Beware of fans influencing the TV they love. And casual fans are being alienated by shows with devoted fans (spoilers for Sherlock).
Does Football have a Future?: Football players are anywhere from five to nineteen times more likely than a member of the general population to suffer from a dementia-like illness. This is likely a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (picture), neurodegeneration caused by receiving multiple concussions or even subconcussions that are not detectable around time of impact. CTE has been linked to other mood and behavior changes, including suicidal depression (a great review of the medical literature generally), and has been found in football players as young as 21. And, of course, there is the sometimes debilitating physical disability (either acutely or later in life) from playing a hard-contact sport. The NFL has a long history of adjusting safety standards in bits and pieces (e.g., legalization of the forward pass) to meet public concern over potential injury and disability from playing the sport, though still to some degree publicly denies a connection between football and brain damage. New Yorker writer Ben McGrath talks to football players (past and present), their families (often left behind by untimely death or dementia-twilight), franchise heads, and doctors to explore this history, the crushing legacy of sports injuries, and the question of whether it is possible to reform the rules to minimize the risk of concussion and thus the risk of CTE (if any such risk is acceptable). Would it still be football if such changes were to tone down the violence? (Yes, No [from iconoclast Buzz Bissinger]) And, uncomfortably: is the sport of football unethical for its players, even if entered into on their own volition? (previously in the New Yorker; previously on MetaFilter 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
Bruce McDonald, respected Canadian indie director, announced his plans last week to make not one, not two, but three sequels to his low-budget 1996 cult favorite Hard Core Logo, essentially turning it into a franchise. Hard core fans will no doubt hope that the films are either great enough to live up to the original, or that it's all a publicity stunt timed for the TIFF premiere of his new film Pontypool, a horror flick about zombies who spread infection through conversation. [more inside]
There Ultimate Standings. ESPN has done a ranking of the relative value of each major U.S. sports franchise not in terms of mere victories, or championships, or even felony convictions, but in terms of how much value (as calculated here) each franchise is providing its fans. Stunned to see perrennial winners such as the Yankees & Lakers pushed down to the 20s, while small market teams like Green Bay, San Antonio & Sacramento dominate. Clearly life IS better in the small towns, at least for sports fans. Here's a more in depth explanation of what it all means.
McDonalds will be a franchise in The Sims Online computer game. Will my Sim character get fat if he eats at a Sim McDonalds? I guess we'll need Sim lawyers to help us out on that one.