Monday, August 11, 2014

Game of Thrones Season 5 Actor Dies Shortly After Filming New Role

Game of Thrones Season 5 Actor Dies Shortly After Filming New Role

Game of Thrones Season 5 Actor Dies Shortly After Filming New Role

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Belfast-born actor J.J. Murphy, who was slated to play Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night’s Watch in the upcoming fifth season of Game of Thrones, died on Friday at the age of 86. He had begun filming his scenes in Northern Ireland — where much of the popular HBO drama is filmed — last week. HBO has not yet said whether the role would be recast or Murphy’s scenes would be re-written.

According to The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Murphy served as a mentor to many young actors in the region, including Liam Neeson.

It’s not clear whether Murphy’s untimely death will cause a snag in production for the upcoming season, but — given the size of the role — it isn’t likely to have a significant impact on scheduling.

[via Belfast Telegraph]

Your Coffee Might Have Wheat or Twigs Hidden In It

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Do you think you’re morning cup of joe—before you put the cream and sugar in, anyway—is pure unadulterated ground beans? Think again.

Coffee shortages caused by climate change have increased the likelihood that the coffee grounds we use have “fillers” in them like wheat, soy bean, brown sugar, barley, corn, seeds, and even stick and twigs—which, in addition to being misleading could also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to the undeclared fillers. When ground up and mixed with coffee, it can be difficult to tell there are foreign objects.

A team of Brazilian researchers is developing a process to detect counterfeit coffee, since some estimates have shown that 70% of the global coffee supply could run out by 2080, with Brazil losing out big time. According to the researchers, Brazil usually produces about 55 million bags of coffee every year, but projections for 2014 put them at only 45 million.

To identify fillers in coffee that may be added on purpose, the researchers use liquid chromatography, which sensitively separates components within a mixture for identification. Since coffee is made up of carbohydrates, the researchers believe they could create what they refer to as a “characteristic fingerprint” which would identify what’s coffee, leaving behind the fake stuff.

“With our test, it is now possible to know with 95 percent accuracy if coffee is pure or has been tampered with,” said study author Suzana Lucy Nixdor of State University of Londrina in a statement.

The research is still under development, but the team is presenting their findings at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).


Call of Duty Advanced Warfare’s Multiplayer Details Drop at Last

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 11:04 AM PDT

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare wants to reset your expectations, to convince you that it’s not the annual, somewhat tedious box-checking military adventure you’ve been opening your wallet to for umpteen-many years and games.

The guys at Sledgehammer — the same guys who gave us Dead Space — have doubtless seen the mass of disconsolate user reactions to recent installments on aggregation sites. They know that while people continue to buy these games in record numbers, there’s something to be said for retooling not just how a Call of Duty looks or how many set piece skyscrapers go boom, but how the game actually plays.

Some of that’s self-evident with the long-teased promise of Advanced Warfare‘s EXO suit, a Crysis-like combat augmentation armament that turn soldiers into bionic superhumans. With the EXO suit, you can run faster, regenerate health more quickly, drape yourself in a Predator-like cloak, hover in place for several moments, out enemies behind barriers, deploy a force field-like shield, and all of that folded into a perks system that offers slight improvements or variations on ability themes. The tactical shift by definition has to be considerable.

Today’s multiplayer reveal confirms those presumptions: If you can run and dodge faster, the pace of combat becomes that much more frenetic. By letting players leap into the air and hover (as well as dodge while in the air) you’re taking the game vertical (and to a certain extent turning it into Tribes). And there’s now a “Boost Slam” melee attack that adds a “death from above” tactic. Check out the official multiplayer reveal trailer above to see someone rolling through all those maneuvers as well as illustrating how to do so seamlessly.

Sledgehammer’s also tweaking skill and XP-related multiplayer progression by folding in Supply Drops. In addition to XP ranking, Supply Drops let you acquire custom weapons (each weapon has 10 options that Sledgehammer says add up to 350 customization out of the box, and that’s before attachments), cosmetic “gear”-related customizations and rare one-time use items that activate during the match at set intervals.

The “Pick 10″ create-a-class option is back, only with more options that add up to Pick 13, including customizable scorestreaks (how much you can score without dying) you can use with your favorite class, cooperative scorestreaks (you and a friend vamping on each others’ scores), and EXO suit modifications and perks.

Slegehammer says Advanced Warfare will feature 12 modes out of the box, including oldies like Capture the Flag, Hardpoint, Team Deathmatch, Domination and Search and Destroy, as well as new ones like Uplink (teams fight for control of a satellite drone) and Momentum (Advanced Warfare‘s take on tug-of-war). And between matches, they’ve added a Virtual Firing Range you can drop into to try out item metrics like sights, attachments, bullet spread or recoil without map loading, or as Sledgehammer puts it, “having to blindly go into a match with a new loadout.”

Obama Nominated for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by Ethel Kennedy

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:45 AM PDT

The Ice Bucket Challenge has its latest nominee: President Barack Obama.

Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Robert Kennedy, issued a call for the president to participate in the viral ALS awareness campaign Sunday from the Kennedy clan’s compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.

Kennedy and her grandchildren doused themselves in ice water, before she issued the challenge to the president. "Welcome to Cape Cod, President Obama. I nominate you," she said. The video was posted on the Facebook page of Kennedy grandchild Max Kennedy.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond when asked whether Obama, who is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard with his family, would accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS charity.


FBI to Probe Police Shooting of Unarmed Missouri Teen

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:39 AM PDT

Demonstrators took to the streets of a St. Louis suburb Monday to protest the fatal shooting Saturday of an unarmed black teenager by police, as officials appealed for calm after a night of riots and the FBI said it would investigate the incident.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” Ferguson, Mo., police chief Tom Jackson said Monday on CNN as protesters marched behind him. “Nobody wanted this to happen but what we want to do is we want to heal. We want to build trust with the community and part of that is to have a transparent, open investigation, conducted by outside party.”

The protests Monday remained peaceful, in contrast to the looting that took place Sunday night. A spokesman for the family of the teenager, Michael Brown, told media outlets his family wants “justice.” A list of demands being circulated among protestors Monday was much broader, calling for, among other things, a more diverse police force and that the officer who shot Brown be identified, fired and charged with murder.

Jackson said he understood the concerns of demonstrators and that a full, independent probe would help the community move forward. The FBI informed Jackson on Monday that it will take over the investigation, the Associated Press repots. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, among other officials, had called for such an investigation.

"It is vital that the facts about this case are gathered in a thorough, transparent and impartial manner, in which the public has complete confidence,” Nixon sad.

It remains unclear—and a matter of hot dispute—what led to the shooting Saturday of Brown, 18. Police say the teenager had assaulted an officer and reached for his gun. Many in community are skeptical of that account.

“We are hurt to hear that yet another teenaged boy has been slaughtered by law enforcement,” St. Louis County NAACP President Esther Haywood told the New York Times in a statement. “We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department releases all details pertinent to the shooting.”

The shooting has come at a time of heightened scrutiny across the country over police tactics and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. But Jackson resisted comparisons to other cases.

“This case, I know it seems like it’s similar to others, but what I would really hope is that we could allow the investigation to play out,” Jackson said.

The riots Sunday night in Ferguson left a trail of destruction, with cars vandalized, stores looted and walls spray-painted. More than 30 rioters were arrested, and police said two of their officers were injured.

Police were on hand Sunday to keep order.

“We can’t have another night like last night,” Jackson said on CNN. “So we hope it doesn’t happen, but we’re prepared for the worst.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” he added. “Nobody wanted this to happen, but what we want to do is we want to heal, we want to build trust with the community. And part of that is to have a transparent, open investigation, conducted by outside party.”


Latina Actresses Have It the Worst in Movies, Study Says

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:25 AM PDT

Latina women are not getting a lot of screen time, but when they are it’s usually as sex objects, according to a new study from the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University of California’s Annenberg School.

The group has long documented Hollywood’s lack of racial diversity, but their newest research finds that Hispanic actors and actresses may have it the worst. Of the 600 top-grossing films from the past six years, only 4.9% of speaking characters in the years surveyed were Hispanic even though 16.3% of the entire U.S. population is Hispanic and 25% of moviegoers are Latino.

And the few roles that Hispanic actors do get often require them to strip down: In 2013, Hispanic women were the most likely of all women to be partially or fully naked onscreen (37.5%). White women were next at 31.9%, followed by Asian (23.5%) and black (18.2%) women. Hispanic men, meanwhile, were also the most likely to be sexualized among actors (16.5%), and white men were the least likely to have exposed skin (9.9%, compared to black actors’ 12.1% and Asian actors’ 15.4%).


Apparently, There’s an Auto-Tune Remix of the Interview with ‘Apparently Kid’

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:23 AM PDT

Last week at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania, a five-year-old boy named Noah Ritter took the mic from WNEP anchor Sofia Ojeda and won over the Internet with the way he said “apparently” after every word in his reaction to the rides and his explanation of why he doesn’t watch the news a lot.

Now The Gregory Brothers, the YouTube channel famous for auto-tuning news sound bytes that go viral, have remixed the clip that now boasts nearly 12 million views since it was uploaded Aug. 4. The YouTube parodies are in full force, including one of a grown man doing a dramatic reenactment of Ritter’s interview.

In an interview with the Today show, the five-year-old said his newfound viral fame feels like “a thousand drops of heaven.”

(h/t Digg)

Jason Sudeikis Returns as Awful American Soccer Coach Ted Lasso

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis has reprised a character who we first met last summer: Ted Lasso, the incompetent American soccer coach hired to manage Tottenham Hotspur.

Well, Lasso was fired because he was terrible and didn’t understand the rules of British football at all. But because the Premier League is returning to NBC this month, the network decided to revive the hilariously ignorant, disrespectful, mustachioed character.

This time, though, he’s coaching a youth soccer team and showing off his newfound love of English culture. In fact, he’s even taken a cue from cities with places like Chinatown and Little Italy and turned his entire apartment into Teeny-Tiny England.

Twitter Users Ask What Photo Media Would Use #IfTheyGunnedMeDown

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:09 AM PDT

The streets of Ferguson, Mo. erupted in protest this weekend following the fatal police shooting of unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown on Saturday. But an organized form of protest quickly emerged on social media as well, aiming to address a rhetorical question that resonates among some in the African American community: “If they gunned me down,” what picture would the media use to represent me?

The viral #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag was a response to how Brown was initially portrayed in the media. Rather than using photographs of the 18-year-old, reportedly known to his friends as a “gentle giant”, in a graduation picture or in a sports team, many outlets used the following visual:

The photo led to unsubstantiated tweets calling Brown a “thug” who was flashing “gang signs” — with many noting that similar images of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Feb. 2012, elicited a similar response after they were used by the media.

In frustration at what they see as media reliance on menacing stereotypes, Twitter users have been posting contrasting images of themselves on social media, tagged with #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. So a photo of a minority male reading to children in army fatigues, for example, might be juxtaposed with that same man in a chain necklace mugging for the camera. Men and women of color have been posting images, but the message is being spread by concerned people regardless of race.

Here’s a collection of some of the trending tweets:

Ukraine Agrees to Red Cross-Led Aid Mission

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:05 AM PDT

(DONETSK, Ukraine) — The Red Cross will lead an international humanitarian aid operation with Russia and the European Union into the rebel-held city of Luhansk — a plan that Ukraine says the backing of President Barack Obama.

The Kremlin earlier announced that it was dispatching the humanitarian convoy into eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine had previously objected to Russia sending any aid into the region, and the West had strongly warned Russia that any attempt to send its military personnel into Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian assistance would be seen as an invasion.

In the last week, Ukrainian government forces have been closing in on the few remaining pro-Russian rebel strongholds in eastern Ukraine, including surrounding Donetsk, the largest city in rebel-held city. Hundreds of thousands have been fleeing the fighting.

Shortly after the Kremlin statement, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko got on a phone call with President Barack Obama, according to their offices.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of supplying heavy weapons and other equipment to the rebels in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Russia denies.

The Kremlin statement came after a telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. It didn’t say when the convoy would leave or provide other details.

Barroso’s office said he warned Russia “against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia has agreed on details of a humanitarian mission with the Ukrainian leadership.

“I hope that our Western partners will not put a spanner in the works,” he said.

Lavrov said that the Ukrainian military action in the east looks like an attempt to “raze it to the ground to force the Russians to leave and settle it with others who would have a different attitude to our nations’ history, culture, friendship and links that have existed for centuries.”

Barroso also talked to Poroshenko, emphasizing “the EU’s readiness to increase its support to the Ukrainian government-led humanitarian response efforts as well as to international humanitarian organizations.”

Earlier Monday, rockets slammed into a high-security prison in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk, igniting a riot that allowed more than 100 prisoners to flee, authorities said.

Donetsk city council spokesman Maxim Rovinsky said a direct rocket hit killed at least one inmate and left three others severely wounded. In the chaos, he said 106 prisoners escaped, included some jailed for murder, robbery and rape.

Many of those in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine distrust the new central government in Kiev, which came to power after the February ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych, whose power base was in eastern Ukraine.

Fighting began a month after Russia annexed Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea in March.


Associated Press writer Peter Leonard in Kiev, Ukraine and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.


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