Pangolin by Michael Kutsche--concept art created for The Jungle Book.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
"The Giants are asking the city for millions of dollars in property tax refunds, claiming that the value of AT&T Park has dropped well below the $200 million that the team paid to build it 16 years ago — even as home prices in San Francisco have more than doubled during that time."
From the NYT: "Racecar drivers are packed in their seats like mail-order stemware. Heads are braced and supported, so necks don’t break and brains don’t ricochet against skulls. Danica Patrick can’t even look out the driver-side window and wink at the pit crew."
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Friday, May 27, 2016
"A trainer looks at a Panama Canal pilot maneuvering a miniature tugboat during a training day on the scale model maneuvering training facility of the Panama Canal, in the outskirts of Panama City, on May 25, 2016. The recently inaugurated scale training facility of the Panama Canal provides a realistic training and experience on maneuvering for Canal pilots and tugboat captains."
Posted by John at 10:08 AM
Posted by John at 9:54 AM
Thursday, May 26, 2016
From his newsletter:
I get loving superhero comics and I get following characters, believe me. And I love when I see people dressed as the Winter Soldier or shipping "Stucky" but I feel like way too many comic readers act almost like they're forced to buy Marvel and DC books, like it's a government program or something. It's not. There are plenty of great comics where the art is by the same people every issue, where there is never a fill-in issue or a reboot or a retcon.(His spy comic Velvet is excellent.)
1. "A 70-year-old Christian woman has been stripped naked, beaten and paraded through the streets by a mob of around 300 Muslim men in a village in southern Egypt."
2. Abandoned ship discovered to contain huge number of vintage arcade cabinets:
"Over time, the derelict ship started to rust, and became largely forgotten about, known only to locals as the beached ship by the coast. No one went there, no one cared. The owners stated they had no plans to sell. It was literally a metal tomb. And so it quietly sat, holding its cargo."3. Betty Bates, Lady-at-Law!
4. Madden and McFarlane are getting on the Skylanders bandwagon--the new McFarlane NFL figures come with codes to unlock players in Madden.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Los Angeles public school system has paid out $300 million in the last four years to abused students
"That theme, of missing warning signs, or of failing to take seriously when a parent or student complained about discomfort with a teacher, has surfaced repeatedly in recent years."
1. "Nick Denton plays the media like a tiny viola!"
Nick is a very canny media player. He has known it has been Thiel who has been funding Hulk for some time. (Recode more or less confirms this. )My guess is that he wanted the Times to say it was Thiel but they didn’t want to report the rumor. But the rumor was so good Andrew Ross Sorkin reported around it. And then Nick shopped around the hunch to other outlets, and Forbes of all places was able to confirm.2. Ebooks describing how to get rich quick by using Uber "Capture Drivers' Hope and Desperation"
3. Adidas "unveils new factory in Germany that will use machines to make shoes instead of humans in Asia"
Posted by John at 8:13 AM
"This search for niche groups led Subaru to the 3rd rail of marketing: They discovered that lesbians loved their cars. Lesbians liked their dependability and size, and even the name “Subaru.” They were four times more likely than the average consumer to buy a Subaru.
This was the type of discovery that the small, struggling automaker was looking for. But Subaru had been looking for niche groups like skiers and kayakers—not lesbian couples. Did the company want to make advertisements for gay customers? At the time, in the mid 1990s, few celebrities were openly out. A Democratic president had just passed 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell', and after IKEA aired one of the first major ad campaigns depicting a gay couple, someone had called in a bomb threat on an IKEA store."
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Okajima and her team are currently developing a satellite that would orbit the earth while carrying 500 – 1000 “source particles.” The chemical make-up of these particles are a well-guarded secret but would serve as the catalyst for the shooting star.The different chemicals would also be capable of generating different colors.
"We find that attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness, but..."
"We find that attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness, but this gap is reduced when controlling for grooming, suggesting that the beauty premium can be actively cultivated. Further, while both conventional wisdom and previous research suggest the importance of attractiveness might vary by gender, we find no gender differences in the attractiveness gradient. However, we do find that grooming accounts for the entire attractiveness premium for women, and only half of the premium for men."
Posted by John at 2:12 PM
Last November the G.I. Joe fans voted through the Hasbro Pulse to choose a brand-new figure for the 2016 lineup based on three eligible characters from the fan-created stories available on Kindle Worlds. There are over 100 unique fan-authored G.I. Joe stories available on Kindle Worlds, and the character Stiletto (from Bill Nedrow’s G.I. Joe: Body Count) was the fan-voted winner.
Senior designer John Violette took the character description from Nedrow’s story and got to work.
From a long essay by Film Critic Hulk:
THE VILLAINS ARE JUST OBSTACLES TO THE ENTERTAINMENT. SO THEY TAKE A BACK SEAT AND BECOME BORING FUDDY DUDDIES THAT THE HEROES CAN EFFECTIVELY MAKE FACES AT.
THE INSTINCT TO INTRODUCE THE INFINITY STONES IN EVERY MOVIE IS SUCH A WEIRD CONCEPT TO HULK. IT'S LIKE THEY WERE AFRAID TO INTRODUCE SOMETHING LIKE THE WEIRDNESS OF THE INFINITY GAUNTLET SO THEY JUST-HALF ASS A QUASI-INTRO EVERY MOVIE SO AUDIENCES GET USED TO IT / FEEL LIKE THEY'VE BEEN BUILDING TO SOMETHING. BUT BECAUSE THERE'S NO DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TESSERACT, THE AETHER, THE MINDSTONE, OR THE WHATEVER, IT JUST FEELS LIKE THE SAME EXACT FUCKING PLOT HAS BEEN DONE NINE TIMES NOW. THEY'RE ALL THE "VAGUELY POWERFUL OBJECT THAT CAN DESTROY THE WORLD." WHICH IS NOT ONLY BORING WHEN THERE'S NO MEANING BEHIND THE URGENCY, BUT IT WILL JUST MAKE THE ACTUAL INFINITY GAUNTLET FEEL LIKE MORE OF THE SAME.
IT HAS BECOME THE STUDIO'S WEIRD QUEST TO REMOVE THE 'BAD SCENES" AKA THE SCENES AUDIENCES DON'T "LIKE" AND AS SUCH IT HAS INDOCTRINATED ONE OF THE WEIRDEST WORKING MODUS OPERANDIS HULK CAN THINK OF. THIS IS THE GENUINE PROCESS BTW: THEY PUT TOGETHER INOFFENSIVE CHARACTER-CENTRIC SCRIPTS WHERE NO ONE SEES THE HUGE STORY PROBLEMS ON THE PAGE (PEOPLE ARE BAD AT READING SCRIPTS ACROSS THE BOARD). THEY HIRE GREAT ACTORS. THEY PUT ACTION SCENES INTO SECOND UNIT HANDS. THEY SHOOT THE SUCKER THEN GET INTO THE EDIT. AND BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE BETTER WITH SEEING MOVIES THEN THEY ARE AT READING SCRIPTS, THEY THEN REALIZE THE STORY DOESN'T WORK. SO THEY RE-SHOOT HALF THE MOVIE (THIS IS ALL PLANNED BEFOREHAND) AND INCLUDE A LOT OF THE STUFF THEY THOUGHT THEY NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE TO MAKE IT WORK. THEY THEN TAILOR THE FINAL PRODUCT TO BE AS ROUND AND SAFE AS POSSIBLE. THE MOVIE IS THEN GREETED WITH EITHER WITH A SHRUG OR A HEARTY LAUGH AND A SLOW SLIDE INTO FORGETTING.
At the BBTS.
Posted by John at 1:57 PM
1. "Gawker Founder Suspects a Common Financer Behind Lawsuits"
But in recent weeks, in the face of several new lawsuits brought against Gawker that are unrelated to Mr. Hogan’s case and seem to personally attack certain Gawker writers, Mr. Denton is having second thoughts. All of the new cases, like Mr. Hogan’s, were brought by Charles J. Harder, a Los Angeles-based litigator, working on a contingency basis, who has most likely run up huge legal bills and expenses. Gawker has said it has already spent as much as $10 million on its side of the case.2. "Vice promotes Josh Tyrangiel to oversee news, lays off current staff"
Mr. Denton has begun to question whether Mr. Harder has a benefactor, perhaps one of the many subjects of Gawker’s skewering coverage.
Mr. Denton is referring to a decision by Mr. Hogan’s legal team to abruptly drop one of the claims — for “negligent infliction of emotional distress” — from its case. That claim had a particularly special meaning: It was the one claim that required Gawker’s insurance company to pay for its defense as well as potential payouts in the case of a settlement.
3. "Taken together, the reduced revenue projections and the shift to video signal a shift in the balance of power that favors entertainment over journalism. Many industry observers and some staff believe that BuzzFeed will eventually curtail or even jettison its news division in order to focus on more profitable revenue streams."
Monday, May 23, 2016
"Teamsters union says it is opposed to a proposed ballot initiative on legalizing recreational marijuana use, and has [donated] to a lobby group devoted to defeating the proposal"
"The Teamsters, who primarily represent truck drivers and warehouse workers, are not 'philosophically opposed' to the legalization of marijuana, California Teamsters lobbyist Barry Broad told BuzzFeed News. But he said the union has serious concerns about how the drug would be transported and distributed under the proposal that Californians are set to vote on this November."
From an interview:
These are based on the comic books, but we’re going to throw in one or two nods to the cartoon.Relatedly, NECA just announced SDCC-exclusive TMNT and villain figures.
Going forward, a mini Technodrome is something that doesn’t really fit with what we’re doing, but the ones I want to do further down the line are Rocksteady, Bebop and Krang. Now the cool thing that I want to do is that while these were not characters in the comics, I want to approach them as if they were from the comics.
So they would look like you remember them from the cartoon show, but they would have a, and I hate to use this term, gritty look to them.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
1. Cosplay designed for kids in wheelchairs and walkers.
2. "Auguste Clown Gallery has stopped responding to my emails and has not paid me for ten paintings sold"
3. "Paul Pierce Gets His 5-Year-Old Daughter a Llama for Her Birthday Party"
4. Princess Mononoke and other Studio Ghibli Blu-rays are $15 today at Amazon.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.
Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.
Art by Colleen Doran. Available for preorder.
Friday, May 20, 2016
"This is the story of how ShapeShift, a leading blockchain asset exchange platform, was betrayed. Not once, not twice, but three times in less than a month."
"In total, nearly two-hundred thousand dollars in cryptocurrency was stolen by thieves within and without, not to mention the significant resources expended in its wake."
Thursday, May 19, 2016
"Former Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat...predicted Wednesday that Republican Donald Trump would lose the general election — because of the votes of 'ugly women.'"
The remark went viral and put Democratic Senate nominee Katie McGinty in a ticklish spot. Rendell is chairman of McGinty's campaign.
"Gov. Rendell's comments were completely off-base and inappropriate," said Sabrina Singh, McGinty's spokeswoman. She said the candidate was not available for comment.
The Baroness's scarred look in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #12 is based on a printing error in the original G.I. Joe series
From Tom Scioli's endnotes in issue #12:
I modeled [The Baroness's unmasked] face on the poor flexographic printing on my copy of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #44
Posted by John at 12:13 PM
"Twitter followers of the late New York Times' columnist David Carr were shocked to see porn being published on his verified account Thursday morning"
"It seems a porn bot by the name of 'Miranda Davis' hacked Carr's @carr2n account and began posting pictures."
The Dark Tower is close, now. The Crimson King awaits. Soon Roland will raise the Horn of Eld. And blow. pic.twitter.com/rqGSKM3dWL— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 19, 2016
1. "The Korean Gothic Lesbian Revenge Thriller That’s Captivated Cannes." (Based on the novel Fingersmith.)
2. "Game of Thrones' Tower of Joy Scene Is Vastly Improved With the Music of Ennio Morricone"
3. "Everything is fine."
$1.99 today at Amazon.
Posted by John at 7:58 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
By now, this is a familiar template: 1. Brand implicitly endorses a mainstream progressive cause. 2. Small band of monsters reacts predictably. 3. Right-thinking Americans rush to embrace and defend the brand. Sometimes the backlash comes from stray jackasses on social media, other times from organizations such as the conservative media watchdog organization One Million Moms, whose recent efforts have included protesting Campbell’s Soup and Chobani ads for featuring gay couples. No matter how the fracas plays out, everybody wins in the end: The trolls get attention, responders get the warm and fuzzy pleasure of combating hate, and the brand comes out looking like a crusader for justice.
I didn't think I was going to play in the NBA at all.3. Seems like once a week I discover another tumblr I subscribed to years ago has been taken over by a spammer/pornographer.
Once I started playing in the NBA, I was like, all right, maybe I can last a few years.
The Suns GM stuff kind of fell in my lap.
4. Batman 1966 Shakespeare head bank available for preorder.
1. Construction on Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
"It is hard to see, but there are smaller, forced perspective floating mountains that have been recently installed"2. "10 Hottest New Restaurants in Honolulu"
3. "Big money overwhelms a small SoCal Assembly race"
The working-class communities in the 47th Assembly district are some of the most economically disadvantaged in Southern California. The largest city in this district, San Bernardino, is still reeling from bankruptcy, with an unemployment rate of 7.2%, compared with 5.4% statewide. The district's residents are suffering too from some of the worst air pollution in the nation, a result of geography — the 47th backs up against the mountains where the dirty air collects — and the industrial history of a region built by railroads and Kaiser Steel.4. Cumberbatch Doctor Strange Marvel Select figure available for preorder.
The big political forces battling over the Assembly seat don't seem to care about the district's unique needs, however. They want someone who will reliably side with them on their issues, regardless of how they might affect his or her constituents.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
1. "There is one good thing about [Disney Infinity ending]; everyone can finally start showing the stuff that we were told not to post. I have a lot of art to show. So, so much. Starting with some Star Wars stuff." Adam Koford started a Disney Infinity blog, too.
2. "I recently got a job in addition to the five jobs I already have."
3. "Naturopaths’ lobbying and public relations drives are funded in part by vitamin companies, which have a vested interest in seeing the profession expand, since many naturopaths promote dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and vitamin infusions for healing."
Next Monday, more than 100 aspiring and practicing naturopaths plan to storm Capitol Hill to rally support for a federal pilot program that would allow them to be reimbursed by Medicare for some patients.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Lesnik’s three-month tenure ended a year ago in a serious injury and a lawsuit that has exposed a troubling practice in the auto industry. Overseas contractors are shipping workers from impoverished countries to American factories, where they work long hours for low wages, in apparent violation of visa and labor laws.UPDATE: Elon Musk has started to respond
Recruited by a small Slovenian company called ISM Vuzem, Lesnik, 42, and his co-workers were flown into the U.S. for months at a time, housed in nondescript apartments, and shuttled to the Tesla plant six and sometimes seven days a week, according to workers and the suit.
Merc News story about Tesla using $5/hr labor seems to be missing a digit. Tesla actually paid $55/hr. pic.twitter.com/2dTH0ncdKX— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2016
From an interview with Shane Black, with a lot of commentary on the Iron Man 3 villains:
Why? Rebecca Hall’s character does have an abrupt ending.Which makes no sense, because I don't believe they ever made Killian action figures, just minifigs like this (and the deluxe Ben Kingsley doll):
All I’ll say is this, on the record: There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female.
So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making. Now, that’s not Feige. That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Posted by John at 7:53 AM
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Friday, May 13, 2016
1. "The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it has imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions."
2. Impact mark on a window of the International Space Station.
3. "Sneak into a magic shop late at night. Discover its secret history. Sip champagne cocktails. Witness an unbelievable show. Every Thursday"
1. "Fakespot, launched in 2015, analyzes reviews intelligently and calculates a grade based on the authenticity of reviews involving the selected product. Fakespot identifies fake reviews, currently supporting Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.au."
2. "Americans Don’t Miss Manufacturing — They Miss Unions"
3. "Frustrated over a major fracas that led to increased tensions at Sylmar High School, actor Danny Trejo, known for his violent cult films, had a message for school officials"
“I don’t feel safe in school,” student Shane Bennett said. “We have to walk around in groups at school because we don’t feel safe.”4. New McFarlane NBA figures available for preorder (no Steph Curry in the new selection).
Thursday, May 12, 2016
1. "Photos: Massive Bel Air Mansion Expected To Net Over $100 Million"
Skygarden is the name of this future mansion2. "Two winning candidates who were accused of electioneering and nearly booted from the Studio City Neighborhood Council race are now slated to keep their newly won spots on the neighborhood board."
The decision marks the latest turn in the saga over the Studio City council, a bitter fight that is all the more remarkable because of the scant power of the neighborhood group.3. Journey cosplay.
Social team is a bunch of millennials, so we’ll often find someone we like and we’ll throw it into a database with keywords. But usually it’s a CEO or CMO or whoever saying, “Oh, my kid likes this guy.” At this major car brand I worked for, we paid $300,000 for a few photographs because the CEO’s kid liked someone.
The first volume, about a police detective who is also secretly a witch, is $7.66 at Amazon.