Thank you, Governor Brewer.
Thank you, Governor Brewer.
CNN got a tour of the 20-acre construction site, which roughly doubles the size of the Harry Potter experience, where thousands of designers, engineers and craftspeople are hard at work preparing for opening day.
Here are some things to know:
It’s hidden: The outside of this attraction is a hodgepodge of building facades built to scale, including the Wyndham Theater, Leicester Square’s tube station and Grimmauld Place, which mask the entrance to Diagon Alley. Here, guests will be able to meander along the London waterfront, sit under the shade of trees and gaze at a replica of London’s Eros fountain. Guests will enter under the arches of the Leicester Square facade. However, Universal has not said how exactly. In the series, Harry enters Diagon through a magical wall of bricks.
Once inside, guests will be immediately immersed in a bustling wizarding hub within a Muggle city where towering buildings are slightly askew, with steep staircases and jagged edges galore.
There will be goblins: The star of it all is Gringotts, which in the series is a massive, goblin-run bank that Harry visits to get money for his school supplies. In the real-life version, visitors will be in awe of the marble lobby and cavernous passageways. They’ll take off from here on a multi-sensory thrill ride through the vaults. And the dragon that will perch atop the bank building (reminiscent of when it escapes from the bank in the series) really does blow a giant ball of fire quite frequently, says Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative.
Your ticket to Universal Studios gives you access to Diagon Alley: Admission into Universal Studios Florida ($92 for adults and $86 for kids ages 3 to 9), allows you to roam around the park and visit Diagon Alley. However, if you’d like to pop over to Hogsmeade via the Hogwarts Express, you must purchase park-to-park admission ($128 for adults, $122 for kids ages 3 to 9).
The train, where Harry meets pals Hermione and Ron in the first movie, will shuttle people over to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. Along the way, rather than seeing backstage areas between the parks, guests will see views of London and the British countryside thanks to some high-tech features.
It goes beyond the books/films: J.K. Rowling provided Universal with names that didn’t exist in the book. For instance, in Diagon Alley, visitors will find Horizont Alley and Carkitt next to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and the train trellis.
Although the world-famous author has not toured the site yet, “She has been involved as usual in the development process and has been a great supporter throughout the process as she was in the original in 2010,” says Woodbury. “Just a delight to work with and a wonderful author. And someone we are eternally grateful to for creating a body of fiction that is so rich that gives us an opportunity to develop what we’ve been able to do.”
There will be new merchandise and foods: All the bits and bobs that any good wizard needs will, of course, be available.
Shops will include Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions for Hogwarts scarves and character costumes; the three-story Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shop for magical jokes and toys; the Magical Menagerie for owl and Hippogriff stuffed animals; Quality Quidditch Supplies for brooms and quaffles and more. Wand shop Ollivanders will be there, too. (Note: The Ollivanders location found within Diagon Alley is the original location, as referenced in the Harry Potter books and films. This shop will be larger than the current one found within Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.)
The Leaky Cauldron, a popular wizarding pub and inn from the series, will be a “colossal space” serving Butterbeer and traditional English pub fare. Nearby, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour will serve weird flavors like strawberry with peanut butter.
It will blow Hogsmeade away: ”We think the experience is exponential,” says Woodbury. “It’s not just one and one is two. In this case, it’s one and one is six.”
Actor Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom in the films, concurs: “It’s ridiculous,” Lewis said after touring the site yesterday. “The scale of it, it’s just enormous.”
Canada’s response to Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda” via Brilliant Ads
OH CANADA. Every day I love you more and more.
Helen Mirren by Giuliano Bekor. Just stunning at any age.
Geminid Meteor Shower
The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks next week. Sadly, the Moon will be near-full brightening the sky for most of the night causing rates to be lower. However, the Geminids will still put on a good show pretty much anywhere that isn’t overcast, so don’t worry. Southern Hemisphere viewers will see lower rates, with the peak being ~40-60 meteors/hour in some locations, so you won’t be missing out as was the case for the Persieds earlier this year. Use the Fluxtimator to estimate the rate in your location.
Meteors will be visible when the radiant point is above the horizon from your location. The radiant point is in the constellation Gemini (Jupiter will be too, so get your binocs/telescopes), right next to the Orion constellation. You can spot meteors anywhere in the sky and it is not necessary to look towards the radiant point as some may believe. So go out, find somewhere dark, look up and enjoy the show.
Reblog if you would like a function on AO3 that notifies you when a fic is complete.
Oh God yes. :)
And every other fic archive.
Yay! Feminist Anthropology time!
Alongside drawings of bison and horses, the first painters left clues to their identity on the stone walls of caves, blowing red-brown paint through rough tubes and stenciling outlines of their palms. New analysis of ancient handprints in France and Spain suggests that most of those early artists were women.
This is a surprise, since most archaeologists have assumed it was men who had been making the cave art. One interpretation is that early humans painted animals to influence the presence and fate of real animals that they’d find on their hunt, and it’s widely accepted that it was the men who found and killed dinner.
But a new study indicates that the majority of handprints found near cave art were made by women, based on their overall size and relative lengths of their fingers.
"The assumption that most people made was it had something to do with hunting magic," Penn State archaeologist Dean Snow, who has been scrutinizing hand prints for a decade, told NBC News. The new work challenges the theory that it was mostly men, who hunted, that made those first creative marks.
Another reason we thought it was men all along? Male archeologists from modern society where gender roles are rigid and well-defined — they found the art. "[M]ale archaeologists were doing the work," Snow said, and it’s possible that ”had something to do with it.”
I added the emphasis in bold, but the “that” was already italicized in the article, and it’s probably my favorite part. I love this article, although I’m not a huge fan of the fact that it’s considered so incredibly shocking and radical to imagine that women possibly participated in society 40,000 years ago.
In other awesome feminist anthropology news: it is now somewhat accepted that the venus sculptures, rather than being depictions of female beauty by male artists, were self-portraits by women looking down at their own bodies. The paleolithic figurines lose their distorted proportions and acquire representational realism if we understand that they are self-portraits created by women looking down at their own bodies.
See also: This quote by Sandy Toksvig
When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. ‘This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar’ she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’
It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions? How often had I sped past them as I learned of male achievement and men’s place in the history books? Then I read Rosalind Miles’s book The Women’s History of the World (recently republished as Who Cooked the Last Supper?) and I knew I needed to look again. History is full of fabulous females who have been systematically ignored, forgotten or simply written out of the records. They’re not all saints, they’re not all geniuses, but they do deserve remembering.
the willendorf sculpture and others like her were /the first selfies/ and its amazing
The paleolithic figurines lose their distorted proportions and acquire representational realism if we understand that they are self-portraits created by women looking down at their own bodies.
I really, really love this sentence.