Prince Jellyfish.

So after all these fucking years they finally made a movie out of The Rum Diary

Quite frankly, I’m amazed. And Johnny Depp’s in it too, which is both shocking and expected. Good for you, Johnny. Nice to see you doing a movie that I wouldn’t rather have cancer than see for a change.

Fascinating that they’re seemingly presenting it as essentially a prequel to Depp’s filmic version of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (and thankfully making it nothing like Bill Murray’s Where The Buffalo Roam, which was ghastly). The novel itself – which was Thompson’s second, after the still unpublished Prince Jellyfish – was a pretty straightforward Hemingway-esque affair and it’s interesting to see that they added quite a bit of “zany” to the story and, of course, changed a lot of the characters around and the story too, it would seem. And by “change the story,” I clearly mean that, if the trailer is accurate, they’re trying to add one here. For example, they beefed up the character that it looks like Aaron Eckhart and his mighty chin play and turned him into some kind of villain to be defeated through wacky journalism and a lot of what would amount to alcohol poisoning in a normal person.

Also,  I’m sorry, did I say that they added some “zany” to the story? I meant to say “gonzo,” clearly. They’ve added a shitload of “gonzo” to the thing.

The attempts to bring this adaptation to life over the past decade have been cute to read little tidbits about, but I find myself actually surprised that it actually, you know, took. Thankfully it didn’t happen until now when Thompson himself is dead because it seemed like he was a bit… sensitive to anything of his when it came to the movies. And it’s directed by the guy who directed Withnail And I! This should be a beautiful mess, certainly. Considering the movies that do get made these days I still find that I’m surprised to say this but: I can’t wait to see this.

Sheep have great potential.

People whose arms were stroked by a robot nurse named Cody felt more comfortable if they believed Cody was cleaning them than if they believed Cody was attempting to comfort them. People who have low serotonin levels underestimate the intimacy shared by couples they do not know. The children of depressed fathers are four times as likely to be spanked, and the brains of depressed mothers are less responsive to the cries of the mothers’ children. Mental illness was going largely untreated among American babies. Test subjects experienced fear when they were given a third, prosthetic arm and researchers threatened that arm with a knife. A connection between violence and happy hour was noted in Wales, where officials planned to move ahead with a badger cull in Pembrokeshire and to rebeaver the countryside near Furnace. In England, Slimbridge scientists surveyed the fatness of swans’ behinds, and doctors treated a three year old for alcoholism. Welsh mountain sheep were deemed capable of following rules. “Sheep have great potential,” said Jenny Morton of Cambridge University. “They’re not as daft as they look.”

Chemists discovered why Van Gogh’s yellows were fading; a Dutch ornithologist remained unsure whether the yellow breasts of great tits change with age but found that the offspring of older females are likelier to die young. In Finland, tawny owls were evolving from gray to brown and sperm quality in humans was deteriorating. Religion was going in extinct in the Czech Republic. A sacred soft-shelled turtle in Hanoi, one of only four species left in the world, was gravely ill yet continued to evade capture. A female mite preserved in amber with her mate was observed to have been controlling the terms of their copulation. Florida could be up to 50 percent older than previously believed. Astrobiologists hypothesized that the first multi-cellular animal resembled cancer. Tonsillectomies make children gain weight. Weight-loss surgery makes children lose weight. Doctors touted the benefits of removing the gallbladder through the vagina. Texas scientists cut holes in the hearts of baby mice; the hearts then healed themselves.

The passages above are from the “Findings” section in the May 2011 issue of Harper’s and were written by Rafil Kroll-Zaidi.

See previously: here, here, here, here, and here.

There are two kinds of light.

Can you see time?

How elephants talk to each other through the ground.

Can robots make ethical decisions?

A link about the founder of the Jedi church.

We’re faster at making crises than we are at fixing crises.

Happy Birthday, Brigitte Bardot.

Jennifer’s Body is garbage, but you’d tap it anyways.

“Where’s the light to shine on me?”

Saturn’s moon Titan has a foggy bottom.

“There are two kinds of light — the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.”

-James Thurber, from Lanterns and Lances, 1963.

Using magnetism to turn drugs on and off.

Anticancer nanotech.

Neolithic carving raises eyebrows.

Send the dark underneath.”

Could we create quantum creatures in a lab?

Animals with “metacognition?”

RIP Patrick Swayze.

Man. It’s even worse when you knew it was coming, right? I’ll never forget, because it was a year ago from this past February, and I was chilling with a companion in a hotel room outside LAX. Road House came on the TV and I was talking about how brilliant this movie was, not just indicative of the culture of America at the time it came out, but how The Swayze had really tapped into something weird and silly and zen, and during the commercial, the news came on that The Swayze (pronounced “sways,” yes, do not argue with me) had the kind of cancer you don’t come back from. I almost started crying right then and there. And earlier today, Conrad Noir and I were watching Defiance with Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber and I made a joke about how it was just a Jewish Red Dawn and Conrad said, “I’ll never understand your admiration for Swayze.” No, you won’t. And now I’m just going to go watch Point Break and that’s that.