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Minions: a movie review

Minions - Official Trailer 3 (HD) (Credit: Illumination Entertainment)Minions is the prequel to the Despicable Me movies and relates the story of how the little yellow creatures that served Gru throughout those films began their careers as criminals. The movie opens with a narrator describing how from the dawn of creation, the minions have sought only to serve the greatest villains of their time. While they are quite devoted to that cause, sadly they are also quite inept at it and, more often than not, they are responsible for the downfall of the one they aim to serve.

After once such blunder, in which they inadvertently sent Napoleon flying across the battlefield, they were forced to seek shelter in an abandoned cave. They took advantage of the opportunity to begin serving themselves rather than another. However, after a while, the lack of purpose inherent to being created to serve yet having no one to follow leads Kevin, Bob, and Stuart to go in search of a new villain for whom they might work.

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The World is Flat: a book review

The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Credit: Picador Publishing)The ancient Greek term metis is a type of practical knowledge or cunning that characterizes a person who has the ability to use this knowledge to respond to changing environments. More anecdotal and folksy than academic and forged in the fires of the scientific method, metis is sensitive to situations and flexible in response to the unexpected.

Utilizing his renowned metis, Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat is a long, observational reflection on globalization from the ground level. However, his metis disappoints academics and can at times frustrate the masses. The sequel to The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman argues that individuals, rather than governments or corporations, are agents of change that are employing a variety of methods to draw people around the world into more cooperation and competition. E-mail, computers, teleconferencing, and open-sourcing are but a few instruments that are flattening the world, for better and for worse.

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After Virtue: a book review

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theology, Third Edition (Credit: University of Notre Dame Press)Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue begins with a bang, quite figuratively. Part-Kirk Cameron Left Behind, part-Will Smith I Am Legend, MacIntyre depicts a scene where a catastrophe has taken place and little of the natural sciences are left. Fragments of terminology remain and people practice science without understanding, nevertheless that does not stop them from doing something. MacIntyre contends that this is our world with regards to morality. We live, move, and speak in an environment that has forsaken the past and operates in a vacuous present with an uncertain future.

In After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre expounds upon the deficiency of moral language born out of the Enlightenment. Myopic and individualistic, the language of the day is not grounded in an objective, historical narrative, but rather a subjective, ahistorical understanding. He believes that the solution is found in an Aristotelian posture that is objectively grounded, and historically rooted.

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The Righteous Mind: a book review

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Credit: Random House, Inc)You are encouraged to talk about your day, to discuss potential problems, and even reflect on future dreams, but there are two subjects you do not talk about at the dinner table: religion and politics. More divisive than JFK conspiracy theories and Kobe Bryant versus Michael Jordan hypothetical matchups, both religion and politics are issues on which individuals take strong positions. But nevertheless, this article will function as a review and not as endorsement. I will endorse Michael Jordan, I will stand behind the single shooter theory, and I will leave my political leanings out of this review.

Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion seeks to enrich the robust dialogue as to why we are such a divided nation when it pertains to views concerning religion and politics. Not necessarily trying to find solutions, though he does somewhat anemically at the end, but rather Haidt seeks to identify the characteristics that cause us to be so divided on these issues. As a social psychologist who teaches at the University of Virginia, Haidt endeavors to enrich our understanding of the human condition and argues from Humean perspective that we are more intuitional than logical.

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Inside Out: a movie review

Inside Out comes to US theatres in 3D on June 19, 2015. (Credit: Disney-Pixar via Youtube)Inside Out is the latest Disney Pixar movie from Oscar winning director Pete Doctor, best known for his work with other classics like Up, Monsters Inc., and the Toy Story movies. The film centers on the emotions that help to guide the life of a 12 year old girl named Riley. Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, is the predominant emotion and serves as the leader inside Riley's head. As a result, Riley is a very happy and relatively care-free girl who greatly enjoys her life in Minnesota. However, things take a turn when her family moves to San Francisco for her father's work.

In Minnesota, Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith from The Office, was a relatively marginalized part of Riley's subconscious. However, as the family moves, Sadness begins to play a growing role without either her or any of the others really understanding why. Her actions lead Joy to try even harder to maintain control and keep Riley happy. However, those efforts result in calamity when she and Sadness are accidentally sent to another part of Riley's mind. As a result, Fear, Disgust, and, primarily, Anger are left to try and guide her through the tumultuous experience of adjusting to a new school and a new life while Joy and Sadness try to make the difficult trip back.

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