“To my shame, it never occurred to me to do anything. To start with, we were white. On our own. The other two photographers didn’t get out of the car. Suddenly I realised that Tom had walked into the crowd and stood over the guy. People were so amazed, they just stood back. The man was able to stagger up, around a corner and escape. It was an amazing thing to do. Tom undoubtedly saved the man’s life. And, frankly, it had not for a moment occurred to me to intervene.”—'I was gutted that I'd been such a coward': photographers who didn't step in to help Via Jagath Deerasekera
“I’ve always liked the Olympics," he says, "but when you’ve got Jeremy Hunt saying we’ve decided not to have an austerity Olympics, we mustn’t hold back, when we’re cutting the School Sports Initiative, that’s an interesting conundrum. Legacy is a ghastly word. Politicians talk about the legacy of the games to east London and I think what they’re concerned about is what their legacy will be. Does east London benefit from all this regeneration or is it negative to have this completely alien infrastructure dropped into it and its heritage stripped out? I was trying to ask a question: what sort of Olympics do we really want? Why does it have to be like this?”—London 2012: The hidden Olympic legacy
From an article on the cocaine trade between Mexico and the U.S.:
“They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.” He paused and looked at me for a second. “A catapult,” he repeated. “We’ve got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
Handcuffs pose a particular key management problem. Officers need to be able to unlock handcuffs locked by another officer, so they’re all designed to be opened by a standard set of keys. This system only works if the bad guys can’t g…
Anyway. The Sopranos. I’ve almost never committed an act of violence against a stranger, but I did that summer, and it was basically because I allowed Tony Soprano to posses me.
The stranger was this fellow student at my college who’d stolen my sneakers at a party the previous winter. I’d had to walk home without them on a snowy February night in Montreal. Montreal in February ranges between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit below freezing. Two feet of snow is not considered remarkable. It was a long walk home, and I stayed mad about it for months afterward. I kept my eyes peeled for whoever had stolen my very distinct shoes (yellow Adidas’ with paint splotches on them) but I thought the most likely thing was that they were sitting in the back of a closet somewhere. Who would have the chutzpah to wear a stolen pair of bright yellow sneakers on campus?
I got a call one morning that July from my then girlfriend. She was at the college bookstore and had seen a guy wearing my shoes. I took a cab across town to the bookstore. He was still inside when I got there, and so I paced around outside, realizing belatedly that I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I am not a tough person, and I don’t look like one. I’ve lost basically all of the few confrontations I’d had with strangers, unless you count stammering an apology while backing away as winning. But I realized that unless I wanted to watch this guy stride away in my shoes, I was going to have to channel Tony.
He came outside and almost walked into me. He was a little shorter than me and dressed in a billowy white oxford, with skinny dark pants and my yellow shoes as a kind of playful highlight. I barked at him. “Nice shoes, where’d you get them?” “Uh, my brother gave them to me.” “They’re mine. Take them off.”
He pretended to not know what I was talking about, which is where, I think, if I were functioning like a normal person, I would have been embarrassed and gone into my stammering apology mode. Instead, I summoned Tony. I grabbed him by his stupid white shirt and shoved him against a glass door. I held him there. I insisted that he return my shoes.
I remember holding him there as normal, sane students awkwardly sidled past us. I remember thinking that I was no longer myself, and how strange it felt to have a stranger be afraid of me. There’s a longer version of this story, but the short one is that he confessed, in a roundabout way, and returned my shoes. They’re still in my closet, but I never wear them because they smell awful.
“Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that “honor” of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free?”—The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting and American Gun Culture | The New Yorker (via ratsoff)
JN: I don’t remember exactly, but Chris and David started developing the story in 2008 after the second film came out, so before the recession, before Occupy Wall Street, any of that stuff. Rather than being influenced by that, looking to old, good books, old, good movies, literature for inspiration, and at some point started thinking about Tale of Two Cities.
I think what was captivating to me about it and what I always felt we needed to do in film was to go there. I mean, all these films threatened to turn Gotham inside out, to sort of pull it, and none of them really have actually achieved that until this film. Tale of Two Cities to me was the most sort of harrowing portrait of a relatable recognizable civilization that had completely fallen to pieces. The terrors in Paris, in France in that period, it’s not hard to imagine that things could go that bad and wrong. So, that was source of inspiration.
“What’s most disheartening for me as a critic isn’t so much the threats and negative reactions themselves as it is the thought of a readership that seems to want nothing more than to have their pre-existing opinions reinforced. This is not what criticism is for. This is not why reviews exist. Critics—good ones, anyway—don’t write about games or films or music or books or art simply to make their readers feel better about liking the things they like and hating the things they hate.
Alongside the conversation raging in my Twitter feed of late about enraged fan reaction to some reviews of The Dark Knight Rises has been another conversation about whether criticizing something about a game—the way it handles issues of sexual assault, for instance, or presents religious figures—amounts to a kind of de facto censorship.
The answer, in my humble opinion, is no. There is no danger in the expression of or the exposure to substantial opinions about a game or its advertising. On the contrary, such engagement and expression is vital. Just as the people who create films, games and other works have the freedom to deal with whatever themes or subject matters they wish in any way they wish, we, as people who are passionate about these art forms, are free to express our opinions, to criticize, to speak up when we think something is offensive or harmful.”—The Criticism We Deserve
“You’ll hear a lot about the politics of The Dark Knight Rises over the next few days — already, people are talking about it being an Occupy Wall Street movie, even though there was no Occupy movement when the film was written. But if there’s a political message in the film, it’s about Giuliani’s New York, and the hidden fragility of a city that’s been “cleaned up” with a heavy hand, based on propaganda.”—Nolan’s Batman Trilogy: A Unique Achievement in Myth-Making (Spoilers from first two films and trailer for third.)
“When we are told how Hades takes the young Persephone into his Underworld, we are not being given a literal explanation for the turning of the seasons, but a metaphorical message about the creative processes at the heart of the human psyche. The metaphorical meanings inherent in myths are what make them such rich sources for the development of modern psychology, and it’s these that are sadly lost in the literal interpretations made by both atheist and religious fundamentalists.”—Chasing Rainbows: Why Myths Matter | Damien Walter
Lopsided growth of the Earth’s core could explain why its magnetic field reverses direction every few thousand years. If it happened now, we would be exposed to solar winds capable of knocking out global communications and power…
The idea that desperate people will conduct themselves as if waiting for a bus to take them to the shops is not only ludicrous, it reveals a complete lack of empathy, or even understanding, of why refugees flee for safety in the first place.
Many politicians here and overseas have found it easy and expedient to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years, just as it was easy, in earlier times, to stir up anti-Jewish sentiment.
It can hardly have escaped Mr Abbott’s attention that a significant number of boat-people in recent years have been Muslims. It is inconceivable that he failed to notice that some people, hearing his comments about boat-people being “un-Christian”, would have understood him as criticizing boat-people because they are Muslim, not Christian.
It’s the first time in years that Gaiman will be revisiting the dream lord Morpheus, his fantasy world The Dreaming and his interactions with those on Earth from the book that ran for 75 issues and began in 1988.
“When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman No. 1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war,” Gaiman said in a statement.
Android now automatically detects when one Jelly Bean device is tethered to another’s WiFi hotspot, and intelligently enables or disables background data usage on the SSID.
A new setting lets you stay on mobile data and avoid nearby Wi-Fi networks with poor connections.
“I’ve learned you have to be careful when you get lost in an idea. As an artist, you have to get a little lost. Otherwise you won’t discover anything interesting. But you have to avoid getting so lost that you’re unable to walk away and keep exploring. This isn’t to say artists should avoid things just because they’re illegal — one of our most important responsibilities is to challenge every kind of social norm. But I would advocate balance.”—When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide: ‘People Staring at Computers’ | Threat Level | Wired.com
Let me list, at the outset, the many things that the diminutive but disproportionately interesting state of Israel is not. I do this in recognition of the fact that mere mention of Israel can send its critics into paroxysms of rhetorical excess seldom heard outside ESPN. So: Israel is not a fascist state, nor is it a theocracy nor, for that matter, is it a fascist theocracy. It is not an apartheid state, a totalitarian state or, God forbid, a Nazi state. It is, for its region in particular, a model of Western values, a country in possession of a robustly independent judiciary; a boisterous, appropriately unkempt press; a mature and activist civil society; and an assortment of fearless and effective human rights organizations.
If this can be so stipulated, we can then move on to a more difficult conversation, one Gershom Gorenberg outlines for us in his indispensable, closely argued and conditionally apocalyptic new book, “The Unmaking of Israel.” Gorenberg, a leftist Israeli journalist of American extraction, tells us that the Israel of the mainstream American, Leon Uris-influenced imagination is not the Israel of today’s reality. The Israel of today is rampant with illiberal feeling. It is a place whose Arab citizens are at once enfranchised and isolated. It is a place whose military is coming to be dominated not by the secular, progressive-minded kibbutznikim of old, but by a right-wing Orthodox officer corps, some of whom may respect the idea of Jewish land more than they respect the decisions of the elected government. Mainly, it is a place being corrupted by an ostensibly temporary but in fact interminable occupation
“Inspiration porn shames people with disabilities. It says that if we fail to be happy, to smile and to live lives that make those around us feel good, it’s because we’re not trying hard enough. Our attitude is just not positive enough. It’s our fault. Not to mention what it means for people whose disabilities are not visible, like people with chronic or mental illness, who often battle the assumption that it’s all about attitude. And we’re not allowed to be angry and upset, because then we’d be “bad” disabled people. We wouldn’t be doing our very best to “overcome” our disabilities.”—We’re not here for your inspiration
“You see, the average agency cleaner doesn’t do protest. She – and it mostly is a she – may well have just arrived in Britain, and she may not speak much English. Maybe her immigration status is a bit uncertain. She isn’t well connected, and even if she was, she probably wouldn’t make a fuss because there’d be plenty waiting to take her place.
Cleaners operate at the sharp end of 21st-century capitalism. They’re a casualised, ever-changing army which despite its huge size – about 400,000 – finds it almost impossible to mobilise. Cleaners rarely congregate in groups of more than a few dozen, and even when they do, they don’t all speak the same language.
They are everywhere, yet the white collar workers with whom they share a workplace hardly know they exist. Cleaners arrive in the dark and they often leave in the dark, dragging their aching backsides on to the last bus of the night or the first of the early morning while office workers sleep.”—Britain’s cleaners do the dirtiest jobs | Fran Abrams
The sight of Martin McGuinness shaking hands with the Queen this week brought my own recollections of the conflict powerfully to mind. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the BBC held firm to the principle that it had to report both sides of the conflict. Independence. The right to report what you see as you see it, and not as your owners, be they ministers or billionaires, tell you to see it.
Listen up. I know the shit you’ve been saying behind my back. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m immature. You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to…
The Opus hotel in Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown neighborhood is in the process of making the switch to iPhones, figuring that guests — especially those from the U.S. — will know how to use them and appreciate having a Canadian phone to eliminate international roaming fees on their personal phones.
Guests can take their room’s iPhone with them, and local calls are complimentary. Our hotel blogger hasn’t heard of this happening anywhere else.