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Friday, April 2, 2010
Remember the A-Team teaser from a couple months ago? The one introducing us to the revival of the beloved ’80s-TV mercenaries, adapted to slicker, more contemporary and/or insanely expensive action-film tropes? If so, the new trailer that premiered this morning will help flesh out the dimensions of that nostalgia trip. If not, you’re in for a treat! A bombastic, plotless, oversharing treat, but a delicious one nevertheless.
Of all the explosions and one-liners and appeals upon appeals to the 14-year-old boys in the viewing audience, the new trailer features no cannier move than to emerge a day after The Expendables trailer exposed us to the more grizzled side of mercenary living. Fox clearly will not be outshone by some glorified Sylvester Stallone B-movie, and nor will The A-Team’s smirking ensemble allow the more grizzled genre pros to usurp their birthrights to summer tentpole glory.
That said, it seems like there’s a little too much here — too many set pieces given away, too many ’80s callbacks hinted at… I mean, if you’re going make the symbolic effort of [SPOILER ALERT] destroying B.A. Baracus’s van as if to start the franchise anew, why tell me before you have my money? It’s not a new problem by any means, but come on, Hollywood: Save something for the theater. Because of course we’re going.
In a surprising move – that even took people close to her off guard - True Blood's sexy star Anna Paquin is publicly revealing she’s bisexual for the very first time, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
As we were the first to report, Paquin -- who’s engaged to her handsome True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer -- quietly made the revelation during a top-secret taping earlier this year of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on behalf of the True Colors Fund, an organization dedicated to fighting for equal rights for everyone –gay, straight, bisexual or transgendered.
The PSA was taped Saturday, January 30th, at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, and a source exclusively tells RadarOnline.com that Paquin, on-camera, identified herself as being bisexual, saying: “I’m Anna Paquin. I’m bisexual, and I give a damn.”
"Give A Damn” is the theme of the campaign which will feature several celebs speaking out for equality. It officially launches on-line at wegiveadamn.org at 9 a.m. EST on Thursday, April 1st, but RadarOnline.com has an exclusive first look at two of the PSA's being released. Others celebs who were at the taping when Paquin made her surprising announcement included comedienne Margaret Cho and singers Mya and Jason Mraz.
Our source tells us that people close to Paquin, who were at the shoot, did not know she was going to make the statement, and it was a surprise to them.
PHOTOS: Anna Paquin's Star Style Evolution
Other celebrities taking part in the campaign include Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne, Judith Light, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, and Wanda Sykes –all proclaiming they “Give A Damn” about equality as they too publicly declare their sexuality, be it straight, gay or bisexual.
The True Colors Fund is the non-profit arm of the True Colors Tour. Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, the organization, according to it’s website, is dedicated “to inspire and engage everyone, particularly the straight community, to become active participants in the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) equality and ensure a strong and vibrant LGBT community.”
Paquin, 27, plays telepathic Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s vampire drama True Blood. This is not the first time Paquin will have surprised Hollywood. In 1994, at the tender age of eleven, the New Zealand native stunned Tinseltown when she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as the precocious child in The Piano. Her co-star, Holly Hunter, won Best Actress for her role in the film.
Paquin and Moyer announced their engagement in August of 2009. No wedding date has yet been made public.
Low-slung trousers give their wearers a bad image, according to a US state senator who is behind an advertising campaign telling people to "raise your pants".
Eric Adams, a state senator from Brooklyn, is behind the $2,000 (£1,309) 'Stop The Sag' advertising campaign showing two men in jeans that hang low enough to display their underwear.
Mr Adams is calling for the end of the sagging trend that has become popular in men's fashion. In an online message posted on YouTube, he said: "You can raise your level of respect if you raise your pants", while pleading to young people not to "surrender control over your own image".
The politician, a retired police captain, is the latest to speak out on the trend. He follows Larry Platt, an American Idol performer who became an internet sensation earlier this year with his song "Pants on the Ground". Even Barack Obama has previously said: "Some people might not want to see your underwear. I'm one of them."
The campaign in New York follows a similar one in Dallas, where officials embarked on a 'Pull Your Pants Up' campaign in 2007, while in St Petersburg, Florida, a high school principal ordered thousands of plastic zip ties to help students pull up their trousers.
Mr Adams said he had had enough after watching a train passenger who wore a particularly low-slung pair of trousers.
"Everyone on the train was looking at him and shaking their heads," he said. "And no one said anything to correct it."
The low-slung trousers trend is adapted from the unbelted and sometimes oversized look of prison uniforms, according to Mark-Evan Blackman, who heads the menswear department at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.
Initially seen as invoking street credibility, the style has spread from inner cities to suburban shopping centres and school classrooms.
Ever wondered what Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic album Dark Side Of The Moon would sound like in 8-bit? Yeah, us too. Thanks to Brad Smith– a video game programmer from Burlington, Ontario– now you can. Smith took it upon himself to take the ten album tracks and use the 8-bit sounds of the standard North American Nintendo Entertainment System to create this music/video game masterpiece. Check out Smiths’ rendition of “Money”:
Pretty remarkable. And here’s “Us And Them”, one of our favorite Pink Floyd tracks of all time:
Tel Aviv, Israel — Scorpion venom could lead the way to morphine alternatives, according to research at Tel Aviv University.
The research, headed up by Prof. Michael Gurevitz of the Department of Plant Sciences, is looking at how to use natural compounds in scorpion venom to develop painkillers that aren't addictive or have other side effects.
Toxins in the venom interact with the nervous and muscular systems' sodium channels, some of which communicate pain. “The mammalian body has nine different sodium channels of which only a certain subtype delivers pain to our brain," Gurevitz said in a statement. “If we figure this out, we may be able to slightly modify such toxins, making them more potent and specific for certain pain mediating sodium channels."
With a better understanding of the toxins, researchers could engineer chemicals that mimic the painkilling aspects of venom without causing side effects.
"Instead of running the risk of addiction, this venom-derived drug, mimicking the small peptide toxin, would do what it needs to do and then pass from the body with no traces or side-effects,” Gurevitz said.
Gurevitz's research is focusing on the Israeli yellow scorpion, one of the most potent scorpions in the world, whose venom contains more than 300 peptides. Very few of those peptides have been investigated, but researchers do know that over the scorpion's history, its toxins have diversified and evolved to the point that some of its toxins can affect mammals while others affect insects. According to Gurevitz, those changes show how genetic engineering would be able to manipulate toxins in a similar way.
youtube.com — He could network with you from 50 feet away.
Bernie Carbo was out of major league baseball by the age of 33, but now stays connected with the game by running a fantasy camp each year in Mobile, Ala. (Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff)
boston.com — Bernie Carbo launched the greatest pinch-hit home run in Red Sox history. He admitted he was high on drugs during the 1975 World Series. Now he has cleaned up his act.
According to media buyers who spoke to Ad Age, the cost of a 30-second ad in the final episode of ABC's Lost will cost an extraordinary $900,000.
The show's rabid fan base and the intense scrutiny surrounding the final episodes has seen prices skyrocket from last year's upfront where a 30-second spot for Lost was selling for an average of $213,563.
At $900,000 a spot, notes Ad Age, ABC is clearing a markup north of 400% from advertisers who didn't reserve their time in the show last year.
The series finale will air as part of a three-hour block on Sunday, May 23.
The price, just $400,000 to $600,000 less than the cost of a 30-second spot in this year's Oscars, illustrates the interest advertisers have in so-called event programming.
The show "is different, and people talk about it, and it's not just some sitcom coming to an end," Ira Berger, director-network broadcasting at independent agency Richards Group, told Ad Age. "It's very much an event."
A spot on the last episode of Lost would cost more than any of the 10 most-expensive programs on TV for advertisers, according to Ad Age's survey of prices paid in last year's upfront. The costliest program for the 2009-2010 season was NBC's "Sunday Night Football," where a 30-second spot had an average price tag of $339,700, says the trade.
Or Scarlett Johansson, depending on your affiliation.
I've got to say, this reminds me of the Widow incarnation drawn by George Perez and seen on the pages of Marvel Fanfare back in the early '80s.
Pat Venditte Is The Newest Yankees Sensation
Have you guys seen this yet?
Pat Venditte, seen above pitching for his alma mater Creighton, is now a Yankee farmhand and he is ambidextrous. Yup, dude can throw left handed, and right handed, and is quite good at it. He has a career minor league ERA of 1.53, with a .95 WHIP and it seems like we might see him in the bigs shortly.
Tuesday, Venditte saw his first spring action and allowed one earned run, walked one, and gave up two hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Braves.
“People are going to have their doubts when they hear something like this, and I’ve got to prove that I can do it,” Venditte told MLB.com.
I promise I will be there for his big league debut, and the last MLB player to do the damn was Greg Harris in 1995 for Montreal. I think me and my brother called him “The Butt Shower” because his ass was so big.
Below are a few videos of my man throwing, including an ESPN video when Joba “The Hut” Chamberlain has nothing but good things to say about the multi talented Venditte.
Watch from the 1:00 mark as major confusion happens when both hitter and pitcher are capable of going from both sides. Pretty amazing stuff.
I wish this kid all the best and hope to see him in the bigs ASAP. He could pitch for the Cubs right now.
It strikes you when you first touch an iPad. The form just feels good, not too lightweight or heavy, nor too thin or thick. It's sensual. It's tactile. And that moment is a good way to spot a first-timer, too, as I observed with a few test subjects. The dead giveaway for an iPad n00b is a pause, a few breaths before hitting the "on" switch, just letting it rest against the skin.
Flick the switch and the novelty hits. Just as the iPhone, Palm Pré and Android phones scratched an itch we didn't know we had—somewhere between cellphone and notebook—the iPad hits a completely new pleasure spot. The display is large enough to make the experience of apps and games on smaller screens stale. Typography is crisp, images gem-like, and the speed brisk thanks to Apple's A4 chip and solid state storage. As I browse early release iPad apps, web pages, and flip through the iBook store and books, the thought hits that this is a greater leap into a new user experience than the sum of its parts suggests.
Remember The Periodic Table of Elements series of books we featured here at Boing Boing? There's an iPad version ($13.99 in the app store, screenshots here), and it's dazzling — it makes science feel like magic in your hands. I called the guy behind The Elements, Theo Gray, and asked him to put into words the UI magic that iPad makes possible for creators of books, games, news, and productivity tools.
"The Elements on iPad is not a game, not an app, not a TV show. It's a book. But it's Harry Potter's book. This is the version you check out from the Hogwarts library. Everything in it is alive in some way."
Indeed, the elements in this periodic table seem very much alive. The obvious way to examine static objects — say, a lump of gold (number 79) or an ingot of cast antimony (number 51) is to rotate them, to spin the specimen with your fingertips. And that's exactly what you do here. You can view them in 3D if you wish, with 3D glasses you buy separately online. Tap here, and live data from Wolfram Alpha pops up (the thermodynamic properties of molybednum, perhaps, or the current price of platinum). Some elements are presented with little video clips you can play, too.
When you get a chance, compare it to the tiny screen of an iPhone or Droid, or the less responsive touchscreens of an all-in-one desktop PC such as HP's TouchSmart: it's a completely different experience.
"A stereo 3D video of a static object that you can rotate in real time," Theo says over the phone. "Honestly, I'm not sure where you go from there. Smellovision? Not a whole lot more you can do."
The Elements presentation for iPad (those spinning samples of elements you twirl with your fingertip) makes use of openGL textures, compressing visual data in a way that can be compressed in the graphics chip, so the data can be read without hogging CPU resources. By making use of hardware native to iPad, you can can "play" a spin forwards and backwards with no hiccups or performance lags -- even spin 3, 4, 5, 10 views of an element at a time. This ain't Flash video over WiFi, folks. You'll feel sad going back to chokey http embeds.
Each app for iPad can't be more than 2 gigs in compressed archive form (a limitation imposed by the zip compression standard at work here, not something of Apple's own design). Data-dense applications like The Elements buck right up against that limit, but future iterations (this and others that go live Saturday were developed with great haste) will likely take advantage of the ability to do background downloading to supplement data.
Tapping and swirling my way through iBooks (the store includes free, public domain titles in addition to the $9.99-$12.99 bestsellers), and iPad native apps provided at launch such as the spectacular, game-changing Marvel Comics app (crisp, lucid art, the ability to navigate frame-by-frame, rendering spoilers down the page obsolete), the Epicurious recipe browser, and the news browsing app by Reuters (free app in which video is, again, a seamless delight), the idea hits. This is what we wanted e-books to be all along. Rich, nimble, and dense with image and sound and navigability, right there inside the flow of the story. And this is what we wanted the web to feel like all along. We just want it to work, and we don't want to be aware of the delivery method while we're enjoying what's delivered.
Theo's been thinking about all of this, too. "The Kindle is a great device, and I own several," Theo says. "But the concept of an e-book has always been that it's like PDF. Imagine if the web standard was PDF instead of html, if everyone's web pages consisted of what you can do in PDF? That would be a really boring world. I hate to see ebooks as being pigeonholed as these static, PDFlike things, in which the biggest 'a-ha' you can have is an exciting pageturning animation, or search. What could an ebook be? Let's draw a line in the sand out in the future and say, this is the greatest aspiration, if the limitations of code and hardware were no object."
Draw that imaginary line in the sand, and you've sketched out iPad.
Manic, nonstop use revealed a number of things: battery life is better than I anticipated. I got a full day of constant internet-connected use (it did not leave my hands) on one charge. More than 12 hours, with heavy video and gaming, and screen cranked up to full brightness.
Orientation lock is great for when I'm sharing YouTube clips on the couch with family, or web browsing in bed. It fits well in my lap for tweeting when eating during lunch break, and it's easy to wipe off a stray mayo glop and get right back to updating the world on the details of my sandwich (using Twitterific for iPad, a free app which does what it promises on the tin). When we began developing the Boing Boing iPad presentation, we used a simulator and tapped into a lot of jQuery, thinking that snazzy transitional animations would delight. They didn't: it worked great on the Mac simulator, but were sluggish on iPad, so we aborted and went simple. When you're redesigning a site for iPad, you start to think in terms of a visually rich 'zine, not a website. Given Boing Boing's 'zine roots (25 years and counting since the first Xeroxed copy), the close of that evolutionary circle is something that makes me smile.
Familiar Mac fundamentals like Calendar, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers are presented thoughtfully with the kinetic and tactile specifics of iPad in mind. Pinch-zoom the preview image for a photo album you've saved, and watch the contents scatter out accross the screen, so you can be reminded of the shots you've stored inside.
Gaming possibilities are profound. Accelerometer-driven games like the Real Racing HD iPad app ($9.99) available at first release thrill in a new way, like when I first held a Wii. There's something about tilting and steering and braking with a device you hold in your hands, just like a steering wheel, that's so much more viscerally pleasing than a big old shelf-bound console.
The on-screen QWERTY keyboard is more finger-sized than iPhone (obviously, the screen's larger when either in portrait or landscape) but I didn't find myself using the device for lots of text input (email, blog post composing) without the aid of the keyboard dock— pretty much exactly like the standard Mac keyboard. No, there's no camera, but it doesn't seem like as much of a big deal as when I heard that news back at the January unveiling. iPad is more about experiencing media, and light sharing, than heavy-duty media production.
That said, I can imagine traveling with iPad instead of a netbook, with that keyboard dock in tow if I really need to do heavy text input.
Maybe the most exciting thing about iPad is the apps that aren't here yet. The book-film-game hybrid someone will bust out in a year, redefining the experience of each, and suggesting some new nouns and verbs in the process. Or an augmented reality lens from NASA that lets you hold the thing up to the sky and pinpoint where the ISS is, next to what constellation, read the names and see the faces of the crew members, check how those fuel cells are holding up.
I like it a lot. But it's the things I never knew it made possible — to be revealed or not in the coming months — that will determine whether I love it.
Didn't think you needed an iPad? Think again!
When the iPad was announced, we all crammed into a conference room to watch live and drool over every shiny corner and reflecty icon. After the glow of the initial announcement wore off, many of us came to the conclusion that the iPad was actually pretty useless. "It's a giant iPhone!" some said. Others exclaimed, "WTF, no Flash!?". Still, we knew that most Apple fanbots (us included) would have to have one anyway.
Knowing that many of our loyal geeky customers would eventually get their retractable claws on an iPad at some point, we knew we needed to take it to the next level. What cool things could we do with the iPad that you, our lovely geek customers, would squee over? A few brainstorming sessions later, the idea of a MAME cabinet came up and we knew we'd struck gold. How cool would it be to slide your iPad into a desktop-sized arcade cabinet and rock it old school with some Pac-Man or Space Invaders?
Enter the iCade iPad Arcade Cabinet! To use the iCade, gently slide the iPad into the docking cradle. The docking cradle uses a standard 30 pin connector to link the iPad to the professional-grade arcade controls. Once the iPad is in place, launch the iCade App (available free in the App Store April 3rd) and it's game on! We didn't want to take any chances you'd run out of juice during your favorite game, so we included a 10w USB power adapter so you can charge the iPad through any electrical outlet. Now you're all set to make an uninterrupted run on the Dig Dug World Record!
- Beautifully retro styled, handcrafted wooden tabletop arcade cabinet and MAME emulator for your otherwise useless iPad
- Play your favorite arcade games anywhere there's a table
- Hundreds of games available from various online sources - not included in product!
- Professional grade arcade stick and microswitch buttons rated for 10,000,000 uses
- Authentic arcade controls connect to your iPad via a standard 30 pin dock connector
- One and two player select buttons add authenticity and really work!
- Integrated 2.1 dolby speakers and subwoofer in cabinet
- Includes 10w USB power adapter
- Separate iCade app required to use the cabinet controllers available soon from the App Store
- Dimensions: 9" wide x 10" deep x 16" high
** Please Note ** The iCade MAME Emulator App is already approved and will be in the App Store in time for the April 3rd iPad product launch. The app is free, but it does require the iCade Arcade Cabinet hardware to function properly.
Britain's biggest piece of public art, but is this £19m tower of twisted metal a fitting monument for the London 2012 Olympics?
By Paul HarrisFrom http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
It looks like a catastrophic collision between two cranes on the Olympic site.
But this towering, twisted mass of metal will be Britain's lasting monument to the nation's role in hosting the 2012 games.
Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor unveiled his design for the £19million sculpture yesterday, a ruby red, helter skelter-style structure that, at 377ft, will stand more than twice as tall as Nelson's column.
Scroll down for our video report
Landmark: The tower has been dubbed the 'Hubble Bubble' by London Mayor Boris Johnson
It was instantly nicknamed the Eyeful Tower - and likened enthusiastically by London Mayor Boris Johnson to a giant 'hubble-bubble' shisha pipe.
But contributors to Twitter and similar internet sites took only minutes to criticise the work. One described it as 'a rollercoaster that costs £19million a go'. Other early phrases included 'twisted spaghetti', 'horrific squiggles' and 'Meccano on crack'.
Work on the officially-named ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will house a restaurant and viewing platform, has yet to start - and it still needs planning permission.
About 700 visitors an hour will be able to visit the site next to the 193 feet high Olympic stadium. The tower will have a viewing platform and an outdoor walkway.
At its unveiling today, Kapoor, 56, said it was 'thrilling' to be offered the chance to create for the capital something on a par with what Gustave Eiffel made in ParisEnlarge
Britian's biggest piece of public art: At 115 metres high, the steel tower will be taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York
'It would be terribly arrogant to compete with Eiffel who spent his entire life making that thing,' said Kapoor. 'What we’re trying to make is the best thing we can do'.
The artist sees his looping, deep red-coloured tower as 'an eccentric structure that looks as if it’s going to fall over'.
It is being created with the aid of Cecil Balmond, deputy chairman of Arup engineers, with whom Kapoor created the red trumpet, Marsyas, for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2002.
Financing deals have been signed between principal backer Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate who is the fifth richest man in the world, who has committed £16million towards the £19.1million cost, and Mr Johnson, who dreamed up the project.
Bemused: Boris Johnson tries to make sense of the tower, which he likened to a shisha pipe
It is hoped work will begin within weeks on what officially will be called the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
Mr Johnson said: 'Some will say we are nuts - in the depths of a recession - to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art.
'But Tessa Jowell [the Olympics minister] and I are certain that this is the right thing for the Stratford site, in Games time and beyond.'
Mr Mittal, whose company will supply much of the 1,400 tons of steel, said he had wanted to give 'a lasting gift' to the 'wonderful” city' where he has lived since 1997.
Amusing: Businessman Lakshmi Mittal (right) jokes with Mr Johnson at City Hall before unveiling a scale model of the proposed ArcelorMittal Orbit tower
Towering: Architect Anish Kapoor with the scale model of the tower. The full-size structure will be sited next to the Olympic stadium for the 2012 games
It is almost unbelievable how technology is changing fast our habits and the way how we live. Once, the good typewriter was a true fortune, it was also attractive toy and it was almost funny and interesting as computers are today.
For those kids who learned to write with their own hands only, typewriter and the way how they beautifully printed fonts on paper sheets was a true enigma.
Sadly, typewriters are almost forgotten today and they became part of history. Just ten or twenty years ago they were inevitable equipment of every office.
Maybe, in ten years or so, we are going to write something similar like this but only for computers until that time, you have a chance to watch a pretty nice collection of some of the most beautiful typewriters
More pictures at Flickr.