Monday, May 31, 2021

Musical observances of Memorial Day from the Air Force, Army, Marine, and Navy bands

I wish my readers a somber Memorial Day. As I have the past three years, I'm observing the day with music, either as accompaniment or as the feature.

I begin with a musical tribute accompanying a brief address uploaded by the United States Air Force Band, "Goin' Home" by Antonín Dvorák arr. by Master Sgt. (ret.) Jari Villanueva.

Since its inception, the United States Air Force has championed the value of service before self, charging Airmen to place professional duty above personal desires. While adherence to this call is expected of Airmen every day, on Memorial Day we are given the opportunity to commemorate the loss of those who have embodied this core value by giving their lives for their country.

"Each Memorial Day, we honor the sacrifices, courage, and valor of those service members who have given the last full measure of devotion in service to our great nation. On this most solemn of days, we turn our hearts to our fallen heroes and honor their bravery. As we march onward, with aspirations of greatness, let us never forget on whose shoulders we stand...These fallen patriots who have paid the ultimate sacrifice." - General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

Every day, these men and women, true American patriots, continue to inspire future generations to raise their right hand and serve their country. Today, we honor these fallen warriors with the remembrance anthem, "Goin' Home". To those who have given the last full measure of devotion in service to their country, we thank you.
The U.S. Army Field Band uploaded another address accompanied by music, Memorial Day 2021 | An Address from Major General Omar Jones.

"This Memorial Day and every day-we remember." Major General Omar Jones, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, has a special message for Americans everywhere, honoring those who gave their last full measure of devotion to this great nation.
That was a moving explanation of the duties of Major General Jones's command and especially of the ceremony for those missing in action.

I'll have more from the U.S. Army Field Band over the jump, along with musical tributes to our fallen veterans from the Marine and Navy bands.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

'For entertainment purposes only' — The Archdruid and his readers discuss laws regulating fortune telling

I managed to post the first comment on The Legacy of Luxor at The Archdruid's current blog
"In 1932...Los Angeles passed an ordinance banning the teaching and practice of astrology" — How long did that last? Not past the 1970s, when the Los Angeles newspapers had astrology columns, which they labeled "for entertainment only." I even wrote a parody of one for the November 1980 UCLA Band newsletter in which I jokingly forecast that people born under my sun sign would find romantic companionship, writing "If you're a saxophone or clarinet player, you will find someone to wet your reed. If you're a trombone player, you'll find someone to grease your slide." That night, I went out with a trombonist, a date I did not have before I wrote the parody. Coincidence or wishful thinking come true? It certainly wasn't astrology, as I didn't cast a chart.
My comment started off a discussion about that law in particular and laws regulating divination in general beginning with John Michael Greer's response.
I suspect it was overturned fairly quickly. Astrology and other forms of divination faced quite a bit of this kind of harassment in the early 20th century, but none of it seems to have stuck.
That turned out not to be true, although it may as well have been. Follow over the jump, where the conversation continued between Greer the Archdruid and the rest of his readers about laws governing practices with the disclaimer "for entertainment purposes only," which is why I am posting it as a silly and serious Sunday entertainment feature.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

CNBC and SciShow explain why the world is running out of sand and what can be done about it

I have one more story I tell my students this month, CNBC's Why The World Is Running Out Of Sand.

Even though sand can be found in nearly every single country on Earth, the world could soon face a shortage of this crucial, under-appreciated commodity. Sand use around the world has tripled in the last twenty years, according to the UNEP. That's far greater than the rate at which sand is being replenished. Here's what's behind the looming sand crisis.
I've been showing versions of the following image, originally from the USGS, now from my alma mater the University of Michigan, for more than a decade. It now only displays how much of the various types of non-fuel natural resources Americans have used annually since 1900, but also tracks the ups and downs in consumption and relates them to economic events. It shows both that construction materials, particularly sand, gravel, and stone, constitute the number one category of uses for earth materials and that construction activity goes up and down with the economy.

The following graphic from the OECD shows that sand, gravel, and stone are the number one resource consumed worldwide, excluding water as CNBC noted.

Add metal, limestone (much of which is used to make cement and refine iron ore in addition to being used as stone itself), and wood and the amount of natural resources used for construction literally outweighs just about everything else combined, again probably excluding water.

I agree with CNBC that sand mining serves as an example of the Tragedy of the Commons, a concept that is central to environmental science, but one that I've never mentioned in this blog before. One the one hand, that's because I emphasize Commoner's Laws over the Tragedy of the Commons. On the other, it's long past time for me to write about it; eleven years of ignoring it on this blog is too long.

Speaking of Commoner's Laws, all four of them apply, particularly "everything is connected to everything else" and "there is no free lunch," but also "there is no waste in nature" part of "there is no away" and the chemical cycling part of "nature knows best." I'm glad to hear these mainstream economists talk about the circular economy, a concept environmental and ecological economists have been advocating on behalf of for decades.

Before I move on, both CNBC and the OECD point out that use of construction materials will continue to increase because of growing population, more urbanization, and, hopefully, rising affluence. That will require more regulation of mining, building more durable structures to reduce use, and increasing recycling of building materials.

I close today's entry with SciShow's telling of this tale, The World Is Built on Sand... and We're Running Out, which has more science and technology and less economics and government.

Some might call sand coarse, rough and irritating, but there’s no denying that it’s used everywhere: from glass to asphalt, sand is a key ingredient for all sorts of materials in construction and technology. But this heavy reliance on sand means that we’re also reaching a limit on this seemingly infinite resource.
Yes, the basic facts about sand use are the same, but the difference in details and emphasis matters. I would show the CNBC video to my environmental science students and the SciShow video to my geology students. I just might add both videos to my lectures.

That's it for a week of resource stories I tell my students. Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature followed by an observance of Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2021

WXYZ, WDIV, and WPTV report on the chip shortage and its effects on autos and appliances

I told my readers to "Stay tuned" because "I might look at this issue from the perspective of local news media next." Since I describe my blog as being "about sustainability with a science fiction slant and a Detroit perspective" at its Facebook page and Detroit is the Motor City, I'm embedding reporting from Detroit television stations first, beginning with WXYZ's Auto dealers call chip shortage 'a hell of a follow up' to pandemic; issue spans across industries.

The global chip shortage will cost billions. Everybody from the shop floor assembly line to the showroom floor is adjusting.
As I wrote yesterday, "This entire story serves as another example of everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch; mess with some part of a system and the effects will move through all the connections at rates and sizes ranging from ripples to cascades." WXYZ's report added to the connections, including the Texas polar vortex blackout and local plant closures elsewhere contributing to the shortage of chips, local auto plant closures, and vehicles waiting for chips in parking lots. That the chip shortage is also affecting appliances concerns me, as my wife and I need a new dishwasher. We might have to wait just like Robert Kroeger, who WDIV interviewed in Computer chip shortage creating long wait times for pickup truck buyers.

A six month wait and counting? Yikes! That Kroeger bought his truck at Bob Maxey Ford in Howell makes this even more real for me, as I used to teach in Howell and have driven past the dealership. I wish him luck getting his truck. He'll need that and a lot of patience.

Follow over the jump for two videos from WPTV in Palm Beach, Florida about this story.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

CNBC explains how the pandemic disrupted the microchip supply chain for automakers

I suggested today's topic in the footnote to The economics of catalytic converter theft, part 2 of why catalytic converters are being stolen.
Catalytic converters are not the only component of cars to experience a shortage as America recovers from COVID-19; computer chips are, too. I might write about them, as silicon being an important element in auto manufacturing is another story I tell my students. Stay tuned.
CNBC has covered that topic, too. I begin with Why Tiny Microchips Are Crippling The Global Auto Industry And Driving Up Prices from earlier this month.

While the automotive industry was ravaged early on in the pandemic thanks to lockdown measures and a dramatic decrease in travel, it more recently has begun facing a new problem: a shortage of microchips. Microchips are vital to much of a vehicle’s key functions, such as engine control, transmission, infotainment systems, and more.

In the last half of 2020 and now in 2021, vehicle sales recovered fairly quickly, faster than automakers anticipated. Suddenly, they were struggling to meet demand. At the same time, chipmakers were experiencing supply shortages and increased demand from other sectors, such as personal electronics.

With the resulting lack of microchip supply, automakers have been forced to slow production, even on their most popular models. For several automakers, the shortage is expected to cost them $1 billion or more — and even still, the alternatives are worryingly few.
Calculated Risk displayed the crash and rebound of auto sales in April Vehicles Sales increased to 18.51 Million SAAR; Highest Since 2005.

It's easy to see the effect of the pandemic on sales followed by a rapid recovery as lockdowns eased. Still, the shock was enough to break and reforge the links in the microchip supply chain, which CNBC had earlier explained in February's How The Global Computer Chip Shortage Happened.

It’s not an overstatement to say that semiconductors power the modern world. They’re not only a key component of nearly every electronic device we buy and use — they also power the factories that make the electronic devices we buy and use. And now, there aren’t enough of them getting made. Here’s how the global semiconductor chip shortage got so bad, and what’s being done to fix it.

A chip shortage that started as consumers stocked up on personal computers and other electronics during the Covid-19 pandemic now threatens to snarl car production around the world.

GM said that it would extend production cuts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico until the middle of March. They join a long list of major automakers, including Ford, Honda and Fiat Chrysler, which have warned investors or slowed vehicle production because of the chip shortage.

But it’s not just the automotive industry that’s struggling to get enough semiconductors to build their products. AMD and Qualcomm, which sell chips to most of the top electronics firms, have noted the shortage in recent weeks. Sony blamed the chip shortage for why it’s so hard to get a PlayStation 5 game console.

Chips are likely to remain in short supply in coming months as demand remains higher than ever. The Semiconductor Industry Association said in December that global chip sales would grow 8.4% in 2021 from 2020's total of $433 billion. That’s up from 5.1% growth between 2019 and 2020 -- a notable jump, given how large the absolute numbers are.

Semiconductors are in short supply because of strong demand for electronics, shifting business models in the semiconductor world that created a bottleneck among outsourced chip factories, and effects from the U.S. trade war with China that started under former President Trump.
Ugh, the U.S.-China trade war. I wrote about how it might accelerate the Retail Apocalypse, restrict U.S. access to Chinese rare earths, reduce GDP and increase inflation, trigger a recession, threatened Family Dollar, and cause Dollar Tree to increase prices, but I didn't expect it would show up in this story, yet here it is. This entire story serves as another example of everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch; mess with some part of a system and the effects will move through all the connections at rates and sizes ranging from ripples to cascades. In this case, it looked more like a cascade.

Follow over the jump for two videos from CNBC Television reporting on one effort the U.S. government is making to stabilize the microchip supply chain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The economics of catalytic converter theft, part 2 of why catalytic converters are being stolen

I wrapped up part 1 yesterday with a look ahead to today's part 2.
That's the science side of the story, along with a dose of the legal and regulatory history behind mandating catalytic converters to reduce air pollution. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, which will concentrate on the economics and crime prevention aspects of the issue.
CNBC's Why Thefts Of Cars And Car Parts Are Spiking places the rising numbers of catalytic converter theft in the context of other crimes that became more common during the pandemic.

In 2020, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, cars and car parts were stolen in alarming numbers. Insurance analysts and law enforcement point fingers at factors like fallout from Covid and the skyrocketing price of precious metals found in catalytic converters. How can consumers protect themselves?
In an example of everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch, keeping people and their vehicles at home during the day changed where criminals struck with burglaries at work places and car thefts at home instead of the reverse pre-pandemic. Add in the economic recovery, with more demand for new cars along with more countries requiring catalytic converters on vehicles, and the prices of the platinum-group metals soared, making catalytic converters even more of a target for thieves.*

My long-time readers know that I drive a Prius, so the CNBC video alarmed me personally, as it mentioned that Priuses have become targets for catalytic converter theft. I had assumed that the car's low clearance would discourage strippers from getting under the car to cut out the vehicle's two catalytic converters. I was wrong; all it takes is a jack to access the underside. Catalytic Converters Are Being Stolen by the Thousands from Inside Edition opens with security camera footage of thieves doing exactly that.

A crime wave is sweeping the country as crooks jack up cars and slide underneath them with power saws to snatch catalytic converters. Theft of catalytic converters, which reduce the amount of pollution that comes out of your car, has gone through the roof because the value of some materials that go into making converters has skyrocketed. So what can be done to avoid becoming a victim of this crime? Inside Edition spent two days with Sgt. Tracy Hicks of Houston’s auto-crimes task force to find out.
Now I'm thinking of having the dealership install a plate over Pearl's catalytic converters to keep them from being stolen, that's how worried I am. I can no longer rely on driving the worst car around to deter thieves.

*Catalytic converters are not the only component of cars to experience a shortage as America recovers from COVID-19; computer chips are, too. I might write about them, as silicon being an important element in auto manufacturing is another story I tell my students. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The science of catalytic converters, part 1 of why catalytic converters are being stolen

Yesterday, I shared one story I tell my students in which bags are best and worst for the environment. Today, I'm sharing another, about the earth materials, mostly metals, used to make automobiles. I focus on three parts in particular, catalytic converters, air bags, and wheels, because the high-value metals in them increase their costs and make them attractive to thieves.* The prices of the metals in catalytic converters have shot up recently, leading to a rising tide of thefts.

I'll get to the economics of this phenomenon tomorrow. Today, I'm concentrating on the science, particularly the chemistry and engineering, of catalytic converters along with the legal and regulatory changes that made them mandatory on cars in the U.S. and elsewhere, beginning with Verge Science's This metal is more valuable than gold.

The theft of catalytic converters is on the rise due to the value of the precious metals they contain. One of these metals, palladium, is now more valuable than gold and is crucial in helping to clean up toxic emissions. As soaring demand creates a palladium crunch, the race is on to find new alternatives — or rethink how we use palladium in the future.
This video does a good job of explaining how the platinum-group metals work in catalytic converters and what kind of scientific and engineering solutions can reduce the amount of palladium, platinum, and rhodium used while still achieving the same pollution control. It's a little short on the personal angle except for the very end. For that, I turn to PBS Digital's Reactions Catalytic Converter Stolen? Here's Why.

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, and that’s partly because of their chemistry.
The Reactions video manages to combine a more personal tone with even more science. That makes it a good candidate to share with my students, although I'm tempted to share both.

That's the science side of the story, along with a dose of the legal and regulatory history behind mandating catalytic converters to reduce air pollution. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, which will concentrate on the economics and crime prevention aspects of the issue.

*I focus on these three parts because the car next to mine had them stripped out of it, along with the sound system, and the car left on cinder blocks when I taught in the Detroit Public Schools 21 years ago. My poor colleague was in shock when she discovered the theft. Fortunately, I drove the worst car in the lot — the custodians made fun of it — and the thieves left it alone. Lucky me.

Monday, May 24, 2021

TED-Ed and SciShow on which bags are best and worst for the environment

My environmental science students are working on a project called Hidden Energy in lab this week, which explores how every step in the production, use, and disposal of manufactured items requires energy. In addition, my students have to research the materials used to make the items and their eventual fate after people are through using them. One of my students' favorites over the years has been shopping bags, paper, plastic, and reusable, which I featured in Sustainability of banning plastic bags from DNews and KPBS eight years ago and Paper vs. plastic bags: Student Sustainability Video Festival 73 four years ago.* My answer to the question of paper or plastic then was reusable.

Both TED-Ed and SciShow have created videos about the environmental costs and benefits of shopping bags this past year and their answer is that not all reusable bags are equally sustainable. Watch Which bag should you use? - Luka Seamus Wright and Imogen Ellen Napper from TED-Ed.

Explore the environmental impact of three types of bags— plastic, paper, and cloth— to find out how they’re made, used and disposed of.
You’ve filled up your cart and made it to the front of the grocery line when you’re confronted with yet another choice: what kind of bag should you use? It might seem obvious that plastic is bad for the environment, and that a paper bag or a cotton tote would be the better option. But is that really true? Luka Seamus Wright and Imogen Ellen Napper explore the environmental impact of each material.

Lesson by Luka Seamus Wright & Imogen Ellen Napper, directed by JodyPrody.
Narrated by Bethany Cutmore-Scott.

I'm not surprised that cotton bags are bad for the environment, while reusable plastic bags are better. Years ago, one of my students presented on how bad cotton was for the environment using an actual cotton plant as a visual aid. It convinced me. Later, another student gave her talk on recycling plastic with reusable plastic shopping bags made from recycled pop bottles as her visual aid. I thought that was a good use for plastic bottles.

SciShow came to a similar conclusion with more scientific detail from what appears to be the same study in The Truth About Green Grocery Bags.

It seems like a simple question with a straightforward answer, but when you look at the total environmental impact of each type of bag, things start to get a little complicated.
Which data one records and analyzes makes a difference on the conclusions. In particular, while climate change is the great existential environmental issue, it is not the only one, so looking at the environment through the lens of climate change alone is insufficient. Remember Commoner's Laws.
Everything Is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no "waste" in nature and there is no "away" to which things can be thrown.
Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, says Commoner, "likely to be detrimental to that system."
There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless form.
The first, second, and fourth apply, while our intuition about number three, that cotton bags are best, leads us astray. I take that to mean that our intuition about how to apply "Nature knows best" is wrong, not the law itself. After all, reusable plastic bags made from recycled material are still an application of chemical cycling, an application of both Nature knows best and "There is no 'waste' in nature." That's a lesson I plan on passing on to my students, along with these videos.

*The other pair of products are cloth vs. disposable diapers. I might be inspired to look for videos about that, too. If I do, it will be another instance of blogging as professional development.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Observe International Day for Biological Diversity with videos from United Nations, TED-Ed, and BBC

Happy International Day for Biological Diversity!
Every year on May 22nd, the International Day for Biological Diversity seeks to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues.
Five years ago, the United Nations released a video about the day, International Day for Biological Diversity.

United Nations - Biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It therefore underpins peoples’ livelihoods and sustainable development in all areas of activity, including economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism, among others. By stopping biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being. Join us in celebrating the variety of life on Earth on 22 May, the International Day for Biological Diversity.
I like this video as a brief overview of the importance of biodiversity, but National Day Calendar has more detail.
The term biodiversity stems from two different words: biological and diversity. It refers to the variety of life on Earth. The three types of biodiversity include:
  • Genetic diversity
  • Species diversity
  • Ecosystem diversity
Biodiversity is very important for many reasons. It supplies the earth with clean water and oxygen. Biodiversity also enables plants to grow, which produces food for humans and animals. Other benefits of biodiversity is that it keeps pests and diseases in check and protects against flooding. It also helps to regulate the climate. Together, all of these benefits are known as ecosystem services.

The health of the earth suffers when biodiversity decreases. It’s also true of humans. The less biodiversity, the poorer our health becomes. Some even believe that pandemics are related to the loss of biodiversity. Now more than ever, we need to spread awareness for the importance of biodiversity.
TED-Ed mentions all three types of biodiversity in Why is biodiversity so important? - Kim Preshoff.

Our planet’s diverse, thriving ecosystems may seem like permanent fixtures, but they’re actually vulnerable to collapse. Jungles can become deserts, and reefs can become lifeless rocks. What makes one ecosystem strong and another weak in the face of change? Kim Preshoff details why the answer, to a large extent, is biodiversity.

Lesson by Kim Preshoff, animation by TED-Ed.
And narration by Pen-Pen Chen, who my readers might recognize because she wrote and narrated the final video I embedded in Happy Year of the Fire Rooster! She deserves credit, too.

Follow over the jump for more about today.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Celebrate Endangered Species Day with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA Fisheries

Happy Endangered Species Day! I begin today's celebration with US Department of the Interior Secretary Haaland on Endangered Species Day.

Protecting plants and wildlife for the present, and for the future; on Endangered Species Day, Secretary Haaland encourages everyone to think about the role they can play in saving animal and plant species from endangerment, and extinction.
I think Secretary Haaland did an excellent job in this video, but I have only one quibble with her remarks. While it's true that the the last recorded wild passenger pigeon died in 1900, it died from being shot by a boy in Pike County, Ohio. The bird that died in captivity was Martha, who expired at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, marking the total extinction of the passenger pigeon. Let's see if anyone else notices the conflation of the two events.

Secretary Haaland and the Department of the Interior oversee one of the agencies responsible for enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which put out Endangered Species Act Overview last week, explaining the history and content of the 48-year-old legislation it helps enforce.

This brief video explains the various sections of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Greater detail is provided for some of the more relevant sections.
As this video and National Day Calendar both mention, the other agency that enforces the ESA is National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), specifically NOAA Fisheries, which put out its own video on the subject last October, Species in the Spotlight: Saving the Most Endangered Marine Animals.

NOAA Fisheries manages more than 165 marine species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The goal is to help these species recover to the point where they can be taken off the endangered species list. That’s why, in 2015, we created the Species in the Spotlight initiative. It’s a way for us to focus our time, energy, and resources on these at-risk species and bring greater attention to their plight. Our goal is to focus our recovery actions and motivate partners and community members to work with us on these actions to turn this situation around. For each species, we have developed action plans that outline short-term efforts to stop their decline and prevent their extinction.

Each of these species is an important part of the habitat, the ecosystem, and the world we all share. Bringing them back will make our world richer and more balanced. Through the continued dedication of NOAA and its partners, we can all help these species recover.
While USFWS explained the theory, NOAA Fisheries described the practice. I have to say that I found watching and listening to the practice more interesting. I wonder what my readers think.

As I wrote yesterday, I'm not done with biodiversity on this blog. Tomorrow is the International Day for Biological Diversity, a day I haven't celebrated before but is on topic for my blogging. Stay tuned. In the meantime, happy Endangered Species Day!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The United Nations and Los Angeles Zoo celebrate World Bee Day in videos

Happy World Bee Day! The purpose of today's international day is "to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem," something I've been doing for years when I blog about bees. I begin with two videos from the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe about the day, starting with World Bee Day 2021.

Almost 80% of our flora depends on animals, especially insects, for pollination...Bees are essential to our environment, but they are in danger...Because every little bit counts, let's act together #ForPeopleForPlanet.
While this video has the preview image I want for today's post, its description sacrifices information for emotional appeal, including emojis I haven't figured out how to reproduce on my blog and have replaced with ellipses. On the other hand, last year's video, World Bee Day - 20 May, 2020, has an informative description I like.

Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities. But pollinators contribute directly to food security and are key to conserving biodiversity.
I like this description much better in part because it mentions "other pollinators" besides bees, which is the theme of the rest of the post. Follow over the jump.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

'Outlander,' 'The Walking Dead,' and other fantasy, horror, and science fiction nominees at the Saturn Awards

I wrote "I'll continue with the television nominees in future posts, but I may not complete the series before I vote. The deadline is the 14th and I have other topics I want to write about more first. After all, this blog is a hobby, not a job" to conclude 'Knives Out' and 'Mulan' lead thriller and action film nominees at the Saturn Awards. That was ten days ago and I had a lot to write about out subjects since then. Today, I feel like returning with the rest of the nominees for television series from Deadline. While the entertainment trade publication reported "On the TV side, AMC’s Better Call Saul, Starz’s Outlander and AMC’s The Walking Dead topped the list with five noms apiece," I already covered "Better Call Saul" in 'Birds of Prey' and 'The Flash' lead comic-book and superhero movies and television nominees — DCEU and Arrowverse at the Saturn Awards, so I'm covering both "The Walking Dead" and "Outlander" today along with the two nominated "Star Trek" series, which together tied "The Walking Dead" franchise with seven nominations.

Best Science Fiction Television Series

Doctor Who (BBC America)

Lost in Space (Netflix)

Pandora (The CW)

Raised by Wolves (HBO Max)

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)

Westworld (HBO)
This is a clash of two returning winners, "Star Trek: Discovery" for Best New Media (Streaming) Science Fiction Series and "Westworld" for Best Science Fiction Television Series. I think "Westworld" was the more artistic production, so I voted for it, but I wouldn't be surprised if either of the Star Trek series beat it should the Saturn Awards electorate manage to rally around one or the other and not split their vote.

Best Fantasy Television Series

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)

For All Mankind (Apple TV)

Locke & Key (Netflix)

The Magicians (SyFy)

Outlander (Starz)

The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access)

The Witcher (Netflix)
The contest here is between "Outlander" and "The Witcher." I voted for "Outlander," but I could certainly understand the award going to "The Witcher" if the rabid "Outlander" fandom doesn't show up. Somehow, I don't think that will happen, as the image from Twitter indicates. The show is putting on an awards campaign, which other nominees don't seem to be.

By the way, I'm both annoyed and relieved that "The Good Place" didn't earn a nomination. I'm annoyed because the final season won a Hugo Award — good enough for a Hugo Award but not good enough for a Saturn nomination, really? I'm relieved because then I don't have to vacillate between "The Good Place" and "Outlander."

Best Horror Television Series

Creepshow (Shudder)

Evil (CBS)

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)

Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Servant (Apple TV)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
I fully expect "The Walking Dead" to win again, but I didn't vote for it. Instead, I voted for "Lovecraft Country." It earned nominations at the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes and won the equivalent category at the Critics Choice Super Awards. Besides, I really enjoyed it.

Follow over the jump for the acting nominations on the big and small screens and the behind the camera nominations for movies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

CNBC describes 'How The Rich Avoid Paying Taxes' and asks 'Are Rich People Fleeing Places With High Taxes?'

Yesterday was the tax filing deadline for federal and most states. CNBC observed the day by uploading How The Rich Avoid Paying Taxes.

The more money you make, the more you have to pay in taxes, right? Not always. The ultra-wealthy typically take advantage of rules in the tax code which enable them to lower their effective tax rate. Warren Buffet has often pointed out that he pays less taxes than his secretary and Amazon famously paid zero taxes in 2018. So how exactly are the country’s biggest earners using the tax code to avoid paying taxes?
As I've written many times on this blog, I am an officer of the Coffee Party, which has tax reform as one of its goals. Here are the specific reforms the organization is pursuing.
Citizen-Oriented Taxes: Pass or repeal tax laws to reduce our debt, enhance society, and create economic growth. Equitable Taxation: The burden of taxation must be applied fairly to businesses and people. Simplified Tax Code: The Tax Code should be reformed for simplicity.
As Sheneya Wilson, founder of Fola Financial, pointed out, the current tax code exists to enhance society and create economic growth, but it doesn't seem to support the rest of the Coffee Party's goals, particularly simplicity and fairness. CNBC highlighted closing loopholes as the main reform to achieve those two goals. The issue is that those loopholes ideally exist to enhance society and create economic growth and loopholes should be targeted only if they don't support those goals. Let's see if Joe Biden's attempt to close some loopholes meets that criterion and succeeds.

Yesterday's video addressed federal taxes. Three weeks ago, CNBC examined the effects of state and local tax rates when it asked Are Rich People Fleeing Places With High Taxes?

To balance their budgets during the coronavirus pandemic, states including New Jersey and New York have raised taxes on the wealthy. Conservatives warn that it will cause many of those who left at the onset of the pandemic make those moves permanent since they’re no longer bound to the physical locations of their offices or their children’s schools. But available data from 2020 show that the so-called exodus wasn’t as pronounced as initially projected, and the urban exit that did happen, was to suburbs rather than low tax states.
CNBC's answer is no, at least about rich people moving from high-tax to low-tax states. Instead, well-off people are moving from the cities to the suburbs, while poorer people are moving from high-cost states to low-cost states, which tend also tend to be high-tax and low-tax states, respectively. My interpretation is that cost drives taxes more than the other way around, but I'm not an economist. As for moving to the suburbs or exurbs, I agree with CNBC that it's a move to safety. Also, if people are working from home, they might want a better home, something I pointed out last July, when I wrote "If one has to shelter in place, then one might find a better place to find shelter" and "If one is looking for an economic silver lining to the pandemic, here it is."

I'm getting farther afield from taxes, so I'm stopping before I wander off the subject entirely to something more suited to one of my driving updates during the pandemic. In the meantime, I hope all my American readers filed their taxes by yesterday!

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Daily Show and CNN examine the Arizona audit

While I've been busy chronicling the saga of Elise Stefanik replacing Liz Cheney as conference chair, I've been ignoring the other story Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers covered in their monologues last week, the audit of Maricopa County's ballots that I mocked as being motivated by a racist conspiracy theory. The Daily Show pursued that angle and more in Arizona’s Vote Recount - Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse.

Arizona still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that Donald Trump lost the state election, so they’re recounting the votes for a third time. Jordan Klepper investigates.
I'm glad that Jordan Klepper interviewed Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and allowed her to get her point across that the Cyber Ninjas are partisan and unprofessional in between the jokes. To be fair, the two spokesmen for the audit admitted that the bamboo and watermark conspiracy theories are outlandish and need to be debunked. As for the first person interviewed, the supposed threats from BLM and Antifa show that the conspiracy theories aren't just anti-Asian or even purely racist.

Even the serious news people thought this was both ridiculous and alarming. Watch See what CNN reporter spotted at bizarre election ‘audit’.

CNN's Kyung Lah and crew gain access into the Republican election audit of the 2020 ballots from Arizona's largest county.
In its own way, CNN treated this even more scathingly than The Daily Show, calling it part of The Big Lie and a continuation of the January 6 insurrection as Stacey Abrams pointed out. I think she's right, as are all the critics of the audit CNN's Kyung Lah interviewed.  That's not good news.

The recount could take weeks more to complete. When that happens, I promise to cover it, so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

'SNL' on CDC lifting mask mandate, a pandemic update, plus Golden Globes controversy and Liz Cheney

Saturday Night Live brings its viewers good news about the pandemic in No More Masks Cold Open.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (Kate McKinnon) presents different scenarios to demonstrate the new COVID-19 mask guidelines.
That was really silly and not one of SNL's stronger openings, although Kate McKinnon as Dr. Anthony Fauci made all the right points. Weekend Update: CDC Lifts Mask Mandate covered more ground and had better punchlines.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines proving effective against new variants of the virus.
There is some valuable pandemic news inspiring the jokes. In addition to lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, the good news is that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide protection against the more recent variants of the coronavirus. Contrary to the punchlines, Johnson and Johnson's vaccine is also effective against the variants. The bad news is that COVID-19 seems to cause erectile dysfunction, but at least Michael Che points out how this could be used to promote vaccination among men. I'm all in favor of making lemonade out of lemons.

Now for a clip that makes this a Sunday entertainment feature worthy of the designation, Weekend Update: Tom Cruise Returns Golden Globes & Ohio State Massage Therapist.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Chicago releasing feral cats to control the city’s rat crisis.
Yeah, a Tom Cruise short joke. Still, this actually is big entertainment news, a protest over the lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HPFA), which votes on the Golden Globes. As I keep writing about awards shows, electorates matter. It isn't just Tom Cruise; NBC is not broadcasting next year's event and Netflix and Amazon are not going to participate in any HFPA events. That's the kind of sponsor boycott that I expect will get results, although it will make next year's event anemic. I just hope it doesn't result in an outcome like removing elephants from Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey's Circus contributing to the circus shutting down.

Speaking of elephants, McKinnon returned in Weekend Update: Liz Cheney on the Republican Party.

Rep. Liz Cheney (Kate McKinnon) stops by Weekend Update to discuss her recent conflicts with the Republican Party.
McKinnon's caricature of Cheney pointed out what an uphill battle the real Cheney is facing. As I pointed out in the saga of Elise Stefanik replacing Cheney as conference chair, the GOP is sticking closer to Trump and his Big Lie than ever. I wish the real Cheney luck; she'll need it.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Elise Stefanik replaces Liz Cheney as House Republican Conference Chair

I told my readers "I'll keep following the story to see who replaces Cheney. I think it will likely be Elise Stefanik, but stay tuned to find out" at the end of House Republicans vote to remove Liz Cheney as conference chair. Sure enough, that happened. CBS News reported House GOP votes Representative Elise Stefanik into leadership.

House Republicans elected Representative Elise Stefanik of New York as the party's new conference chair Friday. The decision came after Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from the position earlier this week. CBSN Washington reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns joined CBSN to discuss what the move means for the GOP.
I'm going to be a good environmentalist by recycling my remarks about the significance of this swap from Colbert and Meyers take closer looks at replacing Liz Cheney and Arizona audit.
That Elise Stefanik has become the leading candidate to replace Cheney strikes me as ironic if one considers this intra-party conflict is over conservatism. Voteview rates Stefanik's ideological score at 0.229, more liberal than 98% of House Republicans in the 117th Congress, while Cheney's ideological score is 0.515, exactly in the middle of the current House Republican Caucus. Replacing a mainstream conservative Republican with an ideological moderate shows this fight is not over conventional ideas of left and right. Instead, it is about loyalty to Trump, which is odd considering that major American political parties generally move away from losing presidential candidates. Not now — the GOP is sticking closer to Trump than ever.
Shifting gears from serious to silly, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah discussed the irony of replacing a conservative who no longer supports Trump with a moderate who now does in GOP Ousts Liz Cheney and Promotes Elise Stefanik.

Rep. Liz Cheney gets voted out as the House Republican Conference chair. Here’s how her replacement, Rep. Elise Stefanik, got to where she is.
Stefanik strikes me as an opportunist who felt the wind shifting and turned like a weather vane. On the one hand, she's being responsive to her constituents, which is generally a good thing in a legislator. On the other, she shows that she's following instead of leading by telling them when they're wrong. Still, it's working for her so far. Let's see how long that lasts.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Trevor Noah explains ransomware

After the serious examination of Responses to Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack include government action and panic buying, it's time for a funny one. Fortunately, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah uploaded What Is Ransomware? - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know last night, making it easy for me.

After a ransomware hack devastated the east coast’s gasoline supply, let’s take a look at what ransomware is, how it works, and why the only solution is to go on airplane mode.
That was a better summary of the issues involved, energy, oil, infrastructure, technology, cybersecurity, and crime, than I put together yesterday from serious news sources. To paraphrase what I wrote two years ago and repeated the last time I embedded an If You Don't Know, Now You Know segment, I learned more from ten minutes of reporting laced with comedy than I would have from ten minutes of straight reporting. I hope my readers did, too.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Responses to Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack include government action and panic buying

While I've been busy blogging about Liz Cheney, another news story was happening that I would have jumped on as the kind of shiny object I couldn't resist, Cyber Attack Forces Major Gas And Diesel Pipeline Shutdown. Take it away, TODAY Show!

Colonial Pipeline was forced to temporarily shut down all operations in its system spanning from Texas to New Jersey after a major cyberattack involving ransomware. The company transports more than 100 million gallons of refined products per day, and the attack is leading to fears of a spike in gas prices. NBC’s Kathy Park reports for Sunday TODAY.
This story checks off a bunch of boxes for me: energy, oil, infrastructure, technology, cybersecurity, and crime. Higher oil prices because of attack on Saudi facility plus driving update for Pearl on Talk Like A Pirate Day from 2019 didn't hit that many!

Park's report concluded by looking at the effect on consumers, a topic I will return to shortly. ABC News put the ransomware attack in the context of other cyberattacks in Major fuel pipeline forced to shut down after cyber attack.

The pipeline supplies 45% of the East Coast’s fuel products, including gasoline, diesel and home heating oil.
While I've written about cybersecurity occasionally here, most recently in '60 Minutes' interviews Chris Krebs and more about election cybersecurity for Cyber Monday, I think I've mentioned "securing utilities from cyber attacks" only once in 2003 Blackout still being studied seven years ago. That was regarding electrical generating plants and transmission lines, but it was still energy infrastructure so the same principles apply.

CBNC identified the people responsible in Hacker group allegedly behind pipeline ransomware attack posts statement.

CNBC's Eamon Javers reports on new details in the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline.
Russian criminals are behind this. Why am I not surprised? My response to this news was a snarky tweet. It could be even more absurd. With a name like "Darkside," the appropriate people to send in might be Luke Skywalker or Superman.

Follow over the jump for more reaction to Russian ransomware shutting down the Colonial Pipeline.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

House Republicans vote to remove Liz Cheney as conference chair

I posted Colbert and Meyers take closer looks at replacing Liz Cheney and Arizona audit yesterday, so it was already time for a straight news examination of the issue before MSNBC reported Republicans Vote To Remove Rep. Liz Cheney From GOP Leadership earlier this morning.

House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from her position as conference chair, the No. 3 position in caucus leadership, after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. The vote totals will not be released because a voice vote was held.
I'm neither surprised nor disappointed. I saw this coming and didn't expect any better from my former party. As I wrote yesterday, "the GOP is sticking closer to Trump than ever."

The voice vote to remove Cheney came after she spoke last night to explain her position. Rachel Maddow excerpted a highlight from that address and analyzed it in Defiant Liz Cheney Blasts Republicans For Emboldening 'Liar' Trump.

Rachel Maddow shares highlights from a speech by Rep. Liz Cheney on the House floor in which she excoriates her Trump-supporting Republican colleagues for failing to support the Constitution and the rule of law and calling democracy into question by parroting Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election.
Calling democracy into question is one of the strategies of Vladimir Putin in dealing with the U.S. and European democracies. Trump is acting like he's working for Russia, even if he's just following Putin's bad example — a bad bromance indeed!

I close today with Politico's Cheney reacts to her ousting from Republican leadership spot.

House Republicans voted quickly on Wednesday to remove Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader over her repeated criticism of Donald Trump, a massive shakeup that ties the party tighter to Trump and threatens to create a new litmus test in the GOP.
On the one hand, "I never thought I would be on the same side of an issue as Liz Cheney [and] it makes me a bit uncomfortable. Chalk that up to a stuck clock being right twice a day." On the other, I think Trump's opponents should take in any allies who are willing to join us. Just remember that they are allies, not friends.

I'll keep following the story to see who replaces Cheney. I think it will likely be Elise Stefanik, but stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Colbert and Meyers take closer looks at replacing Liz Cheney and Arizona audit

Last night, two of my favorite late night talk show hosts looked at the ongoing fallout from the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. I begin with Stephen Colbert's monologue, The GOP's Purity Test: Loyalty To The Former President, Or Else.

Republican polling shows the former president with high unfavorable ratings, yet the party's leaders remain keen to punish anyone who breaks with No. 45, prompting Stephen to ask: has there ever been anyone in government as weak as Kevin McCarthy?
Bamboo in the ballot paper? That prompted me to leave the following comment to Meanwhile in Arizona… at Mock, Paper, Scissors.
It looks like the GQP has decided to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with stupid Sinophobia, fear and hatred of China and the Chinese. Dudes, you're doing it wrong! Anyone want to bet that these fools are circulating memes that invoke Fu Manchu (and not just Nicholas Cage playing him for laughs in "Werewolf Women of the SS")? I don't want to search; it's bad enough that I know Corona-chan is a thing.
When I repeat "everything is connected to everything else" from Commoner's Laws, I didn't think I would find a connection among anti-Asian racism, elections, the pandemic, and conspiracy theory, but leave it to Trump and his followers in the Republican Party to create one. Consider this a down payment on examining anti-Asian racism that I promised in yesterday's NASA and '60 Minutes' explore the contributions of Asian-Americans to the Mars mission of Perseverance and Ingenuity.

As for his question about Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy being weak, I remember then-Speaker John Boehner having trouble keeping the Tea Party caucus in line. This was a few months after Rachel Maddow said "I think John Boehner is bad at his job." He eventually retired, leading to Paul Ryan taking over the speakership. I have a higher opinion of both of them than McCarthy, whose district I lived in 39 years ago. Boehner may be pickled — whenever I hear him making fun of Ted Cruz, I think "in vino veritas" — but my nickname for McCarthy is Pickled Tongue after a menu item at the leading Basque restaurant in his home town, a place I know, having lived there, too.

Seth Meyers chimed in with Republicans Are Purging Anyone Who Won't Embrace Trump's Election Lies: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the Republican Party’s fealty to Donald Trump and purge of anyone who refuses to repeat his lies.
While Meyers examined the search for bamboo in ballot paper in even more detail than Colbert, he also expressed the same sentiment that I feel; I never thought I would be on the same side of an issue as Liz Cheney it makes me a bit uncomfortable. Chalk that up to a stuck clock being right twice a day.

That Elise Stefanik has become the leading candidate to replace Cheney strikes me as ironic if one considers this intra-party conflict is over conservatism. Voteview rates Stefanik's ideological score at 0.229, more liberal than 98% of House Republicans in the 117th Congress, while Cheney's ideological score is 0.515, exactly in the middle of the current House Republican Caucus. Replacing a mainstream conservative Republican with an ideological moderate shows this fight is not over conventional ideas of left and right. Instead, it is about loyalty to Trump, which is odd considering that major American political parties generally move away from losing presidential candidates. Not now — the GOP is sticking closer to Trump than ever.

Monday, May 10, 2021

NASA and '60 Minutes' explore the contributions of Asian-Americans to the Mars mission of Perseverance and Ingenuity

I decided to not give Elon Musk "his own post about space and technology tomorrow to dominate" today. That's because I didn't feel like taking another bite from that apple after 'SNL' celebrates Mother's Day with the cast's and guests' moms. Instead, NASA and "60 Minutes" gave me different material for a space and technology post combined with a celebration of diversity for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month just like they did for International Women's Day. I open with NASA's With Much Ingenuity, We Soar Together.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Honoring the culture, tradition, and diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, NASA celebrates the achievements of individuals and teams that support our missions every day.

With the recent milestone of performing the first-ever controlled, powered flight on another planet, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Project Manager MiMi Aung shares her experience and hopes for the younger generation.
"60 Minutes" featured MiMi Aung and Al Chen in Perseverance rover, Ingenuity helicopter, and the search for ancient life on Mars, again highlighting the importance of Asian-Americans in the current Mars mission.

Anderson Cooper reports on the nerve-wracking Mars landing of the rover Perseverance, the painstaking process of launching the tiny helicopter Ingenuity, and the extraordinary images the two have already sent back to Earth.
That's an amazing segment for a space enthusiast like me. I wanted more and I got it in More images from Mars, the "60 Minutes Overtime" web extra.

"This is something that we've never done before," said NASA's Al Chen about the cameras that captured the dramatic landing.
In addition to being awestruck by the images of the landing, I enjoyed watching Anderson Cooper geek out about piloting Terry, the terrestrial demonstration version of Ingenuity as much as I enjoyed geeking out about the rover and drone myself.

I close with NASA's NASA Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021, featuring other scientists and engineers working at the space agency in addition to Aung and Chen.

Each May, NASA commemorates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month to recognize the significant contributions of past and present employees of AAPI descent. Each of them embody the enduring and resilient spirit this community brings to advancing science, research, and discovery. Hear their stories.
Like NASA, I think the U.S. as a whole needs to use all the talent it has and can get, so diversity is one of the country's strengths. That makes the current spike in anti-Asian hate crimes all the more tragic and counterproductive. I'll examine that in future posts this month. Right now, I just want to celebrate something positive.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

'Knives Out' and 'Mulan' lead thriller and action film nominees at the Saturn Awards

When I promised my readers "another installment of this series about the Action/Adventure movie nominees," 'Birds of Prey' and 'The Flash' lead comic-book and superhero movies and television nominees — DCEU and Arrowverse at the Saturn Awards, I had allowed Deadline lead me astray. The Hollywood trade publication listed "Star Wars Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker," "Tenet," and "Doctor Sleep" as the three most nominated movies, then mentioned "Other noms went to the likes of this year’s Mulan, Birds of Prey and The Old Guard alongside last year’s biggies Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker, Parasite and 1917." I checked the nominations of all those movies and found that "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" had seven and both "Birds of Prey" and "Mulan" had six, so I planned my posts accordingly. Deadline ignored "Knives Out" even though it has eight nominations, tied with "Doctor Sleep" for third most nominated movie, so I missed it until I checked its nominations this morning. Naughty Deadline! Bad journalism! *Glare*

Therefore, I am covering "Knives Out" and the rest of the thriller movie nominees along with "Mulan" and the other action/adventure movie nominees today beginning with their nominations from the Saturn Awards website.

Best Thriller Film Release:
Da Five Bloods
The Good Liar
The Irishman
Knives Out
Uncut Gems
I think this is a really good field of the films I'd likely pick if I were choosing thriller movies from the eligibility period, so I have no complaints. It balances professional and popular choices while including worthy films that the Motion Picture Academy snubbed in addition to Oscar nominees. In addition to "Knives Out," "Mank" has five nominations, "Da Five Bloods" has two, and the rest just the one nomination in this category. If the Hollywood professionals dominated the electorate, they would likely vote for "Mank," as they couldn't resist a good story about Hollywood if all else is equal. Since the fans compose the bulk of the voters, they're going to vote for the most entertaining, and that's "Knives Out," which is my choice.

I have to resist a particular pull to vote for "The Irishman." The restaurant parking lot where witnesses last saw Jimmy Hoffa sits exactly three miles away by car from where I live now and even less as the crow flies. In addition, my wife worked for the Teamsters decades ago. I have connections to the story, but they aren't enough to get me to vote for the movie, which I've heard is a slog. In contrast, watching "Knives Out" was a lot of fun.

Best 4K Film Release:
The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection
Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut
Flash Gordon Limited Edition
Jaws 45th Anniversary
Knives Out
Mad Max
War of the Worlds (2005)
That written, I'm probably not voting for "Knives Out" in its nominated home entertainment category. Instead, I'm torn between Hitchcock and "Jaws." I have only the foggiest idea of what the rest of the Saturn electorate will choose, so I won't venture a guess.

Best Action/Adventure Film Release:
Bad Boys for Life
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The Gentlemen
Now for the category I planned on featuring today before I discovered that "Knives Out" had eight nominations. As I opened this entry, "Mulan" has as many nominations as "Birds of Prey" to lead Action/Adventure movie nominees with six, followed by "1917" and "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie" with two. The rest have only one nomination in this category. The nominees fall in two groups, war movies like "1917" and "Mulan" and crime films for all the rest, although "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" has ventured into James Bond territory along with the rest of the more recent "Fast and Furious" movies. "Mulan" is also a fantasy film, making it more distinctive from the rest of the field. I'm going to vote for the professional choice here, "1917," but I have my doubts it will win. I think any of the four crime capers have better shots.

Best Film Presentation on Streaming Media:
Enola Holmes
The Vast of Night
All of these television movies include one or more of action, thriller, or mystery in their IMDB descriptions, so I'm including them here. My favorite is "Enola Holmes," so I'm voting for it. I consider its main competition to be "Extraction." I don't know which will win.

I'm not reviewing the acting and behind the camera nominations for movies today, so surf over to Star Wars at the 2021 Saturn Awards for Star Wars Day and 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' on Cinco De Mayo plus the horror, independent, and international film nominees at the 2021 Saturn Awards to read those. For the acting nominations for television, click on 'Birds of Prey' and 'The Flash' lead comic-book and superhero movies and television nominees — DCEU and Arrowverse at the Saturn Awards.

Three action and thriller movies have nominations for Best Film Composer, "1917," "Knives Out," and "Mank." I begin with Jos Slovick - I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger | 1917 OST.

That's haunting.

Next, Knives Out! (String Quartet in G Minor).

That's fun and lively, while still mysterious. I can understand why it earned a nomination.

I conclude by recycling from Oscar nominated scores and songs for National Film Score Day with Welcome to Victorville from "Mank."

Welcome to Victorville · Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Now that I've listened to all the scores, I think I'll vote for "Parasite." I listened to that soundtrack all the way through and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I have now completed examining all the movie nominees, including the TV movies. I'll continue with the television nominees in future posts, but I may not complete the series before I vote. The deadline is the 14th and I have other topics I want to write about more first. After all, this blog is a hobby, not a job.

Previous entries about the 2021 Saturn Awards