Francis Ford Coppola on making The Godfather

The Godfather (1972) is a film that one never forgets and spawned two sequels that, unlike in the case of so many sequels, managed to maintain the quality of the first. Director Francis Ford Coppola was only 29 when he was asked to direct the film version of Mario Puzo’s book. Coppola kept a notebook during the making of the film, with his ideas of what to do and what traps to avoid and those notes have now been published. In an interview today on Fresh Air, he talks about the making of the film and I found it fascinating. You can listen to it.
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Abusing service sector workers

I have railed in the past about the fact that some people take advantage of the fact that service workers are obliged to be nice to customers by abusing them. Via Rob Beschizza I came across this video of a woman who seems to have got offended by something one of the Subway employees said to her and started berating him using the most foul language (Be warned: it is really hateful), interspersed with calm requests for how she wanted her food prepared.
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‘Shined’ versus ‘shone’

As part of my long-running series on the quirks of the English language, I have been struck by the frequency of the use of the word ‘shined’ in the US in situations where I would have used the word ‘shone’. For example, one frequently hears the sentence “He shined a bright light on topic X” whereas I would have said “He shone a bright light on topic X”.
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The puzzling popularity of tattoos

Tattoos are becoming extremely common. I do not mean some little symbol discreetly placed on a small part of the body but even massive ones that cover much of it. I do not have a tattoo and have no intention of ever getting one, since I belong to a generation (and grew up in a country) in which no one I knew got tattoos. To the extent that one read about who got them, it was mainly sailors in western countries who, like Popeye, got clichéd ones with anchors or hearts with arrows through them or women’s names. The creepy 1969 film The Illustrated Man based on the Ray Bradbury story collection of that name may have cemented my antipathy to them.
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Who you gonna call? Michael Faraday!

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is one the greatest scientists of all time and his contributions to physics and chemistry are immense and his name can be found associated with all manner of phenomena. The unit of capacitance known as the ‘Farad’ is named after him. Amongst all his contributions to science, perhaps the one that had the most impact on the public was his discovery of the law of electromagnetic induction, that if a wire and a magnet are in motion relative to each other, a current will flow in the wire. This forms the basis of our public electricity systems and the working of electric motors.
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Update on the world chess championship

The score between defending champion Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karyakin currently stands at three draws out of the best-of- twelve game match but Oliver Roeder says that the third draw was unlike the boring first two in that it featured some unusual and exciting play in which Karyakin fought back after being taken by surprise by a Carlsen’s 10th move while playing white. But then Carlsen slipped up at move 71 and the game ended with the players agreeing to a draw after the 78th move.

It is interesting how computers are used by the spectators to analyze the best possible moves at each stage of the game. It appears that there are elaborate measures in place to prevent players from gaining access to computers when they take breaks.