Movie Review: Speed (1994)

Spoilers for the whole movie (though if you haven’t seen it …)

source unkown

(source: unknown)

The other day, while looking through my DVDs for something else, I discovered that I owned a copy of Speed on DVD. I was on the phone with my sister at the time and she got to witness my glee upon discovering I owned the movie. And then, of course, I had to watch it. Sadly, I started the movie with about 30 minutes until I had to leave for work, so it was split up by about 8 and a half hours, but that’s beside the point.

What happened was I watched up through the section where they’re getting awards for saving the people in the elevator. The main things I observed for this first 30 minutes or so of the film were as follows:

  • Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels are both REALLY young.
  • Keanus Reeves is surprisingly hot.
  • Joe Morton looked really familiar and then I realized played Henry on Eureka and everything made sense.
  • Even though I know what happens, and can quote some of the lines, I found the elevator stuff really tense — even now, over 20 years later.
  • Dennis Hopper is great at being a bad guy.
  • Keanu Reeves is really hot.
  • Keanu and Jeff’s character’s friendships reminded me of Steve and Danny from Hawaii Five-0 and John and Rodney from Stargate: Atlantis (Keanu’s character is Jack and Jeff’s character is Harry).
  • I really identify with the character Bob (who pushes the button — “What button did you push, Bob?”).
  • Did I mention Keanu Reeves is hot?

I know, right? But honestly, I think that at age 16, when I saw Speed, I didn’t really appreciate just how attractive Keanu was. Now, though, as an adult, I can very, very much appreciate it. Now, uh, back to the movie review.

I got home from work and put on the rest of the movie. I’ve seen this so many times that I basically know it by heart, but I realized, somewhere in the middle of their time on the bus, that I hadn’t seen it on DVD in a very, very long time. I realized this because none of the swearing was bleeped out and that surprised me until I remembered I wasn’t watching it on TV and instead DVD.

A GIF of that moment after Keanu Reeves shoots Jeff Daniels (“shoot the hostage”) in Speed. (source: bobbyfinger @ tumblr

A GIF of that moment after Keanu Reeves shoots Jeff Daniels (“shoot the hostage”) in Speed. (source: bobbyfinger @ tumblr

To be honest, not everything holds up well. The ridiculous parts, the bus jumping over the broken highway is nuts and now that I know that it’s impossible, it’s a bit funny compared to when it was in theaters. And, of course, the fact that their subway track isn’t finished in the end is also just too much. But none of that matters. The tension is still there — when the bus driver gets shot, it’s upsetting in the right ways and the same with Helen stepping off and being run over (though we don’t see it) when part of the bus blows up early.

I really like the friendship between Jack and Harry and it made me unhappy with Harry died. Necessary to the story, of course, but also sad. Which brings me to another point or rather, person. Sandra Bullock (oh my god, so young, too!) plays Annie and the incidental love interest of Jack. Now, if Speed were made today, Annie never would’ve been the one at the wheel nor would her character have taken the bus because she had her license suspended. Instead, Annie would’ve been on the bus because her car was in the shop and Jack or another male character would’ve been driving the bus instead.

(source: unknown)

But, of course, that’s not what happened. Instead, we get (and god, this is such a great thing that I never realized until watching this movie in 2015) a pretty kickass lady character. Annie doesn’t let anyone get away with anything. She adheres to the rules of the bus, she tries to save Helen, she bitches Jack out when he doesn’t tell her (or the passengers) shit. And she drives this big ass bus – which she’s never driven before. And then, at the end, after Jack tries everything to save her (she doesn’t even blame him for getting her into this mess, even though it’s sort of his fault), she tells him to leave. She says she’d rather sacrifice herself than him, too. And when he won’t leave, when he wraps his arms around her, she just cries. The amazement in her voice when she tells him he stayed is awesome.

Annie is an amazing character. Her dialogue is witty and funny, she’s smart and entertaining and she is the perfect foil for Jack’s stoic badassness. Although, of course, we know Jack is all cop, we know there’s more to him. He’s got a heart, we get that when he saves the woman in the elevator, when he shoots Harry to save his life, when his bus driver friend and then Harry are both killed. We know he cares — and we can see it when he doesn’t leave Annie to die alone.

There’s surprisingly a lot going on this this movie. Most of the people on the bus are people of color. Jack learns both their names and to trust them. And they, too, learn to trust him and each other. They know that if they don’t work together, they won’t survive. And, of course, they trust Annie to drive the bus for them.

I was really pleased with how much I enjoyed this movie, even though it’s 21 years old now. The special effects are pretty good, Keanu’s pretty to look at (so is Sandra, really), and the movie is just so damn entertaining. Plus, now that I’m older, I can appreciate so much more (like how it’s obvious now that there’s no way Dennis Hopper’s character died — if you look at the door, you can see he set charges all around the outside of it so that it would look like he had died even though he hadn’t, but everyone would just assume he’d died).

If you haven’t ever seen Speed, what are you waiting for? If you saw it in 1994 (or more recently), rewatch it. It’s fun. You won’t regret it.

(source: shardwick @ tumblr)

The Wednesday Four (04/15/15)

More links!

  • Isabella Karle’s Curious Crystal Method What neighbors in a quiet D.C. suburb might not know is that the silver-haired gardening grandmother next door is perhaps one of the greatest—if largely unknown—scientists of her generation. (Narratively)
  • The Dim Sum Revolution How a brigade of kitchen workers got back what had been stolen from them, and then some. (San Francisco Magazine/Modern Luxury)
  • Furiouser and Furiouser Furious 7, the latest installment of America’s beloved gearhead saga, offers the same excess of thrills and explosive charm as its predecessors. (The Atlantic)

By the time this post goes up we all will have hopefully watched Furious 7 and while the review doesn’t really have spoilers, it might ruin the sheen of the previous movies if you’ve never watched them. I, of course, love them.  And at some point (maybe even before this post goes live) I will write about why I love them.

Falling in Love with Robots

Notes: There are spoilers for basically everything I mention in here, but if you haven’t watched Big Hero 6, you may want to skip that section, which is toward the end.

In college, we had to do a big senior thesis project and I did mine on what it means to be human — if you’re not actually human. Among other media, I wrote about Blade Runner and Marge Piercy’s novel, He She & It and in both of those novels, there are characters who fall in love with robots (androids/etc) and I find this to be endlessly interesting. I’m not exactly sure why, but I seem drawn to this theme. I’ve written a couple of short stories along these themes and somehow end up reading/watching shows with this same theme.

A year or so (maybe more?) ago I watched a good (though not great) Japanese drama called Q10. Takeru Sato plays a teenager who falls in love with a robot-girl named Q10. I actually really loved the show up until the end (which was really dumb, but if you want to watch it, I recommend the show). I like the idea that in spite of the fact that Q10 isn’t actually human (as in flesh and blood), Takeru Sato’s character still falls in love with her. The same applies to the main character of He She & It (which everyone should read). The novel takes place in a far flung future where Shira falls in love with an android named Yod. But, like most of these stories, the love cannot ever really be. This is also true for Deckard in Blade Runner (the movie — the novel is a different issue).

Loving robots is never easy or acceptable — unless the universe you create makes it so. The friend who recommended Death Note to me also recommended a lovely manga series named Chobits which is about a young man who falls in love with Chi, an android. I really loved this series, so I’m not sure if my review can be unbiased (though is it supposed to be?) because I think that as soon as I knew what the story was about, I was going to like it. While Chobits is about more than just Hideki and Chi’s friendship and eventual relationship, it’s really central to the storyline. Like He She & It, there are two stories within the manga. In Piercy’s novel, Shira’s grandmother  (one of Yod’s creator) is telling Yod the story of the golem of the Warsaw ghetto as a parallel to his existence in Shira’s world. In Chobits, one of Chi’s creators is telling Chi’s story to her in the guise of a children’s book.

I find these parallels compelling for two reasons, one because creators take an interest in their creation — you see this in Blade Runner and, a little bit, at the end of Q10 (when you find out why the robot exists). But also because it gives the androids history and background, perhaps not of their creation, but a history that they can relate to. Yod’s not made of mud and Chi cannot remember her life before Hideki found her, but the stories they’re told define them all the same.

But as much as I love these stories about humans falling in love with robots/androids, it does ruin me for other things. For example, a few weeks ago I watched Big Hero 6 and when I should’ve loved it, I didn’t like it at all. There’s nothing wrong with the movie, not really, but instead I disliked the way the movie treated Baymax at the end of the movie. One of the things talked about in Chobits is the idea that the androids in that world can be reset and there’s character who fell in love with an android and she basically dies. Her husband (they were married), instead of having her reset, decides to treat her like you would a human and allows her to die without coming back. He doesn’t care that she could, in theory, have had all of their shared memories because he’d know she wasn’t the same. Hideki, toward the end of the series, has to decide if he really loves Chi and he has this same through process.

How does this relate to Big Hero 6i? Well, at the end of the movie Baymax sacrifices himself to save people’s live, including our main character, Hiro. It was clear that Hiro loved Baymax (who belonged to Hiro’s late, beloved brother) as if he was a real person (as far as a cartoon aimed at kids can go with that theme) and so when Baymax died, I was really, really upset. Even though I knew he probably wasn’t going to stay dead — and he doesn’t. In fact, we see that he passes along his chip full of memories to Hiro so that he doesn’t even die at all. Except to me, I felt cheated. You killed off this character who was an important character and who had developed into something of a person. Why kill him off at all? I know that I read too much into it and I shouldn’t care, but it’s hard not to when there’s this whole genre out there that I adore so much.

That being said, Big Hero 6 isn’t bad and everyone should watch it. I just hated it for very personal reasons.

And, with that, I’ll take any recommendations for people falling in love with robots/androids novels! And maybe one day I’ll finish reading David Levy’s book Love + Sex with Robots.

Movie Review: Furious 7

Note: This is your spoiler warning. I’m probably not going to hold anything back, so if you haven’t seen the movie and want to remain spoiler-free, stop reading now.
Furious 7

I’ve written previously about my love of the Fast and Furious franchise of movies and, with few reservations, the latest offering lives up to my expectations. Actually, it kind of exceeded them. I talked a bit about this on Episode 21 of Pale Blue Geek, but I want to go into a bit more depth.

I read a spoiler-free discussion of Furious 7 before I saw the movie and was aware, maybe to my detriment, that the cinematography was going to be a bit different than the other movies. Unfortunately, this was correct and my only real complaint about the movie was that some of the scenes, especially early on and during a later fight between Vin Diesel and Jason Statham, made me feel a bit ill. Not that they were gross or anything, but the camera work was a bit too much for me. I think that when I watch it again on a TV screen, it will have less of an impact. I am not a fan of the shaky cam at all and while it wasn’t really shaking all that much, there was so much movement that I had to look away a few times. But it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the film, which was nice.

I do have one other complaint, which Amanda mentioned on the podcast. It is, to me, very minor and not even really a complaint. A lot of the dialogue was really cheesy, obviously some of it was cheesy on purpose and this was fine. Some of it was cheesy, possibly not on purpose and this was, well, also okay. I don’t mind giving the dialogue a pass — I do wish it could’ve been better (it should’ve been better, but the dialogue in Tokyo Drift was also very bad, so you know, it could’ve been worse), but I’m willing to forgive the movie it’s dialogue because, come on, it’s a F&F movie and all the important elements were still there.

Which leads us into the meat of this review. Honestly, I only have a few expectations for F&F movies — fast cars, things that make me laugh, explosions and family — lots of family. Furious 7 gave me all of these things — and then some awesomeness on top of that. The plot of the movie is simple enough — at the end of Furious 6 we find out who killed Han in Tokyo Drift, which is how Furious 7 starts. Jason Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw, is seeking revenge for the almost-killing of his little brother (the baddie from Furious 6). He shows up in Hobb’s office (Hobb is played by Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock) and there’s a really nice fight, but what Shaw discovers is Dom (Vin Diesel’s character) and his team. This starts him on a witchhunt to take down the F&F crew.

Bad things happen, Dom goes to Tokyo to bring Han home, we have cameos by the main Tokyo Drift kiddies (now adults, but still looking like the teenagers they were in Tokyo Drift. And then, somewhere along the way, Brian (the late Paul Walker) and Dom end up working for (and with) the government — the agent they work with isn’t Hobbs, he’s laid up in the hospital with his adorable daughter (we also have a nice cameo by Elsa Pataky’s Elena, who is still awesome and I wish she was in the movie more), instead it’s Kurt Russell, who is amusing and his own share of terrible lines.

There are handful of really good scenes between Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) which culminates in her leaving Dom, but Kurt Russell brings her back — because the team has to go being a heist movie. Their goal? To rescue a hacker, known only by the name Ramsey, and the computer program (think the Machine from Person of Interest), the hacker designed. The heist is pretty awesome and I won’t spoil that for you — but I will spoil the hacker for you. You see, when we (and Roman) think of hackers, we think of pasty white guys with nerdy glasses. But if there’s one thing you can trust about F&F it’s that they love to subvert stereotypes. Our hacker? IS A GIRL. SHE IS A GIRL and it is AMAZING. She’s snarky and brave and badass in her own hackery ways and she is SUPER fantastic. She’s played by British actress Nathalie Emmanuel and I love her SO MUCH.

So,they get Ramsey, but they don’t have the device she created and so they have to go to Abu Dhabi because of course they do. Stuff happens, fights happen (Letty gets to be awesome fighting other ladies YET AGAIN) and cars happen, because this is F&F of course. They get the device, they try to take down Shaw and fail (because of course he’s prepared, he’s not dumb). And it turns out that he’s teamed up with Tony Jaa* (Kiet) and Djimon Hounsou (Mose Jakande) who were Ramsey’s original kidnappers.

So now all the baddies are working together and so the crew decides to go back to the States and fight them on home turf. Drama happens. Things blow up. The good guys win and The Rock has a giant gun and I really wanted him to punch the drone, but he didn’t. And those are all the spoilers for the end of the movie because I have to leave something to the imagination.

That brings us to the very end of the film. Throughout the movie, you almost felt like Paul Walker’s Brian was going to die. That didn’t happen, some people think it would’ve been crass, I wouldn’t have minded. But what does happen is that Mia (Dom’s sister and Brian’s wife) is pregnant with the couple’s second child and they decide to give up racing/etc in favor of raising their family away from the violence of street racing/catching bad guys/etc. Obviously this isn’t the last of the F&F movies to be made, but it is the last for Paul Walker. So, after the lovely beach scene where the three is watching Brian, Mia and little Jack, we get a nice, long look at the faces of the crew. Everyone is really, really sad — because we’re leading into the tribute to the late Paul Walker.

Obviously I was already crying as soon as the beach scene started. It was heartbreaking (I was really upset when Paul Walker died in 2013, I can’t believe it’s been that long). So, at the end of the movie they had Dom drive off and then Brian catches up to him and is like, are you really going to leave without saying goodbye? And I’m sobbing so hard now, because of course I am. And then they drive off and we fade into clips of Brian in the previous movies and MY HEART HURTS, Y’ALL. It hurts. I cry too loud and I don’t care.

If you want to see gifs from the final scene, check out this link sent to me by my lovely dad.

For more on the new director of the movie, check out this link:

  • From Evil to Diesel: “Furious 7” Director James Wan on bringing insidious skills to an action franchise. (Fast Company/Co.Create)

So, what’s my verdict? Even if you haven’t seen any other F&F movies (which you should, if you haven’t), you can go see and totally enjoy Furious 7. It’s a fun ride (ha ha) and while the acting/etc isn’t the best, it’s hard to care about that. The end probably won’t impact you as much as those of us who’ve been watching from the beginning, but that’s okay, too. So, yes, GO SEE IT. What are you waiting for?

Furious 7

Furious 7

*Note about Tony Jaa. He’s Thai martial artist and while the rest of the fight scenes in F&F were enjoyable, his were magnificent. I really need to go watch more stuff with him in it because I really, REALLY loved watching him fight — especially since he spent most of his time fighting Brian (Paul Walker, a student double and/or his brother) who is not nearly as experienced. Imagine me swooning a tiny bit, okay?

The Wednesday Four (04/08/15)

Trying again to do links posts. Maybe this time it’ll work! Hopefully, every week, I’ll share four of the most interesting links I’ve run across. We’ll see how long it lasts. Also, keep your eyes on this blog, I’m going to try to use it more and more. Onto today’s links:

A note about the fourth link. I’m a huge fan of Bong Joon Ho’s flims (the only one most of you might’ve watched is Snowpiercer) but I would recommend any of the films he’s directed (except for Barking Dogs Never Bite, because I haven’t seen it). The Host is (or was) on Netflix, I think Mother might be on it, too. But if you can, I would highly, highly recommend Memories of Murder, it is excellent in every way.

The Fast and The Furious Franchise (or why Sarah loves these movies)

The Fast and The FuriousOver Easter/Passover weekend this year, my dad and I watched four of the seven F&F movies. Why? Well, because we could! Okay, that’s not entirely true. I can’t remember how the topic came up, but what I do know is that I read this link to my dad. It’s basically a girl who (like me) is trying to get her dad to give the F&F franchise a chance, which makes it even more fun that I read it to my dad. It must’ve worked, because on Thursday night (April 2) we sat down and watched The Fast and The Furious aka the first movie.It was really enjoyable, actually! And it’s been so long since I’ve watched all these movies, it was pretty great. But what made it even more fun was that I got to watch them with my dad, who’d never seen them before.

I made the executive decision that we would skip 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift (I’ll return to that one, though) in favor of all the Vin Diesel + Paul Walker movies. Which means we watched 1 and 4-6 and it was GLORIOUS. No, really. IT WAS. I cannot wait for Furious 7 (maybe sometime this week! hopefully!). But, the point at hand is why do I love these movies? You could go read that link above and that would explain a lot of it (most of it), but I want to add something.

You know, a lot of people grew up with the Harry Potter movies, they watched the kids grow up as they themselves did. And, in a way, that’s a tiny bit of how I feel about the F&F movies. Why? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because back in 2001 I was living at home, I’d graduated from undergrad the previous year and didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. And I basically saw all of these movies, most of them in the theater, as they came out. A friend of mine and I have gone to see a bunch of them, too. And every time they mention there’s going to be a new one, I get a little thrill.

When Paul Walker died, it was heartbreaking for me, as a fan (let’s not talk about how hard it hit the cast of the F&F movies), because I’d fallen in love with the found family of the F&F franchise. I liked these characters and their ridiculous and totally unrealistic antics. But at the same time the thing that binds them together — that makes these movies work even though they aren’t grounded in reality, is the whole theme of family — found family as the movies (and that link) explicit show us. The main characters of F&F are diverse in every way and they are all amazing and work together in such a fantastic way that they just make you root for them, even when they’re stealing cars and getting into fights.

Note: Spoilers for all the movies (except 7) in this paragraph. You can skip to the next one.

And so when we lose Letty in four (ignoring that she’s not really dead), it SUCKS. We lose Han in 3, but it doesn’t hurt as much as it will. Why? Because Han’s in 4-6. He’s THERE. He’s alive and he’s amazing. But in six he loses Gisele and that is awful and then we get that scene in the credits, which is “from” Tokyo Drift where we find out who and why Han was killed, it is equally terrible. Because we’ve grown to care for both Han and Gisele. Hey, at least Gisele wasn’t fridged, so we can be thankful of that fact. But it still sucks.

Note: End of spoilers.

I don’t know how they’re going to deal with Paul Walker’s death — I heard that they do a good job (there’s a link in next week’s post that talks a bit about it and maybe I’ll review the movie after I see it) and that’s all I can ask. It’s going to be hard — it was hard watching the first movie, to be honest, knowing that he’s dead. Actually, it was hard watching all of them know that Brian’s not going to be around for the ones after 7. That being said, if 7 is as enjoyable as people seem to think (at least so far) then I want more of them. Fast and Furious 6/Furious 6

I love the F&F franchise and why not? It’s big on everything I love (in an odd way, similar to all those John Woo movies I love: bromance, hijinks and two gun action, with the added bonus of totally awesome ladies). If you think the F&F movies are just dumb, bro-y, car movies, you’re wrong. Sure, they’ve got the scantily clad ladies and the big cars. But they also have ladies who are awesome, a SUPER diverse cast (who are also awesome) and a focus on what’s important — family. What’s not to love?

Go see the movies. Don’t be ashamed. You should love them as much as I do. They’ve got something for everyone. I promise. Also, where else can you see Vin Diesel and The Rock sharing the same screen and being bromancey? No where else. It’s worth it, just for the two of them (The Rock shows up in Fast Five). Go forth and enjoy!

Links: 7/25 – 8/01

Sometimes the real world isn’t a very nice place to be. But there are some nicer things in here, like the costumes of Wong Kar Wai movies, tiny corporate logos and a Godzilla sequel in the works.

In my entire career, I’ve never seen a worse week of international violence: It’s been a week from hell. +  In 15 years of covering conflict around the world, I can’t recall another seven-day period when there were as many acts of war and terrorism, in as many places, as we’ve seen this week. (Quartz)

When It’s Bad to Have Good Choices: It may not surprise you to learn that healthy, well-fed people in affluent countries are often unhappy and anxious. But it did startle Zbigniew Lipowski when he came to a full realization of this fact. He had emigrated to North America from Dublin, in 1955, and, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, was put in charge of the psychiatry practices at two Montreal hospitals, Royal Victoria and Montreal Neurological. Why, he thought, as he worked there, would so many people living in such good conditions have so much anxiety? (The New Yorker) Note: As someone with lots of anxiety and problems making decisions/choices, this is one of my favorite articles this week.

Would we be happier if we all vacationed at once? Yes, research says: But what if taking vacation not only made you healthier and happier, as a number of studies have shown, but everyone around you? And what if everybody took vacation at the same time? Would life be better, not just for you, but for the entire society?  Yes, argues Terry Hartig, an environmental psychologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. Yes, indeed. (Washington Post)

After Ebola: But as the world’s worst Ebola epidemic yet spreads through western Africa, it is important to remember that we won’t always see something. “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus,” the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg once wrote. Few epidemiologists would disagree. There is no bomb, no poison, no plan of attack with the potential to do as much damage. (The New Yorker)

Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face: In a world of increasingly sophisticated facial-recognition technology, a drastic technique can throw the machines off your trail. (The Atlantic)

The Peerless Style of Chinese Director Wong Kar-wai: Renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai has long been synonymous with style, but usually only cinematically—he’s such a virtuoso that every image he commits to film looks painterly. But one of Wong’s less remarked upon virtues is chiefly sartorial: he’s a director whose impeccable sense of style extends to every outfit that graces his screen, and consequently his movies offer some of the best-dressed characters in modern cinema history. (Esquire) Note: I’ve seen 4 of the 5 movies listed (I have not seen My Blueberry Nights) and cannot recommend them more — especially Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. Of course, I’m biased as Tony Leung Chiu Wai is my favorite actor.

Photos From Above That Show The Insane Divide Between Rich And Poor:  In Mexico City, boundaries between poverty and affluence are very stark. (Fast Company/Co.Exist)

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We’re Gone: Ancient peoples sent their dead to the grave with their prized possessions — precious stones, gilded weapons and terracotta armies. But unlike these treasures, our digital property won’t get buried with us. Our archived Facebook messages, old email chains and even Tinder exchanges will hover untouched in the online cloud when we die.  Or maybe not. (NPR) Note: My sister could probably figure out what to do with my stuff and how to access it — maybe.

10 Rare Color Photographs From World War I:  A new book presents hundreds of autochrome color photographs of The Great War, many of them in print for the first time. (Fast Company/Co.Design)

What Corporate Logos Would Look Like If You Shrank Them: Responsive web design is all the rage. What if logo design were handled the same way? Would you still recognize that Levi’s sign? (Fast Company/Co.Design)

How to Kneecap the Thug in the Kremlin: It’s time to treat Vladimir Putin like the crime boss he is: Go after his money. (Foreign Policy)

Comcast Employees Spill How Hellish Life Is on Their End of the Phone: Last week, the Comcast call heard ’round the world struck a major chord with nearly everyone. We’ve all had that maddening phone call with a sales rep who just won’t quit. What you might not realize is that as we’re slamming our heads against our phones, they are too. It’s not they won’t stop, but that they can’t stop—and they hate it just as much. Here’s what life is like on the other end of the line. (Gizmodo)

The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home: When I broke into my neighbor’s home earlier this week, I didn’t use any cat burglar skills. I don’t know how to pick locks. I’m not even sure how to use a crowbar. It turns out all anyone needs to invade a friend’s apartment is an off switch for their conscience and an iPhone. (Wired)

How cat photos can reveal privacy issues with what you share online: Posting pictures of your cat to the internet may seem like one of the most innocuous (and fun) things to do. But did you know that doing so can give away the location of your feline and, by extension, you too? (The Next Web)

The Future of Robot Caregivers: Each time I make a house call, I stay much longer than I should. I can’t leave because my patient is holding my hand, or because she’s telling me, not for the first time, about when Aunt Mabel cut off all her hair and they called her a boy at school, or how her daddy lost his job and the lights went out and her mother lit pine cones and danced and made everyone laugh. Sometimes I can’t leave because she just has to show me one thing, but getting to that thing requires that she rise unsteadily from her chair, negotiate her walker through the narrow hallway, and find whatever it is in the dim light of her bedroom. (New York Times) Note: Here’s a rebuttal article which I didn’t like, as I agree more with the NYT article: Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma (Medium)

The Sixth Extinction Is Here — And It’s Our Fault: The Earth appears to be in the early stages of the Sixth Extinction, the latest in a series of mass biodiversity losses that have punctuated the history of life on the planet, according to a paper published in Science this week. (Re/code) Note: Very short article, references Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, Sixth Extinction, which I haven’t read yet, though want to.

Inevitable Godzilla Sequel Confirmed, Will Feature Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah: According to sources at the Legendary panel at San Diego Comic-Con this year, the movie studio has confirmed a second movie for the newly awoken franchise, which will once again by directed by Gareth Edwards. (The Mary Sue)  Note: YAY!!!! Haters gonna hate, but I loved the 2014 remake, as though of you who know me will attest.

Scarlett Johansson’s Subversive Vanishing Act: Lucy, Under the Skin, and Her seem like strange choices for the star. But maybe there’s a reason she keeps picking roles in which she makes part of herself disappear. (The Atlantic)

No Time to Think: And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device. So it’s worth noting a study published last month in the journal Science, which shows how far people will go to avoid introspection. (NYT)

Fear of Ebola Breeds a Terror of Physicians: Eight youths, some armed with slingshots and machetes, stood warily alongside a rutted dirt road at an opening in the high reeds, the path to the village of Kolo Bengou. The deadly Ebola virus is believed to have infected several people in the village, and the youths were blocking the path to prevent health workers from entering. (NYT)

The New Face of Richard Norris: For fifteen years, Richard Norris had a face too hideous to show. Then, one day, a maverick doctor gave him a miracle too fantastic to believe. Richard got a face transplant, a new life, and a new set of burdens too strange to predict. What’s it like to live with a face that wasn’t yours—and that may never quite be? (GQ)

14 Portraits Of College Grads Living At Home: It used to be shameful to move back home after college–a sign of personal failure. Now, because of rising student debts and a sub-stellar economy, it’s a common reality. That doesn’t make it any less weird for a liberated young adult to move back home and experience the childhood delights of family dinners and curfews all over again. Photographer Damon Casarez captures this odd spectacle in Boomerang Kids, a photographic collection of college grads who moved home. (Fast Company/Co.Design)

The NFL doesn’t care about women: In light of our growing awareness of the link between the game and traumatic brain injury, some Americans have started to rethink the morality of watching football. A group of players’ families recently sued the NFL for concealing the dangers of multiple concussions. We now know how devastating football can be when a player is injured — for the player and his family. Another thing we know by now is how the culture of pro football justifies, perpetuates and excuses violence against women.  (Al Jazeera America)

.@HiddenCash Revealed: Making Generosity Go Viral: Give away a dollar, and you’ll make someone’s day. Teach someone to give, and they’ll make a difference for a lifetime.The anonymous duo behind the @HiddenCash Twitter account didn’t quite realize that was the point when they started hiding envelopes of money and tweeting clues to their locations. (Techcrunch)