giandujakiss: (Kirk)
He died at an old age, of essentially natural causes, both beloved and an inspiration to millions of people. That's about as close to a perfect ending as anyone can get.
giandujakiss: (Default)
I visited your website to find a purse once, I didn't find anything, I never came back - I do not need to see your embedded advertisements on every single webpage I've visited since then!
giandujakiss: (Default)
Neglected Roads and Bridges Take Toll on U.S. Companies
Transport is one of the weakest links in the corporate supply chain. Mile after mile, America’s crumbling infrastructure adds to the cost of moving parts, equipment and inventory across the country.

Transport is one of the weakest links in the corporate supply chain. Mile after mile, America’s crumbling infrastructure adds to the cost of moving parts, equipment and inventory across the country.

Aiming for a longer-term solution, President Barack Obama has offered a six-year, $478 billion transportation budget he plans to finance with a tax on companies’ foreign earnings. Political bookmakers give the plan little chance of survival.

The stakes are high, however: the federal government helps maintain over 4 million miles of roads and 600,000 bridges that knit the country together.

But sporadic funding for the system over the past decade has amounted to pothole patches, and with the White House and Congress unable to strike a deal on infrastructure spending, pressure is growing on state and local governments to pick up the slack by financing highway and bridge improvements with toll roads. In many locales, officials are asking businesses to shoulder more of the cost burden directly, imposing so-called “impact fees.”

Delivery companies are among the hardest hit by the federal gridlock, but many other industries share the pain. A group of companies including e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. is paying thousands of dollars a year in fees to one California county for reliable access to an interstate highway.
Amazing. After years and years of corporate interests lobbying to reduce taxes, they find there's been erosion of the basic infrastructure necessary to run their companies. Who could have predicted?
giandujakiss: (Default)
Apparently, some guy named Muneer A. Satter is both a major GOP donor and the man who commissioned an important poll that gauged the state of the race for the GOP presidential nomination. That poll rated Jeb Bush very highly, and as a result, Satter plans to back him.

Satter, it turns out, has a typical Wall Street/GOP resume except for his current job: Treasurer of The Nature Conservancy. So he's a conservative generally, and I'm sure backs a lot of Republican positions, but he's also, it seems, an environmentalist.

Since he's positioning himself as a major player for Jeb Bush, I'm really looking forward to seeing how Bush's environmental positions shape themselves over the next year....

PSA

Feb. 10th, 2015 10:33 am
giandujakiss: (fandom)
The OTW, in conjunction with the EFF, just submitted this year's petition for a DMCA exemption for vidders. It's 145 pages, and it features lots of commentary from vidders (including me, natch!) about what they do and why they do it and why they need to have access to copyrighted source material.

If this is like the last time, copyright holders - basically the MPAA, etc - will submit an opposing statement, and the OTW will then get a chance to reply. There may be hearings.

Oh dear

Feb. 9th, 2015 12:49 pm
giandujakiss: (Default)
While the first installment of the series, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, won't hit theaters until February 14, fans of the E.L. James books are getting an early Valentine's treat with the announcement that "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" will also be made into movies. The news was announced at a fan screening on Friday. Greenlighting two sequels before the first film has been released -- and its opening numbers calculated -- may seem like a bold move, but consider that "Fifty Shades of Grey" is already Fandango's fastest-selling R-rated movie ever.
(source)

PSA

Feb. 8th, 2015 09:03 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
Angry Owl Is Terrorizing Oregon Joggers
Oregon officials are warning early morning joggers and park visitors in the state capital Salem to watch out for an owl who has an affinity for hats after at least four people were attacked in a month.

No one was seriously hurt in any of the incidents, but Brad Hilliard, 36, was one of at least two joggers to have lost headgear in a brush with the bird.

"It was kind of amazing how it just swooped down and grabbed my hat like that," Hilliard told Reuters of how he became the acquisitive avian's latest victim early one morning this week.

"It just pulled it right off my head like it was nothing!"
So, if you live in Oregon - stay safe!
giandujakiss: (Default)
Is they don't have a "Play all" option.

You mean you want me to interrupt what I'm doing to pick up the remote and select the next episode, and then wait to select "play"? Are we barbarians?
giandujakiss: (Default)
So there are a lot of people who enjoyed this movie on a cheesy ridiculous crackish level. [personal profile] sapote has a brief description (spoilery, but that hardly matters, really) which I would say is a completely accurate summary, but she liked it far more than I did. On Tumblr, Hello Tailor is excitedly posting promotional stills to demonstrate her enthusiasm (I agree, the costuming and set pieces are fun). Someone else on Tumblr wrote this:
I just saw Jupiter Ascending, which is a movie about an ORDINARY GIRL who HATES HER LIFE and finds out she’s a SPACE PRINCESS and falls in love with a WOLFMAN BOUNTY HUNTER who has ANGST because he LOST HIS ENORMOUS BEAUTIFUL BIONIC ANGEL WINGS.

It is every 14-year-old girl’s first novel made into a $100 million blockbuster action movie. It is ridiculous in all the best and worst ways and you need to go see it.
Which I agree is an accurate summary of the movie, and which I agree sounds so amazing, but sadly no.

First, it differs from my 14-year-old novel fantasies in that Mila Kunis (Jupiter) doesn't actually do anything except look amazed and get saved. Repeatedly. Twice, in identical ways (it's a bizarre moment of deja vu - didn't we have this action sequence already? Is anyone editing this thing?) I had gone to the movie in hopes we'd get to see the same "chosen one" character arc for the heroine that we usually see for heroes (Matrix, Wanted, etc) - she finds some inner strength and special skill and grows into heroism. But. No. She just gets saved, and to the extent anyone has any kind of arc (mostly no one does) it's Channing Tatum.

Also, and I realize this is a minor thing, but the amount of makeup Kunis was wearing really annoyed me. When we first meet her, she's a cleaning lady. She's supposed to look run down and as unglamorous as possible, so she's got messy hair and she's wearing a ratty T-shirt and sweats and is cleaning the bathroom. But she's got makeup on like she's heading to a nightclub. It is actively distracting.

(The movie really doesn't have a terrific amount of interest in its women. There are three major antagonists, and one of them is a woman. She's also the only antagonist who has no goal or motivation and she's scheming but we don't know what for. It's very unclear what she's up to, exactly.)

Second, as I look deep within myself, I realize that I'm totally fine with - and in fact encourage - ridiculous cheesy over the top premises and settings with outlandish fighting skills and DESTINY and CHOSEN ONES, but I am actually not going to be entertained unless despite all of that, at the story's core, there are decently-written characters and relationships.

So, I think about Xena, and its gravity-defying stunts and outlandish storylines, and I freaking love that show, and the reason I do is that the actual people who inhabit this silly world are, fundamentally, recognizable as people, and the show actually does care about what they think and why they do what they do and how they interact with each other.

Jupiter Ascending ... does not have that. The dialogue is awful, there's no character development, and that's the point where my tolerance for cracky silliness ends.

Also not for nothing but does this movie signal that Hollywood is serious about trying to make beards on men fashionable again? Because if so I may have to avoid all media until the pendulum swings back to clean shaven.

Hmm. Is it time for a Xena rewatch?

PSA

Feb. 4th, 2015 12:28 pm
giandujakiss: (Default)
Helping to spread the word:
Call For Collaboration-Textual Analysis of Supernatural

I am looking for a collaborator with computational linguistic skills for a project mining the dialogue of the U.S. television program Supernatural (CW Network, 2005-present). My goal is to demonstrate, through textual analysis, the originality of the dialogue, the breadth of words and phrases used by the writers, the way language is used to distinguish characters and reveal character traits, etc.The product of this project will be an article for publication in a peer-reviewed venue. Presentation at an appropriate conference is also a possibility.

PSA

Feb. 2nd, 2015 01:46 pm
giandujakiss: (fandom)
The deadline approaches for vidders to submit comments to the OTW to use when petitioning the Copyright Office to allow vidders to circumvent copy protections for DVDs and online sources. [personal profile] rivkat says:
The US Copyright Office is considering whether to renew and expand the DMCA exemption for remix. Vidders/fans’ input is needed: “We’re asking that fans write in about their need for high quality source from DVDs or Blu-Rays; sources that are only available on Blu-Ray; or sources from places like iTunes or Amazon when that’s necessary to make a timely vid to participate in an ongoing fannish conversation.” More at the link—even general comments about the importance of high quality source for a vidder’s message/artistic aims would be very helpful.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Buyers of Used Cars Are Left to Find Recalls on Their Own
Buying a used car in the United States can be a dangerous proposition — if the vehicle has an unadvertised safety defect.

This month, Carlos Solis died after the airbag in a used car he bought last year from a Texas dealer exploded, sending a piece of metal into his neck. Mr. Solis, 35, was not aware when he bought the vehicle that its airbags could be defective and had been recalled, according to a lawsuit filed by his family on Friday.

A New York Times review of other vehicles listed online by the dealer, All Stars Auto Sales in Cypress, Tex., shows that close to half of those cars have also been recalled for safety defects but have not been repaired.

The Texas dealer is not an exception. Federal laws do not require used-car dealers to repair vehicles with safety defects before putting the cars back into public use. Nor are dealers required by law to disclose to customers that a vehicle is the subject of a recall. Legislation to address the issue has languished in Congress....

In Congress, lawmakers have introduced bills that would require used-car dealers and rental companies to fix recalled cars before they are put back into public use. But those measures, which auto dealers oppose, have stalled. Most major rental companies, though, now say that they voluntarily fix recalled vehicles.

Used-car dealers contend that not all recalls require immediate attention and new laws would cost companies and consumers unnecessary time and expense.
Obviously, not everyone who buys a used, rather than new, car is poor, but certainly we can safely guess that used car purchasers are disproportionately poor, as compared to new car purchasers.

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