Jason Kottke has rounded up a few best of photo lists worth perusing:
Looks good. I suppose this puts to rest any doubt that the next two Spider-Man movies will be tackling a Sinister Six story line.
While it was thought Rhino and Electro would be the main villains in this sequel, it now appears to feature Harry Osborn as either the Green Goblin or Hobgoblin, and this trailer also had nods to both Vulture and Doc Ock (though I can’t imagine any actor wanting to follow in the footsteps of Alfred Molina’s turn as Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius).
It remains to be seen if Rhino will be part of the Sinister Six, or if we’ll see later appearances by Mysterio, Sandman, and/or Kraven the Hunter. But right now this trailer confirms four of the classic six will be in the film franchise in some capacity. [via aicn]
The great Nelson Mandela passed away last night at the age of 95. His death was not unexpected, but the world will mourn his death tonight. Mandela was South Africa’s first black president and an enduring icon of the struggle against racial oppression, much in the same way that Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were as well.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address late Thursday night, adding that Mr. Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. “His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him their love.”
Mr. Zuma called Mr. Mandela’s death “the moment of our deepest sorrow,” and said that South Africa’s thoughts were now with the former president’s family. “They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free,” he said.
Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government, only to forge a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990. He led the African National Congress, long a banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country’s history.
Mr. Mandela, who was 95, served just one term as South Africa’s president and had not been seen in public since 2010, when the nation hosted the soccer World Cup. But his decades in prison and his insistence on forgiveness over vengeance made him a potent symbol of the struggle to end this country’s brutally codified system of racial domination, and of the power of peaceful resolution in even the most intractable conflicts.
Joe Jonas, now 24, recounts his time as a band member of the Jonas Brothers and his life under the shadow of Disney teen idol-dom.
Being a part of a company like that comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude-photo scandal happened. We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We’d hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn’t ever mess up. We didn’t want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under.
We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect. I went through media training, and I hated it. They’d teach you how to change the subject, whenever you were asked an uncomfortable question, by saying something like, “Oh, that reminds me of my dog! I have a great story about my dog!” Playing dumb is the best way of getting out of anything. We also had a strategy for who would take which kinds of questions. If it was a serious question, Nick would answer it. If it was lighthearted, Kevin would. Nick and I took questions related to our music and explaining what certain songs meant. We even did a Good Housekeeping story with our mom where we were wearing these horrible pastels. It makes me cringe just to think about it.
Disney made us more famous than we ever knew we could be. During concerts, when we’d want to play a new song or have an intimate moment, the screaming could be so overwhelming that we’d have to tell the crowd to calm down and enjoy the moment. It could get scary, too: We did a meet-and-greet in Spain, and like 100,000 people showed up and we ended up being chased through a shopping mall. It felt like a zombie apocalypse.
There were the moments when I’d walk into my hotel room only to find a girl I didn’t know standing there. For the record, we didn’t have the traditional rock-and-roll experience. We were kids working with Disney, so finding a girl in our hotel room didn’t feel like an open invitation. This isn’t 1986, and I’m not in a hair-metal band. It felt like a problem we had to solve without it getting us into trouble. There was this time in South America where a hotel staff member snuck his kid into my room. I don’t know what they were hoping would happen, but security showed her out.
Really interesting account and revealing glimpse of what life is like for Disney stars behind-the-curtain.
Amazon is toying with the idea of delivering packages weighing less than 10 lbs. via octocopter drones. The upside to PrimeAir is packages will arrive to your door within 30 minutes of fulfilling the order.
Bezos says that the project, which is heavily in the R&D stage right now, couldn’t debut before 2015 even if Amazon were ready because of FAA regulations, but even then PrimeAir will probably still be a few years out. Bezos estimates that it will be another four or five years. He told 60 Minutes, “It will work and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
The goal is for PrimeAir to do quick and light deliveries (Bezos called out kayaks as an item that the drones probably won’t be able to handle) around something like a 10-mile radius. The drone fleet would be greener than using trucks because it would be all electric, and people’s stuff would find them wherever they were based on GPS coordinates they entered at checkout. It’s not much of a stretch to think about the service using phone tracking so a PrimeAir drone could deliver extra tupperware to whichever grassy knoll your picnic ends up on.
Amazon VP Dave Clark said during the segment that, “Anything you want on Earth you’re gonna get from us. That’s where we’re headed I believe.” And this would definitely be a step toward anything, anywhere, anytime. But Bezos cautions that Amazon has to get safety nailed before the company can unleash a swarm of drones on the world. “This thing can’t land on someone’s head,” he noted.
Tyler Cowen examines the economics of drone delivery:
You would buy smaller size packages and keep smaller libraries at home and in your office. Bookshelf space would be freed up, you would cook more with freshly ground spices, the physical world would stand a better chance of competing with the rapid-delivery virtual world, and Amazon Kindles would decline in value.
Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role as Brian O’Connor in the Fast and Furious film franchise, died in a car crash yesterday afternoon. He was 40.
The actor was a passenger in a friend’s car during a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide, the non-profit organization he founded to provide disaster and post-disaster relief. Both Walker and the driver were pronounced dead on the scene, according to Variety.
The actor’s official Facebook page posted the following message:
It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. – #TeamPW
Universal Studios, the studio behind the “Fast and Furious” franchise issued the following statement:
All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.
While he’ll always been known for the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise (which got really good starting with #4 and has kept getting better), I’d say his two essential movies are ‘Eight Below‘, the Disney family flick set in Antarctica where he rescues a stranded dog sled team, and ‘Running Scared‘, Wayne Kramer’s insanely violent and gloriously trashy piece of gonzo crime film.
The two couldn’t be tonally further apart from one another, but Walker was superb in both. Check them out if you can.
Here’s a lovely video from some folks in Oregon that spent the summer hiking and photographing Mt. Hood. The video gets great around the 1:15 mark when Mt. Hood begins spinning around in a cool, 360 degree time-lapse manner. [via reddit]
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have published their year-end list of notable books for 2013. Now that Thanksgiving is over, you can expect a lot more “best of” year-end lists to come in every imaginable category. BuzzFeed will probably have a list of best lists containing GIFs, no doubt.
Apparently, while Dan Harmon was on sabbatical from NBC’s ‘Community’, courtesy of course from the network, he created an animated show for Adult Swim about a grandfather’s terrible influence on his grandson. Not sure I would add this to the rotation based on the first episode, but it’s funny enough to keep in the back pocket when nothing else is on.