Andy Khouri, writing for Comics Alliance, brings us some fabulous news:
In what is possibly the best comics-to-film news we’ll report this year, the live-action American adaptation of AKIRA that pretty much everyone agreed was a terrible idea has apparently been shelved.
Why am I so happy about this? Just like The Last Airbender, they were planning on recasting it with white actors. AKIRA is a fundamentally Japanese movie — anyone who’s seen it can tell you that. Good riddance to this project, I say.
In response to requests from members of Congress and to at least one news report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York opened a preliminary inquiry on Thursday into allegations that News Corporation journalists sought to gain access to the phone records of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to several people briefed on the matter.
The investigation is in its earliest stages, two of the people said, and its scope is not yet clear. It also is unclear whether the F.B.I. has identified possible targets of the investigation or possible specific criminal violations.
The inquiry was prompted in part by a letter from Representative Peter T. King, a Long Island Republican, to Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, in which he asked that the bureau immediately open an investigation of News Corporation, citing news reports that journalists working for its subsidiary, The News of the World, had tried to obtain the phone records of 9/11 victims through bribery and unauthorized wiretapping, the people said.
I left the sarcastic “‘rule of law’” tag off of this post because it appears the justice system may be working. It’s way too early to tell if anything will come of this, let alone what the effects will be on News Corporation, which includes Fox, The Wall Street Journal, etc.
I am glad we’re stepping into this one. “Inexcusable” is far too weak a word for this whole mess, and I support getting all hands on deck to sort it out.
Wonderful short story from Paul Ford. Here’s a bit to whet the appetite:
Here is how it would go, I imagined. Daughter and Mother would walk together to the park. They would talk about this morning’s conversation. Mother would confirm that handling your own suits is a serious responsibility, that you can’t let them pile up or that will send the signal that you were susceptible to liens.
Everyone loves the software company Cyan because of the Myst series of adventure games. That’s completely fair, because the first two games at least are great and fully deserving of respect. Myst's worlds and puzzles still hold up today, and it was hugely influential as one of the first great first-person adventure games. And Riven, well. I first played Riven in grade school, without much experience with games like it besides Myst, and I found the whole thing terribly unfair and only beat it through liberal use of a strategy guide. I replayed it during college and was awestruck by everything.
Cosmic Osmo in particular got the most playing time of the three. I’m not sure if by raw numbers it was the biggest game or had the most to do, but it always felt like it did. You explore a bunch of different planets with oodles of things to poke and prod at, and there’s a ton of whimsical creativity in the places, people, actions, and reactions.
I just started playing LucasArts’s The Dig earlier today, and there’s a minigame in the main character’s PDA heavily inspired by Lunar Lander. Cosmic Osmo also has a simple landing-type minigame called Ship Chip Lander. The minigame has an attract mode sound which triumphantly yells out the game’s title: ”SHIIIIIIIIIP CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP LAAAANDER-NDER-NDER-NDER-nder-nder.” Any time I play any landing-type game, such as today during The Dig, I always yell that out in tribute to Cosmic Osmo.
I found one video of the minigame on YouTube played/recorded by DameDracaufeu. She plays pretty quickly, so the voice clip only plays twice, both near the end of the video: once at 4:59 and again at 5:41. I think the clip deserves better, so I’ve extracted it and attached it to this post for posterity.
To the crew at Cyan: thanks for making my life better with four seconds of magnificence.
One of the guards, Dave Eschelman, had this to say:
What came over me was not an accident. It was planned. I set out with a definite plan in mind, to try to force the action, force something to happen, so that the researchers would have something to work with. After all, what could they possibly learn from guys sitting around like it was a country club? So I consciously created this persona.
Patrick Wintour, Dan Sabbagh, and Nicholas Watt for The Guardian:
Rupert Murdoch capitulated to parliament and abandoned News Corporation's £8bn bid for BSkyB, as he faced the prospect of appearing in front of a judicial public inquiry to salvage his personal reputation and the right for his company to continue to broadcast in the UK.
After 10 days of sustained public outcry over phone hacking, and facing the prospect of a unanimous call by MPs to withdraw his bid for total ownership of the satellite broadcaster, Murdoch succumbed at a morning board meeting at his London HQ in Wapping.
Company insiders indicated Murdoch was not making a tactical retreat and that a future bid for total control of BSkyB was now unlikely. The media giant said it was likely to “deploy our capital elsewhere” to avoid any more damaging battles in the UK. The News Corp deputy chairman, Chase Carey, said the bid had become “too difficult to progress in this climate”.
People had been speculating that the shuttering of the News of the World was a move designed to help the British Sky Broadcasting deal go through, so if that was really the case, it appears it didn’t work.
The University of Iowa Tippie College of Business has garnered plenty of attention recently for a new web-based initiative, but leaders in other UI programs say the idea isn’t likely to catch on.
College officials recently announced that the most creative answer to the question “ What makes you an exceptional Tippie full-time M.B.A. candidate and future M.B.A. hiring?” submitted in 140 characters on Twitter will win a full-time financial award in the amount of $37,000.
“The essay’s been around for ages,” said Jodi Schafer, the director of full-time M.B.A. admissions and financial aid. “We wanted to do something unique and different.”
Entirely forgetting the real history of how Franklin D Roosevelt used activist government to save American capitalism from itself, the entire US political establishment is instead hypnotised by the false history woven around its most over-hyped president of all time: Ronald Reagan. Idolatry of Reagan’s supposed tax-cutting wonders propels the now widespread economic belief that up is down, that cutting government spending is the way out of - rather than into - a severe recession. At the same time, idolatry of Reagan’s supposed political wonders propels GOP extremists to ignore all other considerations.
He then pretty viciously tears into what he views are myths about Reagan’s economic policies:
The idea that Reagan produced a uniquely booming economy is false
The idea that Reagan brought prosperity is true only for those at the top, not for average American workers
The idea that Reagan was good for the American economy in general is false
The idea that Ronald Reagan consistently opposed tax increases is false
The idea that Reagan’s tax cuts spurred job creation is false
Reagan’s Presidency happened mostly before I was born, and entirely before I understood what a Presidency was, so maybe my outlook would be different if I were twenty-five years older. But I’ve never understood why Reagan is constantly invoked in budget talks these days when he increased the debt, increased federal spending as a percentage of GDP, and increased taxes quite a few times. I’ve always been under the impression as a non-economist that Reaganomics overall did help our economy, if only because it was a change from whatever Ford and Carter did. When you get down to what Reagan actually did and what actually happened to our economy in the ’80s, though, you’ll find it’s a far cry from this mythological interpretation people seem to hold.
Last night I saw the final couple of minutes of the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It’s a good one; I ought to rewatch the whole thing some time.
I completely forgot, or never realized until now, that the music that plays during the end credits is an incredibly silly thirty-five second medley of “Oh My Darling, Clementine,” “Yankee Doodle,” and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” It’s like something you’d hear in a jingoistic Looney Tunes scene.
The only full video of the credits theme I could find is over at Google Video, which has the whole movie. The music starts at 2:09:22.
Here’s a bit of follow up on yesterday’s post about the inimitable Graphing Calculator.
Mac OS X has never shipped with Graphing Calculator.1 However, you can now fix this for less than $10.2
Pacific Tech (the company that Ron and Greg started after GC 1.0 shipped) now sells two applications in the Mac App Store: Graphing Calculator Lite and Equation Editor.
Graphing Calculator Lite is currently $4.99 and seems to most of the features I remember Graphing Calculator having as a kid. Looks great.
They’re also selling a new piece of software, Equation Calculator for 99¢. It basically takes a lot of the symbolic manipulation features of GC and restyles them into an interface directed at doing calculation. There’s a full rundown of the features (and what’s missing in Graphing Calculator Lite) on Pacific Tech’s site.
I bought both.
10.4 began shipping Arizona Software’s “Curvus Pro X”, rebranded as “Grapher”, instead of Graphing Calculator. ↩
One of my favorite pieces of software of all time is Graphing Calculator, a calculator application which can plot graphs of 2D and 3D functions. It shipped free with Apple computers in the ’90s, and I spent an enormous amount of time playing with the thing, even though I didn’t have a major understanding of how it worked the majority of the time.
Bear in mind I was (and still am) a tremendous nerd.
In 2004, Ron Avitzur, the lead designer/programmer/etc. for Graphing Calculator, wrote up a long piece about development of the program.
I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.
I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.
Oh yes, Graphing Calculator was largely developed without pay by someone trespassing on Apple’s campus.
Wait, did I say “person”? Because I meant “people.”
I asked my friend Greg Robbins to help me. His contract in another division at Apple had just ended, so he told his manager that he would start reporting to me. She didn’t ask who I was and let him keep his office and badge. In turn, I told people that I was reporting to him.
In September, Apple Facilities tried to move people into our officially empty offices. They noticed us. The Facilities woman assumed that I had merely changed projects and had not yet moved to my new group, something that happened all the time. She asked what group I worked in, since it would be that group’s responsibility to find me space. When I told her the truth, she was not amused. She called Security, had them cancel our badges, and told us in no uncertain terms to leave the premises.
We were saved by the layoffs that began that month. Twenty percent of Apple’s fifteen thousand workers lost their jobs, but Greg and I were safe because we weren’t on the books in the first place and didn’t officially exist. Afterwards, there were plenty of empty offices. We found two and started sneaking into the building every day, waiting out in front for real employees to arrive and casually tailgating them through the door. Lots of people knew us and no one asked questions, since we wore our old badges as decoys.
Pixar films contain a complex, nuanced, philosophical and political essence that, when viewed across the company’s complete corpus, begins to emerge with some clarity.
Buried within that constant and complex goodness is a hidden message.
Now, this is not your standard “Disney movies hide double-entendres and sex imagery in every film” hidden message. “So,” you ask, incredulous, “What could one of the most beloved and respected teams of filmmakers in our generation possibly be hiding from us?” Before you dismiss my claim, consider what is at stake. Hundreds of millions of people have watched Pixar films. Many of those watchers are children who are forming their understanding of the world. The way in which an entire generation sees life and reality is being shaped, in part, by Pixar.
What if I told you they were preparing us for the future? What if I told you Pixar’s films will affect how we define the rights of millions, perhaps billions, in the coming century? Only by analyzing the collection as a whole can we see the subliminal concept being drilled into our collective mind. I have uncovered the skeleton key deciphering the hidden message contained within the Pixar canon. Let’s unlock it.
Kyle Munkittrick over at Discover Magazine's Science Not Fiction blog has vastly overanalyzed Pixar films.
Rupert Murdoch acted with characteristic ruthlessness by closing theNews of the World, Britain’s best-selling Sunday newspaper, in a desperate attempt to limit the political and commercial fallout from the phone-hacking affair engulfing his media empire.
Murdoch’s son James, who runs his UK titles, told the paper’s 200 staff that Sunday’s edition of the paper, which sells 2.6m copies a week, would be its last, ending the 168-year history of the title his father bought in 1969, a purchase that introduced him to the British public for the first time. The last News of the World will carry no commercial advertising.
Mark Lewis, the solicitor for Milly Dowler’s family, said: “People are losing their jobs in order to sacrifice themselves to save the real perpetrators … lots of good individuals have lost their jobs or will lose their jobs and the people who should have fallen on their swords are still there.”
On the one hand, I’m glad there’s action happening. On the other hand, sacking the entire company over the sins of an unidentified number of them doesn’t seem right at all.
The British justice system is getting involved in a way that doesn’t involve taking bribes, which is good. Amelia Hill in another piece for The Guardian:
Andy Coulson has been told by police that he will be arrested on Friday morning over suspicions that he knew about, or had direct involvement in, the hacking of mobile phones during his editorship of the News of the World.
The Guardian understands that a second arrest is also to be made in the next few days of a former senior journalist at the paper.
Coulson, who resigned as David Cameron's director of communications in January, was contacted on Thursday by detectives and asked to present himself at a police station in central London on Friday, where he will be told that he will be formally questioned under suspicion of involvement in hacking.
Nothing yet appears to be happening to Rebekah Brooks, who was an editor of News of the World while this was going down and is now an executive of Murdoch’s News International.
Media analysts said the decision to close the newspaper appears to be a strategy to smooth the way for Murdoch’s plan to buy the 60 percent or so of British Sky Broadcasting that his media empire does not already own. The U.K. government is expected to make its final decision on the proposed deal by September.
Gregory Katz of the AP wrote this piece which should be titled “Entire world shocked at hacking into slain girl’s phone”:
Britain’s voracious tabloids may have hit a new low: The News of the World was facing claims Tuesday that it hacked into a missing 13-year-old’s phone messages, possibly hampering a police inquiry into her disappearance.
Milly Dowler was found murdered months later, and the report that her messages were tampered with has horrified Britons. Major advertisers - including Ford UK - have pulled their ads from the paper.
While police were pursuing all leads and Milly’s parents were making dramatic appeals for information, a private investigator working for the News of the World allegedly hacked into her cell phone, listened to her messages and deleted some to make room for possible new ones.
Mark Lewis, a lawyer representing Milly’s parents, said Tuesday the suspected hacking may have hampered the police investigation and he plans to sue the tabloid for its interference.
It was never determined how long the teen was alive after being abducted but the tabloid’s actions reportedly came soon after her disappearance. Police realized some messages had been deleted, giving them and Milly’s parents false hope that she was still alive.
Katz and other AP writers Robert Barr, Danica Kirka, Meera Selva, David Stringer, and Cassandra Vinograd filed a follow-up report today:
The scandal, which has already touched the office of Prime Minister David Cameron, widened as the Metropolitan Police confirmed they were investigating evidence from News International that the tabloid made illegal payments to police officers in its quest for information.
The list of potential victims also grew. Revelations emerged Wednesday that the phones of relatives of people killed in the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks on London’s transit system, as well as those tied to two more slain schoolgirls, may also have been targeted.
The true extent of the hacking is not yet clear — and may not be known for months as inquiries unfold.
Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son David died in the 2005 terrorist attacks, was told by police that he was on a list of potential hacking victims.
This is nice, though:
Virgin Holidays canceled several ads due to run in the Sunday newspaper this week. Car makers Ford UK and Vauxhall and Halifax bank also said they have suspended advertising.
This week the photographer was identified in less than three hours, thanks to the collective expertise of online readers. He was Franz Krieger, who joined — and then quit — a Wehrmacht propaganda unit known as the Propagandakompanie. Seventy years ago this August, when he was in his mid-20s, the unit sent him on a tour of the Eastern Front.
There was little to go on in the album itself. No name was scribbled inside the front cover.
The first clue came from Harriet Scharnberg of Hamburg, Germany, who spotted the photographs online, identified them as Krieger’s and said they were taken during his trip to Minsk, in what is now Belarus, in 1941. On the way back to Berlin, she said, he took the pictures of Hitler meeting with Adm. Miklos Horthy, the regent of Hungary, in Marienburg (now Malbork, Poland).
Ms. Scharnberg said that in her research for a Ph.D. dissertation on German propaganda photographs depicting Jews, she had come across Peter F. Kramml’s 2008 book, “The Salzburg Press Photographer Franz Krieger (1914-1993): Photojournalism in the Shadow of Nazi Propaganda and War.”
Dr. Kramml all but confirmed that the photographs were Krieger’s when he sent The Times a copy of a Krieger self-portrait taken in a rear-view mirror. It was identical to one in the album.
There’s a lot to love about this story. The pictures are fantastic. Krieger’s story is compelling. The power of the internet is awe-inspiring. It’s just a great piece that ties the past and the present together.
Here’s a long look at the implementation and inception of the original Amiga version of Lemmings, written by one of the fellows who worked on it, Mike Dailly.
The level editor was built around the Deluxe Paint interface; a program everyone at DMA was very familiar with. It was incredibly easy to use, and being built directly into the game it allowed for a very quick turn around on level creation.Gary, myself and Scot were the ones that did the bulk of the levels, But Dave did manage to sneek a couple in as well; although it was probably because he told us too and we couldn’t really argue with him.
Having said that, it did take him ages to get any that were even worth while considering! He used to try and beat us, and after proudly stabbing a finger at the screen and saying “There! Beat that!”, we’d calmly point out a totally new way of getting around all his traps, and doing it in a much simpler method. “Oh…”, he’d mutter, and scramble off to try and fix it.
It’s also full of pictures that show off the game’s glorious art. It really doesn’t get any better than that Lemming walk cycle by Mike and Gary Timmons. To this day, it’s still a 7x10 masterpiece of pixel art.