Happy Halloween, from Bing
Bing has a little Halloween treat for us today. The search page has gone all creepy, with hidden gems from a number of classic horror movies. I won’t spoil it by revealing which movies are featured. it’s more fun if you try to guess. But, if you do get stuck, there are links to Bing searches for each of them to provide an answer.
And, as a Halloween bonus, here’s the trailer for my favorite horror movie, Jason X.
New da Vinci found in Italy
A lost work by Leonardo da Vinci has been found during the restoration of the Sala delle Asse in the Sforzesco Castle. It is believed that this is part of da Vinci’s work from when he was the court artists for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, in the late 1400s.That is the same Duke that commisioned The Last Supper. Work continues to restore as much of the work as possible, with some parts being covered by up to 17 layers of white wash. You can read more about it, and find more photos, at Discovery News.
New pictures from NASA
NASA has released new images from the Chandra Data Archive. October is American Archive Month. As part of that, NASA is releasing a collection of images that have never been seen by the public to highlight the role the CDA plays in the astronomical community. You can read more about that in the official release, where you will also find more images. Here are two of my favorites. Click to enlarge.
The $40,000 Mac Pro
The new Mac Pro is a pretty amazing device. For the last decade or so, the top of the line system has been a 40 pound behemoth housed in a hulking aluminum case. This latest version is in a tiny cylinder. The difference is size is jarring. The old systems were 20.1″x8.1″x18.7″. The new ones are 6.6″ x 9.9″.
That tiny cylinder is packed full with the latest and greatest: The latest Xeon processors (up to 12 cores), dual GPUs, PCIe-based storage, Thunderbolt 2, support for 4k video. It really is remarkable, both as a design, and as a marker of where our technology is heading. Systems will be shipping in December, for a starting price of $2999.
If, however, you have a few extra dollars to throw at your computing solution, there is a one-of-a-kind option. Jony Ive and Marc newson have put together a special edition of the new Pro to be auctioned off for Red at Sotheby’s. The estimated price going in is $40,000 – $60,000.
People are crazy!
Here’s a crazy video for your Friday. I saw this bouncing around my copy of the internet the last couple days. It’s GoPro video from Kelly McGarry’s run at the Red Bull Rampage. And yes, it is amazing. But you don’t really get just how amazing it is until you see this course from a different angle. The realities of the GoPro being mounted to Kelly, and the change in perspective that comes with that, take a lot of the elevation out of what is really happening. To give you an idea, have a look at this highlight reel. And, of course, don’t try this at home… or at work… or anywhere… ever.
Guillermo del Toro’s Bleak House
There are man caves, and then there is the Bleak House. That is the name given to Guillermo del Toro’s house that showcases all of his strange and wonderful things. From fine art, to bizarre odds and ends like tentacles in jars and various skulls, it is a fascinating collection. But it has more of a purpose than just a catalog of the strange and wonderful. It is meant to be used as an inspiration. Hear his explanation of that, and see more of the collection, in this video.
Your eyes lie to you
This video will warp your melon. I probably shouldn’t even give that much away. You’ll now be looking for the unusual when you watch the video. I really don’t think it matters. Your brain and your eyes will fool you every time. Apparently this was created for Ray-Ban. I’m not exactly sure how this ties in to sunglasses, but these kind of experiments always fascinate me. Just watch the video.
Heads Up Display for Motorcycles
This helmet is awesome. If you are a motorcycle rider, chances are that at some point you have messed about with integrating your phone as part of your riding experience. And, more than likely, the result was something less than stellar. The idea is solid. Hands free calls… Music… GPS… Turn By Turn Nav… Voice Control… The reality is that it’s always a kludge. There are wires and bolt on accessories. And if it rains, the phone can’t come out and play. Fortunately, a new answer is on the way.
Meet the Skully Heads Up Display Helmet. Simply put, it builds all of that functionality you are looking for into the helmet, and adds a heads up display to give you access to it.They call the system the Synapse(TM) integrated Heads-Up Display (HUD). In more detail, that gives you a 180° rear-view camera, GPS mapping and navigation, and Bluetooth integration with your phone. The animation below shows what it looks like in action with rear-view, GPS, turn-by-turn, phone calls, and weather.
Behind the scenes, the Synapse system is running on Skully’s version of Android. That’s notable, as the company is planning on releasing a SDK later, allowing developers to add new functionality to the helmet. The lithium ion battery is reported to be good for nine hours of use, which should be more than enough for all but the craziest of riders. The future is now! Or, rather, next year. Current plans have the helmet releasing to the public in 2014.
Welcome To Elgin Park
Things are not as they seem in Elgin Park. In fact, if you try to locate the town on the map, it doesn’t exist. The entire thing is the invention of model maker Michael Paul Smith, and it’s incredible. Smith has a love for the mid-20th century, and a talent for making models. He put those two things together and created the Elgin Park you see in the photo above.
But things are not that simple. What really bends your mind is when you see how the photos are created. Not everything you see is a model. Through clever placement to take advantage of perspective, Smith is able to blend his models in with his surroundings seamlessly. It’s rather brilliant. Here’s the wide angle from the above shot.
Pretty amazing, right? Here’s another scene from the world of Elgin Park, from both angles.
These are just the tip of a very big iceberg where Michael Paul Smith and Elgin Park are concerned. You can find a lot more images if you visit his Elgin Park website. If you like the photos of the setups, there are plenty more of those as well, on his flickr stream. One more surprise from Elgin Park? The equipment Smith uses to capture these wonderful images. I won’t spoil it. Have a look at this video for a complete list of all the gear used.
14/48 The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival
14/48 is one of the treasures of the Seattle theatre community. In a nutshell, it works like this: Thursday night, a group of actors/writers/directors/musicians/technicians get together at the theatre. They each put a piece of paper in the cone of destiny that answers the question: I want to see seven new plays about ____________. After the theme is drawn, the writers draw their slots and find out how many characters they have. Then they head home to write those seven new plays.
Friday morning everyone meets up at the theatre again. The directors and actors, also randomly paired, get the plays and set off to learn them as the designers, musicians, and technicians get started on hammering out the details. Twelve hours later, the show opens and the seven world premiere plays are performed.
Throughout the night, the audience can put their theme suggestions into the cone of destiny. After the show, a new theme is drawn and the whole process starts all over again. The writers head home and write seven more plays. Saturday morning those are handed off to the directors. And at 8:00 Saturday night there are seven more world premieres. It is a wonderful thing to behold.
Of course, the speed of the whole thing isn’t without its problems. Occasionally you will hit on one that just doesn’t work. The amazing part is how often it really does work. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things happen at 14/48. Occasionally, things that would probably never happen anywhere else. Ideas so crazy that they wouldn’t make it through the process of most short play festivals. But at 14/48, anything really does go.
If you would like to get an idea of what this all looks like in practice, you’re in luck. This past winter, the whole thing was filmed for a documentary. It’s still in the finishing stages, but they have released a teaser that gives a great look at the festival.