Sunday, March 28, 2021
Volkswagen ID Buzz Coming to U.S. by 2023
The Best Pinball Player
Victory Journal – "Wizard Mode"
"Pinball as we know it is the result of two eras of major innovation. The 1970s, the “golden age,” ushered in microprocessors for the first digitized games. These new, solid-state machines were controlled via microchips instead of relays and allowed for deeper storylines and more complex rules. The ’90s, “the renaissance” era, introduced dot-matrix displays like those on the machines at Delirium.
“Lab research is slower paced than pinball,” says Louise. “But the approaches are somewhat analogous.” There are thousands of machines, she explains, each with their own storyline and rule sets. In competition, great players adapt their game depending on machine behavior and opponent dynamics, while in the lab, scientists use logic to determine how different elements interact in complex systems, then conduct processes of testing and refinement."
The Suicide Squad
Sunday, March 21, 2021
What the 2020s Need
New York Times – "What the 2020s Need: Sex and Romance at the Movies"
Opinion by Ross Douthat
"A lot of different forces have marginalized movie sex and romance. The blockbuster industry has been bad for all kinds of adult movies, because it’s assumed that superhero fight scenes travel better internationally than more complex and culturally specific plots"
"Still, in general there’s a cultural void where romance used to be. And it doesn’t seem coincidental that this void opened at a time when the sexes are struggling to pair off — with fewer marriages, fewer relationships, less sex.
Courtship structures, formal in the old days and casual in the 1990s, were always useful to the romantic comedy. But lately even the casual structures have collapsed, with a Darwinian ecosystem of online dating (much less charming in reality than on “You’ve Got Mail”) supplanting older, more cinematic alternatives.
Ideological trends have also made it more challenging to portray happy relations between the sexes. The dramatic material of traditional romance is male and female distinctiveness, different forms of la différence. But these differences sit uncomfortably with the current progressive emphasis on the interchangeability of the sexes — which may be why the recent cable hits with the most sex or romance have been set in historical and fantasy landscapes, from “Game of Thrones” to “Outlander,” where certain problematics can be forgiven (to a point) as essential to the setting.
Just consider the contrast between Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” a multiracial bodice-ripper set in an alternative but safely-past-tense 19th century, and the best picture nominee “Promising Young Woman,” set in a present-day dating landscape so bleak that it makes you want to cancel heterosexuality itself.
But maybe the popularity of “Bridgerton” is a foretaste of a very different 2020s. Maybe it’s a sign that an age of libertinism lies just around the corner. Or maybe the show’s particular concern with married sex is a signpost on the path to a new traditionalism."
NCAA for Women's Basketball
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
The Athletic – "Jennings: The NCAA had a roadmap for moms in the bubble, and it dropped the ball"
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Emojis—the Language of the 2020s
WIRED – "The Emoji Is the Birth of a New Type of Language (No Joke)" (April 2016)
"Emoji assist in a peculiarly modern task: conveying emotional nuance in short utterances."
WIRED – "Emoji—Trendy Slang or a Whole New Language" (June 2015)
Hieroglyphs to Emojis
Emojipedia – "First Look: 217 New Emojis in iOS 14.5"
NYT's Jon Caramanica on Drake's new song "Lemon Pepper Freestyle":
"What’s a palate cleanse for Drake is, for most rappers, out of the reach of their ambition and skill. In between albums, he tosses off songs that focus on his tougher side, leaning in to wordy verses largely bereft of melody. “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” — from his new “Scary Hours 2” EP — is a relaxed classic of the form, full of sly rhymes delivered so offhandedly it almost obscures the technical audacity within. The song features frequent mischief buddy Rick Ross, but promptly dispenses with him so that Drake can embark upon a four-plus minute verse touching on his notary public, some wild times in Vegas, smooth co-parenting (“I send her the child support/She send me the heart emoji”), the deadening effects of too much fame, the overpriced accouterments of too much fame and the usual confession/braggadocio nexus that even after more than a decade still stings: “To be real, man, I never did one crime/But none of my brothers can caption that line.”"
Mixed Reality "Teleportation"
CNBC – "Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg thinks smart glasses could help combat climate change"
"“There are going to be all these awesome use cases that come from this....rather than calling someone or having a video chat, you just kind of snap your fingers and teleport, and you’re sitting there and they’re on their couch and it feels like you’re there together,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg says one advantage to AR-powered “teleportation” is that it could reduce travel or commute time. Ultimately, AR could allow workers to live where they want, perhaps a less expensive region, and “basically teleport to work,” Zuckerberg said.
“We talked a little bit about climate change before just being so important,” Zuckerberg said. “People are just going to want to maybe travel a little less in the future and do it more efficiently, and be able to go places without having to take the travel or commute time.”"
CNET – "Microsoft Mesh will teleport you in AR and VR to play with others across lots of devices"
U.S. High Speed Train Dreams
Vox – "Gen Z’s high-speed rail meme dream, explained"
"High-speed rail infrastructure exists across Europe and Asia, where publicly owned and maintained tracks can connect passengers from Beijing to Hong Kong in nine hours, or Madrid to Barcelona in under three hours. In the United States, there is currently one high-speed rail line — arguably. Amtrak’s Acela Express, which runs through the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington, DC, can reach speeds of 165 miles per hour, but frequently runs at an average of 70 miles per hour between those cities.
Even with America’s resident Amtrak champion, Joe Biden, now in the White House, and the administration preparing a $2 trillion green infrastructure proposal, a network like the one in Twu’s map is at best decades away. To get there, the US would have to overcome a number of obstacles, from Republican and corporate opposition to a dearth of expertise. Perhaps most importantly, it would require a level of federal commitment — both budgetary and planning-wise — the likes of which have not been seen in generations.
The map, then, represents Gen Z’s ambitious, sincere wish — for a more connected, more sustainable future — and their inherent recognition of how impossible the dream of high-speed rail may be."
"“I love the high-speed rail map image because I think a lot of urban planning and urbanism today, especially in the United States, is so devoid of inspiration because it’s so beaten down by so-called pragmatism, labor costs, legal issues, things like that,” said Jonathan Marty, a Numtot administrator who goes to Columbia University. “The high-speed rail thing, the map that circulates a lot, it touches people because it’s this genuinely bold and tangible image of the future. People can feel that.”
In addition, high-speed rail is a blunt example of just how behind the US is. After the 2008 global financial crisis, China, in particular, made massive investments into high-speed rail, building over 15,000 miles of rail lines that service more than 1.7 billion passengers yearly, according to the World Bank. And the high-speed TGV in France, for example, goes 200 miles per hour.
“At that speed, you could get from New York City to Chicago in about four hours,” Juliet Eldred, a Numtot co-founder and transit planner, said. “The current train is about 20 hours. That makes me viscerally enraged.”"
LeBron's Nike Deal with HBCU Florida A&M Rattlers
Sportico – "Florida A&M's LeBron Nike Deal Features Millions in Gear and Star Promotion""These extracurricular considerations are not common among equipment or merchandising contracts for most Division I universities, regardless of their size.
In his statement last week announcing the deal, FAMU athletic director Kortne Gosha said the agreement “allowed us to reimagine, challenge the norms of our industry and be the model for leveling the playing field” for HBCUs."
Helicopters Chasing Sailing Yachts
During an America’s Cup race, the amount of information Monk must track while in the air is substantial, and constantly changing. His flying must remain within the safety guidelines of the model of helicopter he uses. He cannot fly into the airspace of the other TV helicopter overhead, which provides the wider image — often overlaid with graphics — that allows viewers to track the boats on a course marked up like a football field. (That video is shot by Monk’s son, Blair.)"
"Why helicopters? Drones were originally considered for the job but were quickly scrapped as the weight of the camera equipment added up. “Pretty quickly you end up in the position of having a drone the size of a dining table up there,” said Leon Sefton, director of production for the America’s Cup.
Besides, Sefton and his team prefer Monk as their living, breathing eye in the sky. Since Monk is right there, Sefton said, he has a spatial awareness that a drone pilot working remotely would not.
“The race yachts can sometimes do what seems to us to be unpredictable things,” he said."
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Earth's Largest Islands
Full size. Sourced from @Locati0ns.
Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Superman Movie
The Hollywood Reporter – "Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write New Superman Movie for Warner Bros."
Variety – "Ta-Nehisi Coates Writing a New Superman Film for DC and Warner Bros."
“Lincolnesque optimism” (July 2018)
Coates on Fame, Michael Jackson and Kanye West (May 2018)
Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Captain America (February 2018)
"Don't Give HBO's 'Confederate' the Benefit of the Doubt" (August 2017)
Ta-Nehisi Coates on His Forthcoming The Black Panther (March 2016)
"swagger is galactic" (November 2015)
Ta-Nehisi Coates Writing Comic Series for Marvel (September 2015)
"The Case for Reparations" (March 2015)
Daft Punk Comes to an End
Vulture – "Daft Punk Gave Us More Than Enough Time"
By Craig Jenkins
Space Jam 2
Entertainment Weekly – "Dream Team: LeBron James joins the Tune Squad in Space Jam: A New Legacy first look"
Space Jam: A New Legacy
July 16, 2021
Produced by Ryan Coogler
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip)
Starring LeBron James, Don Cheadle
Wall Street Journal – "Why Basketball Runs in the Family"
"A  WSJ study finds 48.8% of players are related to an elite athlete—that number is 17.5% for the NFL and 14.5% for MLB"