5 of the most interesting things we saw at Politicon, the Comic-Con of politics

Pasadena (CNN)Politicon has lived up to its reputation as the “Comic-Con of politics.”

The third annual event, held in Pasadena, California, drew in thousands of political commentators, journalists, celebrities and politics nerds from across the US.
Here are five of the most interesting things we spotted at the two-day conference.
    1. Tomi Lahren mania
    Lahren knows how to stir up a crowd.
    The conservative firebrand, who made a name for herself speaking sharp and fast about conservative politics, told an audience at Politicon that she wants to repeal and replace Obamacare — but then casually added later she’s still on her parents’ health care plan.
    “Luckily I’m 24 and I’m still on my parents’ health care plan,” she told comedian Chelsea Handler, who conducted the Q&A.
    Some people in the crowd booed, seeing it as a contradiction because former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and frequent Lahren target — the Affordable Care Act — is the reason why she can still be on her parents’ health insurance plan. The ability to stay on your parents’ plan until you turn 26 is a popular feature of Obamacare.
    But Lahren has as many fans as she does haters.
    Devin Dudley, 18, trekked from Michigan sporting a T-shirt with a collage of Lahren’s face.
    “I got if off a website because I heard she was going to be here,” he told CNN. “I was looking for different types of merch, and I found this and said ‘I have to have this.’ I like that she’s very outgoing, she doesn’t hold back. She loves to talk about politics, just like I do. I might not agree with her about everything, but we do agree a lot.”
    2. Creative outfits
    Alex Ishkov, Brandon Firla and Richard Kenyon (above) came dressed as George Washington, Abe Lincoln and founding father Alexander Hamilton.
    But they weren’t the only people at Politicon who got creative with their attire.
    Artist Ricky Rebel came clad in an America jumpsuit.
    “Make America glam again,” he said while posing in front of a giant American flag during the event.
    3. Fun activities on the con floor
    Anthony Scaramucci, the newly appointed White House communications director, bailed on Politicon after The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza published a piece last week detailing a phone conversation he had with President Donald Trump’s new hire.
    But just because he wasn’t there doesn’t mean he was forgotten. Politicon had a photobooth set up where attendees could get GIFs of themselves in front of a White House-esque podium. Cut-outs of ‘the Mooch,’ now ex-White House press secretary Sean Spicer and his successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, were available for people to pose with.
    Also on the floor: A booth where attendees could make their own “pussyhats,” the pink, handmade, cat-eared knit hats created to show solidarity and support for women’s rights.
    “Politicon reached out to us they wanted to be be part of it,” Kat Coyle, who helped design the hat for Pussyhat Project co-founders Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, told CNN.
    4. Politically inspired art and merch
    Organizations handed out everything from pins to comics, showcasing their various politically inspired products.
    One company, The Tea Book, put up a large poster showcasing the cover art for its latest tea-storage devices, which are made to look like books on the oustide: “poli-tea-cal,” and “ImPeachMint.”
    “We create teas that tell stories. Every tea has a character that talks about different issues,” Noah Bleich, who owns the Tea Book, told CNN.
    5. Lots and lots of Trump swag or impersonations
    Many attendees sported the Trump campaign’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hats. Others took their passion for the President further by dressing up as him — and a few wouldn’t break character.
    Even outside the event on Saturday, a person dressed as Trump danced on the street.
    Some of the cars that drove by honked.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/30/politics/politicon-five-most-interesting-things/index.html

    All by myself: how the greatest solo film performances worked their magic

    With Anne Hathaway set to star in a film that she will carry on her own, we ask: what can she learn from previous high points of single-actor shows

    In Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for crying but how is she with cryo? Shes just signed up for O2, a race-against-time movie centred on a woman who wakes up trapped in one of those sci-fi hypersleep pods so beloved of the Alien franchise. It sounds like a juicy premise for a tense thriller O2s amnesiac protagonist must escape before her air supply runs out but it will also see Hathaway join a cinematic club currently dominated by men: movies that are solo showcases for one actor. What could Hathaway learn from other recent examples?

    Buried (2010)

    This claustrophobic horror combines two of human beings greatest fears: being buried alive and having no access to a phone charger. Entombed in a crude coffin somewhere in the Iraqi desert, Ryan Reynolds has to try and extricate himself with only an ailing Blackberry to hand. Will he make the right call? Reynolds dials down his usual glibness in favour of escalating panic, but much of Burieds power comes from director Rodrigo Cortss decision to stay right there in the box with him. There are no cutaways to the surface, no tension-relieving flashbacks, no whiff of fresh air or escape. It is a nightmare-inducing tactic, and perhaps one Hathaways as-yet-unconfirmed O2 director should adopt.

     ryan reynolds in buried.
    Tight spot Ryan Reynolds in Buried.

    Locke (2013)

    There arent many laughs in Dunkirk but some wags have pointed out that, with his shearling-trimmed jacket and face-obscuring mask, Tom Hardy seems to be secretly reprising his role as Batman baddie Bane. In fact, his Spitfire captain arguably has more in common with Welsh cement wizard Ivan Locke, another pro stolidly piloting a vehicle south, uncertain about what awaits him. Writer-director Steven Knights completely BMW-set chamber piece turns a series of hands-free phone conversations during a late-night motorway haul into a surprisingly affecting thriller. Lockes hands may be glued to the steering wheel, but Hardys agitated eyes suggest a man achingly adrift. When it comes to acting solo, the eyes have it.

    Cast Away (2000)

    After some scene-setting preamble and a jolting plane crash, Robert Zemeckiss desert island survival tale zeroes in on Tom Hanks for two whole hours. Perhaps because of the affection with which the Forrest Gump star is held by audiences, this Crusoe karaoke made over $400m worldwide. Crucially, Cast Away hinges on a four-year time jump and Zemeckis paused production for an entire year so Hanks could downsize himself from doughy FedEx drone to gaunt, loincloth-wearing crusty. That might be beyond Hathaways more modestly-budgeted $10m effort, but perhaps she could befriend a rolling cryo-maintenance droid called W1L5ON?

    All Is Lost (2013)

    More trouble at sea, with Robert Redfords yacht abruptly holed by a rogue shipping container somewhere in the Indian Ocean. With his technical equipment totally banjaxed, the 77-year-old unnamed sailor is totally becalmed but carries on, even as things inexorably get worse. With no radio, phone or even volleyball to talk to, it is an unusually taciturn performance from Redford, but the old hand is terrific at physically communicating his mariners various thought processes as he furrows his brow to improvise solutions to a cascade of life-or-death problems. Fewer lines can mean more impact, so maybe Hathaway should buy a red pen now.

     robert redford in all is lost
    Sinking feeling Robert Redford in All Is Lost. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

    Gravity (2011)

    Alfonso Cuarns Oscar-winning orbital rollercoaster technically starred two headline actors: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But after a space disaster, were soon down to just Bullock, a biomedical expert with minimal astronaut training who must suddenly engineer a safe return to Earth. Despite the nominally realistic setting, writer-director Cuarn adds dreamlike touches his camera floats through Bullocks polycarbonate visor; a key character unexpectedly returns and he really nails the ending. Having making us fear for Bullock as she spins through space as an insignificant speck, the final, Imax-ready shot renders her 50ft tall. Hathaway should insist on a similarly epic finale.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/jul/24/actors-solo-anne-hathaway-02

    MashReads Podcast: ‘The Idiot’ is one of the best books you’ll read all year

    Image: Penguin Press, Mashable Composite

    If there is one word to describe Elif Batuman’s new novel The Idiot, it’s the word “mundane.” And that just might be the novel’s greatest strength.

    The book follows the year in the life of Selin, a Turkish-American freshman at Harvard. As Selin goes through her freshman year, she must navigate getting along with her roommates, an infatuation/ relationship with an older Hungarian student, and later, a trip to Europe to teach English.

    Oh, and all the while dealing with the typical college freshman woes of examining the relationship between truth, existence, and language while studying linguistics. Casual.

    But what makes The Idiot shine is the way the novel meticulously documents the banal situations and observations Selin has in her day-to-day life. Whether it’s Selin thinking about math (“I wasn’t particularly interested in high school math acquisition, but nobody ever said we were put on this earth for our own entertainment”) or Selin watching a crush dig through his pockets (“An amazing sight, someone youre infatuated with trying to fish something out of a jeans pocket”), Batuman writes of Selin’s adventures with a bluntness and dryness that’s witty, so mundane that it’s surreal, and yet, instantly relatable in a way that will make readers want to scream, “EXTREME SAME!”

    And in a lot of ways, the dry narration is the point. The Idiot is a meandering, largely plotless novel that concerns itself with, yes, what happens to Selin, but also with what stories we tell, how we tell them, and to whom.

    “I felt a wave of nausea to realize that I had propagated these stories just by telling Svetlana what was going on just because I wanted to tell some other person the basic events of my own life,” Batuman writes later on in the book.

    Put all together, Elif Batuman’s the The Idiot is a smart, fresh, and disarmingly relatable novel that’s sure to be one of the best books you’ll read all year.

    This week on the MashReads Podcast, we read and discuss Elif Batuman’s new novel The Idiot. Join us as we talk about language, passive vs. active characters, and what makes The Idiot so special.

    Then, inspired by The Idiot, which follows conventions of Russian literature, we discuss impactful and formative Russian literature, including The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin.

    And, as always, we close the show with recommendations:

    • Aliza recommends catching up on Game of Thrones. MJ piggiebacks off of that and also recommends Funny or Die’s Game of Thrones recap series “Gay of Thrones.

    • Peter recommends Edgar Wright’s new movie Baby Driver.

    • MJ has a host of micro-recommendations including: reading The New York Times Magazine’s Letters of Recommendation and listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Emotion when you’re having a bad day.

    Next week are discussing the latest dive into the Spider-Man universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming, because, comic books, folks. We hope you’ll join us.

    And if you’re looking for another book to sink your teeth into, we suggest Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, our new MashReads book club pick for the month. Gyasi will be talking to MashReads IRL on Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Mashable HQ in New York City. RSVP here and join us!

    Don’t forget to follow MashReads on Facebook and Twitter for the latest, greatest book news.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/16/mashreads-podcast-the-idiot-elif-batuman/

    Spider-Man: Homecoming at last a superhero film for millennials

    With an authentically awkward star turn from Tom Holland, the latest outing for Marvels web-slinger is perfectly tuned for a teenage audience

    Comic books arent for children any more, and neither are comic-book films. Yes, you can take the kids to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the parents next to me, who had brought their five-year-old along, should start setting aside some cash for therapy. The Marvel cinematic universe has a lighter tone, but in the past decade big-screen superheroes have been aimed more at eternal adolescents rather than actual ones the people who can now afford the toys their parents never bought them, who lived to see the secret passions of their youth become studio tentpoles and newspaper thinkpieces.

    This is a big part of the reason why Spider-Man: Homecoming, despite being the sixth Spider-Man film in 15 years, feels so fresh and lively. Its the first costumed caper in what feels like forever to be aimed squarely at the high-school crowd it so vividly portrays, replete with an actor who was actually a teenager when he pulled on the tights. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Millennial Spider-Man.

    The quiet genius of Jon Watts film is the way it casts Marvels cinematic cash cow, the Avengers, as uncool grownups who just dont get what the kids are up to. Robert Downey Jrs Tony Stark can break the sound barrier in his Iron Man suit, but cant avoid or understand the daddy issues that come into sharp focus around Peter Parker. Chris Evans Captain America makes an appearance, hilariously memefied into a public service announcement in which he tells kids to keep fit and stay in school precisely the sort of paternalistic patter regarded as white noise by anyone under 18.

    As Spider-Man, however, Tom Holland feels far closer to the average teenager, smartyet insecure, and with a mouth that just wont stop. Yes, hes as awkward in the suit as he is out of it, but Spider-Man: Homecoming never sets up a hackneyed nerds-v-jocks scenario. Instead, it depicts high school in a way that most people in their teens would see as being perfectly normal.

    Its not Peters playing in a band or other school activities that make him uncool, its his decision to quit them. His longtime nemesis Flash is part of the same academic decathlon team as Peter, but hes also the go-to DJ at parties. The characters diversity is presented casually and without comment, and is certainly closer to real-life New York than the monochrome casting of previous Spider-Man outings. The film even opens with an extended nod to teen YouTube culture something that may well seem alien to the sort of people (like me) who are surprised to learn that the scene-stealing Zendaya has 8 million Twitter followers.

    Spider-Man: Homecoming is a superhero film for a generation that isnt mine, and that is what makes it special. Yes, it is also a cash grab by a studio keen on milking as many demographics as it can, but there is something joyful in seeing a baton passed as nimbly as this, in seeing the characters and archetypes that mean so much to me take on a new lease of life. Its a film that is funny but never ironic, as sweet as it is silly, with characters who can shrug off injury but cannot avoid heartache. I cant wait to see it again.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/jul/10/spider-man-homecoming-tom-holland-superhero-film-millennials

    How Fast is the Flash? Here’s the Comic Book Hero’s Top Speed

    In all of comics, there are certain questions that will never have definite answerspartly because its more fun to speculate and partly because its just a smart business decision. Who would win in a fight? Whos the smartest person on the planet? Whos the strongest? And whos the fastest?

    Theres no easy answer to any of these. There have been enough contradictions, crossovers, and comic book catastrophes to give a wide variety of characters a fighting chance in all of these discussions. As youll soon see, if you try to narrow the scope, there are still a ton of different factors to consider. But with that in mind, heres an in-depth look at how fast the Flash really is, and how he stacks up against other comic book speedsters.

    Who is the Flash?

    To start, there isnt just one Flash. As far as most fans are concerned, there are four primary characters who donned the scarlet and gold over the years: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, and Bart Allen. Have other people gone by the name of Flash? Yep. Some of which were even women. But these four did the most with the title for the longest time. Knowing the differences between these four will be very important going forward.

    Jason Jay Garrick | the Originator

    The first Flash debuted in 1940. Jay Garrick was a college student studying chemistry and physics in Keystone City when an experiment went wrong. While unconscious, Garrick got mixed up with some chemicalsagain, this is 1940and went into a coma. When he woke up, he had super speed.

    You can always tell Jay apart from his successors because he has the most unique costume. Instead of the full-body spandex look, he wears a long-sleeve red shirt, outdated skinny jeans, and a metal helmet with Hermes-inspired wings on its sides.

    Cover by Sheldon Moldoff

    Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)

    Bartholomew Barry Allen | the Poster Child

    Barry Allen is the most widely known Flash of all. He debuted in 1956 and is the main character used in most on-screen depictions of the character. Justice League/Justice League Unlimited? Barry. The CW? Barry. The DC Extended Universe? Barry. If youre watching the Scarlet Speedster on TV somewhere, its safe to assume its Barry.

    Barr got his powers after being struck by a bolt of lightning while working in his crime lab with the Central City Police Department. Again, chemicals got mixed in and when he woke up, he could move at blinding speeds. His look would inspire every Flash that followed in his wake. Barry was the main Flash for nearly 30 years until he sacrificed himself in 1985 during DCs Crisis On Infinite Earths event.

    Cover by Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert

    Showcase #4 (October 1956)

    Wallace Wally West | the Innovator

    If youre under the age of 40, chances are Wally West is your favorite Flash. Even if you love Grant Gustin on the CWs Flash, its probably because hes named Barry Allen but has the personality of Wally West.

    In most adaptations, Wally is the nephew of Iris West and her husband, Barry West. He got his superspeed powers after he visited his uncle at work one day andyou guessed it!he got struck by lightning while being surrounded by chemicals.

    After learning the ropes, Wally took over the mantle of Flash. He enjoyed a solid 25-plus-year run, and he revolutionized what it means to be the Flash. For example, he was the first Flash to dive deep into the science and discover the Speed Force, a massive energy force that only a handful of people have been able to tap into.

    Cover by Jackson Guice

    Flash vol. 2, #1 (June 1987)

    Bartholomew Bart Allen II | the Footnote

    For a brief time period, Wally West was out of commission as the Flash. Fortunately, hed been training a sidekick named Bart Allen, who was Barrys grandson who traveled back in time from the future and donned the codename of Impulse.

    Bart got his powers genetically and had the knowledge of future advancements to help him during his 13 issues as Flash. Sadly, hes mostly remembered as a placeholder in this regard and most fans think of him as a hyperactive teenage sidekick.

    Cover by Mike Wieringo

    Flash (vol. 2) #92 (July 1994)

    How fast is the Flash?

    This is where things get complicated. The short answer is this: The fastest Flash is whoever the hell DC is using to headline the series at the time. (Its probably Wally and definitely not Jay.)

    Now, get ready for the long answer.

    Its not as simple as determining which Flash is the fastest because they all get their powers from the same source. When it comes to how fast they each can run, the answer is simple: infinitely fast. With the right motivation and circumstances, they could each run at speeds that we cant even measure or comprehend. Its more about whos the most well-versed in their use of the Speed Force and can push their limits the most, which is why the fastest Flash is definitely Wally West.

    Need further proof? Here are some of his most incredible accomplishments at the Flash:

    1. Racing Black Flash (Death)

    We all know the Flash eventually gets so fast that he can travel through time, multiple dimensions, read up on architecture and construct entire within minutes and even phase 747s through solid objects. While all of that is cool, it’s only the tip of the Flash iceberg.

    Illustration via Final Crisis #2 by J. G. Jones

    Barry Allen returns to the DC Universe, fleeing from the Black Racer.

    One of Flashs most impressive stunts involved his race against the Black Flash, an embodiment of death. During their race, Wally West ran so fast that he jumped forward in time by millions of years until nothing existed, resulting in death no longer being a concept. As a result, the Black Flash was no more. The Flash literally outran death.

    2. Saving half a million people in .00001 microseconds

    In JLA #48, Jonn Jonnz had his body taken over by a supervillain and sent a nuclear warhead flying towards a city in North Korea with a population of over half a million people. To save all of those lives, Wally rushed to Chongjinpost-blastand carried over half a million people to safety 35 miles away. One at a time. Maybe in pairs. In .00001 microseconds.

    The Flash ran back and forth across 35 miles at least 250,000 times in less than a second. Thats INCREDIBLE. Some even speculate that this would measure up to moving 13 million times the speed of light. But still not the ceiling for how fast he can go.

    3. Running faster than instant teleportation

    In issue #138, Wally gets recruited for a competition of speedsters from infinite dimensions held by some ultra-dimensional beings with some major gambling problems. The losers home worlds would be destroyed if they lost. Seeing this entire game as an unnecessary loss of life, the Flash upped the ante.

    He bets the alien gamblers that he can beat them in a race back to Earth. Given that they can teleport, it looks like a guaranteed loss because, conceivably, nothing is faster than instant transmission. However, the Flash gets all 5 billion people on the planet to agree to run so that he can borrow their kinetic energy and beats the space overlords in record time.

    Well give Barry Allen all of the credit he deserves for creating the Speed Force and running so fast that hes changed the entire fate of the world more than once. Maybe he wouldve accomplished the same feats as Wally if he wasnt dead for more than 20 years. But he didnt get that opportunity. So, Wally gets the win here.


    The science behind the Flash

    Comic book writers have done a good job of staying away from specifics when it comes to measuring Flashs speed. When they do pinpoint it somehow, its some astronomically large number that we cant even begin to fathom. This point was made perfectly clear in this classic meme of Flash telling Superman exactly how fast he is.

    Screengrab via DC Comics

    Its been theorized that, in our reality, the Flashs speed would actually destroy the entire planet. Moving millions of times faster than the speed of light doesnt come without consequences. Some speculate that the kinetic energy created with that kind of movement creates more energy than a barrage of nuclear warheads and could rip reality to shreds, atom by atom.

    Im not a physicist, and Im not the best with numbers (reason #45 why Im a writer), but if you want a serious breakdown into how fast the Flash can go, heres a great video to look at. It even breaks down E = MC^2 for those of us who fell asleep during that day of class.

    Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.

    Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/how-fast-is-the-flash/