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Monday, August 1, 2011

А Room in a Box

From: http://uberhumor.com/

‘The Avengers’ Trailer Teaser Is Here And It Looks Great! Watch!

BY HL Staff

From http://www.hollywoodlife.com/



This movie is packed with superstars and superheroes! It hits theaters in 2012- are you excited?

Legions of Marvel Comic fans can finally get excited. At the end of the box office hit ‘Captain America’ fans were treated to a teasing glimpse of the next huge superhero movie; The Avengers.

This action packed movie will feature the Marvel superheroes we all know and love. The film combines the story lines of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger!

With all these superheroes becoming part of one team, we’ll get the chance to see favorites like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson back in action!

In the movie, the world is on the edge of disaster. Director of the super spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) pulls together this legendary group in hopes of saving the day.

The movie is set for release in May of 2012 – just in time for summer!

What do you think of the trailer teaser, HollywoodLifers?

Chimpanzee bottle feeds tiger cubs at Thai zoo

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

A two-and-half-year-old male chimpanzee named Dodo has been feeding the cubs every day for more than a year at the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo.




Dodo's trainers at the zoo around 25 miles south east of Bangkok in Thailand initially just wanted to challenge the chimp.
Since he showed no fear of the tiger cubs, they worked with him until he picked up the habit.
"It's not difficult as he knows how to hold the bottle. I just taught him to hold it and stay with the cub. I've been teaching him everyday so he can do it," said 35-year-old Sirinaj who has been working at the zoo for 20 years.
The only problems is when he ignores his feeding tasks and just plays with cubs – aged between three weeks to five months.
The zoo said that the cubs will eventually outgrow Dodo and will need to be moved to an area more suited to their size.

How Scalado is secretly making our phone cameras better

by: | Devindra Hardawar
from: http://venturebeat.com/


For more than ten years, Swedish phone camera software company Scalado has been spearheading imaging innovations — but few people outside of the mobile industry realize how much of an impact the company has had.

Scalado’s technology, which includes advanced software for taking, viewing, and editing pictures on your phone, has been placed in over 900 million mobile devices so far, the company announced last month. Its software landed on over 350 million devices last year, and is set to be included on 500 million more in 2011.
Soon enough, Scalado’s software will be featured on a billion devices — something few software companies can boast. Scalado is a prime example of how a small international company — it only has around 110 employees — can become a major force in the global app economy.

The company’s early innovations include Random Access JPEG, a patented technology that made it easy for 2002-era phones to deal with photos; CAPS, a software development kit that made managing multi-megapixel pictures more CPU and memory efficient; and SpeedTags, technology that made JPEG optimization on mobile phones near-instant. Many of Scalado’s more recent technologies, including zero shutter lag shooting (pictures get taken as soon as you hit the shutter button), burst shot, and high-definition range shooting, are built upon SpeedTags and are included in the company’s Camera SDK.

Scalado has been able to get its technology on nearly a billion devices because it works across pretty much any platform, including iOS, Android and Symbian. The company’s partners and customers include Motorola, Nokia, Sony/Ericsson, HTC and Qualcomm. And now with tablets on the rise, Scalado’s tech has yet another group of devices to invade. The company recently showed off an iPad demo album for viewing 10,000 photos.

Raj Talluri, Qualcomm’s vice president of product management, praised Scalado during our MobileBeat 2011 conference earlier this month:

We built the hardware inside our developer platform, Snapdragon, to take pictures at high speeds and compress them into the perfect shot. Scalado then built their application to complements our hardware. The app allows the user to choose a face from those high speed-taken photos and layers it smoothly on your end picture. It’s a total solution for mobile picture taking.
The feature Talluri’s referring to is called Rewind, and as you can see in the video below it could be useful for touching up photos without actually retaking them. Scalado also recently showed off Multi-Angle (see video below), a feature that allows you to sweep your phone around an object to create a semi-3D image that’s viewable on 2D screens. Recipients of Multi-Angle photos can pan around the image simply by tilting their phone.

Scalado will continue to play a big part in the future of mobile imaging. Another recent video from the company demonstrates futuristic editing capabilities like the ability to fill in missing elements from a photos (for a full 360 degrees), even more robust 3D capturing, and the ability to take “intelligent pictures”, or photos that you can explore like a typical Web page.



SpaceX readies November launch to International Space Station

From: http://venturebeat.com/

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), run by Tesla Motors chief executive and PayPal mafioso Elon Musk, is looking at a November launch for its second private space flight to the International Space Station.
It’s one of the first of several launches for the company as part of a 12-flight cargo mission to supply the International Space Station now that the U.S. space shuttle program has ended. SpaceX secured $1.6 billion in funding to run the mission.

“I think it’s a really exciting time for space, because for the first time in several decades we had a very real prospect of fielding multiple human space vehicles,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told VentureBeat. “That’s good for the U.S., it encourages innovation and also provides more than one option, which means it’s more reliable.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently discussing developing an in-line, disposable space vehicle that would put between 70 and 130 tons of cargo into orbit. Those rockets are primarily planned for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, Whitesides said. But there’s plenty of room for a company to handle cargo missions and sub-orbital travel, he said.

There’s also room for companies that specialize in space tourism, like Virgin Galactic. That company sells tickets for flights in sub-orbital paths above the Earth for around $200,000, while there are companies in Russia that sell tickets for orbital flights for around $65 million each ticket.

“My sense is that we’ll (Virgin Galactic) be the next american company that sends humans into space,” he said. “Obviously it’s sub-orbital versus orbital, but I think our general expectation whether it’s sub-orbital or orbital is that over time prices will come down.”

SpaceX is one of two companies NASA has contracted to fly cargo missions to the International Space Station now that the shuttle program has ended. NASA has also contracted Orbital Sciences to launch cargo missions to the space station.

SpaceX has raised $500 million from investors and $300 million in funding from NASA. The company was the first to send a private space capsule into orbit and bring it back to Earth in December.

How To Build A Smurf

From: http://blogs.wsj.com/
By: Michelle Kung


Sony Pictures Imageworks
A scene from ‘The Smurfs’

With their tiny bodies and solid blue coloring, the Smurfs would appear to be easy to animate. In reality, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Corp.’s visual effects and character animation company, has been experimenting and working for nearly three years to bring the Belgian cartoonist Peyo’s creations to the big screen as realistic-looking 3-D computer-generated creatures.

After a standard Smurf was created, it was adapted into roughly 36 different models for the film — approximately a third of the 99 Smurfs originally identified by Peyo. Of the 36, only one was created specifically for the film and had no basis in either the original comic strip or cartoon: Gutsy Smurf, who is voiced by Alan Cumming in the film. The animators also give some of the older characters virtual facelifts. In the case of Smurfette, they toned down her stiff, poufy hair into a flatter, more contemporary ‘do.
Smurf designs in place, the team then used a 3-D copier to produce two kinds of Smurf maquettes, or figurines, to be used for rehearsal and framing purposes during the physical shooting of the film. To make the digitally-created Smurfs look more lifelike in the film, Imageworks used a newer technology known as HDRI — or High Dynamic Range Imagery — to accurately capture both the spatial dimensions and a 360 degree view of whatever set the lighters were working on. Specifically, they did so at 26 different exposure levels (f stops) of lighting. (The technique was also used on the film “The Green Lantern.”) To achieve this, the company used the SpheroCam HDR to automatically capture 360 degree spherical images and spatial data with a single scan.


Consequently, by applying that spatial data and lighting to the digital elements — namely the animated Smurf characters — the computer-generated figures are more smoothly integrated into the live-action film. The technology also helped speed up the workflow: instead of the usual three or four days usually needed for the process, it only took Imageworks about a day or two.

Check out a slideshow of the process in the above tab.

'Beavis and Butt-Head': 7 Things to Expect From MTV's Relaunched Series

From "Jersey Shore" to movie reviews, writer-creator Mike Judge offers a preview of what's to come.


from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/
Beavis and Butt-Head
"Beavis and Butt-Head"
 
Not much will have changed when Beavis and Butt-head returns to MTV in the fall after nearly 15 years off the air. But while the boys may still be clad in their AC/DC and Metallica shirts, they’ve got an whole lot of ammunition at their disposal when it comes to pop culture, including Jersey Shore and Twilight.

Writer-creator Mike Judge and executive producer Van Toffler offered a glimpse Friday at the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour at what could be expected from the animated hit.

1. Judge was nervous about including Jersey Shore in Beavis and Butt-head and watched MTV’s reality hit at Toffler’s recommendation. “It was paydirt,” Judge said, confessing that he’s now “hooked” on the Jersey crew. Toffler, meanwhile, doesn’t expect the housemates to ask for additional compensation when they appear in clips on the animated series. “I’d be scared to think of them with more money than they already have,” Toffler said, noting that he expects the gang to love being subjected to the Beavis and Butt-head treatment.

2. Time stands still. Judge said he wanted new episodes to be topical – Twilight and vampire humor is included in the new trailer – but that there won’t be a specific instance where the series acknowledges the nearly 15-year gap between new episodes. “I wanted to make it not feel too forced; to make it as seamless as I could to what it was how ever many years ago,” he noted.

3. There’s plenty of ammunition for the boys to riff on. Judge said targets in the new episodes include UFC fights, Internet stuff and ... movie reviews. “We have a think where they’re kind of like Siskel & Ebert,” he said.

4. The animation process has been updated. When the original series aired from 1993 to 1997, Judge noted that Beavis and Butt-head — like The Simpsons and King of the Hill – was hand inked and painted onto cells and shot on film. That’s all been digitized now. “It still looks crappy,” Judge joked. “But I like the way it looks.” “It’s high-def, there are some differences.”

5. The boys will still be watching music videos. MGMT, Deadmau5 and Tbaby’s “It’s So Cold in the D” will be among the artists Judge noted will be getting the Beavis & Butt-head treatment.

6. Beavis, meet technology. With Beavis and Butt-head returning to a world that now features cell phones, Facebook and Twitter, Judge said he didn’t want to force “all the modern stuff on them,” but did tease to an upcoming episode where the boys work in tech support.

7. Daria might be back. MTV’s Toffler, an executive producer on the series, notes that the animated spinoff from Beavis and Butt-head that airs in reruns on MTV2 and Logo and has done well on both. “We’ve talked to the creators so there is not as long a shot as you’d think that Daria might be back on one of our channels.

Beavis and Butt-head premieres the first of its 12 new episodes on Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. on MTV.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit

Apps, iPads help workers with disabilities

From: http://articles.sfgate.com/

Jonathan Avila uses his iPad in ways most people might not realize are possible: The device reads e-mail to him while he's traveling to work, tells him which way to walk when he is lost, and even lets him know if there's a sidewalk on the other side of the street. Avila needs these features because he's visually impaired.

"Work bought it as a testing device, but I've claimed it as my own since it makes me more efficient," says Avila, chief accessibility officer for SSB Bart Group, a firm that helps companies implement technology for people with disabilities.

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Apple has added features that make the iPhone and iPad easily accessible, not only to visually impaired people, but also to those with hearing loss and other challenges. The iPhone 4 and the iPad 2, for example, come with VoiceOver, a screen reader for those who can't read print, as well as FaceTime, video-calling software for people who communicate using sign language. Apple has said that iOS 5 - due later this year - will contain improvements to VoiceOver and LED flash and custom vibration settings to let users see and feel when someone is calling.

A looming issue

More such devices will make their way into the workplace to assist people with physical challenges in the next five years. Disability and aging go hand in hand: As Baby Boomers work past age 65, companies will increasingly face this issue.

The incidence of disability in the workplace is 19.4 percent at age 45 and rises to about 50 percent by age 70, according to Jennifer Woodside, chief executive officer of the Disability Training Alliance. Those disabilities can include vision and hearing loss, issues with mobility and dexterity, and learning and cognitive challenges - as well as communications problems.

The global market for assistive technologies, including those used in the home, is projected to reach $40.9 billion in 2016, up from $30.5 billion this year, according to a report from BCC Research that's scheduled to be released this month. In addition to Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google and Hewlett-Packard make workplace technologies that are accessible to people with a range of abilities.
"Boomers will demand products, services and workplaces that adapt to their needs and desires," says Rich Donovan, chief investment officer at WingSail Capital. Crossover technology such as the iPad, which works well both for people with disabilities and the broader consumer market, are the "holy grail" of business and disability efforts and will drive growth in disability-related capital spending, he says.

Donovan, who has cerebral palsy, just received his first iPad as a Father's Day gift. "I love it - it's simple to use, and it's the ideal accessible technology," he says.

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Companies such as Apple are motivated, at least in part, to create products that work for people with disabilities because the population is aging, says Dorrie Rush, marketing director of accessible technology at Lighthouse International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss.

Better technology

In the past two years, particularly since the release of the iPhone 3GS that came equipped with VoiceOver, Rush says she has noticed a vast improvement in the technology available to visually impaired users.

For people who need to read office memos or other printed materials, Freedom Scientific sells a scanning and reading appliance for $1,800. Alternatively, there's a free app called SayText that uses the camera from the iPhone 4 to take a photo of a document, prompting the app to read the text aloud. Similarly, ZoomReader, an app from Ai Squared that sells for about $20, reads the text in images from the iPhone 4 camera.

Identifying money can be a challenge for visually impaired people because a $1 bill comes in the same size and color as a $100 bill. Reizen sells a portable money reader on Amazon.com for $99.95. In March the LookTel Money Reader app was released for the iPhone, selling for just $1.99. In April the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing released EyeNote, a free money reader.

Workers who find it difficult to speak because they have cerebral palsy or have suffered a stroke once needed to spend thousands of dollars on speech-generating devices. Instead of shelling out $3,000, they can now buy an iPad for $500 and an app called Proloquo2Go from AssistiveWare that sells for about $190, says Avila.

Market data provided by Bloomberg News

Was there a UFO discovered on the ocean floor?

From: http://www.mnn.com/

Is an object on the ocean floor a UFO flying saucer, or a natural formation?



Peter Lindberg's team found what appears to be a crashed flying saucer on the ocean floor. CREDIT: www.oceanexplorer.se 
Peter Lindberg's team found what appears to be a crashed flying saucer on the ocean floor. (Photo: www.oceanexplorer.se)
An ocean exploration team led by Swedish researcher Peter Lindberg has found what some are suggesting is a crashed flying saucer. Lindberg's team, which has had success in the past recovering sunken ships and cargo, was using sonar to look for the century-old wreck of a ship that went down carrying several cases of a super-rare champagne. Instead, the team discovered what it claims is a mysterious round object that might (or might not) be extraterrestrial.

Lindberg explained to local media that his crew discovered, on the 300-foot-deep ocean floor between Finland and Sweden, "a large circle, about 60 feet in diameter. You see a lot of weird stuff in this job, but during my 18 years as a professional I have never seen anything like this. The shape is completely round."
Adding to the mystery at the bottom of the Gulf of Bothnia, Lindberg said he saw evidence of scars or marks disturbing the environment nearby, suggesting the object somehow moved across the ocean floor to where his team found it. 


It's not clear what to make of this report, or the video of the sonar scan that shows the object, but Swedish tabloids and Internet UFO buffs have had a field day. Some suggest the object is a flying saucer of extraterrestrial origin (and the seafloor scars were dug up when it crashed), though of all the things that might create a round sonar signature, that seems to be among the more outlandish. [10 Alien Encounters Debunked]
It might be a natural feature formation, or possibly a sunken, round man-made object.
Lindberg's claim that the object "is perfectly round" may or may not be accurate; while it looks round from the information so far, the resolution of the sonar image was not high enough to verify that it is indeed round. And while the lines that appear to be leading to (or from) the feature may suggest some sort of movement, it's also possible they have nothing to do with the object. [UFO Battles Captured on Video? Not Likely]

Lindberg himself did not offer an extraterrestrial origin, though he did speculate it might be a "new Stonehenge."
This is not the first time a sunken object has been presented as the solution to a mystery. Take, for example, the famous underwater mystery of the "Bimini Road," a rock formation in the Caribbean near the Bahamas that resembles a road or wall. Many New Agers and conspiracy theorists claimed the rocks are too perfectly shaped to be natural, and either were made by an unknown civilization or are possibly a relic from the lost city of Atlantis.
In fact, geologists have identified the blocks as unusually shaped, but perfectly natural, weathered beach rock.
It's also worth noting that UFOs may not be saucer-shaped. The famous "flying saucer" description of the first UFO has since been revealed as a reporting error.
Lindberg said his team has neither the interest nor the resources to further investigate the anomaly. Deep ocean research is time-consuming and expensive. If the object were indeed a flying saucer, recovering it could potentially be worth millions or billions of dollars. If it's a natural formation, on the other hand, it would probably be a waste of time and money.

This article was reprinted with permission from SPACE.com.

Growing a New Eye (With a Little Help From Technology and You)

Posted by erinleecarr
When I grew up, I wanted to be like Sarah Connor in Terminator II: leather clad, ass-kicking, and mean as a snake. But my male compatriots yearned to be Arnold: part-man, part-machine. Our society has always nurtured a fascination with the melding of humanity and science. And its origins were often more based in fantasy—see sci-fi favorites such as Darth Vader, Robocop, or Tom Cruise—than reality.

But the melding of metal and flesh begs a few questions. If you put metal parts into an individual do they stop being a human? How much metal can you put into a person before he/she isn’t a person? At what point does the line between humanity and AI bleed into each other? Obviously, this amalgamation provokes a certain amount of conflict, anxiety, and identity crisis.

But what about people who aren’t characters in movies, everyday people who want to fuse the concepts for the betterment of their bodies and minds? Enter Tanya Vlach, a women who lost her eye during a horrific car accident. Before the accident she was a well-known visual artist and performer. Afterwards, she had a frontal lobe minor brain injury and was missing an eye. Despite her subsequent depression, Tanya refused to be victim of her circumstances and sought a fix through technology. What if she could see again, but better? Couldn’t she just put a bionic eye in her socket and move on?

She pitched her idea to Wired founder Kevin Kelly; his curiosity was piqued. He put out a personal call to engineers to help build an implant of a miniature camera inside her prosthetic eye. Hundreds of scientists and engineers responded with their ideas. But such innovations don’t come cheaply; insurance wasn’t going to pay for this, and she didn’t have the money.

In June, Tanya started a Kickstarter campaign. It was quickly picked up by the Internet, and suddenly she was the newest poster child for transhumanism and body modification. Her project, Eye-Camera: an experiment in wearable technology, cybernetics, and perception. The project inspired frequent questions on her website ranging from the laughable (“Are you a Spy”) to the hopeful and suspicious (“are you starting a cyborg revolution?”). One can dream.

Tanya continues to travel and discuss her plight and subsequent plan of action across the United States; on Sunday July 31st she comes to Brooklyn for an eye fundraiser at Brooklyn Winery. Come prepared to discuss cyborgs, eyes, and the art that lies in between.

Molson Coors Knows What Women Want — Pink Beer
























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Written by Christie Thompson, a blogger for Ms. Magazine

It seems ad execs at Molson Coors were looking for a new way to alienate include women. With only 17 percent of Molson Coors’ sales coming from women, company heads knew they had to do something.
But instead of, say, rethinking their exclusively male-targeted ad campaigns for Coors Light (for example), they’ve found a simpler solution: red food coloring. In London this fall, Molson Coors is launching Animée Beer , a new product aimed at that elusive woman beer customer. It’s pink! Problem solved.

In essence, Molson Coors has kept the doors locked on its “no-girls-allowed” beer clubhouse, but poked its head out to say, “Hey look! We set up a crappy flowered tent next door. You guys can hang out there.”

Jeremy Brooks via flickr

The new “beer” comes in three different flavors, clear filtered, crisp rose, and zesty lemon. Molson Coors understands that women would never be interested in drinking beer that tastes like beer. We only drink chardonnay and wine coolers. Guardian columnist Melissa Cole, who taste-tested Animee, writes, “If anyone can identify anything even approaching a normal beer flavour in any of these drinks I’ll eat my hat.”
Product development heads at Molson also know the best way to market to women is to make us self-conscious about our bodies. So their new brew is low-cal and “bloat-resistant.” (What this pseudo-scientific advertising claim actually means is unclear.)

The irony is that for a moment there, it seemed Molson had actually caught onto the fact that they (along with most other beer companies) have been alienating women for decades. A woman spokesperson for the brewery said:
One of the things we need to recognize in the industry is that we’ve effectively ignored 50 percent of the population for many years. There’s something fundamentally wrong with the relationship women have with beer.
If Molson Coors needed help rectifying this, instead of pinkwashing their product, they could have looked at recent marketing survey findings. The number one reason women said they don’t buy beer is because they’re put off by the “inherent sexism in [its] advertising and marketing.” Surprisingly, “beer is an ugly shade of yellow-brown” was nowhere to be found on the list of women’s hangups.

So while Molson Coors claims to have seen the light, this recent product launch proves they’re still as clueless as ever. All I want to know is: Was everyone at Molson Coors drunk when they thought up this latest scheme?

This post was originally published by Ms. Magazine.

What a whopper! Angler enters record books after catching EIGHT FOOT albino catfish

By Daily Mail Reporter
From:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

This monster from the deep has netted a British angler a place in the record books.
The whopper, caught by plucky Chris Grimmer, is the biggest albino catfish ever caught by an angler.

The 8ft beast tipped the scales at 194lbs - 2lbs heavier than the previous best by blind woman angler Shelia Penfold last year.


Monster catch: Chris Grimmer, left, caught the biggest albino catfish ever landed by an angler on the the River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain
Monster catch: Chris Grimmer, left, caught the biggest albino catfish ever landed by an angler on the the River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain

Chris, a 35-year-old ground worker, spent 30 minutes trying to reel in the white catfish after it took his bait.


Chris, from Sheffield, toasted the record catch with a bottle of champagne which he and his friends drank on the river bank.

 
He and three pals had been on a week's fishing trip to the River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain, when he snared the record catfish.


The fish was so big that Chris' rod bent over double when it took his bait of halibut pellets.


Chris Grimmer shows off his 194lb catch before releasing it back into the River Ebro
Say cheese: Chris Grimmer shows off his 194lb catch before releasing it back into the River Ebro

He said: 'It took my reel and stripped it and it was then that I knew it was a big one.


'At that moment our tour guide had popped off to get some food and one of us phoned to tell him and he couldn't get back quick enough.


'It took me ages to bring it in, it was like trying to reel in a bus.
'One of my mates went into the water to help lift it out.
'By that time the guide had come back and he got it in the weigh sling.
'I was jumping down the bank when I realised it was a record and ended up in the water.
'I was proper tired afterwards and could hardly walk but it was worth it.'
The albino fish was returned to the water safe and well after being caught.
Ashley Scott, the guide from Catmaster Tours who organised the trip, said: 'We know what the records are for catfish so we realised straight away that it was a record.
'There was mayhem on the bank with people cheering and clapping. We had bottle of champagne to celebrate it and Chris poured a drop into the river for the
fish.'



Sheila Penfold, from Wandsworth, South London, caught her 192lb albino catfish last October.


The biggest catfish ever caught in the world is a staggering 646lb - or 46 stone - Giant Mekong Catfish caught in Thailand in 2005.

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