#illridewithyou: Support for Muslim Australians Takes off Following Sydney Siege →

We often look to people we consider extraordinary to do great things but great things happen when everyday people stand up for what’s right.

Uber Surges During Sydney Hostage Siege, Backtracks After Outcry →

After Mashable published a story on the price hikes, the company reversed course and announced that all riders in the area would be free, and that anybody who had been charged the higher amount would be refunded.

Given Uber’s incredible amount of financing, it seems they could have in place a system that notifies an Uber city manager when abnormal surging is occurring. The city manager would then intervene and modify pricing if there are extraordinary circumstances such as what happened in Sydney. Uber shouldn’t have to wait until there is public outcry. I sometimes wonder what Uber is doing with all their cash but perhaps much of it’s being used to buy… uh, I mean, lobby the government:

In the past two years, the company has hired private lobbyists in at least 50 U.S. cities and states, employing multiple firms in some places, according to a Washington Post review of local lobbyist registration records. The records show that the company has hired at least 161 individuals to lobby on its behalf, on top of its own rapidly expanding policy office. In Sacramento, the company spent $475,000 from July to November to lobby California lawmakers.

Jon Stewart: The Most Trusted Name In Fake News →

The last post reminded me of an old interview with Jon Stewart on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The whole thing is hilarious and wonderful and you should listen to it. When Stewart talks about the process for creating The Daily Show, he says:

We’ve instituted – to be able to sort of wean through all this material and synthesize it, and try and come up with things to do – we have a very, kind of strict day that we have to adhere to. And by doing that, that allows us to process everything, and gives us the freedom to sort of improvise. I’m a real believer in that creativity comes from limits, not freedom. Freedom, I think you don’t know what to do with yourself. But when you have a structure, then you can improvise off it and feel confident enough to kind of come back to that.

To some, it might seem counterintuitive, but I’ve definitely found that when I don’t place any restrictions or time bounds, I never come up with anything good.

Aaron Draplin Takes On a Logo Design Challenge

I love learning about people’s creative processes. In this video, Aaron spends almost a third of the video talking just about the brainstorming process before actually hitting the computer. That’s something I always have to remember as part of the process as well. I always start out with some idea of how I want a performance (or writing piece) to look and I often quickly get frustrated that I’m not there yet. But inevitably, I spend so much time writing an insane amount of gibberish before I even get to the finalized content. But like Aaron says, it can be the most fun part of the journey.

Ridley Scott Did Not Undertand the Film He Was Making

Steven Lloyd Wilson at Pajiba

There are a lot of lousy movies, but even among the worst of them it’s rare to just have no idea what the filmmaker was trying to say. Because Scott was clearly making a movie that mattered to him, and taking it very seriously as he tried (and completely failed) to make deep points.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at AV Club

These all get trampled by Scott’s goofy, literalist rationalism, which tries to invent a scientific explanation for everything—the Red Sea parts because of a tidal wave, the Plague Of Boils is caused by disease spread during the Plague Of Flies—while preserving a sense of Sunday school spectacle, and ends up working as neither.

Vince Mancini at Filmdrink

The problem with Exodus: God And Kings is that it gives no indication what Ridley Scott saw in the Exodus story that made him want to retell it. Was it the burning bush? The frogs? A fond childhood memory of Charlton Heston’s beard? Why are we telling this story? Scott treats it like he’s illustrating a foreign novel. 

Apparently whitewashing your cast for bankable stars won’t save you from making a shitty movie

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads →

I was with a woman, and we needed to decide about our future. So I flew to Alaska for the weekend to visit her. And after talking for two days, I finally said that I wasn’t ready to be with her. And for a long time after that, I wished I had made the opposite decision, that I had told her yes instead of no. I would sit and pray that I could have that weekend to do over again. I’d picture it all the time. And then, just little by little, there wasn’t any big epiphany or anything, I came to see that things were never really right between us and that they never would have been. It took about two years, maybe longer, to understand that. And now she’s married and I’m not, but I’m really happy we’re not together. And it makes me realize that I have been time traveling. It’s just that I’ve been traveling into the future at 60 minutes per hour. And maybe that’s how we fix the past.

When the story first started about Americans being asked what futuristic technology they most wanted, I immediately thought of transporter technology. I would love to walk out of my San Francisco apartment and have a drink in an Edinburgh pub, lunch in a Tokyo Ramen stand, or a foot massage in Ubud, Bali. Sure the flights are long and expensive but mostly, I just don’t want to deal with the fucking TSA.

I’m not sure why I was so surprised by the idea that most people want to travel in time, specifically the past in order to change the present (i.e. kill Hitler). It seems obvious. It’s natural and something worth fantasizing about that we can change our past to fix our present. But how would we really do that?

A lot of people talked about killing Hitler believing they could pull off some Jason Bourne shit and off him while infiltrating Nazi Germany. Others said they’d do it when he was a kid kind of not really thinking through that Nazi Germany wasn’t a solo act. If you could travel in time to prevent World War 2 and all the horrific things that went along with it, be prepared to travel with an army or, at least, John McClane, to destroy any piece of infrastructure that would eventually become the Third Reich. Of course, even the people interviewed admitted it was mostly a ludicrous idea.

The only reason I’d travel to the past (or future) is to observe. History is written by the victors and it’s often not true as taught. For example, Christopher Columbus was a piece of shit who gave us a federal holiday. How much other bullshit have we had shoved down our throats? (hint: a lot). I would love the opportunity to know that truth or as close as I could get to it (similar to the killing Hitler fallacy, I would need to get to where all the action was). I don’t know what I’d do with it, really though. Who would listen or care? Well, I would… and maybe use it as I travel forward in time, 60 minutes per hour.