Reading: Movies & Your Brain, Beyoncé vs. Sofia, Don’t Call Me “Bro,” Escher Girls, The Simpsons’ Legacy & more

Also: The story behind a new HTML tag, Facebook damages public discourse, developing virtue, and leaked nude celebrity pics.
Brainscan

Filmmakers and scientists recent got together to discuss how movies manipulate your brain: “ We’re constantly calculating where we think the audience’s eye is going to be, and how to attract it to that area and prioritize within a shot what you can fake,’ Favreau said. The best visual effects tool is the brains of the audience,’ he said. They will stitch things together so they make sense.’ ”

Mollie Hemingway finds the differing reactions to Beyoncé’s MTV Awards performance and Sofia Vergara’s Emmy appearance confusing. “When there was nothing but headless bodies featuring butts-butts-butts and a spread-eagle Beyoncé singing a song some have criticized for its lyrics joking about Ike Turner’s domestic violence, Jarrett Wieselman of BuzzFeed could not deal with the perfection. But when a fully clothed Vergara did a little comedy bit about her rockin’ bod, sound the alarm, we got a problem.”

Fist Bump

The word “bro” isn’t as cool or innocuous as you might think. “Subject to intense semantic distortion and fluctuation, the word bro is slippery, but one feature of its use and abuse remains constant: the underlying contempt for male friendship it implies.”

The purpose of Escher Girls is “to archive and showcase the prevalence of certain ways women are depicted in illustrated pop media, specifically how women are posed, drawn, distorted, and/or sexualized out of context, often in ridiculous, impossible or disturbing ways that sacrifice storytelling.” It’s not a very work-safe site, but that’s sort of the point. Via

The Simpsons

In light of FXX’s recent Simpsons marathon, S.D. Kelly reflects on The Simpsons’ legacy: “[Americans] have an endless supply of optimism and pluck, and a desire to pull together as a community, even if we’re not quite sure how to do it. The Simpsons manages to [show] respect for our humanity even while never ceasing to be amazed at how dumb we can be.”

Ars Technica has published an in-depth account of the development of HTML’s “picture” HTML element, which promises to make websites considerably faster. “In the beginning, though, no one working on the project was thinking about creating new HTML elements. Marquis and the other developers just wanted to build a site that loaded faster on mobile devices.” Via

Facebook Logo

Facebook is only showing you what you want to see, which makes for a better Facebook experience but might do more damage to the overall public discourse surrounding important events. “Right now, a lack of information about Ferguson on Facebook, if it’s not just a subjective observation, would reflect the wisdom that makes Facebook’s news feeds a good experience: keep it happy, keep it nonpartisan. History shows that political events on Facebook can play well, so long as the majority of population is going to fall on the same side.”

As an “information age office jockey” myself, I appreciated David Brooks’ recent column about virtue and character challenges. “[T]he mind is embedded in human nature, and very often thinking well means pushing against the grain of our nature — against vanity, against laziness, against the desire for certainty, against the desire to avoid painful truths. Good thinking isn’t just adopting the right technique. It’s a moral enterprise and requires good character, the ability to go against our lesser impulses for the sake of our higher ones.”

In light of the recent Jennifer Lawrence nude pics story, Sonny Bunch writes that there’s nothing to celebrate about leaked nude celeb selfies. “I see little difference between the masses on the Internet celebrating/joking about illegally obtained nude photos of young adults who happen to be famous and the vicious high school prats who distribute photos of their teenage girlfriends for the amusement of their buddies (or, worse, to terrorize an ex).”

Related: 4chan members tried to get women to share nude photos in solidarity with Jennifer Lawrence: “The 4chan users coordinating the Twitter hashtag #LeakForJLaw commented that it would be the worldwide trolling of a lifetime’.” Tell me again how you think people are inherently good.


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