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Captain Marvel: How Brie Larson and Marvel beat the bad-faith Captain Marvel boycott

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Despite the best efforts of a bad-faith and sexist smear campaign, Captain Marvel — Marvel Studios’ first solo superhero movie about a female superhero — is earning positive critical reviews, and the film is currently projected to make $125 million in its opening weekend.

For months, the film has been targeted by trolls. After its first trailer was released in September, some “fans” of the character photoshopped smiles onto star Brie Larson’s promotional photos — essentially the digital version of the “smile more” catcall — because they thought the actress was stiff and wooden in the role. Larson’s physique was called into question, as part of a debate over whether or not she was strong enough to play a hero who will be one of the strongest Avengers.

In February, as Captain Marvel’s first pre-release screenings were held for press, the movie became the subject of several negative user reviews posted to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes by people who hadn’t even seen it, blasting Larson’s performance and trashing the movie itself. Although, to call their assessments “reviews” is generous, as they primarily complained about Larson for being sexist against men, expressing anger that seemed to stem from Larson being vocal about the lack of diversity in Hollywood and among film critics.

Larson didn’t back down, and during the press tour for the movie has spoken about how important feminism and diversity are to her, and how they are intrinsic to her character’s story.

The focused backlash against Captain Marvel wasn’t a random occurrence. Previously, trolls had mobilized online against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, harassing its cast and denouncing the movie for being too progressive. Movies like Black Panther and the 2016 all-women remake of Ghostbusters saw similar attacks (harassment of actors, fake negative reviews, etc.) too.

A brief look at the movies that have been targeted by trolls in the last few years makes it easy to see that this kind of backlash consistently erupts when women and non-white characters are at the center of Marvel Studios superhero flicks or other cinematic franchises with long, less-diverse histories.

It’s essentially become a knee-jerk response — to the point that Rotten Tomatoes announced in late February that it would tweak its user review feature in order to stop letting users post audience reviews prior to a movie’s release. The move was a clear effort to cut down on users who abuse the privilege by posting fake negative reviews meant to bring down films like Captain Marvel and others with stars who are not white or male.

Rotten Tomatoes’ policy change, along with Larson’s grace under fire and critical praise for the film, have greatly reduced its trolls’ ability to maintain a presence surrounding the movie. Its projected opening weekend box office of over $100 million has also helped to drown out the voices of those who’ve suggested a woman-fronted film can’t succeed. And while Captain Marvel is not the first movie and Larson not the first actress to face the wrath of online trolls — nor will they be the last — they have made considerable progress in finding a better way to deal with them.

Efforts to denounce Captain Marvel are part of a bigger problem with sexist trolls

Online targeting of Captain Marvel is just the latest example of a bigger problem.

In 2017, so-called “fans” targeted Star Wars: The Last Jedi for not representing what Star Wars is “meant to be.” Many were upset that The Last Jedi and its predecessor, The Force Awakens, featured a powerful female protagonist who was seen as the last hope for the good guys.

Further, the current Star Wars cast is as racially diverse as it ever was, which also made the franchise a target of online trolling. In June 2018, actress Kelly Marie Tran, who is Vietnamese American and Star Wars’ first female lead of color, deleted her Instagram account after months of harassment from Star Wars “fans.”

Before Star Wars, there were online attacks on the 2016 all-female Ghostbusters remake. And in between, in a case similar to Larson being debated as the right actress to play Captain Marvel, there were cries that Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot was not curvy enough to play the hero, while some people got mad at Warner Bros. for promoting women-only screenings of the film.

Captain Marvel and Brie Larson have started to create a blueprint for how to handle toxic trolls

It’s not difficult to see the common thread that superhero and other franchise movies with woman and people of color as protagonists are regularly met by toxic trolling online.

But as the face of Captain Marvel, Larson has handled toxic responses to the film with grace and savvy. In interviews, she has championed how empowering her role is, how important the character is, and how it’s unapologetically feminist.

“There’s just no question that we would have to show what it means to be all different kinds of women, that we don’t just have one type,” Larson told Entertainment Weekly. “To me, that’s a part of what the meditation of this movie is: It’s female strength, but what is female strength? What are the different ways that can look?”

She has also talked about the responsibility she feels under the gigawatt spotlight that’s been turned on her now that she’s Captain Marvel.

“I’ve never craved the spotlight that often comes along with success in this business,” she told Marie Claire. “It’s a by-product of the profession and a sign of the times. But any uncomfortableness I feel is balanced by the knowledge that it gives me the ability to advocate for myself and others.”

Larson and Marvel have shifted the conversation around Captain Marvel to focus on the important message attached to its hero, on the work Larson put into the role, and on the movie itself, instead of engaging with trolls.

But that isn’t to say that Larson has just ignored the trolls and moved on. As Bloomberg had noted, she also savvily responded on social media by calling out the double standards Captain Marvel has faced by sharing a picture of the typically serious male Avengers with altered smirks, and by posting videos of the extremely difficult workouts she was completing in her preparation for the role (including pushing a Jeep).

Captain Marvel got an assist from Rotten Tomatoes

While Larson and Marvel have made a clear and admirable effort to not fuel toxic conversations around the character, there are some things they can’t control, like the practice called “review bombing” —in which bad-faith users flood sites like Rotten Tomatoes with bad ratings and negative reviews of a movie, whether they’ve seen it or not.

Rotten Tomatoes tweaking its user review policy ahead of Captain Marvel’s release was a big step in addressing users who abuse the system, because it handicapped one of the trolls’ go-to behaviors.

Unfortunately, it’s not a be-all end-all fix: Bad-faith audience reviews have popped up on Rotten Tomatoes now that Captain Marvel has hit theaters (there’s currently an 80 percent to 30 percent approval discrepancy between critics and audience reviews). Meanwhile, on IMDb, which employs a similar system of allowing users to rate movies, there were over 4,500 1-star user votes for Captain Marvel before the movie was even released.

But in blocking those sight-unseen reviews until the release date, Rotten Tomatoes quashed them from being the story about Captain Marvel.

And what matters most to Marvel and its parent company Disney is how big of an earner Captain Marvel turns out to be. Early estimates indicate that the movie, which currently has an 81 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 65 on Metacritic, is tracking at a $100 million-plus opening weekend box office in North America. That would give it the third-highest solo superhero debut (meaning of a solo superhero film that isn’t a sequel) of all time domestically, behind Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther, and place it ahead of movies like Thor, Doctor Strange, and Iron Man. And at least 100 million reasons not to listen to or feed the trolls.

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20 People Share Secrets From Their Jobs and Now We Can’t Sleep Well

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Almost every job has its own secrets and nuances that very few people know. The people of different professions shared secrets from their jobs on Reddit and on Twitter and some of their stories may seriously change the way you see the world.

We at Bright Side, of course, don’t have any secrets like these, but as it turns out, not all other professions are as transparent as they seem to be.

  • Truck driver: 9 out of 10 truck drivers travel with a smartphone on their windshield watching a TV-series. Stay away from big trucks.
  • Disney World employee: There are secret tunnels underneath both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom (and probably other parks too) that enable the cast members to travel across the park pretty quickly and easily.

Comment from a park-goer: My father suffered a heart attack while visiting Epcot. I have never witnessed a faster medical response with professionals appearing from seemingly nowhere with just as fast transport through underground tunnels. It was a lifesaver. He was transported to a Disney hospital where he received great care after an emergency surgery and our stay was extended by 3 weeks.

  • IT support people: (help desks, computer repair shops, Geek Squad, etc.) are mostly just better at Googling than you are.
  • Employee at a flour factory: Wheat flour is not actually white. We use chlorine to make it look more attractive. This also increases the gluten level in flour, and this is why people are more gluten-sensitive today.
  • Rescue team member: When you are a young lifeguard, you always have a radio with you 24/7. And you always listen to what happens in the city. If you are going, for example, to a birthday party in your own car and then you hear there is a fire on a nearby street, you turn the car and drive there! (I have my own gear in the car). @Moscow_Spasatel
  • Olive oil factory employee: We had only one kind of oil but we put it in 27 different containers and sold it at different prices. Some of them were labeled as imported, some were called the highest quality oil. But it was the same oil in every single bottle.
  • IT-service engineer: When someone is fixing your computer, they also often look through the data on your hard drive searching for something funny or embarrassing. So, before you give your computer to an IT service, clear your browser history, and copy all the important data to an external drive.
  • Candle factory: Paraffin candles are dangerous and poisonous. Because I know what we added in there (even to the candles that say “100% paraffin”), I will never ever use candles again. If you need to use them for some reason, buy candles made of bee’s wax without any scents.
  • Sommelier: Wine isn’t vegan. It’s not even vegetarian in some cases. The filtering (refining) process uses egg whites, and sometimes isinglass (fish parts).

  • Movie theater: A large bag of popcorn that costs the customer $5.99 (at the time) cost the movie theatre 6 cents to produce, including the butter, the kernels, the bag, the power used by the popper and the time it took the concession employee to fill up the bag and give it to the customer.
  • Internet services: Most “subscription services” will raise their prices over time because they expect you to just live with it. This applies to phone bills, cable packages, internet service, insurance plans… Call up, politely complain about the price. Skip the canned “well the price has gone up because inflation/rising costs/age/end of promotion” and continue to politely say it’s too much, your budget can’t handle all your outgoings and you may need to drop the service. Either you are speaking to someone who can reduce the price, or they can put you through to a person authorized to reduce the price.
  • Mechanic: If you want to go on vacation and you don’t know where to leave your car, get it to a mechanic. Many people do this. It’s ridiculously cheap and you can be away for a month! It is much more expensive to use parking lots. @Neformatws
  • Pharmacist: I’ve worked at several factories that manufacture medications. And the rules were the same everywhere: if you dropped pills on the floor, just put them back into the bottle. So, maybe your medications are not as clean as you think.
  • Librarian: The amount of toilet paper, random items, and bills used as bookmarks that are left in returned library books is unbelievable!
  • Doctor: We spend so much time to be good at what we do, that we know almost nothing about other things.

Is there something about your job that is kept secret?

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The spring equinox is Wednesday, March 20: 7 things to know about the first day of spring.

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The vernal equinox is upon us: On Wednesday, March 20, both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will experience an equal amount of daylight. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of spring, with daylight hours continuing to lengthen until the summer solstice in June. For those south of the equator, it’s the beginning of autumn.

Technically speaking, the equinox occurs when the sun is directly in line with the equator. This will happen at 5:58 pm Eastern time on Wednesday. (A few hours later, at 9:43 pm, you can look out for the “supermoon”, the last one until 2020.)

Below is a short scientific guide to the most equal night of the year.

1) Why do we have an equinox?

The equinox, the seasons, and the changing length of daylight hours throughout the year are all due to one fact: The Earth spins on a tilted axis.

The tilt — possibly caused by a massive object hitting Earth billions of years ago — means that for half the year, the North Pole is pointed toward the sun (as in the picture below). For the other half of the year, the South Pole gets more light. It’s what gives us seasons.


NASA

Here’s a time-lapse demonstration of the phenomenon shot over the course of a whole year from space. In the video, you can see how the line separating day from night swings back and forth from the poles during the year.



NASA/Meteosat/Robert Simmon

And here’s yet another cool way to visualize the seasons. In 2013, a resident of Alberta, Canada, took this pinhole camera photograph of the sun’s path throughout the year and shared it with the astronomy website EarthSky. You can see the dramatic change in the arc of the sun from December to June.

This is a 6 month pinhole photo taken from solstice to solstice, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. We are one of the sunniest cities in Canada, and this shows it nicely.

Posted by Ian Hennes on Saturday, December 21, 2013

(You can easily make a similar image at home. All you need is a can, photo paper, some tape, and a pin. Instructions here.)

2) How many hours of daylight will I get Wednesday?

Equinox literally means “equal night.” And during the equinox, most places on Earth will see approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.

But not every place will experience the exact same amount of daylight. For instance, on Wednesday, Fairbanks, Alaska, will see 12 hours and 15 minutes of daylight. Key West, Florida, will see 12 hours and six minutes. The differences are due to how the sunlight gets refracted (bent) as it enters Earth’s atmosphere at different latitudes.

That daylight is longer than 12 hours on the equinox is also due to how we commonly measure the length of a day: from the first hint of the sun peeking over the horizon in the morning to the very last glimpse of it before it falls below the horizon in the evening. Because the sun takes some time to rise and set, it adds some extra daylight minutes.

Check out TimeAndDate.com to see how many hours of sunlight you’ll get during the equinox.

3) Over the course of the entire year, does every spot on Earth get an equal number of daylight hours?

In the summer months, the northernmost latitudes get a lot of daylight. Above the Arctic Circle, during the summer, there’s 24 hours of daylight. In the winter, the Arctic Circle is plunged into constant darkness.

So does this mean the number of daylight hours — in total, over the course of the year — equal out to places where the seasonal difference is less extreme?

The answer to this question is somewhat surprising: Roughly speaking, everywhere on Earth sees a similar number of daylight hours every year. But the equator actually gets slightly fewer daylight hours than the poles.

As astronomer Tony Flanders explained for Sky & Telescope magazine, sunlight at the poles gets refracted more than sunlight at the equator. That refracting results in the visible disc of the sun being slightly stretched out (think of when the full moon is near the horizon and looks huge — it’s being refracted too). And the refracted, stretched-out sun takes slightly longer to rise and set. Flanders estimated that the equator spends around 50.5 percent of its year in sunlight, while the poles spend between 51.5 and 53 percent of their years in sunlight.

And, of course, this is how much sunlight these areas could potentially receive if the weather were always perfectly clear; it’s not how much sunlight they actually see, nor the strength of the sunlight that hits their ground. “Where are the places on Earth that receive the largest amount of solar radiation?” is a slightly different question, the answer to which can be seen on the chart below.



US Energy Information Administration

4) Can I really only balance an egg on its tip during on the equinox?

Perhaps you were told as a child that on the equinox, it’s easier to balance an egg vertically on a flat surface than on other days of the year.

The practice originated in China as a tradition on the first day of spring in the Chinese lunar calendar in early February. According to the South China Morning Post, “The theory goes that at this time of year the moon and earth are in exactly the right alignment, the celestial bodies generating the perfect balance of forces needed to make it possible.”

This is a myth. The amount of sunlight we get during the day has no power over the gravitational pull of the Earth or our abilities to balance things upon it. You can balance an egg on its end any day of the year (if you’re good at balancing things).


This man is very good at balancing eggs.
AFP/Getty Images

5) Is there an ancient monument that does something cool during the equinox?

During the winter and summer solstices, crowds flock to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. During the solstices, the sun either rises or sets in line with the layout of the 5,000-year-old-monument. And while some visit Stonehenge for the spring equinox too, the real place to be is in Mexico.

That’s because on the equinox, the pyramid at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula puts on a wondrous show. Built by the Mayans around 1,000 years ago, the pyramid is designed to cast a shadow on the equinox outlining the body of Kukulkan, a feathered snake god. A serpent-head statue is located at the bottom of the pyramid, and as the sun sets on the day of the equinox, the sunlight and shadow show the body of the serpent joining with the head.

This is easier to see in a video. Check it out below.

6) Are there equinoxes on other planets?

Yes! All the planets in the solar system rotate on a tilted axis and therefore have seasons. Some of these tilts are minor (like Mercury, which is tilted at 2.11 degrees). But others are more like the Earth (tilted at 23.5 degrees) or are even more extreme (Uranus is tilted 98 degrees!).

Below, see a beautiful composite image of Saturn on its equinox captured by the Cassini spacecraft (RIP) in 2009. The gas giant is tilted 27 degrees relative to the sun, and equinoxes on the planet are less frequent than on Earth. Saturn only sees an equinox about once every 15 years (because it takes Saturn 29 years to complete one orbit around the sun).


Cassini Imaging Team/NASA

During Saturn’s equinox, its rings become unusually dark. That’s because these rings are only around 30 feet thick. And when light hits them head on, there’s not much surface area to reflect.

7) I clicked this article accidentally and really just want a mind-blowing picture of the sun


The sun blew out a coronal mass ejection along with part of a solar filament over a three-hour period (February 24, 2015). Some of the strands fell back into the sun.
Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA

The image above was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft launched in 2010 to better understand the sun.

This past summer, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft that will come within 4 million miles of the surface of the sun (much closer than any spacecraft has been before). The goal is to study the sun’s atmosphere, weather, and magnetism and figure out the mystery of why the sun’s corona (its atmosphere) is much hotter than its surface. Still, even several million miles away, the probe will have to withstand temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s essential to understand the sun: It’s nothing to mess with. Brad Plumer wrote for Vox about what happens when the sun erupts and sends space weather our way to wreak havoc on Earth.

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Kitten Doesn’t Understand How Tails Work Yet

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Occurred on March 16, 2019 / Hanoi, Vietnam

Info from Licensor: “This kitten still doesn’t understand why the dog’s tail keeps hitting it in the face.”

View at DailyMotion

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