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Michelle Obama busts a move in 'Turnip for what?!' vine

Leave it to Michelle Obama to turn her #AskTheFirstLady segment into an opportunity to talk about healthy food and dance at the same time. Specifically, Barack Obama impersonator Imman Crosson posted a Vine asking the First Lady, “How many calories do you burn every time you ‘turn up’?” Her response? Let’s just say the White House Vine account just got a lot cooler.

Watch their interaction below.


Learn Dothraki on the go with new 'Game of Thrones' language app

Have you ever been caught in a conversation with a Dothraki and been unsure how to respond to their question about what to grab for lunch? Well, fear no longer—Random House has released a Dothraki Companion app to help users avoid any social follies while interacting with the inhabitants of the Dothraki Sea.


Childish Gambino collaborates with Ubisoft for 'Far Cry 4' trailer


Looking at the mountains of the fictional Himalayan city of Kyrat in Far Cry 4, players may not immediately imagine a hip hop soundtrack to set the scene. But that dissonance hasn’t stopped Ubisoft from recruiting Donald Glover as his rapping alter ego Childish Gambino to lend his talents to the game’s new trailer.


Beijing is getting a Universal Studios theme park

Harry Potter might be flying over to China soon: Universal Studios is planning to open a theme park in Beijing.

Universal Studios already has outposts in Hollywood, Orlando, Japan, and Singapore, but has been in talks to open one of their theme parks in China’s capital for years. Now that the Chinese central government has approved the park’s development, they’ll be getting to work filling the 300-acre space. READ FULL STORY

James Franco is the star of a new coloring book


Tired of regular coloring books, full of boring things like princesses and dinosaurs? Mel Elliott has just the one for you, then: a James Franco coloring book.

Inspired by Franco’s varied and selfie-filled Instagram feed, Elliott put together a book of black-and-white Franco depictions so people can bring the actor to life with the help of colored pencils. There’s James Franco in Bed with Coffee, James Franco as Spring Breakers‘ Alien, James Franco in Drag—essentially, it’s a look at Franco’s many selves. READ FULL STORY

Watch Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in conversation with Jon Stewart

On Friday, Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old advocate for girls’ rights to education who was shot by the Taliban, was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with with Kailash Satyarthi, who fights for children’s rights. Which means it’s a great occasion to revisit Yousafzai’s moving 2013 interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. READ FULL STORY

Anne Hathaway addresses all the 'Hathahate'

Though the beginning of 2013 was marked by myriad triumph for Anne Hathaway as awards were being heaped upon her for her performance in Les Misérables, it’s also when Hathahate was at its most fervent.  READ FULL STORY

Exactly how much did Calvin and Hobbes' shenanigans cost his parents?

It’s no secret that kids have a tendency to drain their parents’ bank accounts. And a particularly mischievous youngster like Calvin from Calvin And Hobbes—the syndicated daily comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985 to 1995—can rack up quite the bill. Just how much? Matt J. Michel, editor of the part-serious, part-satirical science journal Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science (PNIS), conducted some pretty legit research to estimate how much monetary damage Calvin and his partner in crime/tiger friend Hobbes did throughout the comic strip’s lifetime. His expert conclusion: $15,955.50, which works out to $1,850 per year.

Michel was as serious and meticulous in his not-so-groundbreaking work as a NASA scientist. His fastidious methodology included documenting each instance of property damage, and then calculating the expenses using the regional labor and material costs of Watterson’s hometown, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (Exhibit A: Calvin caused five house-flooding incidents at expense of $4,798.83 each.) As for the value of the items Calvin destroyed over the years, Michel sourced his pricing from Amazon, save for Calvin’s mother’s sweater—which he deemed high quality enough to use J. Crew as his benchmark. In the spirit of academic legitimacy, Michel did not include incidents that were merely mentioned in the comics, but not explained, in his data set. (Remember that mysterious “noodle incident”?)

Michel concludes with a half-horrifying, half-heartwarming note:

“If your little bundle of joy grows up to be a Tasmanian devil of terror, you can expect to pay almost two grand extra per year just in replacing or repairing items… In parenting, you have to take the bad with the good. With a kid like Calvin, it’s probably mostly bad. But even raising a Calvin has its good moments (like here), which are well worth the extra $1,850 a year.”



'Alien: Isolation' delivers suspense, but not without annoyance


Alien: Isolation is a slow burn. Most Alien games have mimicked James Cameron’s action-packed Aliens sequel (often to disastrous effect, as with last year’s Alien: Colonial Marines), but Isolation is slavishly devoted to Ridley Scott’s quieter, more terrifying 1979 original, which informs nearly every aspect of the game. Set 15 years after the first film, Isolation follows engineer Amanda Ripley as she seeks information on her missing mother, Alien heroine Ellen Ripley.

Much like the film, the game takes its time to get going, allowing you to soak in the rich atmosphere. Developer Creative Assembly has painstakingly recreated the look and feel of Scott’s sci-fi classic, from the chunky CRT monitors to the green monochromatic display of the motion tracker that quickly becomes your best friend and lifeline. Just like the movie, you don’t meet the game’s single alien for the first hour, so soak up the gorgeous atmosphere while you can. Once the alien shows up, you’ll spend most of your time hiding in vents and lockers, praying it doesn’t hear you breathe.

Isolation plays like the world’s deadliest game of cat and mouse. The alien can’t be killed and will hunt you relentlessly, relying on its senses to track you down and pierce your skull with its retractable inner maw (amongst other gruesome finishers). Ostensibly a stealth game with horror trappings, your only chance at survival is to outwit the alien using items that Amanda can craft from scraps found throughout the environment. If the alien sees you, chances are you’re already dead, so it’s best to stick to the shadows and tread lightly, slowly working your way to your next objective.

Get used to seeing the motion tracker, as it will inhabit a large portion of your screen for a large portion of the time. (If I had a plasma TV, I would seriously worry about screen burn-in.) Seeing the alien blip on your radar for the first time is a terrifying experience, as you know it’s near but you can’t be sure where. I recommend playing in the dark with a pair of headphones, as the sound design is among the best I’ve ever experienced, and you’ll actually use audio cues like the staticy beep of the motion tracker or the clanging of vents to help make your way through levels. The developer has rightfully touted the alien’s artificial intelligence, which dynamically adjusts to your actions. If it sees something move or hears a noise, it’s going to investigate. (The Xbox One version has an option that uses the Kinect’s microphone, so if you scream in terror, the alien could hear you. Um, no thanks.)

Initially, this tense game of hide-and-seek is exhilarating—your heart pounds as you hide under a table, holding your breath as the alien’s long tail slithers by. You never feel safe, as running or firing a weapon will cause the alien to come darting out of a vent and instantly kill you. Expect to die—a lot. The game requires you to manually save your progress at save stations, which is almost unheard of nowadays. I get what Creative Assembly was going for with the save system: it’s a nod to old-school games that were actually difficult, and it requires you to think constantly about the risks involved. But because Amanda is so vulnerable and death comes so easily, it feels unnecessarily punitive. The first time you play twenty minutes without seeing any save points and then die right as you reach one is incredibly frustrating, since you then have to repeat the entire sequence over again. There are times when this will happen repeatedly, and it get significantly less fun each time the alien gets in your face and murders you.

Alien: Isolation is also a looooooong burn. And worse than how frustrating it can feel to constantly live, die and repeat, it becomes less and less scary the more you see the alien. Part of what makes the original Alien so terrifying is that you rarely see the monster, who is on screen for just over three and half minutes of the film’s two-hour runtime. With horror movies, what you don’t see is often scarier than what is shown, and while Isolation follows this to a point, the game is so damn long (clocking in around 15 to 20 hours) that you’ll have seen the alien for hours by the time it’s over. By the end, whenever I would encounter the alien, I’d simply yell, “Get away from her, you bitch” at the TV and shoo it away with my flamethrower. However much Creative Assembly strived to recreate Alien, it couldn’t keep it from getting a little Aliens in the end.

Far from the travesty that was Colonial Marines, there are hints of greatness in Alien: Isolation, which is by far the closest we’ve ever gotten to living out our Alien fantasies. But I wish Creative Assembly had realized that when it comes to horror, less is more. As mixed as my feelings are on the game, I’m actually still looking forward to the “Crew Expendable” downloadable content that reunites Sigourney Weaver and the cast of the original film for what I assume will be a much shorter experience, which could prove to be the optimal way to enjoy the game’s many strengths.

Andy Kaufman's brother blasts new book claiming comic died of AIDS

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Andy Kaufman’s death—but his brother, Michael, is anticipating a much lower-key Andy Kaufman Award celebration on Oct. 12 than last year’s. In November 2013, Michael Kaufman introduced a young woman claiming to be Andy’s daughter, who revealed that her father was still alive, living a peaceful life as a stay-at-home dad. Some stubborn conspiracy theorists had always doubted Andy’s 1984 death, assuming it was part of some ultimate prank. Michael Kaufman initially seemed to endorse the young woman’s claims, but quickly backpedaled in news interviews and claimed that he had been the victim of a hoax.

Hoax or not, the Kaufman Lives movement is alive but increasingly unwell. On Oct. 7, Andy Kaufman’s longtime writing partner Bob Zmuda published a new book with Kaufman’s girlfriend, Lynne Margulies. Zmuda hinted further that Kaufman may have faked his death, while Margulies suggests that he was bisexual and died of AIDS, not cancer. READ FULL STORY

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