Ten Things You Missed This Week #10

1. In The Shawshank Redemption (spoilers ahead, if you’ve not seen it), Andy Dufresne uses a book to aid his escape from jail. Now, Brazilian prisons are actively encouraging this exact behaviour in their inmates, cutting sentences based on the number of books read by prisoners. If you’ve ever read a bad book and thought “I’ll never get that time back”, now you can*! (*provided you get arrested in Brazil first)

RT @badbanana A watched neighbor never showers.

2. If you don’t think astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome, then the most likely explanation is that you don’t know who he is. He’s one of those rare people who is able to communicate scientific ideas in an intelligent yet accessible way. He’s recently made this video for Congress to encourage them to re-invest in space exploration, and it’s incredible. It’s a call to arms that is both inspirational and pragmatic, and warns of ‘the absence of ambition that consumes you when you stop having dreams’. Love it.

RT @ItsWillyFerrell Dear Fox News, I have yet to see any news about foxes. Sincerely, Disappointed fox enthusiast.

3. The Oatmeal has a pretty solid idea of how movie theatres should be laid out. It is inspired, and should be adopted immediately. (Although – small note – I’ve discovered that older cinema-goers are as likely to be noisy as not. But I still applaud the thinking behind this approach.)

RT @ovandenberg Pachelbel’s T-Shirt Cannon in D.

4. With the tide clearly changing in favour of gay rights, it might not seem like a big deal that Oreo (yes, the American sweet cookie/biscuit) has come out in support of gay marriage, but it’s actually quite a significant moment. Though it may win over much praise and appreciation, it’s unlikely to win over a significant number of new customers; it is likely to turn off swathes of homophobic customers who will cease their purchases in protest. So kudos to the company for taking an unprovoked, moral stance. (via Scott Weinberg)

RT @EricDSnider Hey, Oreo! It’s Adam and Eve, not high fructose corn syrup and soy lecithin!

5. I don’t like corporate interests mixing with political interests, but if Oreo took over the running of Queensland from Campbell Newman, I’d actually celebrate. The recently-elected Premier is currently overseeing what’s being referred to as the most significant rollback of gay rights in Western culture. Have a look at Crikey’s rundown of what exactly is going on in the state.

RT @MooseAllain Mock Tudor is one of only a handful of satirical architectural styles.

6. Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage, however, is not the issue that will get him re-elected; it’ll be his ability to deal with an alien invasion. The National Geographic Channel contacted 1 114 adults in America to find out who they thought would best defend them against invading extra-terrestrials, and Obama appears to be the clear winner.

RT @EmmaJWestwood “All this talk about orgasms… We didn’t have those in our day.” ~my 92 year-old grandmother

7. In the wake of HBO’s ridiculous overreaction to the George W Bush/Game of Thrones controversy, it raises the question: under what circumstances should artists apologies for what they’ve created? Here are fifteen artists who have done just that. (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @sixthformpoet You had me at “Hello, I’ve been drinking since lunchtime.”

8. There’s a lot of ongoing debate over which object/concept/event can be named The Greatest Thing Ever, but surely this must qualify: a German camera crew has followed directors John Landis and Terry Gilliam as they wander around London. They’ve placed three short clips online in anticipation of the actual program (Durch Die Nacht, which will air on July 7). Whatever the running time of the final product, I can already state with absolute confidence that it will not be long enough. (via Trailers From Hell)

RT @morrbeat Currently writing an “what-if” alternate history novel where Hitler won WWII after hooking up with Eva Braun’s smarter sister Eva Brains.

9. Pixar illustrator Josh Cooley has drawn several scenes from ‘adult’ films in the style of a children’s book. And many of them are pretty inspired. (via Shane Dunlop)

RT @robdelaney Whenever I fart on a first date I tell the woman “That’s just my hug machine warmin’ up.” Then it’s pretty much Fuck City.

10. There is a special joy that comes from online exchanges with someone who doesn’t quite get the joke. Filmmaker James Gunn (Silther, PG Porn, Super) experienced that joy recently when a studio exec suggested that his song ‘That Gay Fucking Cat’ might not be an entirely appropriate name. So Gunn responded with suggestions of his own. And then published the correspondence on his website. (via Badass Digest)

RT @yumyumfish Pitch: “Steamboat” the gritty untold origin of Steamboat Willie. He sets sail only at the very end. All Steamboating is in the sequel. #

If there was any positive outcome from the news of filmmaker Nora Ephron’s passing, it was the outpouring of adoration that was unleashed on Twitter. And rightly so. Ephron was a cracking writer, as evidenced by the New Yorker’s collection of some of her best articles. There have been too many brilliant obituaries to link to, but this one from Tom Hanks and this one from Lena Dunham are both eloquent and personal. But most poignant of all? This list of the things that Ephron will and won’t miss once she’s gone.

Ten Things You Missed This Week #9

1. In the lead-up to The Dark Knight Rises, we’re seeing an awful lot of press about Batman, from pointless comparisons to The Avengers to idiotic memes. But this website, which allows you to generate your own Batman name based on your real name, is inspired.

RT @incrediblyrich My boss told me “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” Am now sat in a disciplinary meeting wearing my Batman costume.

2. A Michigan-based graphics company named The Quintek Group decided to create a new animated title sequence for the original Star Trek series. It’s pretty damned nifty, and serves to remind me how badly I need to pick up this show on Blu-ray. (via Badass Digest)

RT @RobertGuyDavis Drinking black coffee out of a mug with kittens on it because I am large, I contain multitudes.

3. I do most of my reading on public transport, which can be difficult when it’s noisy. Most of the time, I put my earbuds in and open the Inception app, which is billed as a “dream inducer”. I’ve never listened to it whilst nodding off so I can’t speak to that, but I do use it to help reduce the outside noise. In addition to producing ethereal sounds based on Hans Zimmer’s Inception score, it also uses the microphone to incorporate sounds from your environment into the music. So, if there’s a loud noise, it gets woven into the soundscape and is less likely to distract. It sounds like it uses a similar method as the one behind DarwinTunes, the key difference here being that the sounds are not being incorporated into a pre-established tune. So, is this the beginning of a new form of music, or simply an interesting curio? (via Thom Holland)

RT @sealfur Lets make everything a priority.

4. Recently, a woman attempting to purchase an iPhone was refused service because an employee overheard her speaking Farsi. This sound pretty bad, but whose fault is it? The employee cited Apple policy of not selling products to Iran. Now, it’s not unusual for countries to have trade embargoes with other countries, so the policy in itself isn’t necessarily a problem. But nobody in the store asked the woman where she was from or where the phone was going; the Iran policy appears to have been extrapolated by the employee to include anyone of vaguely Middle Eastern appearance. So it sounds like about 5% misinterpretation of Apple policy, and 95% of blatant discrimination. But the most frightening part is just how casually it all happened. (via GammaCounter)

RT @_BadLuckBri Googles “Gary Oldman.” Forgets the R

5. I was originally going to post this mockingly, but now I’m reconsidering. See, I get annoyed when people trade off a misunderstanding of science in order to argue against evolution. And if the reason you’re arguing against evolution is to support your religious beliefs, then you may as well stick to the vague and unprovable. Like, say, claiming that evolution has been disproved thanks to the existence and capture of the Loch Ness Monster. No, really. (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @roseneath_rd Church of England issues statement opposing re-definition of marriage. This from an institution created solely to re-define marriage

6. The cringingly-named Syfy Channel in the US has produced such classics as Sharktopus and Piranhaconda, and is clearly on the lookout for exciting new oceanic combinations. May I suggest Rapesquid, based on this story of a woman who – and there’s no nice way to say this – ate a partially-cooked squid which then inseminated her mouth. (via Glen Oliver)

RT @JoshMalina I really enjoy Ron Jeremy’s work. I could watch him fuck the phonebook.

7. Until we finally get a quantum computer up and going, we’ll have to sate our desire for exciting new computing stories with the continual one-upmanship of super-computers. The best part of these stories is the ways in which they attempt to communicate the speed of these computers in layman’s terms. So, picture this: the new Sequoia computer can do a calculation in one hour that would take 6.7 billion people with calculators 320 years (non-stop) to complete. Let’s test it! (via Murray Gold)

RT @mountain_goats people asking all kinds of dumb science questions about my Reanimate Andre the Giant kickstarter

8. Do you like your infographics frighteningly dystopian? Then have a look at the six corporations that control 90% of American media (and, consequently, the majority of ours). (via Nick Hayden)

RT @Boner_Mountain Anyone know how long it takes before Axe Body Spray starts getting you laid? I’ve been drinking this stuff for weeks now.

9. There’s a new Aaron Sorkin show coming this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love the man beyond all reason, largely (but not exclusively) because of the almost-symphonic way in which he composes music. And I love this piece he wrote for GQ on how to write like him, mostly because it’s fascinating to watch a writer deconstruct their own style. It doesn’t happen often, because even some of the best writers can be discouraged when the microscope is turned back on themselves. Can’t wait for The Newsroom. (via Hugh Lilly)

RT @Lawrence_Miles Oh, that’s embarrassing: the Irish and Italian fans have turned up with the same flag. Should’ve ‘phoned each other before they set off.

10. Ever received a late-night text from Emily Dickinson? Or a booty call from Dan Brown? The Paris Review has just published Drunk Texts From Authors, and my only problem with it is that there aren’t more. Follow-up! Follow-up! (via Angela Meyer)

RT @DomsWildThings In other news I just watched “Pretty Woman” whilst eating Ratatouille. Wish it had been the other way around. #sad

That’s it! I hope you enjoy your weekend. If you’re going out to the movies, I highly recommend avoiding the painful Rock of Ages. I’m not totally against the idea of the film, mind, just the execution. In fact, I’d totally be in favour of it if it had been directed by, say, David Lynch. (via Jo Warrener)

Ten Things You Missed This Week #8

1. I’ve long held a theory that there is no difference between intelligence and communication, which is why I place such a high premium on idea-words good. This piece looks at four ways in which writing has rewired our brains, and though it doesn’t touch on my theory, it does present fascinating ideas on how we now process individualism, objectivity, abstraction and linear thinking. (via Chas Licciardello)

RT @LisaDib1 Dear Dolly Doctor, when I straighten my hair, it smells like bacon. Am I pregnant? Curious, Melbourne

2. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been dying to find out what will happen next to Astrid Soulblighter. Or learn about the importance of Cumin in Western culture. Or discover the thrilling secrets of the Balthazar Tablet. Thanks to this not-at-all-made-up New York Times Best Seller list, I finally can. (via Richard Watts)

RT @abeforsythe Cant wait to see what Michael Bay does with the new transformers movie.

3. Chris Eigeman is a fantastic actor, and it turns out he’s a pretty great father too. Read what happens when his four-year-old son decides that the great Beatles album Abbey Road is the greatest thing ever. (via Guy Davis)

RT @Renesonse Asked 5yo if she was listening: “I’m always listening but sometimes I imagine you say different words.”

4. I’m not the biggest fan of Super 8. I love elements of it, but I found it thematically confused, particularly towards the end. But did I miss something? This blog has a theory on the meaning of Super 8, and it’s brilliant. A little too brilliant. The blog appears to have been set up solely to promote this theory, and a Twitter account has appeared to promote it. There is no hint of the author, which is strange, because when most people come up with something as inspired as this, they tend to put their name to it. Why would you want to be anonymous? Well, imagine this: you’re JJ Abrams and you’ve taken great care to weave in a lot of clever subtext to your film, only nobody picked up on it and it’s got you really frustrated. How do you get it out there? That’s just about the only time I could imagine someone not wanting to put their name to it. But hey, just my theory.

RT @battsignal “It would take as many human bodies to make up the sun as there are atoms in each of us.” – Martin Rees, Astronomer

5. The first time I ever heard of Watergate was when I was a kid was reading Doonesbury comics (other kids were into Batman and Spider-man; I was immersed in jokes about the Iran-Contra affair). In this particular comic (4 April 1978) TV reporter Roland Hedley is talking to Washington Post writer Rick Redfern. ‘What have you people been up to since you overthrew the Government, anyway?’ Roland asks. ‘Not sure,’ Rick says. ‘Sports, I think.’ It’s forty years since Watergate happened, and Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein have recently written a follow-up piece for the Post. Here, they make the compelling point about people remembering the cover-up over the crime. (via Greg Jericho)

RT @booneleila I bet the Presidential Seal gets to eat all the fish he wants.

6. One of the most remarkable things about the brilliant US sitcom Community is the character of Abed, a half-Persian pop-culture obsessed guy with Asperger’s Syndrome. So what happens when an autistic woman named Julia sees the show and is captivated by a character who ‘moves like me’? (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @badbanana Hey, courtroom artists. If you think the guy sounds guilty, draw an eye patch or scar. This isn’t photography.

7. I’ve always found it interesting the way we refer to ‘The Ukraine’ and ‘The Bahamas’ and ‘The Netherlands’ instead of ‘Ukraine’ and ‘Bahamas’ and ‘That Place Where Holland Is’. Now the BBC looks at which countries actually use the definite article and which don’t. (via Superlinguo)

RT @JoshMalina Fun Fact: Born Dave Smith, Chiwetel Ejiofor struggled to make it as an actor for years before changing his name.

8. Letters of Note is a brilliant, brilliant website, posting the correspondence of key historical figures. In these recently-published letters, Gene Wilder sends some notes to Mel Stuart, director of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, containing suggestions on how Wonka should behave and look. The ideas are both inspired and presented with humility. If you thought you couldn’t love Gene Wilder any more, prepare yourself. (via Daley Pearson)

RT @danguterman Whoever used to own this parrot sure had some elaborate theories about 9/11.

9. The US National Republican Congressional Committee asked the public to sign a petition to repeal ‘Obamacare’, and featured the live-streaming video of a printer as it produced the personalised messages from protestors. But the RCC didn’t count on one thing: Weedlord Bonerhitler. Here’s what happened. And here is a pic of some of the best messages. And here’s a video of the printer before it was shut down. (via Graham Linehan)

RT @FreeRangeCookie Siri, why are those men mad?

10. Did you watch the Mad Men season five finale last week? If not, then don’t worry, I’ll flag spoilery links with an asterisk (*) lest you click on them, but make sure you do get to it soon: it is possibly the finest season of television ever produced. You can tell by the theories and essays that it has inspired. (I personally resisted the urge to write massive essays on its themes and subtext after every episode! Oh, the glorious density!) My favourite is Jim Emerson’s brilliant essay on memories and recurrence*. There’s also a magnificent essay by Owen Gleiberman on how he thinks the series itself will end* when it finally wraps up at the conclusion of its (purported) seventh season (via Louise Hesteline). (That link, by the way, is totally different from the fake ‘last page of the last episode’ written by comedian Jason Woliner that I posted about in Ten Things #4.) Oh, and did you know that you can pre-order Sterling Gold by Roger Sterling, the autobiography he wrote during the fourth season? For real. But the link I really want to send you? An article predicting the events of season five, written by Devin Faraci (formerly of CHUD, currently of Badass Digest), back in 2010 at the conclusion of the show’s fourth season. It’s fascinating in retrospect, not just for how much he got right, but how the things he got wrong are eerily close to what eventually happened. It’s an astonishing piece.

RT @real_kaplan Look. If you “Re-Tweet” me without asking, I will take down your name and you will face possible legal action for copyright infringement.

What are you doing tomorrow? (That’s midday on Saturday, June 16.) Correct! You are going to be attending the Save the Astor rally at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne. I’ll be in Sydney during the event and unable to attend, so I need at least seven hundred of you to act as my proxy. Here are the details, and here’s why you’re going!