04
Feb
14

Roundup – Fight Club Minus Tyler Durden

Line O’ The Day:

Also of note, in the first film (well third film/first reboot…) Colin Farrell hammed it up as a vampire named Jerry.  In this film we get Jaime Murray (who, to be fair, I do recognize from a few Syfy shows, and admitting that makes me sad) playing a sexy lady vampire named Gerri.  Cute, huh?  You think she’ll turn out to be Jerry’s sister, like the sexy lady vampire was in the original Fright Night sequel?  That would be pretty neat, huh?  A reboot’s sequel that tries to reboot the original’s sequel, what fun! It’s like we need a whole new term like ‘bootquel’ or ‘resequel’ or ‘re-quel’ or ‘shit’.

– Morton Salt, Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD & Blu-ray [FilmDrunk]

Best of the Best:

The Daily Diets of Different Nations, Squeezed Into One Awesome Chart [John Metcalfe on The Atlantic Cities]

In no surprise, it turns out that denizens of wealthier countries consume foodstuffs generally seen as more tasty and desirable, like steak and milk. Poorer countries subsist heavily on rugged stuff like plant tubers and “oilcrops,” meaning for the most part soybeans and their derivatives…Mali seems to be the world leader for the ingestion of cereals (excluding beer, sadly). More than two-thirds of what a Malian eats every day might be grains. The biggest slurper of animal fats is carnivorous Canada, where such viscous substances make up an average of 7 percent of a person’s daily diet. The United States’ hunger for meat is outshone only by China’s – dead animals constitute 12 and 14 percent of the typical day’s meals, respectively. Japan and the U.S. are tied for consumption of “stimulants.” The most offal-loving nation appears to be South Africa. Oh, and the planet’s No. 1 chugger of alcohol? That would seem to be Russia, although it has heavy competition from the European Union and Uganda.

This Guy’s Wife Got Cancer, So He Did Something Unforgettable.  [Angelo Merendino via Viralnova]

The first time photographer Angelo Merendino met Jennifer, he knew she was the one. They fell in love and got married in New York’s Central Park, surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones. Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer…Throughout her battle, Angelo decided to photograph it. He wanted to humanize  the face of cancer on the face of his wife. The photos speak for themselves.

I’m In Love With A Church Girl: Jesus Loves Capitalism in Ja Rule’s New Joint [Vince Mancini on FilmDrunk]

It’d be easy (and fun) to dismiss entirely this new Affliction shirt Christianity (Afflictianity?) with all its faux-hawks and soul patches and hypocritical values, but even in spite of itself, it’s clearly offering something attractive (other than breasts): community. A set place to go every week to see family and friends and even meet love interests. Even the credits of Church Girl include pictures of the cast and crew screwing around on set, and sort of feel like a family photo album. It’s hard not to envy their bond. For educated secularists like me, as our social circles scatter about the country in search of start-up jobs and whatever else, we often end up losing that neighborhood bond we grew up with. As much as we try to recreate it through interest groups and online forums and adult kickball and whatever, it’s hard to compete with the old, diverse-by-comparison, suburban, church-on-Sunday model from the fifties, lame as it might be. As if naivete is the sacrifice for community. Maybe we can borrow something from the church model while ignoring the spirit of the thing, like Church Girl‘s protagonists do with their religion. I hope we figure something out soon, because there is nothing on Earth more nauseating than hipster Christians writing boast raps about their cars.

How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night and Highlighting the Problem of Present Shock [Slumberwise via Jeremy D Johnson on Disinfo]

The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech. His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk. We used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night. This range was about 12 hours long, and began with a sleep of three to four hours, wakefulness of two to three hours, then sleep again until morning. References are scattered throughout literature, court documents, personal papers, and the ephemera of the past. What is surprising is not that people slept in two sessions, but that the concept was so incredibly common. Two-piece sleeping was the standard, accepted way to sleep.

Professors Detail Brutal Tangle With Police [James C. McKinley Jr. on The New York Times]

Nineteen hours after her arrest, Ms. LaFont was brought before a judge in Manhattan Criminal Court to face charges of obstructing governmental administration and harassment. The prosecutor on duty offered her a common deal for people who have tussles with the police: plead guilty to disorderly conduct and be released with a penalty of “time served.” Ms. LaFont refused. “I didn’t believe I did anything wrong,” she said. Over the next months, she also turned down offers from prosecutors to drop the charges in return for meeting certain conditions. What she wanted, she said, was exoneration.

Toronto mayor, caught ranting on video, admits drinking a ‘little bit’ [Cameron French on Reuters]

In the video, shot from a low angle and posted on YouTube on Tuesday, Ford stands by the counter of a fast-food restaurant and rants about surveillance that police carried out last year during a drug investigation. “Chase me around five months, man,” he said, before using a Jamaican profanity. In much of the approximately 1 minute-long video, Ford speaks in a Jamaican accent. “He’s hiding here, I’m hiding here. You know how much money that costs?” Asked about the video, shot at the Steak Queen restaurant in the western suburb of Etobicoke, Ford admitted it was filmed after he was out socializing on Monday night. “I was with some friends. If I speak that way it’s how I speak with some of my friends. I don’t think it’s discriminative at all … It’s my own time,” he said.

Buffett Leans on 29-Year-Old Cool to Oversee Problems [Noah Buhayar and Laura Colby on Bloomberg]

When Warren Buffett bought half of a commercial mortgage finance company in 2009, he hired a 25-year-old fresh out of business school to keep tabs on the investment. Since then, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC has earned back most of the $217 million that his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) spent on the deal. The business also helped propel Tracy Britt Cool’s career. Now 29, Cool is one of Buffett’s most-trusted advisers, traveling the country to assist a constellation of companies too small to command her boss’s direct attention.

Is an atheist’s brain the same as a believer’s? New research says religious and non-religious minds work differently [Evan Belanger on Al.com]

They found that an individual’s religious belief depends on three cognitive dimensions: (1) God’s perceived level of involvement in the subject’s daily life, (2) God’s perceived emotion, and (3) the subject’s doctrinal or experiential knowledge of religion. They also found that those cognitive dimensions can be mapped to specific regions of the brain. While scans showed the amount of brain activity does not vary between religious and non-religions subjects, they detected notable differences in the way those brain regions communicate. In their findings, the researchers said subjects who perceive a supernatural agent at work in their daily lives tend to use brain pathways associated with the regulation of fear when asked to contemplate their religious beliefs. And subjects with religious beliefs based on doctrine, such as knowledge of religious scripture, tend to use pathways associated with language when they contemplate religion. However, non-religious subjects tend to use pathways associated with visual imagery when they contemplate religion, according to the study. Deshpande said those finding suggest subjects with a greater capacity to imagine visual images are less likely to be religious. He proposed that those subjects attempt to visually imagine a supernatural agent as a test of its existence and subsequently reject the idea as unlikely when that image does not fit with any known image in their memory. The researchers also found individuals with a stronger ability to attribute mental states — such as beliefs, desires and intents — to themselves and understand that others may have different mental states tend to be more religious. The ability to attribute mental states, known in scientific communities as the “theory of the mind” is thought to have evolved in humans over thousands of years, according to Deshpande. He said that finding supports the hypothesis that the evolutionary development of that ability in humans may have given rise to religion in human societies.

The Profits Bubble [Chris Brightman on Research Affiliates]

The macroeconomic cause of today’s profits bubble can be understood as a quarter century of politically facilitated globalization. During the 50 years following WWII, we lived in an open global developed economy containing less than one billion people in Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and a handful of others. Some countries were growing faster, some slower, but the technological level and population growth rates were not very different across the predominant countries within this relatively open global economy. The shares of income to labor and capital varied cyclically but tended to revert toward long-term averages. Beginning in the 1990s, we experienced a seismic shift in our global political economy. Approximately three billion people began to join this open global economy: about one billion each in China and India and another billion or so in Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. Average wages, level of technology, and amount of accumulated capital in the countries of the aspiring three billion lagged far behind those enjoyed by the one billion in the developed world. Imitation and appropriation is far easier than innovation and invention, so catching up has been rapid for those nations willing to make even modest concessions to the aspirations of their citizenry. For the past quarter century, the capital and technology accumulated by the old equilibrium advanced global economy has been suddenly shared across a labor force and populace that quadrupled. This tectonic shift in our global political economy produced some winners and some losers. Incomes of many of the three billion newly joined rose quickly. Global poverty rates have plummeted. Meanwhile, wages in the old advanced economy countries stalled at least partly in response to competition from the lower wages welcomed by workers in developing countries. Profits grew to a much larger share of output and an unprecedented percentage of wages and salaries. To be sure, if we adjust wages to include the value of benefit programs and entitlements, we aren’t quite at all-time highs in profits-to-total compensation ratios. But, even here, we’re darned close to unprecedented records. In both cases, the five- and ten-year averages are at new highs. These longer-term trends are fueling popular unrest. This period of globalization and the inflation of our profits bubble has been facilitated in part by a corporate capture of government policy, inhibiting competition, depressing investment, and promoting rent seeking…Our policymakers have too often mistaken what is in the best interest of their elite peer group (and, surely by sheer coincidence, some of their largest campaign contributors) as in the best interest of the broader society. The result has been decades of stagnation in wages, high taxes on labor income, subsidies for debt and consumption, underinvestment, and soaring corporate profits.

WORLD DANGER SPOTS 2014 [Eric Margolis]

Where are the world’s most dangerous places in 2014? *Mostly forgotten, but the highly dangerous, Indian-controlled portion of disputed Kashmir. Rebellion against Indian rule by Kashmir’s majority Muslims is again boiling. Over 1.6 million Indian and Pakistani troops, backed by nuclear weapons, are in confrontation. Skirmishing along Kashmir’s Line of Control is frequent. The nuclear strike forces of both India and Pakistan are on a perilous hair-trigger alert, with about three minutes warning of an enemy attack. A false warning of incoming missiles or aircraft, a border clash, or a massive offensive by India exasperated by guerilla attacks from Pakistan could set off a war that could kill millions and pollute the entire planet with radioactive dust. India and Pakistan aside, hardly anyone even thinks about beautiful, remote, perilous Kashmir.

Stream At Your Own Risk: The 10 Most Terrible Gay & Lesbian Films On Netflix [Heather Dockray on FilmDrunk]

I’m also not about to get into a debate about what constitutes “good art” versus “bad art,” but I will say this: if the title of your movie is Guys and Balls, you’re probably on the losing side. Still, there were some important factors I examined: how nuanced was the storytelling? How imaginative were the representations? Was the movie more T or more A?

A Ghost Ship Full of Cannibal Rats Has Disappeared in the Atlantic [Jordan Kushins on Gizmodo]

A massive ghost ship has been missing in the Atlantic since last February, along with its potential cargo of “disease-ridden cannibal rats,” via BBC Future. Now, it looks like it’s headed for the UK. The Lyubov Orlova was first misplaced on its way from a harbor in Newfoundland, Canada, to the Dominican Republic, where it was to be sold as scrap. A storm sent it loose into the ocean, however, and the Canadian government decided to cut its losses and let it and its crew of hundreds of starving vermin drift. And that’s the last anyone saw of it.

The Ancient Ghost City of Ani [Alan Taylor on The Atlantic]

Situated on the eastern border of Turkey, across the Akhurian River from Armenia, lies the empty, crumbling site of the once-great metropolis of Ani, known as “the city of a thousand and one churches.” Founded more than 1,600 years ago, Ani was situated on several trade routes, and grew to become a walled city of more than 100,000 residents by the 11th century. In the centuries that followed, Ani and the surrounding region were conquered hundreds of times — Byzantine emperors, Ottoman Turks, Armenians, nomadic Kurds, Georgians, and Russians claimed and reclaimed the area, repeatedly attacking and chasing out residents. By the 1300s, Ani was in steep decline, and it was completely abandoned by the 1700s. Rediscovered and romanticized in the 19th century, the city had a brief moment of fame, only to be closed off by World War I and the later events of the Armenian Genocide that left the region an empty, militarized no-man’s land. The ruins crumbled at the hands of many: looters, vandals, Turks who tried to eliminate Armenian history from the area, clumsy archaeological digs, well-intentioned people who made poor attempts at restoration, and Mother Nature herself. Restrictions on travel to Ani have eased in the past decade, allowing the following photos to be taken.

Cop Comped [Matthew Feeney via Reason]

Earlier in 2013, after settling a federal lawsuit, the university paid a total of $1 million to the 36 people who were sprayed. Pike therefore received more compensation than each of the protesters he assaulted.

Quentin Tarantino Vs. Gawker, The Legal Breakdown (By An Actual Lawyer) [Buttockus Finch, Esq. on FilmDrunk]

Never, ever brag about not being a lawyer, junior. As if your parents are high fiving each other because their prolapsed rectum of a son runs Gawker.

Curiously Strong Remains:

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