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Archive for February, 2010

A Decade of Berk.

As of today, Berkeley — GitM’s ombudsdog and my roommate, power animal, and all-around sheltie-american enabler — is now ten years old [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

After one does the dog-to-human-year conversion, that puts him at exactly twice my age. Here’s hoping I’m as spry, convivial, good-natured, and slightly deranged when I reach his years. Happy b-day, l’il buddy.

The King AND His Court?

[I]f James, Wade and Bosh truly want to make history, they could do the unthinkable and split the Knicks’ $33 million three ways. It would cost them salary money, but can you imagine how much they’d make on the back end if they started reeling in NBA titles? In New York?” No, I’m afraid I cannot imagine it. I’ll have to see it for myself… ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski makes the case for the top tier of NBA superstars all signing with New York this summer. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

I’m Coming Back for You, Depp.

Why are you screamin’? I haven’t even cut you yet.” Speaking of dreaming, AICN passes along the second trailer for the Nightmare on Elm Street revamp, with a very Jackie Earle Haley-sounding Freddy Krueger and lots of pretty teenage insomniacs to work through.

Hmmm…well, the production values look great, I’ll give it that. But all signs (and particularly the ones that read “Michael Bay” and “Platinum Dunes”) suggest this will be another needless and thoroughly schlocky remake of a horror classic. I’m posting the trailer here only because I feel like i owe it to the original film, which scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid.

Thus Passeth the Small Talk.

An application that lets users point a smart phone at a stranger and immediately learn about them premiered last Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Developed by The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), a Swedish mobile software and design firm, the prototype software combines computer vision, cloud computing, facial recognition, social networking, and augmented reality.

Well, that should really facilitate the stalking (and now everyone will know right away I like sunsets and long walks on the beach…) The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson reports in on Recognizr, a smartphone app soon likely to cause all kinds of consternation and unwanted advances in a town near you.

Broken-Hearted? Just Make a New One.

“To start with, only simple tissues, such as skin, muscle and short stretches of blood vessels, will be made…[H]owever, that the company expects that within five years, once clinical trials are complete, the printers will produce blood vessels for use as grafts in bypass surgery. With more research it should be possible to produce bigger, more complex body parts. Because the machines have the ability to make branched tubes, the technology could, for example, be used to create the networks of blood vessels needed to sustain larger printed organs, like kidneys, livers and hearts.”

Also in the Brave New World dept. and by way of a friend, The Economist takes a gander at new “bioprinter” technology. “As for bigger body parts, Dr Forgacs thinks they may take many different forms, at least initially. A man-made biological substitute for a kidney, for instance, need not look like a real one or contain all its features in order to clean waste products from the bloodstream.

The Government We Paid For.

“‘This is the earliest that the Center has ever offered an estimate,’ Krumholz said. ‘As election observers across the political spectrum work to assess the impact of Citizens United, this prediction offers a solid baseline to compare new spending levels against.'” Before even taking the torrents of campaign cash expected in the wake of the Citizens United decision into consideration, the Center of Responsive Politics estimates that the 2010 midterms will cost over $3.7 billion. (FWIW, the year 2006 clocked in at $2.85 billion.) Sigh…fasten your seat belts — It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Dr. Watson: One Hoopy Frood.

“I’m so proud of this particular group of programs,’ says ‘Masterpiece’ executive producer Rebecca Eaton. ‘These three series say everything about what ‘Masterpiece’ aims to be: iconic, rich with wonderful actors, witty, literate, and timeless. I can’t wait to see them all.'” Along with Upstairs, Downstairs and a take on the Aurelio Zen novels, Sherlock Holmes will get a 21st century revamp for BBC’s Masterpiece Theater, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (of Atonement, although I don’t remember him) as the eponymous detective and Martin Freeman (i.e. the original Tim and most recent Arthur Dent) as Dr. Watson. In addition, new Who guru Steven Moffat is co-producing. (Via Dangerous Meta and cdogzilla.)

A Long Way Down.

36,000 Feet: The Challenger Deep, lowest known point in the ocean. It is believed there are lower undiscovered points, as only 10% of the ocean has been mapped.” There are old, foul things in the Deep Places of the World: By way of DYFL and Lots of Co, a rather off-putting graphic of the Mariana Trench to scale. Venturing out into the Great Beyond of space always sounds exhilarating to me. But, for some reason, being that far down below the murky depths…not so much.

Coruscant Travel.

“I was inspired a great deal by the work of Simon Page and his astrology series. If anyone enjoys this style of art I would highly recommend they check out his work. I also drew ideas from old Art Deco style prints and vintage science fiction posters from the 1960/70’s.” The LA Weekly talks with Justin Van Genderen, designer of the spiffy minimalist Star Wars posters above.

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