Category: Lifestyle

Apr 22, 2018

Prince Discography Website Coming From His Estate

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Tony Sokol

Apr 21, 2018

Prince’s estate’s Discography website will drop videos, photos and music to bring Prince2me.

The Prince estate is commemorating the second anniversary of his death by releasing intimate early works that became iconic moments. Prince’s original recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was brought to life as a megahit by Sinead O’Connor, dropped along with a music video filled with vintage footage. The estate is preparing to dip into Prince’s vault to bring “’an immersive annotated discography website highlighting the incomparable breadth and depth of Prince’s recorded catalogue, featuring audio previews, photos, videos, quotes and editorial commentary,’” according to Variety.

“Prince wrote hundreds of songs in his lifetime and released dozens of albums, ranging from studio recordings to live albums, compilations, and collaborations with his many affiliated groups and protégés,” according to Prince2Me. “Even with this robust catalog available, the world is only just beginning to understand the full scope of Prince’s work, which also included countless unreleased recordings. This is the start of an evolving exploration of Prince’s genius…”

The Estate launched an immersive annotated discography website highlighting the scope of Prince’s recorded catalogue. The website features audio previews, photos, videos, quotes and editorial commentary.

The website is broken down by category: “Studio Albums,” “Live Albums,” and Legacy Releases Compilations and Major Albums Produced by Prince. These will have subsets like Sheila E, Ingrid Chavez, The Time, Vanity 6, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, and the other artists who came through Paisley Park. The site promises more “mind-blowing” unreleased music is on its way.

The Prince Estate says this will be the first of many upcoming online experiences.  The announcement comes after news on the online pop-up store and an interactive fan-sourced section of Prince2Me. Fans can craft message by mixing Prince vocabulary, video and images provided by the Estate. The messages can then be shared through social media. Twitter users will share their Prince2Me messages using #Prince2Me or #NothingCompares2U will be able to activate an exclusive Prince Love Symbol Twitter emoji.

Oh, and the site makes your mouse curser look like the pupil of an eye.

Apr 21, 2018

Dragon Ball Super Episode 60 Review: Into The Future Again – Goku Black’s True Identity Revealed!

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Goku and company learn that they’ve still got their work cut out for their time when their latest victory turns bittersweet

This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers

Dragon Ball Super Episode 60

“The world is more complicated than we think…” 

So much for happily ever after, right? 

After last week’s badass deletion of Zamasu, AKA the show’s big threat, it seemed like Dragon Ball Super was possibly ready to move onto its next major enemy. Beerus was even certain that Future Trunks could stop brooding and return home to resume watching Tokyo Ghoul or Lupin the Third with Future Mai, or whatever they do to relax. 

Unless you’re a severely naïve individual that falls on the Goku scale of gullibility, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that Future Trunks’ timeline is still just as much of a dystopia as it’s always been—in fact, it might even be more dystopic. Goku Black and Zamasu are still alive, vindictive, and well, in spite of how Beerus put his God of Destruction powers into motion in the previous episode.

“Into The Future Again” largely structures itself around one big, final feast as everyone prepares to say farewell to Future Trunks. Future Trunks is hesitant to give in and just enjoy the food and the fun, but the atmosphere eventually caves his stony demeanor. It’s hard not to smile when this hardened warrior who hasn’t gotten to have much of a life outside of fighting for survival finally kicks back and allows himself to have fun. The episode plays the entire scene straight like this truly is the last that everyone will see of the character. 

Dragon Ball Superdeserves some credit for carrying out the typical, relaxed beats of a “goodbye” episode only to pull the rug out from under its characters’ feet at the last minute. The audience may understand how narratives like this work so they’re ready for the reversal, but in spite of that it’s still powerful to see the episode play with tension and release. The build up to Future Trunks’ devastated expression when he learns that nothing has changed and they’re back to square one on the hopelessness scale is strong, yet painful, storytelling. Even though the heroes are currently out of plans, the gang feels more renewed than ever to not be defeated and to figure out a new solution to their problem.

Before Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, and Bulma (yeah, it’s a little cramped in the ol’ time machine) head off to investigate the state of their handiwork, there’s a bit of a disconnect on what should be the next plan of action. Goku’s obliviously confident that the gang will be Teflon this time because he’ll remember to pack the Senzu Beans (although he nearly forgets). By the way, after the bean they give to Future Mai, the team is only left with four Senzu, which really isn’t a lot split between Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks. 

Goku’s Senzu safety net is a funny aside, but Vegeta’s not so quick to diminish the threat at hand. The Saiyan Prince takes a reserved attitude here and insists that they should form a proper plan for their next rendezvous with Goku Black. This is evidently the right approach and Vegeta finds himself with quite the axe to grind against Black and Zamasu. “Into The Future Again” positions Vegeta to headline the next episode in an attack that first targets Goku Black and then takes on Zamasu (that’s the current strategy).

The group’s return to oblivion that fuels the final minutes of the episode makes for a suspenseful conclusion, but it’s the smaller moments that really make this episode resonate. The scene in which young Trunks is eager for the timeline to be fixed so that his mother from the future doesn’t have to die is so sweet and emotional. 

Even though Trunks has never met this iteration of “his” mother, it’s touching to see him still get choked up over any version of her being dead. Future Trunks consoles him in a touching way that really brings everything full circle, too. The scene between both Trunkses back home really holds a lot of beauty as well. It’s a good reflection of what Dragon Ball Super has been capable of doing with its quieter moments of reflection. There’s a scene during their heart-to-heart where the frame stays on their cast shadows rather than the characters and it’s just so powerful. 

There’s also some sensible commentary here from Future Trunks’ where he weighs in with his theory about how his world is still a mess because of the simple fact that he’s still in their timeline. Future Trunks falls back on classic time paradox logic and argues that he should have disappeared or faded away if they really did fix everything. He also reflects on his previous adventure where he hopped over to the past to fix the future and how his efforts to save Goku in this timeline didn’t bring Goku back to life in his own world. Beerus continues to fume over the insinuation that his word is anything less than perfect, but he still doesn’t feel the need to actually visit the fractured timeline to inspect it (plus, he can’t, really).

Not only is Future Trunks’ world still a mess, but the group receives an unexpected ambush from Goku Black and Zamasu, which helps them understand just how truly futile their recent efforts have been. This mind game is able to take place because Goku Black explains that he’s actually the version of Zamasu that succeeded in his attempt to kill Gowasu. This Zamasu shouldhave been erased with the other Zamasu when Beerus intervened, but due to his possession of the Time Ring he was able to evade destruction and survive. After this, it didn’t take long for Zamasu to use the Super Dragon Balls to steal Goku’s body and begin his Zero HumanityPlan. The rest is (altered) history.

As pivotal as all of this is, nothing in this episode can hold a candle to the bonkers revelation that Goku still has a complete lack of understanding over what it means to kiss someone. Why is this not the only thing that we’re talking about in this episode!? 

Hell, even the Saiyan children know how to smooch! There’s a moment where Future Trunks does the act to Future Mai and Goku just stares in confused bewilderment, even though Vegeta reminds him that he is married and has children. Goku doesn’t understand what thathas to do with any of this. Apparently Goku and Chi-Chi just turned the lights off, did some naked sparring, and got results?

By the time that the credits roll in this episode there’s unfortunately the feeling that not a lot really happens in this installment. The team basically learns that they didn’t succeed and that the future is still a mess (which shouldn’t have been a surprise). Then Goku Black finally, once and for all, explains his existence and how everything unequivocally came together. Disappointment and exposition is what this episode amounts to in the end, which isn’t the most encouraging combination of traits. 

Granted, the details that the episode divulges are interesting and they make for a worthwhile development in this growing saga, but it still feels like more could have gone down here. Even if there was just a minor, perfunctory fight between Goku, Vegeta, and Black, it at least would have added something else to the installment. There’s not even a middling B-story for the episode to cut away to in order to help balance the tone. “Into The Future Again” isn’t a disappointing entry, but it’s easy to see it collapsing into the episodes that bookend it in the larger scope of this arc. 

Oh, and Beerus and Whis finally get some decent soup that brings them back to their days at Planet Gaspa.


Review

Daniel Kurland

Apr 21, 2018

Apr 21, 2018

Apple is replacing the batteries for some 13-inch MacBook Pros

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Apple has unveiled a program to replace the batteries of some non-Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pros for free. The company says that a “limited number” have had their batteries expand.

9to5Mac spotted the program, which will allow users to get the computer’s battery replaced for certain non-Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro models. Apple notes that a small number of computers manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017 have a faulty component which causes the battery to expand. The page for the program has a field for owners to submit their computer serial number to check its eligibility.

If their computer qualifies, users can bring their MacBook Pro to visit an authorized dealer or a retail store, or can mail it to Apple’s repair…

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Apr 21, 2018

Amazon won’t let users review James Comey’s new book if they didn’t purchase it through the site

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Amazon is restricting users from posting reviews of former FBI Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, unless the reviewer has purchased the book through the retailer.

Deadline noticed the issue, noting that the restriction is in place for the print and Kindle editions, and that some low-rated reviews might have also been removed as well. A review on audiobook platform Audible, which is owned by Amazon, complains that the user’s prior review had also been removed. We’ve reached out to Amazon and Audible for comment, and will update this post if we hear back. Barnes and Noble doesn’t appear to have any such restrictions for its reviews, and its reviews include a number of anonymous one and five…

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Apr 21, 2018

Netflix’s Cargo has a few new ideas for the zombie genre

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Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

It’s difficult to find funding, distribution, or even an audience for short films these days. Anyone can shoot a short and put it up online, and the competition from amateurs and free content is brisk enough to make any professional think twice about making a short for any reason except inspiration or fun. But for first-time filmmakers proving their talents, a well-received short film can open some doors and make funding for a feature easier to find. It worked for Neill Blomkamp, whose debut District 9 started as a short called Alive In Joburg. It worked for…

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Apr 21, 2018

The Wikileaks Shop says that Coinbase has suspended its account

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San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has reportedly closed an account opened by whistleblowing site Wikileaks for its online store, citing violations of its Terms of Service.

The Wikileaks Shop is the whistleblower site’s merchandise outlet, selling shirts, phone cases, coffee mugs, posters, and other branded paraphernalia. Users can pay for their items with a credit card, or via a variety of cryptocurrencies. The exchange appears to have closed an account owned by the organization for the store, which could mean that it won’t be able to collect payment through Coinbase and convert the money into dollars through the service.

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Apr 21, 2018

Ikea’s first Bluetooth speakers show it’s still figuring out tech

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Ikea’s been working its way into the tech space for the past few years. It started with wireless chargers, got into smart lights last year, and now it’s moving into speakers. I’ve been trying out the company’s first two Bluetooth speakers for the past week, and they feel quintessentially Ikea in ways both good and bad.

The first two pairs of Ikea-made Bluetooth speakers went on sale earlier this month: the Eneby 20 and Eneby 30. They’re both big, minimal squares with a single dial on them for controlling the volume and turning the unit on and off. The design is pretty forgettable, though you can remove the speaker grille to get a more stylized, industrial appearance. For the most part, though, they look like they were designed to fit…

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Apr 21, 2018

Ox, the truck that can be packed flat like Ikea furniture, is headed to pre-production

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The Ox, a slab-sided, flatpack vehicle designed to bring mobility to the developing world, just took one step closer to reality. Oil giant Shell announced recently that it would commission a pre-production prototype of the Ox that it will then bring to India to assist in outreach programs.

The Ox first came on the scene in 2016. It was the brainchild of Torquil Norman, a philanthropist who runs the Global Vehicle Trust, and Gordon Murray, the South African engineer who helped create the McLaren F1.

The truck is absurdly simple to assemble: its designers claim that three people can break it down into 60 parts in just 12 hours. This allows the Ox to be shipped cheaply to developing nations, where aid workers can use it to transport…

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Apr 21, 2018

7 new trailers you should watch this week

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Westworld starts up again this weekend after a little more than a year away. I had a very love / hate relationship with the first season. I didn’t love the watching experience so much as I loved the meta experience of reading speculation about where the show was going, but I’m still really interested to see what happens this season.

In particular, I’m curious to see how the writers manage to work the same kinds of big, structural twists into the series that they did in season 1, especially now that viewers know to look for them. I’m torn because part of me feels like this is gimmicky storytelling, but another part has to admit that they’ve done a masterful job of creating a big puzzle and conversation piece, which is definitely a feat.

T…

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Apr 21, 2018

Last call on Amazon Echo discounts, sales on smart TVs and a Verge exclusive deal

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Between robotic vacuums, voice-activated light switches and virtual assistants, the smart home tech business is booming. As smart home devices are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, a hub from which to control your various gadgets is a good idea. We liked Amazon’s Echo, the device that introduced Alexa, back when it was introduced in 2015 and many improvements have been made in the intervening three years. Amazon Echo is on sale for $84.99 (usually $99.99) and the smaller Echo Dot is down to $39.99 (usually $49.99). These Amazon devices deals end at 11:59 PM ET on Saturday, April 21. An Echo bundle with smart bulbs from TP-Link is on sale as well for $112.24 (usually $144.93).

This week, The Verge secured an exclusive deal from Anker on…

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Apr 21, 2018

The new Star Wars novel goes deep into the past and future of Han Solo

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Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters in just over a month. The standalone Star Wars film follows in the footsteps of Rogue One: a story that stands apart from the “saga” backbone of the franchise, ie, the story of the Skywalkers and their fight against the forces of evil in the galaxy. But unlike Rogue One, which featured a cast of brand-new characters to the franchise, Solo will focus on one of the franchise’s best-known characters: Han Solo.

As we come closer to the film’s release date, one thing that has stood out about Solo is how unenthused everyone seems to be for it. Unlike The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi, Solo is a film that, up until recently, I kept forgetting would be the second Star Wars film to hit theaters…

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Apr 21, 2018

This week in tech, 20 years ago

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InfoWorld, April 20th, 1998

As a person who covers day-to-day technology news, I often wonder how my writing might come off to someone in the future — and whether anyone will even be reading it. I can’t answer those questions, but I can do the next best thing: look back at what other people were writing 20 years ago.

Here are five stories — big and small — that science and tech enthusiasts might have checked out during the week before April 21st, 1998.

The hacktivist pedophile hunter who faked it all

Christian Valor was the perfect subject for a 1998 Forbes profile. Under the handle “Se7en,” he’d tracked down dozens of people who traded child pornography online, wiped their hard drives, and spread word of their crime online. “I can find a pedophile and trash his…

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Apr 21, 2018

That Time Iggy Pop Played a Vorta

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Boldly going where no one has gone before. It’s been in the mission statement since the beginning, first uttered by Zefram Cochrane and adhered to by every writer and producer to work on the Star Trek franchise. Of all the strange new worlds our valiant space explorers have visited, one could argue that among the strangest was when Quark, Rom, Nog (ex-)Liquidator Brunt, cousin Galia and Leck the Eliminator went to Empok Nor to trade a captured Vorta for Moogie. Because that’s when Iggy Pop showed up.

Iggy Pop in Deep Space Nine

This week is James Newell Osterberg, Jr.’s 71st birthday, and if you don’t know much about the guy, you may not realize how terrific it is that he donned the Vortan grey skin and ridged ears of a middle-management Dominion stooge named Yelgrun. Here’s the backstory.

The Michigan native was living in Chicago in the 1960s when he fell in with the burgeoning garage-rock/psychedelic blues bands that were cropping up. (If you don’t know what this music sounds like, drop everything and get a copy of the CD collection called “Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968.”) He was galvanized by seeing a performance by The Doors, and particularly taken with Jim Morrison’s stage persona.

Taking a daring and energetic approach to leading a rock band, as well as the moniker Iggy Pop (one of his earliest bands had been The Iguana), he formed the band The Stooges. They were not a huge success, but they were incredibly influential in crafting a new proto-punk sound that was heavy, fast and angry, but still fun. Their third album, Raw Power, produced by friend and supporter David Bowie, is a landmark piece of dirty, aggressive rock.

The Stooges’ live shows, however, are where Iggy made his reputation as someone who was. . . dangerous. It may be hard for young people to understand today, but way back when rock fans had far fewer avenues to get to “know” the stars. There were no videos, no Twitter, no YouTube. A band’s reputation was made by urban legend, word of mouth and extremely rare (and highly stage-crafted) TV appearances.

Stories abounded of Iggy being a maniac. He would leap off the stage into the arms of his fans. He would roll around on cut glass. He would vomit on stage. Or would he? Where facts end and where myth begins have now faded into the mists of pop culture history.

In the next phase of his career he retreated again with David Bowie to Berlin to record, among other things, the masterpiece album Lust For Life. Even if you don’t think you know some of these songs, you do. The title track and “The Passenger” have been used in many TV commercials, which some might consider “selling out,” while others consider a sly example of “stickin’ it to the man.” Trivia fanatics love to point out that the rhythm section, Hunt and Tony Sales, are the sons of the legendary NYC broadcaster and borscht belt comic Soupy Sales.

Ferengi of Deep Space Nine

As the 1980s came, Iggy recorded some more “New Wave” style albums, made hilarious TV appearances (check out YouTube for his couch-chatting skills on the early David Letterman show) and started appearing in small roles in oddball films. This all culminated in 1997 with DS9‘s “The Magnificent Ferengi.”

By season six of DS9, the Dominion War was raging in full force and a dark tone was evident in many of the episodes. Still, a little levity is always welcome and you could always count on a Quark-centric episode for it. While Quark and Ferengi culture had already been established as something far deeper than a one-note gag (part of what makes DS9 so rich) there’s no way to hold back the comedy when you get Armin Shimerman, Max Grodenchik, Jeffrey Combs and the others in their lobes.

Yelgrun with Ferengi

For reasons that are a little vague, the Grand Nagus dispatches Quark to rescue Ishka (Quark and Rom’s mother, also the Nagus’ lover) from the clutches of the Dominion. The first half of the episode shows our heroes “teaming up” in a manner similar to the film The Magnificent Seven. However, Ferengi, by and large, are not warriors, they are negotiators! Our Magnificent Ferengi fight back the way they know how – by using their noggins.

They enter into a prisoner exchange, using a spare captured Vorta that Sisko has hangin’ around. The gang heads to Empok Nor – the decrepit former Cardassian space station. (Question for the scientists reading – just because it is abandoned, why would it be keeled over in the gravity-free environment of space? Looks cool, but kinda makes no sense. . .) The Dominion strongman sent to make the exchange? None other than the subversive, dangerous punk rocker Iggy Pop.

With his deep voice and flatly midwestern accent, Iggy is one of the funniest bad guys in all of Trek. His comeback, “I was cloned,” when Quark shrugs about family is fantastic, as is his weary nodding along to Moogie’s financial counseling.

Trek producer Ira Steven Behr originally tried to get Iggy for the season-three episode “Past Tense,” to play the not-all-there character Grady. Scheduling didn’t work out, so that went to TOS alum Clint Howard. Ultimately, I think it all worked out for the best.

Iggy’s Vorta Yelgrun is eventually captured by the Ferengi and taken back to DS9. But strangely, we never consider him much of a bad guy. We never see him personally harm anyone and, in a way, other than Weyoun, he’s one of the finer windows into Vorta culture. He’s just a guy doing a job, a little cranky, and with a deadpan sense of humor. Having a rock star on the show would have been cool enough, but Iggy Pop, the writers and producers truly made the most of it, making this one of the best bits of strange casting on the show.

Do you remember how odd it was when you first recognized Iggy Pop beneath all that makeup? And what kind of alien do you think his pal David Bowie should have played, if he ever made a trip to DS9? Let me know in the comments below.

Jordan Hoffman frequently contributes to StarTrek.com via his column, One Trek Mind, and hosted Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast. He is also a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and Badass Digest. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. 

Apr 21, 2018

In Pursuit With John Walsh Tracks Down Fugitives for ID

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Tony Sokol

Apr 20, 2018

Victims’ rights activist John Walsh will collar elusive culprits in real-time for new investigation series.

John Walsh has been fighting for justice since July 27, 1981, the day his 6-year-old son Adam was abducted from a mall in Hollywood, Fla. His son’s death spurred Walsh to become an internationally known victims’ advocate. America’s Most Wanted, which he hosted, brought home more than 50 missing children and helped law enforcement capture more than 1,200 fugitives. Walsh is teaming with Investigation Discovery for In Pursuit With John Walsh.

Walsh has been the driving force behind major pieces of child protection legislation. Walsh and his wife Revé created the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 1984, after President Ronald Reagan signed the “Missing Children’s Assistance Act.”

“My life was unfortunately catapulted into the world of crime, and out of that pain I have made it my mission to ensure all criminals pay for the lives they’ve ruined,” Walsh said in a statement.

“I respect the projects that Henry Schleiff and his team at Investigation Discovery have created over the past decade to bring victims’ stories to the national spotlight, and I’m looking forward to furthering this impact by igniting ID’s fans to help actively put the bad guys behind bars.”

In Pursuit utilizes John’s unique and unrivaled experience in this field coupled with a call center able to help law enforcement find leads in real time. ID will use the power of its “dedicated fanbase as the #1 crime and investigation network in America” to help Walsh find missing children and put fugitives behind bars.

“John Walsh is one of America’s “most wanted” TV hosts and is arguably the most trusted resource for victim advocacy. After years of admiring each other’s parallel work to deliver justice, we are thrilled to welcome John to the ID family,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, and Destination America. “Empowering our viewers with the Walsh effect of immediate action, we hope to help deliver resolution to cases with In Pursuit With John Walsh.”

Walsh was honored numerous times by many local, state and federal agencies. In addition to being named “Man of the Year” by both the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI, John was made an honorary U.S. Marshal. He is only one of three people to receive this honor in the organization’s history.

In Pursuit With John Walsh is set to premiere on Investigation Discovery in the first quarter of 2019.

Apr 21, 2018

Dynasty Episode 19 Review: Use or Be Used

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Liam’s surprisingly straightforward backstory is revealed and Blake doubles down on being a villain

This Dynasty review contains spoilers. 

Dynasty Episode 19 Review

Liam’s identity and purpose are finally outted, Steven lies to his fiancé and sister so he can go track down his long-lost brother, Alexis’s machinations become even less clear, and Blake straight up blackmails his wife. Just another week with the Carringtons.

The backdrop for much of the episode’s events is a La Perla party, hosted by the company’s actual new creative directive, Julia Haarte. Since starting in 2016, she has expanded the famous luxury lingerie company into “lifestyle,” including the ready to wear that Dynasty features. This kind of cameo works best when the famous person is either highly charismatic (think Tim Gunn’s many television appearances) or says very little. I’m sure is a wonderful person, but her acting leaves something to be desired, as does that dress she apparently gave Alexis. The bright red mini skirt suit looks like it’s something out of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, but with none of the charm.

The episode started off with Alexis Getting Physical in a delightfully ridiculous morsel of 80s fashion and culture. It also featured two great fur coats, on the current and past Mrs. Carringtons. Jeff looks great, even drunk and disheveled in a high-end Hawaiian shirt and statement reading glasses that he probably doesn’t actually need, or his next-level black suit at the La Perla party. Jeff blames Fallon for all of his problems, ignoring that it was his own poor decisions that drove his family away, and his horrible pursuit of Fallon to even the score between his family and the Carringtons.

Jack Liam Ridley Lowden is a ridiculous name, even for a writer born to family money on the show Dynasty. His story was a bit of a letdown after all the hinting. I’m glad it didn’t turn out that Fallon was making out with her long-lost brother, but it was all too straightforward. There’s got to be a happy medium somewhere between those two poles. The guy is pretty, though, so I’ll be happy to see him and Fallon reunite. I’m a bit concerned that he trusted Alexis, though. He seemed smarter than that.

Alexis surprised me – I thought she’d go public with Liam’s manuscript to ruin his life, but instead she just burnt it to ruin Fallon’s. Even more eyebrow-raising: she’s apparently throwing in with Jeff Colby. Perhaps this is just to do anything and everything to piss of Blake and Fallon, though after all those hints she dropped when she thought Liam was a nobody has me thinking she might try to help Fallon marry well.

Sam’s executive assistant role suits him, and the show. He and Fallon get to be a bit bitchy and glamorous together, and it turns out they have a lot to learn from one another. Sam wears corporate drone well, but it was still good to see him back in his leopard print blazer and embroidered dress shirt. Alexis mostly spent the episode looking rough, though I suspect that’s intentional. Perhaps the worst look was a navy and gold jacket that looks suspiciously like something Kellyanne Conway would wear, and her fried and frazzled blond hair works perfectly with it.

Fallon’s makeup was on point throughout, but her clothing left something to be desired, even with Sammy Jo’s help. She could stand to remember that less is more and orange is not her color. It’s also a bit rich to hear her knocking pant suits immediately after wearing a zoot suit-style tuxedo jacket over a bra. Worst of all, she tried to bring back early 2000s cultural appropriate chic. Girl, it’s 2018, and that Mandarin collared minidress wasn’t doing you any favors anyway. Let it go.

Blake has reach a new low, both in his extreme condescension and in officially blackmailing his own wife. It’s gross to watch him manipulate and then threaten her, and it’s getting harder to see him as anything other than a villain. Luckily, Cristal is too smart for his shit – but not smart enough to leave him. Blake is right about one thing though: he is exactly the man Cristal married. There’s a lot that’s ridiculous about this show, and yet the thing that most strains credibility is the fact that these two are still together.

Culhane’s mother was a welcome breath of fresh air, and it was delightful to see her send Fallon back to her sham marriage. She may just be the first person to ever enforce boundaries with Fallon and managed to be kind while doing it. Of course, she’s right: it isn’t about Fallon right now, it’s about his family and getting to spend his last moments with his father.

The more Dynasty understands that Team Carrington is more fun when united against a common foe like Jeff or Alexis, the better. Though, I’d like to see better out of Alexis. So far he scheming seems pretty low level, though that may be in part because Dynasty doesn’t want to tip its hand as to whether she ultimately cares about her kids or not. On the other hand, I’d love to see Dynasty own up to the reality that Blake is not a good guy. For now, I’m looking forward to Fallon’s furious anger at her father, and her eventual team-up with Cristal to make things right for Culhane and the rest of the A Civil Action families in Clarke County.


Review

Delia Harrington

Apr 20, 2018

Apr 21, 2018

Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 18 Review: All Roads Lead…

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The Destroyer of Worlds rises… and falls on a solid episode of Agents of SHIELD

This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers

Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 18

Well, the only Von Strucker family on television now is the family on Fox’s X-traordinary Gifted because good ‘ol Werner Von Strucker is the first victim of the newly risen Destroyer of Worlds. Doesn’t that sound ominous? Oh, it so is. This week on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Ruby Hale’s greatest wish comes true. She is able to force the captive Fitz and Simmons to build her the chamber that will allow her to bond with Gravitonium and become the Destroyer of Worlds. 

What Ruby doesn’t know is that Carl Creel has already bonded with a smidge of Gravitonium and has basically been driven mad. So the already unstable Ruby becoming Gravitonium Girl is just a bad idea. But that’s exactly what happens. This season on Agents of SHIELD, the series has done a really good job of introducing easy to hate, totally badass female villains that you just really want to see take a beat down from our heroes. I mean, weren’t we all just dying to see the ball wielding Kree Sinara take an epic Smackdown from either May or Daisy? 

And now Ruby has been built up to the same levels of love to hate. She was responsible for the loss of Yo Yo’s arms and this week, Ruby is gleefully torturing both Fitz and Simmons in order to get the tech ready to bond her with Gravitonium. You just don’t torture Fitz and Simmons, dammit!

Thankfully, Daisy, May, and their team are on their way to save their fellow agents. Yo Yo has already escaped and is trying to get her arms to work in conjunction with her speed powers, but with Daisy on the scene, the main event of Quake versus Ruby is imminent. 

Sadly, it takes place after Von Strucker bonds Ruby with the deadly substance. Mama General Hale joins with Daisy and tries to save her daughter, but they are all too late. Ruby crushes Von Strucker’s head (dope) and goes after our agents. Hale tries to talk her daughter down, which seems to be working, until tragedy strikes. 

In Ruby, Daisy sees a reflection of her former self: an angry, rebellious youth who is trying to find her place in the world. That view is even stronger now that Ruby is immensely powerful. Sadly, Ruby turns into Stephen King’s Carrie and not a super hero as evident by the popping of Von Strucker’s head like a fascist zit. 

Daisy tries to calm Ruby down, and it seems to be working when Yo Yo comes on the scene and slices Ruby’s throat. You can’t really blame Yo Yo, I mean, Ruby did callously slice off Yo Yo’s arms, but the consequences of Yo Yo’s actions could be dire. The Gravitonium exits Ruby’s dying body, but did it enter Daisy’s?  

Do those dangerous phantoms of the former Graviton still exist in some form, ready to bring about the end of the world? We certainly know that General Hale, in her anguish, has called on her alien allies to come and seize the Gravitonium as events continue to build that will lead to the Earth cracking like an egg. So I guess with an invasion coming Agents of SHIELD and the Thanos invasion soon to hit in Avengers: Infinity War, Earth is about to become a very deadly place.

That’s a lot to take in; a ton of tragedy and loss, but thankfully another loss is avoided this week. Last episode, we saw the sleeper agent General Talbot activated by HYDRA. This week, Talbot’s mission is revealed. He is to kill the youthful precog Robin at SHIELD HQ. 

Thankfully, Coulson, Mack, and Deke figure out something is very wrong and save the young girl. Mack takes out Talbot with one shot and one has to wonder what will be the next leg of the journey of Glenn Talbot. With Robin still in the picture, there is still some hope for the world, but with the aliens on the way and Hale with nothing to live for, things could get very bad very soon.

And how will Daisy react to seeing Yo Yo kill Ruby? As we stated, Ruby was the dark reflection of Daisy, and Daisy still believes that she will bring about the end of the world. Could Yo Yo turn on Daisy as well? At least Daisy has the utter devotion of Deke, the future grandson of Fitz and Simmons. So if Daisy and Deke get married, Daisy would become Fitz and Simmons granddaughter-in-law. Whoa. I’m totally shipping that as I now find lemons very romantic. 

But when life hands you lemons make a Gravitonium fueled killer. One has to wonder if this is the end for Ruby, if she was just a plot device to lead to the alien invasion or will the Gravitonium bring her back to cause future problems for SHIELD. Yeah, things are getting dire in the MCU and Thanos hasn’t even arrived yet!


Review

Marc Buxton

Apr 20, 2018

Apr 21, 2018

Ash vs Evil Dead Canceled

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Mike Cecchini

Apr 20, 2018

Starz has canceled Ash vs Evil Dead. There will be no season 4 of the cult horror series.

Well, this is unacceptable. We’ve been going on and on around here about how Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 is the show’s best season ever. And it is. Not only has it found its perfect horror comedy balance, the latest season has done the most exploring, finally comfortable with dipping into other elements of Evil Dead mythology.

So of course Starz has canceled the series. Of course they have.

To be fair, the viewership numbers on this season haven’t been great, and without ratings, you are left with Jack and shit…and Jack left town.

Bruce Campbell has recently said that when Ash vs Evil Dead ends, that will be the last we see of Ashley J. Williams, the role that made Bruce a cult favorite. His farewell to the series on Twitter seems to hint at this as well.

Well, on the bright side, I never expected to be able to get more adventures of ol’ Ash in the Evil Dead universe anyway, and this series has been a joy. I’m looking forward to whatever Bruce Campbell does next.

The news of the show’s cancelation comes with two episodes still left in the season. You can keep up with our remaining Ash vs Evil Dead coverage (and see why we’ve been so crazy about it this year) right here.

Apr 20, 2018

North Korea’s freeze on nuclear testing isn’t a victory — it’s negotiation

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North Korea will be pressing pause on its nuclear and missile tests this weekend in advance of summits with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in next week and with Donald Trump sometime this spring, Reuters reports.

The announcement, via state news agency KCNA, also included plans to shutter its nuclear test site, according to the Washington Post. But that doesn’t mean North Korea’s getting rid of the nuclear weapons that it has already developed, or that testing is done for good: the test site is still there, and the regime can resume testing when it pleases, says Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). To make it non-operational, they’d have to fill…

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Apr 20, 2018

The FDA supports a cannabis-derived drug, but it’s still too hard to study pot

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For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has recommended approving a drug derived from cannabis. It’s an important step in acknowledging that the plant has a valid medical use, but will mean little without loosening the research restrictions that keep scientists from figuring out the other health effects of cannabis.

The drug in question is Epidiolex, used to treat severe forms of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epidiolex includes cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that comes from the cannabis plant but is not psychoactive. Researchers have applauded the move, and it looks likely that the drug will be officially approved soon. “This is a very good development, and it basically underscores that…

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Apr 20, 2018

Let this insufferable Q&A at a Westworld panel be a lesson to us all

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Tribeca hosted a Westworld panel yesterday with an all-star lineup including co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, as well as actors Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden. I’m sure the discussion of the upcoming new season was great, but we’re actually here to talk about the very end of the panel, when the moderator takes questions from the audience.

Audience Q&As, a longtime staple of the panel format, offer attendees the chance to ask thoughtful questions that may have arisen during the discussion they attended. Just kidding! They’re actually a nightmare, because anecdotally anyone who’s attended panels at any major event — myself included — can tell you that the questions are bad 95 percent of the…

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Apr 20, 2018

Flickr acquired by professional photo hosting service SmugMug

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Flickr has been bought by professional photo hosting service SmugMug for an undisclosed price, according to a report from USA Today . The fate of Flickr has been up in the air as part of the ongoing decline of Yahoo, which was bought by Verizon last year $4.5 billion dollars and combined with AOL into Oath.

Yahoo itself had bought Flickr back in 2005 for $35 million, but never really seemed to know what to do with the service up until the end, even as it tried various redesigns and new services to revive Flickr, it never succeeded in mounting a comeback against more modern alternatives like Instagram. “Flickr has survived through thick-and-thin and is core to the entire fabric of the Internet,” SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA Today.

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Apr 20, 2018

Westworld Season 2: The Head of Security Has A Major Problem On His Hands

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Chris Longo

Apr 20, 2018

Actor Luke Hemsworth on his Westworld character, and the challenge of shooting a role with precious little information.

If chaos is going to take control, as the tagline for Westworld season 2 so ominously states, where does that leave the man in charge of the park’s security? Ashley Stubbs, played by Luke Hemsworth, is tasked with keeping guests safe and disturbances under control. His job is infinitely harder now with Dolores beating the maze and leading an uprising in the season one finale. Beyond getting the dangerous hosts offline as season two begins, there’s a larger mystery in play about what Stubbs’ role is. He’s shown some authority in the past, but is he too just a pawn in a bigger, corporate game?

“Poor little Stubbs, he’s constantly peeking over people’s shoulders and saying, ‘Hey, what’s happening? Can I be in this conversation?’” Hemsworth joked to Den of Geek at a Westworld press day.

I think that’s a question we played with right from the beginning. Who does Stubbs actually work for? Who does he owe his allegiance to? Who is this Delos corporation? Who does he call at the end of the day?”

Westworld Season 2 will reveal the answers to some of those questions. Another point of friction is the introduction of a mysterious character named Karl Strand, played by Gustaf Skarsgård.

“Stubbs will say that he has authority over Strand and Strand will say that he has authority over Stubbs. Plus, he’s a Skarsgard. Everyone knows the Skarsgards and the Hemsworths are going to throw down.”

While the Skarsgards versus the Hemsworths would be the ultimate brothers/actors battle, Gustaf and Luke had a unique set of challenges on the Westworld set. Luke did make a cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, sharing the screen with his brother, Chris, who stars as Thor. Even a small role like that is a tightly kept secret in the highly confidential making of a Marvel movie. Westworld is a different beast altogether. Often times the actors were kept in the dark about their characters and the larger narrative arcs of the season.

“They told us nothing this season. Again, that’s part of the surrender I think. You learn to deal with it and you learn to be fluid and you learn to go where you’re needed when you’re needed, instantly. You know that they are doing things on purpose, and you could ask [Jonathan Nolan] and Lisa [Joy] questions all day long and they’ll skirt around and change the subject,” Hemsworth said.

“Jonathan by the end would be like, ‘OK, that’s your one question.’ And then would walk off.”

You can bet Hemsworth will be asking questions with the rest of us when Westworld season 2 premiere on April 22nd at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.

Apr 20, 2018

Department of Justice reportedly investigating AT&T and Verizon over collusion against eSIM technology

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The US Department of Justice has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation to determine whether AT&T, Verizon, and mobile industry group GSM Association (GSMA) colluded to prevent consumers from easily switching carriers with devices that support eSIM, according to The New York Times. All four major carriers received requests for information about the investigation, according to CNBC.

The Times reports that the DOJ “demanded” details from the three over potential steps taken to impede the adoption of eSIM, which lets wireless customers switch carriers without requiring a physical SIM card to be inserted. AT&T and Verizon are accused of working with GSMA to develop standards that would allow them to keep devices locked to their…

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Apr 20, 2018

Scandal Season 7 Episode 18 Review: Over a Cliff

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The Gladiators make the ultimate sacrifice to take down Cyrus and Jake.

This Scandal review contains spoilers. 

Scandal Season 7 Episode 18

When all was written and done, the Scandal series finale left me with the visual of an ill-fitting bow atop a gift box. I didn’t expect any last-minute revelations that would hint to a spinoff, however, I had hoped the final installment written by the show’s creator would have been more satisfying.

There were two casualties, both men, who at some point this season or over the series’ run experienced moral dilemmas that left them vulnerable. Both deaths were for shock value spaced over the episode. The handling of these two scenes felt manipulative and writerly, not organic and borne out of a crisis. Why then were Jake and Cyrus kept alive, while David and Lonnie axed? The bulk of the show adhered to the last seven years of the show – quick scene transitions and fast dialogue.

I’m well within my rights to have wanted a different final show. I don’t know if I’m disappointed because I needed the bad guys to pay for their crimes and they didn’t. It is more of an emotional impact for viewers when writers sacrifice sheep rather than lions. What fun is there in executing a self-proclaimed villain? Perhaps in the afterlife of the show, it is better Cyrus remains alive to witness what he will never have, and for Jake to waste way in prison while the people he sought to destroy live their best lives.

There was no way that members of Team Olivia and Team Mellie would suffer any consequences for their illegal, murderous activities. It would be applying a realistic lens to a glitzy fictional world and its characters. Scandal wasn’t built on and became popular for its realism, it spoke to its largely female audience in other ways. It was a cocktail of escapism, fantasy, fashion, and steamy sex scenes. It was at its core a nighttime soap opera, not a slice-of-life drama that cut close to home.

It will be remembered for its newsworthiness of having had an African American female lead a primetime show for the first time in over thirty years. I wasn’t drawn to the show for that primary reason, but for the premise of a team of fixers getting the job done. It wasn’t the A-Team, but I was intrigued. I’m not blaming the show for straying for the original hook, nor am I blaming myself for having gone along for the ride. Scandal was a hit for the first three years of the show, and then viewers tapered off when the show went off-course, unable to oil the navigation tools and redirect itself on a sea of equally competitive fare.

When I think about the episode’s title, “Over a Cliff,” the first image that comes to mind is the final scene in Thelma and Louise. All seemed lost, and with nothing to live for in their opinion, they made the ultimate sacrifice. The title didn’t fit because Huck, Olivia, Rowan, Charlie, and Jake have previously crossed the line countless times, so it was largely symbolic. The characters didn’t go over a cliff but took a safe detour.

Scandal rode off into the sunset with its major players headed in opposite directions, and I have to accept it did so without fanfare and fireworks. Everyone was true to themselves and followed their predetermined trajectory. The series ended safely parked at a truck stop on a journey that could’ve been more rewarding and resonant. There’s no contemplating what if had the final season been set up to end with the characters going over a cliff. Viewers know what these characters will most likely be doing in fifteen or twenty years. It’s a testament to the creator, writers, and actors to have created this show. My recurring wish was to have been surprised more than not for a show that was largely predictable. 


Review

Apr 20, 2018

Apr 20, 2018

ZTE says the US export ban will “severely impact” its survival

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Chinese technology company ZTE issued a statement today in response to the US government’s banning of American exports to the company. The US Department of Commerce says ZTE didn’t uphold a plea agreement after the company pleaded guilty last year to illegally shipping US equipment to Iran and North Korea. The department specifically says the company still gave employees who acted illegally full bonuses, despite saying it wouldn’t. Additionally, only four senior staffers were fired out of the 35 who reportedly violated the law, Reuters reported.

Now, four days after the ban, ZTE says it tried to comply with the US and invested “tremendous resources in export compliance.” It says, “the Denial Order will not only severely impact the…

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