How Savage Steve Holland Changed Teen Movies Forever With “Better Off Dead”
A childhood birthday party with a drunk clown changed the course of cinematic history
BY GARIN PIRNIA
On August 23, 1985, Warner Bros. distributed the dark teen comedy Better Off Dead, written and directed by first-time feature director Savage Steve Holland. It starred John Cusack as lovesick Northern California teen Lane Meyer, whose girlfriend, Beth (played by Nightmare on Elm Street’s Amanda Wyss), breaks up with him. He’s so heartbroken about her dating the ski jock Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier) that Lane repeatedly attempts — and fails — to commit suicide. It was a comedy based on Holland’s own life, and inspired by another dark comedy, 1971’s Harold and Maude.
“When I was 11 years old, I had this birthday party and nobody came to it except for this drunk clown,” Holland tells InsideHook. At California Institute of the Arts, where he attended college, he says people wondered why he was always so sad. “I pinned it on that birthday party,” he says. “That was a first-world problem — I had a shitty birthday party and I was depressed about it. I made it into a movie thinking, ‘What a sad story.’” A film-fest audience viewed his short film, My 11-Year-Old Birthday Party, as a comedy. “People thought it was so pathetic and sad that they were laughing their heads off. That’s how I started my career. I dug into things that sucked in my life, and the girlfriend thing that happened to me was the biggest suck of all.” Though almost every time Lane attempts suicide he reconsiders, Holland thinks the movie couldn’t be made today. “It was dark, but I was trying to find a way out that wasn’t so depressing,” he says. “And Cusack actually helped a lot. He felt the same way about it. You don’t want Lane to be such a loser. He has to go, ‘I have something to live for.’ As long as the jokes played off in the end and you laughed at his attempts, I think we were okay.”
Inside Hollywood’s Long, Strange History of Movie Nudity
by Nick Schager
Though I might like to claim otherwise, I’m no expert on big-screen T&A&D. Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, however, makes a bid for being the definitive documentary on the subject. Driven by a cornucopia of film clip and talking heads—led by actors, directors, historians and critics—it delivers a thorough chronological timeline of cinematic nakedness. Too bad, then, that when it comes to actually delving into the most interesting aspects of its topic, Danny Wolf’s non-fiction film proves, ahem, skin-deep.
Debuting on VOD on August 18, Skin is most valuable as a survey of movie nudity, ranging from the seminal 1887 work of Eadweard Muybridge to the mainstream BDSM fantasies of 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, with just about every other notable example in-between at least briefly mentioned. That means that whatever film first aroused you likely appears in Wolf’s doc, be it silent film star Audrey Munson’s Inspiration (1915), Mae West’s sexual innuendo-laced 1930s output, Cecille B. DeMille’s The Sign of the Cross (1932), Jayne Mansfield’s Promises! Promises! (1963), Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966), Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971), Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972), Tinto Brass’ Caligula (1979), Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992), or Paul Weitz’s American Pie (1999). For every generation, an iconic unclothed moment is vividly revisited here.
The First Clock In America Failed, And It Helped Revolutionize Physics
by Ethan Siegel, Senior Contributor
For nearly three full centuries, the most accurate way that humanity kept track of time was through the pendulum clock. From its initial development in the 17th century until the invention of quartz timepieces in the 1920s, pendulum clocks became staples of household life, enabling people to organize their schedules according to a universally agreed upon standard. Initially invented in the Netherlands by Christian Huygens all the way back in 1656, their early designs were quickly refined to greatly increase their precision.
But when the first pendulum clock was brought to the Americas, something bizarre happened. The clock, which had worked perfectly well at keeping accurate time in Europe, could be synchronized with known astronomical phenomena, like sunset/sunrise and moonset/moonrise. But after only a week or two in the Americas, it was clear that the clock wasn’t keeping time properly. The first clock in America was a complete failure, but that’s only the beginning of a story that would revolutionize our understanding of the physics of planet Earth.
A Tesla Electric Plane? Elon Musk Hints It’s Not Far Away
By Sissi Cao
Elon Musk once said that one day, “all transportation will be electric, except for rockets.” Yes, that even includes airplanes, which have long been on his list of things to electrify.
The Tesla CEO first floated the idea in an interview in September 2018. The plane he envisioned was a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle capable of flying at supersonic speeds at high altitudes.
The idea has largely remained a far-fetched dream because in order for Musk’s design to work, the plane would require a battery with an energy density higher than 400 Wh/kg. Tesla’s newest batteries, Panasonic’s “2170” batteries used in Model 3 cars, can only achieve an energy density of around 260Wh/kg.
But Tesla is working to increase that capacity at unprecedented speed right now. In a new exchange with ARK Investment analyst Sam Korus on Twitter, Musk said Tesla may be able to achieve volume production of 400wh/kg batteries in just three to four years.
Elon Musk to unveil Neuralink progress with real-time neuron demonstration this week
by Dacia J. Ferris
Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, has an event scheduled for later this week to update the public on its progress since last year’s presentation. While the agenda is speculative for the most part, one expectation is a live demonstration of neuron activity.
“Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix,” Musk tweeted at the end of July.
He also revealed a few other clues about the early fall announcement at the beginning of the year. “Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*,” he wrote in February. “The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans & has severe drawbacks.”
As its name implies, the roles of neuron activities are very important to Neuralink’s technology. The venture’s long-term goal of obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) begins by connecting electrodes throughout the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse. Gathering huge amounts of data from the signals gradually teaches Neuralink’s software how they are used by the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, ultimately leading to a certain amount of replication and direction. The possibilities of such a capability seem endless.
A Knife Brand Brilliantly Used Rust to Create an Outdoor Ad Highlighting Its Durability
The corrosion of the outdoor ad is made to contrast with the product in the center
BY PATRICK KULP
Austrian manufacturer Tyrolit may have confused some people on the streets of Vienna when it first posted a blank sheet of metal bearing only a small brand name as a billboard.
But over the course of the next few weeks, the display would gradually rust to reveal the silver silhouette of a knife at the center and the tagline “Flawless Forever,” sealed behind a protective layer amid an expanse of reddish brown corrosion.
The clever use of media, which was orchestrated in collaboration with agency Heimat’s office in Wien, Austria, is designed to demonstrate the durability of the Swarovski Group-owned brand’s Iceline line of cutlery.
How UFO culture took over America
Aliens are calling me, but first I have to buy Lunchables. Soon, I’ll be heading into the Nevada desert. I will not be alone. It is pre-pandemic September, and tens of thousands of seekers are reported to be descending on Hiko and Rachel, two no-stoplight towns 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The two map specks are the closest civilian outposts to Area 51, a highly guarded military installation where, legend says, a hangar holds a gravity-propelled craft that travels between galaxies and through wormholes based on technology acquired from aliens and, according to one rock star, Nazi scientists who escaped to Argentina.
Tourists will be able to visit hotels in space within a few years, expert claims
A scientific author says wealthy tourists will be able to visit space hotels by the end of the decade – before humans return to the moon. Commercial space hotels are likely to be the “next big step”
ByJames Bickerton & Unzela Khan
Tourists will be able to enjoy a holiday in space in hotels in just a few years according to an expert.
Author Christopher Wanjek made the claim and said humans will be able to visit within this decade.
The writer of ‘Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond’ also added wealthy tourists can visit the hotels before humans establish a permanent base on the Moon.
Once this deadline is met, NASA aims to launch crewed missions to March in 2030s, reports the Express.
If NASA Couldn’t See The Asteroid That Just Whizzed By Us, What Else Can’t They See?
Did you know that an asteroid just flew by our planet at an extremely close distance? The good news is that it was only about the size of a car, but the bad news is that NASA had absolutely no idea that it was coming. In fact, NASA only discovered it about six hours after it had passed us. If NASA could not see that asteroid coming straight at us, what else is heading toward us that they cannot see? It has been estimated that “about 17,000 big near-Earth asteroids remain undetected”, but the truth is that we don’t really know how many giant space rocks are floating around out there. Of course scientists all around the world are doing their best to catalog new potential threats all the time, but what most people don’t realize is that this is an area where our technology is still very limited.
Meet the super-rich ‘biohackers’ turning into cyborgs with in-built armour and injecting teenagers’ BLOOD to stay young
by Alison Maloney
WOULD you like to live forever?
From daily sessions in sub-zero cryo-chambers to stem cell injection and transfusions of teenagers’ BLOOD, their bizarre attempts to become superhuman have fuelled a multi-million dollar industry.
It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but there’s a growing band of Silicon Valley billionaires who believe they can achieve eternal life through “biohacking” – the process of making alterations to your body to keep it younger.
Netflix’s new drama Biohackers, released on Thursday, (Aug 20) seizes on the terrifying trend by imagining a secretive lab where a young student, played by Luna Wedler, discovers a sinister experiment using the techniques on an entire town.
Here we meet the real Silicon Valley biohackers – the men who want to be immortal.
Scorching temperature in US’s Death Valley could be global high
by Issam AHMED
A temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) recorded in California’s Death Valley on Sunday by the US National Weather Service could be the hottest ever measured with modern instruments, officials say.
The reading was registered at 3:41 pm at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in the Death Valley national park by an automated observation system — an electronic thermometer encased inside a box in the shade.
In 1913, a weather station half an hour’s walk away recorded what officially remains the world record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius).
But its validity has been disputed for a number of reasons: regional weather stations at the time didn’t report an exceptional heatwave, and there were questions around the researcher’s competence.
Colombian fast food chain bets on automated restaurants
By MANUEL RUEDA
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian fast food chain is planning to turn its branches into automated restaurants at a moment when the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the food service industry worldwide.
MUY has more than 30 restaurants in Bogota, and four in Mexico City. Earlier this month, it opened its first “contactless store” in a commercial district of Bogota, where many restaurants have been forced to shut down because of a ban on sit-down dining.
The automat’s main lobby is lined with colorful touch screens on which customers order their food. Another screen tells people when their order is ready and directs them to small cubicles where they can pick up their hot meals in bags. Machines take payments in cash or credit cards.
Business Booming At Local Pizzerias Even As Cheese, Pepperoni Harder To Come By
By CBSLA Staff
PASADENA (CBSLA) — In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and coins, but now some pizza places are reporting a shortage of pepperoni and higher prices for cheese.
“The price has gone up,” David Valian, owner of Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza, said. “I think since there’s like a meat shortage going around.”
The thin slice of meat — a mix of pork and beef — is the number one pizza topping according to an industry resource, and its one that the popular Pasadena joint has run into issues keeping in stock.
“A couple of weeks ago, we were having some trouble sourcing pepperoni,” Valian said. “We always have to go back and try to find more.”
What the Paranoid ’70s Thrillers of Alan J. Pakula Can Teach Us About 2020
Revisiting the American director’s “Klute,” “All the President’s Men” and “The Parallax View”
Early in The Parallax View, reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) chases after clues to a string of mysterious deaths in a remote fishing town. The locals don’t take kindly to the outsider asking questions, but the friendly sheriff intervenes and offers to take Frady to the spot where one of the victims drowned. Even though it looks like Joe’s relieved for a break in his story, he’s still on guard, nervously surveying the way people are looking at him and doubting the sheriff’s assuring grin. Something’s not right. When the sheriff takes Joe to the river, he pulls a gun, and it’s up to Joe to figure a way out of a conspiracy into which he’s suddenly thrust.
That heightened sense that no one can be trusted and that there are greater invisible forces at work help give Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoia trilogy” of the 1970s its moniker. Starting with Klute in 1971, followed by The Parallax Viewin 1974, and ending with All the President’s Men in 1976, Pakula’s films paint a bleak picture of a nation united in chaos. These movies reacted to the tumult ushered in by the Watergate scandal. The Pentagon Papers had revealed a number of ugly truths about the Vietnam War and exposed the existence of COINTELPRO, an illegal FBI surveillance program that intended to destabilize leftist political groups. One of Pakula’s films reckons with the ordeal explicitly: in All the President’s Men, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) piece together the full story behind the Watergate breakin. The other two are more subtle in their approach. In Klute, sex worker Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) quickly learns that she can’t rely on police protection to rid her of a dangerous stalker.
Coronavirus Lockdowns Usher In the New Roaring ’20s
An underground social economy is growing to escape state prohibitions.
By Allysia Finley
States with strict coronavirus lockdowns seem to be reliving the Roaring ’20s. Alcohol is legal in the 21st century’s version of Prohibition, but with restaurants, bars and other social spaces shut down, governors in California, New Jersey and New York are struggling to crack down on illicit summer soirees and speakeasies.
As in the 1920s, driving gatherings underground has encouraged other illicit behavior, including violence. Last week police busted up a party at a Santa Monica, Calif., mansion with hundreds of revelers….
The mathematics of mind-time
The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures
have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfils.
But in physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists? For example, Isaac Newton explained the physical world in terms of massive bodies that respond to forces. However, with the advent of quantum physics, the real question turned out to be the very nature and meaning of the measurements upon which the notions of mass and force depend – a question that’s still debated today.
As a consequence, I’m compelled to treat consciousness as a process to be understood, not as a thing to be defined. Simply put, my argument is that consciousness is nothing more and nothing less than a natural process such as evolution or the weather. My favourite trick to illustrate the notion of consciousness as a process is to replace the word ‘consciousness’ with ‘evolution’ – and see if the question still makes sense. For example, the question What is consciousness for? becomes What is evolution for?Scientifically speaking, of course, we know that evolution is not for anything. It doesn’t perform a function or have reasons for doing what it does – it’s an unfolding process that can be understood only on its own terms. Since we are all the product of evolution, the same would seem to hold for consciousness and the self.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft discovers a hidden ocean under Ceres’ icy shell
Bright spots on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, point to an underground ocean that remains active today.
by Jackson Ryan
In the asteroid belt, an immense region of space between Mars and Jupiter, millions of rocky bodies serenely move around the sun in a timeless cosmic dance. Queen among the dancers is Ceres, the belt’s largest object and a “fossil” from the early days of the solar system. In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn spacecraft to the belt to study Ceres up close. After surveying the dwarf planet, tracing its blemishes and examining its sullen features, scientists reasoned it was once home to a global ocean that had frozen over.
On Monday, a suite of seven studies in the journal Nature scrutinize extended mission data from Dawn, peering at Ceres’ dull, lifeless shell and finding definitive evidence that it is an ocean world.
“The new results confirm the presence of liquid inside Ceres,” says Julie Castillo-Rogez, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory (JPL) and co-author across six new studies. The discovery of liquids hints that Ceres, the closest dwarf planet to Earth, may have been a habitable world and raises the possibility that these types of worlds may harbor life.
Porn video interrupts US court hearing for accused Twitter hacker
Miami (AFP) – A court hearing held via Zoom for a US teenager accused of masterminding a stunning hack of Twitter was interrupted Wednesday with rap music and porn, a newspaper reported.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss reducing bail terms set for the 17 year old Tampa resident arrested last Friday over the hack last month of the accounts of major US celebrities.
But the interruptions with music, shrieking and pornography became so frequent that Judge Christopher Nash ended up suspending it for a while, the Tampa Bay Times said.
Investigators view the youth — AFP has chosen not to release his name because he is a minor — as the brains behind the mid-July cyberattack that rocked Twitter.
These People Believe Death Is Only Temporary
Transhumanists believe in a future of human immortality. A community in Russia is working to make it happen.
BY DANIEL STONE
In a small, white warehouse two hours north of Moscow are 56 dead people who hope to live again. Their bodies are upside down, their blood fully drained from their arteries, as they wait, immersed in negative 196-degree Celsius liquid nitrogen for the next 100 years.
What they’re waiting for is a new life, or a continuation of the one they already lived. Many of the bodies belong to people who reached the end of their life naturally, usually at an advanced age. They made the decision to be cryopreserved before they died, or in some cases, their family signed the paperwork post-mortem and paid the $36,000 to freeze their loved one’s body (or $18,000 for just their head) for the standard term of a century—which can perhaps be extended, to be determined, based on where science leaves us in the 22nd century.