Sunday, November 29, 2020

The End of Movie Theaters?


New York Times – "Hollywood’s Obituary, the Sequel. Now Streaming.""

"“There’s a reason that the Roaring Twenties followed the 1918 pandemic,” J.J. Abrams, the Bad Robot Productions chairman, said by phone. “We have a pent-up, desperate need to see each other — to socialize and have communal experiences. And there is nothing that I can think of that is more exciting than being in a theater with people you don’t know, who don’t necessarily like the same sports teams or pray to the same god or eat the same food. But you’re screaming together, laughing together, crying together. It’s a social necessity.” 

Streaming services and theaters will settle into coexistence, he predicted. 

“I think going to a theater is like going to church and watching a movie at home is like praying at home,” Mr. Abrams said. “It’s not that you can’t do it. But the experience is wholly different.”"


Wall Street Journal – "Disney Elevates Streaming Business in Major Reorganization"

New York Times – "Will ‘Mank’ Be Netflix’s First Best-Picture Winner?"

R.I.P. Tony Hsieh


New York Times – "How Tony Hsieh Tried to Single-Handedly Transform Downtown Las Vegas"

"“How many opportunities in a lifetime do you have to help shape the future of a major city?” Mr. Hsieh asked in a 2013 speech, in which he vowed to turn downtown Las Vegas into “the most community-focused large city in the world.” 

That year he moved Zappos’s headquarters into the old City Hall building. He tried to increase the number of what he called “collisions” between interesting people in streets and cafes by adding public art and making downtown more walkable. He pitched his friends on moving their start-up ideas to his sandbox, luring hundreds of entrepreneurs."

New York Times – "Tony Hsieh, Longtime Chief of Zappos, Is Dead at 46"

World Population Map


From @undertheraedar and Axios AM: Mike's Top 10.

Rethinking American Education


The Atlantic – "School Wasn’t So Great Before COVID, Either"

By Erika Christakis

"Pandemic school is clearly not working well, especially for younger children—and it’s all but impossible for the 20 percent of American students who lack access to the technology needed for remote learning. But what parents are coming to understand about their kids’ education—glimpsed through Zoom windows and “asynchronous” classwork—is that school was not always working so great before COVID-19 either. Like a tsunami that pulls away from the coast, leaving an exposed stretch of land, the pandemic has revealed long-standing inattention to children’s developmental needs—needs as basic as exercise, outdoor time, conversation, play, even sleep. All of the challenges of educating young children that we have minimized for years have suddenly appeared like flotsam on a beach at low tide, reeking and impossible to ignore. Parents are not only seeing how flawed and glitch-riddled remote teaching is—they’re discovering that many of the problems of remote schooling are merely exacerbations of problems with in-person schooling.

It’s remarkable how little schools have changed over time; most public elementary schools are stuck with a model that hasn’t evolved to reflect advances in cognitive science and our understanding of human development. When I walked into my 10-year-old son’s fourth-grade classroom a year ago, it looked almost exactly like my now-28-year-old son’s classroom in 2001, which in turn looked strikingly like my own fourth-grade classroom in 1972. They all had the same configuration of desks, cubbies, and rigidly grade-specific accoutrements. The school schedule also remains much the same: 35 hours of weekly instructional time for about 180 days. The same homework, too, despite the growing wealth of evidence suggesting that homework for elementary-school children (aside from nightly reading) offers minimal or no benefits. Elementary education also values relatively superficial learning that’s too focused on achieving mastery of shallow (but test-friendly) skills unmoored from real content knowledge or critical thinking. School hours are marked by disruptions and noise as students shift, mostly en masse and in age-stratified groups, from one strictly demarcated topic or task to another. Many educators and child-development experts believe that some of the still-standard features of pre‑K and elementary education—age and ability cohorts, short classroom periods, confinement mostly indoors—are not working for many children. And much of what has changed—less face time with teachers, assignments on iPads or computers, a narrowed curriculum—has arguably made things worse."

Brazil and the Hacking of Telegram Messages


By Darren Loucaides

Buildings of Yesterday: The Central Park Casino (originally the Ladies' Refreshment Salon)




Messi Tribute to Maradona

Photos via @classicshirts and @brfootball.

From @rogbennett: "Incredible: Lionel Messi scores a sublime goal and celebrates by taking off his Barcelona jersey to reveal a Newell's Old Boys shirt with Diego Maradona's number 10. A beautiful tribute that connects one transcendent Argentinian El Diez with another Flag of ArgentinaRaising hands. Newell's Old Boys is the club Messi, a lifelong fan, joined as a 6-year old, and that Maradona played for at the tailend of his career. Football as human poetry. A reminder we are all on the conveyor-belt of life"

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Coca-Cola Christmas Commercial 2020 (By Taika Waititi)

Directed by Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, The Mandalorian Chapter 8, What We Do In The Shadows).

Small Axe

November 20, 2020 (Prime Video / BBC One)
Created by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Widows)
Starring Letitia Wright, John Boyega 

Princess Diana Style King

Saturday, November 14, 2020

America: Endgame

"The concept was simple: a video remix of the big fight from the end of the last Marvel Studios movie, Avengers: Endgame, in which the Avengers are prominent Democrats, the baddies are prominent Republicans, and Thanos is Trump. But it was so intricate. There were dozens upon dozens of characters to account for, and the choices of which fictional figure to associate with each real-life person were either shocking or shockingly appropriate. I’ll fully admit that my first response was to assume it was a turducken parody of the sorts of memes that equate politicians with superheroes, so I was stunned to learn, an hour or two later, that it had been made in earnest. 

...But who could make such a fascinating cultural artifact — a relic of our quar-brained isolation amid a never-ending election cycle? His name is John H. Piette, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and editor...

..."And the idea was earnest. Because it was happiness. It was just a raw happiness. I hate to admit it, but I think I was in a state of mild depression for four years about the state of the country, and I feel like I was sort of awakening from that. It is tongue in cheek, to an extent; I think it’s important not to take ourselves so seriously. But the main thing I was feeling was unity. Unity, unity, unity. It’s been such a bitter period in our politics, so I did kinda wanna be like, “Look, we won and we’re happy and this is a beautiful moment for America. But at the same time, let’s laugh, let’s heal, and let’s not take ourselves so seriously that we can’t listen to each other or think that we’re 100 percent right all the time.” So I think it was a mixture of both. But it was definitely earnest.""

Saturday Night Live in Last Months of 2020

Maria Bakalova - Bulgarian Star of Borat Sequel

Q: Were there ever times when it was hard for you to stay in character? 

A: When Sacha starts doing his thing, and you’re right next to him, he has this super serious face. I have to act like it’s the most normal thing ever. But he’s so funny. There were moments when the scene was extremely funny and you just can’t stop laughing. It’s bad, because people were able to realize that it’s a joke. He taught me a trick to cross my fingers, to put pressure on my fingers, to stop laughing. 

Q: Were there any marks that you sympathized with? Jeanise Jones, the woman hired as Tutar’s babysitter, was extremely kind to you — did you feel you were deceiving her? 

A: We spent maybe five, six hours with Jeanise and she is the person you see onscreen. She is just incredible. She’s not an actress — she just wanted to help Tutar and for Tutar to appreciate herself, to follow her dreams and educate herself. We need people like Jeanise. She is an angel. 

Q: Did you know who Giuliani was before you recorded your interview with him? 

A: I knew who he was, because 9/11 is something everybody should know. It’s one of the hardest moments in recent history. But I’m not American, I don’t get into American politics. I don’t think I’m that informed with the situation in America and its political system. Sacha has been living here for a long time. I trust him. 

Q: Were you still nervous about filming it? 
A: Yeah. I was nervous. My heart was racing. But Sacha was like, you should be nervous in this situation. So use your nerves. Convert them and accept them and they’re going to help you through everything. "

Succeeding Alex Trebek (R.I.P.)


Via @zeitchikWaPo.

New York Times – "Alex Trebek, Longtime Host of ‘Jeopardy!,’ Dies at 80"

Lego Zooming


Via @WolfBruening ("Today I reached the next level of remote work excellence.").

Sunday, November 1, 2020

American Migration

From Axios @Work Newsletter:

For decades, the share of Americans moving to new cities has been falling. The pandemic-induced rise of telework is turning that trend around. 

Why it matters: This dispersion of people from big metros to smaller ones and from the coasts to the middle of the country could be a boon for dozens of left-behind cities across the U.S. 

By the numbers: 22% of American adults either moved or know someone who moved during the pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center survey. 

Flashback: Fewer than 10% of Americans moved to new places in 2019, the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began tracking domestic relocations in 1947. 

The two biggest exoduses are out of New York City and San Francisco, per data from moving companies cited by Bloomberg's CityLab. 

HireAHelper said requests for help moving out of a New York or San Francisco home were 80% higher than requests to move in over the summer. 

United Van Lines saw moves out of New York and San Francisco jump 45% and 23%, respectively, during the summer months. And while many of the people moving out of these cities are going to other superstar metros — the top destination from San Francisco is Seattle, and the top destination from New York is Los Angeles — many other are relocating to smaller, up-and-coming cities, like Tampa Bay, Raleigh, Houston and Denver. 

The impact: Before the pandemic, the top 15 most expensive cities in the country had just 19% of the population but the vast majority of business activity, writes Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, which connects freelancers to employers. Now, with remote work, 49% of business spend on Upwork's platform is going from those cities to lower-cost places, he notes. 

And while companies like Facebook and Microsoft have said they'll adjust workers' salaries according to the local cost of living if they move to less-expensive places, the relocation could still be worth it, Ozimek says. 

The price-to-income ratio — which is the ratio of the median price of a home to the median annual household income in a given area — in the top 15 most expensive cities is double (or more) than in the rest of U.S. cities. 

But, but, but: The migration numbers have been inflated by the massive spike in young adults, aged 18–29, moving back home during the pandemic. 

"I think this is temporary," says University of Toronto urbanist Richard Florida. While nearly 30 million young people have moved back in with their parents since March, most of them will return to the big cities they left when the pandemic is behind us. 

The bottom line: It's too early to tell whether American migration has made a true comeback, but the pandemic has — at least in part — shaken up a decades-long period of stagnation in the country.

WFH Future (July 2020)
The Cool-ification of Mid-Size Cities (December 2019)

Why Do White Girls Love Fall?


Jezebel – "Why Do White Girls Love Fall?"

By Hazel Cills

Mank Trailer


Missing Museum Going

"Reproductions reproduce, and they often do it well, but they can’t reproduce the sex appeal of museumgoing, the carnal intersection of one physical object with another, you and it. It’s a thing, there; you, a thing, here."