Monday, June 30, 2014

Even though Fox gave a 13-episode series order to ancient Egypt set adventure series Hieroglyph during pilot season this year, it has now pulled the plug and canceled the show, before any episodes had even aired (it was set to debut during midseason). 
Only the pilot had been shot

The very impressive Alien Queen by NECA is available for preorder.

Story #1 was that Facebook was manipulating feeds.

Story #2 was which news aggregator crafted the best headline about the story to draw traffic:

Facebook doesn't intentionally reward any particular editorial style; it mostly seems to promote content that causes people to use Facebook more vigorously. New Scientist's story, as presented, might coax a post out of a few people, but its headline and tone demand reading and analysis—you have to work a little before arriving at an emotional response (another way to describe it is boring). The content of the The A.V. Club's story is a fair enough representation of its subject but the presentation teeters on that sharp, high, slippery peak of sʜᴀʀᴇᴀʙɪʟɪᴛʏ: It leaves something to the imagination, so you'll probably end up stopping to look at it; at the same time, it contains enough information, after a quick scan, to pass the engage-without-reading threshold. Facebook tinkered with OUR feeds for a WHAT experiment? Haha, dang, I knew it. Commented, shared, and read (maybe).

New Tumblr:

Documenting the absurdly large number of dudes who have taken a picture with a tiger and are attempting to use said picture to woo women on the internet.

Brazil's starting keeper was nearly out of soccer and reduced to practicing in the park with his son...

"Júlio César, the starting goalkeeper for World Cup host Brazil, nearly ended his national team career after feeling the brunt of his team's exit from the 2010 tournament in South Africa. His move from Inter Milan to Queens Park Rangers did not go well, and his career sunk to a new low before it found new life in an unexpected place — Toronto FC and MLS."


AP will use robots to write some business stories
"instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically for companies throughout the United States each quarter,"

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Guardian:

China sends dissidents on free holidays
Activists tell of 'being travelled' – sent on lavish trips, chaperoned by police – to keep them out of the government's way

The National Corvette Museum will keep the sinkhole and display the most damaged cars in it.

"The Strain Eyeball Billboards To Be Taken Down After Complaints." (My book review back in 2009 was that it gave me nightmares.)

New Tumblr.


Kazakhstan Takes Down Statue Ridiculed as “Hobbit Selfie”
Meant to depict local author and educator Abai Qunanbaiuli and Russian exile Yevgeny Mikhaelis, a scientist and supporter of democracy, two 19th-century historical figures, the statue was sculpted in part by Vladimir Samoylov

Via the One Tweet Numenera Twitter feed, which suggests RPG ideas.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Big Hero 6 Baymax toy looks specifically designed to be dropped by a child

Big and awkward to hold plus light up feature and thin wings equals a recipe for quick breakage. Via these sites.

Picked up from my wishlist, The White Tiger: A Novel is a $1.99 kindle download right now.

Today's Amazon Kindle deals include Neil Gaiman's American Gods for $1.99.

Friday, June 27, 2014

False viral story of the week

"Correction: The original headline on this story was 'Bodies of 800 babies, long dead, found in septic tank at former Irish home for unwed mothers.' No bodies have been found in a tank."

Numenera art contest

Numenera art contest:

It's Create-a-Creature weekend!
What's your favorite Numenera creature? Build a version of it out of anything--food, household objects, paper, clay, mud, wisps of smoke--and post a photo of it here by Tuesday, July 1st.
We'll pick a winner (or more--if we get lots of submissions) and send you something awesome related to your favorite Ninth World beastie!

Transformers Legacy: A Celebration of Transformers Package Art

Transformers Legacy: A Celebration of Transformers Package Art:

Remember the thrill of tearing open a gift on Christmas morning, discovering a brand-new Transformer in a shiny new box? While the toys were amazing in their own right, what made the packages stand head-and-shoulders above the myriad competing action figures on shelves was the stunning box art. Transformers: Legacy collects hundreds of beautifully airbrushed paintings from the iconic first decade of The Transformers. Hasbro, Takara, and private collectors opened their archives, yielding an unparalled level of quality. Essays and interviews from the original illustrators give unprecedented insight into the process behind the art. This book is chock-full of extras, including never-before-seen artwork from toys that never were, original design sketches, catalog artwork, and more.
300 pages. Preorder for 31% off at Amazon.

Eric So's Sin City Marv figure is available for preorder (expensive, but fantastic).

New Dredd t-shirt

Peach Trees tee on sale starting today at Last Exit to Nowhere.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Link roundup

1. io9 posted a gallery of location concept art made for the Ron Howard Dark Tower franchise. Susannah is walking in the images.

2. "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

3. LA Times:

Orange County's transition to making its network of toll roads cashless has now resulted in more than 13,000 violations a day — a figure that has prompted the toll agency to ease first-time penalty fees through the summer. 
The Transportation Corridor Agencies closed down its tollbooths in mid-May in favor of a cashless system in which commuters would either use transponders or go online to pay tolls.
4.  Accurate.

5.  An inside joke in this update on rumors Fox was trying to buy Gawker:
Denton addressed the rumors during a small lunch he held for gay Gawker employees on Thursday afternoon, at an Italian restaurant near his company’s Elizabeth Street loft. The day prior, Denton declined repeated requests to comment in Kinja, Gawker Media’s commenting platform, which he has otherwise encouraged staffers—and their sources—to use in the course of reporting.
Encourage would be an understatement.

How Long Will You Survive In The Chamber?

Great quiz at The Clickhole (I survived 5 hours).

Esther Honig is a 24-year-old radio journalist in Kansas City, Missouri. But a few months ago, while working with internationally based graphic designers for her job, she came up with an idea: See how people around the globe define female beauty. 
She started by sending a self-portrait (above) to a designer in Sri Lanka. "Hi," she wrote, "my name is Esther Honig... make me look beautiful." The result was a hauntingly beautiful Photoshopped image of herself, with pink lips and tinge of green eyeshadow. She began sending her picture to Photoshoppers in more countries.

Techcrunch gave Google's cardboard virtual reality set a positive review.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Seinfeld episode with Lawrence Tierney as Elaine's gruff author father was based on Larry David's real girlfriend's father. The incident with the jacket really happened.  Via.

Google's downloadable cardboard virtual reality headset

It's awfully hard to distinguish Google's real products from Onion headlines:
Virtual reality has made exciting progress over the past several years. However, developing for VR still requires expensive, specialized hardware. Thinking about how to make VR accessible to more people, a group of VR enthusiasts at Google experimented with using a smartphone to drive VR experiences. 
The result is Cardboard, a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset, and the accompanying open software toolkit that makes writing VR software as simple as building a web or mobile app. 
By making it easy and inexpensive to experiment with VR, we hope to encourage developers to build the next generation of immersive digital experiences and make them available to everyone.
I hope someone comes out with an iPhone version soon.

Demonic Queen by Brad Rigney, who has various prints on sale here.

Link roundup

1. A look at the concept part posted in support of the Areal video game Kickstarter that's getting a lot of publicity: one piece is from a book, another from the STALKER wiki page, another originally posted in 2011, etc.

2. The lesson of Scooby-Doo:

If something evil is happening, it’s probably an old white man trying to make money.
3. R.L. Stine wrote a series of G.I. Joe novels--available at Amazon, but unfortunately not on kindle.  (If you have some you want swap for some random art books and toys, get in touch.)


Nike Air Max '97 JD SP 'Rio' (£169). Via these Tweets.

A visit to the ladies-only football clinic hosted by Rob Gronkowski

Lana Berry visited Gronkfest:
On top of the Gronk-tinis, the impressive open bar offers several types of wine, beer, and mixed drinks. Aren't we supposed to do football drills after this? Not important. Keep drinking. I see women polish off four or five Gronk-tinis. There is also a room with a huge spread of catered food, all of it with reasonable calorie counts (for the ladies), but most of the women appear to be sticking to the alcohol. 
And then I hear the familiar sounds of "Teach Me How to Dougie," a song that had permanently etched itself into my brain and probably yours three years ago. But wait... this is not "Teach Me How to Dougie." This is some kind of Rob Gronkowski remix. This is a thing. I begin to wonder if the tackling drills gave me a concussion. This can't be actually happening. 
But it is happening. The women have started to dance. Both Gronkowski brothers have joined in. This is what we were warned about. THE DANCE OFF IS HAPPENING.

X-Wings and Tie Fighters by Chris Skinner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

High Evolutionary custom action figure by BeeCustoms.

Kitty Pryde and Lockheed by Jim Rugg.

New Macross transforming fighter via.

New print by Nico Delort.

Ghost Corporation by Kilian Eng.

Link roundup

1. "There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any other time in history."

2. The Umami Burger in Florida closed. The one in downtown Los Angeles had to dramatically retool.

3. A Gawker writer was suspended for plagiarism.

4. Relatedly, My boss at Kotaku:

Anyone in the world can pitch me articles. Do it at stephentotilo at kotaku dot com. I'm interested in talent, always.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gone Home is $3 (85% off) at Steam.

The good news is that Marvel will sell the terrific looking Marvel Legends Agent Venom. The bad news, Walgreens exclusive, probably released around August 30.

Little Nemo art book on kickstarter

An all-star list of contributors, but the minimum price for a copy of the book is $100.

Mecha Nations Megatron available for preorder (expensive). The super-articulated animated-style TMNT figures with swappabale faces that I posted at Screenburn are available for preorder, too.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Link roundup

1. America's scariest motel is The Clown Motel. "As if it couldn't be any more horrifying, The Clown Motel shares a lot with a cemetery full of gold miners who died from a plague."

2. The Guardian (which goes to speculate the owner may have kept the photographs for blackmail purposes):

CIA facial software uncovers the artist Francis Bacon – in drag
A photograph in a Guardian article about Soho photographer John Deakin has been revealed as a picture of artist Francis Bacon in drag.
3. The start of Jill Lepore's fascinating article about the cult of "disruption" is a great short story all by itself:
In the last years of the nineteen-eighties, I worked not at startups but at what might be called finish-downs. Tech companies that were dying would hire temps—college students and new graduates—to do what little was left of the work of the employees they’d laid off. This was in Cambridge, near M.I.T. I’d type users’ manuals, save them onto 5.25-inch floppy disks, and send them to a line printer that yammered like a set of prank-shop chatter teeth, but, by the time the last perforated page coiled out of it, the equipment whose functions those manuals explained had been discontinued. We’d work a month here, a week there. There wasn’t much to do. Mainly, we sat at our desks and wrote wishy-washy poems on keyboards manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation, left one another sly messages on pink While You Were Out sticky notes, swapped paperback novels—Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel García Márquez, that kind of thing—and, during lunch hour, had assignations in empty, unlocked offices.
(As soon as finished reading the article, I added her upcoming book The Secret History of Wonder Woman to my wishlist.)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I mentioned this God of War-esque game at Screenburn yesterday, mostly because of the box art--you can get a Steam download code for 99 cents at Amazon.

The protective baseball hat looks ludicrous

Thunderbolts-style Agent Venom custom action figure by Gabe's Customs.

Link roundup

1. "Guy With Hidden Camera Asks Fast Food Workers To Remake His Orders More Like The Ads"

2. "Kanye West revealed that his and Kim Kardashian's second wedding photo—which is the current world record holder for Most Liked Photo on Instagram—took over four days to compose"

3. Solothurn, Switzerland, is looking to hire a full-time hermit, to live in their hermitage. The job description includes, “Along with acting as caretaker and sacristan, responsibilities include interaction with the many visitors.”

My favorite thing on the internet is Gawker's recurring restaurant series

Gawker's ongoing series of restaurant reviews by Caity Weaver and Rich Juzwiak is my favorite. From their review of the United Nations Dining Room:
Rich: I realized I had a knife in my bag on the way to the United Nations. It's a pocket knife—a nice one—and while I've never used it (I've never had to), I did not want to give it up. But I knew we'd be searched. I also worried about leaving it in the cab and having someone pick it up and kill someone with it. That knife is safer on me than not, but I'm not safe with it. 
I spent my last few minutes in the cab quietly regarding my knife and decided to place it in the trash underneath some other trash in the hope that when we were done, I could go back and retrieve my beloved knife that I've never used. 
Caity: Here is what I thought as I watched you (from across the street) root around in a trashcan: Why did Rich just walk over to that trashcan and start digging in it? Is he looking for cans to recycle for money? Is he looking for food? I bet Rich wouldn't want me to watch him do this. :(
Lox at The Jewish Museum:
The sandwich was kind of...hard. It was cute when you asked me, while picking at my plate (which, for the record, I invited you to do), "Got any more loose onions?" mostly because it reminded me of a time that a woman asked me, "Got any spare pants?" when I was in a parking lot of a North Philly mini-mart. "Got any more loose onions?" was my favorite part of my sandwich. 
Caity: The most confusing part of the sandwich for me was when you launched into that entertaining story about spare pants, which bore no evident relation to anything we were talking about or doing. I kept waiting for the detail that would make it all fall into place. Finally I just had to ask, "Why did you tell that story?" ("Because of the loose onions!" Oh, OK.)
Grand Central's Campbell Apartment:
Caity: It is an odd feeling to be completely alone in a restaurant. No other patrons, which is understandable for a bar at 2 pm on a Tuesday, but also: No employees. 100% alone. 
Rich: I could have taken off my offending pants and offended no one besides you. 
Caity: It felt like, if we ever tried to go back, all we'd find would be a burnt out, boarded-up elegant office/jail. "That place? Burned down 50 years ago this week." This would also explain our initial ghostly interaction with the silent, nodding waiter.
The Statue of Liberty's Crown Cafe:
Rich: We wolfed down our food and immediately rushed...back into a line. 
Caity: The line for the return ferry was EVEN MORE COMICALLY LONG than the line to get out there in the first place. It stretched for 9000 city blocks, culminating in a near perfect circle. 
Rich: A circle of hell.
The Armani Store:
Caity: When our team of three waiters brought out your soup, Lucio put down your bowl—empty but for a minuscule portion of asparagus—and exclaimed, "Here's the soup!" Then we all laughed (in Italian) and one of his assistants poured it in. 
He felt comfortable joking with us because he could tell we were low-class. It was like the scene in Lady and the Tramp when the restaurateur gives them a plate of spaghetti at a romantic table for two. "It is a funny joke to pretend you are people!" Lucio's eyes laughed.

Link roundup

1. From a review of Penny Dreadful:

Also I’d have liked if one or two of the sex scenes had been shorter When i was watching with my mom.
But I like the aesthetics of the show— Eva Green in interesting dresses running around graveyards for sex-tinged adventure reasons?
2. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto says he hasn't played Minecraft.

3. "That Story You've Read About YouTube 'Blocking' Indie Artists... Yeah, That's Not Accurate."

 (How much internet traffic is false or materially misleading stories and corrections to those stories?)

The new Dazzler design is intended to be easy to cosplay

Kris Anka on his new Dazzler design:

When I was brought onto uncanny, the first thing I was asked to do was design a new “punk” dazzler that was specifically easy to cosplay
The two comments he's featured at his site:
(Feels too much like Cable meets Captain Marvel, to me.)

Nike's Mike Trout collection

My younger son pretty much lives in his Mike Trout tee, so this collection is relevant to my household. My favorite description:

Nike’s revolutionary baseball cap features Vapor Bill construction and laser- perforated details. The Vapor Bill construction is designed to reduce weight, improve moisture management and relieve pressure against the forehead.