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The Last Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour has retired from service, and for the moment NASA is reliant on Russian rockets to keep the International Space Station stocked up and operating. NASA is developing a replacement for the Shuttle – the Orion CEV – but for the moment, lets take a look at the Shuttle and remember the many years of sterling service it has given us.

Image credit: Dan Winters

theatlantic
theatlantic:

Does Prince Charming Really Need to Be Reinvented?

It’s well documented by now that Disney’s Frozen is dominating at the box office. This past weekend, it pulled off a rare feat when it reclaimed the top spot in the U.S. a month after its release, and it has now passed the $300-million mark to make it Disney’s most successful animated film since The Lion King. Critics and audiences have also praised its subversive plot, which focuses on the relationship between two sisters and turns Prince Charming into The Villain.
Frozen isn’t without its detractors, of course. In a post for The Atlantic, Gina Dalfonzo wrote that she found the latter twist too scary for children: “There is something uniquely horrifying about finding out that a person—even a fictional person—who’s won you over is, in fact, rotten to the core.” She argues that children need a very clearly defined hero-vs.-villain trope because they’re not mature enough to appreciate nuances.
But there’s another argument to be made against Frozen’s villain, and it has to do with the implicit notion that there was something wrong with the Prince Charming fantasy in the first place. The assumption is that it needed correcting because providing girls with idealized images of romance and romantic partners is inherently bad for them. Jezebel contends that the twist “undoes the very cherished tropes of the other films… It is a counter to the steady diet of falsehoods, and frankly, it’s high fucking time.”
Read more. [Image: Disney]

theatlantic:

Does Prince Charming Really Need to Be Reinvented?

It’s well documented by now that Disney’s Frozen is dominating at the box office. This past weekend, it pulled off a rare feat when it reclaimed the top spot in the U.S. a month after its release, and it has now passed the $300-million mark to make it Disney’s most successful animated film since The Lion King. Critics and audiences have also praised its subversive plot, which focuses on the relationship between two sisters and turns Prince Charming into The Villain.

Frozen isn’t without its detractors, of course. In a post for The Atlantic, Gina Dalfonzo wrote that she found the latter twist too scary for children: “There is something uniquely horrifying about finding out that a person—even a fictional person—who’s won you over is, in fact, rotten to the core.” She argues that children need a very clearly defined hero-vs.-villain trope because they’re not mature enough to appreciate nuances.

But there’s another argument to be made against Frozen’s villain, and it has to do with the implicit notion that there was something wrong with the Prince Charming fantasy in the first place. The assumption is that it needed correcting because providing girls with idealized images of romance and romantic partners is inherently bad for them. Jezebel contends that the twist “undoes the very cherished tropes of the other films… It is a counter to the steady diet of falsehoods, and frankly, it’s high fucking time.”

Read more. [Image: Disney]

theatlantic
theatlantic:

How Masterpiece Stays Timeless

This weekend, as snow came down in Connecticut and I anticipated the start of Season Four of Downton Abbey, seemed the right time to read Rebecca Eaton’s Making Masterpiece (Viking), her entertaining saga of guiding Masterpiece—which, with a nod to its British inflection and contributors, was long known as Masterpiece Theatre, and continues to be television’s classiest and longest-running drama programming. After 28 years as the executive producer of the series, Eaton has delivered a memoir that is as full of twists of plot and characters as its scores of memorable adaptions from novels, biographies, and original narratives.
After a fellowship at the BBC in 1969, which was instrumental in shaping her deep appreciation of Britain’s dramatic artistry, Eaton landed at Boston’s public-broadcasting channel WGBH and was eventually recruited to Masterpiece, which was then funded by Mobil Oil. An early patron of the enterprise was Mobil’s colorful public-relations chief, Herb Schmertz, whose goal was to associate the oil company with this special series, which he astutely understood would give “big petroleum” an aura of sophisticated benevolence.
Read more. [Image: Viking]

theatlantic:

How Masterpiece Stays Timeless

This weekend, as snow came down in Connecticut and I anticipated the start of Season Four of Downton Abbey, seemed the right time to read Rebecca Eaton’s Making Masterpiece (Viking), her entertaining saga of guiding Masterpiece—which, with a nod to its British inflection and contributors, was long known as Masterpiece Theatre, and continues to be television’s classiest and longest-running drama programming. After 28 years as the executive producer of the series, Eaton has delivered a memoir that is as full of twists of plot and characters as its scores of memorable adaptions from novels, biographies, and original narratives.

After a fellowship at the BBC in 1969, which was instrumental in shaping her deep appreciation of Britain’s dramatic artistry, Eaton landed at Boston’s public-broadcasting channel WGBH and was eventually recruited to Masterpiece, which was then funded by Mobil Oil. An early patron of the enterprise was Mobil’s colorful public-relations chief, Herb Schmertz, whose goal was to associate the oil company with this special series, which he astutely understood would give “big petroleum” an aura of sophisticated benevolence.

Read more. [Image: Viking]