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Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kittyhawk and president of Udacity, and Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator and co-chair of Open AI, spoke with WIRED’s Former Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson as part of WIRED25, WIRED’s 25th anniversary celebration in San Francisco.
There were two blondes going to California for the summer, they are about two hours into the flight and the pilot gets on the intercom and says. “We
just lost an engine but it is all right we have three more but it will take us an hour longer.
A half hour later he gets on the intercom again and says. “We just lost another engine but it’s all right. We have two more. It will take us another
half hour though.”
One of the blondes says, “If we lose the two last engines, we will be up here all day?”
Received from Joke du Jour.
The Good, Clean Funnies List
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Khloé Kardashian is understandably emotional after learning the news that Lamar Odom was found unconscious in a brothel in Nevada.
On Tuesday afternoon, the former Los Angeles…
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A South Carolina bill to remove the Confederate flag from its position in front of the state house is gaining momentum, with the House of Representatives currently reviewing the bill and preparing to vote. Here are the pros and cons of flying the Confederate flag:
- Bold way to display distorted, painstakingly cherry-picked heritage
- Stirring symbol of South’s never-surrender attitude 150 years after South’s surrender
- It’s already all the way up there on flagpole
- Simplest way to let others know your state ranks in bottom quintile of all quality-of-life metrics
- Eliminates uncomfortable feeling of having to say aloud what you think of African Americans
- Political correctness should not get in the way of being on the wrong side of history
- Without it, nation might forget racism ever happened in U.S.
- Can’t fully grasp its incredible grandeur like you can on a bedspread or garage …
Tiger Woods probably could have gone the rest of his professional career without knowing what it felt like to be Bobby Flay getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Dellavedova gear flying off shelves, retailer says
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The story of how J. M. Barrie’s friendship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her sons Peter, Jack, George and Michael led to the classic Peter Pan is a sweet one, which was tributed in Allen Knee’s play The Man Who Was Peter Pan and the 2004 film Finding Neverland. Now Harvey Weinstein, who produced the movie, brings it to Broadway and the Lunt-Fontanne as a musical.
The tuner has prompted vast coverage as it made its way from London to the Manhattan destination, and it would be a pleasure to say that all the difficulties stirred up as impresario Weinstein piloted this one in has resulted in a whopper of show. Not to be. With Matthew Morrison as Barrie, Kelsey Grammer as his longtime theater producer Charles Frohman, current script by James Graham and current score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, it’s at best a treasure chest of only mixed delights. (The librettist and songwriters for the earlier London production were let go with much attendant publicity and possibly tidy severance checks.)
It’s not that the present cast and production creative team aren’t working up to high levels. Morrison as a successful playwright dry of ideas but thick with Scottish accent is earnest and sturdy as he befriends the now fatherless and therefore somewhat lost Llewelyn Davies boys. Grammer is an affable American expat adorning the London stage with Wilde, Shaw and Barrie and serving as a model for Captain Hook. Laura Michelle Kelly is appealing as a widow trying to raise her sons to the best of her ability. The Llewelyn Davies boys — played at the performance I saw by Christopher Paul Richards, Sawyer Nunes, Alex Dreier and especially Aidan Gemme as the Peter who lends his name to the averse-to-growing up Barrie hero — have charm to spare.
Set designer Scott Pask, costumer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer Jonathan Deans and projections designer Jon Driscoll (is there a musical nowadays that doesn’t rely heavily on projections?) work hard for a generally positive payoff. Less so choreographer Mia Michaels, whose dancers do a lot of jumping up and down and back-bending to little reward. Their first workout — as a haughty London opening night throng — must have them rubbing the liniment on heavily the second they leave the stage.
To give credit where it’s due, the Finding Neverland kick-off has great promise. A Tinkerbelle spark darts about even before the curtains are pulled back. When they are, Melanie Moore is revealed as a spinning Peter Pan appearing to Barrie as he broods on a park bench about his writer’s block.
The expectations raised, however, begin dissipating slowly and then accelerates as Graham’s libretto takes its time in exposition. (Graham is the same dramatist whose first-rate play This House brightened London’s National Theatre a few years back and deserves to be imported.) Almost immediately, Barrie is surrounded by the Llewelyn Davies boys pretending to be pirates. From then on little hints at eventual Peter Pan ingredients are dropped, popped and plopped into the action.
Peter Llewelyn Davies is a boy who wants very much to grow up and is therefore losing out at childhood. And on it goes. Barrie owns the shaggy dog Porthos (played by shaggy dog Jack), who eventually is the model for — you guessed it — Nana. Everyone knows that authors draw for their visions from the world they observe, but with this Barrie it happens so, uh, doggedly.
To gussy up the proceedings, Graham, Barlow, Kennedy and director Diane Paulus, relying on her Pippin-like circus instincts, turn to all sorts of diversions. One of the fussiest is Frohman’s acting troupe. They behave like something from Charles Dickens but diluted and cheapened in the transition. For example, reluctant to perform in the radically different first Peter Pan production, they balk but are bucked up in a number that incorporates familiar nursery rhymes. Curiously, when one of them gets to “London Bridge is falling down,” the words “my fair lady” are cut off. You don’t need to wonder why.
Nevertheless, that’s probably the best Finding Neverland number, whereas the worst is the first-act closer. Called “Stronger,” it has Morrison as Barrie realize his power to write Peter Pan. It strikes him as a pirate ship, complete with rigging, materializes around him. He ends standing high above the stage wielding a sword. Were Basrrie alive to see it for himself, what might he have thought of this overwrought image?
Since this is a musical, the score is the biggest disappointment. Barlow and Kennedy, both alumni of Take That, the hot ’90s British boy group — apparently never having written for the stage before — have listened closely to Oliver! and Mary Poppins but applied loose craftsmanship to, particularly, the lyrics. Off-rhymes have become increasingly acceptable in Top 40 realms, but only come across as lazy in a period piece such as Finding Neverland. For an example, in one song “rhyme” is rhymed with “mind.” That’s right. They don’t even bother to rhyme “rhyme.”
Barlow and Kennedy don’t have much better luck or skill with the ballads they need to contrive when Barrie — whose marriage to Mary (Teal Wicks) falls apart — finds himself in love with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. They can organize ’90s power ballads but not imbue them with anything that clings to the memory once the last full notes fade.
Weinstein has certainly toiled industriously to render the movie he produced into a hit. Maybe the hordes of Peter Pan fans will turn it into one. If not, here’s a suggestion for him: Lewis Carroll (Lewis Dodson) began Alice in Wonderland as an entertainment for the sisters Alice, Edith and Lorina Liddell. That 1860s situation couldn’t parallel Barrie’s 1890s serendipity more closely.
Perhaps Weinstein might have a more rewarding time morphing that piece of literary history into a musical — turning thank heaven for little boys into another case of thank heaven for little girls. (Without, of course, appropriating the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe Gigi opener.) The title’s ready and waiting: Finding Wonderland.
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Hot Tip Alert!
Did you hear that the U.S. military is developing flying dragons that shoot laser beams from their eyes? They don’t say that directly, but you can see the parts coming together.
A drone is about halfway to being a flying dragon already. And recently the military tested a laser weapon that destroyed a truck at a distance. It is only a matter of time before the military miniaturizes laser weapons and puts them on drones.
I think the first generation of laser drones will look boring, like today. But eventually someone will say, “Let’s make the drones look like flying dragons that shoot laser beams out of their eyes!” Someone else will point out that a flying dragon will not be as aerodynamic as a normal drone. But that is a small price to pay for the coolness of it all. Just think of the bragging rights.
North Korea: “We have developed long range missiles with nuclear warheads. Death to the Americans!”
U.S.: “We have ten-thousand flying dragons that feel no pain and shoot lasers from their eyes. They are permanently circling your country looking for anything that leaves the ground. On the plus side, just point to your hibachi and we’ll light it for you from the sky. Oh, and our satellites are seeing an irregular mole on your back. You should see someone about that.”
In the long run, I expect we will develop a robot army, including drones, to create a virtual fence around ISIS-held territory. The robots would kill anything with a heat signature that came within a mile of the border. And the drones might be able to jam all communications in the area too. I would be amazed if the military is not working toward that containment strategy. The dragon part is a bit less likely.
But as someone said in the comments, waiting for ISIS to self-destruct is a good option too. As the movement succeeds, it attracts people who have slightly different views until the whole thing becomes like the American Congress that can’t get anything done. Good luck with that, ISIS.
My post today was boring, but luckily my blogging partners did better.
Vivian Giang explains why men are better than women when it comes to the workplace. (Expect a twist.) I buy every part of her post, as it is based on studies and the obvious. But in an upcoming post I plan to have a link war to figure out how everything Vivian describes can be true at the same time other studies show no pay differential after you adjust for experience. I believe both assertions even though they are in direct conflict. What is up with that?
In other news, a company created a frickin’ car with 3D printers. What????
And a Berkeley-related start-up has an app that could alleviate a lot of poverty. How do you ignore that?
DJI’s latest batch of quadcopters lets users get sky-high while capturing hi-definition photography and video. Take a look under the hood of DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision+ and Inspire 1 to see how the technology and advanced features are allowing for a bird’s eye view that was previously reserved for, well, birds.