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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Ahead of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, McAfee, one of the leaders in online security, has released their list of 2014’s Most Toxic Superheroes.

As a writer living in two worlds, one a world of contemporary technology, the other, a world of hard science fiction speculation with an occasional hint of fantasy, I always enjoy coming across real world data that illustrates just how thin the boundaries are between these world.


Ahead of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, McAfee, one of the leaders in online security, has released their list of 2014’s Most Toxic Superheroes. They state in their press release that “this research is based on which superheroes are kryptonite on the web and result in bad links, including viruses, malware and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information.”


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
There are lots of components at work on Setting Sun's "Seasons", but songwriter Gary Levitt makes them cohere in an immediate way.

There are lots of components at work on Setting Sun‘s “Seasons”, but songwriter Gary Levitt is able to make everything seem smaller in scale—in a good way. While you notice the melancholy strings, layered acoustic guitars, boy-girl vocal harmonizing, and more jump out here and there, “Seasons” is immediate and delicate enough that you don’t realize how much is going on until you catalog all the elements in the mix.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
I know that you’ll feel better when you send us in your letter and tell us the name of your favorite vegetable. In the meantime, this week’s Counterbalance looks at a 1967 classic, lost and found.

Klinger: So the story goes that in 1966, Beach Boys leader and pop music wunderkind Brian Wilson was on a mission. He was not only out to top himself, but he recognized that the entire pop game was changing. His friendly rivalry with the Beatles had escalated once again as the Fabs answered his Pet Sounds with the equally (more?) adventurous Revolver. Recruiting upstart lyricist Van Dyke Parks and very nearly every session musician in Los Angeles, Wilson started composing his “teenage symphonies to God”, the album that would be his magnum opus: SMiLE. What happened next became the stuff of pop lore for 40 years.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Is story so tangential to the gaming experience that even a self-professed story-lover can play an entire game and not glean a single plot point from it all?

I hate skipping cut scenes. I never do it. I understand wanting to get into the game quickly, but cut scenes are important. They’re part of the experience, whether you like them or not, and they’re a major mouthpiece for what the game is about thematically. Beyond that, I’m very interested in how games tell a story, their ambition versus the reality of execution. Often the failures are just as interesting as the successes.


But all that didn’t stop me from skipping the cut scenes in Sniper Elite 3, and the one important story cut scene in the Destiny beta. I know, I’m a bad person, but I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plots, and I didn’t care about the themes. I didn’t care about anything those games had to say, and I don’t know exactly why.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Rob Reiner fuels this old hat hokum with below-grade over-earnestness.

Linda Ellerbee remains a media radical. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, she was part of a the highly acclaimed NBC news show, Weekend, before headlining the cult phenomenon, Overnight. In 1986, she published an amazing memoir of her time in the spotlight. Entitled And So It Goes, it covered… what, wait? That’s not what we are talking about here? No?


Oh, it’s the new movie, And So It Goes, starring Oscar winners Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, from a script by As Good As It Get‘s co-writer, Mark Andrus, and directed by former quality filmmaker Rob Reiner. Damn. TV back then was so much more scintillating. Ellerbee’s story is a billion times more interesting than this tired RomCom trope featuring aging adults of divergent backgrounds coming together over a kid.


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