New trailer for The Force Awakens from Japan

Featuring new footage not included in the US version.

Defying Japan, Rancher Saves Fukushima’s Radioactive Cows

Masami Yoshizawa has returned to his ranch after fleeing the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Though it lies within the evacuation zone, and it is illegal for him to be there, Mr. Yoshizawa has returned to care for the cows abandoned after the 2011 accident.

Entire herds died of starvation in the weeks after the residents left. The cows that survived escaped their ranches to forage for food among the empty homes and streets, where they became traffic hazards for trucks shuttling workers and supplies to and from the stricken plant. Proclaiming the animals “walking accident debris,” officials from the Ministry of Agriculture ordered them to be rounded up and slaughtered, their bodies buried or burned along with other radioactive waste.

Outraged, Mr. Yoshizawa began returning to his ranch soon after to feed the remnants of the herd he had been tending. He eventually decided to return full time to turn the ranch into a haven for all of the area’s abandoned cows. Of the approximately 360 cows at his 80-acre spread, more than half are ones that others left behind.

Although he describes his protest in mainly political terms, his explanation for returning despite the possible danger is tinged with a hint of emotion. He describes his horror on visiting abandoned farms where he found rows of dead cows, their heads fallen into food troughs where they had waited to be fed. In one barn, a newborn calf hoarsely bawled next to its dead mother. He said his spur-of-the-moment decision to save the calf, which he named Ichigo or Strawberry, was his inspiration for trying to save the others left behind.

He still searches the evacuation zone for the often emaciated survivors, which he often has to pull by their ears to get them to follow him home. He tries to dodge police roadblocks; it is technically illegal for anyone to live inside the evacuation zone. Nonetheless, he has been caught a half-dozen times and forced to sign prewritten statements of apology for entering the zone. He has done so, but only after crossing out the promises not to do it again.

01.11.2014Tagged with:    

Star Wars: The Apprentice

Great short film set in the Star Wars universe, made as a proof-of-concept without the involvement of Lucasfilm.

12.02.2013Tagged with:    

Pennsylvania paper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address

In advance of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, retracted an editorial from 1863 dismissing Lincoln’s speech.

“Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words ‘silly remarks,’ deserving ‘a veil of oblivion’,” the newspaper said.

“The Patriot-News regrets the error.”

Monty Python Reunion

The stage show will be the first Monty Python project in 30 years.

All of the surviving members of comedy group Monty Python are to reform for a stage show, one of the Pythons, Terry Jones, has confirmed.

“We’re getting together and putting on a show – it’s real,” Jones told the BBC.

“I’m quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!”

11.19.2013Tagged with:    

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Ikea”

Parody of director Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity by Daniel Hubbard.

11.18.2013Tagged with:    

Time Lapse View of Earth from Space

Beautiful images from the International Space Station. Even better in HD.

11.14.2011Tagged with:    

The End of Borders and the Future of Books

Bad timing and poor management killed Borders, not a lack of interest in physical books.

When Borders declared bankruptcy in February, more than 200 of its 400 outlets were still “highly profitable,” says its final chief executive officer, Mike Edwards. There’s no question that the book industry is in flux, with digital sales last year making up about $900 million of the $28 billion-a-year market and increasing fast. But a sizable portion of the book business is still taking place in actual stores.

11.13.2011Tagged with:    

Yelping With Cormac

A Tumblr collecting Yelp reviews by a fake Cormac McCarthy. From the review of a Taco Bell in San Francisco:

The priest asked the man why he lay there in the square and if perhaps he could be convinced to leave. The man said he had eaten a thing which he should not have and he could not move because the world was revealed to him in its evil and in its beauty. That if he moved he might fall into the sky and never return. The priest assured him that it was not possible to fall into the sky and that an earthly cure of ginger and peppermint would surely calm his digestion. The man asked could God make a taco so terrible even He could not eat it. The priest considered this and said no this was not possible and to think so was a sin. The man was silent for some time. Then he said that he had eaten such a taco and that it tasted of bootblack and horsefeed. That if this taco was under God’s dominion then surely all other great evils must be as well. And then the man took the halfeaten and greaseblackened taco from his coatpocket and thrust it at the priest like a broken sword. Eat it, he said. Eat it or be damned.

11.09.2011Tagged with:    

New Christo Project in Colorado

The new project by the artist Christo has been approved by federal regulators. Christo plans to install suspended panels of fabric over the Arkansas River in Colorado.

The project, “Over the River,” will include eight suspended panel segments totaling 5.9 miles along a 42-mile stretch of the river, about three hours southwest of Denver. Construction could begin next year, pending final local approvals, with the goal being a two-week display of the work as early as August 2014.

11.08.2011Tagged with:    

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance

Lemony Snicket, in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.

10.20.2011Tagged with:    

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs recorded this version of the original Think Different commercial, but it was never used. Richard Dreyfuss narrated the version that aired on TV in 1997.

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

RIP.

10.05.2011Tagged with:    

New Episodes of Arrested Development (Hopefully)

The cast of Arrested Development was together on stage at the New Yorker Festival this weekend, where it was announced that new episodes of the show were being planned, as well as the long-anticipated film.

The big news of the afternoon: If all goes according to plan, the series will return to television in a nine- or ten-episode limited-run series, set to film next summer, with each episode focussing on a single member of the Bluth clan. And series creator Mitchell Hurwitz said that he is halfway through the screenplay for a reunion film and is “eighty per cent” sure it will happen.

10.03.2011Tagged with:    

NASA Spacecraft Circling Mercury

NASA has successfully maneuvered a craft called Messenger into orbit around Mercury, no small feat because of the gravitational pull of the sun.

Mercury is not only difficult to get to, but it’s has some of the most extremes in the solar system. Temperatures there swing wildly by 1,100 degrees. While it gets up to 800 degrees on the planet closest to the sun, it also is so cold and dark in some craters that the temperatures don’t get above 300 degrees below zero. Radar even shows that there is likely frozen ice in those craters, something Messenger will try to confirm.

03.18.2011Tagged with:    

Abbey Road

I love this photo of The Beatles preparing to be photographed crossing the street for their Abbey Road album cover.

12.10.2010Tagged with:    

How to Fold A Fitted Sheet

Easily the most useful thing I’ll learn this week.

via kottke

12.06.2010Tagged with:    

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library opened last week in Indianapolis, where Vonnegut was born in 1922 and lived until returning from World War II.

The library items on display range from the ordinary to the intergalactic, many of them donated by his children. They include the author’s typewriter and an unopened box of his Pall Mall cigarettes, alongside a painting devoted to the Tralfamadorians, the green aliens Mr. Vonnegut wrote about in books including “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Several of Mr. Vonnegut’s drawings are also displayed, including one of a gravestone that reads “Life is no way to treat an animal.”

11.22.2010Tagged with:    

Star Wars in 3-D

Lucasfilm has announced plans to re-release all 6 films of the Star Wars franchise in the 3-D format. Industrial Light & Magic, the company Lucas created to pioneer the special effects in the first movie, will handle the painstaking conversion from the original 2-D.

The first film in this 3-D sequence, which 20th Century Fox will release in 2012, will be the 1999 prequel, “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” meaning that fans will have to endure a 3-D Jar Jar Binks before they get to see a 3-D X-wing fighter assault on a 3-D Death Star.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Or excited.

New Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer

There’s a new trailer out for the final Harry Potter installment. It’s to be released in two parts, with this first one coming out in November.

09.24.2010Tagged with:    
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