Tag: entertainment

The internet cheers as Joey Chestnut scarfs down 72 hot dogs

Image: Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

American hero and competitive eater Joey Chestnut just won Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 10th time by scarfing down 72 (!) hot dogs.

The annual event, held on Coney Island, N.Y., requires participants to eat as many hot dogs as possible in a 10-minute period.

Chestnut originally aimed to finish 80 hot dogs10 more than last yearbut still earned the top title with 72.

The internet, as usual, reacted with some creative tweets to cheer on the reigning hot dog-eating champion.

(WARNING: Watch it only if you can stomach.)

ESPN wasn’t shy about, um, comparing Chestnut to sports’ greatest champions.

Of course, a champion of Chestnut’s stature can’t simply walk across the boardwalk.

But staying the king of hot dog eating contests requires a hefty appetite. Here’s what Chestnut’s diet looked like today:

Hope he has some Pepcid AC handy.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/04/joey-chestnut-nathans-hot-dog-eating-contest/

’13 Reasons Why’ brought in therapy dogs to help actors

Image: Beth Dubber/Netflix

Since its March release, 13 Reasons Why has become one of Netflix’s most successful and talked-about original shows. The series deals with suicide, sexual assault, alcoholism and more, so it’s understandable to take breaks while watching (seriously, take breaks), and also for the show to provide an outlet for the actors on set.

For at least one scene, the production team brought in therapy dogs to help actors decompress between takes.

“I wasn’t around, but they had therapy dogs on set,” Dylan Minnette told Popsugar. “There was a puppy per hour. They really tried to help out. The puppies helped.”

“We cover so many intense issues,” added Minnette’s costar Katherine Langford, speaking particularly to one of the assault scenes in episode 12. But Langford emphasized that the show’s themes are worth talking about not shying away from.

“It’s only been after the show and after wrapping that I’ve gone ‘Wow, we really did handle some really heavy stuff,'” Langford elaborated. “I’m really proud of how we handle it, because as you said we don’t shy away from them.”

13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Lineat 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a listof international resources.

WATCH: Momma and puppies have an emotional animal shelter reunion

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/24/13-reasons-why-therapy-dogs/

‘Watch Dogs 2s’ representation of hactivism is more relevant than ever

Hacking is well-known in gaming, indicative of a predilection for hacker culture but often without the culture itself. By contrast, hacktivism the intersection of hacking and social activism has gone relatively unexplored in gaming.

Hacking as gameplay

The Deus Ex games, most notably Mankind: Divided, focused on technology as a way to subvert power structures and ultimately overthrow the corrupt establishment. Though the gameplay focuses on infiltration, technology is how Jensen pulls apart the Illuminati, byte by byte.

Shadowrun used hacking (or in the Shadowrun vernacular, decking) and technomancy (decking through use of magic) as a tool for stealing from and embarrassing the handful of MegaCorps that run the games world. Some deckers, namely the environmental hacktivists from the fictional Salish-Shidhe region (formerly British Columbia), see technomancy as a necessity to ensure the future survival of their land. When a MegaCorp comes sniffing around, eager to exploit the bounties of the Salish-Shidhe, they arent afraid to drive them back with everything they have, including technomancy.

Even Inside, with its sinister, faceless regime converting humans into pliable meat-puppets, uses the power of technology to challenge (and ultimately overthrow) the authorities. Technology as a tool for social change isnt new. Hacking, and therefore hacktivism, is still a daunting socio-technological concept that requires quite a bit of nuance to explore effectively.

It wasnt until Ubisoft introduced us to the Watch Dogs franchise in 2014 that audiences got a real taste for what hacktivism was (and wasnt). The original Watch Dogs captured an aspect of hacking as a narrative tool, but didnt demonstrate any understanding of hacker culture. Watch Dogs was a lacklustre revenge story with a dour, unlikeable protagonist and fell woefully short of what hacktivism really is.

Marcus, Watch Dogs 2s protagonist, is proving a point: no corporation is above accountability

Image: ubisoft

The sequel, Watch Dogs 2, manages to tread the line between the gravitas of hacktivism and the loud iconoclastic roots of hacker culture. Watch Dogs 2 is an irreverent, effervescent nod to modern hacktivism, both with its storytelling and its gameplay. Unlike most games that incorporate hacking as a mechanic, Watch Dogs 2 peels back the complexity and invites lateral thinking to solve puzzles. Much like how modern hacktivists use a variety of tools to achieve their political ends, Watch Dogs 2 encourages playfulness and creativity when tearing down the powers that be.

Hacktivists are everywhere

The modern internet was built by hacktivists, fueled by idealists and optimists who wanted information to be free and data to be protected from government interference. They are internet standards pioneers, champions of net neutrality, and innovators of every sort. They are pirates, artists, activists, script kiddies and hackers. They are the disenfranchised, the original online social justice warriors, long before it became a pejorative term.

Hacktivists are everyone from anywhere, and no one at all.

Watch Dogs 2s hacker troupe, DedSec, is a combination of the witty irreverence of LulzSec and the dedicated activism of Anonymous. Their major players use a wide array of tools in order to take down Blume, the architect of ctOS a central operating system used in major cities to monitor and control the citys infrastructure, as well as its citizens. Your in-game contact and hacker friend Sitara uses art and distinctive branding to bring the DedSec community together, similar to how Anonymous reaches out to hacktivists and regular people through their own flavour of recruitment videos.

DedSec is much less ominous than Anon

Image: ubisoft

DedSec prefers the amicable join us to Anonymous expect us, indicative of its real-world inspiration from the now defunct LulzSec. LulzSec was a splintered cell of Anonymous that took embarrassing the establishment from private corporations, like Sony, to the US government to the next level for no reason other than, well, lulz. As much as the spin would have the public believing that LulzSec and Anonymous are (or have been) cyberterrorists seeking to cause permanent harm to individuals or groups of individuals hacktivism stops short of that as a matter of principle.

Hacktivism didnt start with Anonymous. The term was coined in 2001 by the Cult of the Dead Cow long before social media, the 24-hour news cycle and the smartphone. Their manifesto, the Hacktivism Manifesto, was meant as a call to action for hackers with a social conscience. It called for hackers to band together and fight to keep data free. This Manifesto gave birth to a new era of online social activism through hacker culture: hacktivism as we know it today.

Anonymous has been willing to get its collective hands dirty in order to achieve their political ends. Members often put their personal freedom on the line, especially if their identities are revealed, so that others may have a voice. Anonymous is responsible for keeping the internet going during the Arab Spring in 2011, bringing to light the myriad of issues taking place across the Middle East.

While DedSecs motivations are far closer to home, tied to American cities and American citizens, their dedication to hacktivisms core purpose embarrassing power players by exposing whatever skeletons are in their corporate (or government) closets is undeniable. Marcus, the protagonist in the game, creates legally questionable mischief wherever he goes, throwing power structures into upheaval more often than not. Nothing like airing a corporate executives dirty laundry over the internet, live and uncensored, for the world to see. Or stealing an iconic vehicle from an upcoming film just to screw with film execs for not getting hacker culture right.

This is what happens when youre a scumbag exec DedSec takes you down

Image: ubisoft

Several missions gave a firm nod to Anonymous and LulzSec operations, including the parallel between the Church of New Dawn and the Church of Scientology. Anonymous notoriously harassed the Church of Scientology in 2008 (dubbed Project Chanology) by clogging up phone lines as a virtual sit-in, overloading their faxes with garbled messages (known as black faxes), and a distributed denial of service (DDoS). Watch Dogs 2 requires much more hands-on time with their version of the church the final mission in the arc is a heck of a challenge if you arent sneaky and subversive the whole way through but there are obvious parallels in DedSecs motivations, right down to the celebrity element.

Effective hacktivism isnt limited to code

Watch Dogs 2 reinforces that hacking isnt just about code, nor is it about the method of delivery; its about the motivation behind it. Hackers existed long before the advent of the internet, or even personal computing. Hacking was (and is) about innovative mischief. And DedSec uses every bit of innovative mischief to make their political points. Deface property? Only if it embarrasses Blume. Steal a car? Only if it deters dirtbag movie execs from making terrible movies about hacker culture. Socially engineer your way into a company, just to sabotage it from the inside? Only if it makes people sit up and listen to your warnings about Big Data.

The global political climate has become rather chilly over the last five years. The unrest, the violence, the upheaval we are collectively walking down an unlit path in Central Park at two oclock in the morning and it is mighty dangerous out there. While the activists are on the ground, doing the big work in meatspace, hacktivists are behind the scenes, quietly subverting the establishment. And when governments seek to destroy intellectualism, hacktivists siphon research and protect it for the future.

You cannot arrest an idea. – Jake Topiary Davi

Hacktivism in games is a nascent narrative. Watch Dogs 2 has done a marvellous job of capturing the bombastic qualities of hacker culture without relying on the clandestine, shadowy hacker trope. Games have a number of opportunities to take hacktivism in new and interesting directions. Crafting stories that explore the power of community in fighting injustice, rather than focusing on a single hero character, for example, would be a great way to demonstrate one of hacktivisms major tenets. While hacking is an important part of hacktivism, its not all about code. Consider social engineering, which weve seen integrated into a number of espionage-centric games (such as Tom Clancys Splinter Cell), as the basis of a hacktivism narrative. Leave the code to the black-hats, while a protagonist infiltrates and subverts power structures in a social capacity. Clandestine, Logic Artists cooperative action-strategy game where players play a hacker and a spy, started to touch on this, but was far more James Bond in heels than Anonymous.

Watch Dogs 2 gave us a peek at what neon-powered, socially conscious (albeit slightly shallow) hacktivism could look like under a certain lens with certain lighting. Its real power, and beauty, is in driving home the same message that the Cult of the Dead Cow has been espousing since 2001: we see you, we hear you, and we wont stop subverting your influence, even if you threaten our freedoms. Were stronger together.

Amanda Farough has been writing about video and tabletop games for a number of years. Her tastes are eclectic and varied, with a love for strategy and action. You can find her on Twitter at @amandafarough, where she is likely shipping her Overwatch main, D. Va, and Lucio. You can also find her previous work at her personal site.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/02/27/watch-dogs-2-hactivism/

No dogs harmed on ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ investigation claims

A scene from “A Dog’s Purpose.”
Image: Universal pictures

If you have a shred of human decency, you’ll agree that “a dog’s purpose” is not to get abused just to help Hollywood make a buck. Thankfully, it looks like a previously released video that appeared to show a dog on the set of the film A Dog’s Purpose being abused may have been edited to make things look far worse than they actually were, according to a new report.

On Friday, American Humane (not to be confused with the Humane Society), the group responsible for monitoring the treatment of animals on the set of the film, released a statement effectively absolving the filmmakers of what many had thought was abusive treatment of dogs on set.

“An independent, third-party investigation conducted by a respected animal cruelty expert into the treatment of animals in the filming of ‘A Dogs Purpose’ concluded that an edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set,” read the statement from the group.

“The decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movies premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics.”

“An edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set.”

Citing findings from an independent investigation, the group claims that no animals were harmed in the scenes shown, and proper safety measures were adhered to during shooting.

Contrary to what the video appears to show, according to the group, the dog was not forced to swim in water at anytime. In fact, the group claims, during the last scene, “the dog wanted to go back in the water. Still, out of an abundance of caution, American Humane stopped filming of any more scenes with the dog.”

Nevertheless, the initial controversy has likely irrevocably impacted the film’s chances of major success. Following the release of the edited footage, the film’s original premiere was canceled by Universal Pictures, the studio distributing the film, and protests erupted at various theaters around the country where the film was scheduled to be shown.

Additionally, Dr. Kwane Stewart, the organization’s chief veterinary officer, said, “It is disappointing that the public was misled by a manufactured controversy promoted by a radical organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] with a mission to remove animals from films and other parts of our lives.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/02/04/a-dogs-purpose-investigation/

Everything Quentin Tarantino learned from rewatching ‘Reservoir Dogs’

Quentin Tarantino in 2013.
Image: AP

PARK CITY, Utah Few debuts in the history of cinema have made as much impact as Quentin Tarantinos Reservoir Dogs did when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.

A smart, slick caper film, QTs rat-a-tat dialogue and style birthed numerous imitators and ushered in the latest generation of filmmaker who, like their musical contemporaries, were deft at mashing up references and tropes to construct something new and fresh.

To celebrate the quarter century since its release, Sundance did a one-off screening of the film introduced by Tarantino, followed by a lively conversation where he was joined by producer Lawrence Bender and Mr. Orange himself, Michael Madsen.

Heres some of what we learned from the ever-loquacious QT, who picked up a few things himself by revisiting his first film.

For starters, Reservoir Dogs is shorter than he remembers

“I can’t believe I made a movie that short. I’m watching the movie and all of a sudden it’s the torture scene and I go, ‘Shit, that’s like fuckin 45 minutes, what’s going on here?’ There was an ugly fan behind Mr. Blue which I never noticed before and I’m like, what is that ugly fan doing there?

Making his first movie a heist film was probably a good idea

“If you want to do a Western or something for your first film, and you want to do one of the greatest Westerns ever made, well, that’s a tall order. Saying you’re going to make one of the greatest gangster movies ever made for your first film, well that’s kind of a tall order. But, you know, a heist film, if I do a good one, conceivably it could be in the top 6 or something. If they do a book on heist films, they might include us in it, and have our picture in it and talk about us a little bit, so that was kind of where it came. And then I came up with the idea of Mr. Blonde and Mr. Orange and all of that shit and I thought that was a really neat idea and sounded kind of neo-noir a little bit, that kind of existential tough guy kind of thing and then the rest, as they say, is history.”

The editor of Lawrence of Arabia gave him good advice

“I’d never really shot anything before and I really like the idea of long takes, so I wanted to experiment with doing [them]. I was pretty happy with what I pulled off and then I show it to the resource people and they didn’t like it at all. They thought I was shooting long takes because I didn’t understand that you were supposed to have cuts, like I just didn’t know what the fuck I was doing at all. I remember Anne Coates was actually one of the people and she was, like, ‘Quentin, I like your shots, there just weren’t enough of them.'”

Mr. White’s wrong choice was right

“Isn’t it interesting that throughout the whole piece Mr. White keeps telling Mr. Orange ‘Wait for Joe … ‘ and when Joe gets there, hes come there to kill Mr. Mr. White is kind of almost a de facto son character for Joe, and Mr. Orange has become a de facto son character for Mr. White. At the end, Mr. White has to choose between his father and his son and he chooses his son and he’s wrong, but he’s wrong for all the right reasons.”

It was a father-son story all along

“I didn’t need to know it was a father-son story as I started the piece. The idea is that the tree is big, the tree is strong, the tree has roots, they go underneath the ground. I need to know that there’s roots down there, but I don’t need to know what those roots are before I do the piece. I need to just deal with the reality of the drama. When the movie’s all over, now I can go, and dig into the roots and see what it is I actually did, and that’s fun and that’s cool and that’s creative, but that’s not really for the stage. But the roots were there.”

The belief that at any time his dream would become a nightmare

“When we got the green light to do this movie this was literally my dream coming true and I kept waiting to wake up getting fired. Just as I’m starting to calm down, another friend of ours gets his dream movie going, and he gets fired in a week and a half. It was terrible.”

‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ was worth the $15,000

“In the script, it said, turns on the radio and ‘K. Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70s’ is playing and then it starts playing “Stuck in the Middle with You.” That’s the only music cue that was written, and that’s the only music we thought we were ever going to actually have or be able to afford. They charged us $15,000 for it, our entire music budget, but it was worth it. We had these big Mr. Blonde auditions where we’d have actors come in and do the torture scene. I told the actors that they could use any song they wanted for the audition. But the very first time that an actor brought in a cassette tape player and then hit play and “Stuck in the Middle with You” started playing and then he started doing the scene, that was as close to seeing the movie before we had made it as we ever got.”

He had a good ear for how the MPAA would rate it

“I just shot the scene to cut off the ear so I could show it to the MPAA so I could take it out later. I knew it might be a little tough to get an R, so I through all of the gory stuff I could in there just so I could take it out.”

Early 90s American Cinema was actually pretty awesome

“Every 8 years, there’s a new hot spot in cinema, where something very exciting is going on, maybe it’s Korea at a certain point, maybe it’s Hong Kong, at a certain point, but during that point in the early 90s, it was American independent cinema, was the hot cinema of the world. That was what the festivals were looking for.”

There are several pachydermal decorations in Joes office

“Next time you watch the movie, if you look you look off to the right, there’s [something] made out of an elephant’s foot. It’s like some guy shot an elephant and cut him up and put him all over the fuckin’ office. That was just in the office that we ended up renting. It’s like, we’re looking for office space and we looked in and tusks and thought, ok, I guess that’s Joe’s office.”

He still likes his own performance

“I think I did the Madonna speech pretty good.”

He’ still mad at Lawrence Tierney (“Joe”)

“The worst moment on set was the last 10 minutes of the last day of the first week we were shooting. Me and Larry got into a fist fight. Harvey Keitel and Lawrence Bender broke it up. I fired Larry in front of everybody, the crew applauded because they’d hated him. Harvey told us to settle down and then I ran out. I’d done nothing but shoot Lawrence Tierney all week long, so if I wanted to get fired, I’m going to get fired, because we have to keep Larry as we have a week’s worth of footage. But I wasn’t going to put up with his shit. I’m literally walking around the trailers, shit, you’re going to go back to the video store.”

His favorite pop-culture reference is still pretty obscure

“When they talk about Ladera Heights and say it’s the Black Beverly Hills, and they say no, it’s actually the Black Palace Verdes, now you have to be from the South Bay to think that’s funny, but if you’re from the South Bay, it’s very funny.”

His love of the gangster genre even the deep cuts definitely shaped the film

“I was really into not just American gangster films, and not just Scorsese films, which is what most people thought of as gangster films back then. I was a fan of the Jean-Pierre Meliville movies, of Hong Kong stuff, of the [Japanese] Yakuza films and the Fernando Di Leo Italian Mafia movies. I’m taking bits from all of them, not so much tangible bits, but just kind of like the feeling.”

It makes sense that the film was appreciated around the world

“The gangsters were almost French, like they could almost be in a Jean-Pierre Melville film. Even that idea, that if it had been a French film, it wouldn’t seem that different; it would be pretty much the same movie. And if it had been done in Hong Kong, it would pretty much have been the same thing, and if it had been done in Japan with Takakura Ken playing Mr. White it wouldn’t have been that different. All of those different countries responded to it in that way. The people in Hong Kong thought about it like they would a Hong Kong film. The people in Japan thought it was a tribute to Yakuza films.”

He admits it

“Ringo Lam ended up describing it perfectly when they’ve asked him about it he said basically Tarantino took the last 10 minutes of City on Fire and built an entire movie around the last 10 minutes. And that’s pretty much what I did.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/29/quentin-tarantino-reservoir-dogs-sundance-movies/

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