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from The Guardian

Now e-cigarettes can give you malware

Better for your lungs, worse for your hard drives, e-cigarettes can potentially infect a computer if plugged in to charge

An e-cigarette charges from the wall.

E-cigarettes may be better for your health than normal ones, but spare a thought for your poor computer – electronic cigarettes have become the latest vector for malicious software, according to online reports.

Many e-cigarettes can be charged over USB, either with a special cable, or by plugging the cigarette itself directly into a USB port. That might be a USB port plugged into a wall socket or the port on a computer – but, if so, that means that a cheap e-cigarette from an untrustworthy supplier gains physical access to a device.

A report on social news site Reddit suggests that at least one “vaper” has suffered the downside of trusting their cigarette manufacturer. “One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on November 30, 2014 by Editor

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Lessons From Bunny

from The New York Observer

10 Things We Learned From Bunny Mellon’s Monster Estate Sale

Don’t crumple the Rothko, don’t refinish the antiques, and act fast


Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) (1955)  by Mark Rothko.

Think of it as a master class in estate planning. Earlier this month, Sotheby’s sold all 43 pieces on offer from Bunny Mellon’s art collection—Rothko to Picasso to Diebenkorn—at its much-heralded “Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon: Masterworks.” The estate sale brought in $158.7 million, about $40 million more than the high pre-sale estimate. Last week, jewelry and furniture brought  in $59.3 million more.

Not all auctions go quite as well. So we talked to art lawyers and estate planners across the country to find out what Mrs. Mellon, heiress to a Listerine fortune and wife of banker Paul Mellon, did right when it came to planning for posterity. Here are some tips for making sure your estate fetches what it deserves, at the inevitable world-class auction of your own belongings.

1. Have flawless taste—and clear title.

Bunny Mellon was known for her discerning eye, and her art collection came to include pieces by everyone from 17th century Dutch master Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder to Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper, which clearly increased the value.

But Mellon was also careful to keep all her acquisitions on the up-and-up, which solidified that value.

“You want to make sure that the provenance [a piece’s history of ownership and exhibition] on the artworks you’re selling is clear and clean,” said Herbert Nass, a New York trusts and estates attorney and author of Wills of the Rich and Famous. “The last thing you want is for there to be some kind of dispute” after your passing over the ownership of the piece.

[ click to continue reading at the Observer ]

Posted on November 29, 2014 by Editor

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The Boxer

from AP

Mickey Rourke wins exhibition bout in Moscow

AP PhotoImage courtesy People Magazine

MOSCOW (AP) — Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke returned to the boxing ring Friday at the age of 62, defeating a fighter less than half his age in an exhibition bout.

Rourke sent 29-year-old Pasadena native Elliot Seymour to the canvas twice in the second round before the referee stopped the fight.

The bout at a Moscow concert hall was Rourke’s first fight in 20 years. He took a break from acting in the early 1990s, finishing a three-year pro boxing career with six wins and two draws.

He hinted that the return to the ring has helped him cope with unspecified personal issues.

“I’ve got some things going on in my life so that (boxing has) sort of saved me from myself,” Rourke told Russian TV. “And for a man like me, it’s better to live in fear than go on in shame.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on November 28, 2014 by Editor

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Rearguard Action For God

from NewStatesman

The books of revelations: why are novelists turning back to religion?

There is a sense that, in recent years, novelists have formed part of a rearguard action in response to Richard Dawkins’s New Atheist consensus. Philip Maughan talks to Marilynne Robinson, Francis Spufford and Rowan Williams about God in literature.

by Philip Maughan

In the half light: biblical narratives, religious ritual and Christian art have a renewed appeal for baffled unbelievers

Close to the end of White Noise, Don DeLillo’s 1984 novel about a professor of Hitler studies who will do just about anything to ease his fear of dying, an elderly nun reveals the secret truth about faith. “Do you think we are stupid?” she asks Jack Gladney, bleeding from the wrist at a Catholic hospital following a botched murder attempt. “We are here to take care of sick and injured,” the old nun explains in a halting German accent. “Only this. You would talk about heaven, you must find another place.”

All the crosses, devotional images of saints, angels and popes that line the walls of the ward exist merely as set dressing. “The devil, the angels, heaven and hell. If we did not pretend to believe these things, the world would collapse,” she says. “As belief shrinks from the world, people find it more necessary than ever that someone believe. Wild-eyed men in caves. Nuns in black. Monks who do not speak.”

“I don’t want to hear this,” Gladney moans. “This is terrible.”

“But true,” the nun says.

Perhaps this goes some way to explaining the unlikely popularity of religion in contemporary fiction. So far this year we have seen the strange sanctification of a thalidomide victim who died in childhood (Orla Nor Cleary in Nicola Barker’s dazzlingly manic In the Approaches), an avowedly atheist dentist lured to Israel by the leader of an underground sect (Joshua Ferris’s Man Booker-shortlisted To Rise Again at a Decent Hour), a high court judge, Fiona Maye, ruling on whether a hospital has the right to administer a life-saving blood transfusion to a teenage Jehovah’s Witness (Ian McEwan’s The Children Act) and, most recently, the voyage of a prim evangelical on a mission to outer space (Michel Faber’s Book of Strange New Things).

When you consider these alongside the large volume of books about Jesus published in the past few years – Colm Tóibín’s gory reimagining of the Gospels in The Testament of Mary, the enigmatic youth David from J M Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus, James Frey’s damaged Ben Zion in The Final Testament and Philip Pullman’s warring twins in The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ – you get a sense of bewildered fascination, of a sore that continues to itch.

[ click to read full article at NewStatesman ]

Posted on November 27, 2014 by Editor

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Frey On Kobo


The Many Sides of Endgame

5 Questions with author James Frey

James Frey (left) and Nils Johnson-Shelton

It all started with a simple goal: create an “experience.” After all is said and done however Endgame, the much anticipated new YA series by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, may be the most ambitious multimedia experiment ever attempted in publishing.

Based around the story of a global game between 12 ancient cultures that will decide the fate of humankind, Endgame holds an elaborate code—one that will direct readers towards a key hidden somewhere in the real world. That key will open a case containing $500,000 in gold.

To enhance the hunt, Google’s Niantic Labs has made an alternate reality game based on the plot. Two more books are coming. Fox is developing a movie concurrently, and around it all is a scavenger hunt base on cryptic numbers, coordinates, and other details hidden in the book.

We caught up with the one half of the writing team, James Frey, an author best known for his 2003 smash hit A Million Little Pieces (and subsequent), to talk about the multifaceted new project.

What prompted you to branch out from writing for adults to YA?

Basically I branched into YA because I have a short attention span and I was kind of bored. I wanted to get away from the preciousness of the literary world and do more collaborative work, and also make stories for a different audience. I also really enjoy genre fiction in general and YA in particular, so I thought, “Why not?” I’m glad I’ve done it. It’s been a ton of fun and a real education and at times humbling. Endgame specifically has allowed me to do all kinds of things that I never would have the opportunity to do if I stuck with literary books—I mean, would I ever get to pitch Google the idea of making a mobile video game for Bright Shiny Morning or The Final Testament of the Holy Bible? No, I would not.

What were some of the challenges of writing for the genre? 

A main challenge for Endgame has been getting everything to work together in the way I want it to. Not just the story but the puzzle, the legal aspects of the prize, the collaboration with Niantic and the Alternate Reality Game, coordination with Fox and Temple Hill, getting Caesars to sign up for displaying the gold at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the marketing, the promotion, the social media—all of it. As for the storytelling, my main challenge has been figuring out how to work with other writers. Working with Nils (my Endgame co-author) has been great, but there are still hiccups along the way. And I imagine there will be more as the Endgame world expands and gets bigger and bigger—but in the end these are all great problems to have.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on November 26, 2014 by Editor

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from Publishers Weekly

HarperCollins to Provide Content for JetBlue

HarperCollins Publishers has signed on as the exclusive book content partner for JetBlue’s new inflight wi-fi program, Fly-Fi, which provides content to airline passengers. Beginning November 26, the publisher will provide excerpts from a selection of bestselling titles, and each e-sample will include buy buttons to a variety of retailers.

Excerpted titles include Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean.

[ click to continue reading at PW ]

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Editor

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If Carlos Castaneda Were A Wideout

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Editor

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Marina Hantzis Rules


Sasha Grey: “I’d Accomplished All Of My Goals”

The former porn star talks new horizons, musical endeavours and owning her past.

It’s the era of the slashie.  Pop culture figures no longer specialise in just one thing. California’s Sasha Grey, AKA Marina Hantzis, may have found fame in the noughties’ world of adult entertainment (okay, as a porn star), but today she’s a model/actor/author/musician/producer and DJ. In 2013 Hantzis published The Juliette Society, an edgy alternative to EL James’ vanilla BDSM tome Fifty Shades Of Grey. Come December, the 26-year-old will hit Australia for her inaugural DJ tour here. And, in contrast to those ‘celebrity’ DJs, she’s playing credible underground venues.

Hailing from a broken home in blue-collar Sacramento, Hantzis initially worked as a bus-girl. But, being canny, pragmatic and almost defiantly cultured and intellectual, the teenager hatched an escape plan. A determined Hantzis headed to San Fernando Valley, Cali’s porn epicentre – and hustled. This original wrecking ball sensation made hardcore porn even more hardcore with her method acting. As such, Hantzis won 2008′s AVN (Adult Video News) “Female Performer Of The Year” Award.

Along the way, Hantzis crossed paths with controversial fashion photographer Terry Richardson – big on retro porn imagery – and she appears in a reprint of his coffee table book Terryworld. Today Hantzis is unsure what to make of ongoing allegations that Richardson sexually exploits young female models. “Years ago, when I was 18, I contacted him through his website,” Hantzis recalls candidly. “I had one of his assistants write me back and they said, ‘We’re working in LA, do you wanna shoot?’ He was super-chill – he’s very quiet, very reserved. That was the first time I shot with him, when I was 18 – and I’ve gone on to shoot with him four or five times since then. He’s very cool. [But] I’ve thought about these things myself. I guess it’s also true that everybody can see a different side of somebody, but all of my experiences have been nothing but positive.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on November 23, 2014 by Editor

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Kryptos Clue New

from The New York Times

Sculptor Offers Another Clue in 24-Year-Old Mystery at C.I.A.

Despite many attempts to decrypt it, the final section of the Kryptos sculpture remains unsolved.

The artist who created the enigmatic Kryptos, a puzzle-in-a-sculpture that has driven code breakers to distraction since it was installed 24 years ago in a courtyard at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., has decided that it is time for a new clue.

By 1999, nine years after it went up, Kryptos fans had deciphered three of the sculpture’s four messages — 865 letters punched through elegantly curved copper sheets that make up the most striking part of the work. (In fact, cryptographers at the National Security Agency cracked those messages in 1993, but kept the triumph to themselves.) The fourth and final passage, a mere 97 characters long, has thwarted thousands of followers ever since.

Jim Sanborn, the sculptor, having grown impatient with the progress of the fans and their incessant prodding for clues — and the misguided insistence by some that they had actually solved the puzzle — provided a six-letter clue to the puzzle in 2010. The 64th through 69th characters of the final panel, when deciphered, spelled out the word BERLIN.

Since then, the fans, many of whom keep up a lively online conversation, have come up empty-handed. And so Mr. Sanborn has decided to open the door a bit more with five additional letters, those in the 70th through 74th position.

They spell “clock.”

This means that the letters from positions 64 to 74 spell out two words: “Berlin clock.”

As it happens, there is a famous public timepiece known as the “Berlin clock,” a puzzle in itself that tells time through application of set theory. Its 24 lights count off the hours and minutes in rows and boxes, with hours in the top two rows and minutes in the two below.

When asked whether his new clue was a reference to this Berlin clock, Mr. Sanborn, sounding pleased, said, “There are several really interesting clocks in Berlin.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Editor

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A Boy And His Hog

from imgur via Reddit


[ click to view at imgur ]

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Editor

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“Writers who can remember freedom”

from parker higgins dot net

“We will need writers who can remember freedom”: Ursula K Le Guin at the National Book Awards

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 8.39.31 PM

Ursula K. Le Guin was honored at the National Book Awards tonight and gave a fantastic speech about the dangers to literature and how they can be stopped. As far as I know it’s not available online yet (update: the video is now online), so I’ve transcribed it from the livestream below. The parts in parentheses were ad-libbed directly to the audience, and the Neil thanked is Neil Gaiman, who presented her with the award.

Thank you Neil, and to the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks from the heart. My family, my agent, editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as mine, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice at accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction—writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.

[ click to continue reading Master Le Guin at ]

Posted on November 20, 2014 by Editor

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from The Independent

The first porn film made by drones is here and it is NSFW


Today in what a time to be alive, we present the first pornographic movie filmed by drones.

Without the sex Drone Boning would be a three-minute eerily beautiful compilation of landscapes. With the sex, it’s an eerily beautiful three-minute long compilation of landscapes featuring occasional nudity/penetration.

[ click to view at The Independent ]

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Editor

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“I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate.”

from Us Weekly

Sophia Loren Finally Explains That Infamous Side-Eye Photo With Jayne Mansfield’s Cleavage

By Esther Lee
Jayne Mansfield and Sophia Loren

Her proto-side-eye explained! Sophia Loren finally revealed to Entertainment Weekly in its latest issue what was going through her mind when she was photographed in 1957 giving side-eye to fellow sex symbol Jayne Mansfield.

“Paramount had organized a party for me,” Loren, now 80, recollected of the event, coincidentally held 57 years ago. “All of cinema was there, it was incredible,” she reminisced. The star-studded party was supposed to be an official welcoming for the Italian bombshell, who was still relatively new to Hollywood at the time, but Loren’s spotlight that evening was upstaged by the iconic, Marilyn Monroe-esque Mansfield.

“And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come,” Loren told EW about Mariska Hargitay‘s late mother. “For me, that was when it got amazing…. She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes?” (As evidenced in the infamous photo, the brunette beauty is seen cautiously staring over at Mansfield’s dangerously low-cut dress, which bares — and barely covers — her cleavage.)

“I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate,” Loren told the mag. “In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.”

[ click to continue reading at Us Weekly ]

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Editor

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Too Many Cooks In The Credits

from Adult Swim

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Editor

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Endgame of Thrones

from Stormlight Says….

Google’s Answer to Game of Thrones

ENDGAMEThe leaves have fallen from the trees and winter is on the way and here I sit at my computer with chills running down my spine.  Not from the cold but from the possibilities that one of Google’s latest announcements could have on the field of marketing and public relations.

Endgame: The Calling is a series of sci-fi novels being written by author James Frey and a project that he has challenged Google’s off-shoot company, Niantic Labs to help turn into a marketing juggernaut.  Their goal is to turn this story about 12 teenagers that compete from around the globe in a high-stakes competition; into the starting point for something amazing.  John Hanke, the head of Niantic Labs, goes on to explain:

Frey’s vision was to do this as a book and game and a movie all together, and to use social media as a way to extend the universe and make it a place where people could really live within the game universe.  He had this whole thing conceived of as a never-before-done experience across all these media.

To understand how they could accomplish this we have to look back a few years to Niantic Labs last project, Ingress.  Ingress was created as a real world battle between factions to control portals in cities across the globe.  People chose their faction, met their new community and worked together to go out into the real world to participate in a giant global game unlike any other before it.

[ click to continue reading at Stormlight Says…. ]

Posted on November 16, 2014 by Editor

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The Chair Man

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Editor

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Amazon Books .book

from Sky News

Amazon Wins Right To Sell .Book Domain Names

The online retailer pays up to $10m at a private auction for the right to control and sell domains ending in .book.

An Amazon distribution centre in ScotlandOne of the online retailer’s massive fulfilment centres

Amazon has won the right to sell domain names ending in .book after beating off competition from eight other companies including Google.

It is understood to have paid up to $10m (£6.3m) at a private auction, just days after shelling out $4.6m (£2.9m) for .buy – but it was beaten to the rights to .cloud by Italian company Aruba.

Other top-level domains settled in recent days include .dog, .live, .online, .tennis and .chat.

The two remaining domain name extensions due to be auctioned off by 19 November are .dot and .apartments.

The auctions are a result of a decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) – which governs domain names.

[ click to continue reading at Sky News ]

Posted on November 14, 2014 by Editor

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Pink Power Ranger Groupies Rejoice!

from People

Amy Jo Johnson Performs Street Concert in Pink Power Ranger Costume

One of the Power Rangers is taking to the streets to fight for underfunded indie movies everywhere.

Amy Jo Johnson, the Pink Power Ranger herself, delighted fans in Toronto Friday when she rocked the Canadian city in her character’s iconic outfit as a thank-you to fans who helped her fund her upcoming film The Space Between.

Johnson, who wrote, directed and stars in the film, asked fans for $75,000 to help bring her work to life. That amount was handily met, and there’s still just under two weeks left in the campaign. So Johnson performed a mini-concert in costume as a thank-you to fans, which apparently included a cameo from Batman, as documented on Johnson’s Instagram.

[ click to continue reading and support Amy’s film at ]

Posted on November 13, 2014 by Editor

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Weebles Wobble

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Editor

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Full Fathom Five Fiction Contest

from MediaBistro

Full Fathom Five Digital Hosts Fiction Writing Contest

By Maryann Yin

Full Fathom Five DigitalFull Fathom Five Digital, an eBook imprint headed by A Million Little Pieces author James Frey, is hosting a fiction contest. One grand prize winner will receive $10,000.

The judges intend to name four finalists; those participants will be offered a guaranteed publishing deal. Depending on the quality of the submissions, the organizers may present a publishing contract to non-finalists as well.

Only manuscripts that contain 50,000 words or more will be accepted; writers can turn in either original unpublished stories or self-published books. A deadline has been set for November 30, 2014. Follow this link to learn about all the rules.

[ click to read at ]

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Editor

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Video Games Are Good

from The San Jose Mercury News

Blasting away enemies in video games boosts brain’s learning

Blowing away enemy soldiers and aliens may be good for the brain, as researchers have found that fast-paced action video games improve a player’s learning ability.

People who play video games such as Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty” are better able to multitask, perform cognitive tasks such as rotating objects in their minds and focus and retain information better than non-players, said Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York. They also have better vision. The reason is the games help people learn, even those who aren’t regular players.

“People who play action video games get better much faster,” said Bavelier, who has a joint appointment at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. The skills are seemingly unrelated to each other and hard to practice, she said.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains the diverse benefits that stem from faster learning. The insights from the study may be used to improve education or to help people with strokes or other brain injuries.

Players were better able to predict what was coming next, even when they were asked to identify patterns that had nothing to do with the game. Non-gamers also improved after researchers assigned them to play a game like “Call of Duty” for as long as two hours a day, five times a week for two months. The benefits lasted as long as a year.

[ click to continue reading at SJ Merc ]

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Editor

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from thump

Pasquale Rotella: “When People Read My Book About SFX It Will Blow Their Minds”

By Aron Friedman

You could say that Pasquale Rotella is America’s answer to ID&T founder Duncan Stutterheim. In 1992, the same year that Duncan threw his first party in Zaandam, Netherlands, Pasquale organized his first illegal rave in Los Angeles. Just like ID&T, Rotella’s Insomniac Events has grown into a dance empire in the last twenty years, organizing events for hundreds of thousands of people.

Yet there’s an important difference between the two: ID&T is now part of SFX, and Insomniac is part of Live Nation – two competing music giants, both intent on world domination in the dance scene. During Amsterdam Dance Event a few weeks ago, we talked to Rotella about his role in LA’s rave scene, his plans to bring Electric Daisy Carnival to Europe, and his book that will come out in May.

THUMP: When did you start organizing events in LA?
Pasquale Rotella
: There was already a lively underground warehouse scene in LA in the late 80s. But when the riots happened in 1992, the police started shutting down all the illegal parties. Most of the promoters that remained were really shady. Sometimes they’d print flyers for fake parties, where you had to drive two hours to get there, only to find out that there was no party. The only parties that were still going were a few grisly afterparties where drugs like crystal meth entered the scene.

It had lost its shine. I missed the vibe of the old raves. But then I went to England and got really inspired. When I came back to LA, I threw my very first rave. My second rave, Insomniac, was exactly how I had pictured it. It was an illegal rave in a warehouse on the infamous Crenshaw Blvd. That was known as a really bad neighborhood, but the party was amazing. I decided to turn Insomniac into a weekly event, and after that it really took off. At first we’d have about 300 people there, but that quickly grew to 12,000 every week.

[ click to continue reading at thump ]

Posted on November 9, 2014 by Editor

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Sam Jaeger To Lumen

from Deadline Hollywood

Sam Jaeger To Star In TNT Pilot ‘Lumen’

As Parenthood is wrapping its six-season run on NBC, original cast member Sam Jaeger is segueing to a new drama project. He has been tapped for a lead role in the TNT drama pilot Lumen, written by Chris Black and directed by Joe Johnson.

In Lumen, the famous author of a best-selling series of fantasy books suddenly disappears, and a family of four finds themselves transported to the mystical alternate world that inspired her work. Jaeger will play Michael Hartman, the stepfather of 16-year-old Charlie whose obsession with finding the author thrusts his family into the surreal world of Lumen.

Lumen hails from TNT Original Productions, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, Full Fathom Five and ABC Signature Studios, with Johnson, Black, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey as well as Full Fathom Five’s James Frey and Todd Cohen exec producing. Filming begins January 12 in New Zealand.

[ click to read full article at Deadline Hollywood ]

Posted on November 8, 2014 by Editor

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American Gothic

from Variety

CBS Sets ‘American Gothic’ Drama From Amblin TV, ‘Good Wife’ Alum

/ @shellidw

CBS is developing a family sudser with Amblin TV and former “Good Wife” scribe Corinne Brinkerhoff.

Brinkerhoff is set to write the script and exec produce, as part of her overall deal with CBS Television Studios. Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and Full Fathom Five’s James Frey and Todd Cohen are set as exec producers.

Not to be confused with the Eye’s 1995 series of the same name, “American Gothic” follows a prominent Boston family, struggling to redefine itself after a chilling discovery implicates their recently deceased patriarch in a series of murders spanning decades, all while under the mounting suspicion that one of them may have been his accomplice.

[ click to continue reading at Variety ]

Posted on November 7, 2014 by Editor

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I Spy With My Default Eye

from Gizmodo

A Creepy Website Is Streaming From 73,000 Private Security Cameras

by Sarah Zhang

It shouldn’t be so easy to peer into a stranger’s bedroom, much less hundreds of strangers’ bedrooms. But a website has collected the streaming footage from over 73,000 IP cameras whose owners haven’t changed their default passwords. Is this about highlighting an important security problem, or profiting off creepy voyeurism—or both?

Insecam claims to feature feeds from IP cameras all over the world, including 11,000 in the U.S. alone. A quick browse will pull up parking lots and stores but also living rooms and bedrooms. “This site has been designed in order to show the importance of the security settings,” the site’s about page says. But it’s also clearly running and profiting off ads.

[ click to continue reading at Gizmodo ]

Posted on November 6, 2014 by Editor

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Susan Sollins (Art21) Gone

from The New York Times

Susan Sollins, a Creator of PBS’s ‘Art21’ Series, Dies at 75

Susan Sollins, an art curator who took avant-garde exhibitions to small communities across the country and produced an award-winning PBS television series aimed at demystifying and popularizing contemporary art, died on Oct. 13 at her home in Rye, N.Y. She was 75.

Ms. Sollins first came to public attention in the 1970s as a founder of Independent Curators Incorporated, a small nonprofit organization that produced traveling art exhibitions — “a museum without walls,” as she called it — featuring both renowned and emerging contemporary artists.

She and her co-founder, Nina Castelli Sundell, who died in August, curated or coordinated hundreds of exhibitions over the next two decades, introducing new ideas and revisiting old ones — Pop Art, Conceptualism, Deconstructivism — for audiences in small cities and university towns throughout the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

The project for which Ms. Sollins is best known is “Art21,” or  “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” a four-part series about contemporary art and artists that PBS generally broadcasts every two years. Now in its seventh season, “Art21” presents artists discussing themselves and their work in an unmediated way. Ms. Sollins conducted the interviews from behind the camera but was never heard in the finished documentaries.

She and a partner, Susan Dowling-Griffiths, began working on the project in 1997. It was first broadcast in September 2001.

[ click to read full obit at ]

Posted on November 5, 2014 by Editor

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Is it real pork?

from E!

This Is How McDonald’s Actually Makes Its Infamous McRib Sandwiches

by Jenna Mullins

If there is one thing we know about people who eat fast food, it’s that they like to know exactly how that pile of delicious hot garbage is made.

Actually, no. That’s not correct. We do not want to see how Taco Bell puts Flamin’ Hot Fritos into their burritos; all we care about is the fact that they are there at all.

But McDonald’s has this whole new video series that teaches its customers all about how the food is made. Mostly it’s just a big initiative to prove NO PINK SLIME HERE. The company recently showed the step-by-step process that goes into making a hamburger patty, but the newest video is truly something special.

It’s the origin story of the McRib sandwich. It’s like Batman Begins, but starring the fast food item that sort of looks like a rack of ribs in BBQ sauce but tastes like pudding?

[ click to continue reading at E! ]

Posted on November 4, 2014 by Editor

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Why CFC Aerosols Were Banned

Posted on November 3, 2014 by Editor

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Robot Robot

from DNAinfo New York

City Worker Gets 20-Day Suspension for Using Robot Voice to Answer Phone

By James Fanelli

 Ronald Dillon, a longtime city Health Department employee, was suspended for 20 days without pay after he repeatedly answered customer service calls in a robot voice, according to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.Thinkstock

NEW YORK CITY — A longtime city Health Department worker was suspended 20 days without pay for answering customer-service calls in a robot voice.

Ronald Dillon, a computer specialist for the agency’s IT help desk who assists co-workers and the public with tech-related problems, repeatedly channeled his inner Siri by talking in a “deliberately robotic fashion” when he fielded calls — despite his boss telling him to stop, according to an Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings decision.

Representatives for the Health Department said during a disciplinary hearing before Administrative Law Judge Kara Miller that Dillon talked in the phony voice on at least five occasions between February and April 2013.

Miller’s decision says that during the hearing the Health Department played a recording of Dillon speaking to a customer in a “slow, monotone and over-enunciated manner” and saying, “You have reached the Help Desk. This is Mr. Dillon. How may I help you?”

His droid imitation was apparently good enough to fool callers.

One confused customer who spoke to Dillon later called back and told another Health Department worker that she thought “there was a new automated answering system and had hung up when she heard ‘the robot’ answer the phone because she needed to speak to a human about her issues,” the decision says.

[ click to continue reading at DNAinfo ]

Posted on November 2, 2014 by Editor

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Endgame Straits

from The New Straits Times

Endgame by James FreyEnd game in mind

By Stuart Danker

The latest book from James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton will keep readers busy deciphering the codes within, writes Stuart Danker

ENDGAME: The Calling is the latest novel by authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton. The duo have numerous bestselling titles between them, namely A Million Little Pieces and I Am Number Four (Frey), and the Full Fathom Five series (Johnson-Shelton).

I recently had the opportunity to interview Frey in conjunction with the launch of his book. “Yeah, there are writers who tend to procrastinate. I do it sometimes. But to get going again, I just keep reminding myself that writing is also a job, and I have to work like everyone else,” he tells me.

He works on the premise that a few pages a day is all he needs to be happy with, and it is a pretty effective method, seeing as how he’s just put another book on the shelves.

For someone whose works have been adapted to visual media, Frey confides that he doesn’t always write with the intention of having his books translated for the silver screen. “The book is always the most important thing. I’ll never know if something will get made, so you have to assume the book will live only as a book.”

Endgame: The Calling takes readers on a journey through myriad cultures and places. Suffice to say, it would have entailed a huge amount of research to get things right. Frey credits the web as his source of research, saying that writing this book would not have been possible without the use of the Internet. As someone who combines more modern forms of media and marketing with traditional print, Frey definitely knows how to utilise the Internet to its maximum potential.

[ click to continue reading at New Straits Times ]

Posted on November 1, 2014 by Editor

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