Aug 31, 2009

'The Singularity' Trailer - When Will Computers Surpass Human Intelligence?



The trailer posted above is not a documentary about the singularity we all know about - the one that some propose caused the Big Bang - but the length of time it will take for computers to surpass human intelligence. The film is, as of yet, incomplete and is being developed as the money comes in, so the filmmakers are expecting it to be done by the end of the year 2009.

One idea is that, since technological advancement is far exceeding biological evolution, human intelligence will, in the near future, be eclipsed by that of computer intelligence and artificial intelligence.

You can visit the film's web site for more information.

Within the coming decades we will be able to create AIs with greater than human intelligence, bio-engineer our species and re-design matter through nanotechnology. How will these technologies change what it means to be human?

SportPong - A New Way to Play Footsie

3 vs 2 Rorschach kids… from Sportpong on Vimeo.



SportPong is basically what you would think it is: people simulating tennis in real-life, real-time by playing tennis without racquets. In fact, they play with their feet on an electronic field.

The field is projected on the floor and the players control the game using reflectors attached to their feet. This control system is intuitive, naturalistic and very direct.
Source: Vision02

Time Lapse of the CA Fires

Time Lapse Test: Station Fire from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.



I saw this video first over at Boing Boing, but I decided to repost from the original site, Vimeo. It's an amazing - and amazingly short - portrayal of what happens when these fires take over the countryside.

One of the saddest aspects of this particular fire - beyond the mega devastation it's causing, of course - is the fact that it's on the verge of burning down one of the country's oldest observatories, atop Mount Wilson in Southern California. New Scientist describes its importance best in a few short sentences:

Located at an altitude of 1740 metres, Mount Wilson Observatory got its start in 1904 when George Ellery Hale signed a free, 99-year lease for 40 acres at the summit to build world-class telescopes.

Then Hale erected the Snow Solar Telescope (1905), a 60-inch reflector (the world's largest when completed in 1908), the 150-foot Solar Tower, and finally the 100-inch Hooker Telescope (1918), which Edwin Hubble used to discover that the universe is expanding.


It's almost hard to believe that something so beautiful can, at the same time, be so utterly destructive.

If Star Wars Were Real...



If you were to saunter over to If Star Wars Were Real, you'd find some might interesting examples of revisionist history going on, just like in the photo pictured above. Most of the photos on the front page right now are pretty tame, so go to the Archive for a list of all the photos. One of my personal favorites is a rendering of the Lee Harvey Oswald assassination.

Here is the web site's Mission Statement:

Our mission is to compile any evidence we can find to prove that Star Wars is real. So far, we have several contacts around the globe studying photographs and artifacts for any shred of evidence they can find. However, since most of the evidence seems to be hidden away by some sort of worldwide government consipracy, we need your help to find the truth!

Aug 30, 2009

Get Scared in Under a Minute



The new horror anthology, Half Minute Horrors (edited by Susan Rich), shows you don't have to go to great lengths to be frightened. In most cases, it can take just a photograph, like the Jon Klassen illustration pictured above.

Visit his web site for more art, or go to Amazon to buy the book. ($10). In addition, according to Klassen's blog, "the royalties from the book go to First Book, a not-for-profit organization that brings books to children in need."

Masters of the Universe Art



I just came across a wonderful collection of MOTU art over at Geek Orthodox, and even though the Skeletor is pretty awesome, I don't know that it's my favorite pic. Go over to Geek Orthodox to check it out.

The art originally appeared on the Avalanche of Software Art Blog. There are tons of interesting and out-there drawings and artwork to satisfy your craving for darker, more mature pop culture art.

?Cloverfield 2 Teaser Trailer? May..be?



I have to admit that I am just a big fan of the first Cloverfield flick. I know, I know. It uses a drawn-out first act (ostensibly to make you "care" about the characters and/or make the movie seem more "real") in order to set up a pretty frantic and - I have to say - kick-ass second and third acts. Sure the movie runs into some trouble towards the end, and I'm not a huge fan of the ending, but it's still a pretty good, though gimmicky, flick.

And it also had a pretty good take at the box office as well, so it wasn't a surprise to me to see what seems to be a teaser trailer for the sequel while I was trolling the internet the other day. I found a post on Topless Robot that points out a few noticeable things, like the sign near the end that appears to say Cloverfield. Either way, let's see where this viral video marketing thing takes us.

Two Girls, One-Up



If you have no qualms about walking around with this shirt, you can purchase one of your very own over at Sharkrobot.

Video Game Immersion



Immersion is the point at which reality slides toward the background and whatever medium you're consuming takes over the foreground. In other words, you are fully "immersed" in the game, so that you become less aware of your "self" and more in-tune with what's happening onscreen. Immersion also occurs in movies and books and television and even music, to a certain extent, which is what gives them such monstrous appeal. We can ostensibly be in another universe for a limited time.

Now, losing the self is a pretty interesting idea, considering how self-aware and self-conscious we all tend to be most of the time. Think of the ways you act and react in public, given a certain situation. You're almost always cognizant of your body movements or facial expressions. When you're not, you are, again, basically immersed in reality, which is a strange idea in and of itself.

In video games, your face can often be an interesting marker of your level of immersion. The goofier or more intense the face, the more immersed you are in the game. That's why it's great that people have actually taken to studying this phenomenon. Robbie Cooper is a photographer and visual artist living in NYC, and this video is one in a long line in studies of this sort, called The Immersion Project.

You can read more about The Immersion Project here.

Aug 29, 2009

Hoarding



Hey, now that I've tackled the potential fun of found art, I feel a need to go into the other, darker side of the same spectrum: hoarding. Hoarding occurs when people are incapable of getting rid of material possessions, and it is usually a manifestation of something internal, such as depression. As Niecy Nash says, "Clutter is an outward expression of an internal thing." So true, Niecy. So true.

The new A&E show, Hoarders, showcases extreme cases of this behavior, and since I've been watching it today, I thought I'd give you the lowdown on it. The show is sort of like Intervention, but the addiction this time is "stuff" instead of drugs. It's not as simple as going in and hauling out all the useless junk in the home. There's a psychological element that goes along with it, and plenty of the people on the show just aren't equipped to deal with it.

The Fun of Found Art



I don't know about most people, but I make a lot of trash. Unintentionally, of course. On my list of priorities, it's pretty low, though it probably should be a bit higher. I know, I know. I do recycle what I can, though, but I still manage to churn out an ungodly amount of refuse, and I've been thinking of ways to deal with it.

One of the more creative ways is to take some of my old junk and do something artistic with it. The only problem is, I'm not very artistic. I consider myself more of a writer than an artiste, but I'd like to think that, with some practice, I could shape up a nice piece of Junk Art.

First things first: I'm not too savvy on my terminology, so if I screw a name up - if there is a difference between junk art and found art (and I'm sure there is) - please enlighten me. I don't want to offend anybody.

The prospect of being able to turn some of this old stuff into something approaching beauty, or at the very least, vague interest, intrigues me. If you have any ideas of what to do with old stuff and how to do it, I'm all ears. Until then, enjoy this gallery of fine art made with items considered trash.

100 Years of Special Effects in Five Minutes



I've always been interested in seeing what lies behind the curtain in the film industry - perhaps it was "The Wizard of Oz" that did it for me - so it was interesting to see this compilation of some of the best visual effects of the last century in a five minute clip (with some showcasing what went into making the effect). I found the wonderful above video on LiveLeak.

It makes me wonder, also, what the shelf-life is on effects. For example, watching the "Spider Man" clip made me think of how long it would be considered an amazing shot. I mean, sure it could hold up for decades, but eventually it will seem simplistic, and that's a strange thought to mull over, considering the fact that I held the effects in that movie in such high regard.

I mean, I used to be so scared of the "library basement" effect in Ghostbusters that I would pull the covers over my head when it came on so I wouldn't have to see it. It was the only part of the movie that truly, honestly terrified me, but watching it now makes me wonder if I bumped my head too hard on the doorway when I was five.

Art Based on "Why Work Doesn't Always Work"



I'm not an art aficionado - I hardly have a talent for it - but I do like to point out when something intrigues me, and the work art I've seen on the internet definitely fits the bill. Especially art, I might add, made during the weekly slog in an office. What better way to typify the office experience than with pseudo-rebellious art? Behance.net discusses the idea at great length:

Sisyphus Office is an exhibition organized by San Francisco based artist, curator, and co-founder of The Thing Quarterly, Jonn Herschend and based out of Skydive, a Houston, Texas gallery.

The artists involved in the project are collaborating with businesses and offices in and around Houston in order to highlight art as an integral and necessary distraction in our day to day life. The artists and offices involved in Sisyphus Office are working physically and conceptually with the notions of existentialism, capitalism, artistic romanticism and deadpan slapstickism as a means to examine the artifice that keeps us clinging to reality and distracted from the void.

Aug 28, 2009

Photos of the "Living" Dead - Mental Floss



In this country, during this century, we seem to have a strange fixation on death. Oh, we have violent movies and television shows and books and comics and all that bunk. It's morbid, isn't it? That's nothing. Compared to the past two centuries, we have a firm grasp on reality if the photo above is any indication. Over at Mental Floss, they've posted "posed" photos from the 19th century, of people who had just recently died, often - as above - with other family members included. In the above picture, if you look closely you can see the stand just behind the girl. Also notice the awkward posing of the hands and how the pupils are painted over the closed eyes. [shudder]

They're called "post mortem" photos and they give me (and the blogger at Mental Floss) the creeps something awful:

It’s a sub-genre of the Victorian mourning portrait, in which photographers clamp and pose the dearly departed in such a way that they look fully awake — usually standing up, eyes either held open by some unknown mechanism (shudder) or with pupils painted over closed eyes, to very, very creepy effect. They’re too crazy and weird not to share with you guys, but I’ll do the nightmare-prone among you a favor and save the first image until after the jump. (There’s nothing lose-your-lunch gross about these — this ain’t rotten.com, after all — they’re just deeply unsettling.)

Roger Corman's Fantastic Four



Well before the 2005 Fantastic Four flick, there was another version, made in 1994 and (sadly) never released. The one big difference between the 2005 and 1994 movie versions, is, well everything.

First of all, the 1994 movie was directed by Roger Corman, legendary B-Movie auteur at the helm of movies like (the original) Little Shop of Horrors and the E.A. Poe films (which have little to nothing to do with the source material. Instead of indulging in special effects, Corman used old-school ingenuity to get through the impossible physics of the movie. The result, though nearly unwatchable, cost a fraction of the later film.

That brings me to the second big difference: budget. Reportedly, the Corman-helmed FF only procured a 1.5 million dollar budget, a far cry from the 100 million dollar production budget of the 2005 Tim Story flick.

Though the 1994 movie never was released, you can satisfy you thirst for the plot by drinking in all the details over at I-Mockery.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto



Rather than review Halloween II - all of the things I want to say about it would more-or-less spoil the movie - I rather decided to look to the future and talk about a couple of Rob Zombie's upcoming projects. His animated feature, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, will be released on DVD September 22nd, and apparently it pushes out to the very extreme of animated filth. Of Superbeasto, Zombie said, "All these animators from studios like Disney came to work on it, and [they're thrilled because] they get to work on something filthy. It's probably rated XXX now, but we'll have to cut it back to an R."

THE BLOB
With the release of H2 today, the internet is also circulating the rumor that Zombie will tackle yet another remake and make his version of 1958's The Blob. Although he's denied the idea of remaking another film, there is some evidence that The Blob is a go. Screencrave had this to say:

He’s obviously changed his tune, because according to the trade this deal is done. The original Blob centered on “an object from space that crashes into a field, containing a red blob-like substance that absorbs the humans it contacts and grows exponentially.” In Zombie’s vision for the film, the red goop has got to go.

Steampunk - G4



Steampunk is ostensibly a retro-future movement, which began as a literary subgenre and grew from there. One of its basic tenets asks, what would the world be like if the proliferation of technology basically stopped in the Victorian era? That's why, in the above video, you see computers with typewriter keyboards and guitars sporting brass doodads. It's picking up considerable clout in underground circles, and Abney Park - the band featured in the G4 video - have released six albums. And here is an example of a Steampunk USB drive. Notice the brass look, with tubing and gears.

It's all very Victorian in nature. Lots of brass and arches and - for some reason - brown stuff. In the video, one of the band members mentions the forerunners of Steampunk: Jules Verne and Mary Shelley. Think mad scientists and early technology impossibly ahead of its time. If you dig what you see about steampunk, you can start reading a blog called The Steampunk Home, whose mission statement goes as follows:

I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things. Join me as I search for items for my house that combine the scientific romanticism of the Victorians with our real present and imagined future.


The Hang Drum



I (somehow) came across this video this morning, and I decided to post it partly because it's a great performance, but also because I wanted to find out exactly what in the hell it is he's playing. Looks sort of like he's playing a miniature downed spacecraft of some sort.

Turns out it's called a Hang Drum, and the guy in the video is just really very good with it. According to the ever-venerable source Wikipedia:

A Hang (pronunciation between the vowel sounds in the word 'Hot' and 'Hungry') is a harmonically tuned steel idiophone created by PANArt in Switzerland. It uses some of the same physical principles as a steelpan but with a nitrided surface and structural change of having two clamped shells with a small opening so that the instrument is a Helmholtz Resonator.


EDIT: Based on the recommendations of a commenter, I decided to post a supplemental video showing the range of the Hang Drum. The commenter - as you can well see in the comments - stated that the Hang Drum isn't really a drum at all, but a new, hardly categorizable instrument. Enjoy. The guy's name is Matt Venuti, and he "shreds" on the Hang Drum. It's really a sight to behold.

The First Molecular Photo



The real trouble with small things is they're hard to see, and nearly two hundred years of technological advancement has finally afforded us the opportunity to do more with cameras than upload photos of drunken, naked coeds. As Jack Loftus goes on to write:

That B&W structure is an actual image of a molecule and its atomic bonds. The first of its kind, in fact, and a breakthrough for the crazy IBM scientists in Zurich who spent 20 straight hours staring at the "specimen"—which in this case was a 1.4 nanometer-long pentacene molecule comprised of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

How to Loot Properly in the Zombie Apocalypse



Zombie Research has posted a way for people who want to survive the Zombie Apocalypse to loot effectively. Otherwise, you might end up being someone's snack, rather than taking someone's snack. Apocalypse Dan gives invaluable advice.

To start, Dan suggests avoiding the obvious spots like Walmart, CostCo, and other mega-super food warehouses. Though they might seem like a looter’s paradise - with tons of food, conveniences, solid walls, and controlled entrances – every panicked, trigger-happy moron within a fifty mile radius will be thinking the same thing.

Eleven Types of Gamers - Bam Kapow!



Bam Kapow! posted a detailed rundown of eleven types of gamers, as found in real life. They range from the expected MMO player to the easily-targeted (and from within gaming circles, much-maligned)"musical gamer".

There are gamers of every sort and style. With each of them comes the stigma attached by society. Well I’ve got some stigmas to attach of my own. Let’s whip out the ole soap box and cover Top 10 gamers in real life. Since lists are better as a countdown, we will rank these in order of how well they stand out as gamers and how deep they are into their madness.

Aug 27, 2009

Get Your Shirt On



Unique Scoop has posted a list of 101 "shirts for scientists, science geeks, and nerds". It's pretty impossible not to be tempted to look around to make sure you're not in your parents' basement after laughing at the captions of these shirts. Uh, the only problem is, I looked through the site and can't find where you'd actually go to buy them. Hmm. I'll get back to you on that.

'Collision' Preview



Odd couples make for interesting pairings. At least that's what seems to be driving the new documentary, Collision, starring Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, in which they finally meet after two years of intense, scholarly debate over the question, Is Christianity good for the world? There is a healthy debate going on in the intellectual community - has been for the last five or so years - over this very question, in one form or another, and Collision seems to be a more professionally-produced version of this debate.

In May 2007, leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson began to argue the topic “Is Christianity Good for the World?” in a series of written exchanges published in Christianity Today. The rowdy literary bout piqued the interest of filmmaker Darren Doane, who sought out Hitchens and Wilson to pitch the idea of making a film around the debate.


With the advent of Youtube and other media outlets, what would have been obscure debates on various college campuses years ago now litter the internet landscape, and I for one am excited by such a fact.

'Collision' marks one of the more professional of these, as it is a documentary and not a mere debate. You can view the first seven or so minutes above or the first thirteen minutes on the official web site. Also, if you're aching for watching more theological debate, go to Youtube and type in any of your favorite modern theologians or scholars, and you're likely to find something intriguing.

You can also pre-order the movie at Amazon.com.

'Seinfeld' Cast Reuniting...on Curb Your Enthusiasm


This is such a glorious sight. I am not nearly the Seinfeld enthusiast (get it?) that friends of mine are, but I'm so glad I re-upped my HBO subscription. Between Real Time and now Curb, I have a lot of engaging television viewing ahead of me.

Beyond that, it's the kind of meta-reunion we might have expected from Larry David's wonderfully twisted mind.

Entertainment Weekly has a great look at what might shape up to be another kick-ass season of Curb:

For season 7, the co-creator of Seinfeld decided it was finally time to reunite the gang from his old, pathologically revered NBC sitcom, who up until now had resisted the urge to re-emerge. The story line, which starts in episode 3, is sprinkled over five of the season’s 10 episodes as Larry recruits the cast, then plans and tapes the big Seinfeld reunion (viewers will see a few scenes of the Seinfeld reunion episode on Curb).


If only we could get [insert something randomly and/or ironically fantastic about the 90s] to reunite, then we'd be set.

PSA - Texting While Driving



Intershame.com just posted one of the weirdest PSAs I've ever seen. And I've seen some creey ones. There seems to be a lost art to the awkward Public Service Announcement, but this one looks like it could have been made by Michael Scott on a baaaad day.

Occasionally I come across something on the Internet that's really hard to wrap my head around. I'm not sure if this is the most awesome public service announcement of all time or just sick and wrong.

I think I'll go with awesome.


There are (ostensibly) dead babies in this. That's right. Dead. Babies. That's how seriously they want you to take this. According to some studies, texting and driving is worse than drinking and driving. What better way to make your point than this video? I don't think there is one.

Aug 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy - First Congressman with a Web Site



According to Yglesias.thinkprogress.org, Ted Kennedy was the first member of Congress to have a web site. How cool!

Also, according to The Sunlight Foundation:

It sounds silly, but it is, in fact, true. In this month of May, fifteen years ago, Ted Kennedy became the first Senator to communicate with constituents over the Internet. Back in 1993, this was no small feat. At the time there were no congressional offices connected to the Internet. (The House launched a pilot program on June 2, 1993, hooking up seven members to an Internet network.) One dedicated staffer and the technology hubs of MIT and other top-level educational institutions made Kennedy into the first digital Senator.


I wasn't going to post anything on Ted Kennedy today, but this tidbit made my day, so I did.

Economics of the Good Enough Revolution



A short while back - less than a decade - people stopped caring about "the new-fangled" technology as much and started to key in on one element of it: simplicity. High-tech is not now necessarily the way to go, if a cheaper, easier, more streamlined alternative is presented, according to Wired.com:

So what happened? Well, in short, technology happened. The world has sped up, become more connected and a whole lot busier. As a result, what consumers want from the products and services they buy is fundamentally changing. We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they're actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as "high-quality."


It makes sense, when you think of Twitter - 140 characters to work with and very few features - the Flip Ultra camera (shown in the picture above, priced well below the newest technology), and plenty of other types of technologies. Even the Wii, with its relatively low price and ready-to-play simple Wii Sports game available at purchase, the "Good Enough Revolution" may drive technology in a new direction.

Aug 25, 2009

Batman: Arkam Asylum



You can't throw a Batarang without hitting hype for the new Batman: Arkham Asylum game. It's everywhere on the web, and seemingly for good reason. The game is getting rave reviews on every site, blog, tweet, and news outlet. If the photos and trailers I've seen for it are any indication, it deserves every bit of it.

AS far as I can tell, some of the best commentary on the game's release can be found over at Kotaku (as well as the Gametrailers review above):

Arkham Asylum relies on about 30% gadgets and 70% ass-kicking to get Batman through the twisted halls of Gotham's overtaken mental institution. The gadgets range from the familiar Batarang to the funky Cryptographic Sequencer that blows up electronic locks. The combat is a punch-and-kick throwdown that rewards you for combos and for final knockouts with spectacular slow-mo and zoom-in vision. Both function beautifully, and the latter provides so much entertainment, it gets its own gameplay section in Challenge Mode.


Halloween 2 Poll




 























Inception Trailer - Christopher Nolan



Though the trailer for the movie doesn't reveal much plot-wise, the music playing underneath (or above, whatever) is absolutely phantasmal. Awesome.

Video Games: Between a Rock and a Hard Place



Ever since Pong sent a white ball ricocheting across a black screen, game developers have been struggling to find a balance in game difficulty. It's a subtle art, and most developers have a spotty record when it comes to whether a game is impossible or too easy (Grrr, Ninja Gaiden, don't get me started).

With advances in technology - and with an entire generation of gamers all grown up to take over the industry - you'd think that we'd have this dilemma solved. Nope. Not even close. Ngai Croal has written a wonderful article for Edge online about this very topic:

Nevertheless, developers who try to come up with unique solutions to this problem can quickly find themselves under fire from gamers who not only want to climb a sheer rock face, they want everyone else to do so as well. Take a look at the response to the news of Nintendo’s Demo Play patent, which proposed three solutions to assist players when they get stuck. The first, ‘Game’, lets players bring up video-recorded hints. The second, ‘Digest’, allows players to see video of the game being played; what’s more, they can jump into the actual game at any time, thanks to game saves that are downloaded in the background. The third and final solution, ‘Scene Menu’, lets players navigate through sections of the game in a manner similar to the chapter function on the DVD. The responses on a number of blogs and message boards were fairly negative, and that only intensified when a USA Today interview with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that players could use Demo Play to have the AI to take control of the player’s avatar, then resume play at the moment of their choosing.


Check out Ngai Croal for more on gaming at his Tumblr site.

100 Sites for Bibliophiles



Plenty of people are blaming the internet for the death of reading, but it's important to remember that people are reading a great deal more than they probably have in history - it's just probably not the kind of reading most people consider "Reading".

The internet has given us all the ability to link up and become closer than we ever have, and for those of us who still read bound books (or those found on the ever portable Kindle can find a way to find those rare kindred spirits online. Online College has created a list of the 100 best sites for bookworms.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Goodreads.com Goodreads is a site I already use on a weekly basis. You can share what you're reading, what you've read, and what you intend to read. Excellent site.
  • Bookrabbit. Instead of uploading virtuatl bookshelves, you take a picture of your actual bookshelf and upload it to the site.
  • Bookcrossing. Bookcrossing is a great idea. You can ostensibly release "a book into the wild" with a description of where you've dropped it off. People registered on the site can go find it, or you can leave a code on the inside cover for people to register the book online, so you can see how far the book travels. Unfortunately, not many people in my area - Georgia - play along
  • Salon's Table Talks. I just found out about this site today. Apparently, Salon sponsors book talks for members to engage in, which un-registered viewers can only read. Sounds cool.


There are plenty of sites to traverse here, so it's pointless to list them all. Unfortunately for you, the more time you spend on the internet, the less time you spend READING, thus falling into the same trap as the Facebook crowd!

Aug 24, 2009

People Are Ditching Full Shopping Carts At the Store, Says Consumerist



It looks like we might be edging our way out of the recession - no guarantees on that - but it's still having an effect on most normal consumers, leading to some pretty sad results. Consumerist is reporting that widespread cart abandonment is occurring at shopping centers all across the country. Yep, people will just fill up a shopping cart and, unable to buy the merchandise, will just leave it in the store, slap full.

Hard numbers are difficult to come by, but Burt P. Flickinger III, a retail consultant, estimates that in 25 percent of shoppers' trips to the store, they're ditching at least one item. In the recession of the early 1990s, it was 15 to 20 percent. In good times, it's more like 10 percent.


Now, there is little evidence that it's happening to this degree, but if it is happening at all, it's a truly depressing phenomenon.

M87 Black Hole is Big - REALLY Big!



Black holes are generally hard to detect because, well, they are small and the light that might lead us to find them does not escape, and the M87 black hole is no different...except for the fact that it is a MASSIVE black hole. io9 has more to say on the subject:

We've told you before about the black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy that's brighter than its galaxy... but now scientists have discovered that it may be larger - and more available to us - than originally thought.


Wow.

Pixelibrium - Last Five Minutes of 'Equilibrium' in MS Paint



As the title of the post suggests, this is the last five minutes of the movie 'Equilibrium' in Microsoft Paint. No, not Flash. Yep, that's right. PAINT! The thing I can barely draw a successful stick figure in. Excellent video; it's amazing someone could pull it off.

Aug 23, 2009

8-Bit Metallica - Fade to Black



For some reason - perhaps my nostalgia's talking - I have become enamored with 8-bit music lately. Here is 'Fade to Black' (from Metallica's 1984 album 'Ride the Lightning') in 8-bit. Today I learned this style of music is called Chip Music (or chiptune), according to Wikipedia

Nightmare on Elm Street Teaser Poster



Nostalgia has completely taken over Hollywood, and - if horror-movies.ca is right (and it is), then we are going to be subject to a slew of horror remakes in the year 2010. Evil Dead, Hellraiser, The Birds...and Nightmare.

Information on the new flick, starring Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from Watchmen) as Freddy, is pretty scant right now, so posting a teaser poster and footage from Comic Con 2009 might suffice for the time being. There are plenty of "trailers" up on YouTube, but they're all fakes, so it's not even worth wading through all of those, looking for an original.

One tidbit I thought might need to be included here: as reported on California Chronicle, Jackie Earle Haley is reportedly playing the child killer with a - and I'm not making this up - SCOTTISH ACCENT. Hmmm. I'll have to see it.

H2 Filmed Partly in GA



The new Rob Zombie flick, Halloween 2 (ostensibly dubbed "H2"), will be released on August 28, as the poster suggests, and, though I'm extremely excited about seeing it, I'm even more excited by the fact that part of it was shot near where I live, down in Morgan County, GA.

Here is a link to a description of some of went on during the filming. Apparently, they used the local bookstore in the downtown Madison for a scene and also wanted to use the courthouse for another scene.

Aug 21, 2009

Hemingway, Man for All Seasons



Ernest Hemingway is about as divisive a literary figure as can be found - mainly because of his portrayal of women in short stories and novels, but that's another post altogether - but his literary exploits aren't necessarily what draws a lot of people to him. Though novels like The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls have made him a prominent 20th century literary figure, he was, as much as anything else, an adventurer and sportsman, and his legend grows with each successive year.

The Art of Manliness has blogged a wonderful piece about Papa's exploits around the world, including one about his talents as a boxer:

Hemingway had practiced the sweet science since childhood and at one point was a successful amateur boxer. Following one of his victories in a fishing tournament in Bimini, the locals who had participated became angered at his ability to better fish waters they had fished their entire lives. Seeing an opportunity to combine his passions, he offered the locals a chance to win back their lost money. The terms were simple…go toe to toe with old Papa in the ring for three rounds and win, and the money would be theirs. The first challenger, a man who locals claimed could “carry a piano on his head,” made it only a minute and a half before the 35 year old Hemingway put him on the deck. The next three challengers suffered a similar fate, and Ernest went home with his prize money.


You can read the entire article on The Art of Manliness.

Venture Bros. Season 4 Trailer



Hitler, Dinosaurs, Sousaphones, oh my! The new season of Venture Bros. starts, well, I don't know exactly when. I've been trying to find a start date, and, so far, I've got nothing. The trailer, though, rocks pretty hard. It's a show that seems to get better, action-ier, and sillier all at the same time, which is a very difficult feat to pull off. Usually when shows go down a stranger road, they get more interesting but not necessarily any better. The opposite seems to be true for Venture Bros.

Aug 20, 2009

MIT Open Course Ware



If you've ever wondered what it would be like to go to MIT, well, here's your chance. MIT is now offering tons of its lectures, notes, exams, and videos online for free, so that you can learn by inclination without paying, which is good, because I didn't need to pay to flunk out of that school. I can just find out how stupid I am for free. Yay.

Go to the About page, and you'll see this warning, however:

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

What is MIT OpenCourseWare?
MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

OCW is not an MIT education.
OCW does not grant degrees or certificates.
OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty.
Materials may not reflect entire content of the course.


What they're basically telling you is, DON'T SEND IN A RESUME SAYING YOU ATTENDED MIT, BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T, IDIOT! At least they're very, very astutely clear about it.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Trailer



Why is it that video games never get voice acting right? Okay, so that's a pretty shallow complaint about what otherwise looks like a solid-to-fairly-solid E3 trailer for the new Castlevania game.

Some things you might not know about it:
* Hideo Kojima is heading up the newest entry in the franchise. Go ahead and prepare yourself for extended cinematic sequences by installing a kegerator by your gaming station. Maybe stock up on Doritos as well, because I"m sure there will be plenty to sit through.

* Kojima (basically) credits his entire career to the Castlevania series. In an interview with IGN, he said (referring to which Castlevania was his favorite): "I probably would say the very first one – the reason is that when I joined the company, the division that was next door to me was creating that game at that time. Also the fact that when I was very young I had the concept of creating an action horror game that was never released, unfortunately. Capcom released Ghouls n' Goblins – I saw that released from Capcom, so I thought there was nothing to explore in the genre anymore so I gave up on it. Those two combined mean that the original is my most remembered title.

If Castlevania wasn't created next to me, and Capcom didn't release Ghouls n' Goblins, then maybe there wouldn't be any Metal Gear, and I would have created a horror action game, because I really like that genre."

Avatar Teaser Trailer



The trailer for James Cameron's new film, Avatar, has been eerily hard to find on the internet, but here's the link ot it on Apple's site.

My first impressions: It looks...meh. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's something intriguing about it just because James Cameron did it, but that alone doesn't make me want to make out with it. I mean, they are marketing it with the 'from the director of TITANIC' thing, which, to me, seems weird. I know it's the most popular film in the history of forever, but for science-fiction's sake, shouldn't it be saying 'from the director of T2: Judgment Day' or 'from the director of Aliens' or, at the very least, 'from the writer of First Blood: Part II'? I mean, if we want people to go see the movie and everything.

Aug 19, 2009

54.2 Percent Failure Rate on the 360, Says Game Informer



The XBox, well, it's having some problems, and if you've seen the strange red illumination pictured above, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's called the red ring of death in the gaming community, and apparently it's happening even more frequently than first suspected.

Consumerist.com, citing an article from Game Informer Magazine, found that the console has a 54.2 percent failure rate, over five times that of the PS3, which is at 10.6 percent.

The magazine surveyed nearly 5,000 readers to get the data. And while the 360's rate is alarmingly higher than the others, it's still bafflingly low because it blows the mind to imagine that 45.8 percent of the consoles have not broken.


Source: Consumerist.com
and Game Informer

Zelda Theme Played on Tesla Coils



You may not know the diff. between Nikola Tesla and the 80s hair metal band, but you probably recognize the song in the video above. According to YouTube user Megavolt Master, the "music that you hear is coming from the sparks that these two identical high power solid state Tesla coils are generating. There are no speakers involved." Wow, shocking. Ba-dump.

Super Mario Bros. Tests Modern A.I.



According to MSNBC, researches in Copenhagen have begun using NES games to test the constraints of artificial intelligence.

"
Human players might have defeated Bowser decades ago in the original "Super MarioBrothers" video game, but a new competition is pitting computers against Koopa Troopas to save Princess Toadstool.

The specific levels, however, will be new to human and computer players alike. Togelius has developed a random level generator that will create dozens of new, never-before-seen levels. To the possible chagrin of frustrated human players, the original "Super Mario Brothers" levels would likely be too easy for a computer, said Togelius."


Apparently, the choices afforded players in video games are exactly the kinds of challenges that A.I. models need to be able to traverse to be considered actual A.I., and the researchers say the A.I. has made some progress. "Without programming, the A.I. learned to grab the shells from defeated enemies and use them to destroy other enemies."

Aug 18, 2009

Kind of Bloop - An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis



If you've ever wondered what an NES game would sound like if scored by Miles Davis, well now's your chance. The result is 'Kind of Bloop', an 8-bit tribute to the jazz king's seminal album. So far, you can only preview the album over at Kind of Bloop.com, but it should be available for purchase (for a modest $5) on August 20. Count me in!

With that in mind, I just launched a project I've been dreaming about for years. The idea is Kind of Bloop, an 8-bit tribute to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, one of my favorite albums of all-time. I've always wondered what chiptune jazz covers would sound like. What would the jazz masters sound like on a Nintendo Entertainment System? Coltrane on a C-64? Mingus on Amiga?


Source: Waxy.org
and OffWorld

'Where the Wild Things Are' Fuzzy Novelization



Generation-X (and beyond) author Dave Eggers -
who is most well-known for the memoir of his MTV-courting days A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - co-wrote the screenplay to Spike Jonze's adaptation of the children's book Where the Wild Things Are.

In addition, Entertainment Weekly says, "Eggers’ McSweeney’s imprint also announced plans to publish the novelization, titled The Wild Things, in a special $28 faux-fur-covered edition in October."

Hmm. Novelization. At least it's of a screenplay by the actual author of said screenplay. Usually novelizations are tantamount to having a second grader take notes during a screening of the film and then publishing it for gullible fanboys desperate enough to read it and children who don't know better.

Inglorious Basterds Poll




 























Robert Novak Passes Away at 78



I do try to keep an eye on politics, and my obsession with it didn't start until college. One show I watched religiously was Crossfire, starring Novak alongside James Carville, and I remember the "walking out" incident quite vividly (which you can find here). While still in the fire of my politically-charged learning phase, I hated him, gladly called him "The Prince of Darkness," and couldn't have been happier to see him embarrassed and ridiculed on network news. I thought that he'd slink off after that incident on "Crossfire" and then return to his post as the conservative counterpoint to J.C. (James Carville, not Jesus Christ), because he was the only person who could handle the Ragin' Cajun with any adroitness.

The fire in my belly cooled, I became (somewhat) more moderate, and still no Novak. That single incident couldn't have stopped such a pro, could it? It did. It was, sadly, basically his exit from the public eye, as he was found to have a brain tumor some time later and never returned to television or his newspaper column at the Chicago Sun-Times, for which he was probably most well-known. He was 78.

There is, to note, a much longer article over at The Huffington Post.

David Cross - I Drink for a Reason



Since David Cross hasn't released a stand-up album since 2004's It's Not Funny, so it's been hard to get Cross'd, my man (People who've listened to the album will get that, sorry). His book is the closest thing to a new album we've got, so just go out and buy it.

Here is the blurb for it:
Now, for the first time, Cross is weaving his media mockery, celebrity denunciation, religious commentary and sheer madness into book form, revealing the true story behind his almost existential distaste of Jim Belushi ("The Belush"), disclosing the up-to-now unpublished minutes to a meeting of Fox television network executives, and offering up a brutally grotesque run-in with Bill O'Reilly. And as if this wasn't enough for your laughing pleasure in these troubled times, some of the pieces splinter off with additional material being created online in exclusive video and animated web content created solely for the book-a historical first (presumably)!

With a mix of personal essays, satirical fiction posing as truth, advice for rich people, information from America's least favorite Rabbi and a top-ten list of top-ten lists, I DRINK FOR A REASON is as unique as the comedian himself, and cannot be missed.


Source: Amazon.com

Aug 17, 2009

These Pictures Is...

A picture posted to reddit. I tend to get a bit up in arms about silly grammar stuff. Do they not have people working there who can fix this?

On a different note, and I may get a backlash from this, I think it's from Firefly. I know, I know. I never watched it, but I used context clues.



Original Source: http://imgur.com/u2vTq.jpg

Hubble Telescope Ultra Deep Field in 3D

I have become enamored with space, and it shows in the sorts of things I've been posting on the blog lately (other than the Poop Trap, of course). From what I understand, the director of the Hubble Telescope gets a certain percentage of time to point and shoot at whatever he/she likes, and such an experiment yielded one of the most beautiful images captured yet.

The Poop Trap - Disgusting

I apologize in advance for posting this video. The Poop Trap is ostensibly a time-saver. It saves you the time and trouble of having to clean up after your dog. Oh, wait, not really. Some things you see can't be unseen.

Angry Video Game Nerd Ghostbusters XBox 360 Review

James Rolfe created The Angry Video Game Nerd character in order to review terrible old NES games. He's since moved on to other v.g consoles. Here is his review of the new Ghostbusters game. I swear, it's a lot more tame than his AVGN material.



Check out the other videos at either Cinemassacre.com"

or Screw Attack

Quentin Tarantino's Top 20 Since '92

Quentin Tarantino, no doubt, is one of the most influential filmmakers of the last two decades. Here is a list of the twenty best movies, in his opinion, of the last seventeen years. Why the last seventeen years? Well, I'll tell ya. It's the period of time QT's officially been in the biz. Reservoir Dogs is seventeen years old.

Mario Legos

Carl Sagan Explains the Fourth Dimension

I am allergic to most science, but I've been trying to build up a tolerance to it over the last few months or so by reading people like Stephen Hawking and watching the Science Channel. I know that's ludicrous, but it takes baby steps to learn about topics like the one discussed in the video below. In it, Carl Sagan explains the fourth dimension, and if you have an explanation of the explanation, let me know!



BTW, I don't mean to lump ALL science together. Specifically, I'm trying to learn about Cosmology and Astronomy and the origin of the Universe. So, easy stuff, then.

Ghostbusters Trailer...from 1954?

Below is the trailer for what 'Ghostbusters' would have looked like, were it made in 1954. I found the link on Tor.Com (through this link, and here's what they have to say about it: "The casting is spot on (Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin), the technical aspects of the trailer are just right (witness the floating titles - Cat and Dogs living Together...); this is as near to perfect as you will find."

A Third Attempt for Lestat?

I just read over at io9: "According to Bloody Disgusting, Robert Downey Jr. is in negotiations with the studio to play Lestat Du Lioncort in this new incarnation of the franchise, following 1994's Interview With A Vampire and 2002's Queen Of The Damned."

William Golding - Rapist?

According to The Guardian UK, based on a recently-released private memoir by the author, is reporting that, in his teenage years, William Golding attempted to rape a young woman. A biography, ostensibly charting this and other indiscretions of the author, will be released later, and, as the article notes: "Golding's papers also described how he had experimented, while a teacher at a public school, with setting boys against one another in the manner of Lord of the Flies, which tells the story of young air crash survivors on a desert island during a nuclear war."

Aug 16, 2009

Best. Office. Prank. Ever.



Hats off to these guys. I just wonder how they got away with this without any repercussions. Or did they?

Basically, what they did was wall up an entire hallway in their office building. It also happened to be the hallway that contained several of the bosses' offices.

Aug 12, 2009

The Ballad of GI Joe



Cast List:
Laz Alonso as Doc
Alexis Bledel as Lady Jaye
Billy Crudup as Zartan
Zach Galifiankais as Snow Job
Tony Hale as Dr. Mindbender
Vinnie Jones as Destro
Joey Kern as Tomax
Joey Kern as Xamot
Chuck Liddell as Gung Ho
Julianne Moore as Scarlett
Henry Rollins as Duke
Alan Tudyk as Shipwreck
Olivia Wilde as The Baroness
and Sgt. Slaughter as Himself

Aug 11, 2009

Super Mario 3 Guitar

.