Fed whistleblower secretly recorded 46 hours of regulatory capture inside Goldman Sachs

Carmen Segarra is a former FTC regulator who joined the fed after the financial crisis to help rescue the banking system -- but she was so shocked by the naked regulatory capture on display that she ended up buying a covert recorder from a "spy shop" and used it to secretly record her colleagues letting Goldman Sachs get away with pretty much anything it wanted to do.

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Saturday morning TV cartoon schedules from the 1980s


If you spent the 80s eating sugarbombs and watching badly animated 22-minute toy ads disguised as cartoons, here is your Proustian madeline.

(Today is the last day that Saturday morning cartoons aired on US broadcast TV).

(via @foxxyhooves)

John Oliver vs Miss America

It's 15 minutes that combines real investigative journalism, scathing satire, important social commentary, and, most importantly, compassion.

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Medievalists on Disney's middle ages

A fascinating new scholarly essay collection, The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past, looks at Disney's portrayal of the middle ages and reflects on how these are inextricably linked to other Disney settings, from Tomorrowland to Frontierland, and how the "Americanized" medieval narrative has played out over the decades.

John McChesney-Young sent me a great review of the book by Yale historian Paul Freedman, which is in the current issue of The Medieval Review (but not yet in its online archive):

Fantasyland is the home of neo-medieval stories, especially of princesses and their accoutrements; it has been gendered female. Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland incline towards a male audience, or at least they did in their heyday. Changing public perceptions have meant that the Old West as a setting for the making of rugged American character runs up against an appreciation of the fate of Native Americans, while with the fading allure of pre-internet "Gee Whiz" technology, Tomorrowland has been partially reinvented as "Retroland," a kind of self-mocking "Jetsons" take on what we once thought the future would look like (p. 69).

Fantasyland remains the core of the Disney imagination, and it is lightly dusted with medieval fairy-sparkle. It can't really call to mind even a first-order artificial nineteenth-century romantic Middle Ages, because that would interfere with the goal of presenting Disney's modern world as "the happiest place on earth," a happiness that is more goal-oriented and, one might say, middle-class values-centered than escapist or expressive of discontent with the present. The pastness of Disney's fantasies is tempered and in effect denied by anti-elitist, can-do characters. Amy Foster in "Futuristic Medievalism" shows how the medieval past is shaped by American anti-elitism and the promise of technology. Unidentified Flying Oddball was a 1979 reworking of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in which a NASA engineer is transported to Camelot. Not only does he amaze the court with his scientific knowledge and gadgetry, his "regular guy" nature is paramount. He treats peasants, servants and King Arthur alike, for example. Bob Gossedge, in an essay devoted to the 1963 animation of The Sword in the Stone, points out that young "Wart," the future King Arthur, is the only principal character in that film with an American accent. Merlin, in a cultivated English voice, instructs Wart that he needs to get "these medieval ideas out of your head--clear the way for new ideas: knowledge of man's fabulous discoveries in the centuries ahead" (pp. 127-128). One sees similarities in the all-American rendering of underdog heroes like Zorro in the 1957-1959 television series or Remy in Ratatouille (2007). Disney's principal characters tend to be resourceful Americans (whatever their putative nationality) stuck in a past that is attractively fantastic, but irritatingly hierarchical and behind-the-times.

Disney's egalitarianism is about universal opportunity, not economic equality. It amounts to what Foster (p. 164) refers to as "sentimental populism" based on Horatio Alger, not Marx. Anyone can be a princess, anyone can cook (in the non-medieval Ratatouille). The mistreated Snow White and Cinderella are eventually exalted and not only does "happily ever after happen every day," but it happens to anyone receptive to the Disney message or "magic."

The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past [Pugh and Aronstein, eds]

(Thanks, John!)

Cory's In Real Life book-tour!


I'm heading out on tour with my new graphic novel In Real Life, adapted by Jen Wang from my story Anda's Game -- I hope you'll come out and see us!

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Surprise marriage proposal via Magic: The Gathering


Lindsey Loree proposed to her boyfriend by challenging him to a game of Magic: The Gathering into which she inserted a homemade "Proposal" card (she had to sneak a card into her lap to make it work); once he said yes, she gave him a ringpop to seal the deal!

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Skateletor or Die


He-Man meets skater culture with Pedro Josue Carvajal Ramirez's Skateletor or Die from the Boing Boing Flickr Pool (it's also in contention for a Threadless tee).

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books to be adapted for TV

The books, which are among the best science fiction ever written, have been picked up by Game of Thrones co-producer Vince Gerardis, which bodes very well for the adaptation.

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Just look at this weirdly sexual off-model Garfield banana.


Just look at it.

(Thanks, Caipirina!)

TBD: appreciating a catalog of the banal gadgets of tomorrow

David already posted about the amazing TBD Catalog, which is filled with "design fiction" about the devices of the future; but I just read it and I need to rave about it.

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Stormtrooper pencil-skirt


Geeky U1 makes smart American Apparel pencil-skirts screened with bold Stormtrooper-in-a-suit silhouettes for a look that's business-max-casual; they're made to order for $22. (via Geeky Merch)

Screenshots of despair: the slide-deck

From the magesterial Screenshots of Despair tumblr (featuring dialog boxes to make you quail with terror and despair of your sanity), comes a slide-deck of the best of the worst to include in your own presentations.

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Neil Gaiman on the quiet rage of Terry Pratchett


Neil Gaiman's introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction essays, exposes a little-known side of the writer than many think of as a "twinkly old elf" -- the rage that is Pratchett's engine, driving him to write deceptively simple stories that decry unfairness and make virtue from bravery.

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Indian space program workers celebrate Mars orbit


(photographer unknown): India's Mangalyaan satellite attained Martian orbit on Wednesday; at $74m, it's "staggeringly cheap" for an orbiter.

Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014

Bundle of DRM-free RPGs created by women game-devs


The latest Bundle of Holding features 3 games for $8 or 7 games for $19; all created by woman devs, all delivered as DRM-free PDFs, with 10% of proceeds to Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (you can also buy a gift-code for a friend).

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