Williams, center, laughs in the back stage during the entertaining 2010 performance of “Holiday Troop Visit” by U.S. celebrities for Christmas at boardwalk stage of the Kandahar Air Field. (Behrouz Mehri /AFP/Getty Images)
Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, who was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide, played an airman in “Good Morning Vietnam.” His connections to the military go beyond that, so much so that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and others have remarked upon his passing. Full story
Transformers robot Bumblebee tours Sydney harbour by barge to launch the DVD of “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” at Mrs Macquaries Chair in 2009. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
“Top Gun,” a film about Navy pilots, did wonderful things for Air Force recruiting. Real-life submariners found “Crimson Tide” to be “laughable.” Those are just two of the anecdotes loading up this Al Jazeera America story on the collaboration between Hollywood and the Defense Department. Full story
Is John Oliver’s “This Week Tonight” even a comedy show, fundamentally? Sometimes, it veers so far into scathing commentary that the satire and laughs take a back seat. Above, from Sunday night’s episode in a clip with NSFW language, Oliver goes on a 15-minute screed against the security of U.S. nuclear weapons that reaches this crescendo: Full story
Alan Turing is renowned for his work during World War II, but he could hardly be a more relevant figure in the national security world today. He cracked the “Enigma” code and was a pivotal figure in cryptanalysis, a subject at the heart of the current debate over the National Security Agency. He is considered the father of artificial intelligence, in a time when the autonomy of computers and robots is a topic of ongoing debate. (He’s also relevant to modern discussions about social issues.)
Above is the first trailer for the film “Imitation Game,” about his life, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It will open the BFI London Film Festival in October.
The supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, takes himself pretty seriously. But you would think he might be pleased by a video of his head super-imposed on a bunch of people who, for the most part, have some serious dance moves. Full story
North Korea this week threatened “merciless” retaliation on the United States over the film “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
North Korea does this kind of thing a lot. In its own uniquely baroque style, it has threatened attacks on South Korea, Japan, Australia, and yes, the United States. (In the above propaganda video, a North Korean citizen dreams of America’s destruction to the tune of “We Are The World.”) Here’s a smattering of some of them, by no means exhaustive: Full story
Army Capt. Benjamin Summers says that calling everyone in the armed services a “hero” is hardening the military-civilian gap and impeding “a more nuanced appreciation of service and to produce better policy in Washington.”
“The Daily Show” had a go Monday night at some of the advocates of the Iraq War who had erroneous understandings of the country and what war would bring and who are now criticizing President Barack Obama.
Ripping Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who talked before the war of “seeds of democracy” now saying Obama’s inaction is planting “seeds of 9/11,” Jon Stewart quipped: “They done swapped out our democracy seeds with the seeds of 9/11.” Graham isn’t the only lawmaker Stewart slams, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also taking a ribbing.
Scott Taylor runs the Espirit de Corps magazine in Canada. His TEDx lecture in the video from last week isn’t just about the Canadian military, though — it pays mind to the United States’ use of language and terminology during war, the United Nations’ during the conflict in Libya and even how Taylor was defined by the Iraqis who once held him hostage. (h/t the Ottawa Citizen)