Monday, December 21, 2009
Every few years you’ve probably watched a mainstream movie through a pair of glasses that make creatures, people and explosions pop out of the screen. And if you’ve bought into the massive hype, you were probably lining up this past weekend for James Cameron’s Avatar, which is screening in 3-D.
You might wonder, why can’t more movies be shown in 3-D? It would just take some post-production video rendering and a pair of stereoscopic glasses, right?
Actually, 3-D projection is a lot more complicated — and expensive — than one would think. In anticipation of Avatar, Wired.com paid a visit to Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco to learn about the history of 3-D movie technology leading up to its current state.
Remember those junky glasses, with a blue lens for one eye and a red one for the other? They were tied to a 3-D-imaging method called anaglyph that dates back to the 1950s. With this system, the images on the screen were projected with two color layers superimposed onto one another. When you put on the glasses, each eye sees a separate visual, the red-tinted image through one eye and the blue-tinted one through the other. Your visual cortex combines the views to create the representation of 3-D objects.
Though it may have been impressive at the time, early anaglyph imaging suffered from many issues. The color separation on film was very limited, and thus it was difficult to perceive details in 3-D scenes. Another frequent problem was ghosting, which happened when the image that should be appearing in your left eye would creep over to the right.
And then there’s the screen. Theaters projecting 3-D movies with the anaglyph method had to install silver screens for an ideal viewing experience. That’s because the more reflective screen helped keep the two different light signals separated.
3-D movie technology has come a long way. Anaglyph imaging has improved: Glasses now are typically red and cyan, which, when combined, can make use of all three primary colors, resulting in more realistic color perception.
RealD cinema, currently the most widely used 3-D movie system in theaters, uses circular polarization — produced by a filter in front of the projector — to beam the film onto a silver screen. The filter converts linearly polarized light into circularly polarized light by slowing down one component of the electric field. When the vertical and horizontal parts of the picture are projected onto the silver screen, the filter slows down the vertical component. This effectively makes the light appear to rotate, and it allows you to more naturally move your head without losing perception of the 3-D image. Circular polarization also eliminates the need for two projectors shooting out images in separate colors. The silver screen, in this case, helps preserve the polarization of the image.
Dolby’s 3-D system, used for some Avatar screenings, is a little different. It makes use of an exclusive filtration wheel (above) installed inside the projector in front of a 6.5-kilowatt bulb. The wheel is divided into two parts, each one filtering the projector light into different wavelengths for red, green and blue. The wheel spins rapidly — about three times per frame — so it doesn’t produce a seizure-inducing effect. The glasses that you wear contain passive lenses that only allow light waves aligned in a certain direction to pass through, separating the red, green and blue wavelengths for each eye.
The advantages of Dolby’s 3-D system? There’s no need for a silver screen, thanks to the built-in color-separation wheel and the powerful bulb right next to it, ensuring a bright picture necessary for 3-D viewing. Also, a mechanism can be adjusted inside the projector to change the projection method from reflection to refraction — meaning theaters can switch between projecting regular movies and 3-D movies.
The cons? The glasses are pricey: $27 apiece, so they’re designed to be washed and reused (as opposed to recycled). (Although, this would be considered a pro for the environment.) Altogether, a Dolby 3-D projection system costs theaters about $26,500, not including the eyewear.
Updated 9 a.m. PDT with more details explaining circular polarization.
Photos: Jon Snyder/Wired.com, Brian X. Chen/Wired.com
The Bamboo Bike Studio is run by three men in their late 20s who know a lot about bamboo and a lot about bicycles. On a cool autumn morning, two of them are out on a bamboo harvest — in a dense grove near New Brunswick, N.J.
Justin Aguinaldo and Sean Murray carry a small Japanese pull saw and a caliper to find bamboo stems that are 1 1/2 inches thick. When they find stems that are just right, they tap the bamboo to make sure it's not too soft: "If the bamboo's too watery, it's not as dense and it's not as strong," Aguinaldo explains.
Aguinaldo makes his living as a bicycle messenger. Sean Murray is a former schoolteacher whose voice mail greeting makes note of the fact that he is now living the dream of making bikes with his friends.
Murray says he finds bamboo patches by reading online gardening forums. He says a lot of people start growing bamboo as a decorative plant — but then it gets out of hand.
"There's a kind of urgency brought on by the protests of their neighbors," Murray says.
The two bamboo bike makers cut the green bamboo stems in 3-foot and 5-foot lengths and fill the trunk of their small sedan before heading back to their bike studio in Brooklyn.
'My Bike Is My Favorite Object Now'
Back at the bike studio, the bamboo's outer skin is treated with a torch, and the stems are baked in a homemade oven. The brown stems are then fastened into frames by connecting them with a sawdust and resin mixture. The joints are wrapped with a thin, ribbon-like carbon fabric that soaks up epoxy. After the epoxy dries, the bike's joints look like they've been wrapped with black electrical tape.
On a recent weekend, Sari Harris — a self-described "tinkerer" — spent close to $1,000 to make her own bamboo bike. For that fee, she got the bamboo frame and all of the components she needed to make a multi-gear or single-speed bike — and a bamboo bike expert to guide her through the assembly process.
Harris is an information architect who was overdue for a bike upgrade — she'd had her old bike for more than 20 years. Harris designs interfaces for mobile phone apps — but she admits she's a little less savvy with bike maintenance ("I can change a tire and that's it," she says.) Learning the mechanics and components of her bike really appealed to Harris, and she says she now plans to do her own tuneups.
Engineer Marty Odlin was supervising Harris' work. Odlin estimates that there are now close to 80 bamboo bikes on the road that were built in his Brooklyn studio.
"Everyone who leaves the studio says, 'Wow, my bike is my favorite object now.' " Odlin says. "They have such a connection to this thing that came together under their own hands. They may not come here to have that connection to their bicycle, but that's what they leave with."
'Something With More Enduring Value'
The Bamboo Bike Studio has drawn amateur bike builders from as far away as California and England. Alexis Mills, a bicycle messenger in Ottawa, and his 61-year-old mother, a doctor, came and made bikes.
Back in Canada, Mills quickly found that people who ride around on bamboo bikes get a lot of questions about their wheels.
"The ride itself is really smooth," Mills says. "It eats up a lot of the vibrations of the road. I wondered if it might be too flexible or too mushy, but it's not. It's really nice to ride."
Interest in bamboo bikes is growing. A company in Colorado says it will start shipping bamboo bikes in the spring that cost as much as $1,300. But Marty Odlin says the bamboo bike makers here in Brooklyn believe in doing things a different way.
"There is a concern that bamboo bikes become this fad," he explains. "And we could sell a whole bunch of them for a whole lot of money to a whole bunch of people very quickly and then nothing after that, right? It becomes a fad and dies out. We feel like we're building something with more enduring value than that."
The bikes themselves really last; Odlin and his two partners have all ridden thousands of miles on New York City streets on their bamboo frames. And whether it's a fad or not, the bamboo bike-making classes are filled until April.
Football League Partnering With Researchers to Study Effects of Sports Injuries on Brain, Alzheimer'sBy AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich
The league now plans to encourage current and former NFL players to agree to donate their brains to the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has said it found links between repeated head trauma and brain damage in boxers, football players and, most recently, a former NHL player.
"It's huge that the NFL actively gets behind this research," said Robert Cantu, a doctor who is a co-director of the BU center and has spoken negatively about the league in the past. "It forwards the research. It allows players to realize the NFL is concerned about the possibility that they could have this problem, and that the NFL is doing everything it can to find out about the risks and the preventive strategies that can be implemented."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP on Sunday that the league also is committed to giving $1 million or more to the center. Aiello said the league already has held discussions with the NFL Alumni Association about suggesting that retired players look into participating in BU's work by offering their brains for study after they die.
The league also will contact the nearly 100 retired football players who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia and are receiving benefits from the league to ask their families to consider donating those players' brains to the BU study.
"The people affiliated with the center have identified the donation of brains, both from healthy people and those that have had multiple concussions, as their most critical need right now to further the research into this disease," Aiello said. "We ... will discuss with the center its research needs as we go forward in this partnership."
Cantu said he and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met in October to discuss concussions and the BU project.
Sunday's news represents the latest in a series of moves the NFL has made in recent weeks to step up its attention to concussions in the aftermath of a congressional hearing on the topic.
That included stricter return-to-play guidelines detailing what symptoms preclude someone from participating in games or practices; a mandate that each team select a league- and union-approved independent neurologist to be consulted when players get concussions; and the departure of the two co-chairmen of the NFL's committee on brain trauma.
"They have done a bit of an about-face. Pressure probably has played a role in that," Cantu said in a telephone interview. "But I honestly think that Goodell does believe in player safety and the product is just better with your best players on the field, not your best players injured."
Aiello said Sunday that a concussion study the league has been conducting since 2007 is on hold until the former committee co-chairmen - Ira Casson and David Viano - are replaced. They resigned last month. He said the league is interviewing candidates, none of whom is currently affiliated with the league or any team.
"Now that we're changing the committee, we want to make some revisions in how the study proceeds," Aiello said in a telephone interview.
The New York Times first reported that the study is on hold.
Casson is slated to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Jan. 4 about football head injuries. He did not attend the panel's hearing Oct. 28, when BU's Cantu said there is "growing and convincing evidence" that repetitive concussive and subconcussive hits to the head in NFL players leads to a degenerative brain disease.
Another co-director of the BU center, Ann McKee, showed the committee images of brains of dead football players with the disease and told lawmakers, "We need to take radical steps" to change the way football is played.
© MMIX The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Posted by Jeanine Kay-IllinoisFrom: http://futurity.org/
U. ILLINOIS—An engineering team has developed a face recognition system that is remarkably accurate in realistic situations.
Unlike existing face recognition programs that try to find “optimal” facial features, the new program uses sparse representation. One of the program’s developers, Yi Ma, an associate professor at the University of Illinois, contends that the choice of features is less important than the number of features used.
“Face recognition is not new, but new mathematical models have allowed researchers to identify faces so occluded that it was previously thought impossible,” says Ma.
People can learn upwards of tens of thousands of different human faces during their lifetime. Various real-world situations such as lighting, background, pose, expression, and occlusion may complicate human recognition, but are incredibly difficult problems for traditional face recognition algorithms to conquer.
Ma’s sparse representation algorithm randomly selects pixels from all over the face, increasing the accuracy of recognition even in cases of disguise, varying expressions, or poor image quality.
The algorithm also increases accuracy by ignoring all but the most compelling match from one subject.
Experiments using sparse representation support the approach. In an experiment that uses two established databases of faces, the Yale B and the AR, the new face recognition method is remarkably accurate. Applying this approach to the Yale B database shows 98.3% accuracy using mouth-region images. The AR database shows 97.5% accuracy on face images with a sunglasses disguise and 93.5% accuracy with a scarf disguise.
The technology is jointly owned by the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley, and could have applications for personal and corporate use.
“The computer can identify images that the human eye can’t,” says Ma, who sees a future where people can capture someone’s face with their camera phone, upload the image to a web-based service, and have a match sent to them seconds later.
University of Illinois news: http://news.illinois.edu/
He's a master of entrapment. Trying to break free of his sticky weed-web will only get you further entangled. He'll do anything to hang out with you, even if it means locking the door and making bagel bites. You say to yourself, "alright, maybe this one time." It's hard to say no, but you know you can't be seen with this guy. He's a f***ing drug dealer.
Tagline: "You and I make a good team. We should hang out more!"
2. The Late One
You called him three hours ago. He's still not here. You're friends are getting antsy and the Death Cab show starts in 45 minutes. All drug dealers have a skewed concept of time, but this species is particularly out of sync with the rest of the world. He'll get you your product, but say goodbye to any movie previews or opening bands you were planning on seeing.
Tagline: "I'll be there in five minutes".
3. Earthy One
Rather than living by the code of the traditional drug dealer, the earthy one believes he's doing you a service in the name of mother nature. Aside from taking his job a little too seriously, he'll be totally useless after the transaction, unless you have any interest in learning about the fungus that he's cultivating in his dreads.
Tagline:"I mean, how are you going to get any closer to gaya without it?"
4. The Sketchy One
Suddenly, you're wondering if you should be buying drugs from this guy. He's spilling shit everywhere, he talks too loud, and he clearly hasn't heard the term "never get high on your own supply." Turn off your cell phone around this guy, the Drug and Firearms officials could be listening.
Tagline: "Shit! Everything is totally fucked, dude!"
5. The Girl
She's hot. She's in charge. She sells you drugs. All sorts of conflicting feelings are coursing through your veins. She transports weed in places that none of your other male dealers could...like her purse. It takes you three visits to realize she's totally not into you and she's a damn good saleswoman.
Tagline: "Baby, I know $150 for an eighth sounds expensive..."
6. The Entrepreneur
You're going to college so you can sit in an office someday and get a paycheck. He's selling drugs so he can...uh... sell drugs for the rest of his life. This guy has more gadgets than James Bond and his utility belt puts Batman to shame. He takes himself so seriously that he's pretty sure someone will make of movie of his life if they aren't already. His favorite movie is Blow, eventhough he's never seen it all the way through.
Tagline: "I've got to call you back, my other Blackberry is ringing."
7. The One You Really Shouldn't Be Buying Drugs From
This includes but is not limited to: family members, friend's family members, police officers, children, Quiznos employees, hockey players, creatures of ancient lore and people in suits. These are the people that your conscience has a serious problem with; but it's late and you're desperate, so you dive into that moral grey area head first. You'll regret it the next day, or the next time you order a bacon cheddar ranch sandwich.
Tagline: "Make sure you don't forget, Aunt Janets's birthday is the 14th."
8. The One Who's Out of Your League
The entrance to this guy's house has a few too many unnecessary roman columns and/or marble fountains. His sports cars are fanned out in front of his compound like he's filming an episode of MTV Cribs. There are multiple scary dogs at the front door and just as many scary people in suits at attention. He laughs when you say how much you want to buy, no matter how much it is. He deals drugs out of metal briefcases and wears bathrobes everywhere. This man is known around town as a"force". He is way out of your league. He usually sells white and brown drugs and eats the green ones for breakfast.
Tagline: "Hello my friend. I apologize for the strip search, but a man of my status can never be too careful."
Holiday travel can be a tiresome experience. If you want to relax with a little Wi-Fi on the plane, MyMoneyBlog.com has compiled a list of the codes you can use to get free internet access during your holiday excursions.
Yesterday we showed you the inflight Wi-Fi cheat sheet, and according to the chart there are really only four airlines where you even have a chance of finding the internet: Delta, AirTran, American Airlines and Virgin America. The first three require a code to get free Wi-Fi, but Virgin America doesn't.
According to FlyerTalk and MyMoneyBlog.com, these are the codes you'll need to use on Delta, AirTran or AA. All expire on December 31:
• Delta: DELTATRYGOGO
• AirTran: AIRTRANTRYGOGO
• American Airlines: AATRYGOGO
Edit: Reader Fo just reminded me that these codes are for new users only, and work once per email address. The same likely applies for the codes below. (But if you have a Gmail account, you can insert random periods in the username to create "unique" addresses that all go to your account.)
Edit 2: And a friendly reminder: If you end up using inflight Wi-Fi, check out how to join our Mile High Club
If you're flying Virgin America, you don't have to do anything. Google partnered up with the airline to provide free Wi-Fi throughout the holidays until January 15.
Send an email to Chris Jacob, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by djmick
If you aren’t too keen on heights then the look of these 15 foot bridges will fill you with fear. Even for someone with a head for heights they are still pretty scary looking.
I wonder how many of them can take two or three people at the same time? My guess is a few but not all.
youtube.com — When Washington State's Shorecrest High challenged Shorewood High to make a Lipdub video they didnt know what they were getting themselves into. Beat THAT, Shorecrest!
Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff
(Bobby Orr, Milt Schmidt, and Terry O'Reilly / Reuters)
Years ago, Ray Bourque got the chance to take batting practice at Fenway Park.
Cranked four over the Green Monster, he said.
But what would he have said if someone that day had told him one day he'd go ice skating at Fenway Park?
"You're crazy," Bourque said Friday after being one of the first to go ice skating on the rink that has been constructed at Fenway for the NHL's Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
"But I really think the NHL has a great thing going here. Never would I have thought I would see a rink in the middle of Fenway Park," said Bourque, who played 1,518 games from 1979 to 2000 for the Bruins and had 1,506 points and 395 goals.
It was hockey weather indeed at the historic ballpark on Yawkey Way, and Bourque was one of many Bruins legends who donned sweaters with the spoked B and skates despite extremely chilly temps.
The lineup included Cam Neely, Ken Hodge, Terry O'Reilly, Rick Middleton, Bob and Don Sweeney, and Bobby Orr. A youth hockey team from Somerville also participated, and even Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek laced up a pair of loaners and tested the ice.
"It's nice. The ice is only going to get better," Bourque said. "It's a special place to play that game. I'm jealous."
The significance of the Winter Classic not only coming to Boston but involving two of the city's historic franchises was not lost on Neely, who played 525 games for the Bruins from 1986 to 1996.
"Two organizations that are kind of original within their respective sports, it's kind of neat to see them come together like this," Neely said.
Many players were asked if skating outdoors at Fenway brought back memories of playing outdoor hockey as youths.
"It's similar, but different," Neely said. "We're used to skating with a bunch of trees around you and you've got to watch out for leaves in the ice, but it does bring it back, skating outdoors."
One current Bruin, Milan Lucic, also attended, although he did not skate because he is still recovering from an ankle injury. However, he said he'll give his teammates -- who begin a three-game road trip tonight in Chicago -- some intel on the rink, including sun glare and other issues they may have to deal with on gameday.
This little girl can type 119 wpm. It's not just a skill, it's a hobby. She started playing on the computer at age 4 and spends her weekends typing. Her goal right now? "I'd like to get to at least 200(wpm)."
While this may sound strange, I can understand the allure of the type test — when I was in middle school, I used to procrastinate from studying by taking type tests on my super old Apple machine. It's really not that different from any other addictive game — most of us now associate it with work, but back then I was constantly trying to beat myself in speed and accuracy. By the way, if you're curious to know how fast you're typing, you can take a one-minute typing test here.
Unify logins, files and favourite sites between all your computers
By Joe Cassels
Staying synchronised across several different PCs can be a challenge. Updating files manually isn't a great idea, especially if you do so regularly, because it takes only one mistake to cause serious problems.
Obviously keeping regular backups will protect you against data loss, but managing multiple versions of files can be very tricky.
The best option is to use an automated system that backs your files up remotely and synchronises each PC whenever you're connected to the internet, so you don't have to worry about transfer drives.
Dropbox handles this automatically and you can use 2GB of space with a free account. All internet transfers are encrypted. When you set up Dropbox, you can specify the location of its folder.
Everything inside it will be uploaded to its servers and mirrored on any computer that you install the program on. It comes in Windows, Mac and Linux variants, so you can sync data across operating systems.
Once you've signed up for an account and installed the software, simply place anything you want mirrored across your PCs into the Dropbox folder. As long as your computer is online, it will receive the most up-to-date version of the files. Changes made to files while offline will be updated when you connect to the net again.
Password manager KeePass uses a database file to store encrypted copies of your passwords and log-in information. You can opt to save this file wherever you like; just ensure this resides within your Dropbox folder to keep it up-to-date on all your computers.
KeePass has Mac and Linux versions that use the same database files as the Windows version, giving you a cross platform password synchronising solution.
The main limitation of Dropbox is that it doesn't synchronise data that isn't stored within its folder. This makes it unsuitable for synchronising files that need to be stored in a specific location, such as bookmarks and some calendar files.
However, you can persuade it to sync outside its folder by using a little hack and symbolic links. In Windows Vista onwards, you can use a command called mklink to link an external folder to your Dropbox.
So, to sync Firefox bookmarks, first ensure that hidden files are shown by typing folder options into the Start menu search, selecting the View tab and choosing 'Show Hidden Files and Folders'. Click 'OK'.
On a PC, browse to 'C:\ Users\
Now choose 'Start | All Programs | Accessories' and right-click 'Command Prompt'. Select 'Run as Administrator'.
At the command prompt, enter mklink /D "D:\My Documents\Dropbox\xxxx xxxx.default" "C:\ Users\
Remember to substitute the location of your dropbox folder and your folder settings for your Firefox profile. You'll need to set up symbolic links like this one on each PC that you want to sync.
There are easier ways to synchronise bookmarks, but this principle works for any program that needs to store its data in a specific place.
First published in PC Plus Issue 288
By Brian Fairbanks
Playboy has never known what to do about the holidays. Each year, the magazine recycles jokes our grandfather learned in The Great War about Santa Claus coming down the chimney and joining the orgy around the Christmas tree. They usually have Santa looking in on Eliot Spitzer and Ashley Dupre, saying, "Ho ho ho!" But once in a while, the magazine gets the holidays right: dressing up the Playmates as young Mrs. Clauses, complete with lingerie and a present in the bedroom, if we would just follow their come-hither looks.
January 1954. Playboy was a tad on the late side for its holiday cover that season, but maybe because the December '53 issue was its first ... and featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover. While the follow-up isn't quite as memorable as the premiere, it still demands a place on this list for featuring the Playboy Bunny character gleefully eyeballing a pair of boobs.
December 1960. While it took Playboy a few years to find the courage to combine eroticism and Christmas (and this was before the days when Bill O'Reilly would have have thrown a temper tantrum over it), the last cover of the first year of the swingin' 60s was at least a step forward. Sadly forgotten model Teddi Smith is shown standing up in her finest sexy Santa suit, and that's all she needs to do to sell us on this issue: stand there.
February 1970. This one's cheating a bit, but we missed it on our Best Playboy Covers of the 1970s list. Sure, February is a bit past the holiday season, but it probably went out to subscribers right after New Year's and has a Valentine's Day theme, so that counts, right? None of that matters, anyway, when there is a naked ass to enjoy.
December 1970. Who would have guessed that a naked model in a Santa hat would be sexier than just a plain ol' naked model? Shay Knuth knew this before we did, and thankfully Playboy gave her to us for Christmas in 1970.
December 1972. As the rest of the country joined the sexual revolution that Playboy helped jump-start, the magazine decided to buck the trend and step back into the past with its December '72 edition. The cover featured a play on the classic Coca-Cola Christmas ads, except with an illustration of a hot naked chick playing Santa Claus. The only way you'll ever get to see anything like this nowadays is by joining us at Santacon.
December 1974. Mother of God, what is Playmate Robyn Douglass going to do with that candy cane? The outrage, the scandal, the sacrilege! I'll take two copies, please.
January 1976. We'll give you 12 reasons why this cover makes our list: Lynnda Kimball, Mesina Miller, Lillian Müller (Yuliis Ruval), Azizi Johari, Ingeborg Sorensen, Victoria Cunningham, Lynn Schiller, Laura Misch, Jill de Vries, Bridgett Rollins, Janet Lupo, Nancie Li Brandi. One for every lonely night of Christmas.
January 1993. Four boobs, one cover. You would be forgiven for having high expectations for 1993 after receiving this in your mailbox.
December 1996: Playboy's holiday covers bounced back in a big way in '96 with this Jenny McCarthy-led edition -- you know, before she was spoiled by Jim Carrey.
December 1999. As awful as Naomi Campbell's outfit is on the cover of Playboy's 1999 holiday issue, the supermodel at least had the hotness to make it work. But ... hang on a second ... isn't a landline phone what Ms. Campbell launched at her assistant that one time?
December 2000. This is exactly what you should get me for Christmas this year, Mom: a miniature naked Carmen Electra, trapped inside a tree ornament.