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					                 UPSIDE OF 6%
    reAl estAte oVerhAul ..... p. 114

                                                                            Mel GiBson ........... p. 114

                                                                           KEY PLAYER IN 3%

               DEPICTIONS OF 13%
        leGo diorAMA ......................... p. 108                                         dAleks ...............................p. 98
        Book oF reVelAtion ............. p. 110                                               dooMsdAy clock .......... p. 116

                                                                                          THREAT OF 11%
                          SCENARIOS FOR 17%
               extreMe WeAther .......................... p. 100
               AuthoritAriAn dystopiA ..............p. 107                   TOOLS FOR SURVIVING 25%
                                                                                MetAl BiBle ............................. p. 92
                                                                                Mercedes-Benz 300d .......... p. 98
                                                                                VelVeetA ................................ p. 108
                                                                                Bunker .................................... p. 112
                                            SIGNS OF 25%
                                zoMBie BuBBle ................ p. 94
                                lindsAy lohAn ............... p. 102
                                FArMVille ........................p. 104

    theme for october 2010

    ApocAlypse                                                               Aspects of doomsday that we cover
                                                                             this month, by type.

illustration   Tomer Hanuka                                                                                                                 0   9   1
                                                                              Play // aPocalyPse // Filter //

sifTing Through The opTions

survival Guides
When the gray veil descends upon the land and the cannibals come out at night,
you need the right reference books if you’re going to live to see the sun again.

US Army Survival              Wilderness Medi-       How to Win Friends         Kill or Get Killed,      Metal Bible NLT,
Manual: FM 21-76,             cine: Beyond First     & Influence People,        Col. Rex Applegate       multiple authors
Department of                 Aid, William Forgey    Dale Carnegie              PerFect For: The         PerFect For: The
Defense                       PerFect For: The       PerFect For: The           pasty-skinned nerd       postapocalyptic
PerFect For: The              self-appointed doc-    newly computerless         Geek Factor: Even        product evangelist
mysterious drifter            tor Geek Factor:       programmer                 the most passive         Geek Factor: Ezekiel
Geek Factor: Non-             Stupid—or unlucky—     Geek Factor: The           Poindexter can mas-      25:17 at your fin-
zombies will need to          enough to get hurt?    languages of logic         ter the sitting neck     gertips. Psalms will
know how to build             Find out how to heal   don’t require social       break, the stomach       inspire you dur-
a thatch shelter              thyself, from per-     skills. When your pri-     thrust with slash on     ing tough moments,
(scorch broad leaves          forming “incision      mary interface is with     exit, the chin jab and   Revelations will help
for shingles), how            and drainage” of       humans, however, be        trip, and other killer   you realize it’s really
long to boil rats (10         abscesses to dealing   it during end times or     techniques. This man-    not so bad, and the
minutes), and which           with “massive lacer-   a board meeting, this      ual has been saving      metal cover can be
birds you can follow          ations” from a bear    classic will keep you      US leathernecks for      used as a bludgeon
to water (pigeons).           mauling.               popular—and alive.         more than 30 years.      in case it actually is.






0   9   2      issue   October      TexT   Mathew Honan    phoTograph    Todd Tankersley
                                                                                                            Play // aPocalyPse // screen //


                                                  The Great Zombie Bubble

                                                                                                                                                                        NIG HT OF THE LI VI NG DEAD , THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD : EVERETT; 28 DAys LATER : p ETER mounTain; zOmbIELAND: blu- Ray/dVd sony hom E EnTERTainmE nT; DEAD sET: ifc; T HE wALkING DEAD : sc oT T gaRfi El d/T w d pRo duc Tio n s
                                                                  ere’s a no-brainer: The zombie infestation,          gouged-out eye? Horror maestro Stephen
                                                                  both at the box office and on book shelves,          King once theorized that zombie mov-
                                                                  meant it was only a matter of time before            ies reflect mindless consumerism, making
                                                                  the critters shuffled over to the small              them more popular in boom economic
                                                                  screen. And shuffle they have, with not one          times. Meanwhile, vampire flicks tend to
                                                                  but two new miniseries set to air in Octo-           rise when the markets go down like the
                                                                  ber. IFC’s Dead Set is a British import,             sun. (More recently, financial columnist
                                                                  chronicling an undead uprising from the              Bruce Watson put some meat on that idea,
                                                                  point of view of the last uninfected people          suggesting the US market is not bear ver-
                                                                  in the UK: contestants on the reality show           sus bull, it’s zombie versus vamp.) ¶ WIreD
                                                                  Big Brother. AMC’s The Walking Dead,                 did its own data analysis and that theory
                                                                  brought to you by Shawshank Redemption               didn’t hold water—or blood. Zombie fran-
                                                                  screenwriter- director Frank Darabont,               chises continued to spike even when the
                                                                  follows a group of survivors traveling the           Dow plummeted in 2008, and they’ve kept
                                                                  postapocalyptic American South and try-              going. This can mean only one thing:
                                                                  ing not to lose their minds—literally. ¶ But         a zombie bubble. Better TiVo these new
                                                                  is there more to this trend than meets the           shows before the zombie crash.

                   Night of the              Dawn of         The Return of the      28 Days Later    Shaun of          Zombieland          Dead           The Walking
                   Living Dead               the Dead          Living Dead                           the Dead                               Set              Dead


index (1968=100)


                                           dow jones
                                           industrial average
                                           zombie movies &
                                           tv shows


                                    1970          1974          1978         1982          1986     1990        1994         1998       2002       2006         2010

                    0       9   4      issue    October          text   Gavin Edwards
                                      Play // aPocalyPse // motor //

                           survivors wanted

                           Choose Your Chariot
the fouR hoRsemen of the apocalypse can afford to be smug bastards. They have
transportation. But after they gallop off into the sunset, you—assuming you’ve
somehow survived—are still going to need a ride. The good news: Since civiliza-
tion will be in ruins, waiting in line at the DMV won’t be an issue. You’ll be free
to commandeer just about anything you want. But what to acquire? Here are a
few options worth tracking down once the smoke clears.
                                                                                                   ask an algorithm

                                                                                                   Geek Shrieks
1/ USS Freedom (LSC-1)                            2/ MerCedeS-BeNZ 300d
Cars and bikes won’t do you any good              A Benz might seem a tad bourgeois, but
after the flood, my friend. The Freedom,          the 300D, with its bulletproof engine, is
a combat ship designed to operate close           an exercise in automotive eschatology.
to shore, has onboard generators, a heli-         Find an abandoned McDonald’s, pour
pad, and a missile launcher. Snatch sup-          the fryolater oil through a few layers of
plies from abandoned ports with the               coffee filters, and fill ’er up. After a long
                                                                                                  What Halloween porch
built-in crane and floor it to 45 knots           day of chasing giant flying stone heads         display will best terrify the
to make a quick getaway from Jet Ski–             across a frozen wasteland, you’ll really        other nerds in the ’hood?
mounted raiders.                                  appreciate the heated leather seats.
                                                                                                  Scan reveals dozens of sci-fi and fan-
                                                                                                  tasy cardboard cutouts, including 6'
3/ Tokai ChaLLeNger                               4/ SUZUki dr650
                                                                                                  Terminator, 6'3" Darth Vader, and
Despite what you saw in Mel Gibson’s              If you’re one of the last persons on earth,
1979 documentary, Mad Max, what’s left of         you’ll need to cross some gnarly terrain.       5'8" Dalek. Impact assessment of
the world’s gasoline after doomsday will          (Mass extinctions play havoc with high-         2-D figures: limited. >> Search for 3-D
probably just sit in tanks, slowly turning to     way maintenance-crew staffing.) The             items. Found: $4,596 bronze Dalek;
varnish. And so what? In 2009, the Tokai          DR650 is the ideal bike for a lone survivor,    $3,167 jesmonite Weeping Angel.
Challenger, a solar car built by a team at        equally capable on asphalt, dirt trail, or      Factoring hypothetical powers,
Japan’s Tokai University, crossed 1,860           urban rubble. Get the 1990 model, which
                                                                                                  perceived threats: Daleks are “the
miles of Australian outback on sun power          has a kick-starter—batteries might be
alone, reaching a top speed of 93.2 mph.          hard to come by the day after tomorrow.         most feared race in the universe,”
                                                                                                  with death ray and robotic plunger
                                                                                                  arm; Weeping Angels touch vic-
                                                                                                  tims to force undesired time travel.
                                                                                                  Impact depends on likelihood of
                                                                                                  actual existence. >> Possibility of
                                                                                                  alien life-forms (Daleks) = “perfectly
                                                                 2                                rational” (source: Stephen Hawk-
                                                                                                  ing, physicist). Possibility of angels
                                                                                                  = no results found. Run proxy: Pos-
                                                                                                  sibility of God = 2% (source: Michael
                                                                                                  Shermer, Scientific American col-
                                                                                                  umnist). >> Analysis of belief sys-
                                                                                                  tems in US: self-identification as
                                                                                                  “very liberal” correlates to belief
                                                                                                  in aliens; self-identification as reli-
                                                                                           4      gious correlates to belief in angels.
                                                                                                  R e c o m m e n d a t i o n : If residence
                                                                                                  located in “very liberal” zip code, buy
                                                                                                  Dalek. If in religious zip code, buy
                                                                                                  Weeping Angel. If neither, buy sad
                                                                                                  clown—they creep everyone out.

                                                                                                   sysadmin   Steven Leckart
                                                                                                                                               uss fre edom, tokai: cor bis

                                                                                                   illustration   Rami Niemi

0    9       8   issue   October      text   Keith Barry       illustration   Oksana Badrak
                                                                                                        // rec engine //
          iPad Extra
          To chase storms with Reed Timmer,
          download wired from the iTunes Store.

                                                      Play // aPocalyPse // Print //

To hail and back

Storm Trooper                                              A meteorological daredevil chronicles the
                                                           rush and risk of chasing extreme weather.

                                       How are you doing? It’s a        10 energy drinks a day. But     How’s your personal life?

             i                         little slow now that the
                                       storm season is over. I guess
                                                                        when you see the storm
                                                                        approaching, it’s so beau­
                                                                                                        Well, I don’t really have one.
                                                                                                        All my long­term relation­
                                       I’m suffering from with­         tiful. You don’t think, oh,     ships have ended in part
                                       drawal. But we usually have      this thing could throw us       because of storm chasing.
If we all go down in a cata­           hurricanes to chase in the       miles into the air. You’re      I’ve skipped out on things at
clysmic hurricane, expect to           fall, so that’s something to     just mesmerized. Then, as       the last minute—obligations
see Reed Timmer right in its           look forward to.                 you get up close to the         like weddings. It’s pretty
                                       Most people run away from        funnel, the winds are insane.   hard to plan things, and I
eye, wielding his videocam.            storms. Why do you charge        The vehicle shakes back         think that can be frustrating
The star of Discovery Chan­            into them? I like being          and forth, and your ears        for someone who wants a
nel’s Storm Chasers, Timmer            close to the most powerful       pop because the pressure        more normal life. To be hon­
                                       thing on the planet. It’s so     is so low. There’s a little     est, it’s kind of depressing
pursues extreme weather                humbling but so beautiful        place in your brain that        sometimes.
with the help of the Domina­           at the same time. And I like     says, we gotta get the hell     Is it all worth it? Oh yeah,
tor, his trusty armored SUV.           the challenge of chasing         out of here! But by that        yeah. I’m happiest when I’m
                                       down storms. It’s like hunt­     point, it’s too late.           200 yards from a tornado.
Timmer’s new book, Into                ing—you never really know        That’s a little reckless ...    You would be, too. It’s life­
the Storm, details his adven­          in advance what’s going to       I don’t feel like I’m living    changing, I promise you.
tures as a professional storm          happen. There’s something        unless I’m taking chances.      Once you start, you never
                                       freeing about the chaos.         Still, these things are         stop. I’d be fine if a tornado
chaser. We caught up with
                                                                                                                                         d ick mc gowa n/ d iscovery sto rm ch as ers

                                       What’s a typical storm           incredibly destructive.         took out my house here
him over the summer at his             chase like? On the way to        Of course. Storm chasing        in Norman, as long as I had
home in tornado­prone                  the target area, the antici­     is fun and exciting, but        my dog and all my tornado
                                       pation is out of control.        when you see the damage         tapes. I’d park right next
Norman, Oklahoma, during               You’re eating gas station        afterward, it’s sad. It’s an    to my house in the Domina­
a brief parting of the clouds.         burritos and slamming            emotional roller coaster.       tor and watch it blow away.

 1   0   0         issue   October   TexT   Olivia Koski
                                                      Play // aPocalyPse // omens //

PoP-aPocalyPse now

The Lohan Prophesies                                                              Seven signs that
                                                                                  Judgment Day is nigh.

Lindsay Lohan is revealed
as the Antichrist. According
to biblical prophecy, the Last
Days will be heralded by a
“person of sin” who capti-
vates us with their immoral
behavior, forked-tongue
ramblings, crocodile-tear
martyrdom, and manicured
fingernails marked with                                                                                1
the vulgarities of the beast.
Need more proof of Lohan’s
über-evilness? Even O. J.
Simpson lawyer Robert Sha-
piro wouldn’t defend her.

2/                                                                6                                                                       2
Mel Gibson is actually an
alien. In August, the actor
loses control of his Maserati
and crashes it into a Malibu
canyon. When the police
arrive, Gibson emerges from
the wreck sober, coopera-
tive, and respectful. Clearly,                                                                         7
the real Gibson has been
kidnapped and replaced
by a mild-mannered alien
imposter. (Come to think
of it, this may be his best
career move yet.)

3/                                                                5                                                                       3
Kevin Costner returns as
our savior. The star of Water-
world has delivered a new
oil-separation technology
that’s helping in the Gulf
cleanup. We appreciate the
effort, but we didn’t even                                                                             4
like it when Costner deliv-
ered mail in the apocalypse.

4/                                5/                                    6/                                 7/
Bruce Willis pushes per-          Debbie Gibson and Tiffany             The still-living body of           A remake of True Grit is
fume. Hollywood’s toughest        make a comeback. The                  Ozzy Osbourne is used to           in the works. Some things
tough guy, who delivered          1980s pop relics are starring         further the human race.            should just never, ever be
phrases like “Yippee ki-yay,      in a made-for-TV movie on             Researchers are studying           touched. Remake Clash of
motherfucker” while sport-        the Syfy Network called               the infamous bat-biter’s           the Titans? Fine. Remake the
ing pit stains and shooting       Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.             DNA to figure out how he           only film that garnered John
a gun, now has his own fra-       (The spelling of the net-             can possibly be alive after        Wayne an Oscar? Dark days
grance. Expect a toxic trend      work’s name may be partly             years of substance abuse.          are ahead. Sure, the Coen
as other ancient action stars     to blame for upsetting the            Don’t forget, the Prince of        brothers are involved, but
bottle their man musk, cul-       universe.) The pandemic of            Darkness was featured in           remember their last remake,
minating in a world-choking       irony unleashed could be              the The Decline of Western         The Ladykillers? The ghost
cloud of Mickey Rourke’s          lethal enough to wipe out             Civilization Part II. Sounds       of John Wayne is already
l’Eau du Wrestler.                most of North America.                like foreshadowing to us.          mounting his red horse …

 1   0   2      issue   October    TexT   Mike Ryan      illusTraTion   Diego Patino
                                                                                       Play // aPocalyPse // games //

                               someone fertilized your crops. with eVil!

                                                                                              Facebook smash hit makes
                                                                                              game designers gloomy.

                                                                                            Chris Hecker               Daniel James (Bang!
                                                                                            (Spore, SpyParty)          Howdy, Yohoho!
                                                                                            When you’re play-          Puzzle Pirates)
                                                                                            ing Counter-Strike         People whose first
                                                                                            or even just throw-        encounter with com-
                                                                                            ing a Frisbee, the         puter games is on
                                                                                            thing you’re doing is      Facebook may con-
                                                                                            fun in itself. In Zynga    clude that all games
                                                                                            games, you’re just         are just about click-
                                                                                            trying to get more         ing and watching
                                                                                            stuff. You’re caught       a number go up and
                                                                                            up in this junkie          being told to spam
                                                                                            behavior, and you          their friends. The
                                                                                            have to keep upping        market could fall very
                                                                                            the dose. That has         quickly when people
                                                                                            me terrified.              get fed up with that.

                                                                                            Chris Randall              Jesse Schell
                                                                                            (Assassin’s Creed,         (Toontown Online)
                                                                                            Neverwinter Nights)        They figure out
                                                                                            They break basic           the psychological
                                                                                            game design to             moment when some-
                                                                                            get players to pay         one wants to pay
                                                                                            money. I fear a situa-     and then design the
                                                                                            tion where develop-        best experiences
                                                                                            ers don’t get creative     around that. Also, it’s
                                                                                            freedom, because           a scary time when
                                                                                            they have to figure        the growth area is
                                                                                            out how to monetize        low-budget games.
              specter is haunting gaming … the specter of FarmVille. Every                  the game rather than       It means more proj-
              day, tens of millions of Facebook users surf over to the lo-res               focus on narrative         ects, but they’re
     a        virtual world to milk cows, send magic eggs to their friends,
              and shell out real money for limited-edition Swiss chard seeds.
                                                                                            or gameplay.               smaller projects.

              The game, which has 75 million regular players, is made by
 developer Zynga, which also makes Café World and Mafia Wars. Zynga just                      text    David Kushner
 scored a $100 million to $200 million investment from Google. But some
 traditional game developers think the rise of Zynga is a sign of the end of
 days—at least in terms of game-making. We asked some skeptics to explain
 their concerns; you decide for yourself whether this is the game-pocolypse.                  illustration    Mickey Duzyj

                                // decode //

  do this puzzle

  Hell Comes to FarmVille
S e v e ra l c ro p S have rebelled and are taking down the
whole FarmVille system. (Hey, we can dream, can’t
we?) Each numbered piece of vegetation can be writ-
ten as a two-word phrase, with one letter changed
between the first and second. So an evil vine blasting
frigid winds would be ICY IVY. Can you crack the rest?
                                                                                                          2                                3

  text   Mike Selinker         illustration   QuickHoney
                                                                                                                                                                    Play // aPocalyPse // screen //

                                                                                                                guns, germs, and reel

                                                                                                                Stayin’ Alive, Hollywood Style
                                                                                                                          f we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that the world will end in spectacular fashion.
                                                                                                                          Thankfully, it also schooled us on how to survive. Movies and TV shows are overflowing with
                                                                                                                          handy tips for keeping it together when everything falls apart.

                                                                                                                 1                      2                      4                               7                                     10


                                                                                                                                            6                                           9

                                                                                                                Scenario A:                         Scenario B:                         Scenario C:                          Scenario D:
                                                                                                                Rampant Viruses/                    Natural Disaster                    Alien Invasion                       Authoritarian
                                                                                                                Exploding Nukes                     Errant asteroids, flip­             When giant alien tripods             Dystopia
                                                                                                                The causes are just distrac­        flopping magnetic poles, or         start blasting people with           Life in the megalopolis can
                                                                                                                tions. The outcome is the           total climatic collapse will        heat rays, as in War of              be fun—the restaurants!
                                                                                                                same: empty cities but              make things awfully lonely.         the Worlds7 or, um, The              the thunderdomes!—but
                                                                                                                plentiful resources. The            Just look at that poor bas­         Tripods, you have little             it’s always raining acid,
                                                                                                                real problem won’t be               tard in The Quiet Earth4.           recourse but to hope they            and traffic is a bitch. First
                                                                                                                smoldering ruins—it’s the           He ended up dressing in a           forgot to take their allergy         things first: Get a job as a
                                                                                                                hell that is other peo­             lady’s slip and preaching to        meds or that, like in Inde-          cop. That gig made life eas­
2 : b bc; 3 : dvd so n y h om e e nt er tai nm en t; 4, 5, 6, 8,9 ,1 0 ,1 1 ,1 2: ever ett; 7: pa ra m o u nt

                                                                                                                ple. And zombies. Steal             a cardboard cutout of Hit­          pendence Day 8, their com­           ier in the Blade Runner10,
                                                                                                                an armored ATV like in              ler. Worse yet, you’re going        puters are vulnerable to             Logan’s Run, and Judge
                                                                                                                Damnation Alley or a                to be hunting for water like        a Mac virus. If the aliens           Dredd11 universes, and
                                                                                                                Doomsday1­style conver­             the Solarbabies or freezing         look just like us, bodies are        it lets you learn cool skills,
                                                                                                                ted bus. Fill it with food,         your ass off in a Day After         gonna get snatched. Smart            like Gun Kata in Equilib-
                                                                                                                water, and gear like they           Tomorrow5–style winter. So          survivors observe friends            rium12. Professional ath­
                                                                                                                do in Survivors2. Also, guns.       bring a pair of roller blades       and family to distinguish            letes also have it made, so
                                                                                                                At least those will scare           and a warm jacket. Also,            them from pod people, à la           join the Rollerball team or
                                                                                                                off the cannibal raiders            engineering and physics             Invaders From Mars9. Tol­            the pit crew in Death Race
                                                                                                                à la The Road3 or The Book          textbooks are the perfect           erance for g forces and              2000. The slavering proles
                                                                                                                of Eli. And if Omega Man            foundation for rebuilding           heights helps, too, whether          will bet on your success
                                                                                                                taught us anything, it’s that       the ties that bind humanity         flying fighter jets against          even if you’re a convicted
                                                                                                                world­ending viruses also           (though an RV also helped           10­foot­tall Thetans—er,             murderer, like in The Run-
                                                                                                                create zombies, so aim for          in Ark II6). And track down         aliens—from Battlefield:             ning Man. Skip the exhaust­
                                                                                                                the head. You’re also going         a knockoff lightsaber—if            Earth or jumping from heli­          ing Matrix­ian messiah act.
                                                                                                                to need to know kung fu.            it’s good enough for Thun-          copters to kill (non­alien)          The one takeaway: The
                                                                                                                Zombies hate kung fu.               darr the Barbarian …                dragons in Reign of Fire.            State hates kung fu.

                                                                                                                                                                                              TexT   Adam Rogers         issue    October       1   0   7
                                             Play // aPocalyPse // dePictions //


Last Lego Standing

I t ’s t h e e n d. A lone human—
survivor of an unknown calam­
ity—and his robot assistant press
on, making sure the processing
facility keeps … processing. A
tram runs, conveyor belts turn,
and a toxic river flows. The land­
scape encroaches, held back by
little more than an electric fence.   flashing lights, speakers for
The remains of a crashed vessel       music, and a working monorail.
jut from the ground. Creatures        Many of the smaller vignettes
have claimed it as a shelter and      are nods to other Lego archi­
installed a machine that trans­       tects and dioramas: The mon­
forms noxious waste into water.       key with four hooked limbs, for
A small fee buys one pot. ¶ It’s a    example, is an homage to a sci­fi
chilling postapocalyptic vision—      Lego construction called Omi-
at least, as chilling as a post­      cron Weekend, and the figure
apocalyptic vision made from          chiseling at a rock sculpture is
Legos can be. The giant diorama,      a tribute to Nate Nielson, a Lego
titled Containment, was built by      builder who died last spring. The
Tyler Clites and Nannan Zhang         scene, Zhang says, is designed
and unveiled at Brickworld            to leave us wondering what
in Chicago in June (you can           exactly is being contained—
catch it again at the next Brick­     the isolated facility or the
world). ¶ Containment stretches       chaos outside. “That’s a ques­                TexT   Justin McLachlan
more than 7 feet across, with         tion for us all to answer,” he says.

                                                                                                                      // food //

Cuisine for                                                              CalorieS     SHelf life     ProS             ConS

Lean Times                                                Velveeta       2,560        Indefinite    Good for groups. Bright color
                                                                         per loaf                   Like champagne. attracts thieves to
                                                                                                    Or Kool-Aid.     the preciousssss.

In the wake of the big event, you’ll                      Hormel         170          Indefinite    You can put       Clinky cans in
likely have to roam the rubble                            Spam                                      spiced ham on     your backpack
alone—and that minifridge won’t                                                                     anything.         are a stealth-killer.
fit in your backpack. Here are
some suggestions for packable,                            StarKist       80           3 years       High in protein;   Low calorie-
nonperishable edibles.                                    Tuna                                      use to befriend/ to-weight ratio.
                                                          (pouch)                                   entrap stray cats. Fish breath.

                                                          Hostess        150          Years,       Full of carbs;     Gets crunchy
                                                          Twinkies                    according to smooshy and        after a month
TexT   Missy Schwartz                                                                 some tests   easy to pack.      or so.

                                                          PowerBar 360                10 months     Calorically dense Inedible sans H20.
1      0   8    issue   October                           ProteinPlus                               brick doubles as You found a pota-
                                                                                                    a weapon.         ble source, yes?
blasT from The pasT
                                                                                  How John of Patmos’ nightmare
The Book of Revelation                                                            spread like a virus—the
                                                                                  most entertaining virus ever.

                                                                                   nineteen centuries ago, John of Pat-
                                                                                   mos experienced a terrifying mystical vision.
                                                                                   Jesus of Nazareth appeared to him with feet
                                                                                   glowing like molten brass and a double-edged
                                                                                   sword in his mouth. The Christian savior showed
                                                                                   his follower how the world would end—it
                                                                                   wasn’t pretty—and commanded, “Write the
                                                                                   things which thou hast seen, and the things
                                                                                   which are, and the things which shall be here-
                                                                                   after.” ¶ The resulting collection of prophecies
                                                                                   is commonly referred to as the Apocalypse of
                                                                                   John or the Book of Revelation. This final book
                                                                                   of the New Testament has had a profound
                                                                                   effect on world religion, culture, even US
                                                                                   foreign policy. (Many evangelical Christians
                                                                                   view the conflict in the Middle East through
                                                                                   the prism of Revelation.) The prophecies
                                                                                   also inspired a great deal of fiction, from C. S.
                                                                                   Lewis’ Narnia series to the best-selling Left
                                                                                   Behind books. The beast bearing the infernal
                                                                                   mark 666 was a perfect villain in everything
                                                                                   from The Omen to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s
                                                                                   End of Days. The whore of Babylon, a minion
                                                                                   of the beast, was the inspiration for the robot
                                                                                   Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The Seven
                                                                                   Seals that open to reveal the Lamb of God
                                                                                   inspired Ingmar Bergman’s classic film The
                                                                                   Seventh Seal. The vision of a lake of fire has
                                                                                   colored every depiction of hell from Dante’s
                                                                                   Inferno to Tom and Jerry cartoons. (It’s also
                                                                                   a pesky obstacle in the classic first- person
                                                                                   shooter Doom.) The Four Horsemen of the
                                                                                   Apocalypse begat a team of NWA wrestlers
                                                                                   as well as a song on the Clash album London
                                                                                   Calling. And every disaster movie is indebted
                                                                                   to Revelation’s depiction of the Tribulation,
                                                                                   a period of natural disasters on an unprece-
                                                                                   dented scale. If John of Patmos ever hooked
                                                                                   up with a good intellectual property attor-
                                                                                   ney, he could unleash a cataclysmic law-
                                                                                   suit like nothing the world has seen before.

                                            Play // aPocalyPse // PrototyPe //

1   1   0      issue   October   TexT   Chris Baker   illusTraTion   Yuta Onoda
                                                                                         Play // aPocalyPse // design //

                             gimme shelTer

                             Safe House                                                     When the apes take over the planet,
                                                                                            descend into your human Habitrail.

               ennedy-era fallout shelters were little more than                when a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse takes out power
      K        cement boxes filled with cans of spinach. Modern
               end-time housing structures, like those from Radius
                                                                                on the surface, you’ll still be able to operate your hair dryer.
                                                                                And they’re buried far enough underground to be impervious
   Engineering, are smart and stylish. Take the Trogonia 8, a                   to radiation. In the event of a chemical or biological attack,
   modular, self-sufficient, radiation-proof colony—complete                    you’ll feel secure knowing that the sealed and pressurized
   with fitness center, restaurants, and city hall—that will keep               units come with specially designed air filtration that uses
   as many as 2,000 people safe and snug for up to five years.                  three different physical purifiers and an ultraviolet-radiation
   With that kind of thing, you can Noah’s ark the whole sub-                   sterilization system. ¶ Radius has installed more than
   division. ¶ Radius’ shelters start at $200,000; the multifamily              1,000 shelters worldwide over the past 30 years; most are
   pod shown below goes for $2 million, plus about 25 percent                   intended to protect key people in the government, military,
   for shipping and installation. They all have fiberglass shells,              insurance industry, and medical services. So if you don’t
   which are less prone to cracking than concrete and, lacking                  have enough gold bars to plant your own postapocalyptic
   steel, won’t show up on target-acquisition systems. The bun-                 condo, don a stethoscope and worm your way into some-
   kers can run for years entirely off the grid, which means that               one else’s contingency plan. Call it survival of the sneakiest.

           the Radius engineeRing
           six-condo undeRgRound shelteR
                                                              Fiberglass hull                      20,000 cubic feet
                                                                                                   of food storage

                                                                                                                  meeting room


                      diesel tank

                                              growing trays
                                                                 Six-person condo

                                                                                                                                 Air filtration

  1    1     2     issue   October     TexT   Mario Aguilar
                                                         Play // aPocalyPse // Print //

 life during warmtime

 heat map
                                                             Climate change won’t wreck the world—
                                                             just certain real estate markets.

                veryone thinks that global warming will kill us all. But according to Climatopolis, a new book by UCLA economist
                Matthew Kahn, climate change won’t destroy Earth—just fundamentally change it. ¶ “City growth has caused
                climate change,” Kahn says. “But that growth is also what’s going to get us out of it.” That is, as the weather heats
                up, people will migrate and change their behavior—affecting city landscapes, architecture, quality of life, cost of
                living, infrastructure, and more. Here’s how some key US cities might look in our hot, crowded, flooded future.

loS anGElES                 San DiEGo                       phoEniX                        DEtroit                      nEW York
Between raging wild-        The Road meets The              Like the rest of the           Here’s a sign of the         Once Wall Street trad-
fires, thickening smog,     Golden Girls! Once              Sunbelt, Phoenix has           apocalypse: By the           ers figure out that
and suffocating inland      temperatures soar,              seen its population            year 2100, Detroit will      their workplace is only
temps, only a fraction      potable water becomes           skyrocket because              be one of the coun-          a few feet above sea
of LA will remain hab-      scarce, and 24/7 air-           sunbirds have been             try’s most desirable         level and increasingly
itable, increasing the      conditioning ratchets           drawn in by its toasty         cities, along with Salt      threatened by hurri-
population density          up demand for electric-         winters. But as the            Lake City, Milwau-           canes, they’ll relocate
along the coast. Sprawl     ity, the able-bodied            climate warms and res-         kee, and Minneapolis.        to suburban New
will give way to high-      will migrate away, leav-        idents flee ever roast-        Inland and elevated,         Jersey or Westchester
rises, and the inevitable   ing the elderly and             ier summers, this bird         they are unlikely to suf-    County. Sure, they
carbon tax will deci-       infirm to duke it out           will descend back              fer natural fires and will   might wreck the local
mate what’s left of the     for whatever limited            into the ashes. Hey, at        actually benefit from        economy, but they’ve
city’s car culture.         resources remain.               least it’s a dry heat.         warmer winters.              done that before.

 text   Zach Gottlieb           illustration   Rami Niemi

                                                                                                                  // angry nerd //

                                                     why Can’t hollywood get it right?!!

                                                     Mad Max Is a Fraud
                                                     You probablY think of Max Rockatanski, a k a Mad Max, as a hero. Please. Maybe
                                                     in The Road Warrior, but by the time Max gets to Bartertown in Mad Max:
                                                     Beyond Thunderdome, he’s actually the vilest criminal in the (end of the) world.
                                                     Here’s a city rising from a nuclear nightmare that now—against all probability—
                                                     has electricity, a functioning judicial system, and nightly entertainment. OK, the
                                                     entertainment is a little sick, but the world is on its way back. Then Max arrives
                                                     and corrupts the government, destroying the integrity of the courts by admit-
                                                     ting his guilt during a Thunderdome session. The judges magnanimously oust
                                                     this malcontent instead of imprisoning him, at which point Max returns and
                                                     blows up the city (oh, sorry—spoiler alert!). Why? Because he wants to impress
                                                     some kids who live in a crack in the ground. Max is nothing but a terrorist who
  1     1   4    illustration   Rami Niemi           hates Bartertown’s freedom. OK, his truck was stolen, but damn—deal with it.
                                                                             Play // aPocalyPse // scott brown //

  the final countdown

  SuSpend the deathwatch

  Why the Doomsday Clock needs to be abolished.

                                                                                                               and/or assassinate the power-
                                                                                                               ful, feckless dolts. We do, and
                                                                                                               they’re instantly replaced with
                                                                                                               new dolts, and the clock ticks on
                                                                                                               in nerve-racking nonsense-time.
                                                                                                                 We can’t seem to do anything
                                                                                                               about nuclear weapons, climate
                                                                                                               change, or responsible biotech reg-
                                                                                                               ulation. So I propose we do some-
                                                                                                               thing about the Doomsday Clock.
                                                                                                               Detonating the damned thing and
                                                                                                               starting anew comes to mind. For
                                                                                                               one thing, we need an instrument
                                                                                                               that measures a wider variety of
                                                                                                               potential apocalyptic scenarios:
                                                                                                               preventable asteroid collision,
                                                                                                               mass smartphone-brain-tumor
                    s k m e t o p i c t u r e doomsday and I immediately think of a                            die-off, moon-based casino snafu,
    a               ticking clock. That clock image was planted in my head long
                    before I was born, by scientists—atomic scientists, no less. In
                                                                                                               and my personal favorite, killer
                                                                                                               zom-bees. (They’re zombie bees—
                    1947, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists gave us the Dooms-                             hadn’t thought of those, had you?)
                                                                                                                 Second, we have to liberate our-
  day Clock, that helpfully terrifying visualization of our species’ rela-
                                                                                                               selves from the toothless time
  tive proximity to all-out self-extinction, granddaddy to the 24 clock                                        metaphor. After more than half
  and all the other ticking A-bombs of Armageddon that pop culture has                                         a century, the chrono-imagery
  placed lovingly on the bedside tables of our cowering psyches. The clock                                     and its threat of consequences
                                                                                                               has lost credibility. Not that the
                                                                                                               dread itself has abated—we all feel
was set at seven minutes to midnight, and         rides back and forth over the same patch         just as globally imperiled as ever—but the
it’s been changed just 19 times since then.       of time for 50 years, anyway? Its website,       metrics are in limbo. So I’d suggest a Doom
   The earliest we’ve managed to set it back:, features imagery           Queue, with a host of globe-killing catastro-
17 minutes to midnight. That was in 1991, after   and a domain name meant to suggest the           phes jockeying for slot number one, moving
the fall of the Soviet Union and the subse-       difficulty, maybe even the impossibility, of     closer, then farther away, like Johnny Mne-
quent signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction     the task. To turn back the clock you would       monic in my Netflix lineup. Users can even
Treaty. The latest it’s gotten: two minutes till, need a miracle—or at least a flux capacitor.     rate their picks for most likely apocalypse.
during an exchange of US and Soviet H-bomb          Sure, I appreciate the purpose of the            In fact, a user-sourced Doom Queue, prop-
tests in 1953. (The Cuban missile crisis came     Doomsday Clock: to shame or frighten             erly executed, would be ideal: It would do
and went too quickly for the clock-keepers to     power ful, feckless dolts in leadership          more than predict The End; it would orga-
respond.) Today, we stand at six minutes to       positions, who enjoy brandishing fistfuls        nize our collective anxieties into a plan of
midnight; climate change and “biosecurity”        of plutonium (or coal subsidies) when pol-       action. And that illusion of control is so very
have been added desultorily to the clock’s        itics don’t go their way. Problem is, power-     important for the healthy psychology of a
eschatological workings. (But nobody has          ful, feckless dolts aren’t afraid of clocks.     free (and frightened) society, even a doomed
addressed the daylight-savings-time ques-         They’re afraid of sex scandals and angry         one. Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of clock-
tion. Is it spring forward or fall back? And is   peasants—in that order. Clocks frighten          watchers, waiting for the midnight hour. �
it OK to wear lead after Labor Day?)              only normal, powerless people like you
   As meme, metaphor, and instrument of           and me, in the hope that we’ll de-elect          email
civic awareness, the Doomsday Clock is
unmatched. But as a clock, it’s a total fail-
ure. It’s really a gauge, not a timepiece—what        1   1 6        issue October       illustration Leo Espinosa
self-respecting nonquantum chronometer
  theme for auGust 2010
                                                   The pop culture excesses,

                                                   indulgences, and
                                                   redundancies we cover
                                                   this month, by type.

               OVERCROWDED 11%
          the expendables .............p. 70
          expeNdABLe ViLLAiNS .... p. 82

                                                                  OVERSIZE 7%
                                                 oceANic SwimmiNg pooLS .... p. 74
                                                 TiTANic TeLeViSioNS .................p. 84

                                                                                                            OVERFATTY 11%
                                                                                                 17 BirdS + AN oLiVe ................p. 73
                                                                                                 SpAm + foie grAS ...................p. 73

                                                                                                     OVERTHOUGHT 22%
                                                                                              STUNT memoirS: A memoir .... p. 76
                                                                                              mAx heAdroom redUx .......... p. 89

      3-d BANdwAgoN ......... p. 70
                                                                                                   OVERLOUD 8%
                                                                                              heAVy dUBSTep ...... p. 74

                 OVERBOOZY 11%                                                                OVERCOMPLICATED 26%
                                                                                               exTreme mULTiTooLS ......... p. 80
                 86-proof Beer ......... p. 66
                                                                                               exTreme weApoNS ............ p. 82
                                                                                               exTreme Time mAchiNe ..... p. 84

illustration   Matias Vigliano                                                                                                0     6    5
                                                                            Play // overkill // DriNk //

                      ToTally hopped-up

                     Deranged Brew                                           Ach du lieber! A German sudsmeister
                                                                             crafts the most potent beer ever.

                                                                                 to georg tscheuschner,
                                                                                 a brewer in Oberasbach, Germany,
                                                                                 Budweiser’s 5 percent alcohol
                                                                                 is pathetic. The mildest lager he
                                                                                 makes is 13 percent. “Alcohol in
                                                                                 a beer increases the flavors just
                                                                                 like fat does in meat,” he says.
                                                                                 In keeping with his philosophy
                                                                                 that more is more, Tscheuschner
                                                                                 set out to produce the most
                                                                                 powerful beer ever concocted.
                                                                                 The world-record-setting result,
                                                                                 called Schorschbräu Schorsch
                                                                                 Bock 43, is 43 percent alcohol by
                                                                                 volume (as potent as whiskey).
                                                                                 Of course, it’s impossible to brew
                                                                                 a beer with this level of wallop
                                                                                 by fermentation alone, which
                                                                                 can convert only so much sugar
                                                                                 to alcohol. And since using
                                                                                 heat to remove water would ruin
                                                                                 the carbonation, Tscheuschner
                                                                                 developed a three-month cooling
                                                                                 technique. To get the stuff extra-
                                                                                 boozy, he stores it at a temper-
                                                                                 ature low enough for the watery
                                                                                 portions to freeze but high
                                                                                 enough to keep the beery good-
                                                                                 ness liquid. A 15-step filtering
                                                                                 process gradually reduces 350
                                                                                 liters to a super-concentrated
                                                                                 35 liters, enough to fill 100 bottles.
                                                                                 The final product sells for $120
                                                                                 per 11-ounce bottle to aficiona-
                                                                                 dos who crave novelty (or early
                                                                                 death). Tasters say it’s “fruity
                                                                                 and malty” with “a hot alcohol
                                                                                 finish that burns your mouth.”
                                                                                 How refreshing.

0   6   6   issue   August      TexT   Rachel Swaby   phoTograph   Christian Stoll
                                                                                   Play // overkill // screen //

                                           Big-BudgeT Hollywood excess
                                                                                                    Warning: A movie with

                                           Action Packed                                            this many tough guys may
                                                                                                    trigger ’roid rage.

                                          It wasn’t enough for Sylvester Stallone to bring Rocky, then Rambo, back into movie theaters.
                                          No, he had to assemble every living relic of Reagan-era action-movie excess and cram them
                                          into a single film. The Expendables follows a group of mercenaries sent on a mission to
                                          South America where … actually, it doesn’t matter. All you need
                                          to know is that the flick is bursting with old-school action heroes.
                                          To measure who still matters in Hollywood, wired broke down
// screen //                              each actor’s value using a proprietary equation: Biggest Action-
                                          Movie Box Office + Weapon of Choice ÷ Relative Proximity to Serial
  Blame James cameron                     C-List Actress Brigitte Nielsen = Level of Unexpendability. What
                                          we discovered might surprise you: For starters, Mickey Rourke is
  Death by 3-D                            less expendable than Sly, and a forgotten 1995 movie that Nielsen
                                          starred in called Galaxis may be the nexus of the ’80s action universe.

With big bucks to be made by jumping             Biggest Action-      Weapon             Relative Proximity            Unexpendability
on the 3-D bandwagon, Hollywood                  Film Box Office      of Choice          to Brigitte Nielsen           Quotient
is green- lighting every extra-         dolph lundgren
dimensional pitch that comes its way,
regardless of whether it warrants                Rocky IV             Boxing             Fictionally married to        Mucho
the special-glasses treatment. Take a            ($128                gloves             Nielsen in Rocky IV           expendable
look at the following titles and ask             million)             and Soviet
yourself: 3-D, or not 3-D?                                            steroids
                                        jet li
Step Up 3D (August 2010)
plot: Streetwise teens compete                   Lethal               Fists,             Appeared in Cradle 2          Rather
on the dance floor. benefit of 3-d:              Weapon 4             sometimes          the Grave with Woon           expendable
Hammer pants twice as billowy.                   ($130                a sword            Young Park, who starred
Saw VII (August 2010)                            million)                                in Galaxis with Nielsen
plot: Serial killer Jigsaw continues    jason statham
reign of terror. benefit of 3-d:
Lame plot “twists” can literally be              The                  Audi A8            Starred in The Bank Job       Moderately
spotted a mile away.                             Italian Job          W12                with Craig Fairbrass,         expendable
                                                 ($106 million)                          who starred in Galaxis
Jackass 3D (October 2010)                                                                with Nielsen
plot: Johnny Knoxville and his          sylvester stallone
crew get into more painful hijinks.
benefit of 3-d: When the dwarf                   Rambo: First         M60E3              Married to Nielsen            Slightly
gets smacked in the nuts with                    Blood Part II        machine            for two years                 expendable
an oar, you can almost feel the                  ($150 million)       gun                                              (This is his
splinters whizzing by.                                                                                                 movie.)

                                                                                                                                          lu nd gr en, l i, ro u rk e, sch wa rze n egger : eve ret t; stath a m , sta l lo n e, wil l is : co r bis
                                        mickey rourke
Drive Angry (February 2011)
plot: Nicolas Cage seeks revenge                 Iron Man 2           Electric           Was in Masked and             Surprisingly
for his daughter’s death.                        ($299 million        whips              Anonymous with Michael        unexpendable
benefit of 3-d: Cage’s hairline will             and rising)          powered by         Paul Chan, who starred
be reconstructed entirely of fallen                                   an arc reactor     in Galaxis with Nielsen
branches from the Na’vi Hometree.
                                        arnold schwarzenegger
Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides (summer 2012)                  Terminator 2:        Sawed-off          Featured with Nielsen         Unsurprisingly
plot: Jack Sparrow snarls, winks,                Judgment             Winchester         in Red Sonja, including       unexpendable
and (most likely) prattles.                      Day                  1887               challenging her
benefit of 3-d: Johnny Depp’s                    ($205 million)                          to a passionate duel
artistic cred represented by            bruce willis
an enveloping mist that dissolves
as the movie progresses.                         Armageddon           Beretta            Appeared in Loaded            Least
                                                 ($201                92F                Weapon 1 with Richard         expendable
                                                 million)                                Moll … who starred
                                                                                         in Galaxis with Nielsen
  TexT   Nick Veronin

  illusTraTion   Zohar Lazar                0    7   0      issue   August      TexT   Mike Ryan
                                                                               Play // overkill // PrototyPe //

                          repast from the past
                                                                                                This 19th-century avian
                          Roast Without Equal                                                   assemblage makes the
                                                                                                turducken look like a snack.

                                                                                                     Don’t think for a second that
                                                                                                     Paul Prudhomme or John
                                                                                                     Madden invented the idea
                                                                                                     of nested meats. Centu-
                                                                                                     ries before the turkey/duck/
                                                                                                     chicken combo became
                                                                                                     a mainstay at Thanksgiving
                                                                                                     bowl games, French gastron-
                                                                                                     omist Grimod de la Reynière
                                                                                                     came up with something that
                                                                                                     makes that fowl ménage à
                                                                                                     trois seem positively tame. In
                                                                                                     his 1807 Almanach des Gour­
                                                                                                     mands, he outlined the rec-
                                                                                                     ipe for a dish that required
                                                                                                     17 birds. He dubbed his
                                                                                                     recursive creation the rôti
                                                                                                     sans pareil, or “roast with-
                                                                                                     out equal.” The ingredients:
                                                                                                     [deep breath] a bustard
                                                                                                     stuffed with a turkey, which is
                                                                                                     in turn stuffed with a goose,
                                                                                                     which is in turn stuffed with a
                                                                                                     pheasant, which is in turn
                                                                                                     stuffed with a chicken, which
                                                                                                     is in turn stuffed with a duck,
                                                                                                     which is in turn stuffed with
                                                                                                     a guinea fowl, which is in turn
                                                                                                     stuffed with a teal, which is
                                                                                                     in turn stuffed with a wood-
                                                                                                     cock, which is in turn stuffed
               // food //                  Foie Gras: For 12 days before                             with a partridge, which is
                                           harvest, Moulard ducks are                                in turn stuffed with a plover,
                                           force-fed corn to fatten up                               which is in turn stuffed with
 meat-fried meat with meat sauce           their livers and give them a                              a lapwing, which is in turn

A Beast of a Meal                          distinctive nutty sweetness.
                                           spam: The canned pink meat
                                                                                                     stuffed with a quail, which is
                                                                                                     in turn stuffed with a thrush,
                                           of mystery is fried along                                 which is in turn stuffed with
                                           with the foie gras. BeeF patty:                           a lark, which is in turn stuffed
You don’t name your restaurant Animal      Grass-fed is too lean (duh!), so the chefs opt for        with an ortolan bunting,
if you’re focused on salads. But even      grain-finished Niman Ranch burger. Quail eGG:             which is in turn stuffed with
                                           Fried in clarified butter, the tiny egg’s runny           a garden warbler. The war-
by the indulgent standards of this Los     yolk binds all the flavors together. Foie sauce:          bler is very small, but it’s
Angeles eatery (think bacon-chocolate      50 pounds of veal bones + foie gras scraps +              large enough to hold “a
crunch bars after BBQ pork-belly slid-     120 quarts of water + 4 days of simmering = 4             beautiful olive stuffed with
                                           quarts of bordelaise. teriyaki sauce: Soy, cheap          anchovies and capers.” An-
ers), its signature dish—a tower of car-   sake, mirin, and garlic. Done. maple syrup:               chovies and capers? Sounds
nivorous bliss called Foie Gras Loco       McLure’s New England Grade A. Huy FonG srira-             a bit excessive.
                                           cHa sauce: Otherwise known as rooster sauce.
Moco—is over the top. Here’s what
                                           rice: Anson Mills Carolina Gold, an heirloom grain
chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook use       originally from Africa. scallions: A crucial note
to build their umami bomb.                 of green relief. You’re going to need it.               text   Chris Baker

                text   Steve Silberman           photograph   Misha Gravenor     0   7   3         illustration   Peter & Maria Hoey
                    Play // overkill // music //

Dj-proDucer rusko

Party Animal
                                                                                                                           from epic drum solos to
                                                                                                                           Autotune, the music industry
                                                                                                                           has long conflated overdoing
                                                                                                                           it with artistry. But DJ-producer
                                                                                                                           Rusko’s everything-and-the-
                                                                                                                           kitchen-sink style is intentionally
                                                                                                                           overindulgent—and getting
                                                                                                                           bigger by the minute. On his
                                                                                                                           debut full-length album, O.M.G.!,
                                                                                                                           blaring car alarms, shattering
                                                                                                                           glass, and videogame sound
                                                                                                                           effects are layered atop heavy
                                                                                                                           dubstep, a UK-spawned genre
                                                                                                                           of underground club music that
                                                                                                                           fuses drum-and-bass grooves
                                                                                                                           with syn thesized riffs and
                                                                                                                           pumps it all out at a thudding
                                                                                                                           140 BPMs. But that wasn’t
                                                                                                                           quite enough, so he invited a
                                                                                                                           Pitchfork- sanctioned who’s who
                                                                                                                           of guest artists, including rapper
                                                                                                                           Gucci Mane and Dirty Projectors’
                                                                                                                           singer Amber Coffman. ¶ Now
                                                                                                                           his over-the-top sound is snaking
                                                                                                                           its way into pop music. M.I.A.
                                                                                                                           tapped him to work on her latest,
                                                                                                                           and queen of excess Britney
                                                                                                                           Spears just hired him to produce
                                                                                                                           several songs on her upcom-
                                                                                                                           ing album. “I can’t say no to any-
                                                                                                                           thing,” Rusko says. “I just hope
                                                                                                                           you don’t get sick of me.”

                                                                                                                           TexT   Mario Aguilar

                                                                                                                                  // dashboard //
Overkill by the Numbers
                              sizes of things (in square feet)                                             genre breakdown of shows on the tlc network
                                                                                                                                               Policewomen (3)
                                             Westside Pavilion,                                                                                Tattoo artists (2)
                                                                                                               unusual                         Dessert-related (2)
                                             Los Angeles: 739,822                                           careers (10)                       Helicopter-related (1)
 airports                                    South China                                                                                       Florist (1)
                                             Shopping Mall:                                                                                    Mall cops (1)
                                             7,100,000         Average American                                                                makeovers
                                                               house: 2,438                                                                    (10)
                                                               Junk bond king Ira Rennert’s mansion,
                             Activity pool, Grand Wailea       Sagaponack, New York: 43,031                 weddings (4)
                             Hotel, Maui: 25,700                                                                                               multiples/big
                             Pool, San Alfonso del Mar,                                                                                        (by Quantity
                                                                                        St. Patrick
                             Algarrobo, Chile: 861,113                                                             home                        or mass) (4)
                                                                                        Parish Church,
                                                                                        St. Charles,                 (4)
     JFK airport,                                                                       Illinois: 36,000                                       extreme
      New York:                                                                                                pageants                        food (3)
    214,750,800                                                                                              (adult and
                                                                                        Church,             toddler) (3)
    King Fahd                 pools                                                     Houston:                                               little people (3)
       Airport,                                                                         606,500
                                                                                                           addiction (2)                       weird
     Damman,                                                                                                                                   pregnancy
 Saudi Arabia:                                            houses of worship                                                                    stories (1)

0      7    4        issue   August
page turner

my week of books                                                              One man’s courageous journey into the heart of
                                                                              the immersive first-person gimmick.

              onfound you, A. J. Jacobs!       exactly the right response. Jacobs’ aunt        awkward and my strokes were off.” Ew. By
   C          I used to enjoy your radical
                                               called him “meshuga” when she heard the
                                               details of his plan. He elicited the same
                                                                                               the time I drag myself through No Impact
                                                                                               Man by Colin Beavan, about an environ-
              when you read the entire         kind of reaction when he embarked on            mentalist’s attempt to live without leaving
Encyclopaedia Britannica and wrote about       his Britannica experiment, too. It seems        a footprint, I’m convinced that stunt proj-
it in your best-selling book The Know-It-      that disapproving friends and family are        ects—including my own—are doomed to
All. But since then, you’ve also published     a crucial ingredient of any stunt book.         be little more than elaborate contrivances.
The Guinea Pig Diaries, a collection of your     The next day, though, I am crippled by          But my faith is restored when I end my
first-person pieces, and The Year of Living    self-doubt when I come across a blog, My        week with two classics. Julie & Julia by
Biblically, which is about your attempt to     Year of Everything, in which former MTV         Julie Powell stirringly channels the spirit
hew to every one of the Bible’s precepts.      host Dave Holmes recounts his attempt to        of Julia Child, while Barbara Ehrenreich’s
And now I hear you’re working on The           read a different stunt book every week for      Nickel and Dimed details the lives of the
Healthiest Human Being in the World.           a year. I fret about my lack of originality     working poor. I conclude that, by exten-
What’s more, everyone else is following        until I find Ed Dobson’s The Year of Living     sion, my experiment in reading them is
your stunty lead: Dozens of scribes seem       Like Jesus, an evangelical rip-off of Jacobs’   also a noble endeavor.
to have learned that writing about a wacky     book . And Dobson isn’t the only copy-            As I finish, I am struck with an epiphany,
self-experiment is the key to a fat advance.   cat. Ammon Shea wrote Reading the OED           right on schedule. The success or failure
That observation gave me an idea. I wanted     after Jacobs’ Know-It-All was released. If      of stunt books has little to do with the
to find out what this sudden rush of stunt     anything, maybe I’m being too original. I       stunt itself. It depends on the author’s
books tells us about our country, our place    resolve not to covet my neighbor’s don-         ability to blend artifice and artifact, on
in the world, the state of our humanity.       key for the rest of the week.                   their skill at gleaning insights from con-
And there was just one way to do so: with        A few days later, I confront another          trived situations and fiddling with the
a stunt of my own. I would spend a week        stunt-book trope: burnout. It hits its apex     facts to best shape the narrative. (For
reading only this genre.                       when I read these sentences from Just Do        instance, I didn’t really read these books
   When I tell people about my idea, they      It, Douglas Brown’s story of having sex         in this order.) And if I could learn this
think I’m crazy. “That sounds tedious,” my     with his wife every day for 101 days: “I        much in a week, imagine what I could
friend Andre says. But, as I pick up Jacobs’   struggled to raise enough desire to con-        accomplish in a year. Well, publishers,
Year of Living Biblically, I realize this is   summate the evening. My kissing was             what do you say?

                                                                             text   Mathew Honan          IllustratIon   Zohar Lazar
              Play // overkill // Print //
                                                                                Play // overkill // filter //

sifTing Through The opTions
                                                                                           Be prepared for any—and we
Extreme Knives for Knerds                                                                  mean any—situation with one of
                                                                                           these mutant multitools.

                                                                                                                   iPad Extra!
                                                                                                                 To explore the
                                                                                                                   Wenger’s 87
                                                                                                               tools, download
                                                                                                                   w i r e d from
                                                                                                              the iTunes Store.

1/ Wenger giant               2/ Leatherman            3/ BucK X-tract LeD       4/ topeaK aLien iii     5/ SamSon fieLD
Knife 16999                   Super tooL 300           Perfect for: Any-         Perfect for: One-       Survivor
Perfect for: People           Perfect for: Contrac-    body whose other          less-car types.         Perfect for: People
who need to show              tors, CIA interroga-     hand is occupied.         Geek factor: With a     who need to shoot
other people what             tors. Geek factor:       Geek factor: Sure, it     Torx wrench, a chain    somebody—then
a ridiculously huge           A handy pair of pliers   has a mere seven          hook, and 23 other      maybe tighten a
pocketknife they              with the most lethal     tools. But you need       tools, you won’t need   screw. Geek factor:
have. Geek factor:            handles ever—they        only one hand to          anything else (other    Killer multitool fits
Packing 87 tools,             can strip, slice,        operate the thing.        than a hit of EPO)      into the pistol grip
including a cigar cut-        saw, and puncture.       Get your other mitt in    to make it through      of your AR-15 or M16.
ter and laser pointer,        Price: $87               the mix and you can       the Tour de France.     Don’t have an assault
it’s the most multi-                                   double-barrel it with     Price: $104             rifle? Better get one
bladed knife on the                                    14 gadgets in your                                to hold your Field
planet. Price: $1,400                                  fists. Price: $70                                 Survivor. Price: $119
                                                                                                                                    in sets: to dd tan ke rsl ey

0   8   0      issue   August      TexT   Mathew Honan      phoTograph   Christian Stoll
Play // overkill // games //
                                                                                         The BFG 9000 (Doom, 1993) The design
                                                                                         doc for Doom envisioned a “horrible
   Frag Fest                                                                             hallway- scouring weapon.” They came
                                                              For the designers          up with a massive gun that unleashes

  Ode to the BFG                                              of virtual guns, nothing
                                                              exceeds like excess.
                                                                                         a toxic blast of green plasma. “It was one
                                                                                         of the first guns that turned everyone
                                                                                         you aimed it at into puddles of gore,”
                                                                                         Legarie says.
                                                                                         The Cerebral Bore (Turok 2: Seeds of
                                                                                         Evil, 1998) “It’s awesome that some-
                                                                                         body thought, ‘What about a gun
                                                                                         that burrows into your enemy’s face?’ ”
                                                                                         Legarie says. Fire it and the brain-
                                                                                         seeking ammo zeroes in on its prey
                                                                                         and sucks out their spinal fluid. Then
                                                                                         —boom!—a head less corpse.
                                                                                         Land Shark Gun (Armed and Danger-
                                                                                         ous, 2003) “It’s a gun that shoots Great
                                                                                         Whites,” Legarie says. “How cool is
                                                                                         that?” Pull the trigger and an ominous
                                                                                         fin appears, slicing through solid ground
                                                                                         until it surfaces to devour your foe.
                                                                                         And here you’ve been shooting bullets
                                                                                         all this time. How quaint.
                                                                                         The Experimental MIRV (Fallout 3,
                                                                                         2008) Players of this postapocalyptic
                                                                                         action game got a suitably destructive
                                                                                         weapon: a hulking device that launches
                                                                                         miniature H-bombs. Eight of them.
                                                                                         Simultaneously. Result? Eight tiny mush-
                                                                                         room clouds. “You fire, everything dies,”
                                                                                         Legarie says.
                                                                                         The Type-52 Guided Munitions
                                                                                         Launcher/Explosive (Halo Reach, 2010)
                                                                                         This egregious piece of arm candy
If you want to rack up a truly genocidal body count in a videogame—and who               spews four bolts of doom per trigger-
doesn’t?—you need a BFG. A BFG is a big fucking gun, a ludicrously over sized,           squeeze. The projectiles are homing
overpowered weapon that reduces foes to giblets. The first use of the term was in        grenades that stick to foes. Grab it and
                                                                                         watch your enemies blow up.
id Software’s 1993 game, Doom, the granddaddy of first-person shooters, and the
arms race continues to this day with Halo Reach. Destin Legarie, an expert in virtual
ordnance, dissects the latest BFGs on his Web videoshow, the Armory. We asked              text   David Kushner
him to describe five of his all-time favorite spleen-splitters.

                                                                                                      // angry nerd //

                             why can’t hollywood get it right?!

                            Supervillain Overload
When will Hollywood learn? The quality of a superhero movie is inversely
proportional to the number of bad guys.* It’s not that complicated:
Take hero, add arch nemesis, mix. But instead, studios muddle the Mani­
chaean struggle of light and dark by stuffing an entire rogues’ gallery
into every film. Spider-Man 2 gave us Doctor Octopus, and it was good.
Spider-Man 3 pitted Spidey against the Sandman, Venom, and a new
Green Goblin, and it sucked. Iron Man? Obadiah Stane. Iron Man 2? Back­
lash, Justin Hammer, and even sort of the Black Widow. And it’s only
getting worse. Next year’s Green Lantern has both Sinestro and Hector
Hammond? No! It’s either­or. Good versus evil. Remember that, guys.
*Exception: Superman II, which ruled. Kneel before Zod!

   0   8   2       issue   August        illustration     Zohar Lazar
                Play // overkill // backstory //

WhAt? no AlArm?!

Time Machine
How 250 years of mechanical progress added up to this,
the most complicated clock ever assembled.

I think, therefore I am. Those are the words (in French) inked in quill by
the world’s first literate robot, assembled in 1774 from some 600 com-
ponents by Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz. And while Marie
Antoinette appreciated its philosophical sense of humor, the humanoid
automaton ran afoul of the Catholic Inquisition. Accused of heresy, the
machine—fashionably accoutred in silk pantaloons
and a velvet jacket—spent several months in a Span-
                                                                                 // recommendation engine //
ish prison. ¶ How’s a modern mecha to compete with
that kind of history? Execs at Jaquet-Droz—now a
                                                                                 Ask An Algorithm
luxury watch brand owned by Swatch Group—have
the answer: Double the number of parts and quadru-
ple the ambition. Rather than retracing the past by
                                                                                 Which TV for Me?
writing the same stock phrase as its ancestor, the
new automaton harnesses an unprecedented level of mechanical com-
plexity to … write the time on a piece of paper. ¶ It’s harder than it sounds,   I want that Panasonic 103-inch TV. My wife
                                                                                 says that’s too big. Is she right? Optimal
and it took the better part of a decade to combine Swiss-quality timekeep-       viewing distance at 1080p = diagonal screen
ing with the ability to write 1,440 different numeric phrases “by hand.” But     size ÷ 0.84. Minimum OVD for 103-inch
now, when the assemblage is triggered, 1,530 steel and aluminum com-             screen = 122.619 inches. Recommendation: If
                                                                                 seat-to-screen distance > 122.619 inches: Pur-
ponents, including 50 cams, 9 belts, 120 bearings, and 27 springs, launch        chase TV; If < 122.619 inches: Construct home
into Rube Goldberg–like action. ¶ Dressed in sleek glass and aluminum,           theater space of necessary size; purchase TV.
the Time Writing Machine is clearly a creature of the 21st century. Yet          I’ve been tracking my caloric intake. What
Pierre Jaquet-Droz would recognize it at once. In our age of app-for-every-      else should I monitor to lose weight?
thing efficiency, what could be more heretical than a $371,700 machine           Please wait—analyzing New England Journal
                                                                                 of Medicine article “The Spread of Obesity
that makes you turn a crank and push a button just to get the time of day?       in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years.”
                                                                                 Analysis complete. Recommendation: Track
                                                                                 body-mass index, body fat, mood, blood
                                                                                 glucose, blood pressure, alcohol/caffeine
                                                                                 intake, and ratio of alpha to theta and
                                                                                 delta waves during sleep. Track same data
                                                                                 for entire social network.

                                                                                 Gardenias are in season, but I overwater.
                                                                                 How can I prevent their deaths? Scan of
                                                                                 US Patent and Trademark Office database
                                                                                 indicates potential apparatuses include
                                                                                 self-watering trays, wick pots. Feedback
                                                                                 for wick pots on gardening message boards:
                                                                                 82.7 percent positive. Found: References
                                                                                 to “Botanicalls”—Arduino-powered system
                                                                                 for measuring, tweeting moisture levels.
                                                                                 Average tweets per day for Botanicalls user
                                                                                 @startrkplant: 3.615 (last tweet on 06/26/08).
                                                                                 Recommendation: Use wick pot with Botani-
                                                                                 calls; if plant dies, close Twitter account.

                                                                                 sysAdmin   Steven Leckart

0   8   4       issue   August      text   Jonathon Keats                        illustrAtion   Zohar Lazar
                                                                              Play // overkill // Scott Brown //

  MA-MA-MAxIMuM ExposurE

  How a fictional talking head predicted the demise of TV journalism.

                                                                                                           The irony, of course, is that two
                                                                                                         decades on, Max wouldn’t stand out
                                                                                                         in a crowd (and not just because
                                                                                                         he has no legs). There are hun-
                                                                                                         dreds, maybe thousands, of heads-
                                                                                                         in-boxes today, each with just as
                                                                                                         many catchphrases—and just as
                                                                                                         few facts. With the hair and the
                                                                                                         hyperwhiteness, Fox News’ Beck
                                                                                                         is clearly the child of Max; he sim-
                                                                                                         ply substitutes crocodile tears
                                                                                                         for neck-jerks when he tells us to
                                                                                                         “t-t-t-take our country back!”
                                                                                                           Thankfully, Max gave birth to
                                                                                                         more than a new generation of
                                                                                                         screen-hoarding Svengalis: He
                                                                                                         also gave us the key to busting
                 ity max headroom. We think of him today as an empty-headed                              their monopoly. See, on the show,
    P            relic of the 1980s—if we think of him at all. Well, allow me to refresh                 Max was uncontrollable. He rep-
                 your Memorex: Max was a computer-enhanced “talking head”                                resented both the machine and
                 with a freakishly sculpted scalp, chronic stutter, and a knack for                      the ghost that haunted it. He flit-
                                                                                                         ted from screen to screen, saying
  one-liners. Though he spent most of the late ’80s hawking New Coke (“C-c-
                                                                                                         his piece to anyone who’d listen.
  c-catch the wave!”), Max was more than a Spuds MacKenzie–style spokes-                                 Today, we’re all little Maxes, opin-
  gimmick. His creators designed him as high satire and dark prophecy. In                                ing away, fragmenting the feared
  1987, he starred in a landmark cyberpunk series on ABC, a media-spoofing                               and revered Boob Tube of the
  sci-fi adventure set in a dystopia that exists “twenty minutes into the future.”                       ’80s into that far less monolithic
                                                                                                         series of tubes we call the Internet.
                                                                                                         Which, unlike TV, talks back. That’s
Two decades later, right around the time        short-lived prime-time drama. (It was can-     why the days of all-powerful networks are
that future is supposed to be happening,        celed after one season.) In the series, Max is already as distant as the cola wars.
Max Headroom is getting a DVD release,          the accidentally downloaded consciousness        That’s cold comfort for Max, of course,
and maybe Max will get his due. Turns out       of a crusading TV newsman named Edison         who clearly misses his celebrity status. He
he sold us more than sugar water. “I’m an       Carter. (Both were played by Canadian actor    was recently brought back for a British PSA
image whose time has come,” he told us back     Matt Frewer.) Max was the true journalist’s    on the changeover to digital television. He
then, and he wasn’t kidding. Max was the        evil twin: Where Edison sought the facts at    was old and cranky, bemoaning the loss of
forehead of today’s mass punditocracy, pre-     any cost, Max was content with flash-fried     his uniqueness. “Don’t they realize that it
saging Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, and the     opinion. Where Edison bemoaned the creep-      all started with me?” he whines—adding
rest of today’s flesh-and-blood bloviators.     ing commercialization of the airwaves, Max     ominously, “You’ll be digital like me s-s-s-
  Max wasn’t the first talking head, of course. embraced it (albeit ironically), going to com- someday!” Someday is now, Max. And th-
Hired to invent a new kind of free-floating     mercial with “And the Max Headroom award       th-thank you for making it possible. Sorry
veejay personality for Britain’s Channel 4,     for worst commercial goes to …” Max was        you’re now stuck in the same box as Chris
British video artists Annabel Jankel and        a fact-free zone, supremely confident and      Matthews. I’d suggest you change the chan-
Rocky Morton created him in reaction to         totally subjective. For Jankel, he was a Fran- nel, but, well, you don’t have any hands.�
the “false intimacy” of US television per-      kenstein monster of media excess, a figure of
sonalities in the Reagan era. The concept       “pure, amped-up, swaggering arrogance.”        email
was picked up in the US by ABC, and the pair
(along with writer-futurist George Stone)
poured all their tele-disgust into Max and                                 illustration Leo Espinosa        issue August          0 8 9
his mythos—enough to fill 14 episodes of the
                                                                                   IMPLANTED IDEAS 11%
                                                                                    prophetIc VIsIons .......p. 72
                                                                                    the eleVAtor pItch .... p. 98

                                                                                            THE MOVIE 31%
                                                                                             SherLoCK jr. ......................... p. 72
                                                                                             chrIstopher nolAn ...........p. 92
                                                                                             dIssectIng iNCeptioN ....... p. 94

                                                                                                                                            BABIES 11%
                                                                                                                             strollers ...................p. 90
                                                                                                                             genetIc FAllAcIes ... p. 96

        mAlIgnAncIes .............. p. 80
        BLACK SWAN ...................p. 86
        moVIe trAIlers ............p. 86
        BotAnY ............................p. 96

            FAme ............................................ p. 74
            VoYeurIsm ................................ p. 82
            mIckeY mouse .......................... p. 88
            penrose stAIrcAse ............... p. 88

          BEGINNINGS 19%                                                                         superheroes ............ p. 74

                                                                                               ORIGIN STORIES 6%

    theme for december 2010

    inception                                                         Acts of birth, evolution, inspiration, and illumination we
                                                                      cover this month. (Including a few stories about the movie.)

illustration   Clever Like a Monkey                                                                                                                         0     7   1
                                                                                                                  // dREams //


                                                                                                         Sleeper Hits
                                                                                                         (and Misses)

                                                                                                         Everyone says we should fol-
                                                                                                         low our dreams. But is that
                                                                                                         always good advice? (Prob-
                                                                                                         ably not if you live on Elm
                                                                                                         Street.) Here’s a look at
                                                                                                         how some prophetic visions
                                                                                                         panned out.

                                                                                                         The dream Rolling Stone Keith
                                                                                                         Richards hears what will even-
                                                                                                         tually be the “Satisfaction”
                                                                                                         riff in his sleep. resulT The
                                                                                                         10-note lick becomes an icon
                                                                                                         of youthful rebellion. Then it
                                                                                                         is used to sell Snickers bars.

                                                                                                         The dream Santiago the Shep-
                                     Play // INCEPTION // PROTOTyPE //                                   herd, protagonist of Paolo
                                                                                                         Coelho’s The Alchemist, sees
                                                                                                         treasure buried beneath
blasts from the past                                                                                     Egypt’s pyramids. resulT He

Sherlock Jr.
                                                                                                         finds the loot and learns how
                                                                                                         to turn himself into wind along
                                                                                                         the way. Badass!

                                                                                                         The dream Elm Street resi-
More than 80 years before Inception, Buster Keaton’s                                                     dent Nancy Thompson meets
dreamy silent movie mesmerized audiences.                                                                disfigured gardener Freddy
                                                                                                         Krueger, who attacks sleepers
                                                                                                         with finger knives. resulT At
               movie that marshals eye-                                                                  least 10 sequels and spinoffs.
                                                      dream reality tries to expel the interloper—
                                                                                                         Call it a recurring nightmare.
               popping special effects, preci-        first, his nemesis tosses him back into the
     a         sion editing, sophisticated            audience. (As he lands, we see the snooz-          The dream Twin Peaks FBI
               action choreography, and dia-          ing projectionist twitch.) When he clambers        agent Dale Cooper speaks with
bolically elaborate sets to explore the nexus         back into the screen, the film medium itself       a backward-talking, murdered
between dreams and reality. Sounds familiar,          appears to shake him loose by abruptly cut-        prom queen. resulT Cooper
                                                                                                         identifies the murderer and
right? Well, it’s not Inception—it’s the 1924         ting scenes out from under him: The drawing
                                                                                                         destroys everything interesting
silent comedy Sherlock Jr., directed by Buster        room becomes the front stairs, shutting him
                                                                                                         about Twin Peaks.
Keaton. ¶ On the surface, Sherlock Jr. is a typi-     out of the house. As he descends, the steps
cal Walter Mitty tale: A hapless movie projec-        become a garden bench, causing him to take
tionist, framed by a romantic rival for a theft       a nosedive. Dusting himself off and sitting
he didn’t commit, fantasizes about becoming           down, he lands on his keister in a busy street.
a detective and clearing his name. The film           And so on—diving off a wave-battered rock,
is filled with Keaton’s signature acrobatic           he lands in a snowbank. By precisely match-
stunts and delightful visual wit, but things          ing posture and camera angle from scene to
really get interesting when the projectionist         scene, Keaton made it look like reality was
falls asleep while screening a drawing-room           shifting around him. ¶ Half a century before
mystery. Dreaming that the movie characters           Christopher Nolan was born, and long before
are his sweetheart and the rival, his dream-          CGI, Keaton created a vivid world with its
self rises, walks up the aisle,                                      own laws and internally con-
and climbs into the screen to                    iPad Extra          sistent logic. Call it the incep-
confront them. (To achieve                       To watch a clip     tion of Inception—it probably
                                                 of Sherlock Jr.,
this effect, Keaton built a care-   download w i r e d from          left just as many folks scratch-
fully lit set within a set.) ¶ The  the iTunes Store.                ing their heads on the way out.
                                                                                                         text   Megan Geuss

 0   7    2      issue   December        text   Chris Baker                                              illustration   Pete Ryan
                                                                                                                                           ever ett
                                                                            Play // incePtion // heroes //

             the matrix
                                                                              Some heroes are born; others are self-
         Origin Stories                                                       made mechamen. Here’s a guide to how our
                                                                              favorite supers got that way.

                                                                                                                             Batman, with a better suit.

                                             THE INCrEDIBLE HuLk Lesson learned:
                                                                                                                                        Dr. wHO
                                             Don’t mess with gamma rays.
                                                                            GrEATEST                                    wOLvErINE He can heal
                                                                                                                        himself, but he did
                       rADIOACTIvE                                          HErO Did the
                                                                                                                        get those after­market
                       MAN                                                  aliens really
                                                                                                                        Adamantium claws.
                                                                            give him a                                                                 BATMAN
                                         SupErMAN  If he hadn’t             choice about             GrEEN LANTErN
                                         been raised by corn­fed            that red suit?      (post­1959) Modern
                                         farmers, he might have                                 Lanterns had super­
                                         become a total jerk.                                      smart rings built
                                                                                                by the Guardians of
                                                                                                       the Universe.
                                                                                                             kICk-ASS A Batman wannabe,
                                           THE fLASH Lightning got him once,

                                                                                                                        with a suit off eBay.

                                           but it couldn’t catch him now.

                      HELLBOy                     LIZ SHErMAN Guilty                                                                        Buffy She was the
                                             Catholic convinced that                                       Always had
                                                                                                           a high midi­                     chosen one, after all.
                                               pyrokinesis is punish­
                                                   ment for her sins.                                      chlorian
                                                                                                           count, but                               HArry pOTTEr

                                                                                                                                                                                          su pe rm an : d c co mics; gr eatest a m er ica n h ero : ge tt y; gh o st r id e r: co lu m b ia p ic tu re s ; s ky wa l k e r : e v e r e t t; h e l l b oy, s h e r m a n , b u f f y: da r k h o r s e
                                                                                                           Yoda had to                              It took him six years
                                                                                                           school him.                              at Hogwarts to learn

                                                                                                                                                                                          sp ider -m an , h u lk , wo lver ine, ir on m a n, d o ctor str a ng e: m arv el ch ar ac te rs in c; fl as h , g r e e n l a n t e r n , b at m a n , d o c to r fat e , wo n d e r wo m a n ,
                                                                        STACkHOuSE                                                                  how to take down
                           GHOST rIDEr    He does make                  She can’t help                                                              You Know Who.
                           the deal, but he didn’t                      that she tastes                    wONDEr
                           know it would turn him into                  sooooo good                         wOMAN                                       ABE SApIEN
                           the spirit of vengeance.                     to vampires.                                                              Made aquatic by
                                                                                                                                                  a magic jellyfish.
                                                                                                    GrEEN LANTErN
                                         DOCTOr STrANGE He was looking                           (Golden Age, pre­
                                         for a way to fix his broken hands                       1959) His ring was                                        DOCTOr
                                            but got superpowers instead.                          officially magical.


             text   Justin McLachlan

             ask an algorithm
                                                                                                                  // recommendation engine //
             Sell Yourself
                                                                   I’ve just started a band. How do I coax                   Twitter users. Similarities between the
                                                                   people to check out our music?                            current most­followed, best­selling
                                                                   Syllabus for Marketing 101 at Berklee                     artists with staying power (Lady Gaga
                                                                   College of Music references “social                       + Justin Bieber) include genre (pop/
                                                                   media,” “niche markets,” and “gain                        dance), instruments played (vocals,
                                                                   attention first; money will follow.” Posi­                piano), age (<25), and inclusion (or
                                                                   tively reviewed attention­management                      rumored inclusion) in the television
                                                                   and online­publishing tools include                       series Glee. Also detecting statistically
                                                                   Band Metrics (fan­statistics tracking),                   significant references to androgyny.
                                                                   Facebook/MySpace (song streaming/                         rECOMMENDATION: Establish androgy­
                                                                   networking), YouTube (videostream­                        nous aesthetic. Write songs. Shoot
                                                                   ing), and Twitter (short­form text/link                   video. Post material online. Amass
                                                                   broadcasting). Data indicate music                        Twitter followers. Release album.
                                                                   consumers who use Twitter buy 77 per­                     Book shows. Retweet rumors about
                                                                   cent more music downloads than non–                       hermaphroditism and/or sex change.

                                                                        0      7   4         sysadmin   Steven Leckart            illustration    Pete Ryan
                                                                                      Play // incePtion // Print //

                            Q&A: siddHARTHA mukHeRjee

                            Our Cancer, Ourselves
                                                                                                  How the story of one disease is
                                                                                                  really the story of medicine.

                                                                                                        One of the recurring motifs
                                                                                                        in your book is that cancer is
                                                                                                        like an exaggerated version
                                                                                                        of ourselves—a caricature of
                                                                                                        our own cells’ imperatives for
                                                                                                        growth and evolution. Nearly
                                                                                                        every one of the genes that
                                                                                                        turns out to be a key player
                                                                                                        in cancer has a vital role in
                                                                                                        the normal physiology of an
                                                                                                        organism. The genes that
                                                                                                        enable our brains and blood
                                                                                                        cells to develop are impli-
                                                                                                        cated in cancer. The gene that
                                                                                                        enables birds to learn songs
                                                                                                        can become cancer-causing.
                                                                                                        There is no normal physiol-
                                                                                                        ogical process that can’t be
                                                                                                        bastardized by the disease.

                                                                                                        How have genomics research
                                                                                                        and personalized medicine
                                                                                                        changed the way we think
                                                                                                        about cancer? In the book, I
                                                                                                        paraphrase Tolstoy and say
                                                                                                        that normal cells are identi-
                                                                                                        cally happy, but cancer cells
                                                                                                        are unhappy in their own
                                                                                                        unique ways. If you take 100
                                                                                                        breast-cancer samples, 100
                                                                                                        types of cancer have 100 dif-
                                                                                                        ferent hallmarks of mutated
                                                                                                        genes. You could be nihilis-
                                                                                                        tic and say, “Oh, God, we’ll
                                                                                                        never be able to tackle this!”
                                                                                                        But there are deep, system-
                                                                                                        atic, organizational prin ciples
                                                                                                        at work in all that diversity.
                                                                                                        The most promising direction
                                                                                                        in cancer R&D is to under-
                                                                                                        stand those principles at the
                                                                                                        genetic level.

                                                                                                        You call your book a biogra-
                                                                                                        phy of cancer. How do you
                                                                                                        visualize the lead character in
                                                                                                        the story? Because I work on
                                                                                                        leukemia, the image of can-
                                                                                                        cer I carry in my mind is that
                 t begins with a single mutation deep inside a cell. It ends, too often, with a take-   of blood. I imagine that doc-
                 over of the body: cancer. In his poignant debut, The Emperor of All Maladies, Colum-
        i        bia Medical School leukemia expert Siddhartha Mukherjee delivers a “biography” of
                                                                                                        tors who work on breast can-
                                                                                                        cer or pancreatic cancer
                 cancer, showing how our conception of the disease has changed with our understand-     have very different visualiza-
                                                                                                        tions. About a month ago,
    ing of the body. Ancient Romans blamed an excess of “black bile.” At the dawn of modern surgery,
                                                                                                         I changed the color of the
    physicians relied on procedures like radical mastectomies. The atomic age birthed supertoxic        crab on the cover of my book
    chemo cocktails. And now that we’re plumbing the mysteries of the genome, we aim to crack           from black to red to match
    the codes that hijack our cells. “Every era,” Mukherjee writes, “casts illness in its own image.”   my image of the disease.

    0   8   0      TexT   Steve Silberman        PHOTOGRAPH   Dorothy Hong
                                                          Play // incePtion // art //

candid camera

Indecent Exposures
                                                            A new exhibit explores how photographic
                                                            innovations enabled intrusion.

                                   or sandra phillips, it all started with a 1997 exhibit of police department photos—includ-
                                   ing some of the earliest images of crime scenes, mug shots, and evidence—at the San Francisco
                                   Museum of Modern Art. The longtime photography curator at SFMOMA was hooked and has
                                   been acquiring invasive photographic firsts ever since. Especially intriguing to her was a sala-
                                   cious side project by impressionist Edgar Degas, one of the first major artists to use the cam-
                                   era as a tool for voyeurism. Those photographs, Phillips says, “look like peep-show pictures of
                                   people doing things like getting dressed or drying themselves.” Phillips found other snapped
                                   breaches of privacy by digging through the National Archives and private collections. The
                                   resulting exhibit, Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Since 1870, is on display
                                   at the museum through April. It chronicles the history of photographic intrusion, from hidden
                                   cameras to celebrity stalking and recorded violence. Here’s a peek at a few first exposures.

Untitled, Kohei Yoshiyuki
(1971) The advent of
infrared-sensitive film and
filtered flashbulbs let Yoshi-
yuki photograph sex acts
clandestinely in Tokyo
parks. For this series, called
The Park, he documented
not only the prurient activi-
ties but also the voyeurs
who lurked in the shadows.

                                                                                                                                      U n titl ed : koh ei yo sh iy u ki, co u rt esy yo ssi mi lo gal l e ry, n y; sc r Ub : m u se u m o f t h e city o f n e w yo r k ; e l ec t r o cUt i o n: s f m o m a
A “Scrub” and Her Bed—
the Plank, Jacob Riis 
(1892) A police reporter
turned social reformer, Riis
charged into the tenements
of lower Manhattan to cap-
ture unsuspecting denizens
at night. He used a magne-
sium- and gunpowder-filled
pistol as a flash to expose
society’s “other half.” The
subjects were often asleep,
intoxicated, or too tired
to consent.

The Electrocution of
Ruth Snyder, Tom Howard
(1928) To get this New York
Daily News shot, the first-
ever published photograph
of an execution, Howard
planted one camera on his
chest for confiscation and
strapped another to his
calf. Snyder had murdered
her husband with the help
of her lover; Howard caught
her death by raising his
pant leg and pulling a cable
threaded up to his pocket.

0   8   2       issue   December      TexT   Rachel Swaby
                                                      Play // INCEPTION // SCrEEN //

 Dancer in The Dark

 Grim Fairy Tale                                         Director Darren Aronofsky transforms
                                                         Swan Lake into a macabre thriller.

                                   here are movie creatures we expect to be scary, like              that she begins an excruciat-
                                   vampires, zombies, or Zach Galifianakis without his               ing physical transformation
                                   pants. But when Darren Aronofsky set out to invent                into a black-feathered beast.
                                   a new kind of psychological thriller, he began with               “Swan Lake is about a young
                                   cherry-cheeked ballerinas in toe shoes. Aronofsky                 woman turned into a half-
                                   has shown us the dark side of the everyday before,                swan, half-human creature by
                                   in Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. Now, in                  an evil magician. When I heard
                                   Black Swan, he brings out the evil in the cloistered              that, I realized, oh wow—this
                                   world of the New York City Ballet. The movie stars                is a werewolf story,” Aronof-
                                   Natalie Portman as a mentally deranged dancer                     sky says. “I started thinking
                                   so obsessed with her starring role in Swan Lake                   about Natalie Portman and
                                                                                                     the idea of turning her into a
                                                                                                     swan, and I thought, it’s gonna
                                                                                                     be gruesome.” ¶ Tchaikovsky’s
                                                                                                     sweeping symphonics accom-
                                                                                                     pany American Werewolf–
                                                                                                     esque morphing sequences
                                                                                                     (there are 300 f/x shots in the
                                                                                                     film—impressive for a mod-
                                                                                                     estly budgeted indie), making
                                                                                                     Black Swan the world’s first
                                                                                                     fi-ballet movie. Or some-
                                                                                                     thing like that. “Alec Baldwin
                                                                                                     described it as Jacob’s Lad-
                                                                                                     der in tutus,” Aronofsky says,
                                                                                                     laughing. “And I’m not about to
                                                                                                     disagree with Alec Baldwin.”
                                                                                                     Indeed. To the list of things that
                                                                                                     terrify us, add 90-pound divas.

                                                                                                     TexT   Nancy Miller

 firsT looks
                                                                                                            // PrEvIEwS //
 The Trailer Track
movies don’t start with the opening scene; they          Top Gun was         Trailers are         There’s an          Trailers are
start with the trailer. And buzz surrounding this        the Citizen Kane    their own fran-      industry stan-      expensive: They
alpha piece of promotion can make the difference         of trailers:        chise: Flicks like   dard: MPAA          generally cost
between a blockbuster and a straight-to-DVD              Those two           Avatar have at       dictates that no    $350 to $2,500
bust. Benedict Coulter, founder of top editing           minutes of          least two sets of    trailer can run     per second to
house Trailer Park, reveals a few industry secrets.      quick cutaways      teasers (online      more than two       produce—some-
                                                         and hair-gel-       and in-theater)      and a half min-     times far more—
                                                                                                                                          n iko Taver nis e

                                                         smooth action       and up to four       utes. Most make     once you factor
 0   8   6       TexT   Allison Davis                    clips were the      different trailers   use of all that     in music and
                                                         best of the best.   in rotation.         precious time.      market testing.
                                                                                           Play // TkTkTk    games
                                                                                        Play // incePTion // TkTkT //

                             gooney Toons

                            Danger Mouse
                                                                                                A new game harks back to
                                                                                                Mickey’s bad-boy roots.

                                                                                             m i c k e y m o us e wa s n ’ t a lways
                                                                                             a squeaky-clean do-gooder in white
                                                                                             gloves. Frankly, when he debuted in
                                                                                             1928, he was kind of an asshole. He guz-
                                                                                             zled beer, forced smooches on Minnie,
                                                                                             and swung a cat around by its tail just
                                                                                             to hear it yowl. But within a year, he set-
                                                                                             tled down to become the upstanding
                                                                                             fellow we know today. “Mickey quickly
                                                                                             went from anarchist to young adult,”
                                                                                             says Warren Spector, lead developer on
                                                                                             the new game Epic Mickey. Out Novem-
                                                                                             ber 30, the game attempts to capture
                                                                                             both sides of the seminal animated
                                                                                             rodent. ¶ Spector, who is adored by
                                                                                             hardcore gamers for creating the dark
                                                                                             cyberpunk franchise Deus Ex, may seem
                                                                                             like an odd choice to helm a Disney game
                                                                                             (for the kid-friendly Wii console, no
                                                                                             less). “But I wasn’t always a trench-
                                                                                             coat-and-sunglasses kind of guy,” he
                                                                                             says. “I used to be an animation junkie.”
                                                                                             He wrote his master’s thesis on Looney
                                                                                             Tunes characters and created a tabletop
                                                                                             role-playing game based on the crazy
                                                                                             physics of cartoons. Now he’s using his
                                                                                             encyclopedic knowledge of animation
                                                                                             history to take Disney’s flagship char-
                                                               // decode //
                                                                                             acter back to his roots. ¶ In Epic Mickey,
                                                                                             players control the titular mouse as he
  do This puzzle                            You’re trapped in a dream featuring a            fights his way through a freaky under-
                                            Penrose staircase, the impossible archi-
  Up the Down                               tecture that characters grappled with            world inhabited by forgotten Disney
                                                                                             characters like Oswald the Lucky Rab-
                                            in Inception. You start on the blue step,
                                            and you’re allowed eight moves. On each          bit, a Mickey precursor from the silent
                                            one, you may travel either up or down.
                                            If you go up, you move a number of               era, and the Gremlins, stars of a scrapped
                                            spaces equal to N–1, where N is the num-         1940s feature. Instead of standard video-
                                            ber on the step you began the move—6             game weapons, Mickey is armed with
                                            at the start. If you go down, travel N+1
                                            spaces. At the end of your move, you’ll          ink and paint thinner. He can choose to
                                            be on a step with another number. Again,         behave like the good guy of his mature
                                            move up or down the stairs following             years or the mischievous scamp of his
                                            the same rules (N-1 or N+1). Each move
                                            must end on an unvisited step. Your goal         youth. Our choice? Pucker up, Minnie.
SOLUTION            is to finish where you began—on blue 6.

   0   8   8       issue   December         puzzle   Eric Harshbarger                       TexT   David Kushner
                                                                       Play // incePtion // filter //

                       sifTing Through The opTions

                       SMART STROLLERS
                       A few months from now, that former twinkle in your eye will be a real squealer
                       in need of some transportation. Here are a few swank tot toters.

                                                                                          Inglesina Classica Pram
                                                                                      1   Perfect for: Steampunk
                                                                                          enthusiasts GeeK factor:
                                                                                          Most 21st- century strollers
                                                                                          look like lawn chairs on
                                                                                          wheels. But Inglesina’s
                                                                                          Victorian- inspired pram,
                                                                                          complete with organza
                                                                                          privacy curtain and leather
                                                                                          handle, lets your little
                                                                                          dandy cruise in Savile Row
                                                                                          style. Price: $1,300

                                                                                          Chariot Carrier CX1
                                                                                      2   Perfect for: Bike nerds
                                                                                          GeeK factor: Pedal pushers
                                                                                          will dig how this rig converts
                                                                                          from a front-facing stroller to
                                                                                          a rear-riding bike trailer. Drum
                                                                                          brakes, handlebar bag-cum-
                                                                                          backpack, and Scotchlite
                                                                                          reflective strips that light up
                                                                                          the night make it the perfect
                                                                                          roadie. Price: $850 ($70
                                                                                          and up for conversion kits)

                                                                                          Stokke Xplory
                                                                                      3   Perfect for: Ergonomics
                                                                                          freaks GeeK factor: This ride
                                                                                          offers five positions for baby
                                                                                          —from reclined and sleeping
                                                                                          to upright and peeping—and
                                                                                          adjusts as your adorable new-
                                                                                          born grows into a monstrous
                                                                                          toddler. Plus, the seat slides
                                                                                          up and down to keep Mr.
                                                                                          Dribbles at ideal chin-wiping
                                                                                          height. Price: $1,000

                                                                                          Bugaboo Cameleon
                                                                                      4   Perfect for: Breeding
                                                                                          fashionistas GeeK factor:
                                                                                          Spawning doesn’t mean
                                                                                          you have to surrender your
                                                                                          skinny jeans. With 36 color
                                                                                          combinations to choose
                                                                                          from, this ride kicks high
                                                                                          style at the swing set. Plus,
                                                                                          you’re sure to find some-
                                                                                          thing that will match your
                                                                                          Keds. Price: $880 and up

0   9   0   issue   December      TexT   Mathew Honan   phoTograph   Floto + Warner
                                                  Play // incePtion // screen //

 Q&A: ChrisTopher NolAN

Dream Weaver                                            The writer-director of Inception gives
                                                        away everything. Or does he?

                              How hard was it to write the      two-dimensional medium.           nitely read it differently than
                              Inception script? The real        Have you read the online dis-     those who don’t. Clearly
                              problem was that I started        cussions of the film? I’ve seen   the audience brings a lot to
           c                  with a heist film structure.
                              That seemed the best way
                                                                some of them, yeah.
                                                                Do people get it? People
                                                                                                  it. The most important emo-
                                                                                                  tional thing about the top
                              of getting all the exposition     seem to be noticing the           spinning at the end is that
                              in. What I eventually real-       things they’re meant to           Cobb is not looking at it.
christopher nolan,            ized, however, is that heist      notice, the things that are       He doesn’t care.
director of Memento, and      films are usually unemo-          meant to either create ambi-      I’d guess there’s no one
                              tional. But I wanted to deal      guities or push you in one        right answer. Oh no, I’ve got
The Dark Knight, tends to
                              with the world of dreams,         direction or another. But I’ve    an answer.
let his twisty genre decon-   and I realized that I really      also read plenty of very off-     You do?! Yeah. I’ve always
structions speak for them-    had to offer the audience         the-wall interpretations.         believed that if you make a
selves. But he agreed to      a more emotional narrative.       OK, but seriously: Is it all      film with ambiguity, it needs
talk to wired about the       Tell me about the impor-          a dream, or what? It’s very       to be based on a true inter-
decade-long inception of      tance of architecture in the      important to me that by the       pretation. If it’s not, then it
                              movie. The only job that was      end of the film you under-        will contradict itself, or it will
his movie Inception (on
                              ever of interest to me other      stand what Mal means when         be somehow insubstantial
DVD December 7). We           than filmmaking was architec-     she says to Cobb, “You don’t      and end up making the audi-
talked to him about heists,   ture. And I’m very interested     believe in one reality any-       ence feel cheated. Ambiguity
architecture, and the dif-    in the similarities between the   more,” and that we see the        has to come from the inabil-
                                                                                                                                       a rio a n zu o n i/ r eu ters /co rb is

ference between ambigu-       way we experience a three-        potential for getting lost.       ity of the character to know—
ity and a lack of answers.    dimensional space that an         How did you read the end of       and the alignment of the
                              architect has created and         the film yourself?                audience with that character.
Hint: One is better (look-
                              the way an audience experi-       I choose to believe that
ing at you, Lost). For a      ences a cinematic narrative       Cobb gets back to his kids,
Nolan-aided breakdown         that constructs a three-          because I have young kids.
of the film, turn the page.   dimensional reality from a        People who have kids defi-          TexT   Robert Capps
                                                                                                                         Play // incePtion // screen //

                                                            spoiler alerT!

                                                            Inception, Explained
                                                                                                                                           Christopher Nolan helps us
                                                                                                                                           interpret his mind-bending film.

                                                Cobb wakes              After the first      Saito says he’ll       Cobb needs a           Cobb starts             Cobb goes to
                                                up on a beach.          extraction fails,    clear Cobb’s           new architect.         assembling his          Mombasa to get
                                                                        Cobb spins his       name if he takes       His father-in-law,     team and trains         Eames the forger
                                                                        top to check if      the job. He asks       Miles, introduces      Ariadne in              and Yusuf the
                                                                        he is in a dream.    Cobb to take           him to Ariadne.        dreamweaving.           chemist.
                              what                                      It falls over.       “a leap of faith.”

                               the              Saito spins the         This establishes     Filmmaker Nolan                               After a test
                               eNdiNg           top, and it spins       context for the      is asking the                                 dream ends
                               is Not           forever—we can          audience—the         audience to take                              badly, Cobb
                               a dream.         separate dreams         movie is not all     a leap of faith                               spins his top.
                                                from reality.           a dream.             that the movie is                             It falls. Still not
                                                                                             not a dream.                                  a dream.
what’s really happeNiNg

                                                                        “This gives
                               the eNtire       As in The Tem-           Cobb a base-        The phrase              Miles tells Cobb                              We never see
                               movie is         pest, Cobb               line reality.       leap of faith           to “come back to                              how Cobb gets
                               a dream.         wakes up in a            But he’s an         occurs over and         reality”—a sign                               to Mombasa,
                                                new world.               untrustworthy       over. It’s an arti­     that he’s living in                           where men in
                                                                         narrator.”          fact of Cobb’s          a dream.                                      suits try to kill
                                                                                             subconscious.                                                         him. It’s a dream.

                               Just the                                 OK, Cobb’s not       “i don’t think i’m going                                              Yusuf’s assis­
                               eNdiNg is                                dreaming. But         to tell you about this.”                                             tant says that to
                               a dream.                                 that doesn’t                                                                               a dreamer, the
                                                                        mean he won’t                                                                              dream is real­
                                                                        unknowingly                                                                                ity. Reality is
                                                                        enter a dream.                                                                             subjective.

                               the movie                                                     A classic “call to      In Greek mythol­                       “i wanted to show the poten-
                               is a heroic                                                   adventure.” Cobb        ogy, Ariadne                            tial for the real world to
                               epic.                                                         initially refuses,      aided Theseus                           have analogies to the dream
                                                                                             then accepts.           in defeating the                        world. The mazelike city of
                                                                                                                     Minotaur. She’ll                        Mombasa does that.”
No, what’s really happeNiNg

                                                         “i’ve never read Joseph Campbell. some things were
                                                                                                                     be Cobb’s guide.
                                                          on my mind—the labyrinth, the Minotaur, etc.”

                               or maybe it’s a                                               A beautiful pan         A beautiful pan       Cobb tries to           A beautiful pan
                               meditatioN oN                                                 across Tokyo            across Paris roof­    limit Ariadne’s         across rooftops
                               architecture.                                                 rooftops.               tops. Also, Miles     creativity in the       of Mombasa.
                                                                                                                     says he has “no       dreamspace: no
                                                                                                                     space to think.”      specific memo­
                                                                                                                                           ries as templates.
                                                                                                                    “i didn’t intend
                                                                                                                     to make a film
                               actually,                                                     Movies ask us           about film-           All the roles cor­      Smash cuts, mys­
                               it’s about                                                    to take a leap          making, but           respond. Cobb:          terious chases,
                               movie­                                                        of faith—to sus­        i gravitated          director. Ariadne:      implausible coinci­
                               makiNg.                                                       pend disbelief.         toward the cre-       writer. Eames: art      dences—the gram­
                                                                                                                     ative process         director. Saito:        mar of film is the
                                                                                                                     that i know.”         producer. Fischer:      grammar of dreams.

                                                                                                                                                         “i wouldn’t say that i tried to
                                  0     9   4     TexT   Robert Capps & Patrick Di Justo            illusTraTions   Luke Shuman                           use the grammar of the film
                                                                                                                                                          to tell the audience what
                                                                                                                                                          is dream and what is reality.”
consider us incepted. Ever since Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster hit theaters in July, we’ve been trying to suss out dream from
reality. Now that we can bring the movie home, we can put our freeze-frame thumb to use. (Haven’t seen the movie? Stop reading. This
is one big spoiler.) Nolan specializes in puzzles, and Inception is no exception. The trick isn’t the plot—come on, it wasn’t that compli-
cated. The challenge is picking out Nolan’s lies. Does hero Dom Cobb’s totem tell the truth about whether he’s dreaming? Is the sequence
in Mombasa just good action or good action in a paranoid dream? Below, our take on what’s really going on. To make sure we haven’t
lost our minds, we let Nolan himself weigh in. As they say in Inception, the only way forward is downward—so into the rabbit hole we go.

The team enters       The team enters      After Fischer           Cobb confronts       Cobb washes         Arriving home,         Cobb spins the
dream level           dream level          is killed in level      Mal in limbo,        up on the beach     Cobb finally sees      top—it’s still
one—the city.         two, the hotel,      three, Cobb and         and Fischer is       (full circle with   his children’s         spinning when
Cobb recounts         and then dream       Ariadne chase           incepted in the      beginning).         faces.                 the movie cuts
to Ariadne his        level three, the     him into limbo.         hospital.                                                       to black.
history with Mal.     hospital/fortress.

                                                                                        Saito spins the                            The top totters:
                                                                                        top—and it keeps                           It’s about to fall.
                                       “For the ambiguity                               spinning. Dream.
                                                                                                                   “The important thing is
                                       at the end to work,
                                                                                                                    that Cobb’s not looking at
                                       you need to see                                  “The kids are
                                                                                                                    the top. He doesn’t care.”
                                       that Cobb’s world                                not wearing
                                       and the dream                                    the same
Mal asks Cobb                          world are very simi-        Mal challenges       clothes at the      The kids haven’t       The top doesn’t
to “take a leap of                     lar. and you need to        Cobb’s reality.      end! and they       aged! And              matter—Cobb
faith” before her                      doubt Cobb.”                Faceless corpo­      do age! We          they’re in the         can finally see his
suicide. The line’s                                                rations? Chased      were working        same clothes!          children’s faces.
reverberating in                                                   around the           with two sets       This is clearly all
his subconscious.                                                  globe? Really?       of kids.”           a dream.

                                                                                        Saito honors his    Cobb and Saito         The top is going
                                                              “uh … that’s not          agreement. They     created this           to spin forever.
                                                               how i would have         build limbo to      world for this         The ending is a
                                                               read the movie.”         be their reality    moment. The            dream.
                                                                                        together.           ending is a
                                                                                                            dream catharsis.

Cobb begins his                            Ariadne leads           To see his kids                          The hero has        OK, we have no
descent to the                             Cobb into the           again, Cobb                              succeeded           idea how the
underworld. It                             underworld.             vanquishes Mal                           in his quest. He    top finishes the
starts with “the                           In heroic epics,        —and his sub­                            sees his kids’      hero’s journey.
road of trials.”                           this is “crossing       conscious—by                             faces. Catharsis
                                           the threshold.”         saying good­bye.                         is reached.      “The prop guys just made a top
                                                                                                                              that would spin for a long time.”
                                                                                           “The film
Cobb spent            The architecture     Cobb and Mal’s          The destruc­             is about        It’s the golden­lit    The top itself is
some 50 years         of the hotel is      personal archi­         tion of limbo is         architects.     craftsman dream        constructed—
in limbo with         Arthur’s weapon      tecture includes        an urban apoca­          it’s about      home … with            topologically, it’s
Mal. Their world      (walls, Penrose      building one kind       lypse of decay­          builders.”      a house made           a pseudosphere,
is an architec­       stairs, elevator).   of world inside the     ing skyscrapers.                         of blocks on the       every point curv­
tural mnemonic.                            skin of another.                                                 dining table.          ing away.

                                                                   The meaning of                                                  The audience has
                                                                   the movie (Cobb’s                                               to “take a leap of
                                                                   defeat of Mal) has                       “oh no, i’ve got       faith.” Nolan uses
                                                                   been given to the                         an answer …”          ambiguity as a
                                                                   audience. We’ve                                                 storytelling tool.
                                                                   been incepted.                                                  There isn’t just
                                                                                                                                   one answer.
                                                                      Play // incePtion // art //


                                      Branching Out
                                      Photographer Caleb Charland exposes plants
                                      when they’re just getting started.

                                                  he initial spark of a match. A nail as it jitters toward
                                                  a magnet. A bud on a plant that’s poised to grow into a
why can’t hollywood get it right?!
                                          t       branch. These moments of inception are often ephem-
                                                  eral to the point of being undetectable, but Caleb Char-
Baby Formula                          land manages to capture them, turning those flashes in the mind’s
                                      eye into thought-provoking photo graphs. ¶ His latest endeavor
                                      (working title: Node Project) focuses on those points on a plant
                                      from which leaves and branches sprout. “Each of the little nodes—
                                      they just felt like they could be an armature for an image,” he says.
                                      To create the effect shown here, Charland spray-painted a shrub
                                      black, then highlighted each node with glow-in-the-dark paint.
                                      Next, he stuck the plant in a ceramic pot and rotated it under a
                                      black light, exposing a sheet of 4 x 5 film to an illuminated pattern
                                      of potential growth. As Charland puts it, “I like the idea of tak-
I’ll play along when Hollywood        ing something simple and ordinary and making it mesmerizing.”
casts a 35-year-old woman as
the mother of a 21-year-old (see
The Sarah Connor Chron icles).
It’s biologically possible. But
there’s no excuse for the genetic
fallacies in these baby- obsessed
“rom-coms.” Take The Switch, a
movie in which blue-eyed Jennifer
Aniston knocks herself up using
the goods from blue-eyed Jason
Bateman. Nine months later, out
pops a brown-eyed baby. Are
the filmmakers so arrested in their
development that they didn’t
take biology? Even a high school
sophomore can tell you that the
chances of two blue-eyed pheno-
types producing a brown-eyed
phenotype are about as a slim as
a Brangenifer three-way. Combine
recessive alleles all you want—you
can’t make a dominant allele. Oh,
and sending out preprinted invites
for an “I’m getting pregnant!”
party?! Ovulation is prompted by
a surge of luteinizing hormone.
While cyclical, there’s no way to
predict the exact day of optimal
fertility. Which means throwing a
bash for a specific egg-drop date
is, ahem, inconceivable.

illustration   Pete Ryan

                                      0   9    6   issue   December   text   Liz Stinson
        // angry nerd //
                                                                                   Play // INCEPTION // sCOTT brOwN //

      Make it snappy

      the art of the elevator pitch

      How the perfectly distilled idea became the antidote to toxic punditry.

                                                                                                                   state each week—snow, hotdish,
                                                                                                                   Garrison Keillor. How do we do
                                                                                                                   this? With computers. Yeah, we’re
                                                                                                                   still working out the details, but …”
                                                                                                                   Ding. Time’s up!
                                                                                                                     Today, the elevator pitch has out-
                                                                                                                   grown its original industrial-age
                                                                                                                   metaphor and expanded into mass
                                                                                                                   culture. Terms like biz­ weet, twit­
                                                                                                                   pitch, and twitch are fast replac-
                                                                                                                   ing Otis’ creaky box-lift, but the
                                                                                                                   idea is unchanged. Of course, some
                                                                                                                   might claim this is a bad thing, that
                                                                                                                   constant elevator-pitching is just
                                                                                                                   another symptom of a sick, over-
                                                                                                                   stimulated, hopelessly sound-
                                                                                                                   bitten society in which glibness
                     ot a sec? Then I’ve got one blockbuster of a column for you: It’s                             rules. But an elevator pitch isn’t
        G            about how the “elevator pitch” evolved from sweaty-palmed busi-
                     ness ritual—a form of white-collar panhandling perpetrated by
                                                                                                                   a sound bite.­It’s an idea in min-
                                                                                                                   iature: a full three-master built
                     pushy salespeople and desperate screenwriters—into the quin-                                  to scale in a bottle. It’s got to be
                                                                                                                   complete, logical, and watertight,
      tessence of the Big Idea. At the marketplace, the multiplex, the dinner table:
                                                                                                                   stem to stern. A good elevator
      Everybody talks in elevator pitches, tweets in elevator pitches, thinks in ele-                              pitch is the antithesis of a sound
      vator pitches. And that’s fortunate, because wielded properly, the mighty                                    bite—and the cure for the common
      Elevator Pitch could actually save us from the forces of fear, obfuscation, and                              cable-talking-head ramble. Blovia-
      delusion that savage our culture. That’s the gist of it anyway. Whaddya say?                                 tors and professional obscurantists
                                                                                                                   can confuse the basic contours of
                                                                                                                   reality by stringing daisy chains
       You’re still reading, so I’ll consider you  nacular, though, until Web 1.0. Before the           of selective facts into dark webs of bigotry
    hooked. But then, I’ve got a bully pulpit. The dotcom boom, geeks weren’t called upon               and paranoia. Yet ask them to boil down their
    original elevator pitch was designed for an    to hawk their wares. They built stuff; other         conspiracy theories, nebulous prejudices,
    outsider schmo with nothing but gump-          people sold it. But during the tech gold rush,       and voodoo economics to an elevator pitch
    tion and a million-dollar idea. He corners     as every programmer and engineer became              and they’ll crumble.
    the Big Boss in the elevator—the one place     a potential entrepreneur, the propellerheads           Maybe it’s time we learn what movie pro-
    he can secure a private papal audience—        found themselves at the mercy of fickle ven-         ducers and angel investors have known for
    lays out his entire prospectus in less than    ture capitalists. So they learned the art of the     years: Glib is good. Lousy ideas often reveal
    a minute, and closes the deal before the       elevator pitch, which had a built-in appeal for      their weaknesses when presented in crys-
    doors ding open. The notion seems to have      the right-brained: It gets to the point quickly,     tallized form—if they can be crystallized at
    edged its way into business-speak during       lucidly, and logically, with a minimum of            all. Gassy vagaries are something we can’t
    the mid-1980s, when the Big Idea went aero-    stochastic blab. “eBay: It’s a zero-inventory        put up with in an elevator—or in life. The
    dynamic. (You had to dream in terms that       retail auction website where users furnish           room’s too small and the ride too short for
    Reagan could comprehend: “A space laser        the product, other users bid on it, and algo-        that sort of noise. Make sense, be bright,
    shoots down Russkie nukes. We’re calling       rithms wield the gavel.” Sold! “Minnesodors          or get off. �
    it Star Wars!”) The phrase quickly caught      .com: We send expatriate Minnesotans a dif-
    on in Hollywood, which saw an uptick in        ferent, comforting smell from their home             email
    the sort of high-concept movies (“A robot
    is taught how to love … by Steve Gutten-
    berg”) favored by low-patience executives.         0 9 8           issue December            illustration Leo Espinosa
      The phrase didn’t truly conquer the ver-

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