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guns, hollywood, the rock

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson explains why his production company won't use real guns anymore.

The tragic shooting that took place while filming the movie "Rust" shocked the world. Even if it wasn't Alec Baldwin himself who pulled the trigger that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the fact that a gun used in a movie was able to kill anyone during filming is beyond comprehension.

Much has been made of the people involved, the protocols ignored and the safeguards that could have and should have prevented such a terrible accident. Part of those discussions is the question of why film productions use real guns in the first place. Obviously, authenticity is desirable in a movie—we viewers expect films to look as realistic as possible. But in the days of digital enhancement, computer-generated special effects and postproduction editing tools that can do almost anything, are real guns necessary to achieve realism?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says no. In an interview with Variety, The Rock said that his film production company, Seven Bucks Productions, will not use real guns in any of its films or television shows moving forward.

"We're going to switch over to rubber guns," he said. "We're going to take care of it in post. We're not going to worry about the dollars."


"It just sucks that it had to happen like this for us, on our end—and I can't speak for anybody else—but for us to wake up," he said.

He said that within two hours of learning about Hutchins' death, he was on the phone with his team to discuss how they could make productions safer.

Several people in the industry shared the dangers of guns on set—even prop guns that fire blanks.

Television David Slack wrote on Twitter:

"When I was in college, we were lucky to have a teacher who was REALLY good about prop gun safety. He did a demo where he hung a piece of paper from a c-stand and then fired a prop gun BESIDE it, not even pointed at the paper.

But because this prop gun had a plugged barrel, that means all the blast — 1/2 the gunpowder required to propel a bullet beyond the speed of sound — comes out the SIDE of the gun. It blew a hole in the paper and lit it on fire. Prop guns are guns. Full stop."

Movie armorer SL Huang also chimed in on Twitter with a thread about how many safety protocols were obviously missed or ignored.

Huang also shared that "prop guns" are not guns that fire blanks. A prop gun is fake, a replica often made out of rubber. A blank fire gun is a real gun. "Sometimes real guns are used 'cold' (unloaded) if either there's no matching prop gun or if they want a closeup (the props are usually not as nice looking in detail)," she wrote.

However, she reiterated, there are so many measures and checks and protocols that should have prevented this incident many times over.

Some may feel that The Rock's pledge to not use any real guns on set is overkill, considering the fact that strict safety protocols, when followed properly, can prevent incidents like the one that killed Halyna Hutchins. But if the same effect can be achieved without the use of real guns, why not go the safer route?

Perhaps it's worth considering how often guns are used in our entertainment industry. According to research from Ohio State University, gun violence in PG-13 movies nearly tripled between 1985 and 2015. Is Hollywood fueling an obsession with guns or is America's obsession with guns fueling Hollywood's choices? Who knows. But considering the fact that 2020 saw 20,000 Americans die from gun violence (more than double that if we include suicide), which is the highest number in at least two decades, perhaps it's worth examining.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Something joyful for everyone.

From sleepy pups to smooth skate moves, there's plenty of reasons to smile.

When the internet is full of dreary headlines, it’s even more important to balance it all out with things that spark joy.

Whether it comes from cute kids and animals, amazing art or wholesome acts of kindness, things that make us smile help remind our hearts that the world is indeed a big place, containing both the bad and the good. Sometimes it might take a little extra scouring to find what makes us smile, but Upworthy is here to make the search a little bit easier.

Without further ado, let’s get uplifted:

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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