Sony Will Amend Seth Rogen’s The Interview After North Korean Threats

Dumbass move


Executives at Japanese-owned Sony Pictures appear to have yielded in the face of increasing anger from North Korea over an upcoming comedy flick, The Interview, writes the Hollywood Reporter.

The movie stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, and much to Pyongyang’s dismay its plot follows two American broadcast journalists who are recruited as CIA agents and ordered to assassinate the communist state’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un after they score an interview with him.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio plans to digitally alter thousands of buttons worn by extras so that they no longer depict the actual buttons worn by the North Korean military to honor Kim Jong Un and his father Kim Jong Il. Sony is also considering cutting a scene where Kim Jong Un’s face is “melted off graphically in slow motion.”

In June, North Korean authorities labeled the film a “wanton act…

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Land of the Morning Calm

"You always answer my questions, but they don't always answer my prayers." - Carly SimonToday is Friday in North Seoul, South Korea. The world has been successively and successfully falling apart at a rapid pace over the past week or more. Once you pull back the covers, you find reasons that just lead to incessant … Continue reading Land of the Morning Calm

Amazon to readers: You should email Hachette’s CEO and CC us


On Sunday, a letter denouncing Amazon’s tactics in the ongoing negotiations between it and book publisher Hachette will run as a paid, full-page advertisement in the New York Times. Signed by more than 900 authors, the “Authors United” letter calls Amazon (s AMZN) out for blocking sales of Hachette titles, singling out authors “for selective retaliation” and “inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery.”

The letter, overseen by thriller author Douglas Preston, who has been a vocal opponent of Amazon throughout the negotiations, was signed by traditionally published authors including Stephen King, Lee Child, Anna Quindlen, Barbara Kingsolver, Meg Wolitzer, John Grisham and Malcolm Gladwell, among hundreds of others.

The letter suggests that readers “email Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at, and tell him what you think. He says he genuinely welcomes hearing from his customers and claims to read all…

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I took Duolingo’s standardized language test of the future on my phone


Standardized tests are part of the educational process, but their primary purpose is not educational: Most tests are designed to give a score at the end, a credential which presumably indicates the test taker has a certain level of knowledge. While massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other internet-based tools have focused on providing quality instruction cheaply through the internet, there haven’t been many efforts focused on using the same tools to provide useful certifications.

In July, Duolingo, best known for its translation and language learning app, released Test Center. It’s an Android and web app that lets users take a proctored exam and provides a statistically validated score, which hopefully will eventually be accepted by schools and institutions. So far, it’s been a success: the Android app has been downloaded 157,000 times and 9,000 tests have been completed and scored.

The tests are currently free, but eventually, they’ll cost $20. “We…

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