We'd like to take this moment to clearly and firmly state our collective opinion of actor Chris Pratt: He's adorable.
Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.
Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.
In an unused scene from Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord (AKA Peter Quill, AKA adorable actor Chris Pratt) initiates a dance-off against Ronan the Accuser, featuring some sweet moves from Gamora and Drax as well. It's awesome.
Not sure if you've heard, but humans on planet Earth recently landed a probe, Philae, on a comet flying around in space. This is what it sounded like.
Here's the sound's description from the German Aerospace Center: "A short but significant 'thud' was heard by the Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) as Philae made its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The two-second recording from space is the very first of the contact between a man-made object with a comet upon landing."
John August, author of the movies Big Fish and Frankenweenie, is on board to adapt Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series for film, coming from CBS Films and 1212 Entertainment. There's no word on a release window (or really much else), but that's certainly exciting. Or terrifying. We'll see. Or will we? Yeah, we probably will. Not everything is scary, Person Standing Right Next To Me When I Thought I Was Home Alone.
A series of promotional images from the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan don't feature any titans, but they do show some new characters in the film. Attack on Titan is due out in summer 2015 in Japan.
Sorry if we just ruined anyone's childhood. A Barbie book called "I Can Be An Engineer" entered the internet spotlight after writer Pamela Ribon pointed out the harmful, stereotypical message it sent to girls interested in computer science. Basically, the story has Barbie break some computers, ask two boys to fix them for her, and then exclaim that she's a great computer engineer. Here's an excerpt:
"I'm only creating the design ideas," Barbie says, laughing. "I'll need Steven and Brian's help to turn it into a real game!"
In response to the book's newfound notoriety, computer engineer Kathleen Tuite created a web app that allows anyone to improve the story, leading to Barbie saying things like this to Steven and Brian: "I already coded in the physics attributes. That's one of the hardest parts, you know."
Barbie's company apologized on Facebook on Wednesday, noting that the book was published in 2010: "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn't reflect the Brand's vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn't reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl's imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character."
The National Book Foundation honored stand-out authors at the 65th annual National Book Awards ceremony this week, including a beautifully rousing speech by Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ursula K Le Guin. Author Neil Gaiman presented Le Guin the award and later said, "I do not remember being happier than getting to give Ursula Le Guin her award."
As for those category winners: fiction goes to Phil Klay, Redeployment; non-fiction is Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition; poetry is Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night; and young people's literature is Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming. Your contributions to an informed, creative and engaged society are extremely appreciated, authors.
We'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to not be racist. During the ceremony, author Daniel Handler, better known by his pen-name Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events), made a racist joke at the expense of black author Jacqueline Woodson. He apologized and pledged to donate $10,000, plus up to $100,000 in matching funds, to We Need Diverse Books.
Florida State University student Jason Derfuss had just exited the Strozier Library when he heard a loud bang and saw someone, gun drawn, running toward another student – he ran to his car and called 911. When he got home, safe, he found the books he'd just checked out had a bullet hole running through them, as did the front of his backpack. He had been shot at directly, and The Oxford Context of Wyclif's Thought stopped the bullet from hitting him. The slug was still in his bag.
"There is no way I should be alive," Derfuss, 21, told NBC News. "Literally, those books saved my life."
Three students were injured in the incident, and the shooter was shot and killed by police officers at the scene.
Here are Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan in the BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, scheduled to air in 2015. Here's a synopsis of the show, for those unfamiliar with Susanna Clarke's Hugo Award-winning novels:
"Set at the beginning of the 19th-century, England no longer believes in practical magic. The reclusive Mr Norrell (Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey stuns the city of York when he causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. With a little persuasion and help from his man of business Childermass (Enzo Cilenti), he goes to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon. It is there Norrell summons a fairy (Warren) to bring Lady Pole (Englert) back from the dead, opening a whole can of worms..."
Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul premieres with two episodes two days in a row – the first airs on AMC on Sunday, February 8 at 10PM ET, and the second airs on Monday, February 9 at 10PM ET. After that, the show will hold a slot on Mondays.
Based on Michael Crichton's 1973 novel of the same name, Westworld is due to premiere on HBO in 2015, coming from JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan. As described by The Verge:
"The series will star Anthony Hopkins as an inventor who runs a futuristic theme park full of lifelike androids. According to THR, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, and Thandie Newton will portray the androids and can be killed and replaced frequently, giving everyone a chance to play multiple characters. (The cast reportedly signed multi-year deals.) Ed Harris, Miranda Otto and Jeffrey Wright will also star in the series."
"We're going to do a prenatal origin story for Robin down the line," showrunner Bruno Heller told Entertainment Weekly. "There are no MRIs involved. There's an episode coming up where we learn how Robin's parents got together."
OK, OK – the storyline isn't going to take place on a microscopic level inside the Graysons reproductive organs or anything, but that's an odd way to put it. Still, we'd love to see some Harley Quinn love on Gotham, considering she exists in the same generation, but Heller said that wasn't in the cards just yet: "We haven't got Harley Quinn in it. Riddler's girlfriend is coming up. And Harley Quinn is definitely planned for later on, but so far no."
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