Music Sundays: San E, Raina (산이, 레이나) – A midsummer night’s sweetness (한여름밤의 꿀)

Super duper cute music video and song by rapper San E and singer Raina.

Advertisements

Links: July 18-24

Drone Pictures: Best Aerials Recognized in New Contest (National Geographic)

Netflix says ‘no rules’ would be better than FCC’s net neutrality proposal: Netflix filed a comment with the FCC yesterday strongly condemning the commission’s new net neutrality proposal, which would allow internet service providers to offer so-called “fast lanes” to companies that can afford them. “No rules would be better than rules legalizing discrimination on the internet,” Netflix writes in a lengthy reply to the FCC. Netflix argues that the new rules will turn the goal of an open internet “on its head,” making the internet look more like the convoluted and stagnating cable TV landscape than the innovative and quickly developing platform that we’ve come to see the internet as. (The Verge)

Yes, Facebook is sucking your soul: Once again, social science has done what it so often does: Proven that which we already knew deep in our souls.  In this case, it’s that Facebook is bad for us. (Marketplace)

Intimate Photos Of How People Eat In New York City: Photographer Miho Aikawa explores how the evening meal is evolving in two of the world’s biggest cities. (Fast Company/Co.Design)

The Downing of MH17: A New Precedent for the World’s Battlefields: What the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet says about the military role of non-state actors (The Atlantic)

With jet crash, news media again weigh where to draw the line on graphic photos: As news about the Malaysia Airlines jet crash began breaking Thursday, the Reuters news service tweeted what it described as the first photo from the scene in Ukraine. The image was ghastly: It showed a man hosing down the shattered, still-smoldering remains of a plane that just moments before had carried 298 people. (Washington Post)

A guide to winning the customer service cancellation phone battle: If you want to cancel your account, you must prepare to be (occasionally) nasty. (Ars Technica) Note: I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it’s interesting nonetheless. As are some of the comments. 

Ars editor learns feds have his old IP addresses, full credit card numbers: FOIA request turns up 9 years of records, including plaintext credit card numbers.  (Ars Technica)

Japan’s vending machines: a shopping spree (engadget)

Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind: Even if you aren’t one of those people worried about media consolidation — there are many in that number — the big bolt of lightning last week that pierced a summer of ennui in entertainment and publishing news was hard to resist. (New York Times)

Hong Kong: Hong Kong is an unbelievably beautiful city and it makes you willing to come back. People there are kind and responsive. You feel respected no matter if you are local or a foreigner. Moreover, the main thing for me is that I never get bored there. The rhythm of life is comparable to Moscow. However, unlike Moscow, Hong Kong only retained the best of it. (ontheroofs) Note: These pictures are truly amazing.

From On the Media:

The End of the Gun Report: The Gun Report was a New York Times blog that chronicled daily shootings across the country in an effort to highlight victims of gun violence between mass shootings.

The Kiss That Saved The Sims: The Sims is one of the most popular video games of all time. But the game came very close to never being released. Bob talks with journalist Simon Parkin about how an unplanned kiss between two Sims characters at a gamer conference created enough buzz to launch the game.

Gaymes: Only a handful of mainstream video games feature gay characters. Bob talks with Samantha Leigh Allen, a transgender writer and academic, about some of the commercially successful games to include LBGT identities.

From NPR:

The Opposite Of Schadenfreude: Vicarious Embarrassment: Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman says he suffers from vicarious embarrassment, and can’t watch cringe-inducing viral videos.

Watch Out For That Butterfly: The Lure Of Literary Time Travel

People Share Moon Landing Memories On YouTube Channel: Sunday is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Buzz Aldrin about his new YouTube channel, where anyone can share memories from the historic day.

 

Movie Review: Snowpiercer

Warning: vague spoilers for the movie, though the links at the end have far more spoilers than my mini-review.

A few weekends ago, H and I went to see a movie I’d been waiting to see for a long time (as in, the earliest mention of it in my email was April of 2013, so I’ve been waiting over a year): Snowpiercer. I love science fiction films and I’d watched director Bong Joon Ho’s classic Memories of Murder (highly recommended, by the way) and loved it. Plus, a dystopian movie starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Tilda Swinton? I needed this movie. Little did I know that it would be a year and three months before I could see it.

I suffered through the battle between the director and Harvey Weinstein. He wanted to cut 20 minutes out of the film (as he did with The Grandmaster, which didn’t suffer as much as it could’ve, though I still knew what was cut). And when you see the movie, you wonder what he could’ve cut and what kind of movie that would’ve been. And then you’re grateful that we’ll never know. Eventually Weinstein relented, doing the film a disservice by giving it a limited release (NY and LA) and then a wider release (larger cities/art houses) before allowing it to be VOD and in 300+ theaters. I’m just happy it made it here at all, to be frank.

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer

Yes, I could’ve downloaded it illegally. And, on numerous occasions, I debated buying it on DVD (either the Hong Kong or Korean editions, but came with the needed English subtitles). But I really just wanted it to come out on DVD. Then I saw it was coming out the weekend H and I were going to Chicago — perfect! Except it wasn’t playing in Chicago. And then I found out it was going to be at The State in Ann Arbor (where H and I had previously seen A Touch of Sin, another amazing movie and also highly recommended). I asked and she agreed to go. But then, lo and behold, Snowpiercer got a wider release.

Instead of driving an hour (give or take) to sit in uncomfortable seats, we got to see it in a theater in the mall between our homes. It was worth the wait (I shouldn’t’ve have had to wait, but that’s a different story). Snowpiercer is loosely based on a French graphic novel (two volumes, one of which I own and haven’t read yet — on purpose) of the same name (Le Transperceneige in French). It’s the story of a train. In a post-apocalyptic world (of our own making), the train must circle the globe in order to keep the people on board alive. At least that’s what we’re meant to believe.

Bong Joon Ho makes us believe a lot of things and that’s part of what makes Snowpiercer so good. It’s what he doesn’t tell us that makes Snowpiercer a great movie. I’ve heard it been called a lot of things, many negative: overly violent, unsettling, disturbing, upsetting and akin to a horror film. It was none of these things to me (or H, really). Perhaps it’s because we’ve seen so many movies that are all of those things. Or maybe it’s because I’ve read so much dystopia that I forgot other genres exist. Or maybe we just went into the movie knowing what we were getting into. Regardless, the movie is those things to other people, just not to me (or H).

Our story follows Chris Evans’ character as our reluctant hero. He has secrets, all of our characters have secrets — hell, the train itself has secrets. This movie is about secrets — but it’s more than that. It is, of course, a movie about class, an examination of our society (the 99% at the back of the train and the 1% at the front of the train). And it’s not without flaws, but even the best movies are flawed.

Yes, there is violence. This is not a fluffly dystopia or a kids movie. Yes, it’s scary if you’re not used to this type of thing (which I’m assuming most of the US movie going public isn’t). There are upsetting, unsettling and disturbing things in the movie. But it’s all worth it because Snowpiercer is the kind of action movie Hollywood thinks we don’t deserve. They want us to believe that it’s too good for us, too smart for us. But it’s not. We’re all smart enough to understand the movie; on one or all of the many levels. And that’s why you need to go see it. It’s okay to cover your eyes if it gets bad (though it’s got nothing on The Raid and The Raid 2, which are two of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen, but really good, though I can only recommend them with caveats). But you should see it, even if it’s only on the small screen (though, like the new Godzilla movie, Snowpiercer is best seen in the theater).

And now that I’ve said my piece, here are a ton of links about the movie.

“Snowpiercer” Should Have Been The Breakout Blockbuster Of The Summer:  Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian masterpiece ought to be the film that everyone’s talking about this summer, just like Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975. So what went wrong? Warning: Spoilers for Snowpiercer ahead. (Buzzfeed)

26 Reasons “Snowpiercer” Is The Best Movie You’ve Never Seen: In pictures/gifts and with some spoilers. (Buzzfeed)

The Snowpiercearound: The Grantland staff is currently a little obsessed with Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, a should-be U.S. blockbuster currently relegated to VOD and a handful of theaters across the country. (It’s already made more than $80 million internationally, so no need to worry about it.) It’s a weird, thoroughly entertaining piece of sci-fi action, that left us with more to chew on than a freshly milled batch of protein blocks.  WARNING: BIG SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it right now, then come back here and climb aboard our hurtling apocalypse train. (Grantland)

Snowpiercer review: Train ride through Bong Joon-Ho’s icy apocalypse is one ticket worth buying  (Sydney Morning Herald)

In ‘Snowpiercer,’ A Never-Ending Train Ride And A Society Badly Off Track: The movie itself is uniquely international: Snowpiercer is based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. It’s directed by a Korean auteur and stars Hollywood A-listers including Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris. The movie opened in South Korea last summer. Since then it has played all over the world, and certain Americans have been wildly impatient for Snowpiercer to open here. (NPR)

The Satisfying Chill Of The Audacious ‘Snowpiercer‘: Idea-heavy science fiction hasn’t exactly been burning up the box office lately with films like Edge of Tomorrow and Transcendence. Snowpiercer‘s limited release isn’t going to do much to change that, but this is exactly the sort of ambitious, audacious and uncompromising filmmaking that deserves to be seen. (NPR)

Sci-fi movie Snowpiercer is one of the most political films of the year: So long as the system exists as it is, those who seek to change it are doomed to become chewed up by it. You can say you want to do something about income inequality, but the only thing that will really change it, in Bong’s view, is exploding the order as it exists and embarking upon something new entirely, even if that something new leads to certain death.  (VOX)

Snowpiercer: Snowpiercer succeeds where last year’s Elysium fell short. Projecting the problems of today into a science-fiction tomorrow, it also ties them to a compelling story that keeps shifting under its characters’ feet. (The Dissolve)

Snowpiercer: A Bleak Allegory About Climate Change and Income Inequality—Set on a Train!: Snowpiercer is its own strange, special thing, a movie that seems to have been sent back to us from some distant alternate future where grandiose summer action movies can also be lovingly crafted, thematically ambitious works of art. Let’s keep pushing ahead, one train car at a time, until we get there. (Slate)

 SNOWPIERCER Movie Review: An Incendiary Masterpiece: Bong Joon-Ho’s English-language debut is an exciting, inventive and brilliant masterwork of agitprop scifi. (Badass Digest)

In ‘Snowpiercer,’ bureaucracy is the real monster: But while Bong Joon-ho’s movie is certainly political, in that it is concerned with policy decisions and their outcomes as well as power and bureaucracy, I am not sure that it is in any way straightforwardly progressive. Rather, it draws ideas from many traditions and current controversies. If there is a real enemy here, it is the mindless worship of a preexisting order. (Washington Post)

 Train in Vain: How ‘Snowpiercer’ Became the Summer’s Coolest Movie: South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi epic fought its way to American screens — and beats Hollywood blockbusters at their own adrenaline-rush game  (Rolling Stone)

Hurtling along in Bong Joon-ho’s train movie ‘Snowpiercer’: But the real engineer is Bong, and though there are bumps along the way, he knows how to drive this train. (LA Times)

‘Snowpiercer’ director Bong Joon-ho conducts the sci-fi train his way: With “Snowpiercer” Bong has continued his genre cross-pollinations, making a politically minded action movie that deals with real-world issues in a fantastic setting on a scale that is both personal and epic. (LA Times)

Why “Snowpiercer” Director Bong Joon-Ho Should Be Your New Favorite Filmmaker: Chris Evans’ new movie is the English-language debut of Korean director Bong Joon-ho. But it’s worth braving subtitles for the the filmmaker’s earlier work too. (Buzzfeed)

Chris Evans Proves He’s More Than Captain America In “Snowpiercer”:  The superhero franchise star shows off his dramatic chops in a dystopian story about humanity’s desperate attempts to survive a sudden ice age. (Buzzfeed) Note: Less about Evans than I expected, but an interesting read.

Go see the movie. Please go see the movie. We need more films like it.

Spend Your Summer With Some Books!

Originally posted on Monday, 21 July 2014 at ROPL.org.

Are you looking for something to read while you’re at the beach in the sun or maybe sitting in the backyard, sipping some lemonade? Or maybe curled up in front of the AC. Wherever you plan to read this summer, we’ve got some teen titles for you. The following are a selection of summer-themed books, ranging from light romances to something a little darker.

Check out the display in the library for these, and other, summer reads! Click on the book cover for more information about each title.

Music Sundays: 윤하 (Younha) – 우산 (Umbrella) MV (with bonus Epik High)

I’m a really big fan of Younha (I posted another one of her songs on here before) and I was happy to hear her come out with a new song. Except it wasn’t a new song. It was originally a collab between Epik High and Younha (the second video is the original).

Younha’s version:

 

The Epik High version (with Younha):

Sports Links

A collection of sports related links that I’ve come across recently.

Positive Evolution: ESPN’s World Cup coverage has come a long way. (Sports on Earth)

Op-ed: E-sports cannot fight segregation with segregation: The reversal of one “men-only” tourney isn’t enough to save e-sports. (Ars Technica)

Ji Cheng battles away in the Tour de France:  Chinese star is surviving so far in world’s most famous race but it gets more gruelling from now (South China Morning Post)

A Sociological History of Soccer Violence: How social and cultural rifts manifest themselves through sports—especially when fans identify intensely with their team (The Atlantic)

The Plight of Lionel Messi: The Argentinian star is one of soccer’s greats. But he just narrowly missed out on an opportunity to cement his legacy and prove skeptical countrymen wrong. (The Atlantic)

Lionel Messi Is Sad (Slate)

The Older, Wiser LeBron James: His essay announcing his return to Cleveland seems designed to signal that he’s not the same guy who enraged the nation with The Decision. (The Atlantic)

With Germany’s win Microsoft perfectly predicted the World Cup’s knockout round (Quartz)

 “Then one of our glitter terrorists fired his gun”: The World Cup’s wild, naked anti-government protests Artists and LGBT activists are protesting FIFA in a carnival of costumes and graffiti (Salon)

Epic Soccer-Like Battles of History: Here’s our martial World Cup wrap-up — where the beautiful game is just war by other means. (Foreign Policy)

Details of Alberto Contador’s Tour-ending crash: Alberto Contador stood on the wet grass, blood pouring out of a deep cut to his right knee. Photographers swirled around him, the race doctor attended to his injuries. He motioned to his mechanic, a hint of frustration etched across his face. He sat down, dejected, and changed out his left shoe, its buckle smashed to pieces. (Velonews)

‘It’s Like Jail Here’: Watching the World Cup finals in the labor camps of Qatar. (Foreign Policy)

Links: July 12-17

A whole host of links covering everything from China to Vicks VapoRub (no, really). Look forward to a sports-only links post later in the week.

When You’re Poor, Money Is Expensive: For tens of millions of Americans without a bank account, paying a bill isn’t just an odyssey. It’s a part-time job.  (The Atlantic)

Tangled Web of Memories Lingers After a Breakup: The last thing I remember was the tears running in rivulets down my cheek as I confirmed that, yes, I did want to delete the picture on my Facebook page.  Several hours later, I, grossly hung over, was awoken by a flash flood of the rising sun through my hotel room. My face looked like Bubble Wrap after I fell asleep (likely with a thud) on the carpeted floor. And a bottle of whiskey, now empty, lay stranded amid a ruin of scrunched tissues, dried from my tears and snot, which sat in a makeshift shrine around me.  For a moment, as I started to piece together where I was, how I got there and what had happened the night before, I looked over at my laptop, which was clammed-open on the floor, and I felt sick to my stomach, not from the hangover but even worse, from what might be waiting to greet me on the Internet. (New York Times)

Naked selfies extracted from ‘factory reset’ phones: Thousands of pictures including “naked selfies” have been extracted from factory-wiped phones by a Czech Republic-based security firm. (BBC)

Why Google’s Waze Is Trading User Data With Local Governments: In Rio de Janeiro most eyes are on the final, nail-biting matches of the World Cup. Over in the command center of the city’s department of transport though, they’re on a different set of screens altogether.  Planners there are watching the aggregated data feeds of thousands of smartphones being walked or driven around a city, thanks to two popular travel apps, Waze and Moovit.  The goal is traffic management, and it involves swapping data for data. More cities are lining up to get access, and while the data the apps are sharing is all anonymous for now, identifying details could get more specific if cities like what they see, and people become more comfortable with being monitored through their smartphones in return for incentives. (Forbes)

Vicks VapoRub and Me: How the nostril-stinging salve helps me overcome chronic olfactory sensitivity, an Object Lesson (The Atlantic)

Getting Fired for a FOIA: A Chicago crime reporter, cold cases and more. (On The Media)

A New Narrative on Israel-Palestine: The latest surge of violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel was fueled by a horrific series of events involving Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. Brooke talks with Philip Weiss, co-editor of Mondoweiss, about coverage of these recent events, and how the view of the conflict is shifting in the media. (On The Media)

Behind the Border Crisis: For the past few weeks the media have been reporting on a surge in unaccompanied minors who are crossing the border illegally, bringing attention to the latest immigration crisis. But the reality of the situation is far more complicated. Brooke talks with reporter Bob Ortega about what’s really happening on the border. (On The Media)

George Clooney Is Right About the Daily Mail: The world’s most popular online newspaper does not deserve to be taken seriously. (Slate)

Watch: Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera: A sneaky octopus tried to literally steal the show when he recently took apart a camera off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. (National Geographic)

Nature’s Most Perfect Killing Machine: Ebola is nightmare fuel: a biological doomsday device conspiring with our bodies to murder us in uniquely gruesome fashion. It’s also killed fewer than 2,000 people. How has a virus with such a modest body count so fiercely captured the darkest corners of our imagination? (Hazlitt/Random House)

A moth, a fern, a feline: a species name story (Lyman Entomological Museum)

What Will America Look Like in 2024? 25 charts that show what the nation expects over the next 10 years (The Atlantic)

Sandra Fluke: The Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women: How is birth control different from blood transfusions and vaccines? It’s not. (Washington Post)

In Hong Kong, a Potent Visual Echo of Tiananmen: Cecilia Ng was born seven years after the Goddess of Democracy statue in Tiananmen Square was destroyed during the bloody 1989 suppression of student-led protests. A quarter-century after the crackdown in Beijing, she and 10 of her friends made a smaller replica of the statue that on Tuesday was planted in the middle of one of central Hong Kong’s busiest streets. (Sinosphere/NYT)

Data Doppelgängers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization: Why customized ads are so creepy, even when they miss their target (The Atlantic)

Understanding Facebook’s Lost Generation of Teens: The social network’s struggle to woo kids isn’t because it’s also their parents’ favorite social network (Fast Company)

How’s My Driving?: Car insurance companies want to track your every move—and you’re going to let them. (Quartz)

The Brilliant Machine That Could Finally Fix Airport Security: That machine is the Qylatron Entry Experience Solution, and it could soon replace a crappy experience of going through security checks at airports and other venues with one that’s faster and less invasive. Instead of having a human poke around in your bag, the machine scans it for a variety of threats in just a few seconds. Searching those Aussies and other soccer fans may prove to be a watershed moment for the system, a successful test of how well it can spot trouble and move people through security, efficiently and with their dignity intact. (Wired)

Spies Like Us: Is it because they know us so little — or because they know us too well — that the Americans can’t stop spying on us Germans? (New York Times)