Doesn’t anyone remember the ending of 2010: The Year We Make Contact?

NASA is planning to have mission to one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa ready in 2025:

For a little while now, NASA has been hinting at the idea of sending a craft to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The theory is that this little frozen sphere could harbor life below its crust, but proving that will cost NASA in both dollars and lost sleep. To build a spacecraft capable of surviving the radiation and massive gravitational forces Jupiter hurls into its environs, NASA will have to put in quite a few extra hours.

The idea is to have a mission to Europa ready by 2025, one year after humanity reaches Mars.

Doesn’t anyone remember HAL’s admonition to stay away from Europa at the end of 2010: The year we make contact?

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Funny Harold Ramis Video Clips

Harold Ramis passed away today:

For more than 40 years, Ramis was a leading figure in comedy. A veteran of the Second City troupe in his hometown of Chicago, he was a writer for “SCTV” and wrote or co-wrote the scripts for “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), “Caddyshack” (1980), “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Groundhog Day” (1993) and “Analyze This” (1999).

The films often featured members of his generation of comedy talents — veterans of the National Lampoon’s recordings, “Saturday Night Live” and “Second City TV” — most notably Ramis’ old comedy colleague and fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray.

“Harold Ramis and I together did ‘The National Lampoon Show’ off-Broadway, ‘Meatballs,’ ‘Stripes,’ ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day.’ He earned his keep on this planet,” said Murray in a statement. “God bless him.”

He wrote some of my favorite comedies from back in the day including Stripes:

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And Ghostbusters:

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Sad news…

3D Printed Zombies

This is kinda cool:

The digital world has changed the world of practical effects — there are fewer opportunities now to build a life-sized animatronic T. rex, said Coulier and Clement. Computer graphics are simply cheaper for an effect of that scale.

But the art of prosthetic makeup is still going strong. Even the heavily CGI spectacle of 2013′s zombie-apocalypse film “World War Z” was underpinned by real-world makeup.

“We did close to 5,000 makeups on World War Z, because basically you’ve got these guys running down the street and there’s a hundred of them and you may glimpse a makeup on one of them, so you have to do the hundred, really,” Coulier said. His team’s work is spotlighted late in the film when Brad Pitt gets up-close-and-personal with a lab full of zombie scientists. [The 10 Scariest Movies Ever]

Meanwhile, 3D printing has changed the way Clement does business. The effects’ gurus can sculpt a monster head using a computer program, then make tweaks and print it out.

“It’s an extremely fast way of sculpting and of doing concepts,” Clement said. Concepts are the mock-ups shown to moviemakers as a sort of first draft of the effect. Instead of building them from scratch only to have to re-do them with filmmakers’ fixes, Clement’s team can now keep them digital-only until all the changes have been made.

While you will never get similar material proprieties (work hardening of metals during cold forging or molecular boding of plastic material during injection molding) using 3D printers as you would from conventional manufacturing processes, the things that can be done with the process are amazing in their own right.

world war z zombiesAhhhhh.!!! … 3D printed Zombies!

Let the Wookie Win: TSA Tries confiscating Chewbacca Actor’s Lightsaber Cane


Leave it to the TSA to harass a 69 year old actor who has trouble getting around without a cane:

Peter Mayhew detailed an incident where he said security initially wouldn’t allow him to take his “Star Wars”-style cane through the airport.

Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, apparently took issue with airport security after they spotted his lightsaber-styled cane. Mayhew documented his frustration — and vindication — on Twitter, writing that TSA “won’t allow me through the airport with me cane!”

While the TSA debated whether to confiscate the lightsaber cane, Mayhew took to twitter to express his frustration.

Sad, however not surprising, given the TSA’s track record.

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Good news is Mayhew was finally allowed to keep his lightsaber cane.

Get Your geek On: ‘Star Wars’ Car Wraps

Star Wars fanwrap

Your friends will not pick on you one bit:

Sometimes, “Star Wars” family stickers just aren’t enough. You need to make a bigger statement. That’s when you need to turn to “Star Wars” car-wraps and really get in-your-face with your fandom.

The partial wraps from FanWraps come in a multitude of different flavors. You can get a leaping, light saber-wielding Yoda, a stern-looking Darth Vader, a ready-for-action Boba Fett, a cuddly R2-D2, and a comic-book version of slave Princess Leia, among others.

Click here if you are so inclined.

2010 Honda Civic GX

darth vader fan wrap

We’re all doomed: Cheap robots that can use hand tools

Like I said before, some days it feels as if the world of Terminator is getting closer and closer:

DARPA has developed a cheap robotic hand that can almost match human performance in dexterous activities, like changing a tire.

Humanity’s greatest advantage over other forms of life is our ability to use tools (or, relatedly, that our intellect allows for the ability to use tools).

Here’s the video:

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Also, check out this walking robot:

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Walking robot + Robot that can grasp and manipulate tools =

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Amazing stuff…

Video: ‘Real Life’ Jedi Training

You have got to be kidding…

Alain Block is an instructor with the Golden Gate Knights. And his martial arts and stage combat experience has earned him Jedi master status.

He says picking up a lightsaber is like an initiation to a whole new world.

“When a person gets their lightsaber, suddenly you’re part of this other group of people that are a little
more in touch with the secrets of the universe, I don’t know.”

He teaches students how to do lightsaber twists and turns.

Asked what people think of the idea of Jedi training, student Julio Reyes says people are incredulous
but enthusiastic about the experience.

“At first they giggle, because they think it’s a little silly. Then they’re like, actually that’s kind of cool.

Then they start asking more questions.”

Many students want to be their childhood hero, Luke Skywalker

And here is the video. Remember what is seen can never be unseen..

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I hate mixing movie and T.V references, but I think Shatner had it right


Rolling Stone: The 30 Greatest Rock & Roll Movie Moments

What is it with Rolling Stone and their lists?

Actually the RS movie list isn’t too bad. Either that or (more than likely) I’m not enough of a movie buff to get worked up over their omissions.

That being said, I do think they missed the mark on one of my all time favorite movies (the British Invasion music is fantastic) Rushmore. They singled out Ooh La La‘ from The Faces but left out Wasting Time from The Creation.

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Left of the list is the My Sharona scene from Reality Bites.

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I’m sure I missed other excellent great rock and Roll movie moments.

Wednesday Night Quick Hits: ‘Star Wars’ Needs a New Approach to Gender

Liberals are really no fun at all:

Why aren’t there more women in Star Wars? Why is Leia out there all (or mostly) alone? Hudson argues that this man-surplus is entirely arbitrary—and therefore easily reversible.

I’m not so sure, though. To me, Star Wars’s lack of women seems linked to a deliberate lack of interest in women. The film franchise is designed to be a series of male genre pictures, and for proof, all you need to do is look at the innovative, non-traditional approaches to gender other sci-fi works have taken—which Star Wars and other Hollywood films avoid.

First, though, I want to acknowledge the force of Hudson’s argument. In some sense, as she says, the dearth of women in Star Wars is arbitrary. There’s no diegetic or contextual reason for it. If Star Wars were the Western that it in many ways imitates, then of course you wouldn’t necessarily expect there to be lots of female gunfighters, because gender roles back in the time period when Westerns are often set restricted what women could do. But Star Wars isn’t a Western; it’s a science-fiction story, which means anything goes. As Hudson says, “Science fiction in particular has always offered a vision of the world not myopically limited by the world as it exists, but liberated by the power of imagination.” The creators of Star Wars could have used those powers of imagination to create a world with lots of important female characters. Instead, they chose to create a world in which women barely exist.

I hate to be nitpicky, but it is an important point. Star Wars is fantasy movie and not science fiction. And as such, all the drivel about ”science fiction in particular has always offered a vision of the world not myopically limited by the world as it exists” is pointless.

12 Jobs on the Brink of Extinction

How ’bout a pay cut for government workers: Big pay cut contemplated for civilian defense workers

Federal Reserve unlikely to end stimulus efforts soon, minutes signal

NASA Sees Monster Sunspot Growing Fast, Solar Storms Possible

two-sunspots-february-2013And ‘climate scientists’ will blame global warming for the sunspots…

Anheuser-Busch and U.S. in Talks to Resolve Antitrust Concerns

Universal Orlando dropping medical insurance plan for part-timers due to Obamacare regulation

How stupid do you have to be to do this?