The next scheduled Pwn2Own hacking competition has lost Hewlett-Packard as its longstanding sponsor out of legal concerns that the company could run afoul of recent changes to an international treaty that governs software exploits.
Dragos Raiu, organizer of both Pwn2Own and the PacSec West security conference in Japan, said HP lawyers spent more than $1 million researching the recent changes to the so-called Wassenaar Arrangement. He said they ultimately concluded that the legal uncertainty and compliance hurdles were too high for them to move forward.
"I am left being kind of grumpy now that HP is not involved," Raiu told Ars. He said that he plans to organize a scaled-down hacking competition to fill the void at this year's conference, which is scheduled for November 11 and 12.
According to BadTaste.it (translation provided by ComingSoon.net), the Hulk, rumored to appear in Marvel‘s Captain America: Civil War, is still roaming on his own as the events of the third Captain America transpires. Their source? Mark Ruffalo himself.
While talking to the site, the actor said, “I thought that I would be in the film, but in the end evidently believe that reveal what happened Hulk is something too big, and Marvel wants to use this information later.”
He also clarified that he was, at one point, in the film. “My character had been inserted in the script, but then it was taken away,” he explained. “Who knows, maybe Hulk will never return. However, they want to keep the revelation of what happened a secret, because it is something really big.”
Earlier rumors had Ruffalo on set, so it’s always possible he shot a few scenes or maybe even an end-credit tag for the “big” reveal of his location. Feel free to speculate wildly on the Hulk/Bruce Banner’s whereabouts.
In a previous Mr. Robot recap
I love writing stuff down. Well, I love the idea of writing stuff down. Often I abandon the actual task because keeping track and archiving written notes is a huge pain in the ass. Wacom has a new toy called Bamboo Spark that digitizes your handwritten notes without you having to think about it...much.
Calculus: A word that triggers involuntary fear spams in the best of us. But the days of slogging through tedious textbook derivatives are over, if you want them to be. For the past few years, people across the world have studied calculus for free online, by exploring a set of gorgeous, dynamic animations.
The new TVR company led by British entrepreneur Les Edgar took more than 250 deposits for its Gordon Murray-designed and Cosworth-powered sports car
For the past 38 years there hasn’t been a robot more loved by fans than Star Wars’ R2-D2. But that could all soon change when The Force Awakens hits theaters, especially now that anyone can own a tiny working version of the movie’s BB-8 droid that can roll and balance all by itself.
We want to send you a galley of Gideon Smith and the Mask of the Ripper by David Barnett, out on October 13th from Tor Books!
In an alternate nineteenth century where a technologically advanced Britain holds sway over most of the known world and the American Revolution never happened, young Gideon Smith is firmly established as the Hero of the Empire.
Back in London, Gideon and his colleagues are dragged into a case that is confounding the Metropolitan Police. For the city is on the edge of mass rioting due to the continuing reign of terror by the serial killer known only as Jack the Ripper, who is rampaging though London’s less salubrious quarters. While chasing the madman, a villain from their past strips Gideon Smith of his memory and is cast adrift in the seedy underbelly of London, where life is tough and death lurks in every shadowy alley. With mob rule threatening to engulf London, the Empire has never needed its hero more…but where is Gideon Smith?
Check for the rules below!
THE RULES: The first five people to email their name and address to sweepstakes [at] tor DOT com will receive one ARC of the book listed above. Please make the subject of your email “Gideon Smith and the Mask of the Ripper.” Good luck! Do not comment in this post for the sweepstakes, and for safety reasons PLEASE DO NOT leave your address in the comments.
J.K. Rowling has just given the world news of the first Sorting in the Potter family since 1991; Harry’s son, James Sirius Potter, became a Gryffindor yesterday! Rowling also noted that Teddy Lupin–son of Remus and Tonks, who is currently Head Boy of Hufflepuff House–was disappointed by the hat’s decision.
Teddy’s disappointment was shared by some members of fandom who were hoping that the Potter family would break its House streak with Harry and Ginny’s kids. (Personally, I’m holding out for Albus Severus to get Sorted into Slytherin. And for Lily to be a Hufflepuff.) And while it’s hard to be surprised by the fact that a kid named for James Potter and Sirius Black would be a Gryffindor through and through, that frustration plays into a long fought battle among diehard Potter fans about how the Hogwarts Houses should be viewed, and who might be getting the short end of the stick.
In a rare annotated copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling commented that she wondered if people would have thought differently of Hufflepuff House had she gone with her original instinct and made their mascot a bear rather than a badger. It’s an interesting thought, sure, but probably would have only led to droves of Winnie the Pooh comparisons, with pictures of Hufflepuffs holding their hands to their heads and shouting “Think!” over and over.
While Slytherin and Hufflepuff both have their share of intensely dedicated fans, it’s no secret that among the general Potter-reading population, most would prefer to be a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw. Why? Do people prefer lions and ravens? Red and blue? Or is it something a little less obvious… perhaps something to do with the attributes awarded to each house, and the values we place on them as a culture?
Life’s not easy for the Hufflepuffs out there. In every sketch, humorous fanfic, and rousing talk over butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park, they are the butt of all the jokes. Sweet and slow like molasses, that’s what people think. Sure friends, but not particularly talented. Or, as one of those hilarious Second City videos has put it—“I can’t digest lactose; I’m a Hufflepuff!”
And though the jokes are certainly funny, they’re not at all fair. Only last year, Rowling praised her daughter for saying that everyone should want to be a Hufflepuff, and claimed that it was her favorite house too for reasons that the last book makes clear; when the students have a choice about whether or not to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, the badgers all stay “for a different reason [than the Gryffindors]. They didn’t want to show off, they weren’t being reckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff.” So why don’t people get that? Why will Hufflepuff always be a shorthand term to make fun of those deemed dull and useless? Why are Slytherins assumed to be straight-up terrible people?
And what if it’s just a matter of word association?
Let’s talk about the central terminology associated with each Hogwarts House.
- Gryffindors are brave.
- Ravenclaws are intelligent.
- Slytherins are ambitious.
- Hufflepuffs are loyal.
Now, none of these terms are actually bad things to be, but in everyday society we read between the lines and give them other meanings. Bravery is all about heroics. If you’re brave, you self-sacrifice, you’re there to further the common good by helping those in need. You’re one fearless berserker. Intelligence is always valued, even when people want to tear it down out of spite. Smart people are always essential, they are always valuable. If you’re smart, you are meticulous, the person to call upon in a crisis. You have expertise, and that is required in all areas of life.
But ambition often reads like this: You’re selfish. You’re completely focused on your own evolution, and you don’t care who you have to screw over to get to the top. You are looking out for Number One, and all that matters is your position, your station in life. And loyalty reads like this: You’re a follower. A pushover. You find the strongest voice, you latch onto it, and you are there ’til the bitter end whether or not it’s in your best interest. You are a good person to have at someone’s side, but you have no backbone.
It’s not too hard to figure out which of the four options are going to look most appealing to the general population.
What many fail to realize is that the downsides of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are just as undesirable. Intelligence is great—of course it is—but if that’s your primary characteristic, you might also be cold and detached. Wit is entertaining, but it is often scathing as well. If you’re too logical, you run the risk of being too cautious in your approach to life. Not every Ravenclaw chose to fight Voldemort and his followers in Deathly Hallows because they weighed the options, considered every avenue carefully, and decided what they thought about the possible outcomes. That doesn’t make them bad people by any means, but it can mean that Ravenclaws are liable to pursue logic to the exclusion of compassion.
And here’s a good object lesson for Gryffindors from personal experience… I’m a Gryffindor. I know, it’s boring. I’d sort of rather be a Ravenclaw, or maybe a Slytherin. But every time I do one of those dumb online tests or think about it really hard, I know where I’d end up at Hogwarts. Why’s that, you ask?
Funny story: I once participated in a theatre workshop where the instructor had given us this really cool exercise—she would give a group of six or seven of us a word, and we had 10 seconds to work out a tableau that imparted that word to the audience. My group was given “Protect.” We only had enough time to decide who in the group would be protected before she called on us to create the tableau. We assembled the picture and froze. “Well,” she said, in a very Professor McGonagall-y sort of way, “isn’t that interesting.”
Using my peripheral vision, I could just make out the scene we had formed. Every other person in the group was working to corral the person who needed protecting away from harm, leading her to some safe haven. But I (alone) had flung myself in front of her, feet planted, arms spread wide to fend off whatever was coming.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Foolhardy. Inclined to grandeur. Big gestures without much forethought. Gryffindors come with their own special set of issues that are every bit as unattractive as Slytherin egocentricity and the Hufflepuffian potential for playing second fiddle to stronger personalities. The problem is, people in the wizarding world clearly have the exact same preconceptions about Hogwarts Houses. New students come in with all sorts of opinions about where they should want to be. Only people from Slytherin families actually want to be in Slytherin. That’s probably mostly true for Hufflepuffs as well, though they would likely be just as pleased to have their kids end up in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. But there’s a pervading sense that Slytherins are bad news and Hufflepuffs are lame, even among other wizards.
If only there had been someone in those books who could have shifted our perceptions and taught us better—wait, there was. In fact, he had a depressingly abrupt death that you might recall from the end of Goblet of Fire….
Cedric Diggory was supposed to be the lesson in all of this. Instead of inciting irritation and confusion in readers, the reaction to his selection in the Triwizard Tournament should have only ever been, “Of course the Hogwarts Champion is a Hufflepuff.” That was precisely the point. Of course the person who represents everything excellent about Hogwarts—its students, legacy, caliber—would come from Hufflepuff. Some roll their eyes and claim that Diggory was mis-sorted; clearly he’s a Gryffindor. No, he’s not. Being brave and charismatic does not make you a Gryffindor. Gryffindors can also be smart—Hermione is a prime example who was also not mis-sorted—just as Ravenclaws can be cunning, and Slytherins loyal. The houses are not as cut and dry as they seem. Where you are sorted has to do with what is important to you, what parts of your person need to be nurtured as you’re learning and growing.
Cedric Diggory was the Hogwarts Champion and he was pure Hufflepuff, through and through. Just, honest, hardworking and fair. Helpful, capable, and a fierce friend, just as Dumbledore said. It’s not as flashy as Gryffindor swagger, but it’s infinitely more admirable.
On the other hand, Slytherin presents a unique set of issues in perception. That poor house is the worst kind of self-fulfilling prophecy; it’s obviously possible to be ambitious and still be a good person, but you attract a certain type of personality by making it the soul of your snaky crest. What Slytherin seems to need is more students who are constructively ambitious, and the fact that they don’t have them is largely the wizarding world’s fault—in part due to the reputation of the house, but even more because wizarding society is stagnating in the shadows during Harry’s time. If the future generation continues to build and create better relations with the muggle world, it’s possible that new Slytherins will be the architects of that world, so long as they don’t have all that pureblood station propaganda to worry about anymore. Slytherins are not inherently evil at all, but they need more interesting goals to achieve now that the primary one is no longer “Keep Voldemort happy with my family or we’ll all die.”
And why do we continue to think of Gryffindors as the ultimate heroes? They have those knightly complexes, that’s for sure, and we’ve never quite put our admiration for chivalry to rest. The fact that some of those lionhearts may be enacting impressive feats for their own glorification isn’t as important to readers as the fact that they do it. We also have to consider that being so willing to throw yourself into harms way, but being incredibly flawed in how you go about it, is just plain interesting. Gryffindors make good heroes because their hubris gives them imperfections. It’s fun to watch them land hard when they don’t think things through.
What it means is that Hufflepuffs might actually be too good to be interesting protagonists. And Slytherins won’t get invited to the party until they have new points of interest. Instead of the damage of word association propagated by the Sorting Hat and family histories, it would be better to ignore what people say about the founders and the former alumni, and instead focus on what each house has to offer its students. It’s clear that Harry has adopted this policy by his middle age, prompting him to tell his son Albus that being sorted into Slytherin was really entirely okay as long as it made him happy. The houses should be an exercise in celebrating the diversity of the student population, not a dividing line that makes it easier to bully each other.
The generation that battled Voldemort was markedly imperfect, but with a little work they could achieve a future where everyone is proud to be sorted anywhere in Hogwarts at all. We should think on that future, and stop giving Hufflepuffs and Slytherins such an unduly hard time.
Top image from NerdFighters.
House Hugs banner from Tumblr user littletude.
This article originally ran on Tor.com on July 16, 2013.
Hayao Miyazaki broke the hearts of millions last year when he announced his retirement from filmmaking, but news has slowly been indicating that the Studio Ghibli co-founder isn't completely done with the spotlight yet. After reports surfaced that Miyazaki was allegedly working on his first CGI animated short film, Japan's Kyodo news service has confirmed that the director has lined up his official first project in retirement: A nature sanctuary for children on a remote Japanese island.
Miyazaki's films have long had a spiritual connection to the natural world, and now he's set to explore that theme quite literally by building a children's nature retreat on Kumejima Island, which is located about 55 miles west of Okinawa. A majority of the details are being kept under wraps, though the plan is for a two-story building to accommodate about 30 people. Miyazaki is spending $2.5 million...
READ MORE: Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn
"Unforgiven" (1992)Perhaps the epitome of the modern Western, Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning epic "Unforgiven" is a melancholic meditation on the West, exploring its myths and its history through a dark and violent lens. The film is set in 1881, with Eastwood starring as William Munny, a retired outlaw who returns to the trade after years of settling down as a farmer. Celebrated for its moral ambiguity and noir atmosphere, the film simultaneously debunks and pays tribute to one of cinema's most established genres by expertly juxtaposing violence and heroism, as well as courage and revenge. Principally noted for its anti-violence...
Though influenced by [REC], which director/co-writer Alberto Marini produced, and Cabin Fever, this Spanish-made outbreak-of-homicidal-lunacy picture has fresh new ideas which make for interesting wrinkles on the currently familiar tropes of infectious chemical insanity and small groups of young folks turning on each other.
It opens with a blindfold girl running through the woods and just sidestepping a deadly protruding branch that is as prominent as Chekhov’s gun in the first act – and is revisited several times before a blackly comic fulfilment of its potential. The imagery recalls Intacto, but it’s a trust exercise for American camp counsellors Christy (Jocelin Donahue, of House of the Devil) and Michelle (Maiara Walsh, of The Starvation Games). On the strength of looking great in photos, the girls have been hired to work at a camp in a converted mansion where unruly Spanish kids will learn English. Horndog Antonio (Andres Velencoso) brags to his sidekick Will (Diego Boneta) that last year’s girls left when they found out he was sleeping with both of them, but he sneakily tells Michelle that Will was the cad who did this. The characterisations are broad-strokes – Will is blind without specs, Christy is the rich idiot who wants to go shopping and Michelle is estranged from her parents but wants to phone home and patch things up – and there’s ominous business about the RV full of druggies who have set up camp nearby, an interruption to the water supply and mystery pollen in the air. After some misdirection, which leads us to expect a different character to snap, one of the women is siezed by murderous rage and starts frothing black bile at the mouth … and Antonio, who at least speaks Spanish and knows the area enough to be useful, gets battered to death.
The infection spreads, but the twist is that after twenty minutes of raging and battering and killing the effect wears off and the victim returns to normal, with no memory of what they’ve done. So everyone in turn gets to be the monster and the potential victim, with a staggered structure as sometimes two are infected at the same time and gang up on the sane one. Is it the pollen … a blood disease passed on by biting … or genetically-altered magic mushrooms? The druggies in the next field are similarly struck by the effect and – in their lucid spells – the characters try to get away or hole up against a siege, and even consider that deliberately dosing themselves with madness might be a way to get through the crisis. Marini and co-writer Danielle Schlief (The Condemned) give all the characters a mix of base and admirable qualities so it’s not quite as misanthropic as the average Eli Roth film, and there’s a weird streak of human feeling as people can’t bear to tell their friends what they did when they were insane … but the worst cruelties are inflicted by people who are in possession of their faculties.
It has an effective coda as a horde of just-maddened children rampage through foggy woods and everyone gets their just desserts.
It is making me more extra annoyed that I am not moved out yet. I mean, there was a plan, and then the plan went splat, only in theory it might not be splat yet, so it's kind of hanging there pre splat, which is mostly reminding me of space whales wondering if what they're about to meet will be their friend. But, plan, schrodingers splat. Meaning I am here. In my flat. With the noise.
I mean if I had moved then with my luck I'd have moved in next to a lot of noise. But still.
I would really like to win the lottery or the premium bonds or something, so I can buy a lot of ground floor flats and let the housing association rent them out to disabled people. I feel this is a solid and socially helpful plan, that incidentally allows me to try out a bunch of ground floor flats and decide which is best. I could make them have all the best green heating and no gas because who wants the air to burn anyway that is not a sensible plan.
I'm not set on the grandest plan obviously, I wouldn't mind getting a house swap, but that hasn't happened and it has been years.
Mostly I would like a plan that works.
And possibly to be able to hide under the blankets without this stupid noise getting in.
The Force Friday hype is building, and building strong. As we get closer and closer to September 4th, when all the Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys and merch hit their street dates, we’re seeing more and more promotional material come out. Check out this awesome new “poster” featuring the First Order in all their menacing glory. As reported by ComicBookMovie.com, it’s got Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, and General Hux all up in the foreground, focused and marching away like they’re about to ruin somebody’s day.
As Collider points out, this poster is a bit of a mashup between Empire’s magazine cover and a First Order still from early August. But, it’s still a neat composite image and it’s got the right dark tone of moody gloom that seems to follow the Empire/First Order everywhere.
Have you been keeping up with the Force Friday hubbub? What do you think about it all?
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