DragonCon 2014 – Day 3

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Possibly the best thing about Day 3 was a respite from the crowds – other than in the Marriott.  It was also a busy day for panels.

The Right to Be Forgotten – This stems from a lawsuit in Spain whereupon a judge agreed with the plaintiff that past public information should, at some point, not be searchable on Google, who was the defendant.  The plaintiff had some past financial bankruptcies or similar which caused embarrassment a decade or more later.  The question was whether public records should be removed from easy public access, or whether the public had a right to know.

Presumably, this decision does not affect the ability by 3rd party companies to do background checks.  The information remains on record to be found, just not by searching someone’s name on the internet.  As a result, Google has employees who not manually choose what information to remove from their searches when individuals file appropriately.  The government gave no guidance as to what information or how they should do it, just that they should do it.

It begs interesting questions about removing links to newspapers or other public reports that mention these infractions.   The most obvious issue might be a public figure who drives while drunk, has an accident and leaves his companion to drown in the water, and later runs for public office.  The record is still out there, but not readily obtainable.

This is a separate issue than private information, such as personal photos or other information used without permission – the individual has rights against the author or site who post that information.  Google, here, is somehow made responsible.  A panelist mentioned Bing has started doing this as well, knowing that they will just get sued if they do not.  This applies to the EU only.  In the U.S., there a free market solution as companies can be hired to manage a person’s internet “background.”

Also, humorously, Google added a tagline when alterations had been made, essentially a note at the end of the first page along the lines of “Note: Some results have been removed due to the Right to be Forgotten.”

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Next up was the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings panel.  An amiable group, with the most interesting comments about meeting Christopher Lee for the first time and the beauty of filming in New Zealand.  Otherwise, Billy Boyd (“Pippin”) sang “The Edge of Night” upon request (from The Return of the King)as well, and the cavernous room was remarkably silent and respectful.

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Terry Gilliam – the Monty Python veteran and film producer, spoke at length about some of his movies, particularly his last one, Zero Theorem.   There were many fans of his films, which to most people fall under “cult favorites.”

His time to disconnect is to go to his home in Italy, where he enjoys sunsets and watching the swallows... which he then went on to suggest imagine being an insect.  The most beautiful time of day is suddenly a nightmare, with swallows diving to feed.  It’s the kind of dark humor that finds its way into his films.

He also offered up a story of directing Robin Williams in “The Fisher King.”  They were filming in NYC’s Central Park, when it rained.  So they went to a Chinese restaurant and filmed scenes until 4:30 a.m.  Everyone was worn out, and Williams suddenly started a 45 minute monologue that included jokes about every person in the cast and crew present, obviously a guy who didn’t hang out in isolation when not on set. 

Gilliam also has an interesting habit of chuckling after finishing his thoughts, whether a nervous habit, finding humor in himself, or a way of relating, I’m not sure.  In any case, rather than hide behind the desk, he moved to the front of the stage, taking questions directly from the audience and shaking their hands, no doubt a great experience for his fans.

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I then went to the Stargate panel, which had actors from many of the series.  I attended largely to see Louis Ferreira, who played Colonel Young in Stargate: Universe, the only series in the franchise that I liked... and which was cancelled after two seasons.  He has a reputation of being a joker, essentially the opposite of his character.  My wife saw in the previous day’s panel and found him hysterical.  For this panel, he was a no-show, said to probably be roaming the convention in a costume.

What was left was the usual Q&A, and if there was an exceptional moment, I don’t remember it.  Still entertaining, though.

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My next trek was to The Hierarchy of Black Holes, said to serve a purpose in the universe.  The room was filled.  So, I hiked to the Joss Whedon panel, which had Ron Glass (Firefly, Barney Miller), Amy Acker (DollHouse, Angel, Agents of SHIELD), and J. Angel Richards (Angel, Agents of SHIELD).

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Entertaining, once again, but sadly with nothing exceptional.

And, after dinner, was Adam Baldwin, with discussion largely centered on his new “hit” show, The Last Ship.

Baldwin entered as a spectacle, of sorts, with his KISS shirt, and promptly went about making it obvious that although he had never served in the military, both his character in the show and his personal interests fall squarely within “a man’s man” habits...  Conservative, cigars, beer, loyalty and fidelity.

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He interacted with the questioners in a very personal style, including a young woman from Alabama who managed to stammer “You’re actually real” before losing her ability to speak.  he called her forward, gave her some water and a hug, and forward we went.

Baldwin also got played.  A military officer asked him to tell his story about receiving a challenge coin, which, when presented, should be greeted by the other sailor’s coin else the next round is on them.

Baldwin happily told the story, then challenged the sailor for his.  He immediately bent down, and carried a six pack to the table.  This effectively concluded the panel.

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It was a great conclusion to the weekend.

Funny picture while waiting for the Baldwin panel to begin – the red circles are cell phones:

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All photos taken from the weekend can be seen HERE.

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