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A TED talk about what's wrong with TED talks: "Middlebrow megachurch infotainment"

Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, explains what's wrong with TED—at a TEDx event in San Diego. "My talk is about TED: what it is, and why it doesn't work." [via Gawker]

Creepypasta, the new keystroke in horror

Clipboard-sized, unsettling, endlessly mutating pseudolore with dark and scary themes. Creepypasta is going mainstream. [Aoen Magazine] Rob 7

Michael Bay walks out of Samsung press conference

"Michael Bay just walked on stage, flubbed his lines, and walked off at a Samsung CES press conference," reports Gizmodo's Leslie Horn. "It was weird."

MICHAEL: How is everyone today? My job as a director is I get to dream for a living.

HOST: Michael, you're known for such unbelievable action. What inspires you? How do you come up with these unbelievable ideas?

MICHAEL: I create visual worlds that are so beyond everyone's normal life experiences, and Hollywood is a place that creates a pure escape. And what I try to do, as a director... uhhhh ... argh! The type is all off. Sorry, but I'll just wing this.

HOST: Tell us what you think.

MICHAEL: Yeah. We'll wing it right now. I try to take people on an emotional ride and, um.

HOST: The Curve [TV]. How do you think it's going to impact how viewers experience your movies?

MICHAEL: Excuse me, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. *flees*

HOST: Ladies and gentlemen, let's thank Michael Bay for joining us!

AUDIENCE: *applauds*

If you listen hard enough, you can hear the Adobe DRM server creaking under the weight of everyone firing up After Effects to add massive explosions into the above video.

UPDATE: Aaaand done. By John Herrman.

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North Carolina councilman resigns in Klingon

Ships 08

Councilman David Waddell of Indian Trail, North Carolina resigned from his position with a letter written in Klingon. According to Reuters, he wrote in Klingon "because the fierce-looking science fiction characters valued integrity, honor and duty." Waddell is now planning to run for US Congress. Indian Trail mayor Michael Alvarez responded perfectly, saying "Live long and prosper!" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

Breaking Bad contest winner busted for drugs

140102100431 ryan lee carroll arrest breaking bad story top In September, Ryan Lee Carroll won a national contest to watch the Breaking Bad finale with the cast of the show. On Tuesday, Carroll, 28, was arrested on drug charges when police raided his Fort Myers, Florida home. According to CNN, Caroll "was reportedly taken into custody on felony charges of alleged possession of synthetic narcotics and a misdemeanor charge of allegedly keeping a shop or vehicle for dangerous drugs." Hopefully he had Saul McGill's number on him.

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video, RIP

Vraney2

Swv front page graphic 1k wide

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video, has died of lung cancer. He was 56. For decades, Something Weird has been the preeminent source of cult psychotronic and exploitation films that would have vanished into the dustbin of underground culture were it not for Vraney's tireless efforts. Our thoughts go out to Mike's wife, artist Lisa Petrucci, their family, co-workers, and friends. Below, watch a 2007 television profile of Vraney and Something Weird. Here's the obituary at Daily Grindhouse, copied from the Something Weird page on Facebook:

"In Memory of 'Something Weird' Founder Mike Vraney (1957-2014)" (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson)

Dan Harmon is back, and so is the soul of Community! (season 5, eps. 1-2 recap)

“Repilot” and “Introduction To Teaching”

I’m at a loss on how to properly describe something like the fifth season of Community. It shouldn’t exist. It makes no sense that it exists, especially with original creator Dan Harmon, a singularly gifted showrunner who is at the same time cursed to be a hellish guy to work with despite frighteningly astute comedic instincts.

When Chuck Klosterman reviewed Guns N’ Roses’ mythic Chinese Democracy, he said that writing about the long-in-progress album was “not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn.” That’s how I feel about the episodes NBC sent out to critics for this fifth season. And not just about the fact that I have now seen three new episodes with my eyes—but the fact that Dan Harmon’s epic odyssey of getting fired by NBC following the show’s third season, then taking his podcast Harmontown on a barnstorming national tour while a listless fourth season aired, has ended in his miraculous and unprecedented return to the helm. Community is an improbably beautiful, lovable cockroach—like Wall-E’s little friend on Earth—that just refuses to die. And we’re better for it, because having Dan Harmon back means Community has regained its soul.

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Futurama: all the characters, illustrated

Futuramaaaa

Above is the cast of Futurama, as illustrated by an artist named Unrellius. See it larger over at deviantART. "The Cast of Futurama"

Bigot Fired

Technically, A&E merely "suspended indefinitely" Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, following his remarks about gay people. But they know there'll be hell to pay should he be permitted to return.

Interesting, mind you, that they're more afraid of progressive-led criticism than the backlash they're going to get now instead from the bigot community. Progress! Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd:

The network issued the following statement to EW: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

This is where some Christian conservatives do that thing where the First Amendment is held to guarantee Freedom of Reality Show, isn't it?

P.S. This reminds me that Ender's Game really did end up bombing hard despite the promising opening weekend. Data points!

"Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" trailer

Those damned dirty apes return to theaters July 11, 2014.

Shia LaBeouf plagiarizes apology for plagiarizing Daniel Clowes comic

On Twitter, Shia LaBeouf apologized for "failing to credit" Daniel Clowes and his comic "Justin M. Damiano" as the "inspiration" for LaBeouf's short film "HowardCantour.com." However, it appears that the apology was "inspired" by a four-year-old response to a Yahoo! Answers question about the quote often attributed to Picasso that "good artists copy but great artists steal."

(via BuzzFeed)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to adapt Neil Gaiman's Sandman

Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced via Twitter that he will adapt Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novel (recently reprinted in a leatherbound, two-volume omnibus edition) for feature film. Tor.com reports that he will also star in the film. This is very promising news indeed!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Direct and Star in Sandman Movie

The Desolation of Tolkien

Ethan Gilsdorf reviews The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, where we see more clearly Jackson’s vision to give The Hobbit the look, feel and slow majesty of The Lord of the Rings.

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Chinatown, the new video from Starcadian [EXCLUSIVE]

Los Angeles. The Future. 1995.

A string of disappearances throughout the underground night club circuit has driven law enforcement to initiate a manhunt for the elusive figure they call Starcadian.

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Inspiration for Kelly McGillis's Top Gun character now Pentagon #2

Christine fox

Christine Fox, the former mathematician at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar who inspired Kelly McGillis's character in Top Gun, has become the first female Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two role at the Pentagon. Fox will serve in an "acting capacity" until a permanent person is confirmed for the job by the Senate. (CNN)