Whatever and Ever Today: Thursday, March 21, 2013

In The Airspace’s mission of exposing the most promising and important points in technology, culture, and scholarship, there is little room to talk about the daily churn of current events known as the news. Well we’re trying it out today for the first time. “Whatever and Ever Today” is a recap of the day’s noteworthy events. It’s a mix of important stories as well as some items you might find in our commentary ticker. But each piece is distilled down to its essential parts and explained as simply as possible. Think of it as a daily briefing hand-picked and produced to keep you informed.

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On Air Issue 002: Boy Scout’s Coming Out, Cloud Atlas, Internet Society, & The Value of Cinematic Flops

The second issue of The Airspace’s digital periodical On Air is now available. In this issue writers Jon Catlin, Hamid Bendaas, Christopher Smith, and Max O’Connell cover the Boy Scouts of America’s policies toward gay scouts, the complex inner-workings of the near-epic film Cloud Atlas, the reality of technological society, and how seemingly awful blockbuster films are actually important. The four articles contain a total of 13,000 words of insightful and tested prose. Excerpts of Issue 002 are available below.

On Air is the result of our efforts and what we believe is the next step in making the world a better and more intelligent place. Every two weeks, a new edition of On Air will be published containing at least four pieces of completely original high-quality journalism, essay, or fiction. Our articles center in topics on culture, technology, and scholarship and are written by college and university students around America who are burgeoning professionals in the areas they write in.

For $2.00 a month, the newest issue of On Air is delivered to your email inbox every two weeks. You can read it in your email, or on the web. It looks great on a computer, tablet, smartphone, and on paper. No advertisements or gimmicks. Just great writing from students across the country. Subscribe to On Air, it only takes a minute.

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The Greatest Songs You Never Heard, 2012

As the dust settles in the wake of all the best music of 2012 lists, one thing is clear: some music has gone under the radar. Some LPs and EPs were critically unappreciated, underplayed, or underhyped throughout 2012. And at The Airspace, we think that is just wrong. So here is our list—not merely of the best music—but of the best music you probably overlooked.

In alphabetical order.

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The Best of 2012 on The Airspace

2012 has kept us busy. Since we formed last January we’ve been tracking the world of culture, technology and scholarship to tell you the stories that really matter. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular stories we’ve run in 2012—these are the articles that were most read, most shared, and most loved. And now, they’re all together in one place.

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Upgrade Your iPhone and Your Life: How to Get Every Essential App for Less Than $10

This year alone, over 330,000 mobile applications were added to Apple’s App Store. With hundreds of thousands of applications available, it’s difficult to tell what’s worth downloading, what’s worth paying for, and what’s just crap. Many different people have put together guides that outline the best applications of the week or the month but the reality is that truly great applications don’t come along too often and most of the apps you download (and maybe even pay for) will never be used. To get down to the essential apps, I took my experience downloading and testing different apps so you don’t have to. The following list contains the applications that you will use the most often or will be the most useful when you use them. The great thing is that most of these applications are free. Combine that with some holiday sales going on right now, and you can supercharge your iPhone for less than $10.

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Instagram, Sell My Photos—Please!

The formerly beloved photo-sharing service Instagram has updated its terms of service to reflect the interests of their overlords and owners: Facebook. To nobody’s surprise, the community of users has reacted by forming a mob and levying proclamations at the Facebookstagram monster. The new TOS is unsavory, so the mob is threatening to leave.

Since 2010 I have used the service to slightly alter photos of food and other things people don’t care about and posted them online through the Instagram app. I, like many others, have been there from beginning and in my tumultuous and zesty relationship with the service, I’ve developed quite a soft spot for it. In April, 2012, Facebook made an offer to buy Instagram for $1 billion and like any sane human being, the top brass at Instagram graciously accepted. Now a company doesn’t buy a tiny little mobile application for one-billion-fucking-dollars unless they have big plans for it. The updated terms of service has a couple conditions that show us what those plans are: advertising using your images.

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DMT: Nature’s Trippiest Molecule

N,N dimethyltryptamine, more commonly abbreviated as DMT, is a powerful endogenous hallucinogen that occurs in plants and animals, including humans. Though its biological purpose is an ongoing subject of scientific contention, it has been empirically suggested that the human body produces DMT during birth, death, instances of extreme pain, and in states of deep meditation. There are multitudes of myths and speculations about the origins and functions of DMT, from deeming it a biological coincidence to declaring it a chemical vessel of supernatural communication with spirits and extraterrestrials. The mystery of DMT’s presence in all living creatures, along with its psychedelic properties, have fascinated scientists, mystics, and thrill-seekers for decades.

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What Election Predictions Really Mean

If you asked statistician, sabermetrician, psephologist, and writer Nate Silver who the next president of United States would be, he’d tell you with confidence that right now Barack Obama has an 88 percent chance of winning. His number has nothing to do with personal bias and everything to do with simple math, statistics, and predictive modeling. And it would behoove you to trust Silver, in 2008, the 34-year-old statistician predicted the voting outcome of 49 of 50 states in the presidential race and correctly called all 35 senate races.

Silver has come under fire for his statistical projections he publishes at his blog, FiveThirtyEight, under the New York Times name. His predictions favor President Obama, which conservatives don’t like to see. But most of the anger and confusion about the percentages Silver publishes stem from the general lack of understanding for what statistics actually are.

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It’s (Still) Alive! Frankenstein and Our Fears

One can argue that a horror movie tells more about the time it was made in than almost any other genre: it tells us, in any given time, what we were once afraid of. James Whale’s two most famous films, Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), were not the first Hollywood horror films ever made, but they are perhaps the point at which the genre truly formed its own entity rather than as a branch of movements like German Expressionism. In collaboration with Universal Pictures, Fathom Events re-released the films in select theaters on October 24th. In celebration of the horror movie, Airspace film writer Max O’Connell take another look at the two masterworks that started it all, and how it kept going.

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The Threat on Our Galaxy Far, Far Away

“I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime,” said George Lucas in a statement confirming the sale of Lucasfilm Ltd. to the Walt Disney Company for $4.05 billion in cash and stock—a statement that is sending shockwaves of panic through the community of the Star Wars faithful. Lucas is passing the Star Wars brand along to a “new generation of filmmakers” and Disney intends to pick up where Lucasfilm left off with a release of Star Wars Episode 7 in 2015.

The deal means Disney now controls all of Lucasfilm’s assets, which include the Star Wars franchise, the Indiana Jones franchise, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of the Lucasfilm division and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. This puts Lucasfilm next to the animation group Pixar, superhero-centric Marvel Entertainment, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on Disney’s shelf of massive brands.

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Commentary Ticker

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  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
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  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
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    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
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