Archive for March, 2014


Roundup – 100 Years of Special Effects

Quote O’ the Day:

Sure, at Missouri he was the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, but at 6-feet-1 5/8, 260 pounds, Sam isn’t built like the prototype NFL defensive end and even moved to outside linebacker for some drills at the Senior Bowl. Most teams see him as a tweener with no natural position.

Or LB curious

– PFT Commenter, Writer has opinion about the NFL’s war on heterosexuality, let’s all take a look [Kissing Suzy Kolber]

Best of the Best:

Textile Industry Comes Back to Life, Especially in South [Marsha Mercer on Stateline]

Business is on the upswing as Southern states, in particular, woo textile companies with tax breaks, reliable utilities, modern ports and airports and a dependable, trained and nonunion workforce. In 2013, companies in Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, Great Britain, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Switzerland, as well as in the U.S., announced plans to open or expand textile plants in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Legal Breakdown: The Makers Of ‘Twiharder’ Sued The Makers Of Twilight And Vice Versa [Buttockus A. Finch, Esq. via FilmDrunk]

I regret doing this, but in the name of thoroughness, I’m including a link to the Twiharder site here. I implore you to not look at it; if you do, it is safest to view only through a pinhole in a piece of cardboard. An example of its diabolical nature: there is a music video, supposedly related to this movie, that appears to be based on Right Said Fred’s one hit. If you don’t know what that means, you don’t want to; rejoice, o young man, in thy ignorance.

Left and Right Tail-Wags Trigger Different Emotional Responses In Dogs [George Dvorsky on io9]

Earlier, the same research team discovered that dogs wag to the right when they’re happy, like seeing their owners, and to the left when they’re feeling stressed or anxious (like seeing a dog they’re hesitant about). Their prior study showed that left-brain activation produced a wag to the right, while right-brain activation produced a wag to the left — a consequence of left/right asymmetric functionality in the brain. Which wasn’t a complete surprise to the researchers; asymmetries in behavior are widespread in the animal kingdom. By the observations got the researchers thinking: Are dogs on the receiving end of tail wagging able to decipher and respond to these cues? They performed an experiment to find out. While closely monitoring their reactions, the researchers showed dogs videos of other dogs with either left- or right- asymmetric tail wagging. They observed that, when dogs saw another dog wagging to the left, their heart rates picked up and they looked anxious. But when the wagging happened on the other side, they stayed perfectly relaxed.

The Livability Index: The 35 Best U.S. Cities For People 35 and Under [Cavaliere, Ryan Walsh, Hanna Sender and EJ Fox via Vocativ]

We started with the 50 most populous cities in the country, according to the 2010 census, and pared down results from there using Open Internet sources. Our Livability Index takes into account essential indicators for those between 18 and 35, like average salary, employment rates, and the cost of rent and utilities measured against everyday factors like bike lanes for commuting, low-cost broadband and the availability of good, cheap takeout. We also considered all-important lifestyle metrics like the price of a pint of beer and an ounce of high-quality weed, and the level of access to live music and coffee shops. The following 35 cities represent your best chance of not dying jobless and alone in your parent’s basement. You can slice and dice the data by city or across categories, depending what you care about most. In the end, some bigger cities like Los Angeles and Chicago didn’t make the top 35 (though they may have ranked in individual categories).  Grab your patchouli; it’s time to move to Portland!

Seoul’s Defector Girl Boxer Stars in Rare Triumph for Refugees [Yoolim Lee on Bloomberg]

Lee Chul Man says he wouldn’t have made it in South Korea without mentor Park Sang Young. Lee left North Korea’s North Hamkyong Province for China at age 19 in April 2008 so his mother could feed three other children and aid her ailing husband. He committed petty crimes in China to survive. In 2009, Lee made his way to South Korea, where he was soon overwhelmed by his freedom and squandered his construction-job pay drinking and partying. “I got completely lost,” he says. Lee met Park, a former employee at Seoul’s Daishin Securities Co. who had left because he wanted more meaning in his life. Park started a school for defector teenagers. “All of my students made their way to South Korea by themselves, alone,” Park says. “They’ve got scars, deep scars.” Lee is working toward a license to drive forklifts. “My dream is to live a content life, not chasing anything and not being chased, and to see my mother in North Korea one day,” he says. Lee’s father died last year…Boxing champ Choi [Hyun Mi] struggles to attract a sponsor and says being a defector may be holding her back. She dreams of fighting in Las Vegas to gain global recognition. “I am lucky to have lived in both Koreas,” she says. “But I know exactly where I want to go from here — the world.”

The All-or-Nothing Marriage [Eli J. Finkel on The New York Times]

[T]he most striking thing I learned is that the answer to whether today’s marriages are better or worse is “both”: The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore. Consider, for example, that while the divorce rate has settled since the early 1980s at around 45%, even those marriages that have remained intact have generally become less satisfying. At the same time, consider the findings of a recent analysis, led by the University of Missouri researcher Christine M. Proulx, of 14 longitudinal studies between 1979 and 2002 that concerned marital quality and personal well-being. In addition to showing that marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people), the analysis revealed that this effect has become much stronger over time. The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased. How and why did this divergence occur? In answering this question, I worked with the psychologists Chin Ming Hui, Kathleen L. Carswell and Grace M. Larson to develop a new theory of marriage, which we will publish later this year in a pair of articles in the journal Psychological Inquiry. Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.

Rum And Rom-Coms: A Belated Valentine’s Day With ‘Valentine’s Day’ [Alison Stevenson on FilmDrunk]

Ashton goes to stop Jennifer Garner but she is not buying it. She’s all like, “You don’t like any of my boyfriends. You said my ex-boyfriend Eddie was gay.” Ashton is all like, “Eddie is gay! He has a cat named Babs.” Hot tip folks, only gay men name their cats “Babs”. Straight men give their cats manly names like “Crusher” or “Hitler”.

I’m The Duke University Freshman Porn Star And For The First Time I’m Telling The Story In My Words [Lauren A. via xojane]

I stood there shaking in disbelief and fear. I knew what was coming next: fear, humiliation, shame, threats, name calling. What I did not expect was that I would be brutally bullied and harassed online. I did not expect that every private detail about my life would be dissected. I did not expect that my intelligence and work ethic would be questioned and criticized. And I certainly did not expect that extremely personal information concerning my identity and whereabouts would be so carelessly transmitted through college gossip boards. I was called a “slut who needs to learn the consequences of her actions,” a “huge fucking whore,” and, perhaps the most offensive, “a little girl who does not understand her actions.” Let’s be clear about one thing: I know exactly what I’m doing. What about you? My entire life, I have, along with millions of other girls, been told that sex is a degrading and shameful act. When I was 5 years old and beginning to discover the wonders of my body, my mother, completely horrified, told me that if I masturbated, my vagina would fall off. The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon -– as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.

Another possible booze price hike looms over Wash. [Manuel Valdes on Associated Press]

Booze prices at bars and restaurants in Washington may go up this year as multiple interests fight over rules following the voter-approved privatization of the state’s liquor system. The possible price hike could be a hangover from battles among two giant national distributors, Costco and its allies, and the state Liquor Control Board. Since the end of Prohibition in the 1930s the state had tightly controlled the distribution and sale of liquor. But in 2011 Washington voters approved a privatization initiative that was supported by Costco and other retail interests. Costco spent more than $20 million backing Initiative 1183 and distributors also provided millions. Following privatization there have been multiple lawsuits and some consumers have complained about sticker shock in grocery aisles.

North Dakota No. 1 in Well-Being, West Virginia Still Last [Dan Witters on Gallup-Healthways]

Based on U.S. Census Bureau regions, Midwestern and Western states earned nine of the 10 highest well-being scores in 2013, while Southern states had eight of the 10 lowest well-being scores. The regional pattern of well-being is similar to previous years.

Clay-Liston: The Fight That Made Muhammad Ali [Gordon Marino on The Wall Street Journal]

Liston was a 7-1 favorite. About 90% of the press picked Clay to be picking himself off the canvas at night’s end. At the weigh-in on the morning of the fight, Clay went off like a verbal Roman candle. Eyes bulging, he charged at Liston, howling, “I can beat you anytime, you chump…I am the greatest. I am king…I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Recalling the night of the fight, Dundee said: “I told my kid that when they went to shake hands he should bounce on his toes, let Sonny see just how big he was. Muhammad was a big guy—6-3 and broad. Sonny, who was only around 6 feet, was surprised to be looking up at him and at how big my kid was.”

Proactive Advice for Dealing With Grief: Seek Out New Experiences [Elizabeth Bernstein on The Wall Street Journal]

Almost five decades after psychologist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s 1969 book “On Death and Dying,” the grieving process is still popularly understood to happen in five stages—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But in recent years researchers and experts have found little evidence that these stages exist. People who bounce back after a death, divorce or other traumatic loss often don’t follow this sequence. Instead, many of them strive to actively move forward. “The traditional model of bereavement is that there is work to do,” says George Bonanno, a grief researcher and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and the author of “The Other Side of Sadness.” “There has never really been any evidence for that.” Each person’s grieving is unique, of course. But in a 2002 study of older men and women who had lost spouses, Dr. Bonanno found that in 50% of the participants, the main symptoms of grief—shock, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, depression—had lifted within six months. “The majority of people can function pretty soon afterward,” he says. Instead of five stages, Dr. Bonanno compares grief to a swinging pendulum. People get very upset and then feel better—over and over again. A person may be crying and then suddenly laugh at a funny joke or memory. In time, the periods between pendulum swings get longer and gradually the pain subsides.

At Nordic Airports, Defying the Snow is Good Sport [Daniel Michaels on The Wall Street Journal]

They plowed relentlessly ahead and protected a perfect 50-year record: Arlanda stayed open despite getting socked by more than a foot of snow. Swedish crews wax nostalgic about a 1968 blizzard when Arlanda was the only Western European airport operating and arriving planes parked on one of its two runways.

America’s Weird, Enduring Love Affair With Cars and Houses [Derek Thompson on The Atlantic]

Families with radically different incomes—from lawyers and doctors down to high-school dropouts—all spend about half of it on homes and getting around, which suggests an historically tight relationship between marginal income growth and marginal spending growth on real estate and transportation.

RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT [Glenn Greenwald on The//Intercept]

In response to my question about whether any U.S. television hosts issued denunciations of the attack on Iraq similar to what Martin just did on RT, Washington lawyer Bradley Moss replied: “Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC).” Leaving aside that Arnett wasn’t a host, this perfectly proves the point I made, since both Donahue and Arnett were fired because of their opposition to the U.S. war. Arnett was fired instantly by NBC after he made critical comments about the war effort on Iraqi television, while a memo from MSNBC executives made clear they were firing Donahue despite his show being the network’s highest-rated program because he would be “a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war”.

Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others [Michael Bailey on The MinorityEye]

This book is based on over 3,000 interviews conducted by John T. Molloy and his researchers. They interviewed couples coming out of marriage license bureaus, and then a control group. The results reflect the statistical tendencies of marriage. Many of the lessons are common sense, but what sets this book apart is its specificity and the statistical backup for its assertions. Editor’s note: One interesting fact is that this book got positive but mixed reviews on Amazon. It seems that the statistical truths that women who are A) over 35, and B) overweight are much less likely to marry were not well-received by those women who fell into those categories.

Photos: The Brutal DIY Weapons of the Ukrainian Revolution [Doug Bierend on Wired]

The protesters who filled Maidan Square to battle the Ukrainian army and topple President Yanukovych often fought with little more than sticks, bats and sledgehammers. Their nasty homemade weapons are the subject of a series of portraits by photographer Tom Jamieson, and show how determined protesters were to either damage or defend against government security forces, depending on your politics. While other photographers scrambled to shoot the epic scenes playing out at the front line, Jamieson wandered the occupied zone asking to see what protesters were packing.

The Jews who fought for Hitler: ‘We did not help the Germans. We had a common enemy’ [Paul Kendall on The Telegraph]

Skurnik was far from the only soldier to be awarded the Iron Cross during the Second World War. More than four million people received the decoration. But there was one fact about him that makes the recommendation remarkable: he was Jewish. And Skurnik was not the only Jew fighting on the side of the Germans. More than 300 found themselves in league with the Nazis when Finland, who had a mutual enemy in the Soviet Union, joined the war in June 1941. The alliance between Hitler and the race he vowed to annihilate — the only instance of Jews fighting for Germany’s allies — is one of the most extraordinary aspects of the Second World War, and yet hardly anyone, including many Finns, know anything about it.

Oil Trains, Cold Snap Put Plains State Farmers in a Bind [Daniel C. Vock on Stateline]

The North Dakota oil boom is creating major headaches for the region’s farmers, as both the oil and grain industries put huge strains on rail service on the Great Plains. The energy and agricultural industries both set production records last year, driving up demand for freight trains at the same time the region’s main railroad was rehabilitating its tracks and Mother Nature snarled service with a ferocious winter. The area’s farmers and grain elevator operators have been coping with slow rail service since the big harvest last fall. With no reliable way to ship their products to ports in the Pacific Northwest, elevator operators are heaping millions of bushels of grain in piles on the ground and refusing to buy more from farmers.

Sorry Banks, Millennials Hate You [Alice Truong on Fast Company]

As a result, this digital-savvy cohort is looking to the tech sector to provide banking solutions. Half of respondents said they were counting on startups to overhaul how banks work, and three-quarters said they would be more excited in financial services provided by Google, Amazon, Apple, PayPal, or Square than from their own banks.

Tesla Stores May Be Closed After N.J. Blocks Direct Sales [Alan Ohnsman and Terrence Dopp on Bloomberg]

Tesla is battling dealers state by state to secure or protect the right to sell its cars directly to consumers. Auto dealers in Ohio, New York, Minnesota, Georgia and elsewhere in the past year have sought to block Tesla from directly retailing its models, arguing that independent retailers are better for shoppers and owners of vehicles. Texas dealers successfully backed a law setting the nation’s toughest restrictions on Tesla. Arizona, Colorado and Virginia also imposed limits.The New Jersey vote shouldn’t have been a surprise to Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, said a Christie spokesman.  “Since Tesla first began operating in New Jersey one year ago, it was made clear that the company would need to engage the Legislature on a bill to establish their new direct-sales operations under New Jersey law,” said Kevin Roberts, the spokesman. “This administration does not find it appropriate to unilaterally change the way cars are sold in New Jersey without legislation and Tesla has been aware of this position since the beginning.”

See alsoTesla’s Direct-Sales Push Raises Auto Dealers’ Hackles [Alan Ohnsman and Mark Niquette on Bloomberg]

The complete guide to listening to music at work [Adam Pasick on Quartz]

Putting on those headphones provides a direct pipeline from iTunes or Spotify into your auditory cortex. As the music plays, many different brain centers can be activated, depending on whether the music is familiar or new, happy or sad, in a major or minor key, or—perhaps most importantly for work purposes—whether it has lyrics or not.

‘Mom, I’m Scared’ as Child Traumas Compound Syrian War Cost [Donna Abu-Nasr on Bloomberg]

At 4 years old, Edmond Michael Abdel-Nour can distinguish the sound of a bullet from that of a mortar hitting his Damascus neighborhood. A toddler when the conflict in Syria began, Abdel-Nour has lived through war for most of his life, learning to correctly identify an outgoing shell from an incoming one before he’s even managed to master the alphabet. “It’s the kind of knowledge I wish my son didn’t have,” said his mother, Manar Makhoul, 31. “There’s a whole generation of Syrian children who have been robbed of their childhood because of this crisis,” she said by telephone from Damascus.

Israelis in Berlin Signal Middle Class Struggles at Home [David Wainer on Bloomberg]

For many years after World War II it was taboo for Israelis to move to Germany. These days Berlin is among the top destinations for those priced out of housing and struggling with grocery bills. And for people whose forefathers were German Jews, Berlin makes sense because it’s easy to get dual citizenship. The number of Israelis in the city has risen by about 40 percent since 2006, Berlin authorities say. Unlike Israel’s pioneers — mostly European immigrants fleeing anti-Semitism and motivated by an ideological commitment to Zionism — many young Israelis see Berlin as a haven from the economic and social difficulties plaguing their country. The city today is home to about 17,000 Israelis, according to the German embassy in Tel Aviv.

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