WHILE YOU WERE OFFLINE: MISSY ELLIOTT IS BACK, BABY! – GRAEME MCMILLAN. 11.15.15. . 7:00 AM


It’s the middle of November and fall is finally, fully here. All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey. It’s just the right weather for a song, perhaps, or maybe to just sit inside and stare at the Internet where it’s warmer, thanks to the fires of indignation. What’s fueling those fires this week? Well, bad hair choices, bad advertising slogans, and the return of Shia LeBeouf to everyone’s hearts, thanks to a three-day livestream where he said nothing at all. Oh, Internet. Never change. Here, as ever: the highlights of the last seven days on the World Wide Web.

Finally, Someone Makes ‘WTF’ Safe for Work

What Happened: The Internet loves a comeback, but when it’s as fun as Missy Elliott’s return, who can blame it?

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces

What Really Happened: If you didn’t spend all Thursday playing the new Missy Elliott, I don’t know what you were doing with your time. It was her first release in three years, and it quickly overwhelmed the Internet with its greatness. It was “everything we crave,” it was “brilliant, because she is brilliant”, and unsurprisingly, it was the song of the week. Probably thanks to it being “a bruising hip-hop banger,”as well as being “pure rhythmic pleasure.” Suffice to say, the media really liked it. But what about Twitter, that most reliable of Internet barometers?

Article continues:

SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Shows in San Diego – WSJ


SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. plans to phase out killer-whale shows at its San Diego park next year and launch a program in 2017 that would focus on conservation and keeping the animals in a more natural setting, company officials said Monday.

Source: SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Shows in San Diego – WSJ

J.J. Abrams, Star Wars Superfan, on Directing The Force Awakens – Scott Dadich November 2015


Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at Nov 10, 2015 2.17

Photo by Dan Winters

Step through the sleek, anonymous metal door of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and you enter a world of memorabilia—the murderous Talky Tina doll from The Twilight Zone, rows of old VHS tapes labeled “Midnight Movies,” a Six Million Dollar Man board game, assorted Godzillas. But if you look closely (we looked closely) you will see a meticulous­ness to the madness: The props and tchotchkes are all dust-free and carefully arranged. Those vintage 1970s Star Trekaction figures aren’t just sitting there. They’re posed. This stuff is well loved. It’s clear that in addition to being one of the most gifted movie directors in the world, somehow the heir apparent to both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Abrams is also a superfan.

That puts him in a precarious situation. He has inherited the one mega­franchise to rule them all. Sure, this won’t be the first time Abrams resurrects a beloved Enterprise. But … this is the saga. It’s one of the things that invented modern superfandom. And this is no reboot. With The Force Awakens, Abrams is marshaling the same actors, writers, designers, and even the same composer to reanimate the char­acters and themes that made the original Star Wars into, well, Star Wars. He loves those movies as much as you or any of your laser-brained friends do. But when he first met those movies he was just an apprentice. Now he must become the master.

No pressure, right? After all, the stakes are merely the future of the franchise that made Abrams a filmmaker; a mythology held precious by millions of people for four decades; and, oh, right, billions and billions of dollars in movies and merch over the next half century (at least). I sat down with Abrams to ask him about balancing these competing (ahem) forces to tell an epic story from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away. The lightsabers are drawn; the coordi­nates for the jump to hyperspace are calculated. Can Abrams do it? Well, you know what Yoda said about merely trying.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/star-wars-force-awakens-jj-abrams-interview/

7 times John Oliver perfectly captured what’s wrong with America — and triggered real reform – ADAM JOHNSON, ALTERNET SATURDAY, NOV 7, 2015 04:00 AM PST


The HBO host has accomplished what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert never could. Here are a few of his best segments

7 times John Oliver perfectly captured what's wrong with America -- and triggered real reform
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetJohn Oliver’s “This Week Tonight” is far and away the most refreshing thing on late-night TV. While other shows center around round-table chats and celebrity interviews, Oliver uses his massive platform to highlight overlooked but important political issues. Recently, he told CBS that his focus was “absurd public policies.”

By highlighting the absurdities of American institutions, he milks the injustice for a laugh while drawing the attention of millions of viewers to the issue. It’s a brilliant combination that, when it fires on all cylinders, makes for great comedy and sometimes even triggers reforms.

Here are his seven best segments.

1. Net Neutrality 

Arguably Oliver’s breakout hit, this segment masterfully dissected the knotty issue of net neutrality and its effect on free speech. Oliver explained why creating a two-tiered Internet was unfair, and even recruited the Internet’s “vile commenters” to spam the FCC’s website, which was taking public comment at the time. As a result, the website crashed and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler had to hilariously insist to the public that he “wasn’t a dingo.”

2. Abusive Animal Agriculture Practices

Possibly the least sexy topic his show has ever covered, Oliver took on huge poultry processing corporations that exploit small farmers and work to gut legislation that regulates the industry and protects animal welfare. In one of the more clear-cut political wins, the segment actually resulted in a pro-industry rider being left out of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill this summer for the first time in years. Several members of Congress cited Oliver’s segment for providing the political will to remedy the problem.

3. Bail System Exploits the Poor

America’s bail system is a two-tiered system where those who can afford to pay their bail go free and those who can’t are often forced to plead guilty or waste away in lockup before trial. Like many of the topics Oliver covers, it’s an injustice that exists largely due to inertia, despite being widely condemned as being unfair. One month after Oliver’s segment aired, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcedthe city was reforming its bail system to lessen the burden on low-level offenders, allowing a judge to release up to 3,000 defendants awaiting trial. While there were certainly other factors at play, many pundits insisted Oliver’s segment helped bring the topic to the forefront of public debate.

Article continues:

 

http://www.salon.com/2015/11/07/7_times_john_oliver_perfectly_captured_whats_wrong_with_america_and_triggered_reform_partner/

Spectre Proves James Bond Still Isn’t Obsolete – WIRED VIDEO. 11.05.15.. 5:29 PM


Mark the date, James Bond fans: In 2015, a 007 movie finally asks whether, in this age of mass surveillance and oversharing, we even need superspies anymore.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at Nov 6, 2015 2.09

Spectre, the 24th movie in the franchise, asks this on two levels. The first is in the movie’s subplot, which focuses on a new head of the Joint Intelligence Service who’s set on discontinuing MI6’s 00 program and replacing its agents with wiretapping and drones. But the second level presents a more philosophical question: Are we over James Bond?

On the surface, Spectre has all the best of Bond: Car chases, Dr. No vibes, a perfect bad guy in Christoph Waltz, two great Bond women in Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux, and lots of martinis. But it’s 2015, and chauvinism and excessive drinking aren’t as cool as they used to be. Spectre is clearly aware of this, and even our current Bond, Daniel Craig, seems to be a little bored with 007’s antics—both on-screen and off.

Spectre, out Friday, may not be the best Bond. It might not even be as good as the last 007 movie, Skyfall. (OK, it’s definitely not.) But it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. Find out why in this WIRED video review for the film.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/spectre-james-bond-video-review/

Jon Stewart Is Bringing His Comedy Chops to HBO | WIRED


Advertisement.Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article.AUTHOR: K.M. MCFARLAND. K.M. MCFARLAND ENTERTAINMENT DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11.03.15.11.03.15 TIME OF PUBLICATION: 2:06 PM.2:06 PMJON STEWART IS BRINGING HIS COMEDY CHOPS TO HBO MARTIN CROOKMaybe Jon Stewart wasn’t kidding when he described life without applause (aka off of TV) as a “barren wasteland” at the Emmys back in September. HBO just announced that Stewart has signed a four-year production deal with the cable network that will begin with “short-form digital content” pushed to HBO Now and HBO Go, along with a first-look development option for film and television projects.Stewart, according to HBO’s announcement, will be working with a cloud graphics company called OTOY Inc. to “allow him to produce timely short-form digital content, which will be refreshed on HBO Now multiple times throughout the day”—essentially filling the part of HBO’s comedy landscape not taken by Jon Oliver’s in-depth segments on Last Week Tonight.The move is a very smart one for Stewart. For HBO, it’s a play for more up-to-the-minute reactions to current events, something the cable network wasn’t equipped to handle before HBO Go and HBO Now, and that Stewart couldn’t do with his afternoon tapings for The Daily Show on Comedy Central. It’s basically the fast-paced maneuverability of online sketch comedy and satire partnered with Stewart’s established voice. Expect cool things.

Source: Jon Stewart Is Bringing His Comedy Chops to HBO | WIRED