February 11, 2011
After 40 years in development hell, the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged opens in theaters on April 15. Official site with trailer. (previously).
Amazon.com's state sales tax fight took a dramatic turn as plans were announced to close the online retailer's Irving, Texas distribution center by April 12. Amazon would not confirm the total number of employees who worked at the fulfillment center, but did announce plans to offer positions in other states to employees willing to relocate. Amazon blames the closure on Texas' "unfavorable regulatory climate." [more inside]
Tickets went on sale this morning for LCD Soundsytems purported last show at Madison Square Garden. The show sold out within seconds, and interestingly enough, few fans got tickets. Not to worry, because there are now endless tickets on StubHub, and if you hurry, it won't set you back more than $10,000 a ticket for general admission pit tickets. James Murphy isn't amused.
Cheating, Incorporated: The Infidelity Economy. "Looking to sneak around on your spouse? Got a little cash to spend? The CEO of Ashley Madison, a website whose own backers don't even want to be associated with, is happy to take your money." (Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
The External World. (nsfw)
Thirty years ago this week the song that arguably defined the eighties' drum sound was released. Phil Collins' debut solo album Face Value, released February 9, 1981, contained the opening track In The Air Tonight. [more inside]
Gaku Nakagawa was born in the temple Zuisenji, Kyoto in 1966. He studied Buddhist art at university and worked as a copywriter after graduation. He is also a monk of the Jyodousyu sect. Since 1996 he has worked as an illustrator, producing images that are described as informal yet truly sophisticated, if similar to some 1950's illustration. His work appears in Monocle's animated 50 Things to Improve the Way You Live (Flash interface), at the Welsh Assembly website: Your Assembly (6mb pdf), and elsewhere like the outside of Heartwood Cafe. He also illustrated a children's book, Ice Cream Once a Year. You can get some of his illustrations in a zip file.
Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.
Richard Sullivan has posted the 16mm color footage his father shot of the "spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender" on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki on August 14th, 1945.
Wetten Dass..? (Wanna Bet..?) is a long running German language television show where ordinary people are challenged to perform incredible stunts. While a celebrity panel looks on, someone might climb up a tower using a back-hoe. Or maybe someone could carve a pumpkin into a boat and paddle it across a lake. Many of the challenges involve people identifying things in strange ways. This girl identifies Lego Star Wars minifigs using only her mouth. This guy identifies varieties of canned sausage by tasting the juice. Other tasks show off unique physical talents, like this guy, who changes his clothes while running backwards on a treadmill, or these amazing people, who change a tire on a motorcycle while popping a wheelie on the SAME motorcycle. They don't always succeed, but it's almost always entertaining, and thanks to the official Wetten Dass..? YouTube channel you can see even more people doing crazy stuff. 63 more clips under the fold. [more inside]
It's cold outside... So where's the global warming? Should Donald Trump Run For President? [more inside]
Failure Magazine – no, not this – is a constantly updated gallery of articles focused on failure: of conceptions of history, eschatology, morality, acoustics and urban planning, among many other topics. [more inside]
Martin Amis hates children, ok, not children but children's literature. "People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book," Amis said, in a sideways excursion from a chat about John Self, the antihero of his 1984 novel Money. "I say, 'If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book', but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you're directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable." Remarks about children's books made by Martin Amis on the BBC's new book programme Faulks on Fiction, broadcast this week, have caused anger and offence among children's writers.
Hipsters! Feeling less unique now everyone has a fixie? Don't worry, $27,000 will guarantee you peace of mind. (via @lancearmstrong).
Nokia and Microsoft Corp announce a strategic partnership which will see Windows Mobile becoming the system of choice on all Nokia smartphones. While not entirely unexpected, this move appears to smack of desperation. Is it a clever marriage of convenience, or a shotgun wedding doomed to failure? Comments on the Nokia Developer's Forum suggest the latter.
What the Chinese Guy Said. Jia Wei is currently doing a six-month internship at Dawn, one of Pakistan's leading English dailies. This is his blog.