Sunday, October 22, 2017

Art by Mu Pan

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The BBC "is trialling 'object-based media', in which viewers without the time or inclination to watch a full episode will instead be offered a bite-sized mini-drama focusing on the storyline or characters of their choice"

Telegraph:

Want to catch up on the romance between Ross Poldark and Demelza, but have less interest in the rest of the cast? Gripped by a life-or-death plot in Holby City but bored by the domestic dramas of the medical staff? In future, the programme content could be tailor-made for you.

The BBC's research and development department has already made a prototype based around the last series of Peaky Blinders, the BBC Two gangster drama. It pulled out five key storylines, including the love affair between Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis).

Pink on pink

"A U.S. District Court Judge in California has allowed a class-action lawsuit against Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. to proceed"

"after agreeing that the league increased the danger to youth football participants by failing to institute league-wide safety protocols and guidelines"

"The Lommel Sahara is a nature phenomenon! In the middle of an extensive coniferous forest" in Belgium

TL:

The deep blue lake and the unique fauna and flora make a walk to the Lommel Sahara a trip that you will never forget.

It may sound strange but the protected nature area thanks its origin to … nature pollution. The emanation of the former zinc factory made the green planting disappear like snow in summer. The result: a withered landscape, covered by white sand. In order to avoid the extension of the sandy plains, a new forest was planted a long time ago.

"More than 30 women come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment"

"Like Harvey Weinstein, Toback, now 72, was a big, hulking man with a reputation, so much so that he titled his 1987 semi-autobiographical movie 'The Pick-up Artist.'"

Related: "John Besh restaurants fostered culture of sexual harassment, 25 women say"

And: "NeoGAF goes silent following allegations against owner"

The unfolding world of Light Fingers



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aquaman, Mera, and their body doubles

Tiny occult door

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"Bill O’Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, according to two people briefed on the matter — an extraordinarily large amount for such cases"

NYT:

It was at least the sixth agreement — and by far the largest — made by either Mr. O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.

"Bakers and ice cream makers across the country have been crushed by the price surge for vanilla, which spiked after a cyclone hit Madagascar, the world’s leading producer of vanilla, on March 7"

"The current $600 per kilogram price is up from around $100 in 2015, and near $500 per gallon for pure vanilla extract, which sold for $70 a gallon in 2015."

Deep Sky Derelicts game teaser





Deep Sky Derelicts is an original indie game about exploration of ancient spaceships full of startling encounters, incredible loot and danger awaiting behind every corner.

...

Deep Sky Derelicts represents an unique blend of turn-based strategy and RPG enriched with a remarkable tactical card combat and popular rogue-like elements. In essence, the game can be described as a mix of Darkest Dungeon and XCOM with a pinch of Hearthstone and FTL: Faster Than Light added on top. Drawn in a distinctive retro-futuristic comic book aesthetic, Deep Sky Derelicts will offer an exceptional gaming experience.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Art roundup

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"The Runescape Players Who Farm Gold So They Don't Starve To Death"

Kotaku:

If you even remember Runescape, a fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game published by Jagex, it’s likely as “that crummy-looking game you played for a few months 10 years ago.” But it runs just fine on hardware that hasn’t been called state-of-the-art in more than a decade, meaning that it’s accessible to many in Venezuela who are strapped for cash, and its gold still fetches a pretty real-world penny. Gold farming, generally speaking, is the practice of grinding in a game specifically for the purpose of generating in-game currency or other content to be exchanged for real-world money. While it’s prohibited by Runescape’s rules, it’s also a relatively safe and comfortable job in a place where one’s safety is by no means guaranteed.

“I gold farm mostly for the raw benefits of it,” a player who goes by the handle Fhynal told me via DMs. “I don’t have to go out. That may sound strange, but we live with a lot of crime. If you want to go out, you have to use a bus, [which increases your] propensity to be robbed.”

Fhynal said he earns around 200,000-250,000 Venezuelan Bolivares, or approximately $15-$20, per week. This adds up to “double, sometimes triple” the average monthly salary in Venezuela, he said, even factoring in the occasional week that he takes off to keep a “low profile” and avoid getting caught.

"Insiders in the business tell ESPN that at least 15,000 Dodgers season tickets are owned by ticket brokers, the most tickets in MLB owned by those who flip for business"

ESPN:

"Some will wonder why the Dodgers seemingly left so much money on the table, but that's not the whole picture," said one broker. "By selling to brokers, they made plenty of money off the regular season for the last five years, when many tickets were selling below face value and brokers were losing money on their investment."

The Dodgers declined a request for comment about their ticket distribution strategy and how many tickets are in the hands of brokers.

The Predator poster is by Borys Tarasenko



Here's his site.

Suicide Squad toy clearance sale

Including 37% off the Joker and Panda Two Pack SDCC 2016 Exclusive set.

Great Northern Hotel tee by Last Exit to Nowhere

The Emperor's Messenger Droid cosplay



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Poster for a screening of Predator



(Metro Cinema keeps retweeting reactions to the poster, but I don't believe has indicated who designed it.)

Evil Under the Sun poster by Johnny Dombrowski



On sale Tuesday.

Beluga whale learned to speak dolphin

Discover:

In November 2013, a four-year-old captive beluga whale moved to a new home. She had been living in a facility with other belugas. But in her new pool, the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea, her only companions were dolphins. The whale adapted quickly: she started imitating the unique whistles of the dolphins, and stopped making a signature beluga call altogether.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Thousands displaced by Northern California's wildfires now face the region's housing shortage"

LAT:

Even before the fire, 15,000 people were on wait lists for Burbank Housing homes.

...

A passenger rail service connecting cities in Marin and Sonoma counties that opened this summer has boosted hopes of traffic relief and more home building along the transit corridor. But the region has been having trouble attracting drivers to operate the trains because housing costs are too high

"The Totally Unexpected True Story Of Yi Jianlian's Magical Mystery Chair"

DS:

Search Google for “Yi Jianlian chair” and there are tens of thousands of results. The chair became a running joke in Bill Simmons’s writings and podcasts, and the then-ESPN columnist even went so far as to bestow Yi with a nickname that stuck: “Chairman Yi.”

...

The thing is, the chair workout almost certainly never happened, which means that the video almost certainly never existed. I’ve spoken with numerous scouts, execs, players, trainers, and media members, and not one remembers ever actually seeing the clip. I’ve obtained the broadcast-once, now-lost TV program in which the chair workout was allegedly aired, and it’s not there. No matter how sure you are you’ve seen the clip, you haven’t.

Zuckerberg: "I was human"

"The Tubbs Fire that raged through Santa Rosa last week unleashed a series of fiery tornadoes powerful enough to flip cars, yank trees out of the ground and rip homes apart"

We had trees ripped out of the ground, cars turned over, garage doors ripped off their hinges and wrapped around trees in the front yards"

Funko's "sales are nearly the size of the entire comics and graphic novel business"

Funko files for IPO.

Related, new Masters of the Universe Funko toys available for preorder.

"Chipotle downgraded by Bank of America on concerns that labor is still too expensive"

"Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded Chipotle and cut its earnings targets for 2018 and 2019, saying the struggling restaurant chain will have trouble cutting back labor costs any further than it already has"

Related: "It’s been two years since Danny Meyer announced he would eliminate tipping at all of his company’s restaurants"

“The majority of our strongest people have left,” says one former manager at Union Square Cafe who, like many people interviewed for this story, asked to remain anonymous to avoid burning bridges in the industry. At two of USHG’s other restaurants, Maialino and Gramercy Tavern, current and former servers say their pay dropped by about $100 per week after H.I. was implemented. Another Union Square Cafe front-of-house employee says her annual pay dropped from $60,000 per year before H.I. to $50,000 after tips were eliminated.

"Toys-to-life franchise Lego Dimensions has drawn to a close, a year earlier than originally planned"

EG:

Year One packs which didn't sell were eventually allowed to be discounted, and it is here problems arose. Every Dimensions add-on included a Lego figurine, vehicle or multiples thereof, and were sold with little room for profit in order to remain competitive. Any discount on a pack's recommended retail price effectively removed that margin completely.

...

sales at the start of Dimensions' second year did not meet expectations. The focus on Ghostbusters, which faced mixed fortunes at the box office, did not kickstart Dimensions' second year as hoped

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

From November 2016, "'Uncharted' Creator Amy Hennig on Finding Her Calling and Taking 'Star Wars' Somewhere New"

RS:

Hennig was initially skeptical of EA's offer on Star Wars. When Steve Papoutsis, the GM of Visceral Games, explained that EA wanted a "scrappy" third person action adventure – a genre with which EA doesn't traditionally have much experience – Hennig couldn't shake the image of a poorly made licensed game whose ambitions went no further than cashing in on what is arguably the world's biggest intellectual property. "Imagine how heartbreaking it would be," she says, "to work on something I love so much only to be crushed under the combined wheels of EA, Lucasfilm and Disney."

"This Brand Already Created a Necklace Based on the Sexual Assault Awareness Hashtag #MeToo"

"Three hours after the initial PR blast about the Me Too necklace went out, several Allure editors received the following email from Cameo PR president Malorie Kaye, explaining that there was a typo and Adornia would actually be donating 100 percent of its proceeds."

Charlotte residents fighting to make tiny homes illegal

CA:

People who live nearby have complained to the City Council that the tiny houses don’t fit in with the surrounding community, and could drive down property values.

“It is an extremely niche product being put in the wrong place at the wrong time without any vetting,” neighbor Robert Wilson told the council, adding that a real estate company told them that tiny houses could drop their property values by as much as 30 percent.

“These type houses do not belong in Coulwood Hills … We formally request that the City halt his expansion into our neighborhood.”

"For much of Jeff Immelt’s 16-year run atop one of the world’s largest conglomerates, an empty business jet followed his GE-owned plane on some trips to destinations around the world"

WSJ:

The two jets sometimes parked far apart so they wouldn’t attract attention, and flight crews were told to not openly discuss the empty plane, the people said.

The second plane was a spare in case Mr. Immelt’s jet had mechanical problems.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

From my wishlist, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is $1.99 right now

At Amazon:

Winner of the PEN Open Book Award
An NPR Best Book of 2016
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Pick
A PBS NewsHour Best Book of 2016
A Slate Best Book of the Year
One of Esquire Magazine’s Best Books of 2016
One of Oprah.com’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016

"Transcendent." —The New York Times Book Review

"Flawless. . . another masterpiece from an author who seems incapable of writing anything that's less than brilliant." —NPR

"The Top-Secret New York Bar That’s Only Big Enough for Two Customers"

NY:

Suddenly, like magic (or like “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”), we found ourselves entering an even smaller space: a full-blown miniature saloon, just large enough to accommodate a single bartender and exactly two guests.

The idea for Threesome Tollbooth grew out of another of the “experiences” that Austin, who works mostly as a designer of them, orchestrated recently. A man he knew, he told us, had commissioned Austin to come up with something dramatic as a grand gesture to win over his estranged wife—a couple of some celebrity, Austin admitted, though he wouldn’t name names. (“Blink twice if it’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé!”) So Austin had put together a custom-made, one-time pop-up bar in an actual tollbooth, an abandoned one on a rail bridge over a river in New Jersey. Did it work?

...

The price of a visit to the Tollbooth is a hundred and ten dollars per person; Austin and the Tollbooth’s co-creator, the lexicographer and cocktail connoisseur Jesse Sheidlower, pay rent on the closet-sized space, of an amount they prefer not to specify. “What I will say,” Austin allowed, “is that this is possibly going to work as a business and not just, like, a fun project.” So far, news of the bar has spread entirely through word of mouth.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dog-walking startup "Wag is burning about $4 million a month"

BB:

Wag's expenses are especially high because the startup relies on celebrity endorsements and costly marketing campaigns, said the three people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. Fashion model Kendall Jenner, singer Mariah Carey and actress Chloe Grace Moretz have praised Wag on their social media accounts. Wag's spokeswoman says, "We have not paid our celebrity fans but we have offered them free walks for life." In June, Jenner disclosed on Instagram that she was compensated to publish a paparazzi-style photograph with her Italian greyhound, Mew.

...

Despite the red ink, venture capitalists have poured more than $200 million into Wag and Rover combined.

News James Bond Funko toys available for preorder



Connery, Moore, and various villains. And a new addition to the Funko line of famous female corpses.

New tees at Last Exit to Nowhere

Inspired by Predator 2 and The Thing.

"Million-Dollar Condos Offer Sweeping Views of Public Sex in Harlem Park"

DNAi:

The building has such direct views of the illicit activity that the NYPD often uses it as headquarters for sting operations.

Officers with binoculars and radios used Gelot’s apartment to catch horny parkgoers in flagrante delicto, signaling to their undercover counterparts on the ground, who would then make an arrest.

But the issue pre-dates the Fifth Avenue building's opening in 2009.

Construction workers noticed it when the building was being constructed, doorman David Lamboy said.

At first, he thought the construction crew was exaggerating.

Man who caught Dodger Justin Turner's walkoff home run has "24 home-run balls in his personal collection"

OCR:

“I’m a lefty,” Hupp said. “I’ve dislocated my right shoulder so many times, I had to resort to my son’s glove on my left hand. So the last five or six home run balls I’ve caught, I’ve caught with my left hand.”

...

Hupp said he’s caught eight home runs on the fly in his life. He’s got another 16 in his private collection, all obtained one way or another.

Black Panther trailer

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Strange Apple/iCloud bug

iCloud is filling my computer with files--a problem others are noticing that doesn't seem to have an obvious fix.

The Mountain that Rides led the Vikings' pregame chant



"The Decline of the Midwest's Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies"

Atlantic:

But university research is in trouble, and so is an economy more dependent on it than many people understand. Federal funding for basic research—more than half of it conducted on university campuses like this one—has effectively declined since 2008, failing to keep pace with inflation. This is before taking into account Trump administration proposals to slash the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) budgets by billions of dollars more.

Trump’s cuts would affect all research universities, but not equally. The problem is more pronounced at public universities than private ones, and especially at public institutions in the Midwest, which have historically conducted some of the nation’s most important research. These schools are desperately needed to diversify economies that rely disproportionately on manufacturing and agriculture and lack the wealthy private institutions that fuel the knowledge industries found in Silicon Valley or along Boston’s 128/I-95 corridor. Yet many flagship Midwestern research universities are being weakened by deep state budget cuts. Threats to pensions (in Illinois) and tenure (in Wisconsin) portend an exodus of faculty and their all-important research funding, and have already resulted in a frenzy of poaching by better-funded and higher-paying private institutions, industry, and international competitors.



"Despite clear risks, Santa Rosa neighborhood that burned down was exempt from fire regulations"

LAT:

Because it was outside the officially mapped “very severe” hazard zone, more than five miles to the east, Coffey Park was exempt from regulations designed to make buildings fire resistant in high-risk areas.

...

“With a lot of hazard mapping, once you get into a density of development, it’s mapped urban and it’s considered unburnable,”

A good review of Tacoma

At Radiator Blog.

Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison in White Men Can't Jump outfits

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Halloween pie

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Dollar General Hits a Gold Mine in Rural America"

BB:

one of 1,000 Dollar Generals opening this year as part of the $22 billion chain’s plan to expand rapidly in poor, rural communities where it has come to represent not decline but economic resurgence, or at least survival. The company’s aggressively plain yellow-and-black logo is becoming the small-town corollary to Starbucks Corp.’s two-tailed green mermaid. (Although you can spot her on canned iced coffee at Dollar General, too.) Already, there are 14,000 one-story cinder block Dollar Generals in the U.S.—outnumbering by a few hundred the coffee chain’s domestic footprint. Fold in the second-biggest dollar chain, Dollar Tree, and the number of stores, 27,465, exceeds the 22,375 outlets of CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens combined. And the little-box player is fully expecting to turn profits where even narrow-margin colossus Walmart failed.

...

Dollar General’s sales per square foot have risen steadily in recent years, to $229, but they’re still far below the industry average of $325 and less than half of Walmart’s. Their gross profit margins were 30.9 percent over the last five years, though, compared with 25.1 percent at Walmart. The dollar chain doesn’t carry the big-ticket purchases—bikes, appliances—that Walmart does. It thrives mostly on selling low-ticket items and basics, such as toilet paper, that help shoppers on tight budgets get through the week. At Dollar General, a package of eight Pop-Tarts is $2, or 25¢ a tart. At Walmart, shoppers can buy the same eight-pack, but more often they save by spending $9.98 for a bulk package of 48—only 20¢ a tart. Dollar General doesn’t offer much bulk. A Dollar General store also has lower startup costs; it spends as little as $250,000 for a new store, vs. the more than $15 million Walmart puts into a new Supercenter.

...

The dollar chains do provide jobs of their own, of course. The chain employs about 121,000 people nationwide and has said it will hire 10,000 more employees this year. But those jobs will be or are mostly low-wage. Salaried managers can earn about $40,000, but they often work long hours without overtime pay.

Ron Howard teases some unexpected expanded universe edition characters making the jump to the movies?

"Weinstein Co. President David Glasser Linked to Felon’s Money Laundering Case"

Variety:

after Weinstein’s spectacular downfall in a sex harassment scandal this week, Glasser has been put in charge of the mogul’s imploding entertainment company alongside Weinstein’s brother, Bob.

But Glasser, who serves as president and chief operating officer of the Weinstein Co., has long been dogged by legal issues that date back more than two decades. In the most serious case, Glasser’s former company was used to launder the proceeds of a massive stock manipulation scheme which, according to federal prosecutors, was connected to the Genovese crime family. The mastermind of the scheme, Roy Ageloff, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Ageloff also helped launch Glasser’s career as a producer, and even tried to produce a film with Glasser about his own life, to be titled “Sold Short.” Glasser was never charged with a crime.

From my wishlist, The Luminaries is $2.99 today

At Amazon:

The bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning novel hailed as "a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly."--New York Times Book Review

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand's booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.

Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, THE LUMINARIES is at once a fiendishly clever ghost story, a gripping page-turner, and a thrilling novelistic achievement. It richly confirms that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international literary firmament.

"The slow death of the fastball is real"

Yahoo:

Fifteen years ago, pitchers threw fastballs nearly two out of every three pitches. They grew up in a baseball culture that deified the pitch, as if it were some sacred skeleton key that would unlock success in their other ones. Today, pitchers throw fastballs less than 56 percent of the time. A full quarter of pitchers live off cutters, sliders, curveballs, changeups and use the fastball as a secondary offering – almost an on-speed pitch. Of baseball’s manifold recent evolutions, this one affects the game more than any, because it’s the great impetus behind the surge in strikeouts.

"Hotshot banker says jilted lover drove his Benz into pool"

NYP:

Gentile, who runs a Bahamas-based brokerage, said their last dinner together was supposed to be a casual one with a friend — until she dropped a bomb on him. “She looks at me and says, I have something to tell you,” he said. “I’m pregnant.”

Gentile agreed to support the kid, until she abruptly changed her tune. “I’m not pregnant with a kid — I’m pregnant with an idea,” she told Gentile.

Kuchma wanted to start a marketing business and hoped he would help fund it with a $50,000 gift, he said.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lego Thriller Michael Jackson



By Lego 7.

Hot Toys Rey figure (with two porgs) available for preorder



At the BBTS.

"Dubai airport's new virtual aquarium tunnel scans your face as you walk through it"

"The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveller but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travellers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print"

Pennywise and Georgie Vynl figures



Available for preorder.

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #1 preview



By Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson, Lee Loughridge, and Joe Sabino. (Shalvey's Nick Fury miniseries was fun, and Injection is great.)

The third book in Seanan McGuire's award-winning Wayward Children series is available for preorder

Beneath the Sugar Sky will be out in January. It's the sequel to the first book in the series, which won the 2017 Hugo Award, 2017 Alex Award, 2017 Locus Award, and 2016 Nebula Award. But I recommend reading the second book (a prequel) first.

Book three is also good. I particularly like this image (spoiler for the first book)--the heroes are trying to reassemble a friend and have managed to reanimate her skeleton and bind it to her soul:

"The decade-old University of Central Florida football stadium is rusted and corroded, with some 'immediate life safety concerns,' according to an engineering report that says repairs could cost $14 million"

"The structure was built with affordability in mind. UCF had earlier estimated a football stadium would cost more than $100 million but came back with plans for one that was about half the cost"

Friday the 13th poster by Robert Tanenbaum



On sale today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Two plays show how Bill Belichick is playing chess while the Texans play checkers"

CBS:

Few things in life are more fascinating than seeing Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of all time, get knuckle deep on some coaches film. The Patriots do an (almost) bi-weekly film session on Patriots.com called "The Belestrator" where the Hoodie breaks down game tape with host Scott Zolak. You should be watching these, they are delightful.

When the Patriots lose, Belichick might not necessarily show up to chat, but after a win, he is willing to look at some key plays. He did just that this week after the victory over the Texans, and the two plays he and Zolak broke down were incredibly revealing, for completely different reasons.

Kojima Productions Ludens 1/6 Scale Action Figure available for preorder



At the BBTS:

Kojima Productions mascot in figure form
46 Points of articulation
Built in light up functions
Moving eyes

"Mystery Oreos"



Available at Amazon.

"How a school that calls itself "Christian Hogwarts" is upending a small city in California's Trump country"

BF:

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is at the forefront of a burgeoning — and decidedly youthful — evangelical Christian revival. Some have called its movement the fastest-growing religious group in America — a loose network of churches, led by so-called apostles, who see supernatural gifts like prophecy and faith healing as the key to global conversion. While other religious movements struggle to retain members and draw in young people, Bethel attracts millennials in droves.

The school — which is unaccredited and does not confer degrees — sends students into Redding and across the globe armed with training in how to speak God’s words, heal the sick, and use the supernatural to win souls. It has spawned imitators across the country and on nearly every continent.

But BSSM is also at the crux of a conflict brewing in the small, isolated city of Redding, population 90,000. On one side is the church that runs the school, Bethel Redding, which has more than 9,000 in its congregation — its own little city on a hill. On the other side is a group of longtime Redding residents, religious and nonreligious alike, who are afraid and even angry about the growing influence of this church in their city and their lives.

As it grows rapidly, Bethel has devoted itself to fixing the struggling city of Redding, which is one of California’s poorest. It donates money to the police department. It buys out public buildings. It nurtures local businesses. It sends armies of students to clean the city’s trash- and syringe-strewn riverbanks. To the church’s leaders, Redding and Bethel are inextricable, and the city’s rebirth is one of the church’s most urgent missions.

But to some Redding residents, this is a threat. They see Bethel insinuating itself into every piece of Redding — politics, real estate, schools — and, in the process, altering the very fabric of their city. The church’s opponents have begun to stage protests, pressure local officials, and badger the press to expose the church. Daily, on Facebook, they catalog the infiltration of Bethel into Redding: “Bethel-owned” businesses, Bethel-sponsored events.

In Redding, BSSM’s students — some call them “Bethelbots” — are everywhere. For school assignments, students hang out in parking lots and grocery store aisles, asking strangers who use wheelchairs or crutches if they can pray for them to heal. On Thursday nights, the budding prophets gather to listen for God’s voice, then set off on “treasure hunts” to prophesy for people who match the description God has given them — whole crews of students scouring the local megastore for a man in a yellow shirt one night, a woman with three children and a purple backpack the next. After Friday night church services, they flood the local pizza place with frenzied devotions they call “fire tunnels.” They film themselves trying to raise the dead and post the footage on YouTube.

Redding residents’ worries are as fundamental as the Constitution. Bethel, they say, is steadily eroding the separation of church and state — and doing it at the time their city is at its most vulnerable. There is strong evidence, they say, that Bethel is using its size and money to exert influence on their government, their neighbors, their children.

Many of Bethel’s most outspoken critics are evangelical Christians who are deeply troubled by Bethel’s theology. They’re the kind of people who would normally mind their own business. But by now, Bethel and the School of Supernatural Ministry have grown so huge that they are inescapable. Bethel is everywhere: on the city council, behind the police department and the local charter school, waiting in the parking lot of the Walmart off of Route 44.

"A Former Clickhole Writer Made a ‘Content Bot’ That Will Probably Become My Boss"

"It’s already won a comedy competition and is currently applying to be Poet Laureate for the city of Redmond, Washington."









"At the Interior Department’s headquarters in downtown Washington, Secretary Ryan Zinke has revived an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever happening in the federal government"

WaPo:

A security staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and hoists a special secretarial flag whenever Zinke enters the building. When the secretary goes home for the day or travels, the flag — a blue banner emblazoned with the agency’s bison seal flanked by seven white stars representing the Interior bureaus — comes down.

...

“Ryan Zinke is proud and honored to lead the Department of the Interior, and is restoring honor and tradition to the department, whether it’s flying the flag when he is in garrison or restoring traditional access to public lands,” press secretary Heather Swift said in an email.

...

He has commissioned commemorative coins with his name on them to give to staff and visitors

"Amazon TV Producer Goes Public With Harassment Claim Against Top Exec Roy Price"

HR:

"We take seriously any questions about the conduct of our employees,” an Amazon spokesperson tells THR in a statement. “We expect people to set high standards for themselves; we encourage people to raise any concerns and we make it a priority to investigate and address them. Accordingly, we looked closely at this specific concern and addressed it directly with those involved."
Related:
But when Bezos purchased The Washington Post in 2013, he inherited more than 1,200 workers unionized with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. That union now claims that Bezos and Washington Post management are trying to gut protections and benefits for workers in the latest contract negotiations.

Ocean-loving cat







Wednesday, October 11, 2017

From my wishlist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel is $1.99

At Amazon:

"Mr. Hamid reaffirms his place as one of his generation's most inventive and gifted writers." –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A globalized version of The Great Gatsby . . . [Hamid's] book is nearly that good." –Alan Cheuse, NPR

"Marvelous and moving." –TIME Magazine

"Leila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them"

Gizmodo:

Her “real identity”—the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics—joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila (a name I’m using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.

"A Forest Hill couple took their neighbours to court for copying the look of their multimillion-dollar home"

Star:

The Chapniks filed a lawsuit against neighbour Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, her builder husband and architect brother-in-law for copyright infringement in federal court, as well as the real estate agent who profited from the house’s recent sale and the anonymous contractors who worked on the house. They were seeking $1.5 million in damages, $20,000 in statutory copyright damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and a mandatory injunction on the defendant to change the design of the home.

According to a 2014 statement of claim, the Chapniks say their architect-designed home is “one of the most well-known and admired houses in the Cedarvale and Forest Hill neighbourhoods, in a large part due to its uniqueness.” They claim Kirshenblatt, who is “in the business of . . . flipping houses,” copied their home to increase her property value “while decreasing the value of the Plaintiff’s unique house.”

"China's favorite social media app, WeChat, has apologized for yet another instance of racist robots"

"As for how the racist obscenity got there in the first place, a WeChat spokesperson told Sixth Tone that its 'neutral machine translation' was constantly being refined to provide results that were 'more accurate, faithful, expressive and elegant.'"

"New Line's bad-boy president — Mike DeLuca’s naughty behavior raises questions about his place at the head of the young studio"

An Entertainment Weekly article from 1998:

As the story broke, De Luca and New Line (which, like EW, is owned by Time Warner) kept quiet. They issued no excuses, nor did they deny the exec’s actions. After all, his bad behavior is nothing new.

...

And yet the strangest wrinkle of all may be that De Luca (whose reputation has recently been bolstered by Boogie Nights and The Wedding Singer) is still standing. Most agents and producers contacted by EW — while acknowledging that De Luca has shown poor judgment — say that the exec’s latest faux pas will not affect his business relationships.
And an update on his career from earlier this year:
Veteran studio production chief Michael De Luca has turned down an offer to join Paramount Pictures, according to insiders.

The proposed plan was for De Luca to run the film division and work under Fox film chief Jim Gianopulos, who is Viacom's pick to run the troubled studio should he accept the assignment.

De Luca is said to enjoy the autonomy he maintains as an independent producer.

"He Excelled as a Detective, Until Prosecutors Stopped Believing Him"

"on the streets, some people knew him only by a nickname, 'Training Day'"

"Categorize this under 'one of the worst possible PR nightmares for a Google smart speaker'"

Verge:

Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

...

"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue.

"Parents on edge after talking drone tries to lure kids, school says"

"several witnesses have claimed the voice has even tried to get kids off the playground."

Deluxe Star Wars Holiday Special Boba Fett available for preorder



Hot Toys figure available for preroder at the BBTS.

Other new preorders: Stranger Things (including Demogorgon) and Destiny figures by McFarlane, and a $1600 Robotech cockpit.