Read the book before
We’re well past the midpoint of the year, and we’ve already delivered our list of the Top 10 Films of 2015 So Far. And as we reach the end of the summer, the movie business starts slowing down, giving a little calm before the storm that is awards season. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still tons of movies to look forward to before the end of the year.
That’s why we’ve collected a list of 30 Movies to Be Excited for Before the End of 2015. And since there are so many great movies coming up before the end of the year, this is the Blockbuster and Studio Edition of the list, and next week we’ll deliver a completely different list for independent movies. But until then, here’s a list of movies we think you won’t want to miss over the next four months.
Note: While this is the Blockbuster and Studio Edition of fall/winter 2015 movies we’re excited to see, you’ll still find some lower key releases that may have once been indies, but have since been picked up for distribution by major studios. But otherwise, we really tried to keep this list to the major releases with well-known actors, actresses and filmmakers in front of and behind the camera. So without further adieu, here we go!
Release Date: September 11th (limited)
Why You Should Be Excited: I’ve seen what this romantic comedy from Leslye Headland has to offer, and it’s a When Harry Met Sally for a new generation. It’s raunchy, hilarious, authentic and boasts some truly great comedic talent. Not only do Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie prove their talents as a leading gentleman and lady, but Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne, and Jason Mantzoukas round out the cast in a great way. Watch the trailer right here.
Release Date: September 18th
Why You Should Be Excited: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Johnny Depp deliver a performance that can truly be called great. He’s been treading water for far too long as Captain Jack Sparrow, and his work with frequent collaborator Tim Burton over the past decade (with the exception of The Corpse Bride) has been fairly lackluster. But his turn as real life Boston crime kingpin Whitey Bulger looks like a stirring, stellar performance that just might get Depp back on track. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson and plenty more also star in the film. Watch the trailer right here.
Release Date: September 18th (limited)
Why You Should Be Excited: It’s been a while since we’ve had a really good mountain climbing thriller, and this one takes an incredible cast, including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jake Gyllenhaal, to the most dangerous mountain on the planet. Man has always tried to dominate nature, and there’s a chance nature might win this battle against a majority of these climbers, and it should be quite a sight to see on an IMAX screen this fall. Watch the latest trailer right here.
Release Date: September 18th (limited)
Why You Should Be Excited: You already know that Emily Blunt can be quite the badass thanks to Edge of Tomorrow. But this time she doesn’t need Tom Cruise to hog the spotlight as she takes the lead in this intense crime thriller from Denis Villeneuve, the director of Prisoners and Enemy. The trailer shows a drug war that looks to escalate quickly, putting Blunt and her team at great risk. Benicio del Toro, Jon Bernthal and Josh Brolin also star in the film to sweeten the deal. Watch the trailer here.
Release Date: September 30th on IMAX, October 9th everywhere
Why You Should Be Excited: Despite the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts on quite a heavy French accent to play Phillipe Petit, the story of the only man to walk on a high wire strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center should be enough to pique your interest. It’s like a heist movie where no one is getting stolen from, and this might be one of the times when the 3D filmmaking will actually be worth seeing on the big screen. Watch the trailer right here.
Release Date: October 2nd
Why You Should Be Excited: I haven’t heard a bad word about Andy Weir‘s book, upon which Ridley Scott‘s latest sci-fi drama is based, so seeing it brought to life on the big screen should make for an entertaining ride. Matt Damon stars in the movie that feels like Cast Away meets Apollo 13 as he plays an astronaut stranded on Mars. There, he’s forced to figure out how to survive on the planet for several years before his crew can come back to get him. This one could be great. Watch the trailer right here.
The post 30 Movies to Be Excited for Before the End of 2015: Blockbuster and Studio Edition appeared first on /Film.
The homeless of London have had the chance to show their artistic chops. The Cafe Art 2016 My London calendar is printed with the photographs they took with free cameras. Cafe Art handed out a hundred disposable Fujifilm cameras to the homeless, and the Royal Photographic society gave lessons. 80 cameras came back, with about 2500 photographs, 12 of which won their place in the calendar.
Cafe Art is a community interest company in London run by Paul Ryan. The aim is to promote the art of artists facinghomelessness, exhibiting it in cafes. The organization has attracted the attention of Christie’s, The Guardian, Fujifilm and others. The 2016 Calendar is currently funded through Kickstarter, and will print 5000 copies. All of the funds earned from sales will go back to funding more homeless art programs!
From the entrancing Micro Universe Tumblr: a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod.
Visit our Flickr gallery featuring photos of active and dormant volcanoes throughout the world, as well as lava formations and crater lakes. Be sure to leave your comments! Here is a preview. Enjoy!
Artist's vision of a colony on Mars
NASA Ames Research Center
It’s a popular sci-fi plot: Earth sets up colonies on Mars; Mars colonies grow, developing their own technologies and culture; Mars colonies rebel against overbearing Earth government, demanding independence. It happens in Total Recall, in Babylon 5, in Red Mars.
But what if we gave Mars its independence right from the get-go? Rather than giving future colonies to governments or corporations, Jacob Haqq-Misra thinks we should let Martian colonists develop their own values, governments, and technologies, with minimal interference from Earth. Haqq-Misra is an astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, a non-profit organization that promotes international unity in space.
Not only would Haqq-Misra's strategy preclude any Martian wars for independence, but cultural independence could help Martians think differently enough to solve problems that Earth continues to struggle with—such as working together to fight global environmental problems, or making long-term plans for the future of humanity.
Instead of getting divided by nations or plundered by industry, says Haqq-Misra, “maybe Mars is more valuable in trying to seed the second incidence of civilization.”
The plan that he lays out in an essay in New Space has five main provisions:
Humans who leave Earth to permanently settle on Mars relinquish their planetary citizenship as Earthlings and claim a planetary citizenship as Martians.
Governments, corporations, and individuals of Earth cannot engage in commerce with Mars and cannot interfere with the political, cultural, economic, or social development of Martian civilization.
Scientific exploration may continue as long as it does not interfere with the development of civilization on Mars. Sharing of research and information between Mars and Earth is permitted only to pursue mutual scientific or educational goals.
The use of land on Mars will be determined exclusively by the citizens of Mars. No Earthlings may own or otherwise lay claim to land on Mars.
Any technology, resources, or other objects brought from Earth to Mars become permanent fixtures of the Martian civilization. Earthlings may not make any demands for resources on Mars.
There is some legal precedent. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which 103 nations (including the U.S. and Russia) are party to, prohibits any nation from claiming territory in space. The treaty “makes very clear that a colony on Mars could never become a colony in the classical legal sense of the word, like the U.S. was originally a colony of the U.K.,” says Frans von der Dunk, a space law professor at the University of Nebraska.
Screenshot from 'The Martian' official trailer
The Martian, which hits theaters in October, is a great reminder of all the things that can go wrong on another planet.
Nevertheless, under the current legal system, von der Dunk says American colonists on Mars would still probably fall under U.S. jurisdiction.
Sailors in international waters are expected to follow the rules of their ship's flag, and astronauts must do the same. The rules even hold when they're not on board the ship—for example, when the Apollo astronauts roamed around the moon, or when astronauts on the International Space Station do spacewalks, they're still subject to U.S. laws.
But what about when the excursion is longer than a few hours? On the ISS, where astronauts spend months at a time, participating countries have worked up their own quasi legal system, which is pretty similar to Earth's. If an American astronaut were to hit a Russian astronaut over the head, for example, first the U.S. would have the right to determine whether a criminal act was committed. If the U.S. doesn't take action, then he could be tried under Russian jurisdiction.
The rules could be different when we're talking about pioneers who venture to another planet with no intention of returning home. Still, says von der Dunk, “You cannot simply say 'I'm no longer a citizen of the U.S.' It's not for you to decide.”
Illustration Showing a Mars Colony with Living Quarters and Solar Panels
He thinks that if Americans are able to set up self-sustaining communities on Mars, they'll consider themselves Americans and abide by U.S. laws—at least at first. “At some point in time, they will not like that anymore,” says von der Dunk. “They won't feel like they are American or Russian or wherever they come from, they'll feel like they are Martian. They will say, 'Listen, we don't want to pay taxes anymore, and we want to develop our own legal system.'”
Cultural evolution is inevitable in small populations that splinter off from Earth. A lot of Earthly traditions just won't apply, and the Martians will develop their own jokes, rules, and customs. Haqq-Misra's suggestion of limiting contact with Earth would simply speed up that transition.
Von der Dunk thinks it would be difficult to set up a colony as a blank slate, as Haqq-Misra proposes. Mars colonists would carry with them a lot of legal and cultural baggage that biases their ideas about how society should work. But over time, Martian culture could change dramatically. "It's hard to think outside the box there, but one could think that because Mars is so different from Earth, that when they tear themselves away from traditional legal structures, they could develop something very new," says von der Dunk. "This is all very hypothetical."
There are other potential problems. Getting to Mars ain’t easy, and there are a lot of ways to die once you get there. Unfortunately, Earth's help won’t come cheap: these days it costs about $10,000 to send one pound of supplies to the space station, and that's a much closer, easier trip than Mars. Without the financial incentives of Martian communities, resources, and/or business, nations and private companies aren’t likely to rally around the Free Mars idea. Haqq-Misra’s plan relies on either extremely thorough planning to make sure the colonies are completely self-sufficient, or generous donations to send resupply missions to Mars.
Haqq-Misra says he’s not holding his breath for anyone to jump on this idea. Still, he says, since everyone from NASA to SpaceX and Mars One has their sights set on visiting or colonizing Mars in the coming decades, it's important to think about.
“Hopefully it’s going to instigate people to have a longer-term vision for whatever we do on Mars.”
This image was tweeted out by the NASA Europa Mission account the other day:
One of these images is of Europa, Jupiter's icy moon, and the other eight are frying pans. Can you pick Europa out? Hint: frying pans tend not to have impact craters.
Update: The photos of the frying pans were taken by Christopher Jonassen, whose work I featured back in 2011 (which I had totally forgotten about). At the time, I even joked about the pans looking like a Jovian moon. kottke.org is a flat circle. (thx, tony)Tags: astronomy Christopher Jonassen Europa Jupiter NASA space
we are in the wrong timeline
North Dakota, known for its vast frackable oil reserves and being in a Coen brothers film once, is the first state in the US that will allow its police to fly drones equipped with tasers and other “non-lethal weapons,” The Daily Beast reported.
According to The Daily Beast, the bill, originally proposed by Republican state representative Rick Becker, was actually meant to outlaw the potential for police in the state to add weapons to drones. Amendments to the bill were then suggested by a lobbyist for the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association (NDPOA), Bruce Burkett, which allowed for weapons like tasers and bean-bag guns to be included in drones used for policing.
Mike Reitan, the president of the NDPOA, told Quartz that, originally, the bill would’ve required police to get a search warrant to fly a drone in a police operation, whereas that’s not required for something like a helicopter. “If you’re walking down the street and you see a handgun in someone’s yard, you’re not prohibited from looking at it,” Reitan said, regarding privacy concerns. He added that the discussion to add non-lethal weaponry into the bill was based around “future developments” in drone technology. He outlined a future scenario where a SWAT team could call for a drone to be sent in that can deploy pepper spray.
As the Daily Beast points out, seemingly non-lethal weapons still have the potential to kill. According to Mic, over 500 people were killed in the US between 2001 and 2013 by stun guns. At a hearing in March, Becker said the depersonalization of someone flying a drone with any sort of weapon on board is something to be wary of. While the bill is not quite suggesting the sorts of drone missions that the US regularly carries out on targets overseas, it leaves open some ethical questions as to when someone should be able to remotely deploy something like a taser on a person. At the hearing, Becker said: “In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”
The legislation also comes at a time when the commercial drone industry is at a crossroads in the US. Earlier this week, California lawmakers passed a bill to potentially outlaw the flying of drones lower than 350 feet over private property, due to privacy concerns, which runs counter to the arguments of Reitan and the North Dakotan bill. Recently, there has been a spate of apparent “near-misses” between commercial jets and drones at US airports. All the while, the industry and consumers are still waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to figure out regulations for personal drones in the public airspace. As the think-tank the Brookings Institute recently put it, it’s the “Wild West” for drones in the US right now.
Dedicated to Kristina T. – happy birthday to you!!
And here’s another valuable cat lesson.
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Jacob’s Well - Wimberley, Texas
hey kids let’s all go jump into the pits of hell
This is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.
People have actually died in Jacob’s Well, but not just from jumping, you’re too buoyant to really go down far.
But Jacob’s Well draws a lot of scuba divers, and some of them have gotten lost and run out of air. Some of the bodies have never even been found, because the underground river that feeds Jacob’s Well is so complex. I find that terrifying.
I’ve been there. You have to be careful because coming back up from too far and you get stuck under rocks trying to find the surface.
Wow look at that giant hole of NOPE.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of Windows 95:
On Aug. 24, 1995, Windows 95 arrived. And if you were around then, you may remember the song that accompanied the commercial introducing it: “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this release, download the classic song for free until 11:59 p.m. PST from the Windows Store.
I humbly suggest a more apt song to mark the occasion.
This is a fascinating story from author Neil Gaiman:
I was in China in 2007, and it was the first ever state-sponsored, Party-approved science-fiction convention. They brought in some people from the west and I was one of them, and I was talking to a number of the older science-fiction writers in China, who told me about how science fiction was not just looked down on, but seen as suspicious and counter-revolutionary, because you could write a story set in a giant ant colony in the future, when people were becoming ants, but nobody was quite sure: was this really a commentary on the state? As such, it was very, very dodgy.
I took aside one of the Party organisers, and said, "OK. Why are you now in 2007 endorsing a science-fiction convention?" And his reply was that the Party had been concerned that while China historically has been a culture of magical and radical invention, right now, they weren’t inventing things. They were making things incredibly well but they weren’t inventing. And they’d gone to America and interviewed the people at Google and Apple and Microsoft, and talked to the inventors, and discovered that in each case, when young, they’d read science fiction. That was why the Chinese had decided that they were going to officially now approve of science fiction and fantasy.
The anecdote comes from a wonderful conversation Gaimain had with Kazuo Ishiguro about genre fiction. It's very much worth reading in full.
Have you seen people drinking coffee pulled from a tap this summer? That's nitro coffee, and it's currently all the rage.
We've already seen how the bubbles-and-coffee combination makes people go crazy with the popularity of espresso tonics, so it's no surprise that this slightly effervescent cold drink would be a big hit. Nitro coffee uses the same concept behind draft beer, which allows coffee companies to make big batches of cold brew and store them for an extended period of time (while still maintaining freshness).
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson