Angry Robot

Transcript & slides from a great talk about Keeping VR Weird, basically. I used to love Mondo 2000 when I was a teen.

Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting sure sounds like a Russian intelligence operation

Experts Analyze Trump’s Handshakes

Some of these are truly exceptional

Russian-American Lobbyist In Trump Jr. Meeting: Lawyer Brought Documents

Previously identified as a former Russian counter-intelligence officer. Not sure his account is credible, but it would seem to be very important to know who else is at this meeting, and to see these documents.

The Rowdy World of Rap’s New Underground

“SoundCloud rap” 😟

SoundCloud sinks as leaks say layoffs buy little time

Well that sucks.

Is Game of Thrones our last shared TV experience?

Incredible point:

More than anything, what makes Game of Thrones so resonant in the 2010s is that the show itself is about the passing of a golden age and the decline of common ideals. The various factions in Westeros are killing each other to reclaim a kingdom that for all practical purposes no longer exists — that has fragmented into regional spheres of influence unlikely to unite behind whomever ultimately sits on the Iron Throne. Audiences may feel a pang as they see themselves reflected on screen each week, roaming further away from an era that seems increasingly like a fairy tale.

Pizza Pizza fight began with complaint that order took too long, witness says

Canadians being polite as usual

Trump in Paris: The curious case of his friend Jim

This headline would make an unwatchable romcom

Neural Error

The output of neural networks makes me think about the delights of human learning. We are copycats. We only learn anything by iterating over hundreds or thousands of examples. But just when that process starts to seem dull or rote, we make a mistake. Mistakes are where invention hides. When the copying fails we see the gleaming of a new form.

Anyway, here’s a hilarious post from Lewis and Quark about terrible fake Broadway musicals.

You cannot write payoff-based TV anymore because the audience is essentially a render farm. They have an unlimited calculation capacity. There’s no writers’ room that can think more than 20 million people who can think about it for an hour a day.

Trump’s Russian Laundromat

Comprehensive look at Trump’s Russian mob links going back to the 80s.

Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.

How to safely enjoy the 2017 solar eclipse, a buyer’s guide for normal people

Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations

Good. To me this is the juiciest part of the story (see: Cambridge Analytica)

Sankey War Scrapbook Page 41

This post is part of The Sankey War Scrapbook project.

Donald Trump Jr. Tweets out Evidence of Collusion with Russia

Complete insanity. So what is the argument to defend these clowns now: collusion is no big deal?

Further reading here.

Season 7 Pre-think

I posted my overly long Season 7 preview over on the r/asoiaf subreddit, where such things belong, so if you’re into that kind of thing, there’s some good discussion going on.

Okja

Bong Joon Ho’s latest is perhaps most similar to his 2006 picture The Host: it’s a genre-bending, CGI-heavy creature feature. But the similarities end there. In an attempt to rejuvenate her shady multinational agribusiness’ moribund image, CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) launches a heavily stage-managed contest in which 10 enormous “superpigs” are distributed to local farmers across the globe. Ten years later, South Korean entrant Okja is the clear winner – but Mijo (An Seo Hyun), the granddaughter of the local farmer in charge of the pig, isn’t willing to let her go just yet.

The script veers from pastoral contentedness to slapstick to full-tilt effects-heavy action, but at heart this is a grand social satire in the tradition of Network, Dr. Strangelove or The Bonfire of the Vanities. Bong tries to get a few jabs in at the animal activists led by Jay (Paul Dano), and asshole celebrities get a punching bag in the figure of Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal), but the largest target by far is the Mirando Corporation and its attempts to gussy up its cold-blooded greed via the sundry tools of modern PR. The comedy is broad and occasionally falls flat: some scenes feel like failed improv. And the social satire isn’t the most ingenious ever put on screen. But the action is first-rate, and – crucially – the creature is exceptionally well executed; so much so that the scenes between Mijo and Okja are completely believable, and form the healthy emotional heart of a wide-ranging, ambitious, and risk-taking film.

What Mark Zuckerberg Gets Wrong About Universal Basic Income

Sankey War Scrapbook Page 40

Churchill action, backing up the US in the Pacific, and claiming the RAF is now equal to the Luftwaffe (which of course was spread over two fronts). Also reports of Nazi atrocities in Yugoslavia.

This post is part of The Sankey War Scrapbook project.

Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton

Daring Fireball: Speculation Regarding the Pricing of and Strategy Behind This Year’s New iPhones

Thorough explanation of why a high tech OLED “iPhone Pro” would have to cost a lot ☹️

What I Learned at Personal Branding School

I know it’s pointless to pine for a pre-Zuck world: That golden age when, if you wanted to feel inadequate and self-conscious and also thoroughly disgusted with yourself and with humankind generally, you had to get in your car and go to some party.

Game of Thrones S7 Preview Part 4: House Rando

Here we are, concluding our action-packed and laboriously wordy recap of where we stand before Game of Thrones Season 6! For previous posts, see here. To wrap things up, I’m going to throw an assortment of hanging plot chads in this post.

Samwell

As the last season ended, Sam, Gilly and Sam Jr. arrive in Oldtown for Sam’s Maester Training. Given that the show is even including this potentially dull-as-fuck storyline from the book, I’m going to guess there’s more going on here. As dragons scorch Westeros, we’re not going to cut back to Sam learning how to feed ravens.

The most likely explanation is that Sam is going to learn vital knowledge about the Others that will need to be transported, or transmitted, north. This is the big library, after all, where the Maesters hoard ancient knowledge. In the books, there is the character of Marwyn the Mage who may or may not be the vessel for such knowledge in the show. Sam’s also carrying his dad’s sword, which is one of the few Valyrian swords in Westeros. Like Jon’s sword Longclaw, Valyrian steel can kill Others.

The vital knowledge could have to do with the Others’ motivation or something, but more likely it’s details of how to kill them. One possibility: Sam learns how to forge Valyrian steel. It’s a lost art, but if it were to be found, would it not be in the citadel? According to legend, it requires spells and dragonfire. So Dany and her dragons would become all the more crucial to stopping the Others.

Although it hasn’t happened so far in the books, it is healthily foreshadowed that the Iron Islanders are going to attack Oldtown. They were already raiding along the coasts of the Reach, and Oldtown is a coastal city and likely a tempting target. In the show, Euron will probably learn his chances for an alliance with Daenerys are slim now as she’s sided with Theon and Yara, so attacking Targ allies like the Tyrells is certainly on the menu. It would give a backdrop of urgency to Sam’s story, especially if he is captured.

Speaking of the Tyrells

There’s not much Tyrell or Martell in the trailer, which isn’t a good sign for them. We can assume the Tyrells will be attacking the Lannisters, who did just wipe out their line after all (or do Loras and Margaery have other siblings in the show? They do in the books). However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Randyll Tarly again, Sam’s dad, the asshole. He’s an asshole, but he’s also supposed to be a legendary warrior, and he’s pledged to the Tyrells, so it seems that if there are any Tyrell war scenes, he may be there.

Jorah

When last we saw Mr. Mormont, he had been tearfully dispatched by Dany to find a cure for his greyscale. I’m going to go ahead and bet that Jorah also winds up in Oldtown, and that he winds up teaming up with Sam and the gang.

How many white walkers are there?

“How to kill them” is already known (obsidian, Valyrian steel) and isn’t that big a deal considering that so far, we’ve only seen like a dozen of them. Obsidian from Dragonstone and whatever Sammy might learn in Maesterville would only really be necessary if there are many, many more. I mean, we’ve already seen how they make new ones – they just press on a baby’s face…? Not hard!

Mr. Forever Rowboat

Gendry is the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. Davos sent him away in a rowboat in Season 3(?) to avoid sacrifice at the hands of Stannis, and legend says he’s been rowing ever since. I wound up thinking about him because I figured he’d make a pretty good addition to Jon’s team of legendary badasses we see fighting in the snow in the trailer. Indeed, I think that’s the most likely role if he shows up again: he had already been a willing member of the Brotherhood without Banners, so it’s possible he’d rejoin them, and they appear to be well represented on Jon Snow’s latest snow expedition. But! Gendry actually has a claim to the Iron Throne, as all Robert’s other kids, and the Lannister pretend-kids, are now dead. I mean, that’s not going to happen. But as the last surviving person with Baratheon blood, I believe he would be entitled to rule the Stormlands. I think he’s owed that much, don’t you?

Wrap up

That’s about everything I can think of – if you think of more, get in touch via twitter or the contact form (twitter deets in the footer). I need to credit the subreddit r/asoiaf for being the most fertile online breeding ground for both sane and crazy theories about everyone’s favourite dragons n’ incest themed entertainment. The work of BryndenBFish is essential, and this essay in particular about the future of Dany’s storyline was important to my thoughts on her. I also love Alt Shift X and his analysis of the second trailer informed a number of my points.

GoT S7 Preview 1: Team Lannister
GoT S7 Preview 2: Team Targ
GoT S7 Preview 3: Team Stark
GoT S7 Preview 4: Team Rando