After being absent from the calendar last season, the German Grand Prix returned with relatively low-key practice and qualifying, and a race that was pretty entertaining – though not if you’re Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg was quickest in the practice sessions and snatched pole with a blistering lap, something he needed to do in order to lay down a marker, having lost the championship lead to Lewis Hamilton last time out in Hungary. It’s am overused word, but momentum is everything in F1 and with three consecutive wins for Hamilton going into the race (Austria, Britain and Hungary) it was vital for Rosberg to regain the initiative. Pole secured, eyes turned to the race itself, and for Rosberg, this is where it went horribly wrong.

A poor getaway meant that he lost the lead into the first corner for the second consecutive race to Hamilton, and this time also slipped behind the two Red Bulls (Verstappen leapfrogging Ricciardo to become the leading Bull). Ricciardo was able to keep ahead of Rosberg reasonably well, whilst Hamilton began to etch out a gap to Verstappen.

Strategy would prove crucial, with Mercedes pitting Rosberg first (an unusual move, since normally their lead car would dictate the stop, though with Hamilton under no immediate threat from Rosberg, it was probably a case of Mercedes trying to maximise their team points). As they did so, Red Bull pitted Verstappen (in a bid to cover Rosberg). Rosberg’s stop was sloppy by the standards set in F1 and he would continue to trail Verstappen until the next stops.

Up front, it looked like Hamilton and Ricciardo would try to go for a two-stop strategy, but this was soon abandoned as the pair came in a few laps later. Further back, the Ferraris languished in obscurity for the most part – they would end up fifth and sixth, largely on their own.

Williams’ Felipe Massa had a torrid race, involved in what appeared to be a minor first lap bump with a Renault, that inexplicably led to him lapping much slower than teammate Bottas, to the extent that Toro Rossos and Renaults were easing by him (Magnussen’s opportunistic dart after Sainz had already gone through was a masterful effort). Williams had a terrible race, with Massa eventually retiring and Bottas slipping well down the field, as a result of a failed attempt to make a two-stop race work.

Back near the front, Rosberg’s day would get worse. As the second round of stops took place, he found himself right on the tail of Verstappen and tried to lunge by at the main hairpin. Initially he succeeded, but he appeared to turn very late, leaving Verstappen nowhere to go but offroad. At the time the move looked hard but fair; on reflection, given the view from the cockpit, it may have been a mistake from Rosberg.

A 5-second time penalty (to be taken at the final stops) became an eight second penalty due to a mistake with a stop watch, just to compound Rosberg’s misery.

Hamilton meanwhile, cruised to his sixth win of the year. Ricciardo looked quicker at times, but Hamilton would then reopen the gap, which hovered around six seconds. His win puts him 19 points clear of Rosberg, could would finish fourth. With Hamilton due to take a grid penalty for an unauthorised engine change, having a buffer may well prove crucial. It also allows Hamilton to reflect upon a successful second quarter of the season as the summer break starts. Rosberg will be wondering how a 43-point advantage has turned into a 19-point deficit.

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So we’ve arrived at the finale! It is fitting then, that the final challenge is favourite season finale!

The very final episode of Deep Space Nine was and is a moment for me that felt pretty powerful. DS9 was the most thought-provoking of all the Treks, and the final episode brought us the conclusion to the Dominon War, as well as the final showdown between Sisko and Dukat. It also wrapped up a number of other character arcs, and felt like a definite ending (unlike TNG, as it was well known films about that crew were on their way).

Quantum Leap managed to give us a powerful ending too. Al was finally reunited with the woman he loved, but shockingly, we learned Sam never made it home. That was a real gut punch.

The Shield ended on a note both satisfying and disappointing. Vic Mackey was forced behind a desk, something he found demeaning, but he escaped the harsher fates that befell his colleagues, and so in many ways, got off lightly.

Spartacus pulled no punches with a finale that was true to history. It was a sad, bleak ending, but it was honest.

I suppose if I must make a choice, then due to nostalgia, I choose Deep Space Nine.

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Saddest character death.

I’m going to spring a surprise or two with this one. First up is the young king everyone loves to hate, Joffrey from Game of Thrones.

His death isn’t sad because you mourn the passing of the character. It’s sad because as he passes away, you are reminded that for all her faults, his mother Cersi is losing a child, which is the worst, most unimaginably painful experience anyone can face.

This brings me to the saddest character death I can think of, one that still feels like a punch to the gut whenever I think of it. The end of season 2 of Spartacus features Lucretia forcibly takes Ilithyia’s baby, and then ‘joins’ her dead husband, by stepping back off a sheer drop, with the baby still in her arms.

If I said that scene brought tears to my arms, it would be an understatement.

Twitter is not distinguishing itself of late. Declare yourself a supporter of something and be prepared to reap a truck-load of abuse – some subtle, some not so much. My previous post detailed the sort of post that can arise for daring to say you support feminism (or that you consider yourself to be a feminist). The author of that tweet (and others like him) chooses to lash out with anger. He chooses to be as misogynistic as possible (after all, he needs to put those pesky women back in their place!).

This kind of Twitter troll is sadly all-too common. They are anonymous (naturally), and frankly, they are cowards. They are not the only Twitter trolls though, some are subtle.

Take for example the argument that boys are falling further behind academically because ‘feminism’. Take the idea that there’s a ‘war on masculinity’. These are trumped up scare tactics.

But don’t take my word for it. This interesting article from CBS features an attempt to blame feminism but also features the pointed rebuttal that feminists do not actively seek to push boys down in order to elevate girls. Indeed, where is the effort among men to help boys succeed at school? The Economist also has an article about this.

The salient point to be had is that blaming feminism (read, a drive toward equal opportunity) is a very simplistic, inaccurate approach. What MRAs don’t want to remotely consider is that on a level playing field, women might actually be more academically inclined than we are. Not unsurprisingly, the sort of SJW that argues feminism hurts boys and men because that fits his narrative – a detailed look at the issue reveals that in some countries girls lag behind boys, and who lags behind who also depends on the subject. But don’t present this to the SJW – it doesn’t fit the narrative!

Another disingenuous tactic is to focus on the minute details. In their haste to complain that rape is defined as a penetrative act that women cannot perform on men here in the UK, the SJW conveniently ‘forgets’ that women are statistically more likely to be the victim of sexual crime. The SJW also makes this point about India – and again, conveniently forgets which gender faces the majority of sex offences.

You might also want to look here for more details on the rape crisis in India. It is harrowing stuff.

In a bid to cloud the issue and somehow make it seem that men are at a disadvantage, the SJW throws out all the evidence that shows women are – and continue to be – the primary victims of sexual crime – a classic misogynistic approach.

There is yet more more! In an attempt to argue that rates of domestic abuse are more or less the same, the SJW ignores government statistics (you’ll need a PDF viewer to open the link).

Women are more likely to be the victims of spousal abuse and partner abuse in the USA too. But apparently it’s men who are in more desperate need because ‘raaawr, feminazis!’

I could go on, and might well do so, but not right now. I have more important things to do than indulging anonymous, cowardly Twitter trolls.

Let’s chew on the below screenshot of a particularly ‘interesting’ Twitter conversation:

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Ok, let me see if I’ve got this right – I am a ‘fag’ (a homophopic term for a homosexual), who ‘hates men’.

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(the stupid, it hurts!)

There’s quite a bit more to this story, but isn’t not really mine to tell. Stay tuned for more!

So I’m at work, and a guy walks past, shouting at… well, I’m not actually too sure who or what he was shouting at. I think nothing of it. Until I’m walking home and see another guy, who is so drunk he appears to be shouting at his own reflection in the shop windows.

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Let’s go to our happy places people!

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After yesterday’s best cliffhanger, comes worst cliffhanger.

This is much more difficult. I suppose ‘worst’ might be when the outcome is pretty obvious as to what comes next. VOY’s season 5 finale Equinox featured an apparent moment of peril for Captain Janeway, but she was never likely to die. The destruction of a ship in SG1’s season 9 finale never actually set up the possibility of main characters dying.

I think the worst cliffhanger I can think of recently would be any one of a number from Supernatural. They strike me as being pretty contrived a lot of the time, especially when you know nothing will permanently happen to the main cast.

So having questioned TA on his stance RE logical rebuttals, and having once again mentioned his deliberate removal of a fact-based rebuttal to his claim that businesses can simply hang up a sign and refuse to serve anyone they like, I find myself looking at this:

We have rejected a couple of Darthtimon’s posts because he feels that local and state laws trump constitutional rights and that the only person’s constitutional rights that matter are those that allow for the sexually alternative practicing people to do as they please regardless of how others feel.

People like darthtimon feel that the standards of right and wrong, good and evil and morality and immorality are wrong and that they must change to include sin, evil, perversion and so on. We must ask why have any standard at all if people who do not want to follow the rules do not like them?

Let’s just have anarchy instead and let everyone do as they please. Of course this would mean that rapists, murders and other criminals would be free to do as they please. The sexually alternative practicing individual are very short-sighted and think that they are the only perverted and sinful practices that needs to be moved to the normal side of life.

They have yet to show any real cause why they should be exempt from the wrong side of those standards. Their selfishness alone dictates that thy are not qualified to change sides and their discrimination towards other alternatives adds more reasons for their disqualification

We will post his comments but only if they meet certain criteria and so far he is lucky to be posted at all.

This was in direct response to displaying how his position was factually wrong. Not only did he once again not allow through a comment that demonstrated this, but he proceeded to post this lovely little Strawman.

A place of business has made a commitment to public law. They have zero constitutional rights to refuse service to anyone on the grounds of gender, race, orientation and so on. This is the legal position undertaken in most parts of the world. This is also a good standard of approach. The alternative is to allow anyone and everyone to use their personal beliefs to justify whatever they want – because to use only one belief system to make policy (such as Christianity) would obviously be unfair to anyone who does not follow that belief system. Far from proposing anarchy, a system where no one’s religious beliefs trump anyone’s rights to shop or do business is in fact a strong measure of control against anarchy. What TA would push for is a system where anyone can arbitrarily refute service for any reason they choose, which really would be chaos.

The main issue though, is the standard by which TA judges evidence and behaviour. He is very fond of suggesting I support ‘sin’ and ‘evil’, yet balks at the suggestion that he should permit evidence that disproves a notion of his through, and calls this behaviour unreasonable.

 

Zootropolis

Zootropolis (Zootopia in the US, and I have no idea why the film was renamed for the UK) is possibly Disney’s most observational film yet, and also its most subtle.

It manages to wrap up our world and place it into the hands of bunnies, foxes, tigers and sheep, and present a film full of colour and wonder that also manages to highlight real-world problems. It’s complexity makes it a film that not only young children will enjoy, but one that will make older children and even adults stop to think about how we view people, and how we assume things about people based on appearance.

A terrific case in point is Judy Hopps’ default assumption about Nick Wilde – Hopps is a rabbit, Wilde is a fox, and Hopps is therefore suspicious of Wilde the very first time she sees him. Her suspicions are superficially validated, but she soon comes to realise that there is more to Wilde – and by extension, more to foxes – than she first thinks.

The film is about overcoming prejudices – whilst Judy is busy overcoming her reservations about Nick, she also breaks downs barriers put there because of her own species – no one – not even other bunnies – thinks she can make it as a cop. She is marginalised by her colleagues and shunted to parking duty.

A wider narrative is that of the relationship between predators and prey. In the city of Zootopia, these two groups have both moved on from the ‘Stone Age’ (as one character puts it) to live in harmony, yet lurking just below the surface is a fear of predators that one character exploits to further her own agenda. It highlights how fragile society can be, and how easy it is to spread division through fear and manipulation. It also serves to show how quickly peple can be stereotyped.

These messages are likely to go right over the heads of small children, but there is enough going on to keep them firmly amused. As mentioned before, the film is bright and colourful, with Disney bringing their A game – the film is beautifully constructed and has plenty of jokes and set pieces to keep all age groups entertained. Older viewers might appreciate the sneaky reference to bunnies multiplying, and the presence of sloths working for the DMV.

It’s not therefore hard to argue that Zootropolis is one off Disney’s cleverist, most thoughtful and also entertaining films to date. It has a good message, delivered in a fun way. 9/10