Superman and Batman to team up against their greatest common foe: Marvel

No smiles, only tights.

No smiles, only tights, capes, spandex.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Warner Bros. is expected to announce at its Hall H panel that as the follow-up to Man of Steel, it is pairing two of the most recognizable superheroes in the world for a one-two punch that will be directed by Zack Snyder.

Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman, but it is unclear who will play Batman in the new film. A release date of 2015 has been set, with tentative plans for a Flash movie appearing in 2016 and a Justice League movie in 2017, sources said.

The movie was announced by Zack Snyder at about 1:30 to hysterical wailing, praise for our lord Jesus Superman, etc.

Who didn’t see this coming from a mile away? After the runaway success of The Avengers last year, DC had no choice but to start gathering all of its superheroes into the stable for their own ultrabudget omnibus. With their only truly profitable superhero franchise recently completed, the company needs something to keep them neck-and-neck with Marvel, and direct mimicry of a rival studio’s proven formula is the best possible bet in any producer’s eyes. And in keeping with contemporary industry standards, this news couldn’t have been revealed anywhere other than hype factory Comic-Con, where you’d probably see similar reactions to the unveiling of a straight-to-DVD motion comic about Squirrel Girl. Fewer, surely, but still.

Check out that timetable, though. Four more years before The Justice League; four more years of superhero movie after superhero movie from both Marvel and DC, both struggling to gain financial leverage over one another. If you think Superbatman and The Flash are the only offerings you’ll be seeing from DC in this time frame, you’ve got another thing coming (though not The Thing, because Fox owns Fantastic Four). This is the same competitive principle that allows Pepsi and Coke to both occupy the market even after fifty years of competition: curry brand loyalty early on, then oversaturate your brand in the media while deviating minimally from the successful original product. Consumers eager to assert their undying love for High Fructose Corn Syrup Drink A/B will practically do the marketing for you! Also recall a similar “rivalry” between Kanye West and 50 Cent in 2007, motivated by nothing except each party’s desire to galvanize their fanbases and sell more records. Engineering competition is a tried-and-true marketing strategy, except in the scenario that everyone gets so goddamn sick of superhero movies that Marvel and DC both go belly-up before we even reach 2017. But to read this account of people “screaming – literally screaming” and in “floods of tears” upon Zack Snyder’s announcement, that hardly seems likely at all.

Drew Byrd-Smith – drewbyrd.blogspot.com

College students have surprisingly tame sex lives

Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College, writes:

If you do the math, this is what you get: The median number of college hookups for a graduating senior is seven. This includes instances in which there was intercourse, but also times when two people just made out with their clothes on. The typical student acquires only two new sexual partners during college. Half of all hookups are with someone the person has hooked up with before. A quarter of students will be virgins when they graduate.

In other words, there’s no bacchanalian orgy on college campuses, so we can stop wringing our hands about that.

Laird argues that students aren’t interested in and won’t form relationships if “they are simply focused on the next hookup.” Wrong. The majority of students — 70% of women and 73% of men –report that they’d like to have a committed relationship, and 95% of women and 77% of men prefer dating to hooking up. In fact, about three-quarters of students will enter a long-term monogamous relationship while in college.

Facebook single-handedly made its home county the best-paid in the nation

Facebook employees made so much money from the company going public last year that it shot San Mateo County, where the company is headquartered, to the top of the charts for highest average weekly income in the nation.

San Mateo average wages rose to a rate equivalent to yearly earnings of $168,000, significantly higher than even New York County, home of Wall Street and several other high-earning industries.

The Wall Street Journal’s Scott Thurm verified that Facebook’s IPO was responsible for the massive increase by looking at the wages by job sector.

He found that the roughly 6,200 “industrial” workers (which Facebook employees count as) earned $6.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 – which works out to almost $83,000 a week. This lines up with the timing for many Facebook employee’s stock options, which vested in November of last year.

This isn’t the first time that a tech company going public has made a significant number of its employees exceedingly rich. Microsoft compensated many early employees with generous stock options. After a hundredfold increase in its stock price between 1986 and 1996 it was estimated that at least 10,000 “Microsoft millionaires” were created by 2000.

“I was raped at Disney World and nobody cared”

Dana Wierzbicki was raped by a Disney World coworker after-hours. After figuring out the proper channels to go through to deal with the situation, she met with a counselor provided by the company. The (female!) counselor responded in pretty much the least helpful way imaginable:

I recounted everything that happened that night while the counselor stayed silent and seemed at least mildly sympathetic. When I told her we had been drinking, her face changed from “concerned” to “you made a mistake.”  Still, I told her, I said “no” the entire time and he never listened.  

The first thing she said to me was “Well, now you know not to be hanging around boys in the middle of the night. You know what they want.”

Take a few seconds and re-read that. Now let’s unpack it.

A certified counselor was insinuating that it was my fault that my coworker decided to rape me — as if I should have known better than to interact with any man after dark. Not only that, but she was advising me to approach every interaction with a man as if he is a potential rapist, including every man that works at Disney World. If I react to a man with anything less than hostility after sundown, whatever happens is my fault.

The health benefits of coffee

This Is Your Brain on Coffee:

Other recent studies have linked moderate coffee drinking — the equivalent of three or four 5-ounce cups of coffee a day or a single venti-size Starbucks — with more specific advantages: a reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer), prostate cancer, oral cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

Perhaps most consequential, animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia. In a 2012 experiment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, mice were briefly starved of oxygen, causing them to lose the ability to form memories. Half of the mice received a dose of caffeine that was the equivalent of several cups of coffee. After they were reoxygenated, the caffeinated mice regained their ability to form new memories 33 percent faster than the uncaffeinated. Close examination of the animals’ brain tissue showed that the caffeine disrupted the action of adenosine, a substance inside cells that usually provides energy, but can become destructive if it leaks out when the cells are injured or under stress. The escaped adenosine can jump-start a biochemical cascade leading to inflammation, which can disrupt the function of neurons, and potentially contribute to neurodegeneration or, in other words, dementia.

Does this mean Starbucks will start running ads touting their health benefits? They’d be like Subway’s ads, but instead of featuring people who lost weight they could show older people whose dementia “could be worse.”

How to stop procrastinating

How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?:

Humans like to think we’re a clever lot. Yet those magnificent, mighty brains that allow us to split the atom and touch the moon are the same stupid brains that can’t start an assignment until the day before it’s due.

We evolved from primitive creatures, but we never quite shed ourselves of their legacy. You know the clever, rational part of your brain you think of as your human consciousness? Let’s call him Albert. He lives in your brain alongside an impulsive baby reptile called Rex:

A fantastic Quora post. Key takeaways:

  • Set time aside each day for your basic needs: eating, sleeping, and having some fun. That way your brain won’t want to do those things instead of getting to work.
  • Build up discipline: easy ways to do this are setting a public goal for yourself (“I’m going to have ten articles up today everybody!”) or work on a team – the fear of embarrassing yourself in front of others is a pretty powerful motivator.
  • Get yourself pumped. If you have music that gets you in the mood to be productive, by all means listen to it. (I recommend almost anything by Hans Zimmer).
  • Make yourself start. If you can get that first line on the page, your brain won’t work as hard against doing more.

Native American student’s diploma withheld for wearing tribal feather at graduation

Native American student denied high school diploma for wearing tribal feather:

A high school graduate in Alabama is being denied her diploma after being fined $1,000 for wearing a feather reflecting her Native American heritage.

‘I don’t think it’s fair at all,’ 17-year-old Chelsey Ramer told WPMI-TV. ‘I feel like its discrimination.’

Ramer, a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, wore the feather while taking part in the graduation ceremony at Escambia Academy High School in defiance of school policy forbidding ‘extraneous items’ from being worn without school permission.

The school sent a contract for graduating seniors to sign before the May 23 event, but Ramer told the station she never signed it. Escambia is now withholding her diploma until she pays the fine.

I’m always surprised by the amount of bullshit bureaucracy at high schools and other aspects of local government in the South- you’d think that kind of thing wouldn’t be a problem in places where the Tea Party is so influential.

Youth unemployment in Greece and Spain above 50 percent

Europe’s Record Youth Unemployment: The Scariest Graph in the World Just Got Scarier – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic:

My God, look at Greece’s trajectory. That thing isn’t slowing down. Since April 2012, Greek youth unemployment has grown by about one percentage point a month. At that rate, it would pass 70 percent in early 2014.

It is suddenly not insane to imagine a youth unemployment rate of 70 percent in the developed world. And that is insane.

Mind-boggling. I’d be rioting too.

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

lsd drawing man face third eye

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment :

In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.

For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.

So in the 1950s the CIA thought it was acceptable to commit a terrorist attack against France (an ally) using a chemical weapon?

skeptical third world kid pic