1996) is possibly my favorite of his albums. Because of songs like this:

Billy Bragg, “From Red to Blue” – from William Bloke (1996)

Be sure to check out Billy Bragg’s official website – you can download songs for free, find out about concert tours, read about Billy Bragg’s activism and activities, and pick up some choice swag:

The internet offers huge potential for artists who want to make music on their own terms. As the old business model crumbles to dust, artists have much to gain from entering into dialogue with their fans, not least from encouraging them to buy their music directly from the farm gate, secure in the knowledge that the money they spend will support the artist in their work.

I want this website to be my main source of communication with the world: songs I record, articles that I write, clips I film on my phone, merchandising I produce, blogs, comments, posts, all will be available here.

It’s time to start our own revolution and cut out the middleman….

(via Billy Bragg.)

Filed under: Song of the Day, , ,

The Asynchronous Life

I am still stuck here in the Antipodes, and Autumn is a-comin’ in – crisp nights with stars like diamonds, and frost beginning to outline the leaves in morning.

Meanwhile, my friends in the Northern Hemisphere write rapturously of Spring, and even Summer-like days of warmth and sun in Prospect Park (potato salad)…

Another asynchrony is forcing itself on me these days, and appropriately enough it involves a time traveler: the delay around new episodes of Doctor Who. In the United States, on BBC America new episodes are broadcast on Saturdays at 9pm. This Saturday, 8 May, they will be showing “The Time of Angels,” part 1 of a 2-parter featuring the return of one of the scarier monsters from one of the best episodes during the run of David Tennant’s Doctor, the Weeping Angels.

Meanwhile, over on the real BBC, home of Doctor Who, they have already shown the second part, “Flesh and Stone,” and Saturday will see a new episode, “Vampires of Venice.” BBC America is thus two episodes behind. Here in Australia, where for my sins I am currently staying, Doctor Who is broadcast by the ABC on Sundays at 7.30pm. This Sunday, 9 May, they will be broadcasting “The Time of Angels.” Thus, even though Australia comes first in the march of Helios across the heavens, it is the last to be visited by the last of the Time Lords. This is, bluntly, unacceptable.

Fortunately, on the internet, all things are manifest. The most recent episode can be found under a variety of awnings in the vasty digital souk, such as ONEDDL – One Stop Rapidshare Links | Doctor Who and DW – Doctor Who (a personal blog with streaming video, chat, and info).

Filed under: Interweb, TV, , , , ,

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

You watched the TV show, had the daydream/erotic fantasy, now play the game:

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space – The Roleplaying Game

“AISAT is basically the roleplaying game of The David Tennant Years (although we don’t forget Christopher Eccleston or his predecessors, even if the artwork does). This is a game with the lush high quality production that one might expect from an officially BBC licenced Doctor Who product, but how does it stand up?

Pretty well, if all things are considered.

This product aims itself squarely at fans of Doctor Who and relies on the idea that existing RPG aficionados will be intrigued enough to pick it up. For those experienced gamers I’ll lay it on the line that this is a great little system (if phenomenally basic) that makes a Time-Lord-Saving-The-Universe-Pseudo-Science out of hand-waving the rules, but does so in a nice way that encourages the games master and the players to work co-operatively to tell a great story. The primary balancing point in the rules comes down to Story Points- want to play a Time Lord, powerful alien, or immortal like Jack Harkness you will have less of these and they allow you to influence everything from roll results to those big dramatic moments when the Doctor returns to his youthful appearance and shows the Master who’s boss….”

I am outraged, simply outraged, to find that there is a pirated copy of  Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space available for download…

Filed under: TV, , , ,

More on the new Doctor Who

Over on io9, they discuss some of the failings of the current season of Doctor Who compared with the recent glory of the series with Russell T. Davies at the helm and David Tennant portraying the doctor:

The new season of Doctor Who sports new stars, a revamped time machine, and a whole new writing staff. But based on the first batch of episodes, it’s still trying too hard to give us what we’ve come to expect.

(via Doctor Who’s New Era Isn’t Quite New Enough – io9.)

And the io9 article also points us to a review of the first episode of the new series over at The Chicago Tribune‘s TV blog, The Watcher, which is worth a read:

The episode of “Doctor Who” (8 p.m. Central Saturday, BBC America; three stars) that kicks off a new season of the show has to do three things: Establish Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the legendary sci-fi character, introduce his new sidekick and supply a villain that will keep the story moving along.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

(via A burning nerd question: Is the new season of ‘Doctor Who’ any good? – The Watcher.)

The Watcher is certainly correct about the new sidekick. I know Rose has a huge following, but already Amy Pond is shaping up as a great companion. We’ll see if the way they develop her character, and her interaction with the Doctor, lives up to the promise shown by the actress, Karen Gillan, and her character as laid out in the first episode (spunky, smart, independent, part-time sexygram but girl next door, Scottish, etc.). After the second and third episodes, the jury is still out, at least for me – I didn’t think that Amy Pond in these episodes quite lived up to that initial promise, but it wasn’t a big let down either.

Finally, The Guardian discusses the return of the scariest creature from the revived Doctor Who – the Weeping Angels – and does face off between various monsters from the Doctor’s past.

Would the Weeping Angels beat the Daleks in a fight? Is there still a soft spot behind your sofa for the Silurians? It’s time to tot up the baddies’ scores

In tomorrow evening’s episode [in the UK], Doctor Who does what it has never yet managed since the revival – brings back an already classic monster from the new era (the Slitheen didn’t really cut it). “The Time Of Angels” sees the return of the Weeping Angels– ‘quantum-locked’ statues that come alive when no one can see them – which were last seen in Blink. A generation of kids will soon be scared to shut their eyes, and it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that this time they’re even worse.

To celebrate this new slew of nightmares, we thought we’d face off some of the deadliest creatures from old and new Who. So which of the baddies would win in a fight?”

(via Doctor Who: the monster-off –

Filed under: TV, , ,

Everything You Need To Know About Doctor Who 

I’m still in mourning over the death/regeneration/passing of David Tennant’s Doctor Who, but I am warming to the new Doctor more quickly than I thought I would. He actually reminds me of Tom Baker’s Doctor, who for many people is the great Doctor, or perhaps the other great Doctor, alongside Tennant’s portrayal. There is something about Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor that recalls Baker’s fourth, beyond a certain sartorial similarity. (Wouldn’t it be great to see the scarf come back?) I think it is a sort of befuddled wonder, with the occasional glimpse of steel beneath…

(It’s interesting looking back on Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor: I loved him at the time, and still like him, but thinking of him within the chain of Doctors now he seems a bit like the odd man out. Does his Doctor resemble/connect with any of the previous ones the way that one can relate Matt Smith’s to Tom Baker’s portrayal?)

For those among you for whom none of this makes any sense, the fine filk at io9 have a couple of handy guides to the world of Doctor Who:

Doctor Who‘s the highest rated show in BBC America’s history, and the time-traveling alien is such an icon, people are calling for him to be Britain’s new patron saint. But what’s Doctor Who really about? How can you appreciate it?

via Everything You Need To Know About Doctor Who – doctor who – io9.

Here’s our complete handy guide to old-school Doctor Who for new-Who fans. With some spoilers.

via How To Discover Classic Doctor Who In 3 Easy Steps – ace – io9.

And if you want to know still more, be sure to visit Doctor Who Wiki.

Filed under: TV, , ,



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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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