Choire Sicha reports on Mediaite managing editor Jon Nicosia, who turns out to be a con artist, Zachary Hildreth, with form. The "confession". The fallout. On the internet, no-one know you're a dog. But if they never see you because of "black ops", well, you'd think some suspicion would kick in... [The Awl, Mediaite, Gawker] Read the rest
At The Awl, veteran headline-writer Choire Sicha deconstructs how headline-writing has been transformed by the search for SEO-optimized traffic boostfulness. Read the rest
The rebooted Battlestar Galactica was great at first, then got bogged down as it became clear no-one involved had any idea where things were headed. Choire Sicha offers the essential viewing guide to watch from beginning to end without the crap bits. Yes, most of season 3 is gone. Read the rest
Choire Sicha: "I GIVE TSA PRECHECK AN A+++ IN AWESOMENESS. Though I also give it a D- in 'Constitutional and Human Fairness Issues.'" Read the rest
Should the same crime deserve greater punishment if motivated by racial hatred or bigotry? At The New York Times, former editor Bill Keller says no, with the murder of Treyvon Martin as his entry point to the issue. He thereby instantaneously won the argument for his opponents, explains Choire Sicha. Here there is a convergence of things—urbane yet tone-deaf, sententious yet half-baked, researched yet undiscovered—that we may term Kellerian. Read the rest
"[W]hat's been pretty seriously under-covered is this past weekend's amazing outburst of out-of-control NYPD tactics on Occupy Wall Street," writes Choire Sicha at the Awl, along with a roundup of links and videos illustrating just how out-of-control those NYPD tactics are. Read the rest
• David Pierce at The Verge reviewed the LG Nitro HD. The lowdown? Don't bother, because better stuff is on the way.
• At Ars Technica, Ben Kuchera loves Serious Sam 3, a "hardcore, difficult, and lovely" FPS. It's available for Windows. At the other end of the gaming spectrum, John Walker reviews cute, curious explore-em-up Botanicula at Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "a stunning game, even in its incomplete form..."
• Marco Arment checks out some of the latest e-Readers, and likes the basic Kindle most of all.
• Joanna Stern, also at The Verge, likes Toshiba's ultrabook, but not an awful lot.
• Bonus review! The Awl's Choire Sicha reviews Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Honeywell). Read the rest
The Awl's Choire Sicha is looking for a sublet in New York; this worst-of from Craigslist sublet listings paint a pretty awful picture for shared accommodation in the Big Apple.
• "Couples/420/cigarettes/drinking totally ok, but NO PETS."
• "Room DOUBLES AS A MUSIC TEACHING STUDIO from 9:30 AM - 9:00PM ON WED, THUR & FRIDAY so you would need to be out during these hours on these days."
• "I smoke in the kitchen, but only there and a heavy curtain blocks the door."
• "1br - Open House!-Curtained living room available from June 5, female only"
The 13 Worst Things I Found on Craigslist While Looking for a NYC Sublet Read the rest
Brendan I. Koerner's "Now the Hell Will Start" follows the true-life story of Herman Perry, a young black playboy from Washington, D.C., drafted into the Army and shipped to the Indo-Burmese jungles to build the Ledo Road, a Sisyphean attempt to connect Allied supply depots with China during World War II. Years of nigh-on-forced labor in the sweltering, tiger- and headhunter-infested slog caused many of the soldiers to clutch consolation in cheap drugs, getting high in dark, wet tents while their uniforms literally rotted off.
Perry succumbed. Worse, his drug use provoked insubordinance against the white officers who commanded the predominantly black recruits, awarding him multiple visits to the brig. Horribly, after a year of hard work, incessant rain, flippant officers and cheap opium, Perry — provoked — killed a superior officer. He escaped into the jungle, certain he'd be captured within hours. Instead, he became the focus of one of the most notorious manhunts of the war, living with the mountain tribes of headhunters and becoming a folk hero some called "The Jungle King."
Koerner's an amazing reporter — my first mentor, along with Choire Sicha, to drum into my head how effective informed, dense writing could be — and has a knack for transmuting reams of research into taut narrative. (He was one of Slate.com's excellent "Explainer" columnists for years.) It doesn't hurt that Perry's story cuts a path through subjects with which I am endlessly entranced: racism, drugs, survival, war, sorrow, and death — all wrapped in one man's outrageous, tragic adventure. Read the rest
In Plenty magazine, this feature about the Chinese government's high-tech "weather modification" efforts for this summer’s Beijing Olympics. The big idea: keep the sun shining, through all that smog. Snip:
One thing worth considering when you tamper with nature is what sort of nature you’re tampering with. Nature is not kind to the city of Beijing. China’s capital is arid, nearly a desert, and its natural weather patterns are fickle and harsh. Winter is marked by howling Siberian winds; summer, by sweltering monsoon heat. In lieu of showers, springtime is best known for seasonal dust storms that sweep down from Central Asia. Fall is parched and gusty too, but the dust settles down. This basic brutality is overlaid with levels of pollution like those of England’s Industrial Revolution. Many things blot out the sunshine, and most have nothing to do with rain: factory and power plant emissions, construction dust, smoke from stoves burning scrap wood or pressed coal. There are more than 3 million cars on the streets–and the count is said to be growing by 400,000 vehicles annually. It is not unusual to check the AccuWeather international forecast on the New York Times website and find that while other cities’ weather is “mostly sunny” or “overcast,” Beijing’s is “smoky.” In February 2007, authorities finally abandoned a longstanding policy in which haze was referred to as wu, Mandarin for fog, and just called it what it is–mai, or haze.
Link to article. (Thanks, Choire Sicha, you gorgeous creature, you.)
Image: "Sun through the smog in Beijing," by ~diP. Read the rest
Choire Sicha deconstructs wildly contradictory headlines related to the Asian disaster. "I'm all for opinionated reporting and interpretation, but this I find this actually quite disturbing and very sad, particularly when one gets a whiff of agenda in the headlines." Link Read the rest
Winning films created in last year's edition of the 24 hour Moviemaking Madness competition will be screened tonight in LA. I covered the event last year for Wired Magazine, together with Gawker'sl Choire Sicha. It was probably the zaniest, most surreal 24 hours of my life. In the competition, filmmakers have exactly 24 hours to make a short digital film -- writing, blocking, shooting, editing, freaking out, it all has to happen in 24 hours. No sleep 'til Brooklyn. Winner takes home $10K and a serious case of sleep dep. Snip from the announcement on tonight's LA event:
Don't forget to come to the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood this Saturday for NYC Midnight's Los Angeles Area screening of top 2003 movies followed by a Q & A session. This will be a great chance to see some award winning shorts and ask questions about the 2004 competition. Also, you may drop off your entry documents & entry fee at the info session.
Link to Wired article, and Link to event home page with details on tonight's screening in Hollywood. Read the rest
Vincent Gallo is evidently selling the film production package he used to shoot the "outstandingly bad" movie Brown Bunny on eBay. The listing is a characteristically Gallic stream-of-consciousness screed. Current bidding stands at $86,800 for a kit that includes Stanley Kubrick's legendary Barry Lyndon lens. And what Vincent Gallo eBay listing would be complete without gratuitous third-person references to Vincent Gallo, and abundant ad hominem attacks on the likes of filmmakers Spike Jonze, Darren Aronofsky and Wes Anderson? Ambiguous cinematic sex act not included. Link (update: I'll need to start waking up a hell of a lot earlier to scoop Choire Sicha, who covered this on Gawker last Friday -- that's, like, a whole lifetime in blog-years. I'm losing my edge.) Update 2: Boingboing reader and admitted "film dork" chandler says, "i just wanted to point out that the lens in the gallo kits isn't THE famous barry lyndon lens. by THE i mean the Zeiss f0.7 lens used to shoot the candlelight scenes. it's the other lens, the super long zoom lens used for some of the wonderful super-flat shots." Read the rest
Choire Sicha of Gawker points us to an upcoming tech-art happening in New York City -- a "custom version" of the geek art piece "Balldroppings" will be installed at TKNY's Compact-Impact show in Manhattan; January 16, 7pm @ 21 Ave B. More on, ahem, Balldroppings:
"BallDroppings is an addicting and noisy play-toy. It can also be seen as an emergence game. My brother Marc takes this software seriously as an audio-visual performance instrument. Balls fall from the top of the screen and bounce off the lines you are drawing with the mouse. The balls make a percussive and melodic sound, whose pitch depends on how fast the ball is moving when it hits the line."
Link Read the rest