Avatar and the future of movies

One of the questions that has occurred to me more than once when I've seen things like a short film made for $300 that has better special effects than Independence Day is: where do movies go from here? For the longest time, the difference between movies and television, for anything other than straight real-world drama, has been the quality of the special effects. Either just sets and props, or better lighting or sound, or in the case of science fiction and fantasy, whole characters and worlds. That's why it's been possible to endlessly re-make certain types of movies (like alien invasions), because every time you re-make one the effects have come so far that it's been another quantum leap in visuals. For the last decade or so, the gap has been narrowing. For me it was particularly evident in the Star Wars movies, where episodes 1 through 3 came out in the mid-2000s, and then three years later random fan films came out with effects that, while visibly worse than the real thing, were not a million miles...
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This blog in review, 2009

It's been one of my lightest years for blogging, with an average of around four posts per month. A lot of my short-form output has gone instead to Twitter and my longer-form comments have generally been on Hacker News. However, there were a few things I'd call out as being worth a second glance if you missed them: Web developers don't build websites; they develop the web I asserted that journalism is dead, not just newspapers. I'm not sticking to this 100%: far-away, high-risk, expensive professional journalism still has value, and people will pay for it. However, the vast majority of people who currently call themselves "journalists" are going to find themselves out of work as the cost of the equipment necessary for real-time observation continues to fall. Opinion columnists and critics are out of luck. I explained, in minute detail, why it takes me so long to have a shower. I listed ten things that Twitter is not and said that if anything, it is "what's going on". Five months later Twitter changed their...
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