Shared posts

04 Dec 18:22

Genius sues Google for $50 million over 'stolen' song lyrics

by Rachel England
Earlier this year Genius announced it suspected Google of copying its lyrics data -- now it's thrown its weight behind a lawsuit accusing the company of exactly that. According to Genius, lyric licensing company LyricFind pulled lyrics directly from...
03 Dec 15:58

Burning BMW Extinguished With Gushing Liquid Shit

by Jason Torchinsky

If your car was on fire, would you consider running around and yelling “HELP! HELP! My car is on fire? Does anyone have diarrhea and can shit-squirt the fire on my car away?” No? Well, perhaps you should, because languid streams of raw sewage does seem to work for putting out a car fire, as we can see in this Russian…


29 Nov 13:38

Russian Jokes Tell the Brutal Truth

by Leon Aron

Add anekdoty to your Russian lexicon along with kompromat and apparachik...

Even before Donald Trump was facing impeachment over his dealings with Ukraine, his indifference toward that country’s fate was a punch line in neighboring Russia.

Vladimir Putin is calling the White House, begins one joke that’s been making the rounds. Hello, Donald? I would like to discuss Ukraine with you.”

Trump: “What’s Ukraine?”

Putin: “Thanks, Donald!”

This genre of dark political joke—the anekdot—has been a staple of Russian humor at least since Soviet times, and anyone associated with the Kremlin is fair game. Though he’s lampooned far less often than Putin is, Trump has become a subject of numerous anekdoty because of his odd fascination with, and deference to, his counterpart in Moscow. Trump has asked Putin to prove that he never helps Trump, declares one current anekdot. Another asserts, Trump has fired all his intelligence chiefs. He will be getting all information from its source: Putin.

When I was a college student in the U.S.S.R., anekdoty circulated mainly by word of mouth. Today they abound on the internet. (Many of the anekdoty in this article are drawn from online forums; the rest I’m recounting from memory.) They still offer a glimpse into how everyday Russians see their leaders and their country’s relationship with the world. Every society has jokes, of course, but cynical humor serves an additional purpose in societies where the media are under state control and intentional disinformation abounds.

In an environment as repressive as the Soviet Union or, to a considerably lesser degree, Putin’s Russia, anekdoty are a medium by which regular people can comment on the world they observe with their own eyes. During the Cold War, U.S. intelligence agents collected anekdoty—partly because the jokes were funny, and partly because they were, as a former CIA official once told Quartz, “reflective of the public mood.” In the years since, doctoral dissertations and journal papers have mined them as a source of intellectual folklore.

Anekdoty are the only thing I miss about Soviet totalitarian socialism. They spat on the boot on our faces. They asserted dignity among the daily insults of lawlessness; they salvaged truth and sanity in the dizzying spin of propaganda absurdities. The anekdoty I remember best deployed sarcasm and humor against brutality, hypocrisy, and poverty. For example:

How do we know that Adam and Eve were Soviet citizens? They had one apple between the two of them, they had no clothes, and they believed they were living in paradise.

Why do the KGB thugs always walk around in threes? One can read, one can write, and the third keeps an eye on the two intellectuals.

Beyond offering powerless citizens a measure of catharsis and the ability to exact a certain kind of revenge, Soviet-era anekdoty bared the entrails of the regime, chronicled its evolution, and offered portents of its future. In the late 1970s, the perspicacity and the nastiness of jokes about semi-comatose leaders such as Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev presaged the radical change that later arrived with Mikhail Gorbachev.

On a sunny morning, begins one late-Soviet-era joke now memorialized online, Brezhnev goes out on the balcony of his apartment, looks to the east, and says, “Hello, sun!” The sun replies, “Good morning, dear Leonid Ilyich, the beloved leader of our glorious socialist motherland, the hope of all progressive humanity, and the guardian of peace on Earth!” In the evening, Brezhnev admires the beautiful sunset and fishes for a compliment: “Hello again, sun!” The sun answers, “Poshyol na khuy—go fuck yourself—I am in the West now.”

Jokes like these spread most widely when the level of oppression is significant but not overwhelming. Under Joseph Stalin, state terror was ubiquitous and savage. Anekdoty about him did not circulate widely while he was alive, just as there are almost certainly no equivalent jokes about the Kims in North Korea today. In a liberal democracy, meanwhile, political jokes are rendered superfluous by the castigation of top leaders in parliaments and the media, and by citizens’ power to change what the government does.

When Putin became acting president on New Year’s Eve in 1999 and was elected president of a fearless and hopeful Russia three months later, anekdoty about him were in short supply. But soon enough, the new leader was an object of fear. Putin opens the refrigerator and sees a plate of quivering gelatin, one joke went. “Stop shaking!” Putin says. “I am only getting the milk.”

Rampant corruption has now become the target of a new generation of anekdoty: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, how much is two divided by two?” In this widely circulated joke, Putin responds: “As always: one for you and three for me.”

How do the Putins divide their property? another anekdot asked, after Putin divorced his wife, Ludmila, in 2014. The answer: Along the Ural Mountains.

In recent years, Putin has reinvented himself as a wartime president. Yet even before the wars in Ukraine and Syria, and before his incessant touting of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the government-controlled TV, from which three in four Russians get their news, had been portraying him as the great defender of a fortress Russia that is perennially besieged yet somehow always victorious. The public warmongering grew deafening after the annexation of Crimea.

Over the past two years, the proportion of Russians who tell pollsters they fear war has risen from one-third to one-half. In some anekdoty, there are additional signs of unease. The Russian words krem (cream) and Krym (Crimea) are not perfect homophones but are close enough, as are kolyaska (a baby carriage) and Alyaska (Alaska). Hence the joke in which the former Olympic-champion gymnast Alina Kabaeva, widely rumored to be Putin’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, calls her mother in a panic. I swear I asked him for krem, not Krym, she says. And now I am afraid to even mention a kolyaska!

Russia’s joke-writers also imply that future conquests are only a matter of time. On the Estonian border, another anekdot goes, a border guard is filling out Putin’s entry form. “Occupation?” the officer asks. “Not today,” Putin replies. “Just tourism.”

The official veneration of Putin is all the more jarring today, as the Russian economy is slowing to a crawl. Annual growth has averaged 1 percent over the past decade, and half of a percent since 2013. According to the official state statistical agency, the Roskomstat, 49 percent of Russian families have money only for food and clothes. Not even the ascent of a Moscow-friendly American president provides consolation. As one anekdot online declares: Trump has won! Great! But who are we now going to blame for all our problems?

Whatever Trump’s faults, real or imagined, the anonymous Russian wags who dream up anekdoty do not presume that he will govern indefinitely. Putin is another matter. Although he is ineligible to run again after his current term runs out in 2024, many anekdoty suggest that he will not leave. Here’s one:

“Do you think Putin will ever relinquish the presidency?”

“Of course!”


“Immediately after the coronation!”

14 Nov 14:17

Amazon orders William Gibson series from the creators of 'Westworld'

by Jon Fingas
Amazon's push into sci-fi increasingly entails some of the biggest names in the business, both on-screen and off. After months of waiting, Amazon has ordered a Prime Video series adaptation of William Gibson's sci-fi novel The Peripheral that will b...
30 Oct 17:32

Australia wants to verify porn users by scanning their faces

by Steve Dent
Australia has proposed another in a series of zany attempts to control the internet. This time, the government wants to do facial scans to confirm a user's age before they can watch porn or gamble online, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Then,...
23 Oct 11:01

Apple TV+ adaptation of 'Foundation' will star Jared Harris and Lee Pace

by Jon Fingas
Apple isn't cutting corners with its TV+ version of Isaac Asimov's Foundation. The tech giant has cast its first two stars for the show, choosing Chernobyl's Jared Harris (above) to play math genius Hari Seldon and Halt and Catch Fire's Lee Pace as...
02 Oct 11:04

Hackers made a Detroit interstate billboard play a porn scene

by Rachel England

"It was a welcome distraction from the apocalyptic scene Detroit residents saw everywhere but the billboard."

Drivers in Auburn Hills, Michigan, got a heck of a surprise last Saturday night when an electronic billboard starting playing porn. The billboard, located alongside I-75 North between University Drive and highway M-59 in Auburn Hills, began playing t...
13 Sep 14:42

Exclusive: While battling opioid crisis, U.S. government weighed using fentanyl for executions


Keep on turning those lemons into lemonade...

The U.S. Department of Justice examined using fentanyl in lethal injections as it prepared last year to resume executing condemned prisoners, a then untested use of the powerful, addictive opioid that has helped fuel a national crisis of overdose deaths.
25 Jul 13:44

ABC is making a 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' series for Hulu

by Mariella Moon
Hulu might not have the answer to The Great Question, but it's cooking up something tHGttG fans may appreciate... if it does things right. The streaming platform is developing an adaptation of Douglas Adams' beloved classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to...
03 Jul 14:40

Researchers create eye-tracking glasses that auto-focus where you look

by Kris Holt
Researchers at Stanford University have created glasses that track your eyes and automatically focus on whatever you're looking at. The so-called autofocals, detailed in a paper published in the journal Science Advances, could prove a better solution...
24 Jun 20:41

Boeing Has So Many Grounded 737 Max Planes Waiting to Be Fixed They're Parking Them in the Employee Parking Lot

by Jason Torchinsky

You may recall that, thanks to an issue with faulty sensors in the Boeing 737 Max flight control systems, those planes have been grounded after multiple crashes were found to be related to the issue. Grounded planes are, by definition, not in the air, and as such need to be stored, on the ground, somewhere. In the…


11 Jun 22:15

Alabama Moves to State-Ordered Castration

by James Hamblin

Today Alabama enacted a law that will require, as a condition of parole, that some convicted child sex offenders undergo “chemical castration.”

The new law will mean that those who abused children under the age of 13 will be injected with hormone-blocking drugs before leaving prison. The medication will have to be administered until a judge, not a doctor, deemed it no longer necessary.

A similar bill was proposed last year in Oklahoma but met strong opposition. The former Soviet republic of Moldova also passed a law mandating chemical castration for child sex offenders, in 2012. It was repealed the following year on grounds that it was a “violation of fundamental human rights.”

Unlike castrating a bull, chemical castration does not involve removing a person’s testicles—though the Alabama bill’s sponsor, Representative Steve Hurst, initially advocated the surgical approach. Instead, the procedure uses various drugs to render the testicles irrelevant. In most cases, medication triggers the pituitary gland to reduce testosterone to prepubescent levels. During debate of the bill, Hurst said that if chemical castration, which has a stated goal of decreasing libido to prevent future crimes, “will help one or two children, and decrease that urge to the point that person does not harm that child, it’s worth it.”

If we could put ethical considerations about nonconsensual medical treatment aside, it still wouldn’t be clear whether this approach will have the desired effect on recidivism. Most research in the area puts sexual desire low on the list of reasons people assault children. The best predictor of sexual assault is not libido, research has shown, but “an early and persistent general propensity to act in an antisocial manner during childhood and adolescence.”

The physiological effects of androgen blockers are well established, because the drugs used in chemical castration are also commonly used in people with cancer, especially of the prostate, where testosterone can help tumors grow. In addition to lowering libido and causing sexual dysfunction, the sudden removal of androgenic hormones has been known to impair performance on visual-motor tasks and cause declines in bone density, increased rates of fractures, and depressive symptoms.

It has been well demonstrated that surgical castration, which has been practiced in various places for millennia, makes sex offenders either unwilling or simply unable to commit future offenses. The evidence on chemical castration is much less clear. In the same way that removing the hands of a bread thief could theoretically help prevent future crimes, rendering a person’s genitals less virile makes certain acts less feasible. But unlike other therapeutic approaches, chemical castration (or surgical castration, for that matter) does not address the antisocial instincts that often underlie such crimes.

Some ethicists argue that child offenders are diseased, and it is only humane to treat them—even sometimes without consent. This is predicated on the basic idea that assault is a result of an imbalance of hormones, whereby too much testosterone leads to rape. On the whole, however, sex offenders do not have higher levels of testosterone than the average male. A recent meta-analysis of research found “no evidence to suggest there is anything chemically wrong with sexual offenders.”

Assault is not a typical outlet for those who have strong libidos or think often about sex. The desire to take another person by force has long been known to be primarily about power and dominance. If chemical castration is indeed effective, the meta-analysis notes, “it is not because it is treating an abnormal medical condition, but rather because it is inhibiting sexual functioning in the same way it would for most humans.”

In psychiatry, there are some accepted uses for androgen-blocking medications. As the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Fred Berlin has noted, in these cases drugs are used for “diminishing the intensity of the eroticized urges that energize unacceptable para-philic behaviors”—in other words, when a person is concerned about acting on urges they know to be wrong or illegal, and so seeks preventive help. Other people seek help when an all-consuming libido becomes a problem in daily life.

Research has found small reductions of recidivism among convicted sex offenders when they request chemical castration in conjunction with other therapeutic measures. Small studies have found that recidivism decreased when offenders received antidepressant medications, not anti-testosterone medications.

These findings largely leave the question of whether the technique should be used to the realms of ethics and legality, not medicine. Some legal scholars believe mandatory chemical castration violates the Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment. The University of Florida law professor John Stinneford has called the practice “maiming” and “impermissibly cruel.” (Hurst, the Alabama bill’s sponsor, did not respond to a request for comment.)

Even when chemical castration is voluntary—which other legal scholars argue can never be the case, due to the coercive subtext of lessening prison sentencing for seeking the procedure—treatment of “hypersexuality” has a loaded history in the United States and elsewhere. The medical establishment and government have long erred on the side of narrowly defining normalcy and punishing “deviancy,” as they have with homosexuality, which was removed from psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders only in 1973.

This change came after researchers began documenting in mainstream journals the wide variations in human sexuality. The range of what was “normal” began to separate from morality and expand to show that the idea of what constitutes sexuality is vast and complex. Today, the psychiatric establishment still uses a diagnosis of hypersexual disorder, but the concept has shifted from a more rigid imposition of norms to an idea about how a person relates to sex. There is no cutoff for what is too much sexuality. Some people have sex multiple times a day; others rarely have sex. Hypersexual disorder is currently defined only insofar as it causes distress: When you lose your job because you need to keep having sex, or when your relationship falls apart because you lose all interest in sex, you may have reason to seek care.

If there is a role for the medical community in preventing assault, it is to help equip willing patients relate to people in healthy ways—to treat whatever psychological element precludes healthful, pro-social behavior. If such people find themselves in court, they could be offered the same option. This has been the suggestion of some physicians in South Korea, for example, who argue that chemical castration can be an effective tool for offenders who want and consent to the treatment “within the context of simultaneous comprehensive psychotherapeutic treatment.” Denmark has implemented options for “sexological treatment” of some sex offenders that includes therapy and androgen-blocking medications.

In every case, though, the suggestion is that this would be consensual, voluntary care. It would heed the words of Berlin, the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist, who writes that chemical castration cannot “effectively assist” a person “who lacks a sense of conscience and moral responsibility by somehow instilling appropriate values.”

To have the state impose mandatory standards of behavior toward other people is one thing; to forcibly regulate someone’s internal sex drive is another.

02 Jun 18:55

Man Suffers 9-Day Erection After Bruising Taint in Moped Accident

by Ed Cara on Gizmodo, shared by Patrick George to Jalopnik

A man’s fall from a moped caused him much stranger trouble than anyone could have imagined. According to his doctors, a bruise near his genitals left him with a days-long erection—one that eventually required a trip to the emergency room to treat. Thankfully, doctors were able to resolve his awkward complication, and…


30 May 13:51

What We Know About the Navy’s UFO Problem

by Kyle Mizokami on Foxtrot Alpha, shared by Kyle Mizokami to Jalopnik

UFOS—our U.S. Navy pilots just keep seeing them! There was one instance in 2004, first written about in 2017, which made news briefly and then dropped off everyone’s collective radar, and now a New York Times report says that there was another interception in 2014-2015. Here’s what we know about the mystery aircraft.


24 May 14:04

Couple Takes Baby Pictures with Supercharger After Mom Pressures Them for Grandchildren

by David Tracy

This week, car fans Brayden Tomicic and his wife Payton welcomed into the world little baby “Eaton,” who, an astute scientist could argue, is anatomically less of a human and more of a supercharger.


23 May 13:49

AR porn lenses live on in Snapchat despite ban

by Kris Holt

lol, careful what your kids are doing on there...

Snapchat has deleted Naughty America's account and taken down the X-rated AR lenses it debuted this week. However, the porn studio isn't backing down quietly, as it's distributing the source files and directions for the lenses, and encouraging fans t...
17 May 21:37

Catch-22 Mines Madness and Magic From a Classic

by Sophie Gilbert

The central character in Hulu’s new six-part miniseries Catch-22, Captain John Yossarian (played by Christopher Abbott), is nicknamed Yo-Yo, aptly so, since he spends the entirety of the story being yanked back and forth on a fragile cord between life and death. Catch-22 isn’t a perfect adaptation of Joseph Heller’s 1961 book of the same name—both because it’s a four-hour television drama instead of a 450-page novel and because perfectly adapting Heller’s satirical, tart narrative for the screen is probably impossible. But in the sense that a TV show can capture the spirit of something, Catch-22 is magical, maddening, tender, and caustic in equal measure. Its upside-down logic confronts you with the beauty of life and the monstrousness of a war whose only objective is to snuff that beauty out at every opportunity.

Like Heller’s book, Catch-22 launches in the middle of things, although it reworks the nonlinear structure of the book into a more chronological framework. In the first episode, Yossarian is a bombardier completing his pilot training at the Santa Ana Army Air Base. He’s plagued by a puffed-up lieutenant obsessed with military parades (George Clooney), consoled by the lieutenant’s comely wife (Julie Ann Emery), and hopeful that World War II might be over by the time he actually encounters it. Two months later, Yossarian is stationed in Pianosa, Italy, trying to complete a mission count that Colonel Cathcart (Kyle Chandler) keeps increasing every time the pilot gets close. Desperate to stay alive, Yossarian consults the camp doctor (Grant Heslov), who tells him about the catch-22 that governs getting out of combat duty: Anyone who wants to fly is crazy enough to be grounded, but anyone who declares himself to be crazy is obviously sane enough to fly.

This feeling of circular logic as a noose tightening around Yossarian’s neck, coupled with the frenetic energy of the first few episodes and the introduction of a fleet of supporting characters, can make it hard to get absorbed in the action early on. Catch-22, for all the time it spends looking at its protagonist, lingering over Abbott’s flaring nostrils and clenched jaw, gives little sense of who Yossarian actually is, or where he comes from, or what he wants, besides his immediate imperative of staying alive. As with the book, all we get of Yossarian is his presence, like he’s Sisyphus trapped in the underworld and bombs are his boulder. Initially, this distance feels alienating, but Abbott’s performance is so magnetic and so multidimensional that it’s hard not to be drawn in. The first time Yossarian registers the death of a fellow pilot, his face twitches almost imperceptibly. The second time, a much bloodier event that follows a jaunty sequence scored to Benny Goodman’s “Goodbye,” he seems to visibly fracture in front of the camera, as if you can watch his spirit degrading.

This constant flux between light and dark, farce and fatalism, is borne out in the miniseries’ stylistic elements. Clooney, Heslov, and Ellen Kuras take turns directing, all finding balance between scenes of striking loveliness and stark horror. The color palette has a kind of yellowing sepia tone, drawing out the dustiness of camp and the heat of explosions, but making the blue of the Mediterranean more cooling by comparison. The nail-biting action of the combat scenes is contrasted with carefree interludes of the pilots horsing around in the sea: swimming, drinking beer, diving, and dunking one another with a joy that’s as radiant as an aftershave commercial, and as short-lived. Even Yossarian, who stores tension inside every atom of his body, seems to relax in the water.

These fleeting moments of calm aren’t in the book, but on-screen they offer some respite from the claustrophobic irrationality of Catch-22’s events. The series’ writers, Luke Davies and David Michôd, excise some of the uglier moments, such as Yossarian groping a nurse whom he later starts a sexual relationship with. But they double down on the absurdity and doublespeak embedded in the story, in which any desired outcome can be logically reasoned and any truth also embodies its opposite. Chandler’s Colonel Cathcart, a sweating, grimacing, stuffed-khaki-shirt of an officer, demonstrates his bravery by sending other men to their death, and “punishes” Yossarian for an infraction by promoting him and giving him a medal. Yo-Yo’s comrades, meanwhile, get riled up by his persistent panic in Pianosa. “You know the difference between me and you?” McWatt (Jon Rudnitsky) tells him in one scene. “Me: happy happy happy. Dead. You: worry worry worry. Dead. Don’t drag me into your shit.”

While the pared-down plot of Catch-22 means the series almost never drags (a rarity for a streaming show), the flip side is that some supporting characters lose their significance. Aarfy (Rafi Gavron), a pipe-chewing co-pilot who commits a truly monstrous act on a weekend in Rome, seems more like a cipher in the series than what he represents in the book—the ability for American privilege to insulate itself from justice and justify anything it feels like doing. Milo (Daniel David Stewart), a profiteer who embodies the ludicrous essence of unfettered capitalism, gets more attention, but the scale and complexity of his scheming can be confusing. Tessa Ferrer, as Nurse Duckett, also seems capable of doing more than the show allows her space for.

Still, in its final episodes Catch-22 finds its emotional core, as well as its best moments of tragicomedy. There are scenes I can’t stop thinking about for the quiet ways in which they illustrate the cost of conflict, as well as set pieces that take your breath away with their synchronized grace and then their arbitrary horror. Through it all, Yossarian is the lens through which viewers see war, a self-confessed coward who’s by far the bravest man in a battalion. Catch-22, again, isn’t perfect, because Heller’s book is far too prickly and paradoxical for an easy interpretation. But it’s almost always faithful to what Heller wanted to communicate and—in its finest scenes—transcendent.

15 May 17:37

A new 'Mortal Kombat' movie will start filming this year

by Kris Holt
More than two decades after the last movie, another Mortal Kombat film is on the way. Pre-production will start this month and the cameras are scheduled to start rolling in Adelaide, Australia later this year. South Australia Premier Steven Marshall...
30 Apr 17:17

What Avengers: Endgame’s Historic Box Office Means for the Future

by David Sims

Before the release of Avengers: Endgame, the biggest opening weekend of all time for the U.S. box office was April 27–29, 2018, when the previous entry in the Avengers series, Infinity War, debuted in theaters. That film made a staggering $257 million, and theaters sold $314 million worth of tickets to all movies in total that weekend, the most money ever made in a three-day span at the time. That $314 million figure seemed like a ceiling—there’s only a finite amount of cinema seats available in the country, so if you’re selling out every show, would it even be possible to eclipse a number like that?

Last weekend, Avengers: Endgame did just that, making $356 million over just three days, with theaters selling a total of $392 million worth of tickets for all 45 movies playing that weekend. The owners of the major theater chains sent out triumphant press releases, touting the value of the cinema experience and explaining how they managed to pack in screenings for a movie with an extra-long running time of 182 minutes. Mostly, they pulled it off by sucking all the air out of the room: Recent releases such as Us, Hellboy, and Pet Sematary were largely pushed out of theaters, dropping from more than 1,000 screens apiece, and the weekend’s second-biggest film turned out to be another Marvel movie, the March release Captain Marvel, which offered a superhero alternative if Endgame showtimes were sold out.

So while Endgame is certainly a cause worth celebrating for exhibitors, a big-selling rebuke to the idea that traditional filmgoers are largely content to stay home these days, it’s also a sign that the future of the cinema experience lies largely with colossal event movies. Ticket sales have mostly been down in 2019, as studios rolled out winter offerings such as Alita: Battle Angel and The Lego Movie 2, which failed to connect on a major level with audiences. Big Marvel movies will help buoy the box office, and there are other franchise films on the horizon, mostly produced by Disney, that should be similar smash hits, such as Star Wars: Episode IX, Frozen 2, and remakes such as Aladdin and The Lion King.

Disney has charted an indisputably successful course in offering crowd-pleasing, family-friendly blockbusters that demand to be seen on opening weekend, not just for the epic visuals but also to avoid being spoiled on plot details. But this means that other big studios have scrambled to echo that approach rather than find their own. Sony teamed with Disney to release a new series of Spider-Man movies, and has launched Venom and other planned spin-offs within the partnership. Warner Bros. has pushed out films based on the DC Comics world to mixed reception, with new heroes such as Wonder Woman and Aquaman being hits, but expected slam-dunk team-ups such as Justice League falling flat. Universal is trying to turn its Fast & Furious movies into a universe of their own, with the awkwardly titled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw coming this August.

All these efforts are designed to tap into the unique cultural appeal of the Marvel movies, which over 11 years have built up unprecedented audience goodwill around the world. The global total for Endgame’s opening week was more than $1.2 billion, another record, mostly thanks to a colossal $330 million take in China, where Marvel has found a foothold that other brands such as Star Wars have not. For box-office watchers, the next question is whether Endgame can eclipse the all-time domestic and worldwide sales records currently held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which made $936 million domestically) and Avatar (which made $2.7 billion globally). Both of those were Christmas films, which tend to have longer shelf lives in theaters because of the dearth of big studio offerings in January and February; Endgame will face bigger competition over the summer. But it might still beat all comers.

Every prior box-office-record holder has succeeded as a cultural milestone of sorts. Avatar pioneered new 3-D technology in cinemas; Titanic was a word-of-mouth sensation that drew teenagers in for multiple viewings; Jurassic Park marked the dawn of the CGI era; and Star Wars and Jaws were the dawn of the blockbuster itself. If Endgame bests them all, it’ll be thanks to overwhelming audience loyalty to an entire brand, a 22-film series reaching a satisfyingly undeniable conclusion (though there’s still room for plenty more Marvel movies in the future). For Disney, that’s a vindication of a decade-long strategy. For the rest of the film industry, it could sound a death knell for any other theatrical approach.

18 Apr 10:59

Amazon's 'The Boys' has Karl Urban fighting superheroes gone bad

by Jon Fingas

Comic is batshit insane, like Watchmen meets Caligula. Don't let your kids watch.

Are you sick of the usual superhero fare? So is Amazon. It just posted a teaser for The Boys, a Prime Video adaptation of Gareth Ennis' comic book about wayward superheroes. The show casts Karl Urban as a CIA enforcer who "spanks" a group of corru...
16 Apr 18:14

Scientists print first 3D heart using a patient’s own cells

by AJ Dellinger
Researchers at Tel Aviv University managed to successfully print the first ever 3D heart that uses cells and biological materials from a patient. The medical breakthrough, which was published today in Advanced Science, managed to produce an entire he...
02 Apr 17:27

Netflix shows off Drake's 'Top Boy' revival

by Saqib Shah

we back

Netflix's Top Boy returns to the explosive streets of east London in the first trailer for its upcoming season. British rappers-turned-actors Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson are back in the mix, joined by Little Simz and UK album-chart topper Dave.
23 Mar 14:25

'Neon Genesis Evangelion' comes to Netflix June 21st

by Richard Lawler
Netflix's flood of content includes a significant anime push -- Ghost in the Shell, Ultraman -- and as part of that it's going to be the first streamer with Neon Genesis Evangelion on tap, worldwide. The classic series will go live on Netflix June 21...
20 Mar 10:58

The Truth About Wasabi

by Emily Buder

Have you ever eaten wasabi?

If you answered “yes” to that question, you are likely mistaken. Most sushi eaters—even in Japan—are actually being served a mixture of ground horseradish and green food coloring, splashed with a hint of Chinese mustard. Worldwide, experts believe that this imposter combination masquerades as wasabi about 99 percent of the time.

The reason boils down to supply and demand. Authentic wasabi, known as Wasabia japonica, is the most expensive crop in the world to grow. The temperamental semiaquatic herb, native to the mountain streams of central Japan, is notoriously difficult to cultivate. Once planted, it takes several years to harvest; even then, it doesn’t germinate unless conditions are perfect. Grated wasabi root loses its flavor within 15 minutes.

The Japanese have grown wasabi for more than four centuries. The 75-year-old Shigeo Iida, the eighth-generation owner of his family’s wasabi farm in Japan, takes pride in his tradition, which is profiled in Edwin Lee’s short documentary Wasabia Japonica, co-produced by Japan Curator. “Real wasabi, like the ones we grow, has a unique, fragrant taste that first hits the nose,” Iida says in the film. “The sweetness comes next, followed finally by spiciness.”

The film details Iida’s method of sustainable farming, known in Japan as tatamiishi. “It’s one of the most intricate organic farming systems,” Lee told me. Tatamiishi farms like Iida’s are built on sloped hillsides near rivers, harnessing the power of nature. Despite the plant’s finicky nature, Iida doesn’t use chemicals or fertilizers.

“In this day and age, where mass farming and manufacturing are dominant, it's refreshing to see a farming method that eschews modern technology,” Lee told me. “Tatamiishi farming results in some of the best wasabi in the world.”

Lee believes that many people would be surprised if they were afforded the chance to try real wasabi. “Like me,” he said, “it'll be difficult to go back to the fake stuff.”

08 Mar 13:10

The original ‘Diablo’ is now available on

by Amrita Khalid
The original 1996 Diablo is now available for the first time digitally on Fans of Blizzard's classic RPG can choose between two modes; an old-school version with 20 FPS, SVGA graphics and multiplayer support, or a more modern vers...
07 Mar 16:00

Netflix plans series based on ’One Hundred Years of Solitude’

by Swapna Krishna
For the first time in its history, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude will be adapted for the screen. The author's family is allowing Netflix to produce a Spanish-language series based on the classic book, which was...
22 Feb 01:18

Bored Pilot Writes 'I'm Bored' and Draws Two Dicks in the Sky

by Jennings Brown on Gizmodo, shared by Michael Ballaban to Jalopnik

A pilot based in Adelaide, Australia, took an artistically inspired flight path on Tuesday morning.


30 Dec 22:31

83 Things That Blew Our Minds in 2018

by The Editors
  1. Most “Himalayan” pink salt is from the Punjab area of Pakistan, not the actual Himalayas.
  2. Hippos poop so much that sometimes all the fish die.
  3. In addition to the supermassive black hole at its center, the Milky Way galaxy may be home to thousands of smaller black holes, invisible to even our finest scientific instruments.
  4. There’s a parasitic fungus that doses cicadas with the hallucinogen found in shrooms before making their butts fall off.
  5. The Arctic Ocean is now so warm that its floating sea ice can melt even during the coldest, darkest times of the year.
  6. You can make thousands of dollars a week charging electric scooters.
  7. When your eyes look right, your eardrums bulge to the left, and vice versa. And the eardrums move 10 milliseconds before the eyes do.
  8. More than 2 million years ago, well before Homo sapiens evolved, one of our ancient-human relatives lived in what is now China.
  9. Women who have had six to 10 sexual partners in their lives have the lowest odds of marital happiness, according to one study.
  10.   When Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium opened in 1930, the inland aquarium had to ship a million gallons of ocean water by train from Key West, Florida.
  11.   Twitter is the preferred social network for nudists to meet and connect online.
  12.   The population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020.
  13.   The data economy didn’t begin with Google or Facebook in the 2000s, but with electronic information systems called relational databases, first conceived of in 1969.
  14.   At their most voracious, wildfires can grow 100 feet high and consume a football field of forest every second.
  15.   People with autism are 10 times as likely to die by suicide as those in the general population.
  16.   The number of exclamation points now necessary to convey genuine enthusiasm online is, according to most internet users, three.
  17.   An “ice tsunami” killed a herd of musk oxen in February 2011 and kept their bodies perfectly entombed for seven years.

  18.   Ten thousand years ago, the people who lived in Europe had dark skin and blue eyes.

  19.   Facebook sent huge volumes of data about you and your friends to millions of apps from 2007 to 2014, and you have no way to control—or even know—how that information gets used.
  20. . A fishing cat is a water-loving cat species that lives in swamps, quacks like a duck, and dives from riverbanks to snag unsuspecting fish.
  21.   Astrology is experiencing a resurgence among Millennials, fueled by meme culture, stress, and a desire for subjectivity in an increasingly quantified world.
  22.   In the beginning of 2018, Amazon had 342 fulfillment centers, Prime hubs, and sortation centers in the United States, up from 18 in 2007.
  23.   Ivy League universities took nude photos of incoming freshman students for decades.
  24.   Some fundamentalist Christian groups think the spread of implantable technology is a key sign of the impending apocalypse.
  25.   The shopping mall put a cap on consumerism as much as it promoted it.
  26.   Bees stop buzzing during total solar eclipses.
  27.   The scientist who advised the production team of Interstellar made so much progress on his research in the process that it led him to publish multiple scientific papers.
  28.   High fibrinogen content can help a blood clot stay in a shape like putty—even if it gets violently coughed up.
  29.   Many butterflies in the nymphalid group can hear with their wings.
  30.   Some scientists think the reason you want to squeeze or nibble on a particularly cute baby is to snap your brain out of the euphoria that cuteness can summon, making you able to tend to the baby’s needs.
  31.   In the fourth quarter of last year, 25 percent of all new office space leased or built in the United States was taken by Amazon.
  32.   The first scooter was invented in 1990 by a guy who really wanted a bratwurst.
  33.   The streets of Boston carry an average of four gas leaks a mile.
  34.   In August, Oxford University’s Said Business School came up with a clever way for homeless people to receive cashless donations: Donors could scan the barcodes on homeless people’s lanyards to send them money.
  35.   Don’t worry if you forget all the facts you read in this article by tomorrow—that’s normal.
  36.   Many doctors have difficulty accessing the health records of patients treated previously at another facility; fewer than half of hospitals integrate electronic patient data from outside their system.
  37.   The original indigenous American dogs are completely gone, and their closest living relative isn’t even a dog—it’s a contagious global cancer.
  38.   Donald Trump can’t really send a message directly to your phone. In fact, the president’s ability to address the nation directly in a time of crisis, available since the 1960s, has never been used.
  39.   In 1995, a man in Germany realized his pet crayfish was cloning itself. Clones of that crayfish have now spread all over the world.
  40.   Four hundred years after Galileo discovered Jupiter’s largest moons, astronomers are still discovering some tiny ones.
  41.   The fastest someone has ever hiked all 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail is 41 days, seven hours, and 39 minutes. That averages out to roughly two marathons a day.
  42.   The lifespan of a meme has shrunk from several months in 2012 to just a few days in 2018.
  43.   Elon Musk’s $20 million SEC fine might make his ill-advised “funding secured” tweets the most expensive ever.
  44.   Thousands of horseshoe crabs are bled every year to create a miraculous medical product that keeps humans alive.
  45.   Single-celled microorganisms can survive in lab conditions that simulate the icy environment of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
  46.   Only 10 major hurricanes have ever made landfall along the Southeast Atlantic coast, if you don’t count Florida.
  47.   Animals that live in cities are sometimes found to outperform their rural counterparts on intelligence tests.
  48.   Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot is shrinking.
  49.   The paleontology consultant for Jurassic Park had a Tyrannosaurus rex eat a doppelgänger of another researcher with whom he had an academic beef.
  50.   Some people think tennis balls are green while others think they’re yellow, and the disagreement has a lot to do with how our brains perceive color.
  51.   Conservatives tend to find life more meaningful than liberals do.
  52.   It’s easier for spacecraft to leave the solar system than to reach the sun. Thanks, physics.
  53.   Despite giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to charity, the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was worth $20 billion when he died, 48 percent more than when he signed the Giving Pledge in 2010 and promised to give away at least half his wealth.
  54.   China consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat—with the average resident eating 140 pounds a year.
  55.   Europa, a moon of Jupiter, may be covered in 50-foot-tall blades of ice.
  56.   You can reconstruct a pretty decent record of historical whaling intensity by measuring the stress hormones in the earwax of a few dozen whales.
  57.   Doing a good deed—or even imagining doing a good deed—can boost an athlete’s endurance by reinforcing his or her sense of agency in the world.
  58.   A science adviser on Stargate: Atlantis imagined a fictional astronomical phenomenon called a binary pulsar system for the show. Years later, such a system was found in real life.
  59.   The lowercase g in Google’s original logo is really, really weird.
  60.   Sixty percent of gun deaths in 2017 were suicides.
  61.   From 1984 to 2015, the area of forest in the American West that burned in wildfires was double what it would have been without climate change.
  62.   An astrologer came up with the phrase “super blue blood moon” to describe a celestial event that’s much less scary than it sounds.
  63.   The Cambridge Analytica scandal caused 42 percent of Facebook users to change their behavior on the platform, according to a survey conducted by The Atlantic. Ten percent of those people deleted or deactivated their accounts.
  64.   In the absence of federal regulation or good research about how skin-care products work, communities of citizen scientists have started compiling pretty decent resources.
  65.   The figure-eight trajectory flown by the Apollo moon missions was the very same path followed by fictional astronauts in a classic silent film from 1929, Woman in the Moon.
  66.   After one year in America, just 8 percent of immigrants are obese, but among those who have lived in the U.S. for 15 years, the obesity rate is 19 percent.
  67.   There’s a spider that makes milk.
  68.   Goats love to feast on weeds, and you can rent dozens of them to landscape your lawn.
  69.   Some people have a bony growth on the back of their heel, called a pump bump, that makes it hard to wear pumps and other kinds of dressy shoes.
  70.   Astronomers can still detect ripples in the Milky Way caused by a close encounter with another galaxy hundreds of millions of years ago.
  71.   China built its rocket-launch facilities deep inland to protect them during the Cold War, but decades later it actually makes launching rockets into space more dangerous.
  72.   The folks who make Piaggio scooters hope you might buy an R2D2-like cargo robot to haul a case of Aperol home from the market.
  73.   Shifting the pitch of an audio recording can make it sound like an entirely different word.
  74.   Kids under the age of 8 spend 65 percent of their online time on YouTube.
  75.   A reservoir of liquid water may lurk just a mile beneath the ice-covered surface of Mars’s south pole.
  76.   When people overdose in public bathrooms, many service workers become the unwitting first line of medical responders.
  77.   Some people think that quantum computing will bring about the end of free will.
  78.   Mouse urine is a major cause of asthma for poor kids in Baltimore.
  79.   The House of Representatives’ longest-serving member, Alaska’s Don Young, was first elected to his seat after his opponent died.
  80.   In September, Hurricane Florence dropped about 18 trillion gallons of rain over the Carolinas—enough water to completely refill the Chesapeake Bay.
  81.   Europe suffered its worst carbon dioxide shortage in decades (think of the beer and the crumpets!) because of a closed ammonia fertilizer plant. Yes, these two things are related.
  82.   Americans spent $240 billion on jewelry, watches, books, luggage, and communication equipment such as telephones in 2017, twice as much as they spent in 2002, even though the population grew just 13 percent during that time.
  83.   People get more colds in winter because chilly temperatures make it easier for microbes to reproduce inside your nose.
23 Nov 13:55

Criterion will launch its own classic film streaming service in 2019

by Mariella Moon
Criterion won't kill its streaming channel after FilmStruck shuts down on November 29th -- in fact, it'll live on as an independent service slated for launch in spring 2019. The video distribution company started looking for a new home as soon as War...
25 Oct 18:14

Star Trek animated comedy 'Lower Decks' is coming to CBS All Access

by Swapna Krishna

Can you imagine if instead of being terrible this was like IT Crowd in the Trek universe?

CBS All Access has been forging ahead with new Star Trek programming, and the streaming network has just greenlighted a new show. Star Trek: Lower Decks is a half-hour animated comedy developed by Mike McMahan, a writer for Rick and Morty and the upc...