Monday Links: The Prison Problem, VFX Industry in the Red, and the Keystone Pipeline

This Monday’s collection of notable links covers two subjects of general importance, with one less far-reaching topic that still hits close to my heart.

I recently found a thought-provoking article in Harvard Magazine, aptly titled “The Prison Problem.” The article discusses research sociologist Bruce Western which brings America’s criminal justice system into question. We imprison over 2.2 million of our citizens, and half of those who finish their terms go back to prison. Is it because they’re born-and-bred criminals? No… they want to go back. Read the article: it explains the situation in full.

Though it’s from a week ago, you may find this bit on Greg Laden’s blog interesting. Within, Greg discusses the environmental ramifications of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline, the problems surrounding our continued use of fossil fuels, and the moral implications of whatever decision the Obama administration makes on the issue.

You may or may not of heard of Rhythm & Hues. They are a VFX company who created the visual effects which earned The Life of Pi an Oscar. But the company hasn’t fared as well as the Academy Award-winning film. They recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They’re not the first in the VFX industry, nor will they be the last, and The Wall Street Journal explains why.

As a student at Cogswell College, many of my friends are studying to enter the animation and effect industries, and I have acquaintances who have worked at Rhythm & Hues. My thoughts still go out to anyone who may have lost their jobs in this debacle.

VFX houses have little choice but to accept a pittance for their services because of domestic and international competition, and the stinginess of some filmmakers. This is unfair. Most films today would be nothing but a few actors making silly gestures in front of a green screen were it not for VFX work.

Some of us have turned our Facebook profile pictures green to spread the word and protest these conditions. If you love films or have friends who have turned their profiles green, please consider following suit.

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