Entry by Chan Teik Onn
Entry by Chan Teik Onn
Posted on July 17, 2018
For the last five years, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been working tirelessly to preserve footage of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1945 and 1962. The effort is led by nuclear physicists Dr Greg Spriggs and all the films are scanned, reanalyzed, and then made available to the wider public on the laboratory’s Youtube channel.
Last week, the lab released its largest batch of movies yet, with around 250 videos from eight different series of tests that cover a period of roughly a decade. The earliest of which was Operation Upshot-Knothole in 1953 and the last one was Operation Dominic, which took place in late 1962.
Operation Dominic is particularly significant as it happened during one of the tensest periods of the Cold War, after the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion. It was the single biggest testing program conducted by the United States and the last of its atmospheric testing, only a few months before the US and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963.
This wasn’t the first time a ban on testing had been broached, though. In 1958, representatives of the US, the UK, the Soviet Union, Canada, and France among others agreed on a test ban; all countries were willing to suspend testing on a year-by-year basis and it would hold as long as no one resumed testing. Before this was finalized, however, most continued testing under various guises. In the US they were able to perform over 70 tests with Operation Hardtack 1 and Operation Hardtack 2. The footage of several tests from these operations is available to view in this new batch.
Testing was officially resumed by the USSR in 1961, including the Tsar Bomba the most powerful nuclear device ever designed. The US followed two weeks later with another operation featured in this release of footage: Operation Nougat that ran between 1961 and 1962.
In the same year, the US conducted another series of tests for smaller devices. This was known as Operation Sunbeam. The series of tests included a “portable” atom bomb, Davy Crocket, one of the smallest nuclear devices ever created.
Among the new footage, the team has included new videos from Operation Castle, which featured the most powerful device ever donated by the United States, as well as Operations Teapot from 1955, and Plumbbob – one of the longest and most controversial test series held in the US – from 1957.
Spriggs has stated in the past that this footage is deteriorating quickly so this work is very important. It keeps a record of a pivotal historical period in recent history and the footage also contains valuable scientific information about the explosions. It is also a stark reminder of just how powerful and destructive these weapons really are.
Updated on July 10, 2018
Every generation is nostalgic for the movies of their childhood.
But the movies of our childhood, and by our childhood I mean the ’80s and ’90s, are objectively the best. It’s just a fact.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list, these are some of the most important movies you can show your family.
We millennials are all grown up now with families of our own.
And our families will know every word to The Princess Bride if we have anything to say about it.
The Princess Bride
First up, obviously, is the greatest movie of all time.
It’s a tale of adventure and true love and also a brilliant parody of those things.
Here’s the thing: Ghostbusters is a total classic. And I might say something a little controversial here, but so is Ghostbusters 2.
It’s also good!!!!
These are a great baseline from which to watch the new Ghostbusters featuring four badass ghostbusting women.
Goonies never say die! And this movie won’t die either.
It’s a surprisingly dark tale for a kids’ movie, but it’s about friendship and adventure.
And it has a baby Josh Brolin in it, and that’s all you really need in a movie.
This movie will live on in our hearts for-eh-VER. The Sandlot is the quintessential sports/dog/nostalgia movie.
It has something for everyone, and by that I mean it has a giant slobbery dog.
The next one is oft forgotten, but it shouldn’t be.
Now and Then
This movie doesn’t make a lot of lists, probably because it’s about female friendship, but it should.
Its cast is insane (Christina Ricci, Rosie O’Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson, and more).
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
He’s a legend. He’s a badass. He’s Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago.
Ferris Bueller is a character everyone needs to know and a movie for the ages.
“It’s not a tumor!” Kindergarten Cop takes the action and drama of a typical Arnold Schwarzenegger film and sticks it in a classroom full of five-year-old kids.
The Parent Trap
Sure, there is an original. But the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap is a perfect movie.
It deserves to be in the history books and the memories of your children and your children’s children for generations to come.
Home Alone may be a Christmas movie, but it’s really just an all-time classic.
It’s every kid’s dream, and nightmare rolled into one Macauley Culkin-led vehicle.
The next one is perfect for anyone who has ever felt small.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
This movie will forever make you want to be tiny, so you can slide down giant blades of grass and ride ants like horses.
And again, this is a case where the sequels might be even better than the original.
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves FTW!
Sure, Chris Pratt is a dreamboat. But nothing compares to Jeff Goldblum and the rest of the cast of the original Jurassic Park.
It’s still the best one, hands down.
Back to the Future
Marty McFly and Doc Brown. The Delorian. You basically have to watch this movie to be a person.
It’s a total classic.
There are more jokes per minute in this film than most of the other movies on this list combined.
Sure, some of them are a little bit racist and haven’t quite aged gracefully. But Airplane! remains a classic to this day.
The Naked Gun
Speaking of Leslie Nielsen being hilarious and over-the-top, The Naked Gun.
This one gets a little racy, so maybe keep it out of reach of super small children. It also stars a young, hot O.J. Simpson, you know, before the murdering.
The next one gave us Drew Barrymore and Reese’s Pieces.
“E.T. phone home!” Even though this little alien is maybe the ugliest creature in the galaxy, E.T. is a classic.
Every kid wanted to ride their bicycle into the sky after watching this movie.
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and one day played over and over and over again.
This is one of the most clever scripts ever written and a totally hilarious movie.
There are so many versions of this classic orphan story, but if you’re a millennial like me, you most likely grew up with Carol Burnett as Ms. Hannigan.
It’s a hard knock life, that’s for sure.
There are countless Roald Dahl adaptations that deserve a place in your memory (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches), but book-loving, telekinetic Matilda is the best.
It Takes Two
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen gave us some of the greatest movies of the ’90s, but It Takes Two was obviously the peak, mostly because it also starred Kirstie Alley and Steve Guttenberg.
It does not get any more ’90s than that.
Share this with someone you love and add your own favorites in the comments!
Updated on July 3, 2018
We’re making memes smarter. So can you. Visit the Photoplasty and Pictofacts Workshop to get started.
Writers, musicians, filmmakers, and other artists create amazing worlds that are straight out of their imaginations. As it turns out, though, sometimes they build imaginary worlds based on their own realities. As a result, iconic works of art are just filled with subtle (and not-so-subtle) references to their creators’ own lives.
This contest was suggested by Burritomouth, and was probably inspired by some fascinating aspect of his own life.
Entry by Chan Teik Onn
Entry by Giovenna
Entry by E. J. Daz
Posted on June 26, 2018
We are not always privy to certain facts about our favorite films. All we see is the finished product. That’s why it is important to take the time to learn more about how they come together. The CGI that was used for these scenes is a sight to behold….
Updated on June 19, 2018
He groaned at Valkyrie and despaired at Saving Private Ryan. The award-winning historian takes aim at the war films that make him furious and reveals his own favourite
For a long time now, my wife has refused to watch a war movie with me. This is because I cannot stop grinding my teeth with annoyance at major historical mistakes, or harrumphing over errors of period detail. She only made an exception when Valkyrie came out, with Tom Cruise playing Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. Such a folly of miscasting was bound to be a hoot, and we were not disappointed, especially when Cruise saluted in that downward cutaway style as if he were still in Top Gun. But I was soon grinding away again when the director and screenwriter felt compelled to improve on history, by making it look as if the 20 July plot to blow up Hitler had still very nearly succeeded.
I despair at the way American and British movie-makers feel they have every right to play fast and loose with the facts, yet have the arrogance to imply that their version is as good as the truth. Continental film-makers are on the whole far more scrupulous. The German film Downfall, about Hitlers last days in the bunker, respected historical events and recreated them accurately.
Posted on June 12, 2018
Fake videos created by AI-assisted algorithms are already causing a stir. So-called “DeepFakes” have put other people’s words into the mouths of politicians and even superimposed celebrity faces onto the bodies of porn actresses.
Now, researchers have developed a new approach that can make the videos even more convincing, which makes them all the more terrifying.
Previously, this technique could only manipulate facial expressions. The results were pretty impressive, although not totally convincing. This new approach is the first successful attempt to transfer the full three-dimensional head position, head rotation, face expression, eye gaze, and eye blinking from a video of one face onto a video of another.
Building on their previous deep-learning algorithms, the new technique offers more realism and subtlety, picking up on fine details such as the slight flick of a head or the wiggle of a shoulder. The new results also show way less glitchy distortions, also known as artifacts, which can make most forgeries easy to spot. The videos are so seamless that their experiments showed that people were unable to detect any video manipulation at all. As far as they could tell, the videos were real.
The researchers believe that the technology could have some useful applications, such as post-production editing. For example, it could be used to superimpose the face of deceased actors into a new or unfinished film. It could also be used for dubbing, either in movies or for teleconferences.
Nevertheless, the technology has raised its fair share of eyebrows. Politicians and computer scientists alike have also flagged up concerns that the tech could be abused to create the ultimate “fake news”, with some even warning that the technology has the power to shape global politics.
“Unfortunately, besides the many positive use cases, such technology can also be misused. Currently, the modified videos still exhibit many artifacts, which makes most forgeries easy to spot,” the researchers write. “It is hard to predict at what point in time such ‘fake’ videos will be indistinguishable from real content for our human eyes.”
But before our civilization falls into a confusing mess of inauthenticity, check out these DeepFake videos of Nicolas Cage superimposed into numerous Hollywood movies:
Updated on June 5, 2018
A thousand? A million? There have been a lot!
Rarely do you hear complaints from moviegoers about Hollywood churning out too many of them.
Which is why Jim Parsons has had it.
The actor visited “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on May 7 to promote a reboot of the gay-themed Broadway show “The Boys in The Band.” As the conversation veered into the need for more LGBTQ representation in theater, film, and beyond, Parsons revealed one thing that irked him about the criticism aimed at the film “Love, Simon” earlier this year.
The teen rom-com — the genre’s first to star a gay lead while also boasting a big budget — was dinged by some critics for arriving in theaters about a decade too late. “‘Love, Simon’ Is a Groundbreaking Gay Movie,” one headline announced, “But Do Today’s Teens Actually Need It?”
The wide release of “Love, Simon” meant an LGBTQ-themed movie for teens was in most movie theaters across the country. That’s never happened before. And for a gay kid in, say, small-town Kansas, that matters.
As Parsons explained:
“I read a couple of articles that were essentially saying – I loved [‘Love, Simon’], by the way — but there were a couple articles that were like, ‘That’s too late.’ … That we’re beyond this now — the kind of tale of coming out that this was. And I thought, ‘Maybe if you’re a 30-something writer living in New York or L.A. it may be like, ‘I don’t need to see this,’ obviously. But I don’t know – I think there are people in many other places that, yes, you do still need to see it.”
“Never mind the fact [they’re saying] ‘a gay rom-com — it’s too late.’ Well, tell that to ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ you know? Which was brilliant, but I’m saying, ‘How many straight rom-coms do we need? When is it too late for them?’ You know?”
Parsons begins talking about “Love, Simon,” at about the 7-minute mark.
We often eat up straight rom-coms faster than the popcorn kernels in our buttery palms without thinking twice about their relevance to the social consciousness of the day.
Yet with rom-coms featuring marginalized lovebirds, there seems to be a different standard. Did “Love, Simon” explore queerness in a positive way? Was it relatable enough for LGBTQ teens? Was it timely enough to make a difference? Did it revolutionize the fight for LGBTQ equality in 1 hour and 50 minutes of screen time?!
This is exactly why we need more rom-coms featuring LGBTQ people from all walks of life — people of color, people of minority faiths, disabled people, and everyone else. That way, the few films featuring marginalized people that do get made won’t bear the brunt of cramming the experiences of an entire group into one trip to the movies.
Or, as Parsons quipped, to laughs: “Let me get sick of too many gay rom-coms, then, thank you very much. Bring it on.”
Updated on May 22, 2018
People in LA are deathly afraid of gluten. I swear to god, you could rob a liquor store in this city with a bagel.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 7, 2017
I’d walk through fire for my daughter. Well not FIRE, because it’s dangerous. But a super humid room. But not too humid, because my hair.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) September 11, 2015
Reynolds has opened up about living with anxiety before. But in a new interview with The New York Times, the actor shed even more light on what he’s experienced living with the mental health condition and how he copes with its at times devastating hold.
“Both in the lighthearted, ‘I’m anxious about this,’ kind of thing,'” he continued, “and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”
Reynolds isn’t alone at the darker end of that spectrum. About 18.1% of adults in the U.S. — 40 million people — live with an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The organization reports it’s the most common form of mental illness in the country.
Though occasional bouts of anxiety are a normal part of being human, the Mayo Clinic notes that “people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.”
Reynolds believes his anxiety stems, at least in part, from his childhood in Vancouver, Canada. “Our father was tough,” he told Variety in 2016:
“He wasn’t easy on anyone. And he wasn’t easy on himself. I think the anxiety might have started there, trying to find ways to control others by trying to control myself. At the time, I never recognized that. I was just a twitchy kid.”
As an adult, he said his anxiety has manifested in many ways. He used to wake up in the dead of night, gripped with irrational panic over his future. When he starred on the ABC sitcom “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” two decades ago, he’d often warm-up the live studio audience — not to selflessly loosen up fans, but to re-focus “the energy of just wanting to throw up,” he told The New York Times.
The actor can remember self-medicating in his early 20s as an attempt to avoid the symptoms associated with anxiety, saying, “I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way.”
Even after decades in the spotlight, the actor’s anxiety elicits a unique kind of dread before interviews and talk show appearances. Emulating Deadpool’s sardonic stage presence helps him feel a bit more comfortable.
“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he told the Times. “That’s that great self-defense mechanism. I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”
Reynolds also uses a meditation app, Headspace, to stay calm and — after years of living with anxiety — confidently reminds himself ahead of appearances that the awful feelings will soon pass.
If you’re in Reynolds’ boat, there’s no need to feel helpless. Everyone’s anxiety is different, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, but the Mayo Clinic has some advice for those living with its effects: Take part in activities you enjoy, avoid drugs or alcohol (which can worsen symptoms), and consider reaching out for help from a medical professional.
To learn more about anxiety, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.
Updated on May 15, 2018
(CNN)The image of a pilot under stress, making a heroic emergency landing with a disabled plane, is the heart of lots of movies.