The Onion reviews ‘50 Shades of Grey’ →

February 12, 2015 |

Peter Rosenthal, head film critic for The Onion:

Today I’ll be looking at 50 Shades of Grey, the hotly anticipated film adaptation of E.L. James’s erotic romance novel, and a watershed cinematic event where, for the very first time, audiences get to see a big-budget Hollywood movie show the kind of sex that regular, everyday Americans enjoy behind closed doors, with all the whippings, bondage, harnesses and pain play that ordinary people can relate to.

Sounds about right.

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Brianna Wu is risking her life standing up to Gamergate →

February 12, 2015 |

Brianna Wu:

I have a folder on my hard drive with letters from dozens and dozens of women who’ve abandoned their dream of becoming game developers due to Gamergate, some as young as 12.

You’d hope that the gaming press would provide some sort of check on the unrelenting sexism in the game business, but the truth is, they’re complicit in creating our Gamebro culture. One of our largest gaming sites, IGN, has written one single, weak article addressing Gamergate where they don’t even mention it by name. I wish I could say I was surprised, but this is the site that advertises itself as “broverload.”

All this horror begs the question — what can be done?

It boggles my mind how some jerks can publicly threaten and harass innocent women and get away with it. Something needs to change.

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Jon Stewart’s big announcement →

February 11, 2015 |

Sarah Larson, writing for The New Yorker, on the news that Jon Stewart dropped like a bomb on his unsuspecting audience last night:

At the end of last night’s episode, after a thoughtful conversation with Axelrod—“The book’s title insinuates your hope: the fact that, even spending time in Washington, you really sort of believe in the process,” a sentiment that could apply to him, too—he made his announcement. “In my heart, I know that it is time for someone else” to have the opportunity to host the show, he said, to cries of horror. (There were more of these on “The Nightly Show” and “At Midnight,” afterward; people sounded like they’d been stabbed.) But Stewart wouldn’t have it. “Bup! Ba-dap-bap!” he said, waving his arms in protest. His fans quieted down. He explained a bit more, and said, “I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I’m going to miss being here every day.” He spoke admiringly of his writers and other co-workers, and said, “I love them and respect them so much.” He shook his head and smacked the desk with his palm, briskly, full of emotion he was trying to keep under control.

Jon Stewart is one of the greatest TV presenters of our time, and The Daily Show has left a profound imprint in our collective consciousness under his tenure. I love that he’s doing things his own way up to the very end. Much respect.

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Josh Ginter reviews the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens →

February 11, 2015 |

Gorgeous review, as ever. I couldn’t agree more with Josh’s take on this incredible lens, and his pictures make an amazing job of showing what this little gem is capable of in the right hands. It may seem small and somewhat cheap but make no mistake, this beauty punches well above its weight. I purchased mine the very same day I got my E-M10, which is probably why the 14-42mm kit lens has been locked up in a drawer since then.

I also very much agree with Josh’s conclusion:

Will the 20mm pancake be in my collection forever? Probably not. I view this lens like a ninth grade teacher: The subject is capable of teaching you fundamental skills, but may peak in its lesson-giving at some point in time. However, upon return after years away, that teacher can still remind you of the basic skills and drive home something new entirely.

This may sound odd, but I’ve actually been considering selling my 20mm pancake for a while. For all its virtues, I can’t help but feel I’ve sort of outgrown it in the past few months, and I often find myself wanting to explore different focal lengths. In particular, I’ve been wanting to switch over to the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens.

I’m going through a 35mm phase in my photography lately, which is why the lack of a truly outstanding 35mm-equivalent lens for the Micro Four Thirds system (17.5mm in MMFT terms) annoys me to no end. Sure, there’s the awesome Voigtländer 17.5mm f/0.95, but it’s manual-focus only and costs almost $1,000, so it’s not exactly an alternative to the Lumix. That leaves only the Olympus. By all accounts, it’s not as sharp as the Lumix, but it has some other redeeming qualities, not the least of which is its slightly wider focal length, much closer to the classic 35mm focal length than the Lumix.

To be honest, I’m torn between the two. On one hand, the Lumix has taught me so much that it’s already earned a place in my heart forever. Besides, its amazing size and image quality are surely still deserving of a spot in my lens collection, even if its just relegated to casual, nostalgic use in the future. On the other hand though, one must change habits to evolve as a photographer, and I keep feeling the time has come for me to move on. And the simple truth is, I need the money to fund the Olympus, so the only way I can get it right now is by selling the Lumix.

In an ideal world I would very much like to own both, but I realize it would be for sentimental reasons more than anything else.

Actually, scratch that. In an ideal world, I’d get the Voigtländer.

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Don Poynter invented whisky-flavored toothpaste in the 1950s →

February 11, 2015 |

Messy Nessy:

In 1954, Don secured a $10,000 bank loan and began manufacturing the best damn reason to brush your teeth twice a day.

The toothpaste was available in Bourbon and Scotch flavours and contained 3% alchohol. The product gained enough buzz that LIFE magazine did a story on it and Poynter’s invention became a popular novelty product across the country in the 1950s. The idea was later copied by several other brands and Poynter ceased production soon after.

There goes another one of my ideas to become a millionaire. And they say we live in an advanced society.

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The best seat in every restaurant is right at the bar →

February 11, 2015 |

David Chang:

Wedged a*s to elbow in the center of a packed dining room, moving my fork and knife in tiny, jerky motions to avoid bumping my neighbors, I’m consumed by a single thought: Why the hell didn’t I sit at the bar?

The bar is where it’s at. This is not a new development: Think of Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan, your corner bistro, every diner ever, sushi houses, and hole-in-the-wall yakitori joints. Spain and Japan have understood the superiority of bar dining for decades. But America’s best restaurants are only just starting to catch on.

I’ve always been a huge fan of sitting at the bar. I love talking to seasoned bartenders, and learning all about their craft. I also make it a point to learn and address them by their first name, which in my experience goes a long way to earning their trust. Bartenders are some of the most insightful people around, and they often have great stories to go along with a perfectly chilled Martini. You really can’t beat that.

Via Kottke.

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A Medium experiment →

February 11, 2015 |

Jonathan Poritsky tries posting an article on both the candler blog and Medium to see how the article fares in both places. Here’s what he found:

When I started the candler blog in 2009, the best way to get your thoughts (especially longer thoughts) out onto the web was still to start a blog. I’m lucky to have this site and a readership that still drops by even if I don’t publish anything for weeks on end. The allure of Medium is that you don’t need any infrastructure whatsoever; all you need is your name and your words. For many that will likely be the way forward.

Getting the candler blog to be what it is today was a years-long journey, and it is by no means complete. Personally, I’d rather own every last bit of my writing and how it appears online. Perhaps that’s an outdated thought. But at least now I know: I can do just as well for myself on my own as I can on Medium. If not better.

Own your words.

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A list of every Micro Four Thirds lens available from every manufacturer →

February 10, 2015 |

Typically, when we think about the Micro Four Thirds system, two names come to mind: Olympus and Panasonic. While it’s true that these two giants are the main driving force behind the system, many other manufacturers are also contributing. Storied names like Voigtländer, Sigma and Kodak will hardly sound alien to any photography enthusiast worth her salt.

Following the title link you will find a comprehensive list of every Micro Four Thirds lens available for sale today, along with their specifications. It even includes older Four Thirds lenses, which are still compatible with the Olympus OM-D E-M1, albeit via the use of an adapter.

You’ll be surprised to see just how many native MFT lenses are actually out there. If you’re in the market for a new lens for the system, this list could come in handy. And if you prefer a downloadable version, here’s a PDF brochure with all the information.

Please note that the list does not include announced but still unreleased lenses, such as the new Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro zoom or the Voigtländer Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 prime lens.

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James O. Thach's different take on Amazon customer reviews →

February 10, 2015 |

James O. Thach is a terrific writer who specializes in a very specific brand of literature: Amazon customer reviews. For a taste of his unique approach to product reviews, take his very last one on Amazon, aptly titled “A Helmet for Oberyn”:

Whether you’re a veteran biker, a new rider, or a vengeful prince facing the Mountain in a trial by combat, I can’t stress enough the importance of proper head protection.

There are plenty of options in the helmet world, but this model has some features to recommend it. Its open-faced design allows the freedom to deliver scathing accusations. (But don’t talk too much– 80% of brain injuries occur while monologuing). Its light-weight, composite shell is virtually uncrushable. And most importantly, it includes goggles. No one’s pressing their thumbs through these peeper-protectors. You may wind up with a case of raccoon eyes, but it beats the heck out of the alternative.

The urge to go commando will always be there. But remember, whatever heroic journey you’re on, you’ll never get there without a head.


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