Too Long; Didn’t Read: Manufacturers of self-driving cars promise all kinds of amazing crap, but there’s no way to check any of those claims since robocars don’t actually exist yet. But an academic decided hey, a robot car is basically like having a chauffeur, so what if we gave some people a free chauffeur for a week? And then we can see how people might act once they have a car that can drive itself.
I like Hitman #5’s work ethic.
Holy shit, was this the music video for the theme song of The Neverending Story?
The only thing missing is Bastian riding Falcor in the foreground. This video needs a goddamn albino luck dragon, by damn!
These days it’s harder to find worthwhile Twitter accounts, but sometimes you just stumble across them.
Friends, I give you Swear Trek:
The only Pratchett books I’ve read are The Long Earth books he collaborated on, but I found this article interesting anyway. The mod in question is for a custom companion you can get for Oblivion. The part where you can get her to lead you if you’re lost, or have her pick a destination for you at random, actually sounds like it would have been neat to have in the base game. Anyway, it’s not every mod that has dialogue written by a bestselling fantasy author.
I just discovered the Reddit community r/AccidentalRenaissance and boy, this is some top shelf stuff. People post modern pics that resemble Renaissance paintings in composition and whatnot. I suggest filtering for the top-rated posts, as some people’s definition of a Renaissance painting is along the lines of “neat picture from a basketball game”.
My favourite of the recent posts is of a British soldier at a wedding checking his cellphone:
Just here to post an interesting little interview I found with Kim Stanley Robinson (author of one of my favourite science fiction books, The Years of Rice and Salt. I especially liked his observation on the cultural construction of beauty:
SP: I wonder if we would develop a different sense of beauty if we went out into the Solar System. When we think of natural beauty, we tend to think of gorgeous landscapes like mountains or deserts. But out in the Solar System, on another planet or a moon, would our experience of awe and wonder be different?
KSR: You can go back to the 18th century when mountains were not regarded as beautiful. Edmund Burke and the other philosophers talked about the sublime. So the beautiful has to do with shapeliness and symmetry and with the human face and figure. Through the Middle Ages, mountains were seen as horrible wastelands where God had forgotten what to do. Then in the Romantic period, they became sublime, where you have not quite beauty but a combination of beauty and terror. Your senses are telling you, “This is dangerous,” and your rational mind is saying, “No, I’m on a ledge, but I’ve got a railing. It looks dangerous, but it’s not.” You get this thrilling sensation that is not beauty but is the sublime. The Solar System is a very sublime place.
So that’s a thing.
The platform’s young stars can rake in five-figure sums for a photo. It’s about “building brand awareness and affinity through generations,” says one expert.
The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time once again to shit on Love Actually. Here is an interesting essay about hating the movie for its arrogant Englishness which links Love Actually to Brexit and manages not to break the shoehorn it was using:
Love Actually is objectively a very bad movie, but that explains nothing. The world is full of bad movies. Besides, I don’t believe in hating movies, no matter how bad. Honest critics can find a movie stupid or dishonest or boring or shoddily made or politically dubious. But hatred? That’s just a sign of something missing in yourself. If you hate Marvel movies, you’re probably just not in the target demographic. If you mock Tyler Perry movies, you’re really just mocking the people those movies are made for . . .
My revulsion for Love Actually nonetheless comes principally from its Englishness. I don’t believe in hating movies and I don’t believe in hating peoples either, but Love Actually forces the question. “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think of the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.” The opening line tells you everything you need to know about the real subject of this film. Love Actually takes two of the most beautiful phenomena on Earth — love and Christmas — and replaces them with Englishness. Love Actually predicted the Brexit era, in a way, since both are the result of the ingrained English sense of their superiority and the final proof that their sense of superiority is an antiquated fantasy. George Orwell identified the basic assumption of English conservatism back in 1939: “Nothing ever changes and foreigners are funny.” That’s the operating principle of both Brexit and Love Actually. The dominant aesthetic is entitled insularity.
Basically it argues that Love Actually is English provincialism at its worst and that watching the movie is essentially like watching England savagely wanking over a photo of itself.