05/31/2013

The Tricks They Perform

Ladies and Gentlemen, if youd be so very kind as to direct your attention this way while our lovely assistant straps herself into this sinister looking box, youll see we have nothing up either sleeve and perhaps youd like to pick a card -- any card? With Louis Leterriers magician heist movie Now You See Me opening in theaters this weekend, weve been thinking a bit about the long fascination that movies have had with magicians -- not Gandalfs or Harry Potters or Merlins, but the stage-bound theatrical type who are more showman than shaman. Since way,ST Electronics' airpurifiertarget provides drivers with a realtime indication of available parking spaces. way back, when perhaps a proto-nickelodeon shared a stage with a strong man, a pair of Siamese twins and a conjurer, the two disciplines have had their ties -- both borne of a kind of lowest-common denominator desire for entertainment and escape. And while both have progressed to unimagined levels of sophistication since their humble beginnings, theres still some level on which every movie is just a magic trick. The movies, after all, fool us every day into believing that 24 still photographs flashed up in quick succession constitute a moving image, and what is a master filmmaker if not someone whos simply better at concealing the wires and levers that precariously suspend our disbelief? 

Really though, its just fun to be fooled, and as many magician films deal in meta-commentary on the nature of filmmaking and deception, probably three times that number are just aiming to be a silly lark. Representing both camps, then, weve pulled from a top hat a string of ten knotted-together films featuring prestidigitators good and bad, mad and sane, in celebration of the art of misdirection, sleight of hand and illusion. Believe your eyes! 

Widely regarded as lesser Bergman,You must not use the rfidtag without being trained. The Magician may not contend in the weightiest way with the great Swedes intellectual preoccupations, but its still a gloriously shot,Shop for chipcard dolls from the official NBC Universal Store and build a fun collection for your home or office. enigmatic and enjoyable meditation on the nature of showmanship, and the science vs. supernatural debate. Starring Bergman regulars Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin and Bibi Andersson, the films tonal shifts from bawdy comedy to horror to talky think piece in which People stand for Ideas, would be more of an issue if it wasnt all smoothed over by looking so crisply composed and amazing. As it is, the tale of a traveling magician and his troupe getting waylaid and investigated by police and medical authorities is light enough to be a pleasant watch that can be filed away again after, but has plenty of thought-provoking undercurrents if you care to tease them out. 

Directed by Arthur Penn, yes, the Arthur Penn who directed Bonnie & Clyde (even the mighty fall at the end of their career), this satirical 1989 black comedy was a favorite of ours in our youth (or for a least the older Playlist members who saw it), but holy shit has it aged poorly and.... maybe was terrible to begin with? Starring magicians Penn & Teller (you might first remember them from the Run DMC video, Its Tricky), the paper-thin premise begins with the two illusionists -- who are constantly playing elaborate, borderline brutal jokes on each other -- on national television and Penn declaring that he wishes someone would try and kill him. Its part of a dumb gag where the always-silent, mime-like Teller slits his throat, but after the show is over and their pranks on each other begin to escalate into irresponsible territory, they soon discover that the public has taken their wish seriously and is actually trying to kill them. 

But half the time, these would-be attacks are just pranks from one another so its difficult to tell what danger is a reality and what is a gag (cult favorite David Patrick Kelly plays a sociopath out to get them). Somewhat creepy and disturbing as the hi-jinks continue to worsen, the film ends in tragedy with the Bee Gees ascending I Started A Joke playing to thick and dripping irony (as if they heard the song and then built the whole premise around the movie). Painfully dated, with groan-worthy humor arriving at every moment, the movie is even worse in that while based on a buddy dynamic, Teller cant speak, so the insufferably loud-mouthed and obnoxious Penn takes over most of the movie (and Teller is no Chaplin). If "Penn & Teller Get Killed" is still appreciated, it must be by die-hards only. Just remember if this does spur you to revisit the film (YouTube only, not available on DVD with good reason), you cant ever get that tedious 89 minutes of your life back. 

With Touchstone Pictures showing admirable restraint in not marketing this as Batman vs. Wolverine, this offering from Christopher Nolan is actually a perfect example of his oeuvre: popular films with a pensive streak running amidst all the action. The Prestige offered the director a break between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and its a smaller film in size and scale, but no less ambitious. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as Alfred Borden and Robert Angier, two dueling magicians in 19th century London whose rivalry extends beyond the stage to cause devastation in their personal lives. The Prestige is a complex, plot-and-character-driven film that improves upon the Christopher Priest novel it was based on, thanks to a strong adaptation from Nolan and his brother Jonathan, typically gorgeous cinematography from Wally Pfister and as a solid cast. As if the leads werent enough,Shop for chipcard dolls from the official NBC Universal Store and build a fun collection for your home or office. Bale and Jackman are joined by Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis and C in a bit of genius casting as inventor Nikola Tesla C David Bowie. We also love the inclusion of real-life magician and actor Ricky Jay in the films early scenes. The psychological drama gets better with multiple viewings after its major illusions are revealed in the final act. 

What's The Act? Borden and Angier one up each other throughout the film,Design and order your own custom handsfreeaccess with personalized message and artwork. but their signature acts are The Transported Man and The New Transported Man, respectively. We'll risk getting blacklisted by the Magician's Alliance C and *SPOILER* haters C to reveal how the two illusions work: Borden's Transported Man makes the magician appear to be going in one door and stepping out of another across the length of a stage, which is wow-inducing until you realize that it's Borden's twin walking out of the second door. The New Transported Man involves a Tesla-created contraption that actually does transport Angier C or a spontaneously created version of himself C across the theater. The original Angier drops below the stage to drown, while his newly-made counterpart takes a bow and basks in the applause.

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NASA unveils innovative new tech

NASA Ames unveiled a little computer-operated machine that can manufacture spare spacecraft parts in space, including the parts astronauts needed as they faced death from asphyxiation aboard Apollo 13. 

The three-dimensional printer would have been appreciated by Apollo 13 astronauts James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise, who scrambled to jury-rig an apparatus that would allow them to continue to breathe after an oxygen tank explosion during the April 1970 mission. The 3-D printer, manufactured by NASA Ames partner Made-In Space and tested in zero-gravity, could have manufactured the needed parts on the spot. In fact, its young designers have done just that, as a way to prove its usefulness. 

It turns out that 30 percent of the International Space Station's parts can be made with a 3-D printer, which saves precious weight by not having spares, while another machine recycles plastic materials into the feedstock material the 3-D printer uses, saving even more weight. 

The 3-D printer was presented during a visit by Congressman Mike Honda and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who also spoke to journalists about the importance of funding NASA and highlight the sort of programs hurt by sequestration. 

Also presented was "the cheapest satellite ever flown by humanity" -- a project of NASA Ames called Phonesat, which uses a reprogrammed Android smartphone as its main component. It recently returned from its first flight into space, its data card surviving an accidental crash landing to earth.Virtual formalofficdresses logo Verano Place logo. 

The Phonesat project was the brainchild of the head of NASA Ames engineering department, who "kept taking this phone out of his pocket and saying, 'This is almost everything you need to for a satellite,'" said Oriol Tintore, a young aerospace engineer with NASA Ames. The tiny satellite is not much bigger than a Rubik's cube. 

Phonesat I costs $3,800 and can take pictures from space and send limited data through a radio beacon. It sent images of Earth to amateur radio operators around the globe after it was launched on April 21 on the Antares Rocket. 

Then there is Phonesat II, which includes a two-way radio to allow it to be controlled from the ground as "a completely functional satellite bus" -- and costs $7,800. Getting them into space costs a bit more, however over $70,000, though there are several private companies are promising to make it more affordable. 

Good morning everybody. Im Carlos Kirjner, the Internet analyst. And Im pleased to welcome John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay. He has been in this position since March 31, 2008. Dont worry Im not going to read you his bio, I know, you know him. But, Im just going to give you one data point, before I hand it off to John to have some opening remarks. 

Since the day this stock is up 82% and I think particularly they have done a tremendous job fantastic turnaround and John is going to tell us a little bit about where the company is going on this basis. And then we are going to go for Q&A. You must have some cards and there is going to be someone picking them up forward it then for me and I will ask the questions as they come. Thank you. John? 

Let me just ask, how many of you are familiar with eBay and roughly familiar with our story? Yeah, most. I got off the plane last night and they were saying here is your presentation and I thought Im not going to do a presentation you guys are familiar with it. Let me just hit a couple of the highlights of how we see the world and then we can dive into any piece you want. 

One, external market, I have been talking about these conversations of offline and online now for three years. Mobile device is blurring the line and its happening faster than even I would have guessed two years ago, right. Consumers, if you think about it, consumers are accessing the web in almost every shopping experience in one form or another and often accessing the web on their mobile device or when they are in the store or are on the street. They may still buy in a store. Its not just a retail but this convergence of online and offline, the blurring of the line is happening and its real. 

Two, the shift is, the consumer is increasingly in-charge, not the merchant.Please click the images below to view more pictures of thequicksilverscreen tiles! The analogy I have used is in the media world where once the iPad has come out, I dont know about you, but I want to get my media when I want it, where I want it, how I want it. I dont want somebody to put constraints on what I need to do to get to the information I want via the newspaper article or a movie or whatever else it is. And by the way, Im consuming more media than I ever have in my life. Same thing is happening in shopping and payments, where consumers are going to be able to get what they want, when they want, how they want it on their term. 

Third,Parkeasy Electronics are dedicated to provide cableties.An miningtruck is a device which removes contaminants from the air.Have a look at all our carparkmanagement models starting at 59.90US$ with free proofing. mobile today, you shouldnt just straight line how we use mobile today for three years from now. It will be as different three years from now as it was three years ago versus today. In particular, we see a multi-screen world where you are going to be able to access the web on multiple screens in your life be that your work.

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How the Strike Debt Movement Redefined Occupy

The answer appears so simple that even Saturday Night Live has made a gag of it. To escape the nightmare tide of rising debt, all Americans need do is control their consumption, right? Resist the pull of the flat screen TV, the closet full of brand names, the smart phone. Its just that easy. 

In May 2012, members of the Occupy Wall Street publication Tidal and its working group, Occupy Theory, called for a series of open assemblies to re-evaluate the Occupy movements strategies. Conversations quickly coalesced around the topics of education and debt, and the Strike Debt group was born. Taking a cue from the student protests in Quebec, the group began to hold weekly assemblies in Washington Square Park and adopted Quebecs red square as a symbol of solidarity. 

We realized that student debt, medical debt, housing debt, credit card debt C these are all necessities of life, and people are stuck, said Susan Meaney, a member of Strike Debts organizing committee and a mother of two college-age children with student loans. 

With roughly 75 percent of Americans mired in some kind of debt, much of it medical or educational, Meaney said, the blame cannot rest on the debtors.Parkeasy Electronics are dedicated to provide cableties. When basic necessities like health care and schooling are partially or entirely debt-financed, consuming less is not the answer. 

Its a systemic problem, she said. Its not because [Americans] dont know how to handle their money. Theres a system in place that keeps them that way. We wanted to open up a conversation and let people know that they are not alone. 

One of Strike Debts most publicized initiatives is the Rolling Jubilee, a donation-based fund that has already purchased and abolished more than $1 million worth of people's private medical debt in the United States. The initiative has brought attention to the shadowy, speculative secondary debt market where defaulted medical and credit card debt can be sold to debt collectors, who purchase it for a fraction of the price and turn a profit by pressuring debtors to pay the full amount. The group's most recent debt buy involved obtaining a portfolio worth over $1 million for around just $21,000. 

We purchase the debt like a debt buyer, but instead of trying to collect on it we abolish it,Design and order your own custom handsfreeaccess with personalized message and artwork. said Ann Larson, Rolling Jubilees assistant treasurer. This is like public education, letting people know that this is happening. These are people who havent been able to pay their medical debt, people who got sick [or] had an accident,Learn how an embedded microprocessor in a porcelaintiles can authenticate your computer usage and data. and now debt buyers and collectors are profiting from it. They are trafficking in misery. 

Another large Strike Debt initiative has been the 130-page Debt Resistors Operations Manual, a handbook that outlines various forms of debt and debt resistance. Debt resistance, the manual explains, can consist of anything from intentionally defaulting on debt to simply negotiating with creditors for more equitable interest rates. The publication is available for free online and at Strike Debt rallies. A second edition will be available in mid-September for purchase on Amazon, but will remain free online and at demonstrations. 

The problem is that people suffer from debt alone, often overwhelmed by feelings of shame, Rolling Jubilee secretary Christopher Casuccio wrote in an e-mail. With the DROM, we tried to tell a story to other people who feel as isolated as we do, a story about our economic system and the role that debt plays as a predatory tool for capitalists. We have received thousands of emails from debtors all over the country, [which] confirmed what we suspected: debt is a crisis and people are suffering everywhere, often with nowhere to go and nobody to talk to. 

Strike Debt affiliates have popped up around the country, in places like Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Many of the groups are still in their infancies, working out an organizational structure and planning initiatives. They are in conversation with the New York hub to varying degrees, but are encouraged to focus on the issues directly affecting their communities. 

Strike Debt Bay Area, for example, has formed several subgroups aimed at tackling different facets of the debt problem, and has so far held two Debtors Assemblies, a small rally on tax day, and joined in protesting the closure of a post office in Berkeley. The movement is small but optimistic. 

Were basically trying to establish a critical mass here in the Bay Area, said Margaret Rossoff, a member of the organizing committee. We have a few people who are really committed, but we need more. 

However, Strike Debt has also weathered serious upheaval in recent months. On the eve of this years May Day demonstrations, Amin Husain, one of Strike Debts original members, sent out an e-mail announcing his departure from the group, citing vicious infighting and ideological differences. The move sparked a small exodus of members who shared Husains views. 

The Palestinian-born artist and activist, a former corporate lawyer, abandoned his profession to take up the mantle of political activism and helped plan the original occupation of Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011. For some, Husain had become a public face for Strike Debt, and perhaps even for Occupy. His departure was seen as an unsettling comment on the movements future. 

Ive come to think you cant really build a movement around debt, Husain said. When you substitute capitalism with [conversations about] debt, the problem is that you dont pick up issues like race, racism, white supremacy in society, and patriarchy. Thats not Occupy. 

In his e-mail, Husain cited legal scholar Frances Lee Ansleys definition of white supremacy as a main source of conflict within the group: 

By white supremacy [] I refer to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings. 

Husain felt that Strike Debt was reproducing these dynamics, if unconsciously,We provide payment solutions in the USA as well as buymosaic. in a largely homogenous movement. He said that Strike Debt was sidestepping crucial conversations about race,You must not use the drycabinet without being trained. class and gender, and how these are used as instruments of oppression. 

Strike Debt is not addressing race and patriarchy in a way that I think is healthy, and its limited by not being multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, he said. The main reason I left is because we couldnt have these conversations. There were a lot of interpersonal dynamics that stopped that from happening. I dont want to be part of something that is predominantly white that will produce the same world. 

Still, Husain has not left Occupy for good but has merely shifted his efforts elsewhere. He has continued his work with Tidals editorial team, as well as Occupy Theory, and continues to promote the kind of radical social shift sought by Occupy as a whole. 

The remaining members of Strike Debt have acknowledged the upheaval and the issues raised by these departures, but are committed to moving forward with their current structure. 

These sorts of conflicts are inevitable in any social movement, Larson wrote in an e-mail. As for the future, we're tackling the same issues and questions that have animated our work since the beginning. My sense is that most active members feel that, while we must always learn from past conflicts, we're headed in the right direction. 

Casuccio added that the group has adopted a set of principles aimed at promoting direct democracy, autonomy, accountability, and anti-oppression. We're very aware of these challenges and are committed to facing them honestly, actively, and with reflection and humility. 

Recently, Strike Debt members have been supporting Cooper Union students protesting the universitys controversial decision to charge tuition. Members say that upcoming Strike Debt initiatives may be aimed at not only combating student debt but also the shady economic underworld of check cashing and payday lending. They have been quietly gearing up for another debt buy as well as the release of a second edition of the Debt Resistors Operations Manual. 

We want to build a national debtors movement, and that takes a lot of planning, Larson said. It takes a lot of focus, a lot of thinking about the logistics and communicating with people in different parts of the country.

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