Archive for the ‘Look at what I found on the Internet’ Category
I’ve had a running debate with a few friends about what I think were (possibly quite late) rewrites to The Force Awakens regarding the reveal that Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s child. The strongest version of this is my suspicion that in some original cut of the film this was revealed at the bridge, with some riff on “Luke, I am your father” that was reworked either because it turned into a groaning laugh line or because test or corporate audiences found it too distracting and lost the thread of the scene.* (In the final cut of the film Kylo Ren’s identity is revealed much earlier, in a scene involving Kylo in the mask and the CGI Snoke — which is to say, a scene that could have been done in Burbank with a stand-in with Adam Driver and Andy Serkis on the phone. There are also several later, slightly awkward scenes that seem to be written as if they too were revealing this information for the first time, as if we didn’t already know; I think there was probably a cut where “I saw him, Leia. I saw our son” was the reveal, for instance.)
The Little Golden Book edition of The Force Awakens (out today!) isn’t bulletproof evidence — even if such adaptations often work off very early versions of scripts — but I found this page interesting:
* Devotees of my rants know I also have a theory that in some version of the script there was probably a “Luke, I am your daughter” / “Rey, I am your father” cut from the last second of the movie, which I think was also cut on the distracting-and-or-groaner basis. These two theories are somewhat incompatible — not even TFA would go to that well twice! — but I don’t have to explain myself to you.
* Nearly one-third of public college presidents serve on corporate boards. Most of those companies exist in far-flung industries, and the issues at play are different: Why should college presidents involve themselves with shipping, with search engines, with banking?
* President of Ireland Affirms Value of the Humanities. Ireland, you’re not so bad yourself!
* LARoB reviews The New Mutants : Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.
* Music to my ears: Why Story of Your Life May Be the Year’s Breakout Sci-fi Movie.
* The sheep look up: Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048.
* Some upcoming events at Marquette English this month: “Resume Doctor and Interview Bootcamp” and a Pop Culture and Pizza Night on Hamilton: An American Musical. There’s also MuHuCon this weekend and the Marquette/UWM joint conference next weekend.
* In a case showing the reach of college sports corruption, a former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Mississippi instructed his assistants to complete junior college course work for recruits.
* Diabetes watch: Are full-fat dairy foods better for you after all?
* Can this election get stranger? How Gen. James Mattis could become the unlikeliest U.S. president in history. I don’t know anything about Mattis, and doubt that he’s the guy, but I still think sabotaging the Electoral College by running one or more regional candidates in order to throw the election to the House is the only GOP strategy left that has any chance of success.
* This Is How Long Sex Should Actually Last. Science.
* The finding that launched a thousand sexist jokes: Men May Be Able to Avoid Dementia by Marrying Intelligent Women, Researchers Say.
* “I think that porn has the power to do what Bruce Springsteen can’t”: Porn Site Bans North Carolina Users Due To State’s Anti-LGBT Laws.
* No one knows why they remained healthy, Friend said. But DNA from such people could one day provide insight into ways to prevent or treat such catastrophic disorders. “Instead of looking at people with disease, you need to look at people who should have gotten sick,” said Friend.
* How precious is a longtime family dog? As valuable as an heirloom vase or family photographs? A Wisconsin appeals court says no.
* Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: After 50 years of animal-welfare legislation, rats and mice are still left out in the cold.
* A major perk of the job for New York State corrections officers may soon be off the table: The ability to be as brutal as they’d like with prisoners without having to worry about facing any serious consequences.
* Last winter two bodies were found in Norway and the Netherlands. They were wearing identical wetsuits. The police in three countries were involved in the case, but never managed to identify them. This is the story of who they were.
* I want to believe: The Warriors Have A 93 Percent Chance Of Hitting 73 Wins.
* Huge, if true: Planet X to really cause mass extinction this month?
* And I know I say this a lot, but sometimes a thing really is ideology at its purest.
* This is all to say that it would be very surprising, not to mention ill-advised, for DC/WB to go forward with the franchise without making significant adjustments. Every other studio has either scrapped a franchise or made significant changes to movies that had far higher multipliers than BvS. Also, people should be careful not to simply look at the total gross of a movie to gauge its success, particularly franchise movies. For instance, although BvS will have a similar gross to Guardians of the Galaxy and be in the ball park of Deadpool, the high multipliers for those movies indicate that fans crave sequels or are eager to watch similar movies. BvS’s low multiplier suggest that people were curious to check out the movie and/or were lured in with the heavy marketing, but ultimately decided that the movie was not for them.
The feminist critique of comics has made “not asking” a lot harder. That, in itself, is a victory. The point is not to change the thinking of the active sexist. (Highly unlikely.) The point is to force the passive sexist to take responsibility for his own thoughts.
* Every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the United States it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country. This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate. If any of those IP addresses are used by a scammer, or a computer thief, or a suicidal person contacting a help line, MaxMind’s database places them at the same spot: 38.0000,-97.0000. Which happens to be in the front yard of Joyce Taylor’s house.
* What could possibly go wrong? Gun Company Turns Real Handgun Into Clone Of The Nintendo ‘Duck Hunt’ Zapper.
* At HubSpot, the software company where I worked for almost two years, when you got fired, it was called “graduation.” We all would get a cheery email from the boss saying, “Team, just letting you know that X has graduated and we’re all excited to see how she uses her superpowers in her next big adventure.” One day this happened to a friend of mine. She was 35, had been with the company for four years, and was told without explanation by her 28-year-old manager that she had two weeks to get out. On her last day, that manager organized a farewell party for her.
* Consider this: for almost 2,000 years and counting the entirety of Western culture has been brainwashed. The fields of biology, economics, religion, and psychology are built on a lie. Even those who self-consciously reject this falsehood are subconsciously shaped by it. It’s unavoidable and all pervasive. It’s made us who we are. Indeed, it’s turning us into monsters. What is this lie exactly? It’s the assumption that humans are born bad.
* The criminal justice system encourages prosecutors to get guilty verdicts by any means necessary—and to stand by even the most questionable convictions. Can one crusading court stop the lying and cheating?
* CFP for SLSA 2016. It’s in Atlanta this year.
* Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he was mounting his run for president, was struck down Friday as violating the state constitution. But don’t get too excited.
* The Baffler goes deep inside the new man of 4chan.
* If you want a vision of the future: Sesame Street partners with a VC, will invest up to $1 million in a bunch of startups.
* And if you don’t: Photographed from a shuttle training aircraft, space shuttle Endeavour and its six-member STS-134 crew head toward Earth orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station.
* Food for Marquette English’s Hamilton event later this month: A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems. And another: Hamilton, Inc.
Broadway can be a very poor investment, but when shows hit, they really hit. The most successful of them dwarf the revenues of even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. “Hamilton” could easily run on Broadway for a decade or more. In September, the first road production will open in Chicago, and it will be a “sit down” show, meaning it is intended to stay there for a year or more. Ultimately, there may be as many as seven “Hamilton” companies, in addition to the one on Broadway, performing at the same time in multiple American and international cities. Ticket revenues, over time, could reach into the billions of dollars. If it hits sales of a mere $1 billion, which “Hamilton” could surpass in New York alone, the show will have generated roughly $300 million in profit on the $12.5 million put up by investors. (There are many eye-popping numbers to contemplate, but maybe the most striking one is this: The show is averaging more than $500,000 in profit every week.)
* Call for Papers: Faulkner and Hemingway conference at the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. I was just down there to give a talk and had a fantastic time.
* New digital journal, thresholds, co-edited by Fran McDonald and Whitney Trettian. Here’s the CFP for the debut issue:
The debut issue of thresholds will focus on the theme of the extraneous. We seek manuscripts that deal with the extra, the foreign, or the strange from any angle. We welcome contributions that combine the creative and critical in their approach, and are eager to consider work that is experimental in both content and form. Final submissions will be comprised of a short piece (a maximum of 7000 words) accompanied by a series of fragments. Please submit 400-word abstracts and a brief bio to email@example.com no later than May 15, 2016. Final essays will be due July 31, 2016.
* Elsewhere on the Duke alum beat: Huge congrats to Ainehi Edoro and Brittle Paper, which is now part of the Guardian!
* Protest and Power at Duke. Duke Students End Sit-In in President’s Office. A Lawsuit, Unmet Demands, and Coloring Books: Inside Duke’s Sit-In. A Guide to the Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002.
* The point is to implement an authority structure that can control public universities under permanent austerity and in the absence of a growing and rising middle-class. Culture wars are good for discrediting particular sources of sociocultural knowledge like ethnic studies, feminist studies, or Middle Eastern Studies. Budget cuts are good for taking the whole public university sector down a few notches. But to reengineer a static enterprise, after decades in which their boards failed to maintain the state revenues on which the system was built, public university governors need the audit and assessment practices that Europeans have long called New Public Management (NPM).
* In a case showing the reach of college sports corruption, a former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Mississippi instructed his assistants to complete junior college coursework for recruits.
* Can you imagine, just for a moment, being a Chancellor of a university—a position with an enormous amount of responsibility to an incredibly wide range of stakeholders—and have someone interrupt you with a ‘No Whining!’ sound effect while you are trying to describe how many staff members you’ve had to lay off and what programs you’ll be cutting, with no end in sight? Would you have an existential moment of crisis where your inner voice conceded, “Oh my god, I’m an adult”? Well, I guess the ‘flexibility’ everyone wants for Chancellors doesn’t apply to their actually speaking without permission and an approved message.
* To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of lines for male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.
* Incredible narrative about a professor allowed to return to their job at UCLA after egregious sexual harassment. And it’s not even the most unbelievable story of an unrepentant predator allowed to walk free with no significant punishment I’ve read this week.
* Yes, apparently Zack Snyder has the same carte blanche to make Justice League, even after turning the first-ever movie starring three of the biggest, most popular superheroes in the world into a film that analysts believe won’t even make a billion dollars worldwide. Maybe that still sounds like a lot of money, but you know what actually made a billion bucks? Tim Burton’s needless 2010Alice in Wonderland film. If you put Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman together in a live-action movie for the first time ever, don’t you think that movie should probably outgross Iron Man 3?
* My sense is that militarized drones, those machines for remote seeing and killing known in military jargon as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” should be understood to signify an end of empire in two senses. First, an end as in conclusion, or terminus. Hannah Arendt argued that proliferating death is not a sign of an emerging or persisting hegemony but its waning: “rule by sheer violence,” she notes, “comes into play where power is being lost.” This means that the assassinations proliferating in the name of the American phase of accumulation are the sign not of its strength but its incipient weakness; never mind autumn, we could say that drone war is a sign of the coming winter. Second, I mean an end in the Aristotelian sense of telos, or purpose. If we take seriously the fact that empire is best understood not as a culture or as a discourse but as the monopoly on putatively legitimate violence—the stretching of the state’s power over life and death past the boundaries of its “own” populace—then the power of sovereign decision crystallized in globally operated, remote assassination machines is the very essence of empire: its telos, or end. President Obama’s now-infamous “kill list meetings” sharpen to an obscene purity the American state’s power of judgment over life and death beyond its own citizenry and constitute the distillation of imperium as such.
* Never say never again: ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Eyed As Animated Feature At Warner Bros.
* New Jersey University Was Fake, but Visa Fraud Arrests Are Real. Fake New Jersey University Established by Cops to Catch Visa Fraud Has Pretty Good Job Placement. Fake, real, real, fake, let’s not quibble — are they hiring?
* The ideology of the future: Kiplinger’s presents 20 Amazing Ways Life Will Be Different in 2030.
* Prestige TV is a nightmare from which we are all struggling to awake: Dexter return to television confirmed.
* Our prayers answered, Paul F. Tompkins was finally on Harmontown. I’ve also really been loving the back catalogue of Hello, from the Magic Tavern and (at long last) Welcome to Night Vale after a sojourn through It’s That Episode. Non-podcast news after the link!
* So does this: The Warriors Are Now Long Shots To Win 73 Games.
* Saddest of all: The New Jersey Swamp Dragons? It almost happened.
* Not for me, but maybe for you: LARB has a Grantland-style sports spinoff.
* Grant Morrison was right! Science Says Superman Should Be Black.
* And I don’t need to tell you what’s coming. Every Cool Detail We Spotted in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer.
* Don’t forget! Just two weeks until the “Global Weirding” deadline!
* And tomorrow night in Missouri! Marquette Professor to Present ‘After Humanity: Science Fiction After Extinction.’
* Evergreen headlines: The Shrinking Ph.D. Job Market.
* Last year’s Pioneer Award winner: “Improbability Drives: The Energy of SF.”
* 30 Cities Where America’s Poor Are Concentrated. You know where this is going.
* It’s Probably First Ballot Or Bust For Donald Trump At The GOP Convention. And a bit on the nose, don’t you think? Jeffrey Dahmer’s House Is Up for Rent During the Republican National Convention.
* More politics watch! The Democrats Are Flawlessly Executing a 10-Point Plan to Lose the 2016 Presidential Election. Sanders +2.6! Trump -4.1! Go vote Wisconsin!
* My analysis of the latest federal data shows that, on average, these families’ income — including tax credits and all sources of welfare — is about $9,000 below the poverty line. That means ensuring no children grow up in poor households would cost $57 billion a year. (To put that in perspective, that’s how much money we’d get if Apple brought back the $200 billion it has stashed overseas, and paid just 29 percent tax on it – it’s a big problem, but it’s small compared to the wealth of our society.)
* The villain gap: Why Soviet movies rarely had American bad guys. Risk time in the gulag by reading about Soviet-era underground media. Cold War board games explore the conflict’s history, spycraft, and humor. Soviet sci-fi: The future that never came.
* Superman And The Damage Done: A requiem for an American icon. An oral history of Superman. A Brief History of Dick: Unpacking the gay subtext of Robin, the Boy Wonder. Death to All Superheroes. Yes, chum, there’s more links below the picture.
* All politics is local: I grew up being compared to my overachieving cousin. Now he’s a Supreme Court nominee.
* Study Confirms World’s Coastal Cities Unsavable If We Don’t Slash Carbon Pollution. But I say that’s not thinking big enough! 12 Ways Humanity Could Destroy The Entire Solar System.
* Dibs on the screenplay: Japan’s Lost Black Hole Satellite Just Reappeared and Nobody Knows What Happened to It.
* Hot take watch: Aaron Burr, Not So Bad? I wish I knew the Hamilton soundtrack well enough to make a proper joke here.
* Dark, gritty ad absurdum: The Tick in 2016.
* Ambiguous utopias: In Pod-Based Community Living, Rent Is Cheap, But Sex Is Banned.
* Miracles and wonders: Treating Huntington’s With Gene Knockout Might Be Safe For Adults.
* And the arc of history is long, but the MLA has changed its style guide again.