Breaking Bad’s Gustavo “Gus” Fring coming to Saudi Arabia Feb. 17

Actor Giancarlo Esposito. (AP)
Updated 08 April 2017
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Breaking Bad’s Gustavo “Gus” Fring coming to Saudi Arabia Feb. 17

JEDDAH: Giancarlo Esposito, the actor best known as Gus Fring in the television series “Breaking Bad,” will be one of the international celebrity guests featured in the Saudi Comic Con (SCC).
Esposito, who previously visited Riyadh, mentioned to his representatives that he would be interested in seeing “other parts of this beautiful country and Saudi Comic Con was brought to my attention,” he said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
He said that he loved the Saudi culture and its people and enjoyed his stay in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia was not the only stop in the Gulf, as Esposito has also visited Bahrain in the past years.
The idea of bringing the Comic Con event to Saudi Arabia for the first time interested the “Breaking Bad” star.
“It’s great! The young and old have such a good time at Comic Cons. It’s wonderful to be a part of the first Comic Con and I hope many more will come from this,” he said.
Esposito expressed his enthusiasm for meeting his fans from different countries and “Saudi Arabia especially.”
In 1988, he landed his breakout role as the leader of the black fraternity “Gamma Phi Gamma” in director Spike Lee’s film School Daze. Over the next four years, Esposito and Lee collaborated on three other movies: “Do the Right Thing,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Malcolm X.”
The actor’s famous character “Gus” from the “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” television series is a major drug kingpin initially affiliated with the Mexican drug cartel in Ciudad Juárez, who uses his restaurant as a front for methamphetamine distribution throughout the American southwest.
He returns to reprise the role in the third season of “Better Call Saul.”
Esposito appeared in several international Comic Cons, which are some of his favorites.
“I’m looking forward to be in the very first Saudi Arabia Comic Con Feb. 17th,” he said. “Come on and say hello to me! You will not be disappointed. Really looking forward to my live Q & A and meeting each and every one of you,” he said in his announcement video to Arab News readers.
Esposito said that Gus Fring character challenging. “I felt like I had to become very relaxed, patient, focused and fierce to play him,” he said.
He talked about defying challenging obstacles in his job. On one occasion he took the stage after throwing out his back right before performing a play in New York. “I just remember being in pain, intense pain. I thought to myself before I hit the stage, to use it!”
Esposito had the best performance that evening and the pain eventually went away. He reminded people that when they put their attention in the right place, “all goes well no matter what.”
Talking about the most extreme change to his physical appearance, Esposito has gained weight for roles in the past; where he gained about 25 pounds in Spike Lee’s, Do the Right Thing.
As for his acting style, Esposito said that he takes the best and leaves the rest. He believes in being present and honoring the text. “I am present and nonresistant in my acting style.”
Esposito’s first role was in Broadway show called Maggie Flynn back in 1967.
Meanwhile, the star is working on his second film as a director premiering at SXSW in Austin. The film is called “This Is Your Death” and stars Josh Duhamel and himself.
Esposito said he wants to play Hailie Salasie of Ethiopia make a western playing Bass Reeves.”
Comic Con is an international event that was first held in San Diego, California in 1970. It is now an annual event held in popular cities around the world. 


Scientist in Facebook data scandal Aleksandr Kogan says he is being scapegoated

Updated 24 April 2018
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Scientist in Facebook data scandal Aleksandr Kogan says he is being scapegoated

  • Aleksandr Kogan teaches at Cambridge University
  • Kogan was behind the app that allowed consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to farm data

LONDON: The academic behind the app that allowed consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to farm the data of some 87 million Facebook users said Tuesday he was being scapegoated while the social network was being “mined left and right by thousands” of companies.
Aleksandr Kogan, who teaches at Cambridge University, told a British parliamentary committee that criticism of his work by Facebook showed the US social media giant was in “PR crisis mode.”
“I don’t believe they actually think these things because I think they realize that their platform has been mined left and right by thousands of others,” said the Russian-American scientist, who is now banned from Facebook.
“I was just the unlucky person that ended up somehow linked to the Trump campaign. It’s convenient to point the finger at a single entity,” he said, playing down his own work as of little political value.
Kogan created a personality prediction app through his company Global Science Research (GSR), which offered a small financial payment in return for users filling out a personality test.
Facebook says it was downloaded by 270,000 people, but it also gave Kogan access to their friends, giving him a wealth of information on 90 million users, according to the social media giant’s boss Mark Zuckerberg.
The data was sold to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company. Cambridge Analytica went on to work on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
However, Kogan told MPs on Tuesday that the data was too imprecise to build up accurate profiles that could be used to effectively target political Facebook ads.
“One of the biggest points of confusion has been how accurate the personality scores we provided to SCL (CA’s parent company) were,” he said.
“The scores were highly inaccurate. We found that the scores were more accurate than a random guess, but less accurate than assuming everyone is average on every trait.”
Facebook’s own tools “provide companies a far more effective pathway to target people based on their personalities than using scores from users from our work,” he added.
Kogan said that CA assured him that what he was doing was “perfectly legal and within the terms of service” of the social media giant.
CA’s former chief executive Alexander Nix has denied using data collected by GSR, but Kogan called the claim “a fabrication.”
Clarence Mitchell, a CA spokesman told a press conference Tuesday that Kogan’s data “was shown to be virtually useless in that it was only just above random guessing.”
He reiterated CA did not use any of it on the Trump campaign and had broken no laws, while mistakes had been acknowledged.
“The company has been portrayed in some quarters as almost some Bond villain,” he said.
“Cambridge Analytica is no Bond villain.”
Kogan also accused Facebook of feigning ignorance of how their users’ data was being used, saying it was “well documented that Facebook collaborates with researchers.
“They gave me the data set without any agreement signed,” he explained. “Sometime later they came and we did have a signed agreement.”
When asked why Facebook would be so accommodating, Kogan replied that “this was something they gave their employees to stimulate them.”
Committee chairman Damien Collins asked if that meant Facebook let its employees give data to academics “and let them play with it?,” to which Kogan responded; “Yes.”
The scientist claimed in an earlier interview that “tens of thousands” of apps will have taken advantage of Facebook data rules.
It was, however, not part of Facebook’s terms for Kogan to sell data.
Born in Moldova and raised in Russia, before emigrating to the United States at the age of seven, Kogan studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and obtained his doctorate at the University of Hong Kong.
He joined the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychology as a lecturer in 2012.
He has also conducted work funded by the Russian government with St. Petersburg University, but said that was irrelevant to the Facebook scandal.
The scientist also goes by the name Aleksandr Spectre, which he took when he married his Singaporean bride.
When an MP pointed out that the name was also the evil organization in James Bond films, Kogan said this was just an “unfortunate coincidence.”