Before I saw Captain America: Civil War, I thought it was odd that Nick Fury wouldn’t be a part of the story. He has played such a huge part in bringing the Avengers together, why wouldn’t he be there to try to diffuse this situation that the team had found themselves in? After seeing the film, though, the character wasn’t really missed, and I can see how it may have been hard to include him in this story arc.

During an interview with LA Times, writer Christopher Markus explained why they didn’t want Fury to have to pick sides:

“We called [Fury], but he let the line blink. Primarily it felt like one too many possible opinions. We didn’t want him to take one side or the other, because that’s not his place in the universe. And then we didn’t want another, ‘Is he still with the government? Is he opposed to the government but supporting the government?’ It got to be the potential for a lot more polemic discussion that the movie did not have room for. He’s the guy who put it together. He’s been the sort of parent figure to the Avengers. Let the parent go away, and see if the kids can handle this. See if the kids can be who they’re supposed to be without that governing voice. Um… and they didn’t do that good of a job.”

Makes sense to me. Fury will eventually be back. He’s reportedly set to return to the MCU in Thor: Ragnarok, and of course, he’ll be back for Avengers: Infinity War. Writer Stephen McFeely confirmed saying, “I would think…Don’t you assume you’ll see everybody in the Infinity Wars?” Markus then added, “It’s probably all hands on deck.”

I am curious to find out what Fury will think about the events in Captain America: Civil War, so hopefully when we see him again he’ll share his thoughts on that madness. 

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Unsurprisingly, Reddit is a hotbed of drugs discussion

Reddit is famous for harboring some less-than-legal communities. Given the anonymity the site affords its users, it’s also not surprising to hear that people talk about drugs on the site, but this study shines a light on the level of discussion taking place.

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A study from Project Know shines a light on where, when, and how often discussion of illegal drugs is taking place on Reddit. Surprisingly, the subreddit with the most discussion isn’t the marijuana-focused /r/trees — it’s Reddit’s version of Yahoo Answers, AskReddit. Of all the posts on AskReddit, a genuinely impressive 27.8 percent involved some kind of discussion of substance or substance use. The sheer number of posts isn’t the only thing — some of the sub’s big hits ask about people’s experience with marijuana.

The researchers hypothesize that the frequency of posts ebbs and flows with the school year. There’s a peak in June, when finals end, and a dropoff in August and September as students go back to studying. That would line up with Reddit’s college-age demographic quite nicely.

Overall, the survey builds up an interesting picture of Reddit’s relationship with different substances. It shouldn’t be a surprise to any frequent Reddit user: weed is viewed relatively positively, mild alcohol use is promoted, but harder drugs like heroin (or alcohol addiction) are viewed negatively.

It fits well into the narrative of the enlightened Redditor, getting their high from a relatively harmless substance, while challenging the conventional acceptance of alcohol.

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Kevin Feige Says The Ancient One Casting in DOCTOR STRANGE Was a Creative Decision Not Political

I know a lot of people are upset about the Tilda Swinton being cast as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Personally, I think the explanation that The Ancient One is “a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic,” is kinda cool.

Marvel has been switching things up with some of their characters since they started, and I thought this decision was bold and unique. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently talked to Deadline about the controversy, and he wants to make it very clear that the studio does not get involved in politics when making casting decisions and that this was purely a creative decision: 

“We make all of our decisions on all of our films, and certainly on Doctor Strange, for creative reasons and not political reasons. That’s just always been the case. I’ve always believed that it is the films themselves that will cross all borders and really get people to identify with these heroes, and that always comes down to creative and not political reasons. The casting of The Ancient One was a major topic of conversation in the development and the creative process of the story. We didn’t want to play into any of the stereotypes found in the comic books, some of which go back as far as 50 years or more. We felt the idea of gender swapping the role of The Ancient One was exciting. It opened up possibilities, it was a fresh way into this old and very typical storyline. Why not make the wisest bestower of knowledge in the universe to our heroes in the particular film a woman instead of a man? We made changes to some of the other key characters in the comic for similar reasons. Specifically, casting Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo and there’s a character named Wong, who is a very big part of comics, and we cast this amazing Asian actor [Benedict Wong] and modernized that role and his talents people will begin to see as materials on the film begin to come out.”

Feige goes on to say that he loves that the conversation is happening, though, and that he and the rest of the Marvel team are listening to what fans to say, which is something they’ve always been good at. 

“The truth is, the conversation that’s taking place around this is super-important. It’s something we are incredibly mindful of. We cast Tilda out of a desire to subvert stereotypes, not feed into them. I don’t know if you saw [Doctor Strange director] Scott Derrickson’s tweet the other day. He said we’re listening and we’re learning, every day. That really is true. As long as we’re starting on this topic, it means so much to us that people know that. We also know that people expect actions and not words in a Q&A, and I’m hopeful that some of our upcoming announcements are going to show that we’ve been listening.”

I completely respect whatever your stance on the issue of this casting controversy is. I’m just excited about this Doctor Strange movie! He’s one of my favorite Marvel characters, and from what I’ve seen so far it looks incredible! The movie is set to open in theaters on November 4th.

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Someone hacked a Tesla Model S to work with Amazon’s Echo

While Tesla is undeniably hastening the adoption and popularity of electric vehicles, the company is also pushing the envelope as it pertains to self driving cars. Indeed, Tesla’s suite of autonomous driving technologies is one of the more impressive features baked into the Model S and Model X.

One of the more interesting sub-features of Tesla’s autonomous driving suite is Summon, a feature Tesla introduced this past January which lets owners summon their Model S or Model X when it’s already parked. Impressively, the feature can even be used when a Tesla vehicle is parked inside a garage. As we noted previously, Summon is effectively auto-start on steroids.

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In fact, an official Tesla blogpost from a few months ago suggests that the company has grand plans for Summon.

During this Beta stage of Summon, we would like customers to become familiar with it on private property. Eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you…

While we obviously have a ways to go before that becomes a reality, some enterprising tinkerers are already busy modifying the Summon feature in interesting ways.

Most recently, Jason Goecke decided to connect his Tesla Model S to his Amazon Echo as to enable him to take advantage of the Summon feature using voice commands.

And in a nice little twist, Goecke set it up so that the car responds to KITT, a fun little homage to Knight Rider.

You can check out the result of Goecke’s tinkering below.