"The horror genre really allows you to delve into moral ideas, stories of good and evil, and spiritual themes … in a way that other film genres [don't]. … Fear is one of the greatest driving forces in the world. So I thought I could go into the horror genre and do things differently and contribute a different point of view."
—Christian director Scott Derrickson, on why he chooses to create films within the horror category. He says, "As long as there's been religion, the idea that there's a dark afterlife has been scary—great horror writers like Dante have been using [it] for centuries." Derrickson's latest mainstream effort, Deliver Us From Evil, made just shy of $10 million at the box office over the weekend. [christianpost.com, 7/2/14; fastcocreate.com, 7/2/14; boxofficemojo.com, 7/7/14]
"I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop. What could go wrong with a bite or two? Everything, as it turned out. … I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn't move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn't answer, he'd call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy. I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me."
—New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. She later spoke with the Colorado director of marijuana coordination, Andrew Freedman, who described some of the challenges regulators have faced with pot edibles: "We realized there was a problem because we're watching everything with the urgency of the first people to regulate in this area. There are way too many stories of people not understanding how much they're eating. With liquor, people understand what they're getting themselves into. But that doesn't exist right now for edibles for new users in the market." [nytimes.com, 6/3/14]
"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. … Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that. … Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called 'recreational drugs' are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects."
—Pope Francis, speaking at a drug enforcement conference in Rome [Reuters, 6/20/14]
"People should stop worrying about their daughters. I don't see a female without clothing as a terrible influence. There are worse things. Shooting people. Glorifying violence."
—17-year-old Australian singer Lorde [standard.co.uk, 6/27/14]
Forbes has released its 15th annual list of the world's Top 100 most powerful celebrities of 2014, a metric based on entertainers' aggregate earning power combined with their fame quotient (measured largely by social media presence). Topping the list this year is Beyoncé. She's followed by LeBron James, Dr. Dre, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Z, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Rihanna, Katy Perry and Robert Downey Jr. [forbes.com, 6/30/14 stats]
"This website, if you close it down, you will not have stopped bullying. It's everywhere. It's offline. It's in schools. The bullying is by SMS too, other social networks. And of course it happens on ask.fm as well. But you can't just close everything. Even if you close everything, you take down the Internet, you take down mobile phones—if the child is going to school, there still will be the problem of bullying."
—Ilja Terebin, founder (along with brother Mark) of the controversial social network ask.fm. Well known for its dedication to anonymity, ask.fm has been described as an online incubator for bullying, and some have even blamed the site for suicides. The Terebins counter that all the negative media publicity has made them feel bullied at times. "So what do you want to do? Close down the Internet?" Ilja retorted at one point. "People say anonymity is a problem. But don't forget about the people who need anonymity. Teenagers, especially, are afraid that their opinions will be judged by others. It's sometimes important that they can ask questions anonymously." [time.com, 6/25/14]
Though the Internet is often referred to as the World Wide Web, more than half of all earthlings (4.8 billion) still don't have online access. Google is aggressively trying to change that stat. The search titan has reportedly initiated plans to put as many as 180 small satellites in low Earth orbit, enough to beam Web access anywhere on the planet. Google is also investing in high-altitude hot air balloons as another means of expanding its terrestrial reach. [ibtimes.com, 6/12/14; dailymail.co.uk, 6/2/14]
In May, the European Union upheld a "right to be forgotten" ruling stating that a citizen should be able to expunge objectionable personal information about them from search engines. Google has already begun to comply. "This week we're starting to take action on removals requests that we've received," a Google spokesman said. "Each request has to be assessed individually, and we're working as quickly as possible to get through the queue." More than 40,000 requests were received within four days of Google's putting up an online application form. [reuters.com, 6/26/14]
"Music has been free for decades through the miracle of ad-supported radio, but streaming services feel different because I can listen to what I want, whenever I want. The implicit promise of radio has been that consumers will hear a song they love and buy it. But when I love something on Spotify, my response is to listen to it some more on Spotify. … With scarcity now gone, songs are in the air, a mist we move through like so much department store perfume. We are no longer collecting music; it is collecting us on various platforms."
—New York Times media and culture columnist David Carr [nytimes.com, 6/8/14]
Football is for wimps! Basketball for the slow of reflex! Robert Morris University is now offering scholarships for people to play … video games. The school hopes to field teams dedicated to competing in League of Legends tournaments, and varsity players can receive as much as 50% off their cost of education. "This is a student population that has been underserved," says Kurt Melcher, Robert Morris' associate athletic director. More than 1,500 prospective students have already inquired about scholarships. [abcnews.go.com, 6/24/14]
"In the beginning, there were the arcades. We crowded around massive cabinets, seven-foot-tall monoliths containing a single videogame, arrayed like columns in movie theaters and bowling alleys. … Gaming was in many ways a social endeavor, something that continued as we bought consoles like the Atari 2600 and Nintendo NES. [Even] Xbox and Halo … let us link four consoles for epic 16-player matches. But just as soon as these social gatherings were becoming the next big thing, game consoles adopted an innovation that would all but kill them: Internet play. Suddenly we were playing together alone."
—Wired contributor Bo Moore, in his article "Why Videogames Should Be Played With Friends, Not Online With Strangers" [wired.com, 6/18/14]