“In many ways, the men who made The Godfather—director Francis Ford Coppola, producer Al Ruddy, Paramount executives Robert Evans and Peter Bart, and Gulf & Western boss Charles Bluhdorn—were as ruthless as the gangsters in Mario Puzo’s blockbuster. After violent disputes over the casting of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, they tangled with the real-life Mob, which didn’t want the movie made at all. The author recalls how the clash of Hollywood sharks, Mafia kingpins, and cinematic geniuses shaped a Hollywood masterpiece.”—
In the winter of 1965, writer Gay Talese arrived in Los Angeles with an assignment from Esquire to profile Frank Sinatra. The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. So Talese remained in L.A., hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra — his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on — and observing the man himself wherever he could. The result, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published, a pioneering example of what came to be called New Journalism — a work of rigorously faithful fact enlivened with the kind of vivid storytelling that had previously been reserved for fiction. The piece conjures a deeply rich portrait of one of the era’s most guarded figures and tells a larger story about entertainment, celebrity, and America itself.
“I spend a lot of my time on recruiting. You could ask anyone in my office, “What are Paul’s priorities?” and they’ll say: “It’s team, No. 1. Then customer, then profit.” I really want to create the ultimate, most exciting dream team that’s ever been created in software, and I focus on that every day. I love to ask people, “Who’s the smartest person you ever met? The most creative person? The fastest?” Someone might say, “This guy I met in Ohio 10 years ago, but I think he moved overseas.” I’ll track him down.”—The Way I Work: Paul English of Kayak
“Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany. But America is different. That’s all we’ve been brought up on… [But] these lovely things about America were never lovely. We have been expansionist and aggressive and mean to other people from the beginning. And we’ve been aggressive and mean to people in this country, and we’ve allocated the wealth of this country in a very unjust way. We’ve never had justice in courts for the poor people, for black people, for radicals. Now how can we boast that America is a very special place?”—
Howard Zinn, “The Problem is Civil Disobedience” speech at Johns Hopkins University, November 1970
If programmers really want to master human thought, Mr. Kasparov suggests, they should take on poker:
… While chess is a 100 percent information game — both players are aware of all the data all the time — and therefore directly susceptible to computing power, poker has hidden cards and variable stakes, creating critical roles for chance, bluffing, and risk management. These might seem to be aspects of poker based entirely on human psychology and therefore invulnerable to computer incursion. A machine can trivially calculate the odds of every hand, but what to make of an opponent with poor odds making a large bet?
“The open source software movement that could be mentioned, the free culture movement, or, frankly, any of the other many great things that are taking nothing away from auteurs such as Jean-Luc Godard, and even Jaron Lanier. They’re safe from the incursions of amateurs like you and me. Of course the word “Amateur” comes from the French word “to love”. Good enough reason for me to participate. And you?”—Caterina.net: Participatory media and why I love it (and must defend it)
“A report last year by the Sustainable Packaging Alliance, commissioned by Woolworths, found reusable bags have a lower environmental toll than single-use bags, but only when used 104 times - or once a week over two years. The impact on global warming of a reusable polypropylene bag used only 52 times is worse than a standard plastic shopping bag.”—
“The big software testing tool vendors knew their testing tools won’t work, so that they charge big $$$$$ for one seat. How could a project claim being ‘Agile’, but only have one software testing license? Isn’t agile embracing whole team collaboration and automated testing? The reality says all.”—UI Test Automation Tools are Snake Oil
i’ve only just been introduced to Vic Chesnutt. He was a ‘high-functioning paraplegic’ - basically he was in a car crash age 18 and could move little apart from strum a guitar and sing like hell. He killed himself on christmas day. This song is probably the most explicit track about death on the last album he released before he died, and very very rarely does music stir up something actually pretty intense in me. i really think you should listen to this. I also don’t know why no-one in the UK really seems to give much of a shit about him.
I’m not really ashamed to share some of my mistakes while growing up. Every time I pay Tokyo a visit, it reminds me of when I was 16 & pickpocketing in the Shinkansen was the fun thing to do. This was when I spent an entire summer in Yokohama with my father.