Entertainment Weekly has the scoop. Nice tutu.
We all know the traditional, navigator-friendly Mercator projection distorts the true sizes of Earth's landmasses. But it's fascinating to see how countries look next to one another when that distortion is, as far as possible, removed. The tininess of Britain against Japan, for example, or the vastness of Alaska against France, become specific in this video from RealLifeLore. As for Greenland... Read the rest
"How can you tell?" Read the rest
Travelers mishearing applause apparently triggered a full-scale "stampede" at JFK, complete with screaming crowds, people shouting about guns, and police running around aimlessly with weapons drawn. It was shut down for hours.
The fact that there was no attack at the center of it was both the weirdest and the scariest part — that an institution whose size and location and budget should make it a fortress, in a country that has spent 15 years focused compulsively on securing its airports, in a city with a terrifyingly competent anti-terror police unit, could be transformed into a scene of utter bedlam, stretching out from all eight terminals across the tarmac and onto the adjacent highways, by the whisper of a threat. ...
For several hours, we were in the flood of panic and chaos of an ongoing act of terror. There’s no other way to describe it. That it was an overreaction almost doesn’t matter; in fact, that is how terrorism works.
Hysterical fear was always the invisible counterweight to security theater. Each is as real as the other. Read the rest
A moody, beautiful vignette honoring the landscape around Sitka, Alaska. Read the rest
In interstellar terms, it couldn't be closer: an Earth-like world orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest sun to our own. Moreover, it's in the system's habitable zone, raising the possibility of liquid water and the conditions to sustain life. But don't get too excited...
Although media reports say the rumored planet orbits in a region that’s potentially favorable for life, these smaller stars are less stable, and Proxima Centauri is known to have violent flares at times. Its occasional tantrums have made astronomers skeptical of finding life around red dwarf stars in the past.
However, skepticism has softened some in recent years, and SETI recently launched a major initiative to search for life around 20,000 red dwarfs, as these stars are the most common in the Milky Way galaxy.
One of the most popular locations in science fiction, a habitable world at Proxima Centauri (or, rather, a generation ship headed for it) was most recently tackled in Ascension.
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The hit CG-animated movie opened to a strong $33m box office this weekend, but claims emerged that costs were kept low by firing people who refused to work without pay and that many animators were omitted from the film's credits in retaliation for leaving.
The production cost were kept low because Greg would demand people work overtime for free. If you wouldn't work late for free your work would be assigned to someone who would stay late or come in on the weekend. Some artist were even threatened with termination for not staying late to hit a deadline.
The animation department signed a petition for better treatment and paid overtime. When the letter got to Annapurna they stepped in and saw that artist were payed and fed when overtime was needed.
Over 30 animators left during the coarse of the production due to the stress and expectations. Most of them left before the paid overtime was implemented. This was met with animosity and was taken as a personal insult to the owners. Their names were omitted from the final credits despite working for over a year on this film.
No names are named (though the discrepancy between the VFX staff listed at IMDB and those on the movie itself is unusual) but this is a pervasive problem in animation. Sausage Fest is getting good reviews, so stands a reasonable chance of being a reputation-maker for many of those who can prove, one way or another, that they had a hand in it. Read the rest
Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, received $12.7m in secret cash payments as a consultant for Ukraine's ruling political party, according to a ledger seen by the New York Times.
And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
Trump, himself a millionaire, has been vocally and some say oddly solicitous toward Russia and its strongman leader, Vladimir Putin. Manafort is plainly denying the NYT's report, or at least the part of it where he pockets $12.7m. With his ties to one of Putin's stickier tentacles exposed, though, rival candidate Hillary Clinton is becoming more forceful about demanding answers.
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Donald Trump's campaign team must disclose all pro-Russia links, Hillary Clinton's manager has said, following new allegations in the New York Times. ... It said Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau had discovered the listed payments in the ledgers of Mr Yanukovych's then governing Party of the Regions - allegedly part of "an illegal off-the-books system".
Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.
A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.
Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]
Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.
AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.
Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest