2014 - %3, July

Here Is a Video Of a Crane Destroying a Truck

| Sat Jul. 12, 2014 12:37 PM EDT

So, as the Daily Dot points out, this video is almost certainly staged, but who cares? It's nuts.

 

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This Is How HBO Makes the World of "Game Of Thrones" So Spectacularly Real

| Fri Jul. 11, 2014 12:42 PM EDT

Season four of "Game of Thrones" is up for 19 awards at the 66th Emmys, including Outstanding Special and Visual Effects. This recently released video shows how HBO's visual effects wizards—led by VE Supervisors Joe Bauer and Joern Grosshans—make George R.R. Martin's books not only come alive but truly jump out of the screen.

Watch:

Singer and Hardcore LGBT Rights Supporter Demi Lovato Made This Lovely Video for Marriage Equality

| Thu Jul. 10, 2014 2:22 PM EDT

Singer and actress Demi Lovato is a strong supporter of LGBT rights. She played a lesbian character on Fox's Glee, served as the Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles Pride Parade this year, and has spoken openly about her grandfather's homosexuality. "I believe in gay marriage, I believe in equality," Lovato told Cambio magazine. "I think there's a lot of hypocrisy with religion…I just found that you can have your own relationship with God, and I still have a lot of faith."

Now, she's made a video (watch above) with the Human Rights Campaign in support of marriage equality. The video, released on Wednesday, is part of HRC's recently re-launched Americans for Marriage Equality campaign, which includes messages from Hillary Clinton, Bryan CranstonMo'Nique, and Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman. Here is Lovato's message:

Hey, guys, I'm Demi Lovato, and I'm an American for marriage equality. I believe that love comes in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. So whether you're LGBT or straight, your love is valid, beautiful, and an incredible gift. So let's protect love and strengthen the institution of marriage by allowing loving, caring, and committed same-sex couples to legally marry. Please join me and the majority of American citizens who support marriage equality.

"We reached out to her [a couple months ago] knowing what a supporter of LGBT equality she is, and thought she would be great for this campaign," Charles Joughin, an HRC spokesman, told Mother Jones. He also mentioned that they have more Americans for Marriage Equality videos lined up featuring other big names, from pro-athletes and movie stars to politicians and civil rights leaders. HRC will likely be released one video a week over the coming months.

When asked if Lovato has any further plans to work with the LGBT civil rights group, Joughin said that nothing was discussed, but that they'd be more than happy to do so. "She certainly has done a lot for the larger movement…We haven't taken it into consideration, but we're such big fans of her we'd be thrilled to work with her in the future. Whether she's doing work with HRC, or elsewhere, I am certain this is a cause she's very committed to."

Now check out this video about Lovato sticking it to Russian president Vladimir Putin (and his anti-gay policies) during her New York City gay pride performance this summer. During the show, two of Lovato's male backup dancers shared a kiss; one of them appeared to be naked and was holding a picture of Putin's face over his crotch:

For God's Sake, Stop What You're Doing and Go Buy Tickets to See Nick Cave

| Wed Jul. 9, 2014 3:01 PM EDT
Nick Cave at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on July 8
Nick Cave at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on July 8 Michael Rosenthal

Most concert reviews are ponderous, so I'll keep this one short: The quirky, passionate Australian musician Nick Cave, who was profiled in Sunday's New York Times Magazine if you care to read up on his latest doings, basically just renewed my faith in rock and roll—a concept that this scrawny, sexy, histrionic, 56-year-old love child of David Bowie and Tom Waits and something much darker more or less embodies.

Regardless of whether you've kept up with his oeuvre (I certainly haven't) or can even name any Nick Cave songs, he's a fabulous performer whom you need to see before you die—or before he does. Last night, during his second sold-out evening at San Francisco's Warfield Theater, the audience was smitten as Cave bounced around the stage like a gothic scarecrow, styled out in his signature dark suit and black velvet, taking full advantage of his rich voice and theatrical tendencies.

Reaching into the front rows, and occasionally throwing himself halfway down into them, Cave connects intimately and powerfully with his audience, leavening lyrical intensity with dark humor: Within the twisted landscape of "Higgs Boson Blues," Cave croons: "If I die tonight, bury me / In my favorite yellow patent leather shoes / With a mummified cat and a cone-like hat / That the caliphate forced on the Jews." On the contemporary track "We Real Cool," he sings, "Wikipedia is heaven / When you don't want to remember no more." And if you've never heard Cave's unique take on "Stack-O-Lee" or "Stagger Lee" (or however you choose to write the name of the old murder ballad), well, yeah. It's not much like the other hundred versions you might have heard.

Cave's talented band, the Bad Seeds, is a marvelous cast of characters to boot, especially the guy I'm calling the Mad Fiddler (and flautist, guitar, keyboard, and mandolin player). All wild hair and long, scraggly half-gray beard, he attacks his violin like some deranged fiddler on the roof. Together the Bad Seeds highlight Cave's quieter moments with subtlety, exploding with their bandleader when the time is right into mad catharsis. Rock and fucking roll at its finest. Tour dates are here.

George R.R. Martin Has 2 Words for People Scared He'll Die Before Finishing "Game Of Thrones" Series

| Wed Jul. 9, 2014 1:38 PM EDT
Ball so hard.

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is 65 years old. Because of this, some of his fans are deeply worried that he won't finish writing his A Song of Ice And Fire fantasy book series (which began in 1996, and is the basis for the hit HBO show) before he dies. (See: the case of fellow fantasy author Robert Jordan.)

Well, he was asked about this during a recent interview with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. Here's his response:

Well, I find that question, you know, pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health. So, 'fuck you' to those people. [Laughs.]

You can watch the "fuck you"—and Martin's accompanying flipped middle finger—here.

This isn't the first time Martin has addressed this concern among his readers. In 2012, he wrote a blog post trolling his fans who are so obsessed with the series that they routinely berate him for working on other projects. It reads:

Reading. I just finished THE KING'S BLOOD, the second volume of Daniel Abraham's "Dagger and Coin" series. Books like this remind me why I love epic fantasy. Yes, I'm prejudiced, Daniel is a friend and sometime collaborator... but damn, that was a good book. Great world, great characters, thoroughly engrossing story. The only problem was, it ended too soon. I want more. I want to know what happens to Cithrin, and Marcus, and Geder, and Clara. And I want to know NOW. God damn you, Daniel Abraham. I know for a fact that you are writing more Expanse books with Ty, and more urban fantasies as M.L.N. Hanover, and doing short stories for some hack anthologist, and scripting some goddamn COMIC BOOK, and even sleeping with your wife and playing with your daughter. STOP ALL THAT AT ONCE, and get to writing on the next Dagger and Coin. I refuse to wait.

"Fuck you" is more succinct.

(h/t Gawker)

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Thailand's New Military Government Is Secretly Vacuuming Up Facebook Data

| Wed Jul. 9, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Despite all the ways Facebook has flouted privacy standards—like how it recently experimented with 700,000 users' emotions by manipulating the positive and negative content of their newsfeeds—the company hasn't yet provided personal data to oppressive governments. But that didn't deter the Thai junta. When Facebook refused to help Thailand's newly installed military government access users' personal information, the junta created a misleading Facebook application to capture its citizens' names and email addresses. 

The military government posted that they were collecting this data to "handle more witnesses which can lead to more prosecutions and will make the online society more clean."

As you might remember, back in May, after months of anti-government protests, Thailand's military staged a coup. Once in power, the military suspended the constitution, installed a 10 p.m. curfew, banned gatherings of more than five people, and attempted to suppress dissidents—including any of the estimated 28 million Thai users on Facebook, a third of the country's population. On May 29, the new government tried to have a meeting with social-media companies, including Facebook, to discuss censoring Thailand's anti-coup dissent, but none of them showed up.

But the Thai junta didn't take this as a sign to give up on tapping into the power of social media. Instead, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports, the junta placed a Facebook login button to track users on more than 200 of the government's restricted websites, like the webpage of Human Rights Watch.

Fast Tracks: Beverly's "All the Things"

| Wed Jul. 9, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

TRACK 4

"All the Things"

From Beverly's Careers

KANINE

Liner notes: Urgent yet dreamy, this breathtaking dose of psychedelia mixes ethereal female harmonies, a soaring melody, and surging beats to dazzling effect.

Behind the music: The Brooklyn duo features singer Drew Citron and noise-pop vet Frankie Rose. Careers falls between the lo-fi buzz of Frankie Rose and the Outs and the cooler electronica of Rose's recent solo work.

Check it out if you like: Vivian Girls, early Dum Dum Girls, or Quilt.

This review originally appeared in the July/August 2014 Issue of Mother Jones.

Emma Watson Crashes United Nations Website With Her Goodwill Ambassador Announcement

| Tue Jul. 8, 2014 3:16 PM EDT

Emma Watson—the humanitarian and staunch feminist who you may recognize from such films as The Bling Ring, Noah, and the Harry Potter movies—is now working with the United Nations on gender equality and female empowerment.

On Monday, UN Women and Watson announced that she had been appointed as a celebrity Goodwill Ambassador. The 24-year-old British actress will work on the "empowerment of young women and will serve as an advocate for UN Women's HeForShe campaign," according to the UN Women's press release. (The HeForShe campaign enlists men and boys to stand up for gender equality.) In 2012, Watson became an ambassador for the Campaign for Female Education.

The announcement drew enough web traffic to crash the UN Women website. "We apologize & hope to be back up soon," the UN entity tweeted. The site experienced problems for roughly 12 hours following the announcement. "This is the power of [Watson]; she has such global appeal," UN Women's Elizabeth Nyamayaro told Mother Jones.

"Ms. Emma Watson is someone who is not only smart, but someone who is very passionate about girls' issues," Nyamayaro said, explaining why the UN reached out to the actress in the first place. According to Nyamayaro, Watson is particularly excited about working with HeForShe, and will also support the work of young women across UN Women's strategic pillars, including economic empowerment, ending violence against women, political participation, and peace and security.

Here is Watson's full statement on her new gig:

Being asked to serve as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling. The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women's rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can't imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience, and awareness to this role.

(Watson expressed her excitement on Twitter with a blushing emoticon.)

Other celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN include Liam Neeson, "Twitter Nazi hunter" Mia Farrow, and Orlando Bloom.

Below is video of Watson visiting slum homes and a fair trade group in Bangladesh: "I still find it hard to convey what fair trade means to those producing our fashion—it's just so impressive to see how the women have used fair trade clothing to escape poverty and empower themselves and their children," Watson said. "I was moved and inspired."

This post has been updated.

This Is the Best Correction You'll Read All Week

| Tue Jul. 8, 2014 8:16 AM EDT

On June 1, the Sun called Marcus Stead "Britain's biggest whinger." Mr. Stead took issue with the article's accuracy. The resulting correction is an instant classic.

It reads:

In a story 'Britain's biggest whinger' {1 June] we stated that Marcus Stead, who appeard in the Channel 4 documentary The Complainers, 'moans to the council every day for a year.' Mr Stead says that, in fact, the number of complaints is closer to one or two per week. We are happy to put his position on record.

(via Neal Mann)