Pop Culture Link Round Up 10.18.14

Warner Brothers has given the green light to a big screen adaptation of the novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (h/t The Mary Sue).  In the same press release that revealed the Wonder Woman solo film, we learn:

The Studio will release three pictures, in 2016, 2018 and 2020, based on best-selling author J.K. Rowling’s original story and screenwriting debut, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Set in an extension of her familiar wizarding world, featuring magical creatures and characters inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook and its fictitious author, Newt Scamander, “Fantastic Beasts” will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, and reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.

For those unfamiliar with Rowlings’ novel (people like meeeeeeeeeeeee):

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2001 book written by British author J. K. Rowling about the magical creatures in theHarry Potter universe. It purports to be Harry Potter’s copy of the textbook of the same name mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US), the first novel of the Harry Potter series.

In a 2001 interview with publisher Scholastic, Rowling stated that she chose the subject ofmagical creatures because it was a fun topic for which she had already developed a lot of information in earlier books. Rowling’s name does not appear on the cover of the book, the work being credited under the pseudonym “Newt Scamander”.

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What is Kratom?

According to SageWisdom.org, kratom leaves can be chewed fresh or dry, powdered, or brewed into a tea. It is not usually smoked, because the “amount of leaf that constitutes a typical dose is too much to be smoked easily.” It’s most commonly sold in powdered form in packets, both online, in head shops and in kava bars, alcohol-free bars where people can consume tea made from the legal Polynesian kava root. An ounce costs between $20 and $30, which is enough kratom for one very strong dose*, or several more mild doses.

The fact that kratom can mitigate the painful effects of opiate withdrawl is significant, given that heroin use has reached staggering rates in the U.S. A report by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated 1.5 million chronic heroin users in the US, which doesn’t account for users who use heroin fewer than four days a month.

While it is regularly used to curb opiate addiction by reducing the withdrawal symptoms, kratom itself can be addictive. One mother in South Florida told the local CBS news the story of her 17-year-old son’s spiral into kratom addiction after he tried the plant at a kava bar with friends. She blames the addiction for her son’s eventual suicide, saying he was “not the same person,” after using kratom.

While it remains popular in underground circles, kratom has been illegal in Thailand since 1943 (it’s also banned in Malaysia, Burma and Australia). However, as Fox News reported, “Thai officials are considering reversing the 70-year-old ban on kratom, due to the plant’s value in weaning addicts off of opiates.”

Despite the potential for addiction, people have used kratom as a stimulant and a medicine for thousands of years. As Fox News reported, “The plant also enjoys a legendary use for extending the duration of sexual intercourse,” and “it mostly enjoys a long history of safe use.”

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 Awesome photos of space from SPACE.com

Photographer Chris Bakley captured this stunning view of the Milky Way over the shore of Cape May, New Jersey in late August and sent it in to Space.com. It appeared as a photo story on Oct. 7.
The night sky a place of wonder and awe that photos like this amazing view from astrophotographer James L. Jenkins, Jr. The photo shows the Milky Way over Bodie Light at Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.

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Sincerity Machine: The Comic Sans Typewriter

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Pascal Blanche is building a stunning sci-fi universe

Unsurprisingly, the work of Foss, McQuarrie, and their ilk helped inspire Blanche to get into art in the first place. While Star Wars was the jumping off point, Blanche rattles off a list of some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy as his influences: Frank Frazetta, Mœbius, and books like Dune and pretty much everything by Isaac Asimov. “All of the classics,” he says. His personal site even includes a large list of his inspirations.

His initial goal was to work in animation, but when he discovered computers, and their potential to “help me create whatever I wanted,” he decided video games might be a better place for his talents. Prior to working at Ubisoft he freelanced for the likes of Magic the Gathering creator Wizards of the Coast, but video games let him “create more living worlds,” he explains.

Outside of his day job, Blanche is currently working on a personal project called “Stardust.” He calls it something he “had in the back of my mind” for ages, but what it is isn’t exactly clear. Right now “Stardust” is a Tumblr filled with beautiful art: colorful illustrations of ships flying through a hazy space, and towering, Death Star-like structures floating among the stars. Though there’s no descriptions for the different pieces, they all feel connected through color and style. It’s clear they’re part of the same universe — hopefully one we’ll be seeing more of in the future.

Here is some of that nice Tumblr art:


Pop Culture Link Round Up 10.18.14

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