An interesting week for me, with Apple featuring heavily on the professional side of things, and rather a lot more space/sci-fi/fantasy coming up in my links than normal. You can read about all of that here, unless you’ve already had them sent to you because you signed up to the mailing list!
What Have I Been Up To
As a tech writer I look on a big Apple event with a mix of christmas morning glee and Kasparov style planning. Pretty much every writer on the planet has the same raw materials (the streamed presentation) and the challenge is to find a different angle, approach, or analysis, and then to somehow get above all the noise and extra volume of articles trying to do exactly the same.
I’ll be honest here, I dodged this time around. I posted the day before the event, watched the event, then waited twenty-four hours to avoid the first rush and try to catch the second wave of interest. I decided to look at the strategic implications of Apple’s new technology, using the Surface Pro 3 and the iPad Pro to chart Apple’s ‘Reality’ Distortion Field’, and my weekly round-up of Apple News.
I also decided that Tim Cook is a Timelord.
Sure Looks Like A Planet
NASA and the team behind the New Horizons mission have released more photos of Pluto and Charon. Forget the quick thumbnails squirted back in the hours after the fly-by, were into the keep listening for a long time, here comes a big file’ pictures. These. Are. Wonderful!
A Disturbance Of Helvetica Black
There’s something delightfully geeky about Alex Jay’s look at Sar Wars. well, just one part of Star Wars. The logo, and how it evolved before, during, and after the first film released in 1977.
It’s Not Easy To Keep The Light Burning
Ahead of all the Muppet madness to come thanks to a new TV series about the Muppets which is in no way inspired by 30 Rock (which in no way was inspired by The Muppet Show), Jon Irwin profiles Steve Whitmire, the man who accompanies Kermit the Frog:
Steve Whitmire was inside his home north of Atlanta when he received a package in the mail. He pulled the contents out of the box… Now the familiar face stared back at Steve, its mouth open for no reason. Henson’s son Brian and then-interim company president was asking Whitmire to continue his father’s legacy. Whitmire was 30 years old. He stuck Kermit in a cupboard and did not look at him for weeks.
Dammit, Jim, I’m a Doctor Not A Jeweller
File this under Star Trek trivia that I genuinely did know. John Farrier is rewatching classic Star Trek and came across an interesting point. Dr McCoy has a gold ring with a blue stone on his left pinkie. Why?
DeForest Kelly dearly loved his mother, Clora Kelley. Clora owned a ring that her brother had won in a card game while he was in France. When Clora died of cancer in 1957, her son was consumed with grief. But he was private about the depth of his feelings. He asked for only one item from her possessions: the ring. He wore it from then on in remembrance of her.
When Kelley was recruited for Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry was firm: the actors would not wear jewelry. But Kelley was firmer: if he wasn’t allowed to wear his ring, he wouldn’t be on the show. Roddenberry conceded.
But the kicker for me is the final note regarding the rebooted Star Trek film series and Karl Urban’s portrayal of Dr McCoy:
When Star Trek was rebooted in 2009, Karl Urban took up the role of Dr. McCoy. As you can see in this screenshot, he wears a ring on the pinkie finger of his left hand…. to honor DeForest Kelly
A Wee Nip For The Airlock?
Man cannot colonise space until someone develops a glass for zero-g whisky.
The bottom of the bulbous glass, made of gold-plated stainless steel, contains a spiral ring for a reservoir of whisky to cling to. Through a phenomenon known as capillary action, first observed by Leonardo da Vinci, the whisky is drawn upward through a helical channel within the side of the glass to a mouthpiece at the rim for a space traveler to drink.
Alright then, let’s colonise space.
Tiger Porn Would Never Be Enough
Should it be right that you can do something in private that is legal, but filming it for personal use is illegal? That question is a starting point into Myles Jackman’s mission to change the obscenity law in the UK. The Guardian’s Edward Docx profiles the crusading lawyer.
He maintains that pornography is a class issue, a gender issue, a philosophical issue, a freedom issue, an everything issue. (One of his many dicta: “Pornography is the canary in the coal mine of free speech.”) And his campaign is against both state and statutes alike. By day, beneath the dark lawyerly suits that strain to contain him, he likes to wear Batman socks; by night, he wears Batman T-shirts. In the last six years or so, he has transformed himself from being just another lawyer into the Batman of obscenity.
This Week’s Long Read: Give Spiro What He Wants
The family feeling of The Fast and The Furious isn’t just on-screen, isn;t just the cast, but in a tight night stunts crew that now insist on doing everything in-camera with minimal CGI (yes, even parachuting their cars out of a plane). Blake Harris allegedly talks about how the stunts were made, but his article is far more human.
Given the box-office success of Fast & Furious 6 ($788 million worldwide), it’s not too difficult to figure out how Furious 7 got made. But there is, however, one thing that does immediately jump out about the making of this film: the staggering number of stunt performers—over 150 in total—that it required to complete this movie.
This is a story about two of those stunt performers—who just so happen to be married to each other—about the film’s two stunt coordinators—who also happen to be brothers—and about the brilliant mad scientist at the center of it all…
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