ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR APRIL 2012
-Few objects have as much attention focused on them as one ring from a long enduring fantasy series and it may be that there really was a ring that inspired Tolkien. The Vyne in Hampshire, U.K. is hosting a exhibition which contains a ring found in Silchester. Tolkien was called in to consult on the connection between the ring and a tablet which speaks of a curse placed on anyone with the name Senicianus by the god Nodens until the ring is returned to its rightful owner Silvanus. This could be the root that grew into the one ring.
-Disney’s been trying to reopen The Black Hole and they’ve got a new script writer—Jon Spaihts. Spaihts wrote the original Prometheus script—that was tossed aside in favor of the one filmed. He’ll be starting with a script by Travis Beacham(Pacific Rim) and adapting it for use. Disney has tapped Joseph Kosiniski to direct.
-If you’ve ever wondered what roaches are up to, Animal Planet is here to help you out. Now I will admit when I heard the title Cockroach cam, I took the it the wrong way. This isn’t a camera on a cockroach, but rather a camera focused on a bunch of cockroaches who have their own not to scale house to, well, infest shall we say. While there are other cams like penguins if you prefer, the roaches are still the stars of their own show 24 hours a day, 365 days a year...
-In the 80’s they were figuring out how to play their keyboards by using guitar chords. Welcome to the 2013 where Wieden + Kennedy guitarist David Neevel has found a way to use his guitar to create keystrokes on a computer. Rock out and email at the same time.
-With all the new information coming in from Kepler, Hubble still has some surprises for us. Recently the telescope found a type 1a supernova that is the oldest known at 10 billion years. The importance, besides allowing us a look at information from the deep past, may be in the differences between newer supernovas. Ongoing programs are making comparisons to learn more of the early universe.
-According to Kazakhstani scientists there just might be a maker’s mark embedded in our DNA. While we may have mapped out our genome, there’s still a lot things we’re learning. Two researchers have found something unusual that they believe is artificial. Published in the journal Icarus, the article states their belief that the ability of DNA to continuously replicate its information is too good.
-In another victory for new science fiction two well known names: the Wachowski brothers and J. Michael Straczynski are working with Netflix to develop a new program called Sense8. The idea was created by the Wachowskis and they are firmly attached to the process, set to write the first three of ten episodes. Straczynski’s production company, Studio JMS, will bring the ideas into reality. Like most projects, there’s a great deal of secrecy and little is known about the story. With such star power, Netflix is confident enough to proceed without a pilot and expects to have the show available by late 2014.
--The man who would be Smaug, Sherlock and Star Trek’s worst nightmare has a little more on his plate now. Bernard Cumbatch, fresh from his involvement with the radio play of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is now signed on to work with
Guillermo Del Toro’s next movie project Crimson Peak. The movie is said to be a thriller set in a haunted house and Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam are also part of the cast. Speaking of Del Toro, he recently talked with interviewers about the possibility of Godzilla showing up in Pacific Rim 2 Film observers noticed that Pacific Rim and the latest Godzilla reboot are both being handled by the same distributor and started to wonder. While Del Toro was very amused by the idea, he stated very firmly that he felt the two were too different to mix.
-Got more than $231k lying around? You might have had a shot at owning the very first phaser ever used in the second episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. This prop was used in the filming and is definitely a unique piece. Previously, Kirk’s captain chair sold for $305k.
-The recent success of Veronica Mar’s movie kickstarter (which generated 4.8 million dollars) has caught the attention of others including Farscape creator Rockne O’Bannon. O’Bannon, who is currently working on the TV show Cult, says he’s always felt that there were more Farscape stories to tell and that he continues to keep in touch with Brian Henson. While Rockne looks at things from a positive aspect, Scott Bakula takes a somewhat dimmer view about reviving Enterprise via kickstarter. He points out that to do that they would need the set and as well as expensive effects. The bridge set is actually in the hands of a collector in Germany. Finally, Bakula points out that if fans wanted a revival they’ve had 8 years to make it happen.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR MARCH 2012
-Penguin/Roc believes in Jim Butcher, to a 7 digit tune. Butcher just signed a new contract—for a new series—and it’s steampunk. The first book is entitled The Cinder Spires:The Aeronaut’s Windlass. This new setting is a mysterious world of giant spires that jut from a mist concealing the far below ground and focuses on the war between Spire Albion and Spire Aurora.
-Sometimes it’s good to get defiant early. By pre-ordering your place in the online game for Defiance you can get special weaponry, clothes for your character and a vehicle . The show begins on April 15th and don’t forget that the show will take cues concerning its plot from the online play in the game.
-Can the people who’ve kept a circus like Ringling Bros and Disney on Ice going make Marvel characters into an arena show? Well a cool ten million says someone believes they will be able to. Feld Entertainment is working on deciding just which characters will bring the right blend crime fighting mayhem to a big top type show. Since they are in the know with circus performers, they have contacts for the type of stunt work that a show would entail.
-What hackers really do is terrorize Subway. After the latest Bond film one would believe that the world’s infrastructure could be toppled with the push of a button. Apparently, not everyone plans that big. A pair of somewhat less industrious hackers reprogrammed a number of point of sale systems for backdoor access that were slated for sale to Subway markets. They then proceeded to funnel out 40k in funds for their own use—in Subway gift cards. Needless to say, they were caught.
-Peer1’s new app let’s you look at the internet from the inside out. The app is designed to map the connections that make up the net and render them in a fashion that gives you a 3d visual of the result. The app also has a feature that will let you view the net before the advent of internet giants like Facebook and Google. It even has another option that runs a projection of what the net might look like in 2020.-They may have been on opposite sides in the X-men, but it will take Magneto to make Xavier happy. Ian Mckellan will be officiating at the nuptials of Patrick Stewart and Sunny Ozell. McKellan paid 25$ for a one use license from Massachusetts in order to legally perform the ceremony for the wedding.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR FEBRUARY 2012
-Harry Potter trade paperbacks will soon be sporting new covers. Kazu Kabuishi will be revamping the covers to maintain the appeal to potential new readers. Speaking of Harry Potter, Rupert Grint, whom moviegoers know as Ron, has a starring role in an odd genre TV show called Super Clyde. CBS is currently developing the property and Grint’s role is that of an young boy with agoraphobic tendencies who is an avid reader of comic books. When Clyde is given an inheritance of $100,000 a month, he determines to use the money as his super power to reward the deserving. Finally, the groundskeeper of Hogwarts, Filch has picked up a very cool role in the special about the 50th anniversary show for Doctor Who called An Adventure in Space and Time. David Bradley will portray the first Doctor, William Hartnell. But while we’re talking about Doctor Who there’s a couple of tidbits to throw out about the 50th and the second half of the 7th season. The 50th Anniversary will be one hour long (unless fandom makes enough of a stink to change Moffat’s mind) and will be in 3D. Also Neil Gaiman’s episode will be titled “The Last Cyberman”.
-AMC is working on a TV adaptation of Dan Simmons novel The Terror. The book tells the story of the doomed expedition sent out by the Royal Navy to discover the Northwest Passage. Simmons’ story says that expedition never returned because it was stalked by a monster.
Simmons is well known for his Hyperion Cantos novels. Similarly, the SyFy channel will be adapting Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle into a four part miniseries. Frank Spotnitz from the X-Files is attached as a writer and Ridley Scott to produce.
-If you’ve ever seen Close Encounters, then you have an idea what Barry has done to his living room, except this time he’s modeled the Battle of Hoth from Star Wars and used 128 square feet of his living room. Barry has everything from incredibly detailed miniatures
including static explosions and even Vader fighting Luke.
-Rockne O’Bannon’s new show Cult may take more than one watch to become anything close to clear. Cult is a TV show about a TV show named Cult which has its own massive cadre of viewers and nothing is what it seems. If that little bit of matrioshka stacking isn’t enough to make your head hurt, then you might want to check it own on Tuesdays on the CW. O’Bannon is best known as the creative force behind the original SyFy Channel show, Farscape.
-Build Winterfell and Winter will come. Executive VP of R&D for
u-Blox, Daniel Ammann has the perfect way to relax after a hard day—program his 3D printer with autocad to make models. This time he’s created a miniature version of the Stark’s hold. Ammann says the hardest part was to get a thorough idea of all of the buildings involved because Winterfell is only briefly visible from above in the opening sequence. His next challenge will be to create an accurate model of the Wall.
-Ewoksintutus has taken the hoodie to a genre level. Their latest
offering gives you Klingon head ridges when you pull up the hood.
The front of the shirt matches a Next Gen uniform with an honor sash. Other hoodies to keep you out of the cold by different manufacturers include the Chewbacca furred model and the zombie, which reveals an exposed brain when the hood is zipped up.
-Netflix is in talks to revive Jericho. The rental network already has one original show running, House of Cards with another in the works and has also plans to continue Arrested Development. A fanbase still exists for Jericho and the creator has been approached by Netflix.
-New Zealand has represented Middlearth to moviegoers for years but there are some court rulings in progress that might encourage New Line Cinema to consider working else where. In 2010 the workers attempted to form a union and now the government is telling New Line and Wingnut Films to release documents that were in
opposition to the idea. While it is unlikely to affect the current series, the results may encourage New Line to film else where in the future.
-So after the 5th Season of the BBC’s Being Human, the show will sadly stop being. The series creator Toby Whitehouse blogged about the news and said that he understood that while Being Human had to move aside for newer shows, he was happy because it gave him the opportunity to write a true climax to the series.
-”Space Marine” has become a bone of contention between Games Workshop creators of the Warhammer 40k RPG and M.C.A. Hogarth whose ebook is entitled Spots, the Space Marine. Games Workshop sued Hogarth and had Amazon pull her books. Staking a claim out on something like this has happened before with Marvel and DC over “superhero”. Robert Heinlein and Doc E.E. Smith have both used the term before so the case is far from airtight. After the initial kerfluffle, Games Workshop has backed down somewhat.
-Scruffy Rebel shop has the best way to keep you clean at the con. They feature for different soaps in Star Wars forms : the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader and Storm Trooper heads at only 4$ a pop. That’ll help you keep up with the 5-2-1 rule…
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR JANUARY 2012
-Wilko Johnson, one of the cast of Game of Thrones, Ser Ilyn Payne, has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Wilko has decided against chemotherapy and will have several months of good health before his condition deteriorates.
-In an era of crowdfunding and other creative methods of garnering cashflow, one Washington lobbyist has a bit of a crazy idea about how to get NASA more money. Advertising is apparently the missing element according to Robert Walker, a former congressman and head of the Science Committee in the 1990’s. Walker wants rockets with big adverts on them, perhaps just like NASCAR vehicles. Walker cites sponsorships in racing of 200-300 million a year which could actually pay for more expeditions into space. What’s next after Verizon’s logo looms over the International Space Station? Etching the Coke symbol on the surface of the moon?
-It may seem like an oxymoron but San Antonio is opening the first bookless public library. The BiblioTech will be loaning out e-readers instead and have computer resources available to clients. But not a single paper volume will reside inside. This is just the tip of the iceberg as all of Bexar County in Texas will soon be headed the same route.
-It takes two and two years to film a live action version of Toy Story. Using all the toys and human actors for the appropriate parts, Jesse Perrotta and Jonason Pauley have been on a filming extravaganza since June of 2010 . What’s really surprising is Pixar’s attitude about the whole project- they are being supportive. In fact recently, Pixar allowed the boys to distribute copies of the final project from their doorstep. Now you can find the whole project on line to enjoy.
-Much like typical comic books, it sounds like there’s a turnabout coming with Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D. show– mainly the Agent Coulson will be starring in it and the show is a direct follow up to the Avenger’s movie. That leaves us with the obvious question—did Coulson die? Now plenty of other Marvel characters have done that dead to undead transition before and it is pretty smart to directly link the TV show to the very popular movie.
-Hollywood is very anxious to get its hands on a six minute short by Caleb Lechowski called R’ha. This could be one of those few new ideas that the film industry embraces. While some of the basis for the story is familiar—machines rise up against their creators– the unique part is there are no humans here. This is an alien race created in seven months by a very talented artist.
-Everything’s better with a parasail. Not too long ago there were a few articles here an there about parahawking but the Canadians are not ones to be left behind. Now there’s parasnowmobiling—one parasail + one snowmobile and one crazy driver. In most cases the driver gets to glide along gently with the breeze and pray that the whole vehicle doesn’t flip over on landing.
-How do you find 9000 Emperor penguins in the vastness of Antarctica? Apparently, you look for what they leave behind from orbit. That many penguins generate a lot of poop and their evidence was enough to bring together an expedition this past year. In December the penguins met humans for the first time.
-George R.R. Martin has released a teaser chapter for his next book The Winds of Winter. The book is expected to be in print in 2014.
-Bill Pullman just seems to like to be president and the opportunity to reprise the role in Independence Day 2 looks like it’s only a matter of time. Pullman’s latest work already puts him in the oval office anyway as he one again plays the POTUS in 1600 Penn an NBC TV series. Pullman indicated recently that he expects ID2 to be going in about a year and he was unsure if Wil Smith was on for the project. Directors for the project are Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR NOVEMBER 2012
-Spark Socket wants to give you control of any light socket via wifi. Aside from the cool factor, why would you want that? Zach Supalla, who is the brain child behind the socket which screws into any already extent light bulb socket, has a deaf father who receives notice of phone calls and other communication through the flashing of a light. There are dozens of practical uses for something like this like turning lights on remotely before you get home. Right now the sockets are $60 but the price should certainly come down.
-Tis the season to shop and any number of retailers are looking for ways to entice you to drop your hard earned cash in their coffers. They’ve got eye catching displays, flashing lights and now they are planning on smelling like oranges. Washington State University did a study on who the olfactory architecture of a shopping space can effect shoppers and found that simple scents like citrus give customers something to smell without distracting them by making them focus on what they were smelling. The simple scents were also found to be more effective than no smell at all.
-What if you could show your friends a 3D model of your fetus instead of grainy ultrasound pictures? Using 3D printing technology and an MRI scan a Japanese company called Fasotec is producing the models which are embedded in a clear plastic resin. The cost is about $1200 + the cost of the scan. The MRI and 3D printing has many uses such as creating realistic replicas of internal organs for students to study, but right now the proprietors are more focused on the keepsake aspect.
-Toshiba has taken its advertising for its new tablets to the street in a fashion that uses the old concept of the sandwich billboard and a Tron sensibility. Tabletman is covered in black, electroluminescent lights and surprise—tablets, eleven to be exact. The suit has a very Tron aspect to it and the tablets interact with the passersby and invite them to play with the touch surfaces. Tabletman, well all he has to do is look cool and pose a lot. Right now Tabletman is touring Asia.
-We built the cities, but the animals that lived there first don’t always give up their claim or so Paris is discovering with foxes. In the 90’s Paris went on a fox hunt to eliminate the animals due to rabies concerns. However, the fox is known for being clever. Around 15 wild foxes have found their way back to the City of Light and are enjoying discarded French cuisine in the restaurant gardens. London is thought to boast a population of 10,000 foxes.
-Free at last, free at last—the Encylopedia of Fantasy is now available online. This extensively researched tome put together by John Clute and John Grant is also searchable. The information here is from the 1997 volume and is in a format that will allow the curators to update it more easily. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy was conceived as the sister volume of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1993 which is also online. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy has won a Hugo, a Locus Award, a World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award.
-DNA analysis has become ingrained in both popular police drama as well as science fiction and now reality is catching up. NEC is making possible portable and quick DNA analysis. Right now the current version takes about an hour to do the work of extracting and analyzing DNA from samples. The 2014 version is expected to be able to perform the work in 25 minutes, fit into a suitcase, weigh about 80 lbs. and plug into a carjack.
-The science of buying frying pans could be more important than you want to admit. Modernist Cuisine and CHOW members designed software to help them rate cookware in terms of heat conduction and the results are not what you expect. Most folks would be shopping for the copper frying pan based on the thought of the material’s ability to transmit heat quickly and aid the in speed of cooking. But most cooks will tell you it’s not all about how quickly you’re done but rather about how the heat is applied. Instead good cooking comes from the consistent even heat which is more typical of thicker pans made of steel or aluminum. Copper is expensive so the pans tend to be thinner. A cook can take things one step further by purchasing a 0.5 inch to 1.5 thick aluminum plate to put over the burner and then cook upon. Also don’t forget to look at the warrior pans mentioned in the Watch the Skies Shopping Guide.
-Your kids might really get in trouble for carving their names in to their school desks in the future. It makes a sort of sense considering the drift of towards tablets in computing that the flat surface on top could be considered for alternate uses. British scientists are looking at the potential to add not one but multiple touch screens to the tops of school desks. These new smart desks would not only provide tactile access but also be designed to recognize multiple users to encourage students to work together to solve problems. The research so far indicates that increased active engagement is much more productive in math than merely passive listening and solving problems on pen and paper.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR OCTOBER 2012
-Right now a massive plankton bloom covering about 10k square kilometers in the Pacific is the result of one US businessman’s scheme and the UN is not pleased with this illegal geoengineering project. Russ George has tried similar experiments in the past around the Galapagos and Canary Islands resulting in his ships being banned by the Eucadorian government. In July George along with the village of Haida Gwaii dumped 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean. George had convinced the First Nations peoples of the area to contribute 1 million to the project in an attempt to revitalize the salmon fishing in the area. However, George believes that the plankton will remove carbon dioxide from the air and then sink to the ocean floor. Environmentalists are unconvinced and concerned about long term Effects and the UN is meeting in India to consider the issue.
-Step by step we come closer to the tipping point of creating life and scientists have taken another move forward. Researcher’s have taken embyrionic undifferentiated mice stems cells and mixed them with proteins to encourage them to evolve into eggs which are then fertilized from similarly created sperm cells. The resulting fertilized egg was then emplanted into another mouse who gave birth to offspring who then grew up normally and were fertile themselves.
-The Magic Finger could be a unique solution to remote control. The device fits onto your index finger and allows the user to remotely swipe their phone (for starters) without touching it. You use the same gestures you are already familiar with so there’s really no learning curve. But what’s really interesting is the Magic Finger could also be used with Google Glasses which do not have an interface device yet.
-Whose meteorite is it? The Bureau of Land Management recently put out new guidelines about the collection of meteorites. This is has some sellers up in arms because according to the regulations if a meteorite falls on public land it now belongs to the BLM. If it lands on your private property it is still yours. Institutes and businesses that retrieve fallen meteorites for both science and profits can secure a permit for an area up to a whole state depending on the decision of the local BLM Officer. Here’s your story idea : graft to secure possession of enough permits to gain a corner on the meteorite market….
-J.K. Rowling recently stated that out of the books she has in mind, the next one she intends to publish will be for children, but younger children than those who would enjoy Harry Potter. She also said she has several children’s books planned as well as another for adults.
-Spider silk has amazing properties and a number of unique uses, but who would think of transmitting light with it? Nolwenn Huby of the Institut de Physique de Rennes came up with the thought and was surprised at the result. There a number of interesting applications such as optical imaging within the body without invasive surgery since the silk is so fine in diameter. Also the silk would not have to be removed from the body since it is biodegradable and would be broken down over time.
-3D printers offer lots of possibilities to produce objects for customers and now Scott Summitt has used one to make music– well specifically, he printed out his guitar. Scott’s guitar has a full tonal range just like a classically produced one. With a price tag of $3000 not everyone’s going to have one, but the implied point here is that there is a program that with same materials would allow you to have exactly the same guitar. So the border between intellectual property and physical property is coming closer than ever.-Colin Furze, inventor, is after a record not everyone has their eyes on breaking—high speed baby carriages. Furze’s new carriage has 10 horsepower and he believes it will top out at 50MPH. Right now the record is 30 MPH and Colin is gunning for it.
-It’s about time the nerd herd had something similar to football or baseball cards to collect and All Too Flat has a good answer. Collect all of the famous scientists cards including Einstein, Feynman and even Bill Nye complete with statistics.
-Two unlikely things come together as a stealth airship will be used to hunt for bigfoot. William Barnes’ Falcon project intends to use a 45’ remotely controlled airship to film areas known for bigfoot sightings. Barnes had his own run in with the elusive creature in 1997 and has been looking for a way to find evidence since then. The Aurora MK II will have high definition, infrared and thermal imaging cameras and most importantly a gyroscopic stabilizer.
-The Holidays are big business and with more people shopping online that means it takes more to keep things going. Amazon.com plans to hire 2.5 times more than its current staff of 20K employees to handle the rush. So Cyber Monday is creating jobs, albeit temporary ones.
-It’s man versus Mouse as Stan Lee Media sues Disney to the tune of 5.5 million in damages. SLM contends that they maintain the rights to properties like Spiderman, X-men, the Avengers and Iron Man. Lee sold his rights to characters for shares and then the company filed for bankruptcy all of which leaves Disney, who acquired the rights feeling rather confident in the light of the dispute.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR SEPTEMBER 2012
-We can make rhesus monkeys on cocaine better, smarter and faster than they were before. A little back story first: scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been working to teach monkeys to identify images and to match them up with duplicates. Their best average was about 75%. Then the researchers started to watch the brains of the monkeys to determine which areas came in to play when the greatest accuracy occurred. This was done with a small probe inserted into the test subjects cerebral cortex. So the next step was to provide a disabling factor which was the cocaine. The experiment then used the implant to trigger specific neurons which they had mapped identified with decision making. The results were surprising in that they not only brought the test subjects back up to their former level of accuracy but improved upon it. The important part here is not only could this be used to potentially uplift animals to greater cognition, it could also be used to treat diseases and injuries which affect large areas of the brain.
-JP Aerospace believes that the future of the space doesn’t belong to the government programs and they are about to prove it with ping pong ball satellites in the upper atmosphere. With seven balloons,
they intend to launch 1600 pongsats on September 29th. These are experiments that can be placed inside of a sliced in two ping pong ball which are provided by students and people from all over. This will bring their pongsat total to 8000 launched so far. But JP isn’t stopping there as they will also be carrying up a rings for wedding proposals, as well advertisements. Once the pongsats return to Earth, they are recovered and sent back to their owners along with their contents which have experience zero gravity, temperatures below 90 degrees Celsius and cosmic rays.
-Could virtual Reagan influence your vote? A company called Seyer has created something that looks and talks like the late president Ronald Reagan– but the topics are all current. Combining a number of technologies like gesture recognition, speech modeling and reviewing recorded spoken words and facial expressions, the end result called cognitive video regeneration was used to create a series called “Live From the Other Side”. The issue here is that the technology works fairly well and creates a reasonable representation. However, the message the virtual copy is relaying apparently has a rather definite political slant.
-It must be 3D! According to the Warner Brothers that is. Guillermo Del Toro wasn’t given a choice about Pacific Rim which will be converted to 3D despite the director’s objections.
-The Big Red is back on track. Red Dwarf makes its appearance once again on October 4th both in the US and UK. Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryton are irritating each other as usual.
-The bluest of blues award has been given to the African berry Pollia condensata for the most intense biological color. The berries have a sheen akin to that of certain butterfly wings. The color is the result of transparent layers on the surface and is known as a “structural color”. The interesting part is that the colors do not fade with time.
-When you see parasitic wasp, do you think Lady Gaga? Scientists at the University of Thailand honored the pop singer by naming a recently discovered wasp, Aleiodes gaga.
-Doctor Who’s reinventor Russell T. Davies has a new series in the works and this time its SF plus magic in Wizards vs. Aliens. Taking the spot vacated by the Sarah Jane Adventures and aiming at a young audience still ripe with Potterphilia, there’s a bunch of school uniforms and British accents along with special effects.
-Finally someone at SyFy got smart. It looks like Canadian show Continuum has been picked up for a 2013 release. The ten episode season focuses around time travel backward from 2067 to the Present. Continuum has already been cleared for a second season.
-Prince Charles Theater in London has ninjas. Yeah that’s right- theater ninjas who silently stalk the annoying patrons who make too much noise. These volunteers who get in free to the movies wear black outfits called morphsuits and “remind” patrons to keep it quiet.
-The success of fantasy on TV recently has paved the way for a Sword of Shannara show. Farah Films and Sonar Entertainment are expected to be courting potential networks soon.
-H+, the new webseries produced by Bryan Singer takes a look at the downside of implantable computers. What happens to a connected world when the system in your head and everywhere else crashes all at once. This is the one time you want to have no bars. The short episodes do a lot of time hopping so it seems somewhat choppy but the action sequences are short sharp shocks. There are currently six episodes online and it is produced by Warner Brothers.
-Cory Doctorow always has a brilliant way of getting his work into the hands of readers and for Rapture of the Nerds he wants to benefit teachers and librarians. The book by Doctorow and Stross is available for free download and you can thank Cory by buying a copy for a librarian or teacher from the list of names he is collecting.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR AUGUST 2012
-All of the magic has gone out of EBay—literally. The online market place has decided to ban the sale of magic spells through its auctions. Spells, curses, blessings and love potions are now gone from the virtual shelves. Guess that means you’ll just have to visit the bayou for your next passel of zombie dust…
-On August 15th, Harry Harrison author of the Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Intergalactic Hero passed away. Harrison’s most famous story has to be “Make Room, Make Room”—which became the basis for the movie Soylent Green.
-If you want your dog to talk, scientists have discovered a gene which may have links to speech in of all places, singing mice. FOXP2 is a gene that both humans and the singing mice of Costa Rica share. Research has shown that damage to the gene in humans can cause speech disorders. Researchers at UT Austin are working with the gene to analyze how it works with other mice genes in an attempt to find ways to potentially fix the damaged gene in humans. And yes it’s a long way from there to get your dog conversational.
-Dystopia has outdistanced magic as Hunger Games takes over Harry Potter’s spot as the highest selling series of all time on Amazon. With the release of the DVD on the 18th, the series is expected to gain another boost in sales as well. The DVD also comes with a cloud-based version available through the digital locker of Ultraviolet, a program endorsed by the Hollywood studios in an attempt to slow piracy by making purchased movies available via streaming through Flixster and other sources.
-Google employees maybe soon demonstrating their confidence in the self driving car system by allowing themselves to be driven to work. Google’s self-driving Prius has broken the 300k mark and this has given the company enough confidence to consider dropping the 2 passenger rule that was previously in effect. The driver can take control of the car as necessary and in fact the accident on record was due to human error. Google is also stepping up the ride by adding a Lexus RX450h.
-Kinesio tape is responsible for some of the strange patterns you may have noticed on recently competing Olympians. A Japanese chiropractor in the 70s created the tape, which is 100% cotton with the thought that if wrapping a joint provides additional support then the tape lifting the skin provides additional ability for blood and lymph to flow. While there is little scientific background to the practice, Olympiad participants have been taping since 1988.
-Double Robotics wants you to go where you aren’t. Using a self balancing stand on wheels and an ipad as both a camera and a representation of yourself, the company has developed a work around that accomplishes the beginnings of true telepresence. Now if you’ve seen the Sheldon bot on Big Bang Theory this isn’t a whole lot better. However, the simplicity of the set up by using what already available via the ipad is pretty interesting.
-Steampunk Tom & Huck? Well, ABC is willing to give it a go. They have requested a pilot for the show which would be set in an alternate New Orleans where the two characters are both detectives. Interestingly enough, there actually is some real background to this since Twain wrote Tom Sawyer Abroad which has both an airship and a mad scientist as well as Tom Sawyer, Detective. The show is called Finn & Sawyer. Perhaps the time is right considering Boxleitner’s Lantern City (mentioned in
WTS-7) as well the new TV show Copper, BBC.
-Jill Thompson’s artwork used to pitch Neil Gaiman’s Sandman movie in the 90’s is now up for sale on Cadence Comic Art. While there were vast creative differences between what the studio wanted and what Neil was willing to accept, Thompson’s artwork captures what Neil brought to the table. Thompson also was the illustrator for “Brief Lives” - Sandman as well as several of the spinoff series including Death: at Death’s Door.
-If you’ve seen John Carter you’ve seen the face of Mance Rayder. The mysterious leader of the wildlings in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones Season Three will be played by Ciaran Hinds. Hinds played Dejah Thoris’s father Tardos Mors in John Carter, but those of you who are Potter fans would recognize him as Aberforth Dumbledore from The Deathly Hallows.
-Delete is a very interestingly looking project from former Stargate writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie starring Seth Green. The four hour project deals with the internet becoming self-aware and going after humanity. Delete will also include Matt Frewer, Ryan Robbins, Janet Kidder, Erin Karpluk and Keir Gilchrist in its cast.-Fringe returns on September 28th, but it was an uphill battle for John Noble who plays Walter Bishop. The star who suffered bouts of sleep apnea and insomnia finally realized he couldn’t keep working in his condition. After a treatment regimen for ten days Noble was able to return to filming.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR JULY 2012
-Doctor Who is coming soon and so unfortunately the time of the Ponds is limited to only five more episodes. But Karen Gillen already is already on to her next project, a horror film called Oculus. 10 years after an accident orphans a brother and sister, Karen's character is still convinced a possessed mirror is responsible even though her brother has born the blame for the past decade.
-Everyone's on twitter, even the universe. @theuniverse was created to respond to any tweet containing the word "universe". Beware the universe has a wicked sarcastic streak.
-Falling Skies is now approved for Season Three. Since it ranks as the #1 Summer Drama and nets on average around 5.9 million viewers, this shouldn't be a surprise. Ten episodes are currently on order for 2013.
-If you have 1.25mil burning a hole in your pocket and a dream to fly you should be looking toward the past, not the future. One of only five 1954 Taylor Aerocar N-101D's in existence is now up for sale. The yellow and black vehicle is the property of Greg Herrick who purchased the car in 1990. The wings and tail assembly following behind the car like a trailer until needed and are then folded forward.
-Instagram seems to be everywhere now, so what if we take the google glasses concept in a different direction with Instaglasses. These are designed to let you capture the world as you see it. Find that image, push the button in the middle of the glasses and the lenses will display the picture with the filter of your choice. Then you can snap & post.
-Britain has taken a unique step forward in making science available to the masses – for free. The concept came from complaints about the price of subscriptions to academic journals. What's interesting is that this really makes sense – then end result is that science paid for by taxes on the British public will then be available to them for free. This project is being done in co-operation with Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia.
-Ice cream from the folks who offer on demand luxury car service? Uber, a company operating in a number of large urban cities enacted an interesting change of pace. Instead of calling for a car using a phone app, customers could call for ice cream instead. The caveat was you had to order at least 5 ice creams, the total of which was $12. It was a hit. Uber also plans on making Hybrid vehicles available soon.
-Not every drone is the dangerous type. We have an image of the drone as a wartime machine or something that will inevitably invade or privacy. Elie Ahoivi has a different idea with his Marine Drone, which is designed to clean up ocean trash. The drone will scoop up trash on its own and then drop it off at its base for later collection. The device would also emit a sonic deterrent to animals and fish.
Comicon – Always a time of big announcements and news:
-Just in case you missed it, Neil Gaiman and Vertigo comics dropped some really big news at Comicon. Gaiman will return to his famous Sandman universe and write a prequel miniseries. The author says the new material will explain why before the events of the first book, Morpheus was captured in his fatigued state and why he was dressed for war. The new story will be released in November 2013, conveniently marking the 25th anniversary of Vertigo. HarperCollins has also announced a five book publishing deal with Gaiman for children and YA novels.
-J. Michael Straczynski has been hinting about an announcement for sometime and he had two surprising pieces of news to share with Comicon. First Straczynski will be forming a production company for film, TV and print called Studio JMS. Secondly, Straczynski will be collaborating with Rob Tappert(Spartacus) to produce a TV series for Starz entitled Vlad Dracula. There are projects in the works such as The Adventures of Apocalypse Al, a webseries for MTV.com; another webseries called Living Dead: the Musical, with the help of Patricia Tallman; a movie called The Flickering Light, based on true events in WWII and finally the reboot of Straczynski's line Joe's Comics with four new storylines in the Spring of 2013.
-At the Big Bang Theory panel, attendees were given a chance to into space. Silver envelopes were passed out as Comicon visitors as they arrived for the panel. Inside of Mercedes Becerra's was the winning golden ticket. She will get a flight in XCOR Aerospaces Lynx. Initially, actor Simon Helberg(Howard Wolowitz) was offered the flight by XCOR test pilot Rick Searfoss. When Helberg declined, show co-creator Chuck Lorre put forth the idea of the giveaway and made on fan extremely happy at this unique opportunity.
-Babylon 5 alumnus, Bruce Boxleitner revealed plans for Lantern City a steampunk series that will incorporate ideas from fans of the genre. Local resident steampunk genius Thomas Willeford will be involved as a consultant on the show.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR JUNE 2012
-Buy fast if you want the edition of Game of Thrones that features George W. Bush's head on a pike. The humorous addition was in episode 10, Season 1 and HBO is failing to be amused. This particular version has been pulled from HBO's on demand and will not appear in future DVD versions. The show's prop department says it wasn't a political choice, they just happened to have that particular head lying around.
-Brent Spiner will have a reoccurring role in the latest season of Warehouse 13 as Brother Adrian, leader of the Knights of the Black Diamond. The Knights are a sect associated with the Vatican to protect certain artifacts. Spiner is also starring in his own web series called Fresh Hell; the link is at the end in the Pterosaur Egg section.
-Terry Goodkind has taken the bold step of announcing that his next novel, The First Confessor will be self-published. This is not the follow up to Omen Machine however. But given Goodkind's popularity this is a model that could work for him and be the first step for author's to independently produce their work.
-Congratulations to the winners of the Locus awards:
Best Science Fiction Novel – Embassytown – China Mieville
Best Fantasy Novel – Dance with Dragons – George R.R. Martin
Best First Novel – The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
and congratulations to Catherynne M. Valente for picking up three with Best Young Adult Book, Novella and Novelette.
-Congratulations to the winners of the David Gemmel awards for Fantasy
Legend Award – Best Book – Wise Man's Fear – Patrick Rothfuss
Morningstar Award – Best Newcomer – The Heir of Night – Helen Lowe
Ravenheart Award – Best Artist – Raymond Swanland for the cover of
Blood of Aenarion
-We know the Doctor changes without warning in Doctor Who but what about a reversal of sex? Rumors flew a bit when Lara Pulver, who works with Steven Moffat in Sherlock expressed an interest in the part should Matt Smith step down. Moffat has been teasing that he has something rather big in mind for the show's 50th anniversary. Pulver says that while she's interested, she doesn't want to do anything that might drive fans away from the show. The thought is not without precedent even in a humorous way as the Doctor's last incarnation in the comedy skit "The Curse of Fatal Death" was Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous).
-Could Snowcrash be coming as a movie? The rumor is that the director of Attack the Block, Joe Cornish might be writing the script and directing. Snowcrash is a big sprawling cyberpunk novel and one has to wonder what would get lost in the translation. However, Attack the Block has the frenetic sense of urgency and rough edges that could match up well with Stephenson's style of story telling in this novel.
-With the exception of the Doctor Who crossover, the Star Trek TNG franchise has been a bit quiet. Brannon Braga and IDW comics are looking to change that. The borg are back and Jon Luc and the crew are once again facing assimilation. The cover of Hive, issue one, due out in September, also includes Seven and the Queen.
-Is it possible to have too much Avengers? Studio exec's don't think so and in fact are considering releasing a director's cut of the movie in August. Now there's something a little more than just more bucks here as the dvd's release is scheduled in the time frame and the two would obviously play off of each other.
-We always knew Xena was a rebel and did what she wanted, but in real life Lucy Lawless might be paying the price for acting out recently. Several months ago, in order to protest Arctic drilling, Lawless and three other Greenpeace members gained access to the drilling ship Noble Discoverer while it was docked at New Zealand. They proceeded to climb the 174-foot tower of the ship and remained there for 4 days to protest. Lawless and the others were charged with trespassing and breaking and entering and she plead guilty to the trespassing charges recently. These charges have a maximum penalty of three years prison time and her sentence will be handed down in September.
-How to smell like Gaga – Lady Gaga Fame is a black perfume that sprays on clear. But the interesting aspect is the difference from traditional perfume production with a top, middle and base note. This fragrance is designed around something referred to as a "push-pull" where all three elemental notes react off of each other equally.
-Nerdly at the opera or in the boardroom? Yes it's possible with your new Battlestar Galactica cufflinks. To the uneducated they may appear somewhat art deco in design, but those in the know will recognize them as modeled after the Captain's insignia Lee Adama wore.
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS FOR MAY 2012
-J.J. Abrams is already hard at work on his next Television project, REVOLUTION which will be airing in the fall season. All of the electrical devices turn off and nothing will turn them back on again—now jump 15 years into the future and see who survives. Definite Hunger Games aspects are apparent in the show, which has Ironman director Jon Favreau and Supernatural writer Eric Kripke on board.
-TV wise for the coming season the CW has decided to invest in Arrow, a Green Arrow adaptation to hopefully fill the Smallville void. They have also greenlighted the Beauty and the Beast reboot and renewed Nikita for a third season.
-Not too long ago Leonard Nimoy said he wanted to hang up his acting career and take a break. But apparently, it’s not that easy to give things up as he was recently on the two-part finale to Fringe. This brings up another interesting possibility– will Nimoy be involved in the second Abrams Star Trek movie? Nimoy spoke candidly about the speculations and said that the rumors started when he went to visit the set of the movie. He made a point that he’s a friend of Abrams and the he does dinner with Zachary Quinto when he can. He didn’t say no he wasn’t involved, but gave every indication that he was merely interested in the production of the movie, not a part.
-So with Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole still warm on the shelves, news comes of another return by the author to classic material. This time the Shining looks to be getting a sequel called Doctor Sleep continuing the story of Dan Torrance. Now a middle aged drifter who finds comfort using his gift to help the inhabitants of a nursing home, Dan finds a purpose until a young woman comes along with a greater ability than his own.
-We all know that the Avengers had the best movie opening ever but apparently that rubbed off on John Carter. How did that happen? Well the Disney film which was at #38 in the rankings jumped up to #16 by not bootstrapping itself, but rather for coming along for the ride with the Avengers in showings of double features at drive ins—yes those still exist believe it or not. This brought in an additional 1.4M for John Carter.
-Stargate revival? There are rumors started flying that there maybe something new in the works. More than likely this would be some sort of video game and more news is supposed to hit at Comicon in July.
-Disney has decided to pump up some interest in Tron: Uprising by posting the entire first episode on Youtube. The series premieres on Disney XD on June 7th.
-At University of Washington the trashcans not only know when they’re full but they’ll educate you about recycling. These new three bin disposal areas wirelessly transmit to staff when they need to be emptied. There’s a general trash bin, recyclable bin and a compostable bin all mated together in a unit. On the sides of the unit are video screens which educate users on recycling and advertise the program. The units also collate data to help determine high usage times and best times to pick up all three in one trip.
-If you’ve got no clue, you can always go along with the crowd. Brazilian retailer C&A now has clothing hangers that display the number of LIKES a garment receives on Facebook. We’re not quite there in the US but retailers like Kohls have been using digital price blocks on items like shoes for several years now.
-How far would you go to have your cell phone on silent? Would you get a tattoo that would vibrate or cause your arm to vibrate when you are receiving a call? Nokia may be covering all the bases but they have recently applied for the patent on the concept, which involves applying ferromagnetic ink to your skin, which would then be magnetically linked to your cell phone.
-Touché is a new system created to use any object as a touch input. This new system works in the same way that most capacitance touch screens due by looking at the voltage changes due to touch. But Touché takes it further and in a different direction in that the system can detect many different states rather than just touching/not vs. touching and can use a wide variety of materials as the sensors. This versatility is what may make this a revolutionary product.
-Starting May 16 the Post Office won’t be shipping your electronic devices. The concern over lithium-ion batteries stability has caused a ban on such shipments considering them hazardous materials. The issue is due to be revisited in January next year but until then private shippers like UPS and Fed-Ex will take over.
-So if you had to guess what was in the basement of one of the Kodak buildings would you have come up with a reactor with weapons grade uranium? 3.5 pounds of enriched uranium was in a Rochester, NY facility and nobody really seemed to know about it until an ex-employee let the fact drop. While there were some reasonable uses for the device in terms of neutron radiography testing as well as material purity checks according to Kodak records no one ever used it...
-We are finally getting closer to chatting with dolphins. Developed in Japan, a new piezoelectric speaker designed for underwater use is now able to mimic their wide range of sounds and clicks.