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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Family Guy: It’s a Trap announced


The final chapter of the Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy is finally coming out. “It’s a Trap” will be released on BluRay and DVD December 21st. The discs will include multiple special features including behind the scenes stuff and a feature on the Comic Con 2010 panel. It’s not known if it’ll be an edited version of the panel or the whole thing. Hopefully they include the entire panel as it’s a great way for people to see it who weren’t able to make it to Comic Con. You’ll be able to buy the disc separately or in a boxed set with “Blue Harvest” and “Something, Something Dark Side”.

Trent Reznor Developing Sci-Fi Epic With HBO and BBC

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
According to the LA Times, Trent Reznor is working with HBO and BBC Worldwide Productions to develop "Year Zero," a sci-fi epic that NIN fans know well through Reznor's music and an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). He told the Times:
"We are in [the development phase of] pre-production with HBO and BBC [Worldwide Productions] to do a miniseries," Reznor said Monday. "It's exciting. I probably shouldn't say too much about it except that I understand that there's a thousand hurdles before anything shows up in your TV listing. It's been an interesting and very educational process and it cleared the HBO hurdle a few months ago and now we're writing drafts back and forth. So it's very much alive and incubating at the moment."
Reznor further added: 
"Year Zero" began (as so many things do in the music of Nine Inch Nails) from a place of wrenching emotion and sonic adventure. Reznor found himself increasingly outraged by the geopolitical situation during the Bush years and he wanted to express the fury in music, but he found himself bored by traditional approaches to protest music.

'Star Wars' saga set for 3D release starting 2012

Films will roll out in order, starting with 'Phantom Menace

By Jay A. Fernandez and Kim Masters

Big news on the 3D front.

Sources indicate that George Lucas is set on rereleasing the "Star Wars" franchise in new 3D conversions beginning in 2012. Although 3D versions have been rumored for some time, Lucas purportedly was waiting until there were enough screens available to make the release a sizable event.

Fox, which released all six original "Star Wars" films, also would release the 3D versions.

Episode I, "The Phantom Menace," would be first out of star-dock during early 2012. After that, each film would be released in order at the same time in consecutive years, depending on how well the first rerelease does.

Each conversion takes at least a year to complete, with Lucas overseeing the process to make sure each is as perfect as possible. He has said that the "Avatar" experience convinced him that "Star Wars" is ready for the state-of-the-art 3D treatment.

Starting with "Phantom Menace," Lucasfilm would use several higher-end conversion houses to work on the project. By late winter or early spring in 2012, the exhibition industry should have all the 3D screens anyone could want for such a release.

At present, pics are limited to 2,000-2,500 3D locations owing to an insufficient installed base of projectors and screens. Movie theaters are adding 3D screens at a clip of 500 a month in the U.S. Foreign exhibitors also are pushing into 3D as quickly as possible now that financing for the installations is flowing.

Also pushing the timetable is a potential breakthrough in 3D TV technology. With Samsung penetrating the market with 50,000-plus 3D-equipped sets and Sony recently sending its version to market, the home-viewing experience could be primed for 3D DVD versions of the films by the time the new 3D theatrical releases have run their course.

Lucas purportedly is lining up the theatrical rereleases as a lead-in to the ultimate home-viewing experience. Beyond that, the property would launch to other 3D media.

In the meantime, Lucas plans a comprehensive Blu-ray Disc set of the six films next year, which would include upgraded picture and sound quality, new deleted scenes and special features.

Alex Ben Block, Carl DiOrio and Borys Kit contributed to this report.

PlayBook – BlackBerry Tablet Introduced

RIM Playbook
Recently there were rumors about the BlackBerry’s iPad Killer, the rumors have now been confirmed. Research In Motion (RIM) has recently introduced ‘PlayBook’  (tablet) at RIM’s developer event.
With 7-inch of display, the PlayBook is yet another portable tablet. Some of the features and specs have been confirmed. This tablet will sport a Cortex A9 (1GHz) dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. It will be having HDMI Port and USB Ports too.
Here is the complete list of features mentioned in the Press Release -
Key features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook include:
• 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
• BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
• 1 GHz dual-core processor
• 1 GB RAM
• Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
• Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
• Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
• HDMI video output
• Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
• Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
• Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
• Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
• Ultra thin and portable:
o Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
o Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
• Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
• RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
You can check the preview of PlayBook below -
The PlayBook is expected to roll out in US in the early 2011 and it will be available in the international market in 2011 Q2. We will soon be adding up more information about this, so do not forget to ‘like’ our Facebook Fan Page.
[via rim press]

Lil' P-Nut the 7-Year-Old Rapper Performs on Ellen

Ha ha, tell me more Justin Bieber jokes! Yes, those are funny! "That song Baby, Baby reminds me that Bieber is a baby!" An L. O. L. to you, sir.

Oh hey, here's a seven-year-old rapper named Lil' P-Nut performing on Ellen, singing to a 3rd-grader, asking her if she'd like bubble gum or a freeze cup and praising how she obeys her parents.

No, go on, tell me more about how young that Bieber kid is. If you don't mind, I'm just gonna play this clip while you're talking.

Mmmm, mmmm, "You can be my study buddy, you can teach me social studies..."

Verizon Wireless Now Offers Lost Phone Tracking, Remote Kill

Worried that you'll lose your phone? Worried that you have no way to trace it or wipe it if it were to vanish before your very eyes? Apple has a solution for that called "Find my iPhone." It comes with each new iPhone so long as you activate a $99/year MobileMe service, and it lets users track their phone via GPS and remotely disable it if a thief were to swipe it. But no other phone nor carrier offers an exact alternative to that.

Until this service became live. Verizon Wireless has just announced a new facet of their Total Equipment Coverage Program called Mobile Recovery, and it's a new application designed to run on WebOS, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. Nearly all of VZW's major smartphones are capable of running the app, and when programmed, this will allow users to emotely lock the device, sound an alarm and wipe contacts from the phone. If the phone is not recovered, Total Equipment Coverage provides next-day replacement.

Below are the exact details on what the app can do:
  • Sound Alarm – Customers trying to find a lost phone can use the “Sound Alarm” feature which triggers an alarm, even if the phone is on silent or vibrate mode.
  • Locate Phone – If the phone is outside audible range, customers no longer have to retrace their steps looking for it. As long as the phone is powered on and within Verizon Wireless’ coverage area, the “Locate Phone” feature uses GPS to provide the location of the missing phone, complete with a map and address, and the option to get turn-by-turn directions.
  • Secure Phone – Once customers have determined their phone is lost, they can use the “Device Remote Lock” feature to prevent unauthorized use, or the “Device Remote Wipe” feature to remotely erase contacts from the device.

Basically, this coverage is included for "free" if you're already paying $10/month for Total Equipment Coverage. If you aren't, this may be the convincing you needed to start paying the fee. Looked at by the year, this actually costs more than $30 more than Apple's service, but it includes more than just lost phone tracking. If you tend to lose your belongings a lot, this may be worth the investment.

The Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the World

Bike Friendly Cities
Via: Motorcycle Insurance

Sculpture of Giant Middle Finger Hits Milan

By Max Fisher

When Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan designed L.O.V.E., an 11-foot-high stone sculpture of a hand extending a middle finger, which Cattelan says is a gesture to the world's "isms" or ideologies, even he probably did not imagine it would later grace a public square in a global financial capital. After all, his plan to "donate" it to the city of Milan was immediately and roundly rejected by city officials. Who on Earth would display such a large and outlandish piece of art?

But Cattelan's unique design seems to have struck something in the souls of Milanese stock traders and bankers, who announced they will place the sculpture in front of Milan's historic stock exchange--atop an enormous pillar, of course--for ten days. But not just any ten days: L.O.V.E. will greet the visitors who flock to Milan every year for fashion week, one of the city's biggest international events. L.O.V.E. is up now, and art blog Design Boom has all the photos you could possibly want, including a few showing the very complicated looking installation.

Surfing: Dark Side of the Lens - Short Story (Video)

More Surfing Videos — The first Short Stories film, by renowned photographer and body boarder Mickey Smith, explores his world as a true waterman - both as an athlete and artist, and is called The Dark Side of The Lens.

The 50 Hottest Women From Spain

The 50 Hottest Women From Spain — I don't think anyone would argue that some of the most beautiful women in the world hail from Spain.

Click here:

SolarEagle Unmanned Plane to Fly for 5 Years Without Landing

by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada

boeing solar eagle drone photo
Photo: Boeing

First Flight Scheduled for 2014
It was a great accomplishment when the Zephyr solar plane spent over 2 weeks in the air. Some even dubbed it the "eternal plane". But it looks like the Zephyr is about to get some serious competition: Boeing just signed an $89 million contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the development of a solar plane that will be in a league of its own. Read on for more details.

The SolarEagle, pictured in the rendering above, is an unmanned aircraft powered by solar energy.
"SolarEagle is a uniquely configured, large unmanned aircraft designed to eventually remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years," said Pat O'Neil, Boeing Phantom Works program manager for Vulture II. "That's a daunting task, but Boeing has a highly reliable solar-electric design that will meet the challenge in order to perform persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from altitudes above 60,000 feet." The aircraft will have highly efficient electric motors and propellers and a high-aspect-ratio, 400-foot wing for increased solar power and aerodynamic performance. (source)
The deal is for Boeing to build a full-scale demonstrator and fly it for the first time in 2014. The initial flight should be 30 days, beating the Zephyr's record (though by then maybe the Zephyr will have a new, longer record).

This isn't the only unmanned aircraft that Boeing is working on. We've previously written about the hydrogen-powered Phantom-Eye.

Military and Civilian Uses
Such a plane could one day replace satellites in some applications and allow scientific missions to be done at a much lower cost than sending a satellite in orbit. Of course, it will probably first be used by the military, but many technologies with civilian uses have first been developed by the deep pockets of the DoD.

Via Boeing, Smartplanet

Living Bridges in India Have Grown for 500 Years (Pics)

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York 
Images via Atlas Obscura
Some of the smartest, most sustainable engineering feats were discovered hundreds of years ago, and many have gone unacknowledged. For evidence, take the bridge growers of northeastern India. Planning 10-15 years in advance, they build what may be the most sustainable foot bridges in the world -- by literally growing them out of living tree roots. These bridges are extremely sturdy, reach up to 100 feet long, and many are at least 500 years old.

Requiring the harvesting of only a few betel nut trees to create, each root bridge is sturdy, efficient, and, well, alive. A tribe in the hilly Khasi and Jaintia region of India -- one of the wettest places on Earth -- evidently came up with the concept some hundreds of years ago. Atlas Obscura explains:
The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, long ago noticed this tree and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area's many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges.
In order to make a rubber tree's roots grow in the right direction--say, over a river--the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems. The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.
Sure, "enough time" isn't exactly expedient by today's standards -- each root bridge takes between 10-15 years to grow strong enough to be put into use. But strong they are -- evidently up to 50 people can cross the heftier bridges at once, and many bridges are over 100 feet long. And they only become stronger with time, as the roots continue to grow. Some of the bridges still in use in the region are estimated to be 500 years old.
An interesting side note nestled in this story is that the villagers who use them wanted at one point to tear them down to trade them for steel ones, for the sake of modernization -- but once a nearby resort owner stumbled upon them and recognized their potential value, the locals were easily persuaded from trading in (and untold materials and emissions were prevent from being wasted). The old bridges were still fully functional, after all -- in fact, the Khasis are still growing more bridges today. Chalk up another win for innovative sustainable design, however ancient it may be.