Google cars are better than humans

Google's cars are better than humans, but humans hate them anyway.

Google's self-driving cars are accident-prone – but it may not be their fault!

Human drivers may be the real cause of the vehicles’ recent fender benders: the cars keep getting rear-ended, perhaps because they distract us.

A Google self-driving car on the streets of Mountain View, California. Photograph: Google/Handout/EPA

Google’s self-driving cars are having a rough time on the streets of Mountain View,California. But a look at the evidence suggests it’s human error and not robots that are to blame.

In recent months, Google’s fleet of experimental self-driving cars have suffered five minor accidents while driving 200,000 miles around this sleepy Silicon Valley suburb. That is nearly ten times the national average for ‘property only’ fender benders, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Using a public records act request, the Guardian has obtained a report of the most recent incident, filed by Google in early June with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In the report, Google notes that a self-driving Lexus was struck from behind 17 seconds after stopping at a traffic light. The other vehicle, a Honda Accord, simply drove into the back of it.

Since April, Google’s Lexus SUVs have also been rear-ended by a BMW S3, a Toyota Camry and a Ford Expedition. In each case, the Google vehicle was either stationary or travelling at less than five miles per hour, giving its robotic driver no chance to avoid an impact. In fact, when robot cars meet in unfavotable circumstances, it seems they don’t collide.

Last week it was reported that a self-driving Audi owned by Delphi Automotive took “appropriate action” to avoid one of Google’s self-driving Lexus cars after the Google car cut the Audi off on a Californian road.

But if Google’s self-driving algorithms are not to blame, why are its cars experiencing so many accidents?

One explanation could be the spinning laser scanners on their roofs, says Raj Rajkumar, designer of several autonomous cars at Carnegie Mellon University, including the winner of a 2007 self-driving vehicle competition run by Darpa, a US military research agency. “It is a distraction, and when people get distracted, I can imagine behaviours changing,” he says.

“Another reason could be that Google cars have the Google logo splashed on them, saying they are self-driving cars. People looking at that could be distracted from their normal mode of operations,” he adds. Rajkumar is now CEO of Ottomatika, a company that helped develop technology for the first vehicle to complete a transcontinental self-driving road trip, from San Francisco to New York, in March. He noticed that passing drivers would often whip out a phone to take photos or videos of his car.

Of course, the promise of self-driving cars is that they will reduce – or even eliminate – road traffic fatalities. “About 33,000 people die on America’s roads every year. That’s why so much of the enthusiasm for self-driving cars has focused on their potential to reduce accident rates,” says Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program. He also points out that minor fender-benders like the ones in Mountain View often go unreported.

The few dozen experimental self-driving cars currently operating on public streets are packed with laser, radar, sonar and video sensors. This gives them a 360-degree view of the road ahead (and behind) that a human driver could never match. After travelling over 1.8 million miles in California, they have managed to avoid any serious accidents – and may have even prevented some from happening.

However, there has been virtually no research on how human motorists respond to robotic vehicles, says Anuj Pradhan, a behavioural scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). “We do not fully understand the human reaction where self-driving cars are involved,” he says. “It’s an important question that we haven’t started looking at yet.”

Two of his colleagues at UMTRI, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, believe that driving is far more of a human interaction than you might expect. They found that in several types of car crashes, male-to-male accidents are underrepresented and female-to-female crashes are overrepresented, suggesting that our perceptions of fellow motorists are critical. “Furthermore, in many situations, drivers make eye contact and proceed according to the feedback received from other drivers,” they say. “Such feedback would be absent in interactions with self-driving vehicles.”

When self-driving cars do become available to buy, they will be sharing the road with humans for decades to come. “Self-driving cars may have a ‘better’ driving style but it may not be a human driving style,” says Pradhan, “And that could affect how we predict or react to them.” He says that many self-driving car companies are now actively trying to humanise their algorithms to match the way people drive, slowing right down for curves, for instance, or hesitating at traffic lights.

One phenomenon that may help to reduce accidents in the short term: the distinctive and potentially distracting lidar sensors on top of vehicles are disappearing. In Google’s latest generation of self-driving cars, which received their permits to operate on California’s roads last week, the laser scanner has shrunk to a barely noticeable dome. Many other autonomous vehicles, including a Cadillac SRX built by Raj Rajkumar, hide them altogether. “We specifically made sure there was nothing on the car that makes it stand out,” he says.

Anuj Pradhan thinks a better approach might be to identify autonomous vehicles so that motorists can give them leeway. “Should self-driving cars have a special marking so we can react accordingly?” he wonders. “If I see a learner driver, I give it a little more following distance. Perhaps that’s how regular drivers would react to a self-driving car.”

Ultimately, say Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoette, we should be realistic about just how safe self-driving cars will make our highways. “It is not a foregone conclusion that a self-driving vehicle would ever perform more safely than an experienced, middle-aged driver,” they say. “And during the transition period when conventional and self-driving vehicles share the road, safety might actually worsen, at least for conventional vehicles.”

Google’s rash of rear-ends might just be a coincidence, then, but we shouldn’t expect people to stop driving into robots anytime soon.

ON LYING IN BED - G.K. Chesterton


Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling. This, however, is not generally a part of the domestic apparatus on the premises. I think myself that the thing might be managed with several pails of Aspinall and a broom. Only if one worked in a really sweeping and masterly way, and laid on the colour in great washes, it might drip down again on one’s face in floods of rich and mingled colour like some strange fairy rain; and that would have its disadvantages. I am afraid it would be necessary to stick to black and white in this form of artistic composition. To that purpose, indeed, the white ceiling would be of the greatest possible use; in fact, it is the only use I think of a white ceiling being put to.

But for the beautiful experiment of lying in bed I might never have discovered it. For years I have been looking for some blank spaces in a modern house to draw on. Paper is much too small for any really allegorical design; as Cyrano de Bergerac says, “Il me faut des gĂ©ants” [“I need giants”]. But when I tried to find these fine clear spaces in the modern rooms such as we all live in I was continually disappointed. I found an endless pattern and complication of small objects hung like a curtain of fine links between me and my desire. I examined the walls; I found them to my surprise to be already covered with wallpaper, and I found the wallpaper to be already covered with uninteresting images, all bearing a ridiculous resemblance to each other. I could not understand why one arbitrary symbol (a symbol apparently entirely devoid of any religious or philosophical significance) should thus be sprinkled all over my nice walls like a sort of small-pox. The Bible must be referring to wallpapers, I think, when it says, “Use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do.” I found the Turkey carpet a mass of unmeaning colours, rather like the Turkish Empire, or like the sweetmeat called Turkish Delight. I do not exactly know what Turkish Delight really is; but I suppose it is Macedonian Massacres. Everywhere that I went forlornly, with my pencil or my paint brush, I found that others had unaccountably been before me, spoiling the walls, the curtains, and the furniture with their childish and barbaric designs.

Nowhere did I find a really clear space for sketching until this occasion when I prolonged beyond the proper limit the process of lying on my back in bed. Then the light of that white heaven broke upon my vision, that breadth of mere white which is indeed almost the definition of Paradise, since it means purity and also means freedom. But alas! like all heavens, now that it is seen it is found to be unattainable; it looks more austere and more distant than the blue sky outside the window. For my proposal to paint on it with the bristly end of a broom has been discouraged—never mind by whom; by a person debarred from all political rights—and even my minor proposal to put the other end of the broom into the kitchen fire and turn it to charcoal has not been conceded. Yet I am certain that it was from persons in my position that all the original inspiration came for covering the ceilings of palaces and cathedrals with a riot of fallen angels or victorious gods. I am sure that it was only because Michael Angelo was engaged in the ancient and honourable occupation of lying in bed that he ever realized how the roof of the Sistine Chapel might be made into an awful imitation of a divine drama that could only be acted in the heavens.

The tone now commonly taken toward the practice of lying in bed is hypocritical and unhealthy. Of all the marks of modernity that seem to mean a kind of decadence, there is none more menacing and dangerous than the exultation of very small and secondary matters of conduct at the expense of very great and primary ones, at the expense of eternal ties and tragic human morality. If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made essential and godliness is regarded as an offence. A playwright can attack the institution of marriage so long as he does not misrepresent the manners of society, and I have met Ibsenite pessimists who thought it wrong to take beer but right to take prussic acid. Especially this is so in matters of hygiene; notably such matters as lying in bed. Instead of being regarded, as it ought to be, as a matter of personal convenience and adjustment, it has come to be regarded by many as if it were a part of essential morals to get up early in the morning. It is upon the whole part of practical wisdom; but there is nothing good about it or bad about its opposite.

Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before. It is the great peril of our society that all its mechanisms may grow more fixed while its spirit grows more fickle. A man’s minor actions and arrangements ought to be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable are his principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true; our views change constantly; but our lunch does not change. Now, I should like men to have strong and rooted conceptions, but as for their lunch, let them have it sometimes in the garden, sometimes in bed, sometimes on the roof, sometimes in the top of a tree. Let them argue from the same first principles, but let them do it in a bed, or a boat, or a balloon. This alarming growth of good habits really means a too great emphasis on those virtues which mere custom can ensure, it means too little emphasis on those virtues which custom can never quite ensure, sudden and splendid virtues of inspired pity or of inspired candour. If ever that abrupt appeal is made to us we may fail. A man can get used to getting up at five o’clock in the morning. A man cannot very well get used to being burnt for his opinions; the first experiment is commonly fatal. Let us pay a little more attention to these possibilities of the heroic and unexpected. I dare say that when I get out of this bed I shall do some deed of an almost terrible virtue.

For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic caution to be added. Even for those who can do their work in bed (like journalists), still more for those whose work cannot be done in bed (as, for example, the professional harpooners of whales), it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick. But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man. If he does it for some secondary hygienic reason, if he has some scientific explanation, he may get up a hypochondriac.




by the awesome Chuck Wendig

I read this cool article last week — “30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself” — and I thought, hey, heeeey, that’s interesting. Writers might could use their own version of that. So, I started to cobble one together. And, of course, as most of these writing-related posts become, it ended up that for the most part I’m sitting here in the blog yelling at myself first and foremost.
That is, then, how you should read this: me, yelling at me. If you take away something from it, though?
Then go forth and kick your writing year in the teeth.
Onto the list.


Right here is your story. Your manuscript. Your career. So why the fuck are you running in the other direction? Your writing will never chase you — you need to chase your writing. If it’s what you want, then pursue it. This isn’t just true of your overall writing career, either. It’s true of individual components. You want one thing but then constantly work to achieve its opposite. You say you want to write a novel but then go and write a bunch of short stories. You say you’re going to write This script but then try to write That script instead. Pick a thing and work toward that thing.


Momentum is everything. Cut the brake lines. Careen wildly and unsteadily toward your goal. I hate to bludgeon you about the head and neck with a hammer forged in the volcanic fires of Mount Obvious, but the only way you can finish something is by not stopping. That story isn’t going to unfuck itself.


You have a voice. It’s yours. Nobody else can claim it, and any attempts to mimic it will be fumbling and clumsy like two tweens trying to make out in a darkened broom closet. That’s on you, too — don’t try to write in somebody else’s voice. Yes, okay, maybe you do this in the beginning. But strive past it. Stretch your muscles. Find your voice. This is going to be a big theme at the start of 2012 — discover those elements that comprise your voice, that put theauthor in your authority. Write in a way that only you can write.


Worry is some useless shit. It does nothing. It has no basis in reality. It’s a vestigial emotion, useless as — as my father was wont to say — “tits on a boar hog.” We worry about things that are well beyond our control. We worry about publishing trends or future advances or whether or not Barnes & Noble is going to shove a hand grenade up its own ass and go kablooey. That’s not to say you can’t identify future trouble spots and try to work around them — but that’s notworrying. You recognize a roadblock and arrange a path around it — you don’t chew your fingernails bloody worrying about it. Shut up. Calm down. Worry, begone.


The rise of self-publishing has seen a comparative surge forward in quantity. As if we’re all rushing forward to squat out as huge a litter of squalling word-babies as our fragile penmonkey uteruses (uteri?) can handle. Stories are like wine; they need time. So take the time. This isn’t a hot dog eating contest. You’re not being judged on how much you write but rather, how well you do it. Sure, there’s a balance — you have to be generative, have to be swimming forward lest you sink like a stone and find remora fish mating inside your rectum. But generation and creativity should not come at the cost of quality. Give your stories and your career the time and patience it needs. Put differently: don’t have a freak out, man.


I said “stop hurrying,” not “stand still and fall asleep.” Life rewards action, not inertia. What the fuck are you waiting for? To reap the rewards of the future, you must take action in the present. Do so now.


It’s not going to get any easier, and why should it? Anything truly worth doing requires hella hard work. If climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro meant packing a light lunch and hopping in a climate-controlled elevator, it wouldn’t really be that big a fucking deal, would it? You want to do This Writing Thing, then don’t just expect hard work — be happy that it’s a hard row to hoe and that you’re just the, er, hoer to hoe it? I dunno. Don’t look at me like that. AVERT YOUR GAZE, SCRUTINIZER. And get back to work.


You don’t get to be a proper storyteller by putting it so far down your list it’s nestled between “Complete the Iditarod (but with squirrels instead of dogs)” and “Two words: Merkin, Macrame.” You want to do this shit, it better be some Top Five Shiznit, son. You know you’re a writer because it’s not just what you do, but rather, it’s who you are. So why deprioritize that thing which forms part of your very identity?


The mind is the writer’s best weapon. It is equal parts bullwhip, sniper rifle, and stiletto. If you treat your body like it’s the sticky concrete floor in a porno theater (that’s not a spilled milkshake) then all you’re doing is dulling your most powerful weapon. The body fuels the mind. It should be “crap out,” not “crap in.” Stop bloating your body with awfulness. Eat well. Exercise. Elsewise you’ll find your bullwhip’s tied in knots, your stiletto’s so dull it couldn’t cut through a glob of canned pumpkin, and someone left peanut-butter-and-jelly in the barrel of your sniper rifle.


Complaining — like worry, like regret, like that little knob on the toaster that tells you it’ll make the toast darker — does nothing. (Doubly useless: complaining about complaining, which is what I’m doing here.) Blah blah blah, publishing, blah blah blah, Amazon, blah blah blah Hollywood. Stop boo-hooing. Don’t like something? Fix it or forgive it. And move on to the next thing.


You hear a lot of blame going around — something-something gatekeepers, something-something too many self-published authors, something-something agency model. You’re going to own your successes, and that means you’re also going to need to own your errors. This career is yours. Yes, sometimes external factors will step in your way, but it’s up to you how to react. Fuck blame. Roll around in responsibility like a dog rolling around in an elk miscarriage. Which, for the record, is something I’ve had a dog do, sooooo. Yeah. It was, uhhh, pretty nasty. Also: “Elk Miscarriage” is the name of my indie band.


Writers are often ashamed at who they are and what they do. Other people are out there fighting wars and fixing cars and destroying our country with poisonous loans — and here we are, sitting around in our footy-pajamas, writing about vampires and unicorns, about broken hearts and shattered jaws. A lot of the time we won’t get much respect, but you know what? Fuck that. Take the respect. Writers and storytellers help make this world go around. We’re just as much a part of the societal ecosystem as anybody else. Craft counts. Art matters. Stories are important. Freeze-frame high-five. Now have a beer and a shot of whisky and shove all your shame in a bag andburn it.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you fucked up somewhere along the way. Who gives a donkey’s duodenum? Shit happens. Shit washes off. Don’t dwell. Don’t sing lamentations to your errors. Repeat after me: learn and move on. Very few mistakes will haunt you till your end of days unless you let ithaunt you. That is, unless your error was so egregious it can never be forgotten (“I wore a Hitler outfit as I went to every major publishing house in New York City and took a poop in every editor’s desk drawer over the holiday. Also, I may have put it on Youtube and sent it toGalleycat. So… there’s that”).


Let 2012 be the year of the risk. Nobody knows what’s going on in the publishing industry, but we can be damn sure that what’s going on with authors is that we’re finding new ways to be empowered in this New Media Future, Motherfuckers (hereby known as NMFMF). What that means is, it’s time to forget the old rules. Time to start questioning preconceived notions and established conventions. It’s time to start taking some risks both in your career and in your storytelling. Throw open the doors. Kick down the walls of your uncomfortable box. Carpet bomb the Comfort Zone so that none other may dwell there.


ALL THAT out there? All the industry shit and the reviews and the Amazonian business practices? The economy? The readers? You can’t control any of that. You can respond to it. You can try to get ahead of it. But you can’t control it. Control what you can, which is your writing and the management of your career.


Diversification is the name of survival for all creatures: genetics relies on diversification. (Says the guy with no science background and little interest in Googling that idea to see if it holds any water at all.) Things are changing big in these next few years, from the rise of e-books to the collapse of traditional markets to the the galactic threat of Mecha-Gaiman. Diversity of form, format and genre will help ensure you stay alive in the coming entirely-made-up Pubpocalypse.


To be clear, I don’t mean, “stop writing for specific markets.” That’s silly advice. If you want to write for the Ladies’ Home Journal, well, that’s writing for a specific market. What I mean is, stop writing for The Market, capital T-M. The Market is an unknowable entity based on sales trends and educated guess-work and some kind of publishing haruspicy (at Penguin, they sacrifice actual penguins — true story!). Writing a novel takes long enough that writing for the market is a doomed mission, a leap into a dark chasm with the hopes that someone will build a bridge there before you fall through empty space. Which leads me to –


Set the trends. Don’t chase them like a dog chasing a Buick. Trends offer artists a series of diminishing returns — every iteration of a trend after the first is weaker than the last, as if each repetition is another ice cube plunked into a once strong glass of Scotch. You’re just watering it down, man. Don’t be a knock-off purse, a serial killer copycat, or just another fantasy echo of Tolkien. Do your own thing.


They’re going to do what they’re going to do. You’re not them. You don’t want to be them and they don’t want to be you. Why do what everyone else is doing? Let me reiterate: do your own thing.


Know the industry, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. The mortal man cannot change the weave and weft of cosmic forces; they are outside you. Examine the publishing industry too closely and it will ejaculate its demon ichor in your eye. And then you’ll have to go to the eye doctor and he’ll be all like, “You were staring too long at the publishing industry again, weren’t you?” And you’re like, “YES, fine,” and he’s like, “Well, I have drops for that, but they’ll cost you,” and you get out your checkbook and ask him how many zeroes you should fill in because you’re a writer and don’t have health care. *sob*


You’ll hear that. “I don’t think this can sell.” And shit, you know what? That might be right. Just the same — I’d bet that all the stories you remember, all the tales that came out of nowhere and kicked you in the junk drawer with their sheer possibility and potential, were stories that were once flagged with the “this won’t sell” moniker. You’ll always find someone to tell you what you can’t do. What you shouldn’t do. That’s your job as a writer to prove them wrong. By sticking your fountain pen in their neck and drinking their blood. …uhh. I mean, “by writing the best damn story you can write.” That’s what I mean. That other thing was, you know. It was just metaphor. Totally. *hides inkwell filled with human blood*


We want to do everything all at once. Grand plans! Sweeping gestures! Epic 23-book fantasy cycles! Don’t overreach. Concentrate on what you can complete. Temper risk with reality.


You are your stories and your stories are you. Who you are matters. Your experiences and feelings and opinions count. Put yourself on every page: a smear of heartsblood. If we cannot connect with our own stories, how can we expect anybody else to find that connection?


Fuck dreaming. Start doing. Dreams are great — uh, for children. Dreams are intangible and uncertain looks into the future. Dreams are fanciful flights of improbability — pegasus wishes and the hopes of lonely robots. You’re an adult, now. It’s time to shit or get off the pot. It’s time to wake up or stay dreaming. Let me say it again because I am nothing if not a fan of repetition:Fuck dreaming. Start doing.


Fear will kill you dead. You’ve nothing to be afraid of that a little preparation and pragmatism cannot kill. Everybody who wanted to be a writer and didn’t become one failed based on one of two critical reasons: one, they were lazy, or two, they were afraid. Let’s take for granted you’re not lazy. That means you’re afraid. Fear is nonsense. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to be eaten by tigers? Life will afford you lots of reasons to be afraid: bees, kidnappers, terrorism, being chewed apart by an escalator, Republicans, Snooki. But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year.


Famous Doctor victim of framed suicide.

Dr. Jeff Bradstreet helped families whose children were damaged by immunizations.

A prominent autism researcher and vaccine opponent was found dead floating in a North Carolina river last week under what are suspicious circumstances.

A fisherman found the body of Dr. James Jeffery Bradstreet in the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, last Friday afternoon.
“Bradstreet had a gunshot wound to the chest, which appeared to be self inflicted, according to deputies,” reported WHNS.

LOL! "appeared to be self inflicted"... Idiots.

In a press release, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office announced, “Divers from the Henderson County Rescue Squad responded to the scene and recovered a handgun from the river.”

An investigation into the death is ongoing, and the results of an autopsy are also reportedly forthcoming.

Help bring the killer to justice for this medical hero -

Dr. Bradstreet ran a private practice in Buford, Georgia, which focused on “treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PPD, and related neurological and developmental disorders.”

Among various remedies, Dr. Bradstreet’s Wellness Center reportedly carried out “mercury toxicity” treatments, believing the heavy metal to be a leading factor in the development of childhood autism.

Dr. Bradstreet undertook the effort to pinpoint the cause of the disease after his own child developed the ailment following routine vaccination.

“Autism taught me more about medicine than medical school did,” the doctor once stated at a conference, according to the Epoch Times’ Jake Crosby.

In addition to treating patients, Bradstreet has also offered expert testimony in federal court on behalf of vaccine-injured families and was founder and president of the International Child Development Resource Center, which at one time employed the much-scorned autism expert Dr. Andrew Wakefield as “research director.”

The circumstances surrounding Bradstreet’s death are made all the more curious by a recent multi-agency raid led by the FDA on his offices.

“The FDA has yet to reveal why agents searched the office of the doctor, reportedly a former pastor who has been controversial for well over a decade,” reported the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Social media pages dedicated to Bradstreet’s memory are filled with comments from families who say the deceased doctor impacted their lives for the better.
“Dr. Bradstreet was my son’s doctor after my son was diagnosed with autism. He worked miracles,” one Facebook user states. “At 16, my son is now looking at a normal life thanks to him. I thank him every day.”

“I will forever be grateful and thankful for Dr. Bradstreet recovering my son… from autism,” another person writes. “Treatments have changed my son’s life so that he can grow up and live a normal healthy life. Dr. Bradstreet will be missed greatly!”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up by one of Bradstreet’s family members seeking “To find the answers to the many questions leading up to the death of Dr Bradstreet, including an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of foul play.”

Despite his family requesting the public refrain from speculation, many are nevertheless concluding the doctor’s death to be part of a conspiracy.
“Self-inflicted? In the chest? I’m not buying this,” one person in the WHNS comments thread states. “This was a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals of all kinds. This was a religious man with a thriving medical practice. Sorry, but this stinks of murder and cover-up.”
Another commentor had a more definitive conjecture:

“He did NOT kill himself! He was murdered for who he was speaking against, what he knew, and what he was doing about it. He was brilliant kind compassionate doctor with amazing abilities to heal. He was taken. Stopped. Silenced. Why would a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals and could die peacefully shoot himself in the chest???? And throw himself in a river?? THIS IS OBVIOUS! MURDER!!”

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Bradstreet are still pending at the Cecil M. Burton funeral home in Shelby, Georgia.

Jurassic Park by HudsonFilm (2002)

Star Wars Machete

Brace your­selves, what follows is an amaz­ingly long blog post about Star Wars.
I'm not a huge fan of the various mod­i­fi­ca­tions made to the orig­i­nal Star Wars trilogy, so it's rea­son­able to assume I'm not a big fan of the prequel trilogy either. There are many people who dislike the prequel trilogy so much that they don't even con­sider watch­ing them. On bad days, I'm one of those people, but on good days I see some value in the prequel trilogy, even though I con­sider them in­fe­rior in vir­tu­ally every way.

For people that couldn't care less about the prequel trilogy, I suggestHarmy's De­spe­cial­ized Edi­tions. They are 720p blu-ray discs (AVCHD discs ac­tu­ally) that are the result of "Harmy" from The Orig­i­nal Trilogy forums painstak­ingly re­con­struct­ing the the­atri­cal re­leases of all three films uti­liz­ing a wide variety of video sources as well as custom mattes. Down­load­ing, burning, la­bel­ing, and print­ing cases for these films is one of the neck­beardi­est things I've done (aside from writing this blog post), and I'm ex­tremely glad I did it. When I feel like watch­ing Star Wars for just me, these are the ones I watch. If that's enough for you as well, stop reading now.

Harmy, King of the Nerds!
But what can you do if you do wish to involve the prequel trilogy? Maybe you're showing the films to a younger crowd that won't be able to ap­pre­ci­ate and enjoy films with dis­tract­ingly dated special effects. Maybe you don't want to spend the effort to down­load and burn your own discs, and pur­chas­ing the of­fi­cial Blu-rays is fine for you. Maybe you've ac­cepted that the orig­i­nal the­atri­cal edi­tions are no longer con­sid­ered canon, and you're a nerd that cares about things like that. Hell, maybe you ac­tu­ally like the pre­quels (se­ri­ously?).

What­ever your reason, if you are showing someone the of­fi­cial edi­tions of Star Wars for the first time (no Phantom Edits), you have to make a de­ci­sion about which order to show the films.

Two Options

There are two obvious options for watch­ing the Star Wars saga.
  • Release Order - Watch the films in the order they came out, recre­at­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence with the films for someone new to them.
  • Episode Order - Watch the films in the order George Lucas intends, start­ing with Episode I and going straight through to Episode VI
There are two crit­i­cal flaws with both of these orders, un­for­tu­nately, that prevent either from being ap­pro­pri­ate.
The problem with Episode Order is that it ruins the sur­prise that Vader is Luke's father. If you think that this reveal doesn't matter since it's common knowl­edge, I suggest you watch thelooks on these kids' faces. This reveal is one of the most shock­ing in film history, and if a new­comer to the series has managed to avoid having it spoiled for them, watch­ing the films in Episode Order would be like watch­ing the ending of The Sixth Sense first.

The other problem with Episode Order is that the pre­quels don't really have a story. They're just back­ground for the real story, which is Luke's attempt to destroy the Empire and save his father. Watch­ing 3 films of back­story is boring if you've never seen the films they're the back­ground to. Hell, that's why George Lucas made A New Hope first, he knew if he started with Episode I he'd never be able to com­plete the series. Start­ing someone off with Episode I is a sure­fire way to ensure they don't make it through the entire fran­chise.

Un­for­tu­nately, Release Order is also an instant failure, and the reason is a single shot. If you're watch­ing the orig­i­nal trilogy first, then after the Empire is de­stroyed and every­one is cel­e­brat­ing, Luke looks over at his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda, and sud­denly they are joined by... some random creepy looking teenager who needs a haircut. Placing Hayden Chris­tensen in the ending of Jedi, since he's not in ANY of the other films, turns an ending that should be cel­e­bra­tory into one that is con­fus­ing for the viewer. The fact that Chris­tensen looks like he's un­dress­ing someone with his eyes doesn't help.
So neither order really works. What to do?

An Al­ter­na­tive Sug­ges­tion

How can you ensure that a viewing keeps the Vader reveal a sur­prise, while in­tro­duc­ing young Anakin before the end of Return of the Jedi?

Simple, watch them in this order: IV, V, I, II, III, VI.

George Lucas be­lieves that Star Wars is the story of Anakin Sky­walker, but it is not. The pre­quels, which es­tab­lish his char­ac­ter, are so poor at being char­ac­ter-dri­ven that, if the series is about Anakin, the entire series is a failure. Anakin is not a re­lat­able char­ac­ter, Luke is.

This al­ter­na­tive order (which a com­menter has pointed out is called Ernst Rister order) inserts the prequel trilogy into the middle, al­low­ing the series to end on the sen­si­ble ending point (the de­struc­tion of the Empire) while still be­gin­ning with Luke's journey.

Ef­fec­tively, this order keeps the story Luke's tale. Just when Luke is left with the burning ques­tion "how did my father become Darth Vader?" we take an ex­tended flash­back to explain exactly how. Once we un­der­stand how his father turned to the dark side, we go back to the main sto­ry­line and see how Luke is able to rescue him from it and salvage the good in him.

The prequel back­story comes at the perfect time, because Empire Strikes Back ends on a huge cliffhanger. Han is in car­bonite, Vader is Luke's father, and the Empire has hit the re­bel­lion hard. De­lay­ing the res­o­lu­tion of this cliffhanger makes it all the more sat­is­fy­ing when Return of the Jedi is watched.

Nar­ra­tively, it's just like a movie that starts with a big opening, then fades to "2 years earlier" for most of the movie, until it catches up with the present time and con­cludes.

In­tro­duc­ing: Machete Order

Now I'd like to modify this into what I've named Machete Order on the off chance that this catches on because I'm a vain asshole.

Next time you want to in­tro­duce someone to Star Wars for the first time, watch the films with them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI

Notice some­thing? Yeah, Episode I is gone.

Episodes II and III aren't exactly Shake­speare, but stand­ing next to the com­plete and utter train­wreck that is Episode I, they sure look like it. At least, III does anyway.

Episode I is a failure on every pos­si­ble level. The acting, writing, di­rect­ing, and special effects are all atro­cious, and the movie is just plain boring. Luckily, George Lucas has done every­one a favor by making the content of Episode I com­pletely ir­rel­e­vant to the rest of the series. Se­ri­ously, think about it for a minute. Name as many things as you can that happen in Episode I and ac­tu­ally help flesh out the story in any sub­se­quent episode. I can only think of one thing, which I'll mention later.

Every char­ac­ter es­tab­lished in Episode I is either killed or removed before it ends (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, Chan­cel­lor Valorum), unim­por­tant (Nute Gunray, Watto), or es­tab­lished better in a later episode (Mace Windu, Darth Sidious). Does it ever matter that Pal­pa­tine had an ap­pren­tice before Count Dooku? Nope, Darth Maul is killed by the end of Episode I and never ref­er­enced again. You may as well just start with the as­sump­tion that Dooku was the only ap­pren­tice. Does it ever matter that Obi-Wan was being trained by Qui-Gon? Nope, Obi-Wan is well into train­ing Anakin at the start of Episode II, Qui-Gon is com­pletely ir­rel­e­vant.

Search your feel­ings, you know it to be true! Episode I doesn't matter at all. You can start the pre­quels with Episode II and miss ab­solutely nothing. The opening crawl of Episode II es­tab­lishes every­thing you need to know about the pre­quels: a bunch of systems want to leave the Re­pub­lic, they are led by Count Dooku, and Senator Amidala is a senator who is going to vote on whether the Re­pub­lic is going to create an army. Natalie Portman is called Senator Amidala twice in the first 4 minutes of the movie, so there's no ques­tion of who's who.

What Gets Removed?

Here's some stuff that you no longer have to see as part of your Star Wars viewing ex­pe­ri­ence, thanks to skip­ping Episode I.

Buh-bye, Binks!

  • Vir­tu­ally no Jar-Jar. Jar-Jar has about 5 lines in Episode II, and zero in Episode III.
  • No midichlo­ri­ans. There is only one ref­er­ence to midichlo­ri­ans after Episode I, and in the context it appears to mean some­thing as benign as "DNA."
  • No Jake Lloyd. Sorry Jake, your acting is ter­ri­ble and I never really wanted to see Darth Vader as a little boy.
  • No con­fus­ing Padme/Queen switcheroo. The whole subplot with Padme and her decoy makes ab­solutely no sense. It's clear that this was just so people could in­ter­act with Padme without knowing she was the Queen, but it's in­cred­i­bly con­vo­luted and point­less.
  • Less con­fus­ing master/ap­pren­tice re­la­tion­ships. Darth Sidious is train­ing Count Dooku, Obi-Wan is train­ing Anakin. No other trainer/trainee re­la­tion­ships exist to confuse the back­story. Fewer char­ac­ters to learn about, so the story is more focused.
  • Nothing about trade dis­putes. The "problem" as of Episode II is that a group of systems want to leave the Re­pub­lic. This is much easier to un­der­stand for a kid than trade dis­putes.
  • No pod racing. Se­ri­ously, who gives a shit? An action se­quence for the sake of an action se­quence and it goes on forever. A huge number of plot holes sur­round­ing gam­bling and the sub­se­quent freeing of Anakin are removed as well.
  • No virgin birth. We simply don't know or care who Anakin's father is, and the subtle im­pli­ca­tion that it's Pal­pa­tine is gone.
But booting Episode I isn't merely about pre­tend­ing a crappy movie doesn't exist. Viewing Episode II im­me­di­ately after V and Episode III im­me­di­ately before VI ac­tu­ally tells the story better than in­clud­ing Episode I does.

Why Does This Work Better?

As I men­tioned, this creates a lot of tension after the cliffhanger ending of Episode V. It also uses the orig­i­nal trilogy as a framing device for the prequel trilogy. Vader drops this huge bomb that he's Luke's father, then we spend two movies proving he's telling the truth, then we see how it gets re­solved. The Star Wars watch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence gets to start with the film that does the best job of es­tab­lish­ing the Star Wars uni­verse, Episode IV, and it ends with the most sat­is­fy­ing ending, Episode VI. It also starts the series off with the two strongest films, and allows you to never have to either start or end your viewing ex­pe­ri­ence with a shitty movie. Two films of Luke's story, two films of Anakin's story, then a single film that in­ter­twines and ends both stories.

Beyond this, Episode I es­tab­lishes Anakin as a cute little kid, totally in­no­cent. But Episode II quickly es­tab­lishes him as im­pul­sive and power-hun­gry, which keeps his char­ac­ter con­sis­tent with even­tu­ally be­com­ing Darth Vader. Obi-Wan never really seems to have any control over Anakin, strug­gling between treat­ing him as a friend (their very first con­ver­sa­tion to­gether in Episode II) and treat­ing him as an ap­pren­tice (their second con­ver­sa­tion, with Padme). Anakin is never a care­free child yelling "yippee", he's a complex teenager nearly boiling over with rage in almost every scene. It makes much more sense for Anakin to have always been this way.

In the opening of Episode II, Padme refers to Anakin as "that little boy I knew on Tatooine." The two of them look ap­prox­i­mately the same age in Episode II, so the viewer can nat­u­rally con­clude that the two of them were friends as chil­dren. This com­pletely hides the totally weird age gap between them from Episode I, and lends a lot of be­liev­abil­ity to the sub­se­quent romance. Scenes in which they fall for each other seem to build on a child­hood friend­ship that we never see but can assume is there. Since their re­la­tion­ship is the even­tual reason for Anakin's fall to the dark side, having it be some­what be­liev­able makes a big dif­fer­ence.

Obi-Wan now always has a beard for the entire du­ra­tion of the series, and Anakin Sky­walker always wears black. Since these two char­ac­ters are played by dif­fer­ent actors (and are the only char­ac­ters in the series with such a dis­tinc­tion), having them look vi­su­ally con­sis­tent does a great deal toward re­in­forc­ing they are the same people.

This order also pre­serves both twists. George Lucas knew that watch­ing the films in Episode Order would remove the Vader twist, so he added the Pal­pa­tine twist to com­pen­sate. Since we don't really meet the Emperor until Episode VI (you only see him for one scene, in holo­gram, in V), this order pre­serves the twist around Pal­pa­tine taking over as Emperor. Episode I es­tab­lishes that Darth Sidious is ma­nip­u­lat­ing the Trade Fed­er­a­tion in the opening scene of the film, and it's pretty obvious Sidious is Pal­pa­tine. But if you skip Episode I, all we ever see is that Count Dooku is leading a sep­a­ratist move­ment, all on his own. Dooku tells Obi-Wan that the Senate is under the control of a Sith lord named "Darth Sidious", but at the end of the movie, after Dooku flees from Geono­sis, he meets with his "master", who turns out to be Darth Sidious. This is the first time we realize that the sep­a­ratist move­ment is ac­tu­ally being con­trolled by Sidious, and it's the first time we see him, which doesn't give the au­di­ence a chance to realize he's Pal­pa­tine (re­mem­ber, nobody has ever re­ferred to "Emperor Pal­pa­tine" by this point in the series).

Machete order also keeps the fact that Luke and Leia are sib­lings a sur­prise, it simply moves the sur­prise to Episode III instead of VI, when Padme an­nounces her daugh­ter's name. This is ac­tu­ally a more ef­fec­tive twist in this context than when Obi-Wan just tells Luke in Return of the Jedi. We get to find out before Luke, and we dis­cover she's car­ry­ing twins along with Obi-Wan when the Gynobot tells him. Luke's name is first, so when Padme names the other kid "Leia" it's a pretty shock­ing reveal. As an added bonus, there are now about 5 hours of film between the dis­cov­ery that they are sib­lings and the time they kissed.

Update: Den of Geek has also written up an article high­light­ing some more things that work better in Machete Order that I didn't mention. I par­tic­u­larly like the extra di­men­sion it gives Yoda.

What Works Best?

Best of all, this order ac­tu­ally makes a par­tic­u­lar tension in Return of the Jedi stronger.

Re­mem­ber, we see in Episode V that Luke's vision in the cave on Degobah is that he turns into Darth Vader, then we find out Vader is his father. Then we watch Episodes II and III, in which his father turns to the dark side in order to protect his loved ones. After that we go back to VI, where even­tu­ally Luke con­fronts the Emperor.

Re­mem­ber that we never saw Anakin as a little kid, he's about the same age the first time we see him as Luke was in Episode VI. Hayden Chris­tensen's in­ces­sant whining in Episode II is ac­tu­ally less an­noy­ing now, because it's helping to link the char­ac­ter to Luke, who was just as whiny in Episode IV. In other words, because we skipped Episode I, the par­al­lels between Luke and Anakin are much stronger. We've seen Obi-Wan train just the two of them, and never had to see anyone train­ing Obi-Wan himself. The viewer is nat­u­rally linking the paths of these two char­ac­ters to­gether at this point.

The first time we see Luke in Return of the Jedi, he's wearing all-black, just like his father did. He gives R2D2 and C-3P0 to Jabba the Hutt, much to their sur­prise. Luke isn't exactly looking like a clean-cut Jedi like he claims. Then, when he finally enters Jabba's palace, the musical cue sounds a bit like the Im­pe­r­ial March, and the way he enters with the light behind him makes it unclear if he is Luke or Vader. Then, he force chokes Jabba's guards, some­thing only Vader has done in the series! Nobody else sees him do this.

When he con­fronts Jabba, he warns him that he's taking his friends back. He says Jabba can either profit from this, "or be de­stroyed." Fur­ther­more, he tells Jabba "not to un­der­es­ti­mate my power." The last time this phrase was used, it was by Anakin when dueling Obi-Wan. When watch­ing Jedi on its own, Luke just seems a tad ar­ro­gant during these scenes. When watch­ing Jedi im­me­di­ately after watch­ing Revenge of the Sith, the message is clear: Luke Sky­walker is on the path to the Dark Side.

Why does this matter? Because at the end of Jedi, Luke con­fronts the Emperor. The Emperor ex­plains that the assault on the new Death Star is a trap and that his friends are going to die, and he keeps taunt­ing Luke, telling him to grab his lightsaber and fight him. The film is trying to create a tension that Luke might embrace the Dark Side, but it was never really be­liev­able. However, within the context of him fol­low­ing in his father's foot­steps and his father using the power of the dark side to save people, with Luke's friends being killed just outside the Death Star window, this is much more be­liev­able.

Shortly after, Luke goes apeshit and beats the hell out of Vader, clearly suc­cumb­ing to his anger. He over­pow­ers Vader with rage and cuts his arm off, just like Anakin did to Windu in Episode III. Having the very real threat of Luke fol­low­ing in his father's path made clear by watch­ing II and III before VI height­ens the tension of this scene, and it ac­tu­ally makes Return of the Jedi better. Yes, watch­ing Revenge of the Sith makes Return of the Jedi a better, more ef­fec­tive film. Con­sid­er­ing it's the weakest of the orig­i­nal trilogy films, this im­prove­ment is welcome.

What Doesn't Work Better?

Machete Order isn't perfect. There are a few tiny issues that arise watch­ing the films in this order.
The Kamino se­quence is a little con­fus­ing. Since the cloners seem to have been "ex­pect­ing" Kenobi, it leads the viewer to wonder if Episode I showed him cre­at­ing the clone army or some­thing. Hi­lar­i­ously, Episode I doesn't ac­tu­ally explain any­thing or make this scene less mis­lead­ing, but the fact that the viewer knows a movie got skipped am­pli­fies the con­fu­sion.

Qui-Gon is men­tioned once in Episode II and once in Episode III. Luckily, both times he is men­tioned, his re­la­tion­ship to the char­ac­ters is re­stated, so it works. Dooku ex­plains that Obi-Wan's old master Qui-Gon was once Dooku's ap­pren­tice, and then in Episode III Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon has learned to com­mu­ni­cate after death. It's alright, just a little weird.

Episodes II and III both talk about Anakin being part of a prophecy which is never really ex­plained (because it was ex­plained in Episode I). This is un­for­tu­nate, but on the plus side the last time it's men­tioned in Episode III, Yoda says it may have been mis­in­ter­preted.

The weakest part of this order is when Anakin returns to Tatooine. We don't know his mother is a slave, and we don't know he built C-3P0. When he has visions of his mother dying and returns, Watto says he sold her. That's not some­thing you expect to hear about a Jedi's mother, so it's a bit jarring. When Anakin goes to the Lars mois­ture farm, Three­pio calls him "the maker" and they act like they know each other, but it's not stated out­right that Anakin created Three­pio. This def­i­nitely draws at­ten­tion to the fact that one of the films was skipped. This is the one, sin­gu­lar thing made gen­uinely more con­fus­ing by skip­ping Episode I.

Give It A Shot

You might be won­der­ing if it's worth skip­ping II and only watch­ing III, just to es­tab­lish young Anakin in time for Jedi. I don't rec­om­mend this, every char­ac­ter you need to know for Episode III who was in­tro­duced in Episode I is rein­tro­duced in Episode II with a quick line of di­a­logue, but Episode III just assumes you know who every­one is. Ham-handed as it is, Anakin's love for Padme is the ul­ti­mate reason for his fall to the dark side, and Episode II has most of that. Ad­di­tion­ally, without seeing the Clone Army being created in Episode II, seeing the Jedi fight along­side them in III would be ex­tremely con­fus­ing, since they look almost exactly like Stormtroop­ers in III.

Machete Order doesn't even in­ter­fere with canon - every­thing that happens in Episode I is still canon­i­cally com­pat­i­ble with this or­der­ing, we simply don't watch it as part of the main saga.

I've tried clear­ing my brain out and watch­ing the films in this order and it makes the overall ex­pe­ri­ence vastly more en­joy­able. If you find someone who has never seen any Star Wars movies, try showing them the films in this order and post a comment ex­plain­ing any par­tic­u­lar points of con­fu­sion they had while watch­ing. My hunch is there won't be many, if any at all.


I re­cently dis­cov­ered my col­lege-aged brother-in-law's girl­friend had never seen any Star Wars films and wanted to watch them all over winter break. Armed with the new Blu-rays, we all went about watch­ing them, and I showed them in Machete Order. It ac­tu­ally works even better than I orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated - it's almost as if this is somehow the in­tented order. There's a great pattern here, taking the viewer on a series of emo­tional ups and downs. IV ends with a victory that seems to have some sin­is­ter un­der­tones, then V is dark and un­re­solved with a cliffhanger, II ends with victory with sin­is­ter un­der­tones, then III is dark and un­re­solved with a cliffhanger again. It works in­cred­i­bly well, and when III ended every­one de­manded we im­me­di­ately watch VI to see how every­thing gets tied up.

Perhaps most im­por­tantly, the flaws with Machete Order seem to not be prob­lem­atic at all. When Anakin re­turned to Tatooine in II, the con­ver­sa­tion with Watto im­me­di­ately in­di­cated to her that Anakin's mother was a slave. She asked why Anakin never went back to free her after be­com­ing a Jedi, but Episode I doesn't really provide an answer to that.

The thing she had the most trouble with was when Leia and Luke are talking in ROTJ, and she talks about how she re­mem­bers her mother, her "real mother" (so Leia clearly knows she's adopted). With a few movies between III and VI, one might forget about this line, but watch­ing VI right after III made her stop and ask "wait, what? How does she re­mem­ber her mother?" She found herself sim­i­larly both­ered by R2D2 having a jetpack in the pre­quels but not the other films, and all I could tell her was "yeah, it bugs me too."

I asked her if she found Jar-Jar an­noy­ing and she asked "who's Jar Jar?" - Mission ac­com­plished.

Watch­ing Episode I

Episode I has some re­deemable moments, such as the tension in the final duel after Qui-Gon is killed, and for some reason people seem to really enjoy the pod race (I hated it). Ar­guably, Episode II is worse than I.

The reason to remove I isn't just that it's bad, it's that the overall story arc of the saga, which is Luke's dis­cov­ery of his Jedi lineage, his train­ing to be the last of the Jedi, his temp­ta­tion at fol­low­ing the path of Anakin, and ul­ti­mately his over­com­ing that temp­ta­tion and re­deem­ing his father, is told BETTER by in­clud­ing II and III, whereas I serves to dis­tract from this main arc.

As such, some people may want to watch Episode I after all. As some com­menters have pointed out, there is still a place to watch Episode I with this order. The ideal place is after the "main saga" of IV, V, II, III, VI is com­plete. Not im­me­di­ately after, but like "okay, Star Wars is over, but there's some other stuff you can watch that takes place in the same galaxy with some of the same people."

Similar to the An­i­ma­trix, which can be watched at any time after the first one, the col­lec­tion of Episode I, the Clone Wars cartoon series, the Clone Wars CGI series, a number of video games, and the Clone Wars movie can all be pre­sented as part of a col­lec­tion of "extra stuff, made for kids". In this context, Episode I can be con­tex­tu­al­ized as a stand­alone prequel to the main saga.

It's not part of the main viewing, but more like an ex­panded uni­verse kind of thing, like playing a video game or reading a Star Wars comic book or novel. I think this is a pretty good idea if you really really want to include Episode I. Per­son­ally I don't think I'll be doing this, as I really don't like the pod race or even Darth Maul, but the option is there.

Re­sponse: The Qui-Gon Issue

The most common com­plaint about Machete Order, by far, is that it elim­i­nates Qui-Gon, and he's im­por­tant (or that his lightsaber battle is "cool"). Since this is so common, I thought I'd respond to it in this very post. Because it's just not long enough, right?

The ar­gu­ment goes, Qui-Gon is ex­tremely im­por­tant, because it's his intense desire to train Anakin that Obi-Wan feels re­spon­si­ble to con­tinue when Qui-Gon dies. Obi-Wan wasn't truly ready to be a teacher, so as a result Anakin is poorly trained and that's why he's so sus­cep­ti­ble to the dark side. In this way, Qui-Gon "may ar­guably be the most im­por­tant char­ac­ter of the whole series" (this is a direct quote from a comment).

People who make this ar­gu­ment say that the saga is only un­der­stand­able with Episode 1 in­cluded. I dis­agree, and I think it's easy to il­lus­trate why.

Imagine for a second that George Lucas re­leases an Episode 0. In Episode 0, we see that Qui-Gon moves away from his family's home on Blah­tooine, leaving behind his sister and mother to go become a Jedi. After many years, he returns home to visit his family and dis­cov­ers they have new neigh­bors. One of the neigh­bors is a young boy who seems to have some degree of force sen­si­tiv­ity. He asks Qui-Gon if he is a Jedi and says he wants to be a Jedi too, but Qui-Gon tells him that he's too old to begin train­ing, and rules are rules.

Fast forward a few years and the neigh­bor kid has become quite adept at force ma­nip­u­la­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, with no formal train­ing he cannot really control his powers, and ac­ci­den­tally kills his family, as well as his neigh­bors -- in­clud­ing Qui-Gon's mother and sister -- and himself. Qui-Gon returns to his home to find his family dead, and blames this on the Jedi order's pro­hi­bi­tions against train­ing older chil­dren. Qui-Gon argues to Yoda that, if the boy had been able to receive train­ing, his family would still be alive.

Now, when we watch Episode 1, we have a new answer to a "why" ques­tion, we un­der­stand why Qui-Gon so strongly wants to train Anakin. Episode 0 pro­vides ex­plana­tory power to the series. If someone wrote a blog post about a Machete Order Prime which is simply Episodes 1-6 in order, without Episode 0, you'd be forced to argue this order is un­ac­cept­able, because it com­pletely ignores the reason why Qui-Gon insists on train­ing Anakin. Machete Order Prime, by the very logic used to argue against Machete Order, is not ac­cept­able. And yet, it's the EXACT order we are cur­rently faced with when we include Episode 1.

This can go back forever. Episode -1 comes out and shows why the young force sen­si­tive child and his family had to move away from their home and go to Blah­tooine, because the parents lost their job at the cor­po­rate Mois­ture Farm or some­thing. Episode -2 comes out and ex­plains why the Mois­ture Farm had to cut ex­penses that led to the firing or what­ever.

The fact of the matter is, we don't really need to un­der­stand WHY Anakin is even sus­cep­ti­ble to the dark side. In fact, it makes him more sym­pa­thetic if the reason is simply "it's tempt­ing" or "to save his wife". But we're ac­tu­ally given the why in the el­e­va­tor scene in Episode II - Obi-Wan is a shitty teacher who has no control over Anakin and who Anakin sees himself as better than. Qui-Gon only pro­vides an answer to "why is Obi-Wan so un­pre­pared to have a Padawan?", but at what point are you so far away from the central char­ac­ters that the why's stop mat­ter­ing? Every­thing that happens has some kind of cause, and at some point those causes happen off-screen, in pre­quels that don't exist. Qui-Gon is two why's removed from what's in­ter­est­ing here, which is the reason it is com­pletely un­nec­es­sary and serves only to dis­tract from the central nar­ra­tive that Machete Order tries to em­pha­size.

Jurassic World is horrible

Boo. This movie was a waste of money. Unless you are a Godzilla fan, then it was a comedy about the smallest Godzilla baby and how he has fun with his friends.

But... Probably not. So...

"Blarrrr! I'm a Velociraptor!"

Your friends will go see it. You might go see it. You will love the twist at the end, but that's about it, and you will be left with a hollow and empty feeling inside.

Jurassic World relies heavily on nostalgia to sell the movie. There were no new concepts to add except perhaps Godzilla. The terrible acting, the wooden plots, the lame romance, even the bad guys were terrible.

The children in the film didn't click together, they did not establish an emotional bond with the audience. Neither did the mom and dad, who (What? Unresolved plot hole spoiler!) may have been going thru a divorce? We don't know, the makers of the movie didn't care about us enough to tell us...

But that aunt! Ohh! Hotness! But, not really. She never appeals to the masculine audience, who just want to strangle her at the end.

What about Chris Pratt? Yes. I think that there was one good thing to come out of this movie, and that was that I saw Chris Pratt play himself in a role that was meant for him.

What about the bad guys? InGen shows up and does a number in the film. I guess they just kind of run things? The owner doesn't even seem to know what to do with them.

And the owner and the chief scientist? Ugh. Don't get me started.

Speaking of the scientist... Let's talk about science? How random... Cuttlefish? LOL.

But what about all the nostalgia? Nope. The T-shirt was funny... NOTHING else worked.

So. What did I like about it? Nothing except Chris.

The movie may score in the 80's on Rotten Tomatoes, but there is no love for the movie from the critics. They are all scared of what their friends will think if they bash this film.

Remember Avatar? Yes? This movie is like that. Full of really flashy things with NO moral message behind it... EVEN THOUGH they talk a lot about morality, it is never addressed.

However, I guarantee that if you love your friends more than your own opinion, then you should just repeat what they tell you and say: "Er Meh Ger, It wuz Amazeng!"... But you will be wrong.

And here is the number one reason:

"Oh my God! The news about Godzilla being able to change colors and ignore heat sensors and show intelligence just so happens to be the exact day the investors, your nephews, the owner and the InGen guy are all visiting at once? And wait! The InGen guy has just revealed his secret military intentions for the Velociraptors? And you just told me that Godzilla escaped? How could this all happen at the exact same moment?"