Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

International Hypocrisy

New Yorker - "Saudi Shakeup"

"The U.S.-Saudi alliance is a self-enriching bargain between the two countries’ √©lites, sustained without mutual understanding or sympathy between their publics. Wall Street bankers fly to Riyadh regularly, seeking cash for private equity and hedge funds. U.S. arms manufacturers profit from Saudi anxiety about Iran by selling the kingdom planes, missiles, radar systems, and spy gear. Last October, the Administration announced another big deal: a $1.75 billion missile contract. Meanwhile, Obama’s envoys negotiated in secret with Tehran, without looping in the Saudis. It’s not very surprising that princes who are regularly lobbied by Lockheed Martin Corporation salesmen about the Iranian threat would be displeased.

The Saudis buy American F-18s for the same reason that bank owners hire Brinks guards: to protect their loot—in this case, huge pools of oil sitting in a region that is descending into what looks to be a long, intimately violent war. Obama has introduced novel honesty into U.S.-Saudi discourse, though the younger royals present the same dilemma as their elders. They show no sign that they are willing to embrace democratic values, act compliantly, or become less sectarian, but, to secure promises of protection from the world’s most powerful military, they likely will accommodate American bases and arms sales, up to a point. For now, the alliance remains a strange pact of mutually complicit, resentful hypocrisies. "

Taylor Swift (feat. Kendrick Lamar) - "Bad Blood"

Can you name every cameo?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sam and Frodo's Walk to Mordor

A.V. Club - "Someone figured out exactly how far Sam & Frodo traveled in The Lord Of The Rings"

No Man's Sky

New Yorker - "World Without End"

"Every morning, at a little past ten, Murray leads a brief meeting with his team. A dozen coders and artists stand among the rows of computers, or swivel their chairs around. In a quick rundown, problems are identified, goals set; in the evening, work is checked into a master build. Murray delegates readily but watchfully.

During my visit, four artists outlined their plans, and then sat down to work. The artists devise archetypes for the coders’ algorithms to mutate. One spent a day making insects: looking up images on Pinterest, designing features for an insect archetype, studying how the algorithms deformed the archetype in hundreds of permutations, then making corrections. “It’s a constant slog of iterating and polishing,” the art director, Grant Duncan, told me. He was working that day on architectural modules that could be combined in myriad ways. Because small changes can have unpredictable effects—the color of a single plant infecting every tree, rock, and animal on a planet—his team uses an algorithmic “drone” that navigates the universe, taking snapshots to measure the repercussions of decisions. Occasionally, Duncan stopped his work to offer suggestions. Reviewing some insects, he said, “Except for the colors, these shapes are kind of working—but the others are bonkers.”

Chuck Klosterman on Mad Men

"Still, we forget that this is how Joan was (and is). We forget that the people we love aren’t always reasonable and idealistic and good. Which, weirdly, is proof that we really do love them."

Grantland - "Human Resources: Work Friendship and the Hidden Legacy of ‘Mad Men’"

Mad Men Matthew Weiner's Creative Process

Fast Company - ""Mad Men" Creator Matthew Weiner's Reassuring Life Advice for Struggling Artists"

"The greatest regret I have is that, early in my career, I showed myself such cruelty for not having accomplished anything significant. I spent so much time trying to write, but was paralyzed by how behind I felt. Many years later I realized that if I had written only a couple of pages a day, I would’ve written 500 pages at the end of a year (and that’s not even working weekends). Any contribution you make on a daily basis is fantastic. I still happen to write almost everything at once, but I now cut myself slack on all of the thinking and procrastination time I use. I know that it’s all part of my creative process."

The State of FIFA in May 2015

Wall Street Journal - "Why FIFA Can’t Get Out of Its Own Way"

"But Blatter’s 17-year reign also has been marked by controversy. There have been allegations of bribery surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a high-profile lawsuit by MasterCard in New York federal court and the ousting of at least eight members of FIFA’s executive committee, along with public-relations faux pas on topics from fan racism to women’s soccer uniforms.

In 2004, a U.S. District Judge ruled that FIFA had breached a contract agreement by dropping MasterCard as a sponsor in favor of rival Visa and sharply criticized the organization’s business tactics. MasterCard and FIFA reached a $90 million settlement. Blatter also has attracted criticism for his suggestion in 2011 that instances of on-field racism could be solved with a handshake and for his remarks in 2004 that female players could wear tighter shorts to help market women’s soccer.

FIFA has denied wrongdoing in relation to the MasterCard case and Blatter later apologized for the comments on racism and women’s soccer.

When the votes are cast next week, Blatter is almost certain to be swept back into office on a surge of political support from FIFA members across Africa, Oceania, Central and South America and large swaths of Asia, who have publicly declared their support."

USA Today - "Report: FIFA president Sepp Blatter fears FBI, won't set foot on U.S. soil"

"The FBI has been investigating FIFA with the cooperation of a former senior American official in the organization."

"Sources tell E:60 that Sepp Blatter has decided, due to the FBI investigation, that it would be unwise to set foot on American soil."

"Blatter has not made a public appearance in the United States since 2011."

Reddit - "Coke's slogan is "Share Happiness". So I made an ad to remind them of the kind of happiness they're sharing in Qatar."

Cutting Room Floor Anaheim Ducks Logos

Sporting News - "An inside look at Ducks' logo change from '07, their Stanley Cup year"

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Private Jet Parking in Vegas Saturday Night Sold Out

TIME - "Private Jets Overwhelm Vegas Airport Before Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight"

"Rita Carrillo, manager for Signature Flight Support, one of the companies receiving private planes at McCarran, also told the newspaper that the weekend’s estimated volume was the largest she could remember in her 30 years at the airport.

“I don’t think people realize the magnitude of this event,” Carrillo said, continuing, “and the type of clientele that is coming in to see us.”

Business Insider - "Saturday's big fight was filled to the brim with celebrities and VIPs"