Tag Archives: Slate

Roadrunner movie: The Anthony Bourdain documentary is no hagiography | SLATE

Roadrunner is a brilliant, sometimes troubling documentary about a brilliant, sometimes troubling man.

Footage of Anthony Bourdain from Roadrunner. CNN/Focus Features

By Dana Stevens, July 13, 202111:03 AM

Within seconds of the opening of Roadrunner, a new documentary from the Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom,Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), the writer, chef, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is already talking about death.

Sitting at a table with an unseen companion, he says that he has no investment in what happens to his remains after he is gone, except insofar as it might provide “entertainment value” for his body to be, say, fed into a woodchipper and sprayed around the London department store Harrods at rush hour.

Given that Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 during the filming of an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in Alsace, France, this mordant joke takes on extra-gruesome meaning—and as a montage later on in the movie shows, it was far from the only time he cracked wise on camera about his own death.

In its mix of playful irreverence and punk-rock attitude, the put-me-in-a-woodchipper-at-Harrods line is pure Bourdain, an example of the way he could charm, seduce, shock, and amuse all at the same time.

Source: https://slate.com/culture/2021/07/roadrunner-anthony-bourdain-documentary-movie-asia-argento.html

How paper punch cards enabled the rise of computing, and shaped humanity | SLATE

An 80-by-10 grid punched into a paper card helped drive us out of the Industrial Age and into the Data Age.

By Caleb Scharf, June 23, 202112:53 PM

From The Ascent of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm by Caleb Scharf published on June 15, 2021 by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 Caleb Scharf.

Conducting aeronautical research with an IBM 704 in 1957. NASA

In 1889, a mechanical engineer named Herman Hollerith persuaded the United States government to use machine‑readable paper punch cards and electric counting machines to conduct the national Census, saving the U.S. Treasury about $5 million in the costs of handling data for 62 million people.

By 1891 Hollerith was designing machines to be used in censuses in Canada, Norway, and Austria, as well as by railroads to tabulate fare information.

As a result, Hollerith’s fledgling company quickly became part of the growing data landscape, and eventually, in 1924, it became the International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM.

Source: How paper punch cards enabled the rise of computing, and shaped humanity.

Hemingway: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick interview on how #MeToo changed their PBS docuseries.

The co-directors explain how the literary icon embodied both toxic masculinity and gender fluidity.

Ernest Hemingway. Photo illustration by Slate. Photo courtesy of Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. 

By Abigail Covington, April 07, 202110:00 PM

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick started working on their new docuseries about Ernest Hemingway almost seven years ago, when conversations about toxic masculinity and cancel culture were still at least a presidency away. But you’d be forgiven for thinking the series was a pandemic project, because Hemingway, and the conversations that take place within it, feel utterly of the moment.

From gender fluidity and mental illness to sexual misconduct and racism, today’s most charged topics are discussed at length in the series because they were part and parcel of the iconic, mercurial writer, whose own ex-wife Hadley Richardson once described as having so many sides to him that he defied geometry. Throughout the three-part, six-hour series, Hemingway is portrayed as both violent and tender, self-aware and self-aggrandizing, with an equal, outsize capacity for both joy and depthless depression.

It’s no wonder then why the writer Michael Katakis says at the start of the series that Hemingway the man is so much more interesting than the whiskey-doused, hypermasculine myth that obscures him. In separate interviews, Burns and Novick walked us through how making the film transformed the way they understand Hemingway—the man, the myth, and his literary legacy. Below, we’ve spliced together the two conversations, which have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Source: Hemingway: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick interview on how #MeToo changed their PBS docuseries.

Amtrak CEO William J. Flynn thinks Americans are ready for trains again

And he says sleeper cars are making a comeback.

An Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train at Moorpark Station in California. Laser1987/iStock/Getty Images Plus

By Henry Grabar, March 15, 20213:28 PM

William J. Flynn took over as CEO of Amtrak at the worst possible time. It was April 2020—one month after the country locked down—and ridership on the quasi-public passenger rail network was down by 97 percent. Two recovery bills later, Amtrak’s finances have been shored up. Though business remains way down, vaccines are rolling out, and Flynn aims to double Amtrak’s pre-pandemic ridership in the next two decades. We spoke last week about what America’s interstate rail system could look like after COVID. We discussed major undertakings like the Gateway Project, the new tunnel beneath the Hudson River connecting New York and New Jersey, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called the most important infrastructure project in the country. Flynn told me he does not pay attention to the astronomical cost of rail construction in the United States relative to peer countries. He also outlined his beef with freight railroads, explained why he welcomes private-sector competition, and showed me where he thinks Amtrak has room to grow after its 50th birthday next month. Our conservation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Source: https://slate.com/business/2021/03/amtrak-ceo-interview-trains-coronavirus.html