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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google Now Has a Street View Snowmobile

First, there was the Google Street View Car, a special vehicle with a 360-degree camera mounted on top that brings us all that detailed Street View imagery. Then, Google engineers invented the Trike, a tricycle with a camera that can reach all those places where Street View Car cannot go.

Neither of those two vehicles, however, can venture out in the snow, and this is why GoogleGoogleGoogle created the Google Street View Snowmobile. Just like the Trike, it was invented by Daniel Ratner, and it was created especially for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, so expect some beautiful imagery on Street View during the event. See a video introduction to the Snowmobile below.

Bodypainting - 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit -

Bodypainting - 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit -

IGrow: Walmart of weed opens in Oakland

By Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer

health insurance
Zeta Ceti constructs a display at the iGrow warehouse in Oakland, a one-stop shop for medicinal marijuana cultivation.
Credit: Photos by Michael Macor / The Chronicle
Call it the Walmart of weed.

In a 15,000-square-foot warehouse just down the road from the Oakland Airport, an entrepreneur is opening a one-stop shop for medicinal marijuana cultivation that's believed to be the largest in the state.
Don't know the first thing about growing pot? The folks at iGrow have a doctor on site to get you a cannabis card and sell you all the necessary equipment for indoor, hydroponic cultivation - from pumps, nutrients and tubing to lights and fans.

Don't know how to set it up? For a fee, on-site technicians will show you how to build it in your home and even maintain it weekly.

"A lot of people don't know much about growing pot," said Dhar Mann, 25, the owner, who stood in front of an array of Ikea-like displays, showing different rooms of cannabis cultivation systems. "Since there are no full-service resources like us, they take risks, like electrical fires."

This is hardly a fringe business. When iGrow opens today, at least three City Council members will attend. So will most of the leaders of the cannabis industry in Oakland, a city long at the vanguard of medicinal marijuana.

Today's opening also comes on a key day for proponents of a statewide ballot measure to allow recreational marijuana. They plan to turn in about twice as many signatures as needed to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The supporters of that measure are being led by Richard Lee, owner of Oaksterdam University, an Oakland-based business that trains people for work in the cannabis industry.

The medicinal marijuana world is still unsettled. Cities from Los Angeles to Berkeley are grappling with how to permit and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

Oakland, where voters last summer agreed to have the city to tax and regulate "cannabis businesses," has allowed only four licensed dispensaries.

Though iGrow provides all the supplies and know-how for cannabis cultivation, they don't sell the seedlings - only dispensaries can. And even some of the vendors tread a delicate line.

Gabriel Goodhart, the owner of Easy Feed Systems based in West Oakland, was setting up one of the system displays at iGrow on Wednesday. His company has an explicit policy of not setting up any system where marijuana is visible when they show up - or even mentioning the word "marijuana."
"Liability is shifting," said Goodhart, a libertarian who is a registered Republican. "A small business like ours can't take the risk."

But, he believes, the issue is a moral one.

"It's not fair to medical patients to put them in a gray area where they have to be involved in criminal activity to stay healthy," he said. "That's like not having health insurance."

The cost of creating your own cultivation system or relying solely on a dispensary is vast.

At a dispensary, a patient might spend $120 a week for a quarter-ounce of marijuana.

However, it might cost $1,000 to set up an eight-plant system, said Zeta Ceti, one of iGrow's "indoor growing technicians." But in the course of a year, they might only use half of their harvest and be able to sell the remaining 3 pounds for $12,000 to a dispensary.

(C) San Francisco Chronicle 2010

The Greatest Partiers in Film History

The Greatest Partiers in Film History

We’ve all been to our fair share of parties. And yes, we’ve all had a few too many drinks, embarrassed ourselves on the dance floor, and made out with the wrong person. That being said, most of us haven’t killed a donkey, roofied our friends, or streaked naked down a suburban street. Which is why Rick Gassko, Alan Garner, and Frank “The Tank” Ricard will go down as some of the greatest (fictional) partiers of all time.
Without question, party films have regularly hit the soft spot in the hearts of moviegoers. Ranging from the comedy classic Animal House to the more recent Golden Globe award winning The Hangover, we have laughed heartily at others making drunken mayhem on the silver screen. In a similar spirit of all things party, our own web series, “Palisades Pool Party” is a humorous take on what happens when a party girl sleeps with the neighborhood geek. The series, like most of our favorite party films, takes us on a journey that diverts wildly from our everyday experiences. And so, for all the nerds, stoners, and creeps out there who like taking a break from everyday monotony, including the “Palisades” crew, we decided to visualize some of our favorite drunken characters throughout film history. Without further ado, put on your nostalgic party hats, and check out the graphic below.

Please click on the image below to enlarge.
Palisades Pool Party

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The People vs. George Lucas Is Really a Twisted Love Letter


There’s a fine line between love and hate, and some Star Wars fanatics have crossed that flimsy divide with blasters a-blazin’ when it comes to George Lucas, the visionary filmmaker who dreamed up the franchise.

The upcoming movie The People vs. George Lucas gives disgruntled Star Wars fans a chance to vent their frustrations about the direction the franchise has taken over the years. Thousands of fans submitted video clips for the crowdsourced film, which will have its world premiere this March at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

“We’ve taken great care to show respect for a filmmaker who continues to inspire generations, and who has certainly inspired us to make this film,” The People vs. George Lucas writer and director Alexandre O. Philippe told in an e-mail interview after the announcement. “It’s really hard to imagine what our pop-culture landscape would look like without Star Wars. So our film is a love letter of sorts, but it’s a rather twisted one, as we’re looking at George through the prism of his fans.”

The fan-fueled filmmaking process, enabled by the internet and easy access to video-editing technology, made it possible for Phillippe and his crew to connect with legions of fanboys and fangirls around the world, then stitch together a crazy-quilt indictment of Lucas’ handling of the Star Wars legacy.

The movie looks at Star Wars as the cultural cornerstone it’s become, Phillippe said. “Is George the sole owner of it, or does it now belong to the ages?” he said. “And what happens to your role as a creator when your audience claims it owns your art?”

Fan debate over the extensive changes made by Lucas in special editions of the films released long after the original theatrical runs gets pretty intense in The People vs. George Lucas, Phillippe said: “As documentary filmmakers, we had to distance ourselves from the fact that we’re fanboys and fangirls at heart, to deliver an objective, uncensored, no-holds-barred examination of a unique cultural phenomenon.”

Crowdsourcing a ‘participatory documentary’

After launching a website in 2007 with an open call for fan contributions, the filmmakers received the predictable “hours and hours of webcam rants,” Phillippe said, as well as more advanced and creative materials: puppet skits, 3-D animation and claymation segments, grindhouse-style commercials, children’s drawings, vintage 8mm films, fanedits and other treasures. In all, Phillippe’s team gathered an astonishing 600 hours of raw footage with which to construct the “fully participatory documentary.”

“In many ways, The People vs. George Lucas is a tribute to the YouTube generation, which Lucas’ advances in technology helped create,” Phillippe said. “On a more profound level, it’s about how new media interacts with old media, as well as ownership and copyright in the digital age; and it was our intent from Day 1 to give the fans a prevailing voice in the doc.”

Phillippe, who runs his production company Cinema Vertige out of Denver with his wife, Vanessa Philippe, called the South by Southwest film fest an ideal place for his movie’s launch. “The festival’s unique convergence of indie films, music and interactive totally reflects the participatory nature of our doc across various media and forms of expression,” he said.

The People vs. George Lucas has grown into something “much larger than a documentary,” Phillippe said. It’s become a “very powerful grassroots movement” fueled by amazingly supportive Star Wars fans, he said, adding that this week’s announcement about the movie’s SXSW premiere spurred a flurry of e-mails from fans around the world suddenly considering a trip to Texas next month.

“Because we only have so many screenings, my fear, of course, is that we won’t be able to accommodate everyone,” he said, “but that’s why we’re hoping for a solid worldwide festival run, followed by a wide release, to give fans around the world the chance to see the film. George triggers such strong emotions from so many people, and though I think we’ll find people responding in different ways, I personally hope that this doc will be cathartic on some level.”

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Attention, Ladies: Burger King, Like a Bad Boyfriend, Wants You Back

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Burger King wants women to swallow its new party line.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Burger King has decided it wants to win back the women it so methodically alienated with "seven incher" blow-jobs and almost-naked ladies singing in the shower. According to Advertising Age, the chain is now wooing the fairer sex with ads for lower-calorie "Positive Steps" meals and plans to do a Twilight promotion this summer for its so-called "female superfan."

Lest anyone be tempted to think that such a shift in strategy flows from Burger King's deep reservoir of magnanimity, think again: The chain's sales have been going downhill for almost a year, with same-store sales decreasing 3.3 percent in Canada and the U.S. by the end of the second fiscal quarter on Dec. 31, compared with the previous year's 1.9 percent increase. Franchisees -- who clashed with the corporate office over its mandatory dollar double cheeseburger promotion -- have also reported that sales have decreased since the beginning of the year.

Last week, Burger King's CEO, John Chidsey, told investors that the company was expanding its definition of "superfan" from 18-34-year-old males to all ages and demographics, including the elderly and women-folk.
Like a bad and pathetically transparent ex-boyfriend, Burger King's saying it's sorry only because it's realized a once-sure thing isn't quite as good as it appeared to be. Trying to welcome women back into its greasy fold with condescending ads that exploit their body image insecurity and supposed thrall to teenage boys with fangs is almost as insulting as the specter of a woman trying to deep-throat a Whopper on national TV.

Thanks for throwing us that bone, guys, but until you put humble pie on your menu, you can take that seven-incher and stick it where the sun don't shine.

Looking sexy to sell nuts in Taiwan

Photo essay: In Taiwan, fetching young women in outrageous outfits sell betel nuts. Is this a tourist draw, or national shame?

Taiwan's betel nut beauties

Tobie Openshaw — Special to GlobalPost

HSINCHU, Taiwan — A magazine here is catching flak for touting scantily clad betel nut vendors as a tourist attraction.

The minor flap has renewed debate over a unique but controversial part of Taiwan's pop culture.
Betel nut, a mild stimulant, is enjoyed across Asia. But only in Taiwan is the nut sold by fetching young women in outrageous outfits, perched in neon-lit, see-through roadside stands.

Popularized in the 1990s, the so-called "betel nut beauty" phenomenon has long had a parade of critics, including feminists (the trade degrades women), health officials (betel nut causes oral cancer), embarrassed local officials (betel nut culture is low-class and vulgar) and environmentalists (the cash crop is over-planted and causes soil erosion).

But the beauties don't seem to be going anywhere. Ditto betel-nut chewing, a dug-in part of Taiwan male, working-class culture that has so far resisted reformers' best efforts to stamp it out. Truckers, taxi-drivers and construction workers are especially fond of the chew.

Outside Hsinchu's high-speed rail station, a taxi driver who gave only his family name, Hsu, said foreigners often ask him to take them to see the betel nut girls. (That might have something to do with the sidebar on "betel nut beauties" in the Hsinchu section of the Lonely Planet guidebook to Taiwan.)

Hsu laughed at the mention of the controversy, and drove us in search of the betel nut stands. "In Taiwan, if you want to sell betel nut, you have to take off some clothes," he said. "If you wear too much, you won't make any money."

Asked if he would mind if one of his own relatives worked as a betel nut beauty, Hsu considered for a moment and said, "I wouldn't say no, as long as they didn't wear too little. If their clothes were too revealing they'd be criticized."

They might also be fined by the police for indecency, in extreme cases, demanding a keen sense of exposure judgment from the girls.

"That stand's new, and the girls wear too many clothes," Hsu said dismissively, as we drove by one betel nut joint. "They're not going to make any money."

Driving past a strip of stands on Guangfu Road, he complained, "They're all wearing too much — you can't see anything. You really need to come back in the summertime."

One betel nut girl, staring out from bright blue, iris-enlarging contact lenses and unwieldy fake eyelashes, simply shrugged when asked about the controversy. "It's Taiwan culture," she said, before hurrying out of her stall to the sidewalk to sell a customer his betel fix.

Down the road, a scowling beauty, more advanced in years, prepared a batch of nuts. She slathered lime paste on a leaf, clipped the end off a betel nut, expertly wrapped the leaf around it and chucked it on a pile. They're sold in zip-lock bags, or in a box of 15 for about $1.75, with white- and red-paste varieties; fans chew the nuts like gum and spit out the juice.

A young woman who gave only her "nom de betel," (Steamed Bun) was more chipper and talkative. She sported white pumps, blue lingerie, a flimsy see-through negligee and a hooded winter coat. But not because of the chill. "A cop just came by and told us to cover up more," she explained.

As her fellow beauty slurped up a bowl of noodles, Steamed Bun said her parents originally opposed her line of work, but now they'd gotten used to it. She pulls in $1,500 to $1,900 in a good month, or about twice as much as a typical Taiwan college graduate's starting salary.

Steamed Bun said busloads of Chinese and Japanese tourists come by their stand often to take pictures and sample the betel. "It's okay, I don't mind," she said, when asked if she objected to being touted as a tourist draw.

But she did complain about the occupational hazards. "There are a lot of perverts. They'll try to touch your breasts, or stroke you. Usually we take care of it ourselves. I've slapped customers before."

If that fails, video cameras monitor the stands and sidewalks outside 24/7. Anyone who messes too much with the girls risks a beat-down from a security tough in the backroom or nearby.

The situation's made more ambiguous because some girls sell sexual favors on the side, said Steamed Bun. "Here we just sell betel nut, that's it," she said. "But other girls might do more. It's up to them."

In typical Taiwanese fashion, the latest flap drew a mix of outrage, and pointers on where the "spiciest" betel nut beauties can be found.

The trouble started when "T-Life" magazine, published by the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation and distributed free to riders, listed betel nut beauties as one of the five top attractions in the Hsinchu area.
That drew criticism from some residents of the region, which is known for its gusty weather. Said one indignant local to Apple Daily, "We're the Windy City, not the Immoral City," using a play on words in Chinese.

Soon the Hsinchu mayor and Hsinchu county commissioner had piled on, calling for a correction and apology. Partly, they didn't like being singled out. "Every city and county in Taiwan has betel nut beauties," said a Hsinchu city spokesman by phone. "In the south, there are even more, and they wear even less."
The high-speed rail corporation has so far declined to apologize. But it has "explained" the situation, according to a spokesperson at its Hsinchu station. The magazine is outsourced, the advice on betel nut girls was only "the author's personal point of view," and in the future the company will "closely review" its articles, the spokesperson said.

"Personally, I think it's inappropriate," to tout betel nut beauties, the spokesperson said. "We should respect different cultures and different points of view, but I wouldn't encourage visitors to see betel nut girls."
Meanwhile, a Hsinchu police official helpfully told the China Post that while the magazine had touted the beauties on Zhonghua Road, the ones on Gongdao Fifth Road and sections one and two of Jingguo Road wore far more revealing outfits.

On the way back to the high-speed rail station, another cab driver, Liu Hsiu-hua, said she respected the beauties' business, but that it was inappropriate to tout them to tourists. "There are so many other things to see around Hsinchu," she said.

And besides, Hsinchu's betel nut girls were nothing special, she said.

"The most outrageous girls? Probably the ones in Longtan," she said, referring to a nearby township that's also the headquarters of Taiwan's army.

(Editor's Note: See more of Tobie Openshaw's photos of betel nut beauties and background on the topic).

Cycle Crazy: 16 Strange & Amazing Bicycle Concepts

By Steph

Invented in the 19th century, the bicycle hasn’t changed much since then, and it’s sorely in need of a 21st century makeover. Luckily, there are plenty of designers eager to jump in and do just that, with amazing concepts that fold into compact portable packages, harness solar energy, store kinetic pedal power and even allow amphibious travel. Some are ready for the assembly line while others will never be more than an idea, but all 16 of these designs are quite a departure from the ordinary.

Laptop-Charging Bike Concept

(image via: gizmodo)
It’s probably the boxiest and least aerodynamic bicycle concept yet, but the most interesting part of Yuji Fujimura’s strange design has nothing to do with looks. This electric bicycle has a docking station for your laptop, charged by the bike’s battery as you ride. Sure, it’s probably uncomfortable and you’d be knocked down in no time flat by the slightest gust of wind, but you’d never run out of juice.

Incredible Folding Backback Bicycle

(image via: bergmoench)
The backcountry provides some of the most breathtaking, adventurous settings for mountain biking – but the journey to get there sometimes takes enthusiasts over terrain that has to be negotiated on foot, and most bicycles aren’t easy to carry. The Bergmönch folding backpack bicycle eliminates that problem. Not only is it small and lightweight, it folds perfectly onto itself in less than two minutes in a convenient configuration.

Solar Powered Electric Bike

(image via: the design blog)
While cyclists on traditional rides huff and puff up hills, Cycle Sol owners can glide up effortlessly using solar power instead of muscle power. Designed by Miroslav Miljevic, this electric bicycle has a roof that both protects the rider from the sun and rain and collects solar energy. It’s made for people who don’t feel up to the physical demands of cycling, but still want to get the rest of the benefits.

Collapsible Bike Concept

(image via: tuvie)
Portability is key when it comes to the bikes of the future, and concept designers are finding incredibly creative ways to make bikes light and collapsible. This design by Blair Hasty not only breaks down into a small package, but also provides storage space in the form of a bag positioned between the wheels. Hasty also set out to improve rider posturing, saying “I resolved these issues by moving the position of the pedals behind the rider and moving some of the pressure of their body weight onto the front of the hip bones, using a broad front section of the seat and onto their forearms with supports protruding from the handles.”

BMW Concept Bikes

(image via:
It comes as no surprise that some of the coolest-looking bicycle concepts were designed by automaker BMW. It’s not clear exactly what these concepts were created for, but with their colorful motorbike-esque shapes and proportions, they do provide some inspiration for bringing bicycle design firmly into the 21st century.

Bizarre Di-Cycle

(image via:  dvice)
Designed to carry the rider over both land and water, this strange bicycle concept was designed especially for the city of Helmond in the Netherlands, which has as many canals as it does roads.  Created by GBO Design, the Di-Cycle is far bulkier than traditional bicycles – which would seem to limit its application – but does offer an intriguing solution to amphibious travel.

ThisWay: All-Weather Bicycle Design

(image via: dezeen)
One of the most common reasons people give for not riding a bicycle more often is that they don’t want to get wet. All-weather bicycle concepts aren’t entirely new, but they’ve always been rather clunky and unrealistic – until now. ‘ThisWay’, a covered bicycle concept by Swedish designer Torkel Dohmers, features a transparent roof that can protect against precipitation. It’s a cool idea, but critics point out that the lack of fenders means water from the road will splash up onto the rider.

Locust Flexible Folding Bicycle

(image via: coroflot)
With its large circular frame, the Locust folds in a way that most other portable, collapsible bikes don’t. Designer Josef Cardek told Ride This Bike, “The idea behind the Locust was developed in a very analytical way: I asked myself what parts of a normal bike can never fold? Wheels, of course. So everything else must be subordinated to wheels…and from this idea it was clear to me what shape the bike will have. Also, one of my core objectives was to keep ‘classic conservative geometry’, using the biggest wheels possible to achieve the easy handling and feel of a normal bike.”

Grasshopper: Folding Electric Bike

(image via: inhabitat)
Naturally, some intrepid designers have taken folding bicycles to the next level by making them electric. But none have gone quite so far as David Gonçalves, whose Grasshopper design not only gets you to and fro, but can also become a stationary exercise bike and even generates and stores the energy you produce when pedaling.

Wind-Powered Racing Bicycle

(image via:
Unwieldy? No doubt. But creating this monster of a wind-powered, multi-seater bicycle (tricycle, actually) was a dream of Gustav Winkler’s since he was a boy, and he’s thrilled with the results, even if the creation doesn’t offer much in the way of protection for the rider.

Minimalist Theft-Proof Computer-Aided Bicycle

(image via: The Daily Mail)
With spokeless wheels designed to eliminate wind drag, tires that can’t be punctured, no visible chain and a minimalist frame, this bicycle is a definite departure from old school designs. The brainchild of Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, the bike has a solar-powered battery that assists the rider up hills and even has a fingerprint-reading device that only allows the owner to ride it. A tiny computer on the handlebars calculates the number of calories burned based on the number of times the pedals rotate. This is definitely a bike of the future: Boardman estimates that it won’t be available for at least two decades.

Adjustable, Eco-Friendly Versabikes

(image via: the design blog)
The Versabike seems to be employing some biomimicry, with a shape that calls to mind a human body. Designed to adapt to a range of different user heights, this bicycle concept adjusts using the same mechanics that we do, bending at the ‘knees’ to bring the seat and pedals closer to the ground. As a result, it can be shared by a couple or grow with a child.

Webcycle: Internet Exercise Bike

(image via: tom scott)
This bicycle isn’t going to get you from point A to point B, but it will help you get fit. Internet addicts who find themselves out of shape because they like to sit in front of the computer all day could use the WebCycle to pedal their way to fitness and browse the web at the same time – with a small catch. If you pedal slowly, the bike and accompanying computer program restrict your bandwidth, so you’re effectively punished or rewarded depending on how hard you work.

Nulla: Ultramodern Spokeless Bike

(image via: tuvie)
Nulla means “nothing” in Italian, and though this bicycle is closer to “nothing” than most, it’s still a whole lot of something. Like the minimalist theft-proof bicycle by Chris Boardman, the Nulla has no hubs or chain drive for perhaps the sleekest, most futuristic look yet.

Honda U3-X: If Unicycles and Segways Mated

(images via: Daily Mail and Engadget)

Okay, so this isn’t a bicycle, it’s a unicycle – and the concept is totally contrary to the essence of a bicycle, which requires some kind of effort on behalf of the rider in order to move. The Honda U3-X is like a Segway for even lazier people, allowing users to control it simply by leaning their bodies slightly. About the size of a retro boombox, the U3-X is battery powered and goes only 4mph. But considering that it’s the world’s smallest mobility device, it could possibly inspire other concepts that are a bit more useful in the real world.

Suspended Bicycle Lane Concept

(image via: kolelinia)
It’s not a bicycle itself, but rather a new way to ride them: a bike lane in the sky, where cyclists can literally rise above the headaches of car traffic. Architect Martin Angelov envisions the ‘Kolelinia’ as a sort of self-powered monorail for bikes: rails run between buildings and towers in the city, grabbing onto the bikes’ handlebars to keep riders safe on their sky-high trail. Cyclists are kept out of street traffic and can safely go anywhere they need to.

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Chris Nolan! He'll Mentor Superman 3.0 And Prep 3rd Batman

superman 3brandonrouth 
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is trying to ready its DC Comics stalwart Superman to soar again on the Big Screen, and the studio has turned to Chris Nolan to mentor development of the movie. Our insiders say that the brains behind rebooted Batman has been asked to play a "godfather" role and ensure The Man Of Steel gets off the ground after a 3 1/2-year hiatus. Nolan's leadership of the project can set it in the right direction with the critics and the fans, not to mention at the box office. Besides, Nolan is considered something of a god at Warner Bros and has a strong relationship with the studio after the success of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Though he wasn’t obligated to do so, he gave the studio first crack at his spec script Inception, and Warner Bros was able to buy it before other studios even got a sniff. While Nolan completes that Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer for a July 16th release, he's also hatched an idea for Warner Bros' third Batman installment. Now his brother and frequent collaborator Jonathan "Jonah" Nolan, and David Goyer who co-wrote Batman Begins and penned the story for The Dark Knight, are off scripting it. (See 'FlashForward' Showrunner Exits For Features).

Legendary Pictures will partner with Warner Bros on the next installment of Superman. Legendary also co-produced/co-financed Superman Returns in 2006. Legendary was partnered with Warner Bros as a co-producer/co-financier on the recent Batman films including Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and will be involved in Nolan’s 3rd Batman film.

nolan batman
Let us emphasize that Superman 3.0 is in the early stages of development. And we doubt Nolan would direct. This wouldn't be a sequel to Superman Returns but a completely fresh franchise. As one of our insiders reassures: “It would definitely not be a followup to Superman Returns." Nolan coming on board follows a hiatus period for Superman after that 2006 reboot as the studio tried to figure out whether or not to make a sequel to that version starring Brandon Routh directed by Bryan Singer. As recently as this summer, Warner Bros was still contemplating how to proceed. That's when we were told that "Bryan or Brandon are not completely out of it yet. But Warner Bros doesn't have a handle yet on it, either. [Producer] Jon Peters is trying to make something happen since he stands to benefit financially. But they [the studio] need to hear a great story that makes sense." Another insider explained to us, "We know what we don't want to do. But we don't know what we want to do. We learned a lot from the last movie, and we want to get it right this time."

Fans have long been yearning for Superman to finally get the big screen Nolan-ized treatment this classic superhero deserves.superman chris reevesWarner Bros clearly has learned from all five Superman movies. Superman: The Movie and Superman II starring Christopher Reeve and produced by Ilya and Alexander Salkind, were critical, fan, and financial successes. Their 1983 Superman III was mediocre. Then came a real dud in 1987, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace which continued wth Reeves but unfortunately was made by Golan-Globus's Cannon Films in association with Warner Bros. The inbetween period between that pic and 2006's Superman Returns was plagued by long delays and budget troubles and script misses. In 1997, original Batman director Tim Burton tried to make a Superman movie starring Nicolas Cage. Around 2004, J.J. Abrams wrote a film that was the first leg of a trilogy. Abrams wanted to direct, but had only directed episodes of his TV series (and wouldn't make his feature directing debut until 2006's Mission:Impossible III. McG and Brett Ratner separately were attached to that film. Ratner got closest, but Warner Bros was wary of a budget that swelled to $250 million, and which seemed risky after established star Josh Hartnett turned down the 3-picture deal that could have brought him $100 million in salary. After that, Warner Bros bosses didn't embrace Ratner's s choice of soap opera actor Matt Bomer to star.

Other prominent filmmakers were reportedly in the loop, but Warner Bros never pulled the trigger on the picture until Bryan Singer's involvement. Singer's Superman Returns was respectably reviewed for the genre. But it turned in only $52 million opening weekend, and $391 million worldwide gross. Problem was it cost too much (the budget was reportedly $270 million), and the promotion was lousy (Joel Silver was brought in at the last minute to inject macho into the marketing campaign). Worse, it left diehard fans only "meh" about a sequel starring Routh. Singer fared better, but it seems doubtful he'll be asked for an encore now. After all, Singer is now developing the spinoff X-Men: First Class for 20th Century Fox whose bosses were furious when he took on The Man Of Steel reboot instead of helming X-Men 3. But Singer and the studio subsequently made peace and he's back in the Fox fold and on board.

The restructuring of Warner Bros' business with DC Comics became Warner Bros Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov's first priority since having his contract reupped by Time Warner last summer. Problems have plagued the DC Comics-Warner Bros relationship for more than a decade. But the biggest failure has been to leave the most valuable DC Comics characters in movie development limbo by chaotically starting and stopping development on the high profile live action pics. Most recently, Warner Bros and DC Comics are finally getting their act together as evidenced by the progress on Green Lantern. 

Superman 3.0 would test Warner Bros veteran executive Diane Nelson, the head of DC Entertainment Inc, that new company founded to fully realize and integrate the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms into Warner Bros Entertainment's content and distribution businesses. Nelson especially was charged with suping up Superman again because it's way too valuable to leave dormant like this. Besides, the clock is ticking.

Attorney Marc Toberoff, who keeps suing Warner Bros on behalf of creative rightsholders, warns that, in 2013, the Jerome Siegel heirs along with the estate of co-creator Joe Shuster will own the entire original copyright to Superman -- "and neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to exploit any new Superman works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters". He's also pointed out that, if Warner Bros does not start production on a new Superman sequel or reboot by 2011, the Siegels could sue to recover their damages on the grounds that the deal should have contained a clause in which the rights returned to the owners after a given time if no film was in development. The heirs of Siegel have already been awarded half the copyright for Superman. And in 2013 the heirs of co-creator Joe Shuster get the remaining half. After that, neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to use Superman without a financial agreement with the heirs. There are also stipulations on what parts of the origins story can be used in future Superman movies and which require re-negotiations with the creators' heirs or estates.

At first, Warner Bros felt no pressure to rush out another Superman pic. As Warner Bros chairman Alan Horn told a court hearing about rights to Superman, he hoped to make another Superman movie but no film was in development, no script had been written, and the earliest he foresaw another Superman film released would be 2012. He told the judge: "We had hopes to keep the character alive and to once again reinvent Superman. Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again. What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us."

So Warner Bros is now bringing in Batman's saviour. What Nolan would do with the Superman character and story is intriguing to say the least. And he has the experience necessary of prepping and pepping a played-out franchise. The 2005 Batman Begins grossed $373 million worldwide on a reported $150 million budget. And of course 2008’s The Dark Knight crossed the $1 billion worldwide gross mark on a reported $185 million budget (and Heath Ledger posthumously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor).

Batman was rebooted according to Frank Miller's film noirish take on Batman. But there's a big difference between Superman's cinematic incarnations and comic book version. Warner Brothers and DC Comics for a long time weren’t sure which version they liked better. The cinematic version has been squeaky clean, occasionally campy, and has more-or-less unlimited power except when confronted with Kryptonite. The comic book version has some limits on his powers, can be darker, and fights aliens a lot more. Shortly after Dark Knight hit it big, fans assumed that Superman would be taken to the “dark” side as well. That's because Warner Bros mogul Jeff Robinov stressed post-Dark Knight that "we have to look at how to make these movies edgier". One of our insiders interpreted this to say: "He meant more sophisticated."
A more comic-accurate Superman seems like the way to go. No need to worry: Chris Nolan knows what he's doing.

Brooklyn Decker - Swimsuit by Zeugari. - 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photo Gallery -

Brooklyn Decker - Swimsuit by Zeugari. - 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photo Gallery -

13 Incredibly WTF Body Modifications

by: Tim

Again and again, human beings have shown off their willingness to pierce, poke and alter every facet of their bodies. Currently, tattoos and certain piercings are seen as utterly socially acceptable, and no-one blinks twice if your barista has 8 earrings and full sleeve tattoos. But some people take it to the next level, with bodymods that stretch belief and might fire up your gag reflex. Here are 13 of the craziest body mods (which don’t involve genitalia, because that would just be too easy).

13. Black Light Tattoo

So what do you do if you want a tattoo but you don’t want it to be highly visible? If you’re a normal person, you get it put somewhere discreet, and it’s not an issue. If you’re someone who tends to hang around places where the music repetitively goes oons-oons-oons, and look fondly back on the 90s, then you get a black light tattoo. Much as the name suggests, black light tattoos only show up under black light, meaning they look like a very faint scar most of the time. However, once you get into the club with the rest of your raver friends, the ink glows. It’s a cool effect, but I wonder if the glow degrades over time.

12. Corset Piercing

This bodymod is high on the list because, well, because it’s actually kinda hot. Two rows of piercings run down the back, and then a piece of ribbon is threaded through them. This duplicates the look of the ties on a corset, which has definite aesthetic appeal. Which is doubtless boosted by its usual appearance on the backs of young, attractive women. The downside? Whenever I see one, I just get a horrible mental image of someone ripping the whole thing out.

11. Implanted Magnets

Another one that’s kinda cool. Implanting magnets under your skin, which not only lets you pick up metal objects, but gives you a minor 6th sense. Reportedly, once you’ve implanted the small and powerful objects, you can detect live wires, feel your hard drive spin up, or sense security systems. The magnets are implanted into your fingertip, and when you cross a magnetic field they oscillate slightly, creating a buzzing sensation. As far as bodymods go, it’s a fair bit more practical than most. The downside? The silicon sleeve used to separate your body from the magnet has a tendency to rupture, which leads to the magnet breaking down.

10. The Giant Labret

The labret is a fairly common piercing, one which is beneath your lower lip, and is often seen as a stud or spike. It’s remarkably common, and you probably know someone who has one. So what happens when someone does to the labret piercing as they do to their ears, and start to stretch the hole. And, after it gets big enough, they stick a clear plastic plug in it. You get an unparalleled look at the persons gumline, and I’m sure more than just a couple of really, really odd glances. Looking at that, and seeing how much it alters the shape of the lower lip, you have to wonder if it makes eating difficult.

9. Microdermal Implants

So you want a piece of metal sticking straight out of your body? But you don’t want to shove a piece of metal deep into your muscle structure? Well, lucky for you, there’s a middle-ground. A microdermal implant sticks a small L-shaped bracket into your skin, which leaves just a tiny stud of metal protruding. With this hook, you can stick on all types of studs, jewels, and various spikey shaped things. As far as implants go, it’s relatively non-invasive, and won’t go too deep. You’re still sticking hooks under your skin though.

8. Ear Spiking

There are only two types of people who would get their ears modified to look like this: hardcore fantasy fans, or hardcore Star Trek fans. Neither of whom are usually the primary demographic for extensive body modification, especially ones that involve removing large chunks of flesh. But I’m not one to judge. So if you’re of the type where you think your life would be immeasurably improved by having ears that come to a sharp point, then maybe this is for you. So how is this achieved? Well, you take your ear, carve a wedge of flesh and cartilage out of it and then strap it back together. You keep it bandaged that way for some time, until it heals enough that it won’t rip itself to shreds as soon it becomes unstrapped. Then you have a spiky set of ears!

7. Scarification

Scarification scares me more than almost anything else, but mostly because I find the results oddly attractive. What happens with this procedure, is that you peel off large sections of someone skin in a specific pattern, revealing the tissue beneath. Once this area heals, it will cover with scar tissue, which will be a different color and texture from the surrounding skin. As crazy and gruesome as this is, some people take it a step further, and deliberately aggravate the wound, preventing it from healing normally. This causes greater swelling in the scar tissue, and creates more defined results. The whole process is extremely bloody, and looks more painful than I care to fathom. But I kinda think it looks hot.

6. Saline Inflation

So you want giant lumpy bits added to your body, but don’t want them to be permanent? You still want to look like you got stung by some sort of mutant bee, and have swelling that would make any sane doctor run in terror? Well, how about injecting large amounts of saline solution into your face, and then making divots with your thumb on it? All the cool Japanese are doing it! Now, I would like to digress here for a second, and mention that there’s an entire group of people who like doing this exact same thing, but to their testicles. Seeing as we’re trying to keep this list at least vaguely PG-13, we won’t show any of the images, but it’s pretty horrific. At least saline inflations disappear after a while…

5. Subdermal Implants

But subdermal implants are here to stay! A subdermal implant involves inserting a large object under the skin, and then leaving it to heal. The shape of implant then shows through the skin, creating a raised and slightly terrifying resulting effect. It’s not often in life you’ll run into someone with devil horns or detailed beaded patterns protruding under their skin, and it’s certainly a dramatic look. Subdermal implants are still rare enough that you’ll probably face a fair amount of social ostracization because of it, but hey, what price is art?

4. Suspension

Suspension isn’t so much a single modification, as a religious experience associated with the bodymod world. People who are into suspension literally hang themselves off hooks, usually through the skin of their back. The hooks are inserted just prior to the act itself, meaning the piercings are always fresh, and the person is hoisted up. The hooks must be carefully placed, taking into account the weight of the subject, and their skin’s strength, because if there aren’t a sufficient number of the piercings, then the skin won’t take the weight, and will rip out.
Suspension is never undertaken with anesthesia, as the practitioners feel this would diminish the importance of the act. It’s an intensely spiritual performance for most people, who see it as a form of meditation. Me, I’m just terrified of the whole concept!

3. Split Tongue

You know how snakes have split tongues. Do you want one? Do you yearn with the desire to separately control the left and right halves of your tongue? To slither them around various objects, and creep people out? To give the heebie-jeebies to the general populace? All you have to do is split your tongue down the middle—known as bifurcation—and then stitch it up again to let it heal. In doing so, you’ll get the tool you’ve always wanted to strike fear into the hearts of children.

2. Burning

So, remember when I talked about how scarification could have visually impressive results? Well, what happens when you take that process, remove any chance of it looking good, and add an even stronger undercurrent of self harm? Welcome to the world of self-inflicted burn wounds. The image above was done by cigarette. Slowly. And repeatedly. Over the course of a long, long time. That’s right, it says “love hurts”. And it’s almost entirely illegible. That’s just screwed up.

1. Eye Tattoos

AAAHH! AAAAH! AAAAAAAH! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT! Holy crap, that’s just screwed up! That’s right, these folks are getting tattoo ink injected into their eyeballs, effectively dying it blue. There is only one situation where I want to see someone with all-blue eyes, and that’s if they’re Fremen. Apparently getting the ink shoved into your eyeball is relatively painless, but I don’t care. That’s just weird, creepy, nasty and all around unpleasant. Some people can’t stand the idea of having anything near their eyes. Think about them, not look at that needle. Hell, I went through LASIK surgery, I’ve had weird things done to my orbs. But this? This is just gross.