PEN15’s Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle on Their First Emmy Nomination and Putting Viewers in Therapy

PEN15There are big, expensive and heavily promoted shows like Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory, and then there’s the little show that could, like Schitt’s Creek and PEN15. The latter two…

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This Is UsBeth and Randall Pearson, formerly the most stable relationship on This Is Us, the inspiration for many posts about “relationship goals,” are really going through it this season. And…

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Chinese kit ‘putting all of us at risk’ if used in 5G

Security threats from Chinese companies building 5G networks could end up “putting all of us at risk” if they are not tackled quickly, according to a former security minister.
Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News

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A new reality? Putting Magic Leap One to the test

Magic Leap’s new mixed reality headset is available to developers in the US – but how does the device compare to what’s already available?
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Constance Wu on the Significance of Crazy Rich Asians: “We Are Putting Possibility on the Screens”

Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians PremiereThe stars of Crazy Rich Asians are opening up about the importance of the film in society today.
Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Gemma Chan recently sat down with E! News to talk about…

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U.S. Auto Makers Are Putting Smaller Engines Into Big Trucks So They Guzzle Less Gas

Big U.S. car makers are standing by many recent tech innovations to increase fuel efficiency, including smaller engines for pickup trucks, even as the Trump administration moves to relax gas-mileage standards.
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Former Bucs center putting NFL in past by hitting road for epic 48-state journey

Joe Hawley is moving on from football, giving away most of his possessions to take his custom van and puppy for a monthslong odyssey across the U.S.
www.espn.com – NFL

Cavs change lineup, putting Crowder on bench

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue announced he’s dropping forward Jae Crowder to the second team, returning center Tristan Thompson to the starting lineup and returning All-Star Kevin Love to power forward.
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Finally Putting Some Fun in Erectile Dysfunction

Shove over, silver foxes! Cloud pharmacies will save millennial men from shame, sending trendy boxes of Viagra and hair-loss cures direct to home.
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Blake Shelton and Jennifer Hudson Are Feuding on The Voice (and Putting the Real Housewives to Shame!)

Jennifer Hudson, The Voice Season 13Breaking: Bravo has ordered yet another spinoff of the Real Housewives: The Real Coaches of The Voice!
OK, so sadly, that’s not a real show that is happening (except maybe in our…

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The biggest problems with putting microchips in employees

The biggest problems with putting microchips in employeesRFID chip implants can be convenient for some, but they raise both privacy and security questions.



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The Flash Is Putting Iris in Charge in New Comic-Con Trailer

The Flash, I Know Who You AreWhat do you do when your fiance has sacrificed himself to the Speed Force?
Apparently, you become a boss. At least that’s what Iris (Candice Patton) appears to be doing in a brand…

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MoMA Responds To Travel Ban By Putting Muslim-Nation Art On Its Walls

In times of injustice, the Museum of Modern Art ― one of the most influential art institutions in the United States ― is not remaining neutral.

According to The New York Times, MoMA is responding to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations — Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria — and indefinitely blocking entry for Syrian refugees. And it’s doing so by hanging work by artists from the majority-Muslim nations affected by the ban on its walls.

The seven works now on view at the New York museum include pieces by painter Ibrahim el-Salahi (Sudan), sculptor Parviz Tanavoli (Iran), painter Tala Madani (Iran), architect Zaha Hadid (Iraq), painter Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iran), photographer Shirana Shahbazi (Iran), and painter Marcos Grigorian (Russia, of Persian descent). 

The artworks were installed in MoMA’s fifth floor galleries on Thursday night, replacing seven artworks by Western artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Placards next to each work read:

This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.

When asked whether or not MoMA’s decision to hang specific works should be characterized as a protest of Trump’s executive order, as the NYT reported, MoMA’s Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints Christophe Cherix explained that it was more of a “clear reaction” that was meant to express “solidarity with artists from different countries.”

“Since the museum formed, it has always provided safe haven for artists from around the world,” he said. “So many immigrants came to New York and made their work here, and the museum helped some do that. […] Traveling is important for artists, scholars and historians. So we felt this gesture was inclusive not disruptive.”

Cherix emphasized that the initiative, a multidisciplinary project that involved a team of curators from several MoMA departments, embraces works that were already in the museum’s collection, that come from artists both established and emerging. He pointed out that more works by artists from Muslim nations will likely be added to galleries currently under renovation on MoMA’s fifth floor, and that four screenings of films later this month will highlight directors affected by the travel ban. 

Iranian-American artist Siah Armajani’s aluminum and steel sculpture was also placed in the museum’s lobby.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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People Are Putting Makeup On Their Thighs. Is Everyone OK?

There are plenty of more pressing matters in the world to make sense of right now, but in the name of self-care, it’s important to ponder the “whys” of some smaller, non-sensical happenings on the internet. 

Like, for example, the fact that people have been painting full faces of makeup on their thighs, and sharing them on Instagram

Teen Vogue spotted a phenomenon of people applying makeup on their upper thighs, and a quick Instagram search shows people are doing the same on their upper arms, as well. 

There’s quite a bit of skill required to pull off some of these looks, but still ― we have to ask of the more than 1,000 Instagrammers who published arm makeup posts … why?

Perhaps it’s a way for makeup lovers to get their fix without piling makeup on their faces. Or, like the 100 layers videos and other odd beauty fads before it, perhaps the trend is just visually stimulating and fun to watch.

Closer look #thighmakeup #cutcrease

A video posted by Aspiring MUA (@beatbylanah) on

 Check out more arm and thigh makeup on Instagram. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Style – The Huffington Post
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Mulligan Indoor Putting Practice 14 piece set

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Four Things You Need to Stop Putting Off

What are the things you should do before it is too late? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nicolas Cole, Author & Entrepreneur, on Quora:

Here are four things you should do before it’s too late.

Create That Project

Whatever project you want to create, create it now. Because the part of you that wants to create it right now will not last forever. The book you write at 25 will be very different than the book you write at 30, and 35, and 40, and so on. As we change, our perspectives and feelings change as well. Create what you want to create right now, and capture this moment in time.

Love That Person

Do you connect with someone? Do you like someone? Even if you know, you won’t marry this person, or spend the rest of your life with this person, let yourself love them. Ride that wave together. You never know where that wave will take you–who knows, maybe you will end up together after all. But trust how you feel right now because that feeling won’t last forever, and the opportunity will be gone as fast as it presented itself.

Take That Leap

Is right now a unique time in your life? Do you have the chance to do something special–if you take the leap? What happens if you don’t take the leap? When will you ever get this chance again? Opportunities present themselves at the right times. They are never perfect–an opportunity is called an opportunity because it asks you to take a risk yourself.

Work That Skill

Guess what? If you don’t work whatever it is you want to get better at today, then you won’t be any better at it tomorrow. And if you continue to make the decision not to get better today, then tomorrow will never come. And before you know it, that skill either will no longer interest you, or you will not be able to (physically, mentally, etc.) learn that skill’s foundation. Learn it now.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

More questions:

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Seller-Financed Deals Are Putting Poor People in Lead-Tainted Homes

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American Diabetes Association asks Congress to investigate the matter
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Odyssey Golf Kickback Putting Mat

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The 2009-2014 World Outlook for Golf Bags, Handcarts for Carrying Golf Bags, Golf Club Shafts Sold Separately, Tees, and Training Devices for Putting

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for Golf Bags, Handcarts for Carrying Golf Bags, Golf Club Shafts Sold Separately, Tees, and Training Devices for Putting


This econometric study covers the world outlook for golf bags, handcarts for carrying golf bags, golf club shafts sold separately, tees, and training devices for putting and driving across more than 200 countries. For each year reported, estimates are given for the latent demand, or potential industry earnings (P.I.E.), for the country in question (in millions of U.S. dollars), the percent share the country is of the region and of the globe. These comparative benchmarks allow the reader to quickly gauge a country vis-à-vis others. Using econometric models which project fundamental economic dynamics within each country and across countries, latent demand estimates are created. This report does not discuss the specific players in the market serving the latent demand, nor specific details at the product level. The study also does not consider short-term cyclicalities that might affect realized sales. The study, therefore, is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved. This study does not report actual sales data (which are simply unavailable, in a comparable or consistent manner in virtually all of the 230 countries of the world). This study gives, however, my estimates for the worldwide latent demand, or the P.I.E, for golf bags, handcarts for carrying golf bags, golf club shafts sold separately, tees, and training devices for putting and driving. It also shows how the P.I.E. is divided across the world s regional and national markets. For each country, I also show my estimates of how the P.I.E. grows over time (positive or negative growth). In order to make these estimates, a multi-stage methodology was employed that is often taught in courses on international strategic planning at graduate schools of business.

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Izzo Golf 8′ Premium Putting Mat Fitness Equipment

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IzzoA(R) Golf 8′ Premium Putting Mat :: Most putting mats on the market today are cheaply made, do not roll out smoothly and poorly simulate a true putting surface. The epitome of buyer’s remorse. Finally IzzoA(R) Golf has introduced some options, via its new line of premium putting mats, for serious golfers who truly want to improve their putting stroke. The 8′ Premium Putting Mat features a true-turf putting surface that simulates a real putting green, and includes a higher-quality thicker backing that minimizes folds and creases out-of-the-box to promote a smoother roll. The unique, portable and patented putt cup is 1/4″ smaller than a regulation cup to help to sharpen your aim. A perfect gift for the avid golfer in your life, or anyone who wants to fine tune their putting stroke at home or the office. Guaranteed to improve your putting and lower your scores!. This web exclusive item ships separately within the continental U.S. only. You can count on this item to ship in 3-5 business days!
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Your Phone’s Next Superpower? Putting Awesome VR in Your Pocket

Your Phone’s Next Superpower? Putting Awesome VR in Your Pocket

Smartphones aren’t dead. They’re just morphing into VR headsets, too. The post Your Phone’s Next Superpower? Putting Awesome VR in Your Pocket appeared first on WIRED.
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Club Champ Golf Automatic Putting System

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The Art of Putting Pen to Paper in a World Full of Noise

Reading my diary from elementary school always manages to be a hilarious experience, and I can’t help but wince at my “boy dilemmas” and my lists of cute boys in my class. I am in love with words. I love reading them, forming sentences with them and interpreting them. Through all the stages of my life thus far, I have had a natural tendency to write my feelings down and call it art, even if it were writings on a sticky note with a few doodles scattered here and there. The same goes for the all the song verses I wrote in middle school that was probably inspired by Taylor Swift, and are oddly still relatable. I love words in all preparations, from poems to books to songs to the good ol’ “Dear Diary” and will always be grateful for this delightful outlet and art form. Today, I am the proud author of two books, one of which became number one on Amazon. The art of putting pen to paper allows me to empower other girls to be confident leaders of their generation. My tools? A paper, a pen, my laptop, a passion and a dream.

The act of writing for enjoyment is at an all-time low for teenagers. Putting pen to paper without a pre-conceived draft for an essay is becoming a thing of the past. Generation Z brings their thoughts to life through advanced technology, which I like to call “noise.” The “noise” of expressing thoughts is a combination of abbreviated text and emoticons that are delivered by the average teenager at the rate of 3,339 texts per month. Reading literature, unless it is required for school, (and sometimes even then), is no longer considered “cool.” All of these facts point toward one clear message: The act of writing from the soul, and expressing one’s emotions in the most personal, raw, and artistic way possible, is disappearing. The majority of today’s most prized pieces of literature were created because someone put pen to paper. As someone with a passion for literature in all forms, the idea of this becoming a lost art frightens me.

Writing takes time. A tweet does not. I truly believe that our youth simply does not recognize the wonderful benefits that the art of writing will bring to them. One cannot be blamed for ignorance, so I feel as though it is partly my responsibility to share my love of words and to perhaps enlighten those who have yet to experience the satisfaction of creating an artwork of literature.
Writing forces you to appreciate what you have and continually sends you the message that things will improve. My old notebooks and scraps of writing are some of my preferred memories to reflect on when I’m going through a hard time. It’s incredible how much my perspective has changed on my journey to self-acceptance. What dilemmas I have now did not worry me then and what was so significant to me back then doesn’t matter any longer. I can look back on what I wrote at the beginning of the year and see how much has changed. Retrospection really is 20/20 and being able to look back on how you precisely felt on a specific day a year ago really brings life into a new viewpoint.

Besides the fact that writing is an unavoidable part of ordinary life, there are many wonderful reasons you should make a productive writing session a part of your everyday routine, even if it’s just a few hundred words. At its most basic form, inscription is a way of collaborating. This is the one unchallengeable characteristic of writing itself, whether you are collaborating with a colleague or acquaintance or you’re actually communicating to no one at all (a grocery list, for example.) One of the best parts about writing is that you do not have to be a pro to reap the paybacks of creating the inscribed word.

Writing can also be healing. It can be a way to vent all the pent-up frustrations burdening your mind into a far more stable form, paper. Writing can serve as a form of cathartic anxiety relief when you finally get to say what you can’t say out loud, in real life. Sometimes, when I am angry, hurt, or upset, I will write down what I am feeling, or what I wish I could say to someone. When I read it back, I always realize how ridiculous I sound. It’s amazing how our emotions can cloud our judgment. Always tell your journal first!

This arena of creative freedom is where I found my desire, where I felt as if I was being valuable. From the bright colors of a sunset, to the way someone’s eyes brighten when they talk about something they love, I slowly began to take notice and find a new gratitude for these day-to-day occurrences. Writing gives me a sense of originality and a more poetic way to see my seemingly ordinary life. I am in awe of how this has altered my perspective from going through the motions to seeing the beauty in the little things. Despite the fact that I never used to consider myself a “writer,” the simple act of putting pen to paper, and watching my story unfold has changed my mindset. This motion allows me to poetically splash images with overstated diction, or be plain and direct. The possibilities are endless.

Put pen to paper in order to challenge yourself. You’ll be surprised. Try to summarize what makes you so joyful you can’t stop laughing and what makes you so sad that you cannot get out of bed. Perhaps you will find some peace of mind, a stronger intelligence of self or at least, awkward recounts of those embarrassing moments in middle school.

2015-08-17-1439831790-8809667-8554549_m.jpg

It is my hope that I will inspire everyone to try to take up some form of writing as this new school year begins. It should be real and raw, from your emotions and mind. It does not have to be pretty or eloquent. If you are anything like me, you may discover an unknown passion that lives within you. We live in a world full of “noise” that, in many cases, has the ability to shape us in a negative fashion. This “noise” is often saturated with judgment and hate. When you lose yourself with the pen and paper, there is no judgment and the only “noise” is the sound of ink traveling across the paper, creating art in its purest form. Your handwriting is your unique symbol — a masterpiece.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Arts – The Huffington Post
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Birdies & Bogeys: Putting a bow on Jordan Spieth’s U.S. Open win

Birdies & Bogeys: Putting a bow on Jordan Spieth’s U.S. Open win
ESPN.com – TOP
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How To Decorate A Room Without Putting Everything In Front Of The TV

We’re creatures of habit, and there are few times this has proven truer than when trying to incorporate a TV into our decor. It almost always takes center stage. But just because the majority of people choose to make the boob tube the focal point of a room — 52 percent of homeowners admitted to Houzz that they have televisions in their bedroom— doesn’t mean you have to go with the crowd.

Next time you go to set up a room (or spontaneously feel the urge to move around some furniture), try taking a TV-free approach instead. Not sure how to do that? These focal point alternatives are here to help. And, as an added bonus, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be loads better than some terrible reality show blasting in the background.

An antique mirror that will also reflect light into the room and make it appear larger.

antique mirror

A piece of large-scale art that will spark more discussion than any on-air drama.

large scale art

A statement couch that starkly contrasts the rest of the room, while giving it the pop of personality it’s been waiting for.

statement couch

A modern bookshelf that holds eye-catching accents.

modern bookshelf

A sleek fireplace that brings practicality and design together flawlessly.

sleek fireplace

A room divider that holds your attention from either side.

double sided display

A stunning view that gives a space all the natural light it could ask for.

stunning view

A cozy window seat that functions as both an anchor for the rest of the space and the perfect spot to curl up with a good book.

cozy window seat

A simple desk that adds a charming and creative vibe in no time at all.

stylish desk

A styled sideboard that serves as a more interesting alternative to a clunky entertainment unit.

styled side board

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Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “Project submission.” (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)
Arts – The Huffington Post
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The 2007-2012 Outlook for Handcarts for Carrying Golf Bags, Golf Club Shafts Sold Separately, Tees, and Training Devices for Putting and Driving in the United States

The 2007-2012 Outlook for Handcarts for Carrying Golf Bags, Golf Club Shafts Sold Separately, Tees, and Training Devices for Putting and Driving in the United States


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Putting Computers in Their Place: Computer Chess and The Nerd Origins of Today’s Technopoly

Computers need to be put in their place. They really do.

That’s why I’ve been looking forward to the DVD release this week of Andrew Bujalski’s cult Sundance hit Computer Chess. Computer Chess finally spills the beans about where these little monsters came from in the first place.

Every time I pick up a newspaper these days — I’m one of the twelve people left who still read physical newspapers — I read about how computers are spying on us, destroying jobs, or infuriating health insurance customers. Like a hungry Rottweiler off its leash, computers are getting out of control and tearing up the neighborhood.

If you believe what you read, computers are also in the process of wrecking the book publishing and music industries, eliminating celluloid photography — and just this week computers claimed their latest victim, one near and dear to my heart: the local video store, as Blockbuster finally succumbed to laptops, smartphones and tablets as the preferred ways of renting all those movies you couldn’t afford to see (or were too embarrassed to see) when they were in theaters.

2013-11-08-VideoStoreaisle.jpg

No more video stores — who would’ve believed it, even just ten years ago? That means no more pimply teenagers to recommend midnight horror movies to me (“Sir, I definitely recommend C.H.U.D. over TerrorVision“), no more aimless browsing or listening to neighbors argue over which Steven Seagal movie to rent, no more cheap licorice sticks at the checkout counter.

I never thought I’d miss those things so much — but suddenly I do. And it’s all because of our ‘friend’ the computer. Computers are becoming like the Yankees during the ’90s: gobbling up everybody else’s talent, then telling us how good it is for baseball.

The propaganda over the wonders that computers supposedly bring to our lives is getting out of hand. In the very least, it’s out of proportion to the destruction computers are simultaneously causing — that ‘disruptive’ effect Silicon Valley gurus salivate over, like vampires at a blood drive.

So as Twitter — the company currently reducing our public discourse to snarky, 140-character outbursts — celebrates its gaudy IPO right now, I’d like to recommend a new movie out on DVD this week that casts digital technology in a very different light: Computer Chess.

You probably haven’t heard of Computer Chess. After all, it has no stars in it. Neither Disney nor Sony are building spin-off franchises around its characters. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t swing a hammer in the film, and Kate Upton wasn’t invited to the premiere (although it would’ve been funny if she was).

What Computer Chess has going for it, though, is that it tells the unvarnished, gawky truth about the early days of this public menace we’ve come to know as the ‘computer.’

Actually, Computer Chess isn’t all that obscure a film. Written and directed by mumblecore auteur Andrew Bujalski, the film debuted to critical acclaim earlier this year at Sundance (where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize), where I had the pleasure of seeing the funky little movie in a packed house with an appreciative crowd. It was a total hoot, especially for people like me who remember how uncool computers used to be before Steve Jobs arrived on the scene. In fact, you arguably can’t appreciate Jobs’ legacy properly unless you’ve seen Computer Chess — and witnessed what a clunky, nerdy, socially maladroit computer world Jobs inherited.

Computer Chess is set around 1980, in a shabby suburban motel that serves as the film’s entire setting over the course of one weekend. The aristocracy of the computer science world – the geek gods of Cal Tech, MIT, Bell Labs and elsewhere — have gathered for their annual computer chess tournament, with the winning machine getting the chance to face off against the pompous tournament host, who has never yet lost a game to a computer.

So it’s game on, as Apple IIs and Tandy TRS-80s — and their nerd jockeys — take each other on for all the marbles.

The film follows the impossibly awkward programmers as they compete with each other for the (slightly dubious) title, haul blocky computer mainframes around on push-carts, debate the future of computers in late-night bull sessions, and make cringe-inducing attempts at romance and/or sexual conquest with the tournament’s lone female competitor, a hopelessly bespectacled programmer named Shelly. The programmers also have a few droll encounters with a New Age group that shares the motel with them, who try to open up the nerdy programmers’ repressed emotional lives.

Good luck with that.

The performances Bujalski gets out of his mostly non-professional cast are uniformly natural and believable — with special kudos going out to Patrick Riester and Wiley Wiggins as the no-nonsense leads, Myles Paige as the egomaniac/would-be lothario ‘Michael Papageorge,’ and Robin Schwartz as the sweet, ungainly female programmer.

Indeed, Bujalski’s strategy of keeping things real (several cast members are actually programmers themselves) is the best thing Computer Chess has going for it. It’s easy to see how this film could’ve been botched by importing a Michael Cera or Jonah Hill into the mix with their pre-packaged nerd schtick. Computer Chess is too austere and genuinely indie for such Hollywoodisms — to the point that the movie was actually shot in low-res, black-and-white 4:3 analog video using a Sony AVC-3260 camera, dating from the late 1960s.

Bujalski clearly intends Computer Chess to feel like a ‘found object’ of the era — and the film does seem incredibly authentic as a depiction of early-80s geek culture.

The special kick of watching Computer Chess, though, is knowing how the awkward misfits depicted in the film — and the big, blocky, semi-functional machines they cart around — will someday conquer the world. Today’s gods of Silicon Valley (who are apparently getting pretty full of themselves these days) — the slick young guys in hoodies who debut their stock offerings with multi-billion dollar valuations, or who get played by Jesse Eisenberg or Justin Timberlake in the movies are of course no longer the introverted weenies of yesteryear, as depicted in Bujalski’s film. Today’s techies are more likely to drive Porsche 918 Spyder-hybrids, date swimsuit models, or eat granola parfait at Palo Alto’s University Cafe.

What a difference 30 years makes.

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Computer Chess is probably not the kind of movie these newer guys — and they’re still mostly guys (with all due respect to Sheryl Sandberg) — want to watch, because it doesn’t suit their current self-image. Computer Chess is like that embarrassing family album from the ’70s you keep in the attic, filled with horrid images of bad hair, braces and bell-bottom jeans — where everybody looks like they just stepped off the set of The Hardy Boys. It’s the kind of thing your relatives pull out during the holidays to keep you humble.

And this is actually why Silicon Valley’s geek aristocracy — and you know who you are – should embrace this film, because it does something vital: it humanizes them, at a time when a lot of us feel that what they’re doing to our society is, well, inhuman. Reading about the NSA and Healthcare.gov these days is depressing enough, but it’s even worse after years of reading about how companies like Google and Facebook have been undermining our basic sense of privacy, which is the delicate foundation of our freedom.

By the way, Computer Chess actually hints — in a sly, fun way — that the Cal Tech team’s fictional TSAR chess program might be the forerunner of dystopian supermachines of the future, like Skynet from the Terminator films. But the movie is pretty gentle and non-conspiratorial about these things. It could get much worse.

For example, Computer Chess could’ve more been more hard-edged, like Panos Cosmatos’ dystopian cult thriller Beyond the Black Rainbow, released here in the U.S. in 2012. Similarly set in the early 1980s, Black Rainbow depicts a young woman’s escape from a controlling, futuristic New Age research institute. The film’s high-tech ‘Arboria Institute’ — led by a psychotic, permanently disfigured scientist — harbors pretentions of harnessing technology in the achievement of higher spirituality. (By the way, the ‘Arboria Institute’ could easily have been the forerunner to the sinister, New Agey internet company ‘The Circle’ from Dave Eggers’ new novel of the same name.) Black Rainbow‘s Dr. Barry Nyle — along with his mentor, Dr. Mercurio Arboria – represents the dark side of the early ’80s tech and self-actualization gurus depicted comedically in Computer Chess.

Of course, even Black Rainbow doesn’t compare to a film recently unearthed by Criterion: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 sci-fi classic World on a Wire, which originally aired on German television as a two-part miniseries. In World on a Wire (based on American author Daniel F. Galouye’s novel Simulacron-3), an ‘Institute for Cybernetics and Future Research’ develops a computer simulation program featuring an artificial world — based on the real one — with over 9,000 avatars living as human beings, unaware that their world is only a simulation subject to manipulation. The purpose of the simulation? Advanced market research, of course. Things get dicey when the movie’s hero, Dr. Fred Stiller (actor Klaus Löwitsch), begins to suspect that this simulation may actually have multiple layers — and that he himself might be one such avatar.

Such dark visions suggest the will-to-power, the urge to control and manipulate, that many people now associate — with good reason — with a fully computerized society (what Neil Postman back in 1992 called a ‘technopoly‘). Whether that society is controlled by unseen government bureaucracies or huge and indifferent corporations hardly seems to matter anymore.

So the honeymoon is now over. Computers just aren’t that cool any more — mainly because of all the precious things in our lives that they’re destroying. That’s why a lot of us are now looking at the fine print when we buy in to the latest gadget or app, as we ask ourselves this basic question: as shiny and empowering as this new piece of digital technology is, what is it going to destroy that I don’t know about?

All of this stuff seemed a lot more innocent back in 1980, when Computer Chess is set. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that Computer Chess is basically about the race to create a machine that can outperform and (thereby replace) a human being. Back in 1980, that premise just seemed a lot funnier and more charming than it does right now.

Right now computers just don’t know their place.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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