I have lost all concept of the relative popularity of bands. It used to be easy. All you’d have to do is see which bands had chart-topping hits and which albums were selling hundreds of thousands of albums a week. Now? Now, I have no idea and I’m constantly surprised.

Any given week I typically have the following reaction: wait, the Black Keys have reached arena status? When the fuck did that happen? Some bands you think are huge play small clubs and vice versa. It is nearly impossible to figure out the music industry hierarchy anymore.

Priceonomics recently published a very long, leaked list of the fees some of the world’s favorite bands and pop stars charge for a concert appearance. The list comes from a third-party booking agency, Degy Entertainment, which specializes in booking college shows and so while the list might not be entirely accurate it does, finally, paint a relative picture of which bands are more popular than others.

Why does this sort of thing matter? Ultimately, it doesn’t. But it is interesting for music nerds.

It’s something I think about constantly while watching ‘Nashville’, for instance. How does Juliette Barnes’ popularity compare to Taylor Swift? Is Rayna James on the same level as Faith Hill or is she more like a slightly more popular Neko Case? The show never really addresses these comparisons and why it’s so important for Juliette Barnes to need the good graces of the Nashville industry when she could just move to LA or Austin or Portland especially if she were Taylor Swift popular and not Carrie Underwood popular.

Fuck. “Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly.”

Wright was a large part of the reason this project was so exciting. It’s too bad Marvel seems to be walking back on its efforts to hire interesting filmmakers with distinctive voices to direct their movies. That was one of the things the studio seemed to do right.

As Devin Faraci says, “Good luck to whoever they hire to Brett Ratner this one.”

Look, you might not be excited for this one, but I sure as shit can’t wait for August to roll around. It’s also worth thinking about this movie in relation to this list about Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD TV show, which just wrapped its first season with a string of strong narrative episodes born out of the big reveal for Captain America 2. The article hints that the show’s season two direction will have strong ties to GotG. [via latimes]

140520_SPOT_MuralEventoDaPompeia.jpgFrom Slate:

On May 10, Brazilian artist Paulo Ito posted this mural on the doors of a schoolhouse in São Paulo’s Pompeia district. Less than a week later, it has become an international sensation, drawing huge attention on Facebook. It has also taken off in Brazil—a post on the popular Facebook page TV Revolta has been shared and liked more than 40,000 times.*

I first saw the image when The Nation’s Dave Zirin posted it on Twitter. The portrait of a weeping, starving Brazilian child with nothing to eat but a soccer ball is so simple and evocative that you don’t need to know much about Brazil to wrap your head around it. All you have to understand is that despite massive gains made over the past decade, poverty levels are still appallingly high, and the World Cup is costing the nation billions of dollars that could be spent elsewhere.

“People already have the feeling and that image condensed this feeling,” the São Paulo-based Ito told me in an interview today. He says he’s never created anything so popular in his 14 years as a street artist, and was surprised by the powerful response. “The truth is there is so much wrong in Brazil that it is difficult to know where to start,” he explained via Facebook chat. “I didn’t mean [to say] nobody is doing anything against poverty,” he said of the mural. “But we need to show the world or ourselves that the situation is still not good.”

“For three years, Apple and Samsung have clashed on a scale almost unprecedented in business history, their legal war costing more than a billion dollars and spanning four continents. Beginning with the super-secret project that created the iPhone and the late Steve Jobs’s fury when Samsung—an Apple supplier!—brought out a shockingly similar device, Kurt Eichenwald explores the Korean company’s record of patent infringement, among other ruthless business tactics, and explains why Apple might win the battles but still lose the war.”

Fuck cancer:

When we stopped at the first red light after leaving the hospital, I broke two of my most important marital promises. I started acting like my wife’s doctor, and I lied to her.

I had just taken the PET scan, the diagnostic X-ray test, out of its manila envelope. Raising the films up even to the low light overhead was enough for me to see what was happening inside her body. But when we drove on, I said, “I can’t tell; I can’t get my orientation. We have to wait to hear from your oncologist back home.” I’m a lung doctor, not an expert in these films, I feigned. But I had seen in an instant that the cancer had spread.

PET scans are like that, radioactive tracers that travel around the body and measure how much work different cells are doing. And cancer cells are very active workers. The scans are like the ground seen from the air at night. When there is no cancer they look like Idaho, all quiet. Really bad news looks like downtown Chicago or Phoenix.

It was a warm night for early June, the beginning of the winter in Argentina. People crowded the sidewalks, returning from work, stopping for dinner. All the everyday stuff that fills our lives, neither adding particular meaning or taking it away. We pulled into the garage with the narrow entrance; our tires squeaked on the newly painted floor. Ruth was silent. I was silent. I knew. She didn’t.

Actually, she probably did.

My wife was dead eight months later. We were back in New York. In our home. During our winter.

If you’re an old person, like me, wondering what Snapchat is and why it turned down Facebook’s offers to buy them for a huge sum of money, this is a good place to start.

WELSH0041398971703Philip Welsh, a 65-year-old taxi dispatcher, lived a very simple life in Silver Springs — no internet, no email, no text messages, no electronic footprint to speak of. He had the habit of leaving his door unlocked and letting neighbors come and go as they please.

One night last February, Welsh watched a bit of TV, then sacked out for the night. Someone entered Welsh’s home in the middle of the night and brutally murdered him to death. It remains the only unsolved murder in Montgomery County, Maryland this year.

The Washington Post has a story that serves as both a touching profile about Welsh’s life of quiet solitude and a look at modern police forensics that relies so heavily on our electronic breadcrumbs to solve crimes.

“Detectives have tried to piece together the final weeks of Philip’s life by talking to those who were close to him. And it is not just the dearth of electronic records that present a challenge. Detectives have found no enemies of Philip and very little physical evidence. They declined to say how he was killed — only that it was from blunt force trauma — out of caution that doing so could compromise the investigation. Jones, the police captain, said he does not think the case was random. ‘We’re still pounding, and we’re still talking to people,’ he said. ‘It’s frustrating.'”

A strange peak into modern police investigations that aren’t quite yet CSI but do rely on more than just pounding the pavement.

This five-minute extended trailer for the Flash TV show, a spinoff of The CW’s ‘Arrow’ is essentially the pilot episode condensed to the broad strokes. But, boy, does this look like it’ll make a nice companion piece to Arrow.

Compare this to the recently released trailer for Fox’s ‘Gotham’, which feels like an unnecessary prequel to the Batman saga. It feels calculating in a really depressing, pandering sort of way.

Anyway, back to The Flash. Seeing Barry Allen and Ollie Queen on the small screen together makes me wish we could get a guest appearance from the Superman of Smallville and have them build toward a Justice League. Flash looks fun and if it can be half as good as Arrow (one of the best shows on tv period) then comic book fans will be in for a treat. [via io9]

Love this data visualization of Manhattan as a living organism from Joey Cherdachuk.