It was known as “the Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn”. Built in Brooklyn Heights in 1909 by Louis Bossert, a Brooklyn lumber magnate, it was designed as an apartment hotel. It had an Italian Renaissance Revival-style exterior and during the 1920s was known for its Marine Roof restaurant, a two-level dining experience on the roof of which provided diners with an enviable view of Manhattan. The hotel became embroiled in scandal when in November, 1945, when the 11th Governor of American Samoa, Charles Armijo Woodruff, committed suicide by hanging himself in his room there. One month later, former Congressman Thomas F. Magner also died in the hotel, but of a long illness. On a lighter note, following the Brooklyn Dodgers victory over the Yankees in 1955, Dodgers fans gathered in the Bossert lobby and serenaded Dodgers’ manager Walter Alston with “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. At the time many Dodgers lived in the Bossert. In 1983, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York began leasing space in the hotel for use by Jehovah’s Witnesses and eventually bought the hotel in 1988. It required extensive restoration, which was done. But, in late January 2008, the Society announced it would sell the building. The hotel was slated to reopen in October of this year, but that reopening has now been postponed for the foreseeable future. #NYCHistory #hotelhistory #Brooklyn #mondaymonday
X2010.11.7763 [Hotel Bossert]
DATE: ca. 1910 (at Hotel Bossert)

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We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.
—  Emma Goldman, “Patriotism, a Menace to Liberty” (1911)
J.K. Rowling slams Rupert Murdoch on France shootout comment

J.K. Rowling reacts on business magnate Rupert Murdoch’s note on the shootout that recently happened in France. The author strikes out saying that she was born Christian, but continues that in case that Murdoch falls under her responsibility, she’ll auto-excommunicate.

Murdoch’s tweet below has been one of the biggest discussions on Twitter:


Second Life: The Heineken WOBO Doubles as Beer Bottle and Brick

Fifty years ago, Heineken developed a revolutionary and sustainable design solution to give its beer bottles a second life: as an architectural brick. The concept arose after brewing magnate Alfred Heineken visited Curacao during a world tour of his factories in 1960. He was struck by the amount of beer bottles—many bearing his name—littering the beaches and the lack of affordable building materials for residents. In a stroke of genius (or madness), Heineken realized both problems could be solved if beer bottles could be reused as structural building components. Enlisting the help of Dutch architect N. John Habraken, Heineken created a new bottled design—dubbed the Heineken WOBO (World Bottle)—that doubled as a drinking vessel and a brick. As author and architecture critic Martin Pawley notes, the WOBO was “the first mass production container ever designed from the outset for secondary use as a building component.“ The new squared off bottle was both inter-locking and self-aligning, allowing it to nestle seamlessly and snugly into adjoining "bricks.” With Habraken’s design, a 10 by 10 foot hut could be constructed with 1,000 WOBO bottles. Though a test run of 100,000 bottles was produced in 1963, the marketing department’s worries about liabilities doomed the project. The WOBO was subsequently and unceremoniously retired. Though only two official WOBO buildings remain, both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk near Amsterdam, the concept remains a powerful and inspiring one. Indeed, the experiment is a reminder of how a major corporation might seriously take on sustainability in an innovative way.


(T-B: thomas alva edison/benedict cumberbatch, nikola tesla /nicholas hoult, samuel insull/tom holland, george westinghouse jr /michael shannon

WHAT IS THE CURRENT WAR ABOUT:     In a nutshell; it’s a titanic war to have America adopt electricity as a daily necessity rather than a novelty; and specifically over DC (direct current – Edison) or AC (alternating current – Tesla backed by Westinghouse). It should take place I imagine around the early 1880s; Thomas Alva Edison was already a household name “the wizard of menlo park” but was reportedly unwilling to accept ideas he didn’t originate or control. Nikola Tesla was the younger and brilliant Serb immigrant who worked for Edison originally, and believed that Edison’s DC power was inferior to his AC power.

The battle was largely between Edison, his name and company against Tesla’s backer the magnate Westinghouse; and the brutal and frankly horrifying battle that waged to convinced the major utility companies and the general public. The smear campaign waged by both sides (mainly Edison’s advisors) had some horrible casualties; animals, a death row criminal and to a much lesser degree, the main players’ wealth, reputations and mental health.

NOTE: there is no evidence that Edison was involved in the electrocution of Topsy the elephant (see here thanks to the anon)

The best summary I’ve read was that, in the end, the war wasn’t really between the three titans. Rather it was largely between Edison and himself and his reputation; and his unwillingness to change his viewpoint. Also, as with all history, the reality of right and wrong in this case is much less pragmatic; see here for a balanced overview (from the anon). 

WHY SHOULD WE FREAK OUT ABOUT THE CAST:    It features two of the greatest actors alive today; Michael Shannon and BC going head to head in a titanic battle. The supporting cast has also depth; Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland and Katherine Waterston. I adore Michael Shannon; I remember him from Groundhog Day; but I was blown away by him in Revolutionary Road. He’s a wildcard, he has a searing intensity and unpredictability which i love. Even his Zod in the execrable Man of Steel was kind of sympathetic.

WHAT WILL BENEDICT LOOK AND SOUND LIKE?:    This time he’ll have no facial hair :-)… It all takes place around 1880 or thereabouts so all actors are around their real life counterparts true ages. Edison came from Ohio and lived in New Jersey (you can hear him as an older man here and here) and seemed to have a NJ accent overlaid with a kind of mid-western sound. There is a much more distinct English overlay (mid-Atlantic) which was much more prevalent in 1880s than obviously today.

WHAT ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM?   The director is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (see here) who worked on Argo, and directed Me Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) which won the US Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. (That film has had rave reviews).  The writer is very unknown which for me is a total wildcard aspect again.

And we are back to The Imitation Game arena again; The Current War is a Weinstein Company “They Get Oscars™” film. The film from the outset it seems to being developed as good Oscar fodder. It has the two of the greatest actors alive today, there’s high drama and trauma (the botched death-row execution, the electrocution of animals [oh god], the smear campaigns, Tesla’s mental health issues, Edison’s loss of control of his company, a showdown at Niagara Falls, Westinghouse being financially pressed by the costs of the ‘war’, Edison losing to his own stubbornness). So if the production goes well, it might be a major 2018 Oscars contender. 

WHEN IS IT RELEASED:    late 2017 if it all goes well (in time for Oscar season); It begins filming in a few weeks in early December 2016…

To me this film seems on the very traditional side of the Oscar coin; notably about famous historic white men etc. The cast is stellar; let’s hope the interesting director and the unknown script throws that up in the air a bit. I’d love for it to be a little less timid than the The Imitation Game

nb: unbelievably it has competition on so many levels with The Last Days of Night (IMDb here; a Redmayne film about Edison vs Westinghouse, written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum but this is still in very early pre-production. surreal though). 

WILL IT BE CONTROVERSIAL:    ;-) I kinda added this in because you know… it seems to be part and parcel of supporting BC these days. And unless animal rights activists find any reason to? it seems unlikely.   

WHERE CAN I GET SOME PROPER BACKGROUND INFORMATION:      Read: Empires of Light by Jill Jonnes (Amazon link here and Audiobook here), Forbes’ Nikola Tesla Wasn’t God And Thomas Edison Wasn’t The Devil  and Watch: American Genius documentary on YouTube here  

Imagine A World Without Boron

We don’t often think about Boron, but our world depends on it completely. Without Boron we wouldn’t have many of the things we have today. Here are just a few examples of what would happen without Boron:

  • No computers. Boron is critical for transistors.
  • No phones, even old-timey ones. All phone voice sensors are Boron.
  • No Pickles, or pickled food. Guess what pickles cucumbers? Boron.
  • No Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is funded by Margaret Z. Hardevicke, a Boron magnate.
  • No sports. Every ball used in every sport from bowling to soccer to baseball to hockey uses Boron in its ball for bounciness or solidness.
  • No sex. Fulfilling sexual intercourse in humans is dependent on the hormone “Prolactin” which has two Boron atoms holding it together. We could still procreate, but we wouldn’t enjoy it.
  • Nothing to kill or die for. Much like Prolactin, “Cortisol” contains Boron and without it, we’re a pretty aloof species, unwilling to fight or take up a martyr’s cause. Without Boron, we’d be more peaceful but also more docile, and tyrants could easily hold power over us all.
  • No religion, too. Boron plays a role in every known religious origin. Judaism, Islam and Christianity all depend on the earliest scrolls chronicling the story of Genesis, which are written in, you guessed it, Boron based paint. The Upanishads of Hinduism and the Buddhist Dhammapada were both written on Boron plates. More recent religions aren’t exempt- Rumor has it that Joseph Smith had his First Vision while under the influence of Boron. Mormonism was in fact originally called Boronism.
  • No Nutella. Nutella is 80% Boron.

Quote from Steven Spielberg, an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and business magnate.

Foxfire Awards..because why not
  • Magnate Leto: And now we invite Elwin to present the award for the year's Most Frequent Patient in the Healing Center!
  • [The entire student population turns to Sophie]
  • Sophie: WHAT???!!!
  • Fitz: There's an award for that?
  • Keefe: *falls off his chair snorting*
  • Biana: Stop that Keefe =_=
  • Dex: Soph you'd better get ready
  • Magnate Leto: The award goes to Sophie Foster!
  • Sophie: Curse you Elwin!!
  • Keefe: Hahahahaha congratulations
  • Magnate Leto: *smirks evilly
  • Magnate Leto: Oh but wait....there's a close second!
  • Keefe: *sweats*
  • Magnate Leto: A round of applause to Keefe Sencen for runner-up!

ok, i’m a little bit ashamed. see, i found myself at this amazing house and all i had was my cameraphone. or phonecamera. a camera in a phone. as opposed to a camera without a phone. which is seeming kind of anachronistic at this point.

ok, some context. i was in silver lake and i went to go visit a producer friend of mine at his house. i’d never been to his house, so i worked under the assumption he lived in a nice, normal house.

oh, but no. he lived (and lives) in a palace. this beautiful rambling palace overlooking the reservoir and the mountains in the distance. it felt like northern italy, if you pretend that silver lake reservoir glinting through the trees is some very small part of lake como.

no one’s sure if this was a silent film stars palace or a chewing gum magnate’s palace. but it’s a beautiful palace in the middle of silver lake with snow covered mountains in the distance (my iphone camera wasn’t up to the task of taking pictures of snow covered mountains in the distance, sorry).


Zayn named one of the most influential Asians in the UK

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has been judged the most influential Asian person in Britain, topping a list of 101 prominent people including the Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Hinduja brothers and musician Zayn Malik.

The list will be revealed at the GG2 Leadership awards dinner in London, hosted by the BBC presenter Nihal Arthanayake.

Yousafzai is the youngest entry on the list, aged just 19. The Pakistani-born schoolgirl, who was shot by the Taliban for defending her right to education, is at 10, having claimed the top slot four years ago.

The top 20

  1. Sadiq Khan London mayor
  2. Sajid Javid Conservative MP
  3. Priti Patel Conservative MP
  4. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Nobel peace prize winner
  5. Nadiya Hussain Great British Bake Off winner and TV presenter
  6. Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja of the global conglomerate Hinduja Group
  7. Lakshmi Mittal a steel magnate, and his wife Usha a philanthropist
  8. Rakesh Kapoor businessman
  9. Alok Sharma Conservative MP
  10. Malala Yousafzai campaigner and Nobel prize winner
  11. Tariq Ahmad Conservative peer
  12. Rabinder Singh high court judge
  13. Amol Rajan editor of the Independent
  14. Ivan Menezes businessman
  15. Bobbie Cheema-Grubb high court judge
  16. Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar actors
  17. Zayn Malik singer
  18. Rajesh Satija Ram businessman
  19. Asif Kapadia film director
  20. Mishal Husain BBC presenter



BK: In the episode “Reunion,” Asami is seen reading a magazine while waiting for Korra. Originally we made it a fashion magazine, with an ad featuring Ginger wearing a feather boa. We all know Asami likes fashion, and I think we thought the ad would be funny, but when it came time to approve the artwork, I found it vapid. Asami is an industrial magnate–she would have her own ad in the magazine! So I came up with this recruitment ad, using a prop designed by Joseph Aguilar. Angela Song Mueller fleshed out the characters from a sketch I did, and S.L. Lee, PhD, translated the following copy for the ad: “Ladies, Future Industries wants you! Are you interested in an exciting and rewarding career? Come on down to one of our recruitment offices and schedule an interview. We offer expert and entry-level positions. Don’t wait; come and seize your future!” Republic City background design by Christine Bian. Painting by Melissa King. [x]