December 15, 2013 |
Here's how feeble U.S. influence on the outcome of Syria's dreadful civil war has become: For the Obama administration's diplomacy to succeed, it now needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the Islamic Front. That wasn't where the administration hoped to be. When President Obama first got interested in Syria back in 2011, his hope was that a popular uprising just needed a little moral support from the outside world to topple the brutal regime of Bashar Assad. When that didn't work, Obama offered modest, mostly non-military aid to moderate groups in the Syrian opposition, enough to raise their hopes but not enough to ensure success on the battlefield.
November 19, 2013 |
From its earliest days, cinema has borrowed heavily from the world of magic. Illusion, after all, is part of the moviegoing experience - the phrase "the magic of movies" is both literally and figuratively true. This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will explore cinematic feats of prestidigitation. "Like Magic" will investigate movies' roots in historical stage magic and sleight of hand from the early fanciful "trick" films of pioneers such Georges Méliès to computer-generated visual effects.
October 4, 2013 |
El Dorado Peter Campion University of Chicago Press: 80 pp., $18 paper Peter Campion, in his new book, re-creates the overheard sounds, ring tones, robo-blab and self-announcings of an airport concourse, spliced into imitation of Anglo-Saxon "riddles" as spoken by the wind: Fused with the rush (this sheer American everything jammed at once) the storm could be a signal gathering up all others cramming air with their binary streams: its voice some ancient soothsayer's riddling glottals and plosives… Campion's gifts for controlling yet spinning the illusion of lost control in a poem are prodigious.
HOME & GARDEN
April 20, 2013 |
So many of life's soupy uncertainties can be settled in or near tiny Toluca Lake, a neighborhood named for a body of water we never see. Ever water-skied on Toluca Lake? Ever caught a bass there, or lay idle on the toasty summer sand? Toluca Lake. An illusion wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a giant fence. People are always asking, "Why do you go out so often now?" and I immediately describe for them the baritone bark of our 300-pound beagle, his atrocious table manners, his inability to hold down a job. Of our five kids, he is the least motivated.
March 29, 2013 |
The gig: Todd Tucker, 38, is co-founder and president of Illusion Industries Inc., a special effects makeup company in Los Angeles. He helped create the Brad Pitt baby in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and the pirates in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Upcoming films that feature Illusion Industries work include Paramount Pictures' "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" and Sony Pictures Animation's "The Smurfs 2. " First break: Steven Spielberg was a huge inspiration for Tucker, who grew up loving movies.
January 25, 2013 |
Glancing around his study on a recent afternoon, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert's eyes came to rest on his collection of thousands of music CDs, acquired over many years at considerable expense. "I don't listen to a lot of them anymore," he said. "I was certain I'd listen to Miles Davis until the day I died. " According to his own research, Gilbert is hardly alone in having imagined that he'd always like the same music, or hobbies or friends. Writing this month in the journal Science, he reported that people at all stages of life tend to believe they won't change much in the future - even as they recognize great shifts in their personalities, values and tastes in the past.