Tuesday, February 28, 2017


The dog tag says Dr. E. Shaw

"Have we underestimated the West’s super-floods?"


In the late 1980s, a Japanese scientist named Koji Minoura stumbled on a medieval poem that described a tsunami so large it had swept away a castle and killed a thousand people. Intrigued, Minoura and his team began looking for paleontological evidence of the tsunami beneath rice paddies, and discovered not one but three massive, earthquake-triggered waves that had wracked the Sendai coast over the past three thousand years.


For the past several decades, paleo-hydrologist Victor Baker of the University of Arizona has been using techniques similar to Minoura’s to study the flood history of the Colorado Plateau. Like Minoura, he’s found that floods much larger than any in recorded history are routine occurrences. And like Minoura, he feels his research is being largely ignored by agencies and public utilities with infrastructure in the path of such floods.

"How the company behind two of the year's biggest movies is blowing up the Hollywood playbook"


That was necessary when Blum went out on his own as an independent producer after leaving Miramax. He describes it as a low point in his career.

"I wanted to be an independent producer when I worked for Harvey. I did it for three or four years and I did not like it," Blum said. "I decided at that time I wanted to build a company and it took 10 years to do it, but this is absolutely my dream. I do not miss my days of making one or two movies a year. I thought I would love it, and I didn't like anything about it."

Blumhouse Productions' first release was the forgettable 2006 romantic comedy "Griffin & Phoenix," but then Blum came across "Paranormal Activity," a found-footage horror movie made for $15,000 by a video-game designer named Oren Peli. After it wowed audiences at a couple of film festivals in 2007, Blum got DreamWorks interested in the movie for remake rights, but he had another plan.

"I came onto the movie, I tried to sell it, everyone said it was a joke," Blum remembered. "But I knew anyone running a studio, if they saw the movie screened with an audience, would distribute the movie. My problem was I couldn't get anyone into a movie theater because I didn't have any clout, I was a nobody. The only thing I got was DreamWorks to agree to remake it and of course we were never going to remake the movie, but I couldn't say that. So what I said was I will sell you the remake rights to the movie but, and I put this in the contract: you guys set up and attending a test screening.

"Winter is coming" to the Mall of Egypt

Artist looking for commissions

Rogue One Saw Gerrera figure available for preorder

At EE.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Jim Rugg's comics about running

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"The death of a world-class magician found hanged in his dressing room at a popular Hollywood nightclub called the Magic Castle was ruled an accident on Saturday"

"found fully clothed with a bag over his head, said Vicki Greenleaf, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Magical Arts, which owns the Magic Castle. She disputed as untrue media reports indicating Easton was found in his underwear."

"MLB seeking new ball with stickier cover so it can enforce foreign-substance rule"


MLB has commissioned Rawlings, its official manufacturer, to produce a ball with natural tack on the leather in hopes of eliminating the need for pine tar, sunscreen and rosin, or any other foreign substances whose use in recent years has blurred the legal-illegal line, sources familiar with the project told Yahoo Sports. The balls also would not need a pregame polish of Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud, the New Jersey-harvested muck that for decades has taken the sheen off the pearls that come out of the box.

“We think we’re close now,” Mike Thompson, an executive vice president at Rawlings, told Yahoo Sports.

"Crystal Palace fans vandalize their own team’s bus by accident"

"Damage is being assessed at a total of almost $50,000."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Masterpiece Rocket and Baby Groot available for preorder

Multiple hands, feet, jetpack. The deluxe comes with "mechanically complex heavy machine gun".

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"'World's worst skier': how it went downhill for Adrian Solano, Venezuela's Eddie the Eagle"

"The novice had only trained on wheels before arriving in Finland to compete in the Nordic world ski championships"

1/12 Scale TOA Heavy Industries Synthetic Humans available for preorder

At the BBTS.

Bill Paxton as Deathlok in Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season Finale

"The 'press forward' genre (or 'PFs') is one of my favorite examples of emergent level genres"


Trackmania games have very robust track editors that let the community build and share custom tracks very easily.


The "press forward" genre (or "PFs") is one of my favorite examples of emergent level genres. Instead of challenging players to hone reflexes and maneuvers on a track, a PF beckons the player to simply hold down "forward" as a mindbogglingly complex track swirls around them. Through no skill of their own, a player ends up executing amazing stunts -- spinning 1080 degrees in the air before barely grazing a ramp in just-the-right-way to land perfectly on the track below. If the player makes any kind of choice, like letting go of the "forward" key, or (god forbid) turning left by 0.1 degrees, the consequences are often fatal.

"Inside the ugly breakup of Sports Illustrated, The Cauldron, and Chat Sports"


Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated abruptly ended its partnership with The Cauldron, an independent sports blog that had a modest but devoted readership, and had made waves with a number of viral posts written by pro athletes like Steph Curry. The breakup was covered in straightforward fashion by a few sports and media blogs.

But there’s much more to the story: impersonations, fake emails, and a forged term sheet.

It is a convoluted tale, but worth climbing down the rabbit hole. It’s the tale of a sports media acquisition gone very wrong, and how the broken deal ensnared a number of big-name media companies and venture capitalists along the way.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Jeff Bezos's biological father "was a circus performer and one of Albuquerque’s best unicyclists in the 1960s"


In 1968, Jackie called Ted and told him she was marrying Miguel and moving to Houston. She told him he could stop paying child support and asked him not to interfere in their lives. Her father confronted him and made him promise to stay away. Jackie also wanted to give Jeffrey her new husband’s surname and let Miguel adopt him. Ted’s permission was needed for the adoption. After thinking it over and reasoning that the boy would probably have a better life as the son of Jackie and her new husband, Ted obliged. After a few years, he lost track of the family and then forgot their last name.


I found Ted Jorgensen, Jeff Bezos’s biological father, behind the counter of his bike shop in late 2012. I’d considered a number of ways he might react to my unannounced appearance but gave a very low probability to the likelihood of what actually happened

"The secret Google project to put an aquarium full of tiny, wiggly water bears inside your phone"

A detailed look at the prototype:

“The first time that we discovered that the camera being on was an obstacle for these guys staying alive was a little bit of a frightening moment. It got to such a temperature where these guys were dying off, and if you don’t think about it too hard, that’s almost like, ‘Oh my gosh, how are you going to take pictures of these guys if they can’t survive for a long period of time when the camera’s on?’ That’s kind of a mini-crisis that sort of requires a lot of rethinking,” said Gonzalez.

The team “collected data on shaking, rapid heat changes, suffocation, and population control,” said project manager Jennifer Bernstein, Midnight Commercial’s main contact with Google. But unlike a virtual Tamagotchi pet, tardigrades are living creatures. And if they die before reproducing, all they leave behind is algae.

Midnight Commercial resolved to fix the problem with software. The engineers designed the experience around nudges that let you “play” with your tardigrades without killing them with love. “If you’ve been looking at [them] too much, we’d have a control that says, the next time you try to open the app if it hasn’t cooled down enough, it would say ‘They’re resting right now, why don’t you see some videos that we’ve taken before’, or what-not,” said Feehan.

"New questions, including human trafficking concerns, broadside N.J. basketball power"


At least eight international boys and girls basketball players have shown up seemingly out of nowhere to play for Paterson Eastside High School's powerhouse teams over the past four years, broadening state investigations and drawing the attention of federal agencies, NJ Advance Media has learned.


The international pipeline at Eastside appears to have begun with the girls team, according to interviews with adults who work to place international players at high schools in the United States. Like the boys squad, the Lady Ghosts have won three straight Passaic County Tournament championships as well as two state titles the past four seasons.

"there will be a point, in the very far future, at which all galaxies will be so far apart that they will no longer be visible from one another"


Upon reaching that moment, it will no longer be possible to understand the universe’s history—or perhaps even that it had one—as all evidence of a broader cosmos outside of one’s own galaxy will have forever disappeared.


There would be no reason to theorize that other galaxies had ever existed in the first place. The universe, in effect, will have disappeared over its own horizon, into a state of irreversible amnesia

"DeviantArt Community Worries that New Corporate Overlords Will Ruin Everything"


Yesterday, the social network for artists was acquired, for an impressive $36 million, by Wix, a DIY website design and hosting company based in Tel Aviv.


For now, the deviance remains.

"How to Draw an Exoplanet"


Fifteen years ago, Tim Pyle was animating spaceships for Invader Zim on Nickelodeon. These days, he illustrates exoplanets orbiting stars in the Milky Way.

This week, Pyle watched from the office he shares with Robert Hurt on the Caltech campus in Pasadena as the internet exploded over their latest artwork.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Vin Diesel's Cringey Interview w/Brazilian (Uncut Version)"

"Let's get out of here....My god I love her."

Deluxe Ghost Rider figure available for preorder

"Each and every crease and fold of his painstakingly tailored wardrobe, from the individual buttons on his high-collared leather-effect biker jacket to his microscopically stitched blue jeans has been lovingly reproduced."

Also available for preorder are the new Ripley, Gravity Falls, and Spider-Man Homecoming Funko toys. But I like Claire Hummel's alternate, non-glam design for Ripley:

"IMDb likely has First Amendment right to display people’s ages"


A recently enacted California law, AB 1687, requires websites that “provide employment services to an individual for a subscription payment” to stop publishing a subscriber’s age whenever the subscriber so demands. In practice, this law was aimed at IMDb

"The assimilation problem in fact comes from the longstanding native-born Americans"


The country around them has changed rapidly, and they do not assimilate so well to the new realities. And since they are not self-selected migrants who know they will face hardship, they are not always so inclined to internalize a “suck it up” kind of attitude.

"Japanese Wrestling Photos That Look Photoshopped, But Aren't"


"Taco Bell Is Taking the Naked Chicken Chalupa Off Its Menu"

As planned, but still.

"Disney is set to lay off approximately 80 people and drop support for more than 55,000 YouTubers currently backed by its Maker Studios division"

"Disney purchased Maker Studios in March 2014 for $675 million"

Detailed explanation of how Fifty Shades of Grey arose from Twilight fanfiction

The start:

Well to understand this, you really need to understand the Twilight fanfic community. Bear with me! It pretty much gets written off as laughable and silly (can't blame people), but truthfully, Twilight fanfic commonly has very little do with Twilight. Even Twilight's fandom hates Twilight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NASA's TRAPPIST-1e travel poster


Gallery 1988 is "sending out an open call to prospective artists for upcoming shows"

"We’re looking for 3-4 jpegs or a link to a website in order to see your work and style. We’re not asking for a certain theme. Send all submissions with the email subject 'SUBMISSION' to gallery1988east@gmail.com."

Strong The Budo and Bemular figures available for preorder

New preorders: S.H. Figuarts Strong The Budo and Bemular. Also, some new Eaglemoss figurines: Jane Foster Thor and Predalien.

"A.T.F. Filled Secret Bank Account With Millions From Shadowy Cigarette Sales"


Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.


The scheme relied on phony shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The agents were experts: Their job was to catch cigarette smugglers, so they knew exactly how it was done.

"New York Food Blogger Busted for Cheating in Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon"


after the race, someone tipped off Derek Murphy, a business analyst by day who has become the world's best internet sleuth at busting cheating runners.

He began digging into Seo's time and soon came across a prime piece of evidence: a photo of her at the finish line that clearly showed her race-tracking Garmin watch. He enlarged the photo, which showed the watch matched her time of 1 hour 22 minutes but also showed she had covered only 11.65 miles — nearly two miles short of the full race.

Time has a "Top 10 Comas" list

"A factory chicken today takes just 47 days to grow to an average weight of about 6.24 pounds. In 1965, they took 63 days to grow to just 3.48 pounds"

"Forget about Rhode Island Reds or Leghorns: Today, your tenders are more likely to come from a Ross 708 (a “high meat yielding bird”) or the Hubbard M99."

"The two young women were what South Korean intelligence calls 'lizard’s tails,' expendable assets to be cast off after an operation"


Guided by North Korean agents, they practiced at malls in Kuala Lumpur, then set their sights on the target: Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder brother of North Korea’s erratic leader, Kim Jong-un.


If the women really had poison on their hands, the embassy statement said, “then how is it possible that these female suspects could still be alive?”

One possible theory is that each woman used a single chemical that became lethal only when mixed with another. The Malaysian police, however, said that the substance or substances used in the attack had not yet been identified.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Abzu is 70% off

$5.99 at Humble Store.

Picked up from my wishlist: War Dogs: The True Story of How Three Stoners From Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History

$2.99 at Amazon (turned into a movie starring Jonah Hill).

"investigators theorize that a wealthy collector known as 'The Astronomer' may have hired the thieves to steal the books for him"

"Thieves Rappelled Into a London Warehouse in Rare Book Heist"

Mall of America Writer-in-Residence Contest


The Writer-in-Residence Contest will give a special scribe the chance to spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words. The contest winner will stay in an attached hotel for four nights, receive a $400 gift card to buy food and drinks and collect a generous honorarium for the sweat and tears they’ll put into their prose.

"I Was a White Guy for Rent in a Chinese Ghost City"


“You put a foreigner in front of a building and everything is different,” Yana says in the documentary. New developments in the third- and fourth-tier cities on the outskirts were being advertised as “international cities” that would follow the path of Shanghai and Beijing, where foreign investment and businesspeople would help create a bustling economy. And to show that the developers and local officials indeed had those foreign connections, laowais were bused in from nearby cities and presented as famous artists or top executives from rich and “exotic” countries. They were really just random people that agents picked off the streets.


What does this “city image industry” look like?

Basically, it's a handful of marketers promoting cities, especially the new ones built in the late 2000s. The cities have these kind of spectacles that they put on for visitors, competing against each other to show the highest GDP growth and high levels of economic development.

One gig I did with Yana that never made the film was this kind of fake Olympics. One of the best ways to show that a city has made it on the map is by holding international sporting events. And often, Yana would get a lot of foreigners to pretend to be athletes. At one event in a very remote area of rural Chongqing, there was this water-sport competition. She brought, I think, 30 foreigners, and half were reporters who had been paid to film it. There wasn't much of an audience—just villagers—but these officials came on stage and gave these speeches about how this was a proud day in the history of sports. Then we went and did a river race that looked utterly unprofessional.

But the “press” filmed it, and the video came out pretty professional. They caught the better moments, and that is precisely the city image industry: various marketing industries coming together to make cities seem as though they could attract an international sporting competition.

"A gigantic migrating dune has almost completely buried Rubjerg Fyr [lighthouse] and ancillary buildings within a period of just 10 years"


The problems began only a few years after the lighthouse was put into service. The buildings created shelter for the fine sand which was blown up from the steep cliff, and before long dunes had been formed between the lighthouse and the sea. The lighthouse master's vegetable garden was buried by sand and the well quickly filled up.

In order to moderate the sand migration, wild rye was planted in the dunes, but this simply resulted in the dune increasing in volume. The more planting that went on, the bigger the dune became. Within just a few decades, the sand had become so high that it was impossible to see the lighthouse from the sea.
It's been turned into an art project:

Texas Oil Fields Rebound From Price Lull, but Jobs Are Left Behind"


“Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”


Indeed, computers now direct drill bits that were once directed manually. The wireless technology taking hold across the oil patch allows a handful of geoscientists and engineers to monitor the drilling and completion of multiple wells at a time — onshore or miles out to sea — and supervise immediate fixes when something goes wrong, all without leaving their desks. It is a world where rigs walk on their own legs and sensors on wells alert headquarters to a leak or loss of pressure, reducing the need for a technician to check.


Much of the technology has been developed by the aviation and automotive industries, along with deepwater oil exploration, over more than a decade. But companies drilling on land were slow to adapt until oil prices crashed and companies needed to get efficient quickly or go out of business.

"Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak"

"In 1519, when forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés arrived in Mexico, the native population was estimated at about 25 million. A century later, after a Spanish victory and a series of epidemics, numbers had plunged to around 1 million."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 poster


"Workmen's cafe overwhelmed with customers after it is accidentally awarded a Michelin star"


Véronique Jacquet, who runs the café, said it had a regular clientèle of local tradesmen.

“Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet," she said. "Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing.”

They're making a Peter MacNicol/Dr. Janosz Poha action figure

New Ghostbusters figures. (I've updated my new toy reveal post. Also, the newly-revealed NECA and DC toys are available for preorder.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"According to Nintendo, early Switch systems in the wild were stolen by employees of a distributor in the United States and illegally resold"


The individuals involved have been identified, terminated from their place of employment and are under investigation by local law enforcement authorities on criminal charges.

Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on March 3, 2017, and we look forward to everyone being able to discover the wonders of the new system for themselves at that time."

"The thing that made Jurassic Park great was a reverence for intelligence"


Everyone in that movie, literally everyone, is smart and capable. The kids, the snivelling Lawyer, Even the fat slob bad guy Dennis Nedry. The movie goes to great pains to show that he's the best there is at his job.

For an early 90's action movie, this was a revelation. The 80's was full of 'shoot first, ask questions later' action heroes that were idolised for their can-do attitude and straight talkin', ' folksy stupidity. Smart people filled exactly two roles: the bad guy (whose smartness was a weakness exploited by the hero) or the bumbling sidekick and bully victim. Smart people were a plot device, existing only to be protected by the strong-yet-stupid hero, or defeated by their overthinking and their evil commie ways. Nerds are to be mocked. Jocks are the heroes. As for smart women, forget about it. Nerd ladies don't get to be married, let alone heroic.

Then along comes Jurassic Park. Here was a film where the baddest motherfucker on the screen was a chaos-mathlete ladykiller with a black leather leather jacket and 400 dollar shoes. The idea of a rockstar mathematician blew my mind when I saw it as a kid. You can be cool AND smart? sign me up! It's not limited to Ian Malcolm. A Teenage hacker girl and a shotgun weilding paleo-botanist to this day are some of my favourite female characters of all time.


Then we get Jurassic World.

Kurt Russell/Ego figure available for preorder

At EE. (I've been updating my recent toy reveal post.)