Sunday, April 30, 2017

"Mountains are a core competency of the Imagineers"

Long look at the $$$ Disney and Universal are pouring into theme parks:

The parks are an increasingly important part of Disney’s business. Television watchers have been canceling their cable subscriptions, imperiling revenue from ESPN, ABC, Disney Channel, and other properties, which generate the bulk of the company’s profit. Stan Meyers, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. who covers Disney, predicts that by 2020, as its TV profit falters, operating income from the parks will climb by 64 percent, to $5.4 billion.

...

At times, according to Daurio, Rowling and Universal were predictably at odds. The company, he says, wanted to serve hamburgers, pizza, and Coke, but Rowling insisted on the kind of British-inspired food that her characters might actually eat, such as shepherd’s pie or fish and chips. (A Universal spokesman says there was never a dispute over food and declined to elaborate on the company’s creative process or its arrangement with Rowling.) As for Coke, Rowling didn’t want a drop poured, which was a problem because it had an exclusive deal to sell its products everywhere in Universal’s parks. “Imagine you’re telling the biggest soda company in the world that has a license throughout the property to sell their product in all your theme parks that they are not going to sell one Coke in the Wizarding World,” Daurio says. “That was an enormous hurdle.” He says Coke eventually consented.

...

And as with the Wizarding World, there was food to consider. The Imagineers came up with Na’vi-inspired fare such as bioluminescent cocktails and a mysterious-looking meat-and-cheese item. “You know when you go to a foreign country, something is put in front of you, and it looks really unfamiliar?” Rohde says. “You bite into it, and it’s like, ‘Oh, it tastes like chicken.’ We have this odd little thing that looks like a gushy white little pod. You bite into it, and you go, ‘It just tastes like a cheeseburger.’ ”
Relatedly:
Walt Disney World plans to deploy driverless shuttles in Florida

"Amid hungry, violent looting, Venezuelan shopkeepers fortify their businesses"

MH:

In one of the most high-profile cases earlier this month, authorities said as many as 11 people died in a single night of looting in Caracas. While the numbers vary, it appears at least seven were electrocuted while trying to rob a bakery called La Mayer del Pan.

At the time, there was speculation that the store had been booby-trapped with an electric fence or that a power-line had fallen. But the truth is more mundane, said Jose de Freitas, the store’s 34-year-old manager.

He said the night of April 20, armed gangs descended from the surrounding barrios to start sacking stores. They forced the bakery’s doors open with crowbars and emptied the shelves and the warehouse. He said the bakery had not been rigged to purposefully harm anyone.

“The people died because they tried to steal a coffee maker that was full of water,” he explained. “When the plug was pulled it made contact with the water, and because we have stainless steel furniture, it made a big circuit and, well, they were electrocuted.”

"Yale University's local College Republicans chapter held a barbecue on Friday near the fasting site of campus union organizers participating in a hunger strike"

Mic. Breitbart.

Cuddly Rigor Mortis show at Gallery 1988



Online now.

Juicero, the device for "schlubby dads too indebted to buy a midlife crisis car and too unattractive to have an affair"

Med:

Juicero deserved all of the attention it got and more — it was so pure, so impossibly telling about the pre-apocalyptic American wasteland. It was also just one of a whole constellation of companies that now operate under an ingenious model: take some banal product that has been sold forever at low margins, attach the disposable part to a proprietary system that pretends to improve it but really just locks pepole into a particular vendor, add a touch screen manufactured by Chinese tweens, call it “Smart,” and sell it to schlubby dads too indebted to buy a midlife crisis car and too unattractive to have an affair. As the Juicero saga shows us, you don’t even really have to honor the whole “make the initial purchase cheap” stage. Just ensure that you market your boondoggle to the kind of person who stood in line to buy an $800 “smartwatch” that poorly duplicates a tenth of the functions already present in the phone in their pocket. (You know, those dead inside.) Then get them “locked into your ecosystem,” which means “get their credit card number and automatically charge them every month for your version of a product that can be purchased at the supermarket for a third of the price.” Profit, baby, profit.

A Norwegian "monument to 91 witches burned at the stake in the 17th century"

"Peter Zumthor's Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Finnmark Witchcraft Trials"

"‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’ moves ahead of NBA in cable Live +3 ratings for April 17-23"

TV by the Numbers.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Conan O'Brien plays a VR game

"Embattled Los Angeles City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali admitted Friday to having extramarital affairs, failing to pay taxes and to other questionable behavior"

DN:

His campaign took a big tumble this week after he admitted to making racist, fat-shaming and transphobic comments in online discussion board, Voat.

...

In recent weeks, Bray-Ali, 38, garnered several major endorsements, including from the Los Angeles Times and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. But most of that support has since collapsed, with O’Farrell and the Times pulling their support this week.

"Ferrari builds world’s first racetrack on a cruise ship for China"

"The two-level competitive racetrack will be located on the top deck of the ship, where guests can take a thrilling ride on electric go-karts."

Handmaid's Tale-inspired clothing line by Vaquera



A post shared by @vaquera.nyc on

They made a Giovanni Ribisi/Selfridge action figure



Available at Amazon.

Animatronic Avatar and Na'vi







20% off everything right now at Last Exit to Nowhere

"Sale20"

"Was Uber’s CEO really the second-best Wii Sports tennis player?"

Ars:

The line baffled me for a number of reasons, not least of which was that the concept of a "high score" in "Wii Tennis" didn't make much sense. Claiming the "world's second-highest score" in Wii Sports tennis is like claiming the second-highest score in Pong based on nothing but playing against the computer and your friends. Absent some sort of sanctioned tournament or logical third-party ranking system, the claim just doesn't parse.

And yet, the boast is oddly specific. Kalanick hadn't earned the best "Wii Tennis" score in the world according to The New York Times. He achieved the second best. If this was just a fabulist boast, why limit yourself to number two? And if it wasn't just puffery, who was number one?

...

With Kalanick and Uber yet to respond to a request for comment, the rest of this piece necessarily delves into speculation of what's driving Kalanick's Wii Sports "high score" claim. That said, I think the explanation detailed below adequately explains all the claimed facts involved with a few small wriggles to account for the vagaries of human memory.

So with all that preamble, here's what I think actually led to the "second-highest score" claim:

"The Time I Went to Summer Camp With the Future Mini-Trump"

CNN:

The future senior adviser to President Donald Trump was a fellow delegate with me at "Boys State," a weeklong summer program in California for rising high school seniors interested in civics and government.

...


Unlike his competitors, Miller didn't speak in clichéd generalities. He had a plan. He declared that he would organize a "black ops" force to spy on and infiltrate the other counties in an effort to -- I suppose? -- sabotage them. To Miller, the other boys in the camp weren't here to cooperate in the spirit of forming a more perfect union, but were to be dominated. They weren't "us." They were the enemy.

His raucous speech was a tremendous success. Miller knew his voting base: A hoard of testosterone-fueled teenage boys itching for something to believe in, even if it was just made up. Miller whipped us into a frenzy, and the crowd, myself included, cheered on the ridiculousness.

Once he had most of us firmly on his side, Miller let loose his catch-phrase.

"It's Miller Time!" he declared

If you want Hasbro to make a Doctor Aphra figure, vote here

Tied for the lead.

Line Weight V art show at Gallery Nucleus



Contributions by Laura Laine, Tula Lotay, and Vanesa Del Rey. Opening today.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Anyone selling Fyre Festival merchandise?



NYT:

At one point in the evening, Ms. Kumar said, staff members dumped a bunch of unopened containers — like “Amazon shipment boxes” — at the site, and instructed concertgoers to rifle through them for anything that was missing from their tents. “It was everything from, like, bongos to floaties to sleeping bags,” she said.

On Friday, Ms. Kumar and her friends managed to get a room at a hotel, hitching a ride from a local. Taxis were hard to come by, in part because the festival had promoted itself as a cashless event, asking attendees to upload funds to digital wristbands instead. So people were stranded without money.
NYMag:
At this point it was pretty clear that this was a mess and I shared my concerns with the man I reported to. But he assured me that the Fyre execs were legit, and said some socialite was underwriting the whole thing.
Rolling Stone:
We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves. Next year, we will definitely start earlier.
NewYorker:
"So my group of friends and I went into fight-or-flight mode."

...

"It was such a shit show. I’m sorry—I’m delirious from not eating, I’m still in my bathing suit"
D and T:
Who is Billy McFarland, the Fyre Festival founder who just scammed a bunch of rich kids?
Reddit, two weeks ago:
If you look at just about anything they claim on the website you'd see that nothing adds up. -It's not on a private island -Nothing has really been built yet -You won't fly in on a private plane -Their accommodations are hugely inflated in price -Some of their artists are complete nobodies and others have booked gigs in other locations -None of the artists are promoting this event

Not saying its a scam but it doesn't sound completely legit either. Read more about it here to make up your own mind
Vice:
[Kendall] Jenner promoted the festival in a now-deleted Instagram photo, for which she was paid $250,000, according to a Fyre employee with knowledge of the transaction. Jenner did not label the post as an advertisement.

"Facebook and Google Were Victims of $100M Payment Scam"

Fortune:

In 2013, a 40-something Lithuanian named Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly hatched an elaborate scheme to defraud U.S. tech companies. According to the Justice Department, he forged email addresses, invoices, and corporate stamps in order to impersonate a large Asian-based manufacturer with whom the tech firms regularly did business. The point was to trick companies into paying for computer supplies.

The scheme worked. Over a two-year span, the corporate imposter convinced accounting departments at the two tech companies to make transfers worth tens of millions of dollars. By the time the firms figured out what was going on, Rimasauskas had coaxed out over $100 million in payments, which he promptly stashed in bank accounts across Eastern Europe.

"The Backstory and Aftermath of Philly’s Teen Bicycle Freeway Takeover"

SBU:

The Sunday afternoon ride was organized by Corey “Oneway” Murray, a 16-year-old high school sophomore from South Philadelphia. He’s described in a news report as the “LeBron James of biking in Philly,” known for sharing videos of his BMX tricks with more than 94,000 Instagram followers, social media fame that helps him score free bikes. He put together Sunday’s ride to celebrate his birthday, promoted it online, and decided at the spur of the moment to lead the group down an on-ramp to the Vine Street Expressway in Center City Philadelphia.

Earlier this week, police said there were no injuries or arrests related to the unsanctioned bike ride. Yet on Thursday morning, state police arrested an unnamed teenager for organizing the ride and charged him with disorderly conduct.

The arrest came after Murray appeared on Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” Tuesday morning and identified himself as the ride organizer. In the interview itself, morning host Mike Jerrick delivered a bizarre dressing down of Murray with lots of generalized hostility and condescension toward bikes and young people.

Measles outbreak in Minneapolis has struck Somali families with unvaccinated kids

ST:

Ironically, just a few years ago Somali children in Minnesota had extremely high vaccination rates. Then, in 2008, an apparent cluster of autism cases among Somali children in Minneapolis prompted a scare based on a discredited theory involving the measles vaccine that was popularized 20 years earlier by British researcher Andrew Wakefield.

...


In 2011, Andrew Wakefield drove off after speaking to a group of Somali parents in Minneapolis.

"The Fate of the Furious" is called "Wild Speed: Ice Break" in Japan

And Furious 7 was called "Wild Speed: Sky Mission."

"'Seductive' dress gets girl barred from chess tournament"

"A 12-year-old girl was forced to withdraw from a chess championship for wearing a dress that was allegedly deemed "seductive" by the organisers of the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 on April 14 in Putrajaya."

"DC Comics Multiverse Bat Mech Suit Collect & Connect Wave" available for preorder

Including Reaper. The Figuarts Star-Lord action figure is available for preorder, too ("It even includes explosion effects to let you replicate scenes from the film!").

Thursday, April 27, 2017

From Val Kilmer's AMA

Reddit:

Q: I hear you own and love buffalo? I have loved them ever since Dances with Wolves. How many do you own and do you name them?

A: Alas i had to sell them in 2008 as I suffered in the crash like so many other honest Americans because of the perverse greed of Wall street.

"Fiona Staples Reveals the Secrets Behind 10 of Saga‘s Weirdest, Most Wonderful Characters"

"Ghüs is unique because he’s just an idea out of my sketchbook that I sent to Brian one day, hoping he’d get a cameo appearance or something."

"There's a shortage of women in the Faroe Islands . . . So local men are increasingly seeking wives from further afield"

BBC:

There are now more than 300 women from Thailand and Philippines living in the Faroes. It doesn't sound like a lot, but in a population of just 50,000 people they now make up the largest ethnic minority in these 18 islands, located between Norway and Iceland.

...

Officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroes have their own language (derived from Old Norse) and a very distinctive culture - especially when it comes to food. Fermented mutton, dried cod and occasional whale meat and blubber are typical of the strong flavours here, with none of the traditional herbs and spices of Asian cooking.

And, although it never gets as cold as neighbouring Iceland, the wet, cool climate is a challenge for many people. A good summer's day would see the temperature reach 16°C.

"The four towering structures of the Washington Bridge Apartments actually 'included the first building examined as an ‘environment’ by the Environmental Protection Agency'"

BB:

Indeed, this interior corporate bioregion even inspired new types of botanical research: “landscape architects and horticulturalists sought to identify those species of plants that would thrive in the unusually consistent indoor climate,” he writes. “In the 1980s and early 1990s, literature from the field of indoor landscaping mentions informal expeditions to discover new cultivars in the tropical world that were suitable to the inside of office buildings and other commercial applications.”

This vision of botanists traipsing through rain forests on the other side of the world to find plants that might thrive in Manhattan’s rarefied indoor air is incredible, an absurdist set-up worthy of Don Delillo.

"Meme warfare is uniquely suited to the far right"

"Within hours of her getting punched . . . Some on 4chan went to work building a case justifying Damigo's decision to punch Marshall"

"A Russian naval intelligence ship sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast on Thursday after colliding..."

"with a vessel carrying livestock"

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

When US soldiers fought the wild boars

A Redditor:

Seriously, I'll never forget the moment. We had about a squad of grunts, all standing on line. Watching IR lasers dancing over small herd of pigs about 50m away. Everyone is just waiting....The order comes;

"LIGHT EM THE FUCK UP"

And for about 1 minute it was Armageddon. I went through a mag and a half. One SAW gunner chewed through an entire 100rd belt. In about 10 seconds the entire downrange area was obscured. Dust and grit kicked into the air. Of course, that didn't stop the grunts from reliving that scene from Predator where they just unload into the jungle.

True to form, that's exactly what happened. After the ceasefire order came, our ears stopped ringing and the giggling demented laughter stopped, we realized;

Alternate scene from Prometheus in which Fifield mutated into a human-xenomorph hybrid

"The man who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates has pledged $30 million to house Seattle's homeless"

"Allen's foundation will provide $30 million toward the development of the facility, while the city of Seattle has pledged $5 million for its maintenance and operation. It will be owned and operated by Mercy Housing Northwest, a nonprofit housing organization."

Alien: River of Pain full cast audiobook

Free with Audible trial or $18 (five hours long):

Ellen Ripley finally returns to Earth, only to discover that LV-426 - where the crew of the Nostromo first came into contact with the deadly xenomorphs - has been renamed Acheron.

Protected by Colonial Marines, the colonists seek to terraform the storm-swept planet against all the odds. But in the face of brutal living conditions and the daily struggles of a new world, there is humanity and hope. Anne and Russell Jorden - two colonists who are seeking a fortune that eluded them on Earth - are expecting their firstborn child.

The birth of Rebecca Jorden, known to her family as Newt, is a cause for celebration. But as the colony grows and expands, so, too, do the political struggles between a small detachment of Colonial Marines and the Weyland-Yutani scientists posted on Acheron. Willing to overlook their orders in order to serve the Company's interests, these scientists have another far more sinister agenda - to covertly capture a living Alien.

The wildcatters discover a vast, decaying spaceship. The horseshoe-shaped vessel is of particular interest to Weyland-Yutani and may be the answer to their dreams. But what Anne and Russell find onboard proves to be the stuff not of dreams but of nightmares.

This terrifying, cinematic, multicast dramatization - directed by the multiaward-winning Dirk Maggs, best known for his adaptations of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for the BBC - is the sequel to Audible Original's Alien: Out of the Shadows (nominated for Best Audio Drama at the 2017 Audies).

Starring Golden Globe-nominated Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies, Limitless), Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Game of Thrones), Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman, Doctor Who), Colin Salmon (Alien vs Predator, Arrow, James Bond), Marc Warren (Mad Dogs, Saving Private Ryan, Hustle) and Philip Glenister (Outcast, Life on Mars), with special guest star William Hope returning as Lt. Gorman from James Cameron's Aliens.

Aliens comics illustrated by Mike Mignola and Guy Davis are 99 cents each at Amazon

Mignola's story (50 pages). Guy Davis's story (68 pages).

Big Trouble in Little China Board Game available for preorder



Link.

"It takes a full 15 seconds for the name [of Tajikistan's ruler] to scroll across the screen on the main TV news"

"A new rule came into force in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan last week which forces state-run media outlets to refer to President Emomali Rahmon by his not insubstantial official title."

"Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast"

BB:

The weatherman or weatherwoman is the only scientist most people ever see. TV meteorologists tend to be inviting, attractive figures who together have earned the trust of millions of people. That’s why the American Meteorological Society has for years encouraged them to embrace their default role as “station scientist.”

"Archaeologists excavating on the banks of the Nile have uncovered a necropolis where hundreds of small pyramids once stood"

Archaeology (from 2013) on the Nubians after their rule of Egypt:

As ongoing archaeological work shows, the inhabitants of Nubia, particularly those in the kingdom of Meroe, found a way to imitate Egypt’s monuments. At the Meroitic royal cemetery, 80 radically downsized pyramids were constructed over the tombs of kings and queens. And now, new excavations at Sedeinga, a necropolis of the same era but 450 miles from Meroe, tell us that the practice of building diminutive pyramids trickled down from royals to the wealthy elite much more extensively than previously believed. Sedeinga contains a dense field of small pyramids, one just 30 inches across. “It is a crazy site,” says Vincent Francigny, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and codirector of the excavations at Sedeinga. “I’ve never seen a cemetery like this, with so many small monuments packed so closely together.”

"GQ Writer Offers Hilarious Ride-Along on Her Meal at Reality Show Hotspot SUR"

Eater embedded a bunch of (former Gawker restaurant reviewer) Caity Weaver's tweets from last night, but not the ones she posted after they published the article:

"Street Fighter 5 players notice Islamic chants in new Buddhist temple stage"

"A new stage in Street Fighter 5 has already been mysteriously removed from the game . . . After launching just yesterday"

Good podcast: Kara Swisher interviews Reddit’s Steve Huffman

Link.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NC Dinos hat



Google Translate says:

NC Dynos will be hosting the home game against KT Wiz on April 27 at Changwon Masan Baseball Stadium. It is going to be with 800 people of the naval base of Jinhae base which is defending the Korean sea by succeeding the spirit of chief ministry.

NC's Chief of Staff, Yi Sun-day, is celebrating his spirit with baseball fans on April 28 (Lunar March 8), the birthday of General Yi Sun-shin, .

On this day, each gate of the baseball court welcomed fans of traditional cosplayers, and 22 large flags that symbolized the military flag at the time of the Japanese Invasion of Korea, were displayed on the stands.

Before the game, the navy patriotic stage performance was presented to fans who visited the stadium, and Chungmugo Yi Sun-hyeon Choi Dong-gyu and Seong-hyun take on the city, and Yoon Yong-ik, Jinhae Base Command Vocal Bottleneck Kim Hyun-woong invites national anthem and wishes victory.

The NC athletes wear a new 'Orphan uniform'. Following the last year 's uniform, which was the motif of' Jung - gap ', this time, I changed the motif of' Turtle Ship '. The most characteristic feature of Turtle Ship 's' Yongdu 'was emblazoned on the front of the hat as a logo, and the hexagonal pattern on the turtle ship' s shoulder pattern was engraved. The NC DINOS logo on the front of the uniform containing the Lanzhou Diary diary and the phrase "Mortal death" is also available on this uniform.

Authentic cheongjum uniforms and hats can be pre-ordered at the Masan Baseball Hall's Authentic Shop and NC Online Shop (shop.ncdinos.com). From April 25th to May 7th, you will receive your first order, and from May 12th, orderly. Both athlete marking and free marking are available, and you can get a 10% discount at the time of purchase with a hat during the first booking period.

NC Dynorus Kim Myung Sik, the managing director, said, "It is an honor to be able to honor the spirit of Yi Sun-shin, the pride of Gyeongnam and the pride of the ROK, the Navy. Masan baseball field is transformed to feel the atmosphere at that time, and athletes wear another cheonggum uniform last year. Fans will be able to experience a different baseball at the Masan Baseball Stadium on this day.

Will Blogger outlast Twitter?

WSJ: "Get Ready for Another Grim Quarter for Twitter. The social-media site is suffering declines in revenue, user engagement and advertising"

Injustice 2: The Versus Collection Batman Vs. Brainiac available for preorder

Braniac and Batman statues, and lithograph.

Season two of The Expanse was very good



Good podcast episode: How I Built This with Haim Saban

Link.

"Apple announced that they're dropping their affiliate program commission from 7% all the way down to 2.5%"

TouchArcade:

While ad sales dropped off significantly, referral links still did pretty good. Any time you clicked a link on TouchArcade, the TouchArcade forums, or inside the TouchArcade app to grab a game on the App Store, we got a tiny percentage of that sale as a commission payment from Apple. This also saw a significant drop with the advent of free to play, as 7% of $0 is, well, $0. We post about a ton of premium games because that's largely what we (and our community) are interested in, so while there was a decline, it wasn't as severe as ad sales.

Teen Titans GO! - Night Begins to Shine





$425 jeans with fake mud stains at Nordstrom



"Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty."

"Brazilian prison gang suspected in Paraguay’s ‘heist of the century’"

WaPo:

Dozens of gunmen blocked highways, burned trucks and cars, sealing off the perimeter of their target for hundreds of yards. The assailants, who were wearing flak jackets and driving in armored vehicles, used explosives and .50 caliber guns to blow the facade off a transportation company office in Ciudad del Este, a town in Paraguay near the smugglers' haven in the border region with Brazil and Argentina. They killed a policeman, broke open the vault and then escaped -- apparently fleeing by motorboats up the Paraná River -- with millions of dollars.

The haul was initially estimated at $40 million, which would be roughly equivalent in today's dollars to the amount lifted during the "Great Train Robbery," the infamous 1963 theft of a post office train in England. Officials with the targeted company, Prosegur, which transports valuables, said the amount was less. Still, Paraguay news reports were calling the robbery the largest in the country's history and the "heist of the century."

Monday, April 24, 2017

MUSCLE-style Stranger Things figurines





Restocking.

"Marissa Mayer Will Make $186 Million on Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon"

"Ms. Mayer, the company’s chief executive, will be well compensated for her failure"

"Here’s Why Juicero’s Press is So Expensive"

"Juicero’s Press is an incredibly complicated piece of engineering. Of the hundreds of consumer products I’ve taken apart over the years, this is easily among the top 5% on the complexity scale. To understand what’s going on inside the press let’s peel back the beautifully molded, glossy white and orange plastic"

Deluxe Breath of the Wild Link figure available for preorder

"he wears a fabric outfit faithfully recreated from the game, and comes with his sword, shield, bow, arrows, quiver and other accessories, as well as interchangeable hands and two facial expressions"

"BART takeover robbery: 40 to 60 teens swarm train, rob weekend riders"

"witnesses said 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform."

Scanner Sombre

Good website, good trailer:

Regaining consciousness you smell the damp. Opening your eyes you see the stone walls of the chamber flickering by the light of the fire; you stumble to your feet and kick a helmet clattering across the floor. Slowly the ache in your head begins to subside and you notice the beginnings of a passage. After a few steps the darkness consumes you. Returning to the safely of the fire you see a LIDAR scanner on the floor - a trigger press results in a faint glow coming from inside the helmet. You put the helmet on, adjust the beam-width and proceed into the abyss…

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Bank robber turned Georgetown law professor is just getting started on his goals"

"An athletic scholarship to college ended when he got kicked out for not going to class. After two years in the U.S. Navy, he drifted back to Nebraska, depressed, drinking, doing some drugs"

Life-size Baby Groot available for preorder

"3 interchangeable faces, newly developed body and expert paint applications to reflect Baby Groot's unique appearance, a Ravagers outfit to be worn by the figure, and 2 pairs of interchangeable hands including a pair of extended attacking hands with embedded wires allowing a variety of poses!"

Friday, April 21, 2017

New X-Men strip by Max Wittert



The X-Men attend a funeral in this new nine page story.

"Most fun we had at Alabama was watching Nick Saban lay into Lane Kiffin"

At practice… it was our goal to see how many times we could get Coach Saban to MF Kiffin. I mean that was our goal.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Snake-Eyes, Destro



A post shared by Supervillain (@sucklord) on

"Marvel's Cloak & Dagger" Official Trailer



Song is "Easier" by Mansionair

Deluxe JCVD figure is $60 off

Part of a big Enterbay sale. (T-1000 is $220 off.)

"American construction workers today make $5 an hour less than they did in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation"

"In the span of a few decades, Los Angeles area construction went from an industry that was two-thirds white, and largely unionized, to one that is overwhelmingly Latino, mostly nonunion and heavily reliant on immigrants"

"USA Today’s main [Facebook] page lost an estimated 5.8 million . . . followers between April 13 and April 15"

CJR:

Taken together, the Virginia-based news organization saw its collective Facebook follower total plummet by nearly 12 million essentially overnight. The army of fake accounts was more than double the number of “likes” on The Washington Post’s main page.

"Hooters Altering Iconic Uniforms for More 'Family Friendly' Vibes"

"We want to be culturally respectful . . . We sat down with members of the local governing boards and advisors of a mosque nearby"

"In forgiving Shaw for Han’s death, does 'Fate of the Furious' cross the moral line of brotherhood and loyalty drawn 16 years ago in asphalt by Dom and Brian"

LAT:

[Michelle] Rodriguez has played the street tough Letty Ortiz, a founding member of Toretto’s original familia, through adventures and betrayals and melodramatic script turns since “The Fast and the Furious.” If anyone knows the franchise’s true definition of family and loyalty — and its willingness to bend the rules — it’s her.

“I know,” she exclaimed, feeling the pain of the Han faithful. “When [Deckard] was introduced, they didn’t even think for us to give him any flack when he walked in. And we were like, ‘Yo, dude, this guy killed one of our boys! You know it doesn’t fly like that!’”

“At the end of the day, you’re talking about a Hollywood demographic blockbuster character overriding story,” she said, candidly. “That’s the battle that you have when you make movies this big. They were like, ‘We know that the grand majority of the audience wants to see this guy be on your side, so that overrides the fact that he killed one of your guys.’”

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to fly when we hit the Asian markets, but all right,’” she laughed. “I don’t write this stuff. What can I tell you?”

"Tax refunds for millions of predominantly low-income Americans have been delayed this year, and the companies where they shop and eat are reporting a slowdown in sales"

"Another shoe retailer, The Finish Line, sent a much less ambiguous message. 'February sales were severely impacted by the IRS' decision to delay income tax refunds compared with last year'"

"Dog's Death Spotlights Use of Cyanide 'Bombs' to Kill Predators"

NatGeo:

“When it went off, I was so confused because it caught me by surprise and happened so fast,” Canyon said. “I panicked because the next thing I knew Casey was dying.” Since the incident Canyon has been suffering from headaches, a telltale symptom of exposure to cyanide.

Sodium cyanide is considered by the Department of Homeland Security to be a potential weapon for terrorists. It’s a key ingredient in the M-44s, or “cyanide bombs,” used by Wildlife Services, an obscure agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to kill wildlife predators on public and private lands in the West.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average of 30,000 M-44s, deployed by the federal government in concert with Western states and counties, are triggered each year. Baited to entice animals, they’re indiscriminate in their victims. So far, no humans have been killed by M-44s. But

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Friday the 13th gameplay



With Tom Savini-designed Jason. (Graphic kill.)

"I taught a non-MD to do brain surgery"

SN:

I discovered that Tanzania then had just three neurosurgeons for a nation of about 43 million people. That’s one neurosurgeon for every 12 million people. Compare that with one neurosurgeon for every 85,000 Americans.

...

When I was in Tanzania, I faced a choice. I could treat as many patients as possible or take a different approach with a more long-lasting effect. So I did something that might horrify many Americans, especially medical school deans: I taught brain surgery to an assistant medical officer named Emmanuel Mayegga, a talented clinician who had yet to get his medical degree. Mayegga learned basic brain surgery, and he has been saving lives ever since. Here’s where things get even more exciting. Mayegga taught a second Tanzanian, who in turn taught a third.

"How did Cuomo make $783,000 on memoir that sold 3,200 copies?"

TBN:

The Wall Street Journal, which like HarperCollins is owned by News Corp., in 2014 – under the headline “Betting Big on Cuomo’s Memoir” – first reported that the publisher was having an initial print run of 200,000 copies of the Cuomo book.

The governor made just shy of $168,000 for his state job. Beyond the book royalties, he also reported $445 in interest income and $33,184 in dividend income from a New York City bank that handles his investments.

11 security cameras removed before disappearance of marker placed in 1936 to commemorate "the bloodless revolution that installed democracy in Thailand four years earlier"

"There was construction to improve traffic signaling, so the cameras were taken down"

"The Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects"

Reuters:

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations. Human rights monitors believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes - a charge the police deny.

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke with Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

"Nearly 38% of all trees in Southern California’s most populated regions are at risk of dying due to one type of beetle: the polyphagous shot hole borer"

"And that insect is just one of the imminent threats."

Microsoft "spent billions of dollars on R&D and gave endless demos of futuristic tech; the most successful product that actually shipped (Kinect) ended up harming the product it was supposed to help"

On Facebook, monopolies, and innovation.

"Facebook’s algorithm isn’t surfacing one-third of our posts. And it’s getting worse"

"Starting in January of this year, we at the Chicago Tribune started to anecdotally see a fairly significant change in our post reach"

"The Federal Trade Commission . . . just announced that it has started a crackdown on Instagram #sponsored posts"

"Basically: saying #sp or 'Thanks [@BRAND]' doesn’t cut it."

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Samus Figma figure available for preorder

Super-articulated, multiple hands etc. Marvel Select Spider-Gwen figure available for preorder, too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Josh Brolin as Cable

Los Angeles school resolution would ban McDonald's school fundraisers

"Two resolutions before the Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday would extend the school system’s already extensive food-related activism. The first would ban 'McTeacher’s Night' school fundraisers hosted by McDonald's restaurants. The second would direct district officials to develop a vegan option for every cafeteria meal."

"How Google eats a business whole"

TO:

This line of questioning — how much celebrities are worth — is popular enough that Warner was able to quit his day job in 2012 to focus solely on the site. At its height, he said it had a 12-person staff.

Then Google happened.

...

In 2014, Warner got an email from Google asking if he would be interested in giving the company access to his data in order to scrape it for Knowledge Graph, for free.

...

At the end of it, we just said ‘look, we’re not comfortable with this.’”

“But then they went ahead and took the data anyway.”

"For Tom Cruise, who plays a hit man, the preparation involved all kinds of crazy stuff in preproduction"

Michael Mann on Collateral:

Prepping Jamie Foxx for his role in Collateral was a matter of getting him to understand the neighborhood this man came from, and the death-by-repetition involved in being a cab driver. Having been a cab driver myself, I knew what a grind that is. For Tom Cruise, who plays a hit man, the preparation involved all kinds of crazy stuff in preproduction—acquiring the skill sets he would need to be this man. We had him stalking various members of the crew for weeks, in secret, learning their habits, and then picking the moment. This person would be coming out of a gym at 7 a.m. and feel somebody slap something on his back—and it would be Tom, who had just put a Post-it on their back. In our virtual world, that was a confirmed kill.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Guy Maddin’s The Green Fog, Hitchcock's Vertigo remade using found footage

SFW:

How did you assemble The Green Fog?

At Christmastime, I had six weeks off from Harvard, where I teach filmmaking, and my collaborators and I had 200 titles that we wanted to check out, from Erich von Stroheim’s Greed to Mrs. Doubtfire. We next tried to find equivalents of what we saw in Vertigo in these other movies and also archival footage from the Prelinger Archives, stuff dating back from before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Working closely with a fair use lawyer to make sure there’s no plagiarism, we used small bits until we Frankensteined together something, working so closely, as Hitchcock did with his composer Bernard Herrmann, with Kronos Quartet to create a kind of big, operatic, emotional dark viewing experience that matches, chord for chord and shot for shot, Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Then Evan and Galen cut the film back in Winnipeg, while I was back at Harvard teaching.

...

Since so many directors have paid tribute to or plagiarized from Vertigo, there are oftentimes shots that pop up from other San Francisco movies that already resemble Vertigo.

"This astronaut found sunken treasure from space and kept it secret until his deathbed"

Vice:

Original Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper was supposed to be looking for nuclear launch sites on his record-breaking Faith 9 flight in 1963. He did his duty over the course of those 22 revolutions around the earth, clicking away on a camera that kept getting loose in zero gravity, barely able to move for 34 hours.

But he also kept getting anomalous readings from his equipment, pinging him for objects that were definitely not nuclear sites. The keen-eyed astronaut couldn’t help but put two and two together: metallic hulks beneath the sea, along the same routes used by Spanish traders? It had to be sunken treasure.

...

Cooper kept his secret for 40 years. Just before his death in 2004, he shared it with professional treasure hunter Darrell Miklos.
Via.

How to Train Your Dragon Playmobil sets available for preoder

Dragons, playsets.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Theme park ride designer David C. Cobb on Nintendo, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and next-gen theme park design"

WP:

My first trip to Wizarding World Orlando, I walk behind the 3 Broomsticks restaurant and I see a table full of kids in school robes with their heads in books. Who reads books at a theme park? I walked up and asked what they were reading. They were doing their homework. Wait what? They explained they went to the junior high right behind the park and have season passes. Their parents let them come to the park and do their homework. They're doing their real homework in a fake school in cosplay. Universal didn't design that into the park but it's happening.

Concept art and production pieces for abandoned Star Wars toys



BC:

The panel opened with a tribute of sorts to toy legend Mark Boydreaux, Senior Principal Designer for the Star Wars brand. It was actually quite fun and touching to see the photos and hear the stories of the man who designed the original Millenium Falcon. With the brand since the Kenner days, he even lent them pictures of production pieces that never made it to market and were presented on how to “continue” Star Wars to Lucasfilm after Return of the Jedi left theaters.

"I Can't Outrun the Malice of 'Ghost Recon: Wildlands'"

WP:

Right after beginning the game, I noticed a strange thing. Climbing into a car without waiting for my squad, I set off suddenly into the countryside and made it a short distance before, soundlessly, they appeared in the empty seats. I stopped, and got out of the car, and they piled out too. I climbed back into the vehicle and screamed away down the road without them, only for them to pop back. The squad will appear, faultlessly, in boats and helicopters and semi trucks. Sometimes they'll begin an anecdote about a general who wanted to be paid by reference to how large his balls were. Sometimes they'll open fire out of the windows.

All of this is to explain why I'm on the motorcycle, struggling to climb to the top of this mountain, the countryside laid out to my left like a quilt. There is only room on the motorcycle for one person.

"$43 Million In Cash Found In Empty Nigerian Apartment"

ZH:

The anti-corruption unit redundantly added that according to "preliminary findings the funds are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity" although no arrest have been made yet. Earlier in the week, the agency discovered around 250 million naira in cash ($817,000) in a Lagos market and a further 448 million naira cash ($1.5 million) at a shopping plaza.

These gains have been credited to a whistleblowing policies launched in December by Nigeria's finance minister. Whistleblowers can now anonymously provide information through a secure portal, if the information leads to the recovery of stolen public funds, the whistleblower is entitled to between 2.5%-5% of the total money recovered.

...

It was unclear how much of the funds were Saudi kickbacks to the Niger Delta Avengers for singlehandedly keeping the price of oil levitating for several months in 2016.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Star Wars Black Jaina Solo figure



One of the newly-revealed figures. Tarkin comes with a torture droid.

Battlefront 2 tie-in novel available for preorder



Inferno Squad:

The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad.

After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire—no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire?
BTW, wargaming miniatures of the Imperial Raider are available in small and large sizes.

Star Wars Battlefront II: Full Length Reveal Trailer







Featuring Janina Gavankar as Inferno Squad Commander Iden Versio (with a probe droid in her backpack). (Available for preorder.)

Twine Texting Project

"A presentation layer for Twine 1.4x that allows you to tell stories through text conversations."

"Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has appointed as the acting head of the department's Office for Civil Rights a woman who once complained of discrimination for being white"

NBC:

Jackson also has written extensively in favor of an economist, Murray N. Rothbard, who called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "monstrous" and "the source of all the rest of the ills," as well as denounced compulsory education, according to the report.

"I thought I'd like to share the true story, of my families first and last play through of Betrayal at House on the Hill last Christmas"

R/BoardGames:

My daughter is only nine years old, for the purpose of this story lets call her Amy. I know Amy enjoys horror themes, which is part of the reason why I bought Betrayal at House on the Hill.

...

Back to the post, I've managed to get Mom, Amy and Amy's older brother around the table for a game night of Betrayal, which is no small feat when competing against the other screen addictions of Netflix and Youtube. Mom is concerned with Betryal's theme and 12+ rating, but I assure her it's fine as Amy writes stories much worse than anything in the game. Perhaps, I was too optimistic.

We start playing the game by exploring the house, and everyone is getting into the game. I questioned my decision to play the game with Amy during some cards; I toned down the reading of the hanging corpses event. So far the game was a hit, and I was pretty excited at picking a winning game. I could already see many successful family game nights of Betryal. My main concern was thinking how I could make the haunt a success, as nobody else my family likes reading game rules. For those who haven't played Betrayal, the haunt is where the game begins and one person betrays the group. The betrayer and the rest of the group are then given a page or so of rules with secret objectives on how to kill each other. However, I shouldn't have worried too much, as we never got that far.

Amy picks a seemingly harmless card, freaking her out a little. I can't remember the exact wording of the card; but her character looks into a grave or coffin and see's a dead body, and then notices it's her. Amy has a startled look on her face and states "That's creepy", and I can see her mind starting of a new story to haunt her class mates.

Then we hear it, a little girls voice says "Hello" from Amy's bedroom.

Star Wars Rebels season 4 trailer





Genesis Climber Mospeada Legioss AFC-01H available for preorder



(Expensive.)

"BANGKOK — One of the nation’s few remaining acknowledgments to the birth of its democracy disappeared Friday"

K:

A brass plaque honoring the bloodless 1932 revolution, the removal of which had been threatened by revanchist ultraroyalists, was dug up and replaced with a message asserting a nation at ease.

“Long live Siam forever! Happy, fresh-faced citizens build up the power of the land!” the replacement reads. “Happy, fresh-faced citizens” takes up the most place in the middle.

Circling the plaque, the text quotes the proverb of Chakri Dynasty’s motto: “Loyalty and love for the Triple Gem, one’s clan and having a honest heart for one’s king is good. These are the tools to make one’s state prosper!”

Before it was replaced, the plaque paid tribute to what are regarded as “the promoters” who lead a bloodshed-free revolt that directly resulted in Thailand becoming a democratic constitutional monarchy.

A bar in India "has built a 250m-long maze-like walkway to the entrance, theoretically making it more than 500m away from the highway"

"Since April 1 a large number of the bars, pubs and liquor shops across India has gone out of business, thanks to a Supreme Court order that the outlets should be at least 500m away from state and national highways."

"We found it really difficult to get hold of nude actors because of Game of Thrones basically. In Northern Ireland they pay loads of money"

Ben Wheatley on filming High-Rise:

Economics raised its hoary head in another aspect of the film’s production. The movie was shot in Northern Ireland and the orgy scenes proved slightly problematic. Not due to Northern Irish prudery it turns out, but because of Game of Thrones. “We found it really difficult to get hold of nude actors because of Game of Thrones basically. In Northern Ireland they pay loads of money. So it’s really hard to get people to be naked. That’s what I heard. On Kill List I think it was £30 more for an extra to be naked. We thought that’s what it would be. But it was something insanely expensive. So we couldn’t afford anybody. The production manager looked around and found a swingers club and said ‘do you want to come down and be nude?’”

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Upcoming Star Wars ornaments are designed to interact with each other



"Pressing a button on the ornaments sends out a signal syncing nearby pieces; this triggers a performance, including coordinated light and sound. The more ornaments you have, the more dynamic the performance. In total, all seven ornaments can perform five major moments from the movie, and there are an incredible 127 possible story combinations."

"Giants quarterback Eli Manning was in on a scheme to sell phony game-worn gear"

NYP:

sending an email asking the team’s equipment manager for “helmets that can pass as game used,” according to blockbuster court papers obtained by The Post.

The legal filing also alleges that Big Blue failed to produce the smoking-gun request — sent from Manning’s old-school AOL account to an official NFL account — even though “they claim to have no document destruction policy.”

"A major Chinese state-owned conglomerate is now on track to become the world's largest McDonald's franchise owner"

BF:

China’s state-owned CITIC Group agreed to buy a majority stake in McDonald’s franchising rights in the country for the next two decades. Should the $2 billion plus sale be approved, the company will take control of more than 1,700 McDonald’s restaurants, with a stated goal of opening another 1,500 in the next five years — setting it up to become the company’s biggest franchise owner, ahead of Brazil’s Arcos Dorados.

It could also put competitors — both domestic franchises and international brands — in a tough spot.

This will be the first time a state-owned company has taken a majority stake in a major player in the fast-food space

...

The SEIU’s meddling in the China deal is part of it’s multi-front pressure campaign against McDonald’s, including the flagship Fight For $15 campaign to raise wages back in the U.S.

S.H. Figuarts Gomora available for preorder



At the BBTS.

"Nintendo will discontinue the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition and the last shipments will go out to retailers throughout this month"

"We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product."

Jamie McKelvie responds to assertions that characters' skin tones have lightened in The Wicked + The Divine

JM:

I don’t normally like to comment on posts in the WicDiv tag - we want people to be able to discuss the book without us interfering - but I wanted to address something that has been raised this week.

...

Skin tone appearance, as with all other colours, changes under different lighting. Matt is extremely good at colouring lighting - he can change the whole mood of a scene with it. This means that skin will look lighter or darker or warmer or cooler depending on that. Some examples of how the lighting affects skin below

Art of Atari Poster Book



Preorder for 34% off at Amazon: "proudly brings the most iconic, mind-blowing video game illustrations to posters, each one easy to remove and perfect for display, showcasing the tremendous talent of Atari's greatest artists!"

"Sea urchin emits a cloud of venomous jaws to deter predators"

Like a bullet hell obstacle:

The collector sea urchin looks like a pretty pincushion lying on the ocean floor, going about its business of munching on algae and seaweed.

But when threatened, this sedate pincushion has a most extraordinary defence. It releases a cloud of semiautonomous weapons: hundreds of tiny jaws that are still capable of biting and releasing venom even when separated from the sea urchin’s body.