15 February, 2020

Beautiful music and mexico city

Reckoning with Kobe Bryant’s complicated past

Bryant’s fans don’t want to consider that their hero had unheroic moments. They don’t want to have to create the emotional space to mourn someone despite their failings. It is not only his most adoring fans who take issue with how he is being mourned. Some people are furious that anyone is showing any sympathy for Bryant. In their minds, he committed a crime and should not be mourned or venerated. There is no space for complication in any direction.

09 February, 2020

The Age of Decadence

Cut the drama. The real story of the West in the 21st century is one of stalemate and stagnation.

The decadent economy is not an impoverished one. The United States is an extraordinarily wealthy country, its middle class prosperous beyond the dreams of centuries past, its welfare state effective at easing the pain of recessions, and the last decade of growth has (slowly) raised our living standard to a new high after the losses from the Great Recession.

But slowly compounding growth is not the same as dynamism. American entrepreneurship has been declining since the 1970s: Early in the Jimmy Carter presidency, 17 percent of all United States businesses had been founded in the previous year; by the start of Barack Obama’s second term, that rate was about 10 percent. In the late 1980s, almost half of United States companies were “young,” meaning less than five years old; by the Great Recession, that share was down to only 39 percent, and the share of “old” firms (founded more than 15 years ago) rose from 22 percent to 34 percent over a similar period. And those companies increasingly sit on cash or pass it back to shareholders rather than investing in new enterprises. From World War II through the 1980s, according to a recent report from Senator Marco Rubio’s office, private domestic investment often approached 10 percent of G.D.P.; in 2019, despite a corporate tax cut intended to get money off the sidelines, the investment-to-G.D.P. ratio was less than half of that.

07 February, 2020

The Mandalorian: This Is the Way

In order for The Mandalorian to work, technology had to advance enough that the epic worlds of Star Wars could be rendered on an affordable scale by a team whose actual production footprint would comprise a few soundstages and a small backlot. An additional consideration was that the typical visual-effects workflow runs concurrent with production, and then extends for a lengthy post period. Even with all the power of contemporary digital visual-effects techniques and billions of computations per second, the process can take up to 12 hours or more per frame. With thousands of shots and multiple iterations, this becomes a time-consuming endeavor. The Holy Grail of visual effects — and a necessity for The Mandalorian, according to co-cinematographer and co-producer Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS — was the ability to do real-time, in-camera compositing on set.

I Don’t Want to Be the Strong Female Lead

I moved to Los Angeles to become an actress at 24. These are character descriptions of roles I have read for: “thin, attractive, Dave’s wife”; “robot girl, a remarkable feat of engineering”; “her breasts are large and she’s wearing a red sweater.”
I stuffed my bra for that last one. I still did not get the part.
After a while it was hard to tell what was the greater source of my depression: that I could not book a part in a horror film where I had three lines and died on Page 4, or that I was even auditioning to play these roles at all. After dozens of auditions and zero callbacks, my mom suggested I get breast implants. From her perspective, I had walked away from a coveted job at Goldman Sachs and chosen a profession of self-commodification. She wanted to help me sell better.
But I wasn’t drawn to acting because I wanted to be desired. I was drawn to acting because I felt it would allow me to become the whole, embodied person I remembered being in childhood — one that could imagine freely, listen deeply and feel wholeheartedly.

06 February, 2020

Is the Gap Between Secular and Orthodox Jews Feeding anti-Semitic Violence?

But a resident of Borough Park, Orthodox Jew Yosef Rappaport, said it often feels as if secular Jews “treat progressivism as some people treat religion: doctrinaire, Orthodox, either my way or the highway.”

“This is not the way humans interact with each other,” he said. “I definitely feel the way secular Jews and leftist Jews are behaving is undermining the all-time progressives in our community; they’re undermining people like me. They need to stick up for us.”
Rappaport said the portrayal of Orthodox Jews as radical, closed off or judgmental is hurting the moderates among them, “the ones who recognize the other side.” As he put it, “You’re being spat in your face.”

05 February, 2020

N.C. fugitive Bobby Love who found love on the run shares his viral story to Humans of New York

Cheryl Love was shocked when her husband Bobby was re-arrested in 2015 after it was revealed his true identity was Walter Miller, a convicted bank robber on the run for almost 40 years.
“At first I wasn’t worried,” continues the wife in the story. “We had this crazy lady that lived next door, and the police were always checking up on her. So I assumed they had the wrong address. But the moment I opened the door, twelve officers came barging past me. Some of them had ‘FBI’ written on their jackets. They went straight back to the bedroom, and walked up to Bobby. I heard them ask: ‘What’s your name?’ And he said, ‘Bobby Love.’ Then they said, ‘No. What’s your real name?’ And I heard him say something real low. And they responded: ‘You’ve had a long run.’ That’s when I tried to get into the room. But the officer kept saying: ‘Get back, get back. You don’t know who this man is.’ Then they started putting him in handcuffs.”
“It didn’t make any sense. I’d been married to Bobby for forty years,” continued Mrs. Love. “He didn’t even have a criminal record. At this point I’m crying, and I screamed: ‘Bobby, what’s going on?’ Did you kill somebody?’ And he tells me: ‘This goes way back, Cheryl. Back before I met you. Way back to North Carolina.’”

AT&T is doing exactly what it told Congress it wouldn’t do with Time Warner

AT&T's decision to prevent Time Warner-owned shows from streaming on Netflix and other non-AT&T services reduced the company's quarterly revenue by $1.2 billion, a sacrifice that AT&T is making to give its planned HBO Max service more exclusive content. AT&T took the $1.2-billion hit despite previously telling Congress that it would not restrict distribution of Time Warner content, claiming that would be "irrational business behavior."

04 February, 2020

Coronavirus: Disabled boy dies in China after father quarantined

Two officials in China have been removed from their posts after a teenager with cerebral palsy died when his father - and sole carer - was quarantined for suspected coronavirus.
Yan Cheng, 16, was found dead on Wednesday, a week after his father and brother were placed in quarantine.
The boy was fed only twice during this time, according to reports.
Both the local Communist Party secretary and mayor in Huajiahe town have been dismissed over the case.

01 February, 2020

A set of great posts on airline failures and accidents


A Goodbye To 'The Good Place'


Endings are sad, but without them, nothing matters.

That was only one of the lessons of the thoughtful, emotional finale of NBC's The Good Place, which itself ended after four seasons and only 52 episodes. But, as the show itself stressed in its last couple of installments, heaven is not continuing forever: It's leaving at the right time, when you've done your work. When you're ready.

Creator Michael Schur, who also was behind Parks & Recreation, has a kind of grudging, aggravated optimism that echoes in a lot of his work. The Good Place was full of reminders of how petty and nasty people can be when they're not specifically trying to discipline their worst instincts. It was also emphatic about the fact that it's almost impossible to successfully weave your way through the complicated world of trying to be decent, given the way our current systems of commerce and government work.

Rev. William Barber on the Political Power of Poor People: ‘We Have to Change Our Whole Narrative’

 So when we go in a place like, say, eastern Kentucky in Appalachia, I don’t change what I say about race there. That’s what politicians do. I don’t do that. I say y’all, let’s do something. And we put up maps. And we say, now in West Virginia, you have voter suppression, and we put that map up. And then we say, did you also know in West Virginia you have a high level of poverty. We’ll do child poverty. Then we’ll do women in poverty, then we do the denial of health care, then we do denial of living wages, denial of union rights, denial of LGBTQ rights, denial of women’s rights. And then we step back and say, do you see the thing about this national map? The same states that do the race thing are doing this to you too.
And I had one white guy in Appalachia who stood up and said, “DAMN!” I’m not being facetious. He said, “Reverend Barber, they’ve been playing us.” And I said that’s right. We were there in Kentucky, and some people told us not to go to Harlan County. Harlan County, where Justice Harlan came from, the only Supreme Court justice that voted against Plessy v. Ferguson. Harlan County, where Lyndon B. Johnson started the War on Poverty. Democrats hadn’t been to Harlan County since I don’t know when. I mean, they just write it off. But we had 300 folk in the middle of the day turn out.
I went outside with one guy and he said, “I’m a McCoy.” I said, “What kind of McCoy?” He said again, “I’m a McCoy.” And then I said, “Yes sir, I understand.” He said, “We ready to fight.” I told him this is a nonviolent movement. He said, “I get it, but let me tell you, you’ve got a lot of friends up here.” I told him, “Wait a minute, people tell me this is Trump country. Why did folk vote for Trump?”
He said, “Look, we knew Trump was … ” and he used an expletive. He said, “Folks are hurting, and needed more attention, they want people to know.” Democrats haven’t been back here since Lyndon B. Johnson came back here. These hills are full of people who, if you came out here and talked to them and didn’t just write them off as ignorant and let them know you were serious about addressing the issue, even if you didn’t totally change the county, you could close the margins — i.e., what just happened.