I’ve had two abortions: This is what I want you to know about shame:
"I have had two abortions. The first was after graduating from uni. The second was just over a year later. I am not the only woman to have had multiple abortions and I am not the first person to make the same mistake twice. Yet for a long time I felt very alone and ashamed about this."
Ghent Library moves home via human chain:
"Volunteers in Ghent, Belgium, have helped their local library move down the road."
After five years, Juno is showing us Jupiter as we've never seen it before:
"There was much excitement when the Juno spacecraft successfully arrived at Jupiter in July, after a five-year journey through the solar system. A perfect engine firing placed the solar-powered spacecraft into just the right orbit around the gas giant, with the promise of great discoveries to come."
How author Timothy Tyson found the woman at the center of the Emmett Till case:
"With a renewed cultural interest in the 1955 murder that catalyzed the 20th century civil rights movement, an interview with the author of a new book who tracked down the long-hidden woman at its center."
Tulip Siddiq: I’ve quit as shadow minister over article 50 to follow the true will of my people:
"Sleepless nights, cold sweats, recurring nightmares. No, not pregnancy this time – it’s the emotional turmoil that has accompanied so many votes in the House of Commons. Maybe I was naive. Before being elected as an MP, I knew there would be difficult decisions to make – policy compromises or funding trade-offs with no way of satisfying everyone. But I hadn’t realised how emotional it would be."
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2017
Brexit and EU academics in the UK – breaking up is hard to do:
"Which makes it all the more strange why the Government should be, accidentally or deliberately, undermining our Universities. Most of the commentary on Brexit will have on UK Universities has concentrated on issues of funding, research cooperation and students. Much less attention has been paid to what keeps Universities running – academic staff – and what Brexit will mean for the thirty-thousand plus EU academics in the UK. Here are some of their personal experiences and what it means for our Universities."
Meadowlark Announce 'Nocturnes' EP Ahead Of Amber Run Support Tour:
"Speaking about their choice of cover track, Kate McGill said: "Sugababes were always a guilty pop pleasure and About You Now was no exception, but underneath its cheesy noughties pop front the chords and melodies speak of a darker tone which is everything we love about songwriting."
25 Years of Alien 3:
"This year (May 22 to be exact) marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Alien 3. Following Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens, the third movie, helmed by music video director David Fincher, was poorly received by critics and fans of the franchise. But is it really such a lame duck in the series? James Cooray Smith reassesses the cubed sequel..."
Huawei could rescue Amazon's Alexa from the smart home:
"In the car, its initial partner is Ford, which will integrate Alexa into its vehicles from this summer, allowing drivers to start their cars using their Amazon Echo, play Kindle audio books and order items on Amazon while travelling – as well as more generic search and navigation functions. Ford is working on adding Alexa home-to-car integration for vehicles with Sync Connect in the future. Steve Rabuchin, vice president for Amazon Alexa said: “We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars.”"
[Editor's Note: KITT.]
An Ode To The Greatest Hero Yet To Appear In Any Superhero Movie:
"The camera then does a funny thing. As it pans across the kneeling crowd with their meek, understandably downcast faces, it lingers on an old man (Kenneth Tigar), straight-necked, staring off to the right."
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017
Every book Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency:
"Whether he’s reading to kids at the White House, hitting up local bookstores on Black Friday, or giving recommendations to his daughters, President Barack Obama may as well be known as the Commander in Books."
How Hitler set out to destroy ‘degenerate’ art:
"In 1937, two competing exhibitions caused a dramatic split in the art world. In one, traditional German art held sway. The other featured the ‘degenerate’ modern art hated by Hitler. Eighty years later, WILLIAM COOK considers one of the most important clashes in 20th Century art."
So When Exactly Does Wolverine’s ‘Logan’ Take Place?
"... as fans get ready for what could be Wolverine’s final bow in Logan, where exactly does all this fit in with everything else we’ve experienced to this point? Star Hugh Jackman told Digital Spy that director James Mangold has made it easy."
Christina Ricci: 'I thought I'd do better as I got older':
"The once child star has struggled to land grown-up roles, so now she has created her own. She talks about her angry teens, Hollywood creeps – and bringing Zelda, the hard-partying wife of F Scott Fitzgerald, to the screen."
Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change:
"Most of the policy debate surrounding the actions needed to mitigate and adapt to anthropogenic climate change has been framed by observations of the past 150 years as well as climate and sea-level projections for the twenty-first century. The focus on this 250-year window, however, obscures some of the most profound problems associated with climate change."
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2017
A strange new theory may finally solve the mystery of an “alien megastructure” that has confounded scientists for months:
"There isn’t a star like KIC 8462852. For the past 18 months, ever since a group of astronomers introduced the world to its strange, seemingly unnatural fluctuations in brightness, scientists have been obsessed with it."
Playing dead: my part as a corpse that came back to haunt me:
"When Olivia Williams was starting out as an actor, one of her first roles was as a dead body in Poplar morgue, providing her with a darkly funny anecdote. But 20 years on the story took a poignant twist…"
[Editor's note: Was Olivia Williams the secret actor all along? The series would appear to be Amanda Redman vehicle Beck from 1996, dodgy recording of the opening credits above.]
Did Stranger Things Steal Its Theme Song?
"Respected internet movie personality Film Critic Hulk recently tweeted about how the beloved smooth and spooky synth tones of the Stranger Things theme song sound suspiciously familiar to the beloved synth tones of composer and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez. When writing their score, did Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein rip off this track “Wanna Fight” from 2013’s Only God Forgives? Listen for yourself."
How 'Supergirl' Mirrors My Own Coming-Out Process:
"For as long as I can remember, I've loved superhero stories. As a kid, I watched the cartoons. Later on, I rarely missed a major superhero movie midnight release. Eventually, I read comics and graphic novels, too, but most of my early superhero intake happened in front of screens. But the superhero movies and shows I loved so obsessively never told stories about women like me, never told stories about women who fell in love with other women."
How LA LA LAND is made:
"Not how it was made. We’ll get “The Making of La La Land” as a DVD bonus, and there are already behind-the-scenes promos. No, this is about how it is made. On this site, we mostly practice a criticism of enthusiasm. We write about what we like, or at least about films that intrigue us from the standpoint of history or aesthetics. Sometimes, what interests us intersects with a current controversy. Take La La Land."
Film Let's return briefly to the subject of film durations. Les Vampires was originally released across seven months from the 13 November 1915 – 30 June 1916, has ten episodes and a running time of 417 minutes or just under seven hours. Over time there's been some discussion as to whether director Louis Feuillade's meisterwerk constitutes a single film or a series of them and having watched the whole business in just under a week last Summer, I'm on the side of it being a series.
Structurally it has everything you might expect from a modern television series with a clear protagonist, A and B plots, recurring characters and stories which last a single episode undercut with ongoing storylines. Viewing the series was akin to working through a modern boxed set, even though some episode durations vary wildly between installments, even more so than an HBO or Netflix series which aren't pinned to the traditional network television advert structure (or scheduling requirements in the case of the BBC).
At the risk of providing a review, as with television series too, some elements are more palatable than others, some storylines more exciting or involving. There's a lot of running around and superfluous moments designed to create empty tension and a fair number of false cliffhangers in the Doctor Who mode. As Time Out identified in their review "if shown, as it often is, in one great unnatural marathon, it can be sheer torture. Best viewed on tape." Treated as one long film it's unpalatable. Treated as a series it's mainly quite wonderful.
Which then makes me wonder about the number of films which benefit from being watched in shorter installments. The Hateful Eight feels very long, too long, with much padding and not many likeable characters. But I wonder now what my attitude would have been if I'd approached it as a television series, watching each of the different "chapters" as separate entities over a number of sessions. How would that have changed my attitude to the piece? Are we more relaxed about episodic drama having a meander?
But why do we persist in suggesting that some films are too long whilst happily graze through thirteen episodes of some Netflix drama telling one long story? Is it because by its nature episodic television provides breathers and a certain pacing which allows us to mentally detox between incidents whilst a film forces us to keep watching and be engaged with the characters and story for a much more intensive period? The Hobbit films seem very long, but collectively there's less screentime than an average series of Game of Thrones.
Perhaps, as the demarcation between film and television becomes ever unfocused, especially on streaming services we'll become more relaxed about film durations too. How long can it be before Peter Jackson releases yet another version of his Tolkien films which increase his vision yet further. Or perhaps it is that the filmmakers think they can take advantage of our extended attention spans even though they don't have enough story or their characters aren't complex or compelling enough to justify the story they're telling.
For Jo, My Dear Friend:
"In her speech, Jo was full of fire and passion about what Impact could become. A drab newspaper turned into a cutting-edge magazine. We’d give the students what they wanted – the first thing she would do is carry out a survey asking them. No more dull-as-shit stories about the hall presidents; we would hold the university to account. We would reach outside campus and find out what was going on in Nottingham – and across the Midlands. We’d be as good as any newspaper from any other university." [via].
The English vet saving Sri Lanka’s street dogs:
"A vet has left behind her home in England to care for Sri Lanka’s street dogs. Janey Lowes from Barnard Castle, County Durham, has spent the past two years caring for the neglected animals."
60% of primate species now threatened with extinction, says major new study:
"Primates are remarkable. We’re all familiar with chimpanzees, monkeys, and ring-tailed lemurs, but have you heard of tarsiers, with their big eyes? Or Cleese’s woolly lemur, named after John Cleese? Or the fabulous red-shanked douc? What about the scary-looking red-headed bald uakari? Or did you know that primates can be as small as mice?"
This Video Reveals The Easter Eggs In Every Disney/Pixar Movie:
"As if we needed anymore evidence that these films are solid gold, here’s a compilation of all the easter eggs hidden within every Disney•Pixar movie. Spoilers: it goes way deeper than just the Pizza Planet truck. Prepare to have your mind blown."
It’s Not Heat Vision: Why Scott Summers Always Left Me Cold:
"Who is Scott Summers? It’s a question that until Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men I didn’t care to answer. Scott reminded me too much of the people who’d ignored me at school, never the bullies, but the ones complicit with their silence. The kind who see themselves as better than every other person in exactly the same situation. As a disabled teenager learning to live in an abled world, I resented Scott’s desperation to hide who he was and what he could do. I couldn’t help but find something sinister about trying to be the most normal mutant in a room full of them."
Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017