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As the Apple Turns is back! Well, sort of. ^_^ It's actually being produced by someone else entirely, but very much in the same spirit (and design :).

The peerless cheesefest that is the Eurovision Song Contest is tonight! And, theoretically, the BBC will be offering it live, online. It starts at 8pm BST, noon Pacific. For my part, I've not paid any attention to the entrants, so they'll all be new to me, assuming I can get the stream to work rather than time out. There'll surely be a torrent later on, but I prefer watching a live event live, hein?

[Edit: the German entry is Country.. and I'm enjoying it? Help!]

Maybe 2D artists wanting to move into animation (and make money at it) will have a chance after all, as noted in this TIME interview with John Lasseter: 'Before buying Pixar, a desperate Disney had scuttled its traditional animation unit. Lasseter may restore that. "Of all studios that should be doing 2-D animation, it should be Disney," he says. "We haven't said anything publicly, but I can guarantee you that we're thinking about it. Because I believe in it."'

And it appears that Jan Pinkava has stepped down from directing Ratatouille, to be replaced by.. Brad Bird. ^_^ The teaser isn't yet online anywhere, but there's a detailed description of it here.

In other cinematic news, it seems the live action Evangelion production is indeed still trudging ahead, though with few new confirmed specifics. Apparently it was WETA Digital who approached ADV about the project, rather than the other way around; and Robin Williams is quite a fan, with the Eva figure in One Hour Photo being his doing. Wonder who'll wind up directing.. how about Michel Gondry?

An interesting op-ed on raising US fuel prices.

Here's a hilarious TV spot worthy of The Onion, produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (whose environmental expert, Myron Ebell, earned the dubious honor of censure by the British parliament). The closing line, to give you a feel for it, is "Carbon dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life."

plushlover's selling this Watership Down cel (four layers, actually), featuring Hazel, Fiver, Blackberry, Silver and Pipkin. Bid early and often!

SeatGuru is pretty handy if you're taking a flight, and you'd like to scope out what the layout on your plane will be like. It covers virtually all airlines and their craft, noting the exact layouts, remarks on different groupings of seats, and where onboard power may be found. (The answer usually being "nowhere near you, prole")

So, the MacBooks are out (with Ars' review complemented by this one from the comments =:), complete with peculiar pricing on the black model. Overall, they're pretty decent - I was surprised to see Core Duos across the board, given the Mac mini's two models are differentiated by Solo and Duo. Keyboard looks a bit odd. Magnetic latch. Not sure about the glossy screen - it's a widespread fashion, but doesn't it surely lead to greater reflective glare from lighting? GMA950 GPU, so it's not going to be a Quake 4 monster, but the iBook GPUs were always low-end affairs anyway.

Pleasingly, xlr8yourmac reports that Final Cut Studio 5 does indeed run quite happily on a Mac mini with Core Solo, which also uses the GMA950 for video. On the other paw, if maybe to nobody's great surprise, another reader also notes fairly mediocre WoW performance on a MacBook: "All I had time to do was run around Gadgetzan for a couple minutes. I put the settings to their lowest point and within the city (average number of players in town) I got 10-15 FPS with frequent dips to about 6 when turning around. Outside of the city in the empty desert I saw about 20 FPS. In the inn I got somewhere in the mid 20s." (So, about double the speed of Second Life =:)

Interesting to see the Radeon 1600 and its Mobility variant don't seem to be far apart at all - this set of tests pits a MacBook Pro 2.16GHz against an iMac Core Duo 2.0GHz. As the games tests show, it's a fairly even match.

Thinking about drawing, I was wondering if anyone knew of a page online somewhere that compared different races' facial features, maybe overlaying outline images to highlight the basic variations. What do the noses of the world look like? What makes Asian eyes so characteristic? Are Caucasian lips really that narrow? (And just what are lips anyway?)

I noticed this artist could use some commission income, in dealing with a family sadness. Seems like some very nice work, and not expensive.

Ooh. Sanatorium pod klepsydra looks like it should be entertaining..

Quote for the day: "Few things build a stronger friendship than the mutual enjoyment of the same sins."
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gas would have to be around $25/gal before my bf's dad starts to change his driving habits, which is a thinly disguised austrian military vehicle that gets an earth-shattering 12 mpg. x-D
Ye gods. Does it come with flamethrowers to burn down trees in the way as well? ^_^;;

Nothing to say, of course, the tax couldn't vary by consumption - sure, it'd just make such things more desirable to some, but the additional tax revenue would surely be helpful, depending how it's divvied up between the state and feds. (I'm much more sympathetic to the plight of the states than DC, given how voluntarily Washington's been driving the US deeply into debt in the past few years, while cutting taxes and borrowing ever more)

'Course, if it's a diesel engine, perhaps it'd be able to run on vegetable oil - though I'm guessing that one'll be running strictly on fossil fuels as a matter of principle. ^_^;
Nah, but you can climb up a 60 degree incline.

Our gas guzzler tax is of retarded since it doesn't apply to trucks (since you technically use them for work). Also, the EPA is already revising how it measures window-sticker MPG figures but it'll just penalize small cars. For example, an SUV that gets 18 mpg will see it drop to 16 or 17 while a Prius will see it's 50 or 60 drop to 41. In most peoples' minds it makes the Prius look inefficient.
People will always come up with all sorts of goofy ways to circumvent this tax, though, which is the sad part.

Internal combustion engines don't necessarily have to burn gasoline. They'll run on anything that compresses and combusts with a spark. With that being said, Brazil recently declared themselves independent from foreign oil. They grow tons of sugar cane which yields a lot of ethanol. Many brazilian cars are flex-fuel vehicles and the country has a giant infrastructure of ethanol-serving gas stations, so they figure, why not? If we started using ethanol imported from Brazil, it would cost 2/3rds as much as gas and save a couple hundred bucks a year and E10 formulation that is used during the summer wouldn't cost as much either...
BUT...we don't get cheap ethanol because the US government gives subsidies to corn growers (corn ethanol takes a *lot* more energy to make) and the sugar lobby wants to protect itself from the massive brazilian sugar cane industry. Then there's the oil and gas companies who want to protect their dominance over the biggest consumer of gasoline in the world... and you can see how politics behind gasoline alone is extremely complicated and ridiculous.

Our current high gas prices have given municipal governments a lot of tax revenue. CalTrans is going on a spending spree right now where I live, repaving and repairing a lot of roads.
I really like the one on gas. I think the important bit of the article however is the heart of it that says that we are adaptable. Its not that we couldn't survive such increases in gas price (You know if America can't survive $5/gal gas, it makes them look pretty pathetic compared to some countries that have dealt with higher gas prices for years and years now). And there's the difference, its not "I couldn't survive" its mostly "I don't wanna change".

There'd be problems and loopholes, sure, but its the overall goal that's the important thing.

Although, something quite odd I find. Now, maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places, but it seems most of the talk in the US on high fuel prices is all about gas-guzzling cars, or corporations screwing people. Oddly, I hear next to NOBODY talk about the fact that Oil has been going over $70/barrel in the last months. Pre-Iraq war we were looking at $35/barrel or so. Instability and speculation has driven the prices up, something that's been discussed on most business programs here in Canada, yet if its a US program this aspect seems to NEVER EVER be mentioned, (and perhaps the fact that, well, that instability was caused by the actions taken over there). Again, it seems odd. Even most of the very anti-war sites don't seem to touch this dimension. Just an observation.
P.S.>> I know about the oil prices because I come from the second largest oil producing province in Canada. While I may not be a fan of G.W.Bush, boy, his policies have really helped us out. :)
True! I was honestly quite surprised when I realised just how vital those oil sands now are to the US, given the emphasis down south seems to be remaining on securing supplies rather than developing other sources, as areitu notes concisely above. Would you happen to know what kind of active research is going on in Canada regarding things like ethanol and biodiesel production? Seems like the technology's basically all in place, just needing the mass production being brought about, and multi-fuel capable engines, such as diesels happy with the rock oil version, or vegetable oils. (Wonder if that molecule cracker system's now economical? I posted about it some time back, with a pilot plant running at a Tyson chicken processing plant. Seemed reasonably efficient, and able to handle a wide range of organic wastes, turning out a few grades of oil, some minerals, and water, all of high purity)
The oil sands are pretty much all next door to me, so I don't know a whole lot.

As to ethanol, we're behind on production of that. In a number of ways this country really needs to get off its ass and do more for the environment. No help for buying fuel cell cars, they're going to scrap Kyoto now it looks like. The home efficiency grants are getting removed too. Anyhow, I got off topic. I don't know if there will be a push to mandate a certain amount of ethanol in gas (Conservative minority now, so I'm not sure). Where I am has a lot of farming and is certainly pushing hard for such things, and to try and get ethanol plants to open here. Work at the university here has gone into biodiesel mixes of canola and diesel gas, and a few busses have been running on it.

More than a year ago I head about the molecular cracking thing. They said it wasn't feasable economically because it close something like $50/barrel to produce. Gee, NOW that's not too bad. :)
Remember the dollar's dropped from E1.20 to E0.80 or thereabouts over the past few years, so that $70/barrel oil is actually about 50 to 55 Euros, much the same as it was back in 2003. Oil's effectively priced in constant Euros these days.
plushlover's selling this Watership Down cel"

"U.S. bidders only, please." *sigh* Not that I could afford it anyway, but that somehow seems... wrong... for a film which absolutely needs its Britishness. Not a personal criticism of plushlover, of course, and I'm sure shipping abroad would be too much hassle to sensibly manage; it's just a shame that people here can't (directly, anyway) have a shot at owning it.
Oh, hairballs! I hadn't noticed that. That is rather unfortunate. Still, maybe if you or another prospective bidder were to contact him - someone he's aware of being more than just some random unknown eBayer - maybe something could be worked out. And there's always the indirect option of a friend doing a "drop ship", bouncing it straight over to the actual recipient, even if that means a bit extra in postage.
It's unfortunate that there is no way for us in the US to ship overseas at a reasonable cost and also have the ability to track parcels enroute. I simply don't feel comfortable shipping valuable items out of the country without being able to track them. The potential for damage to fragile items also increases dramatically when they're posted for overseas delivery. And duty can be quite punitive on artworks in particular. All in all, there are just some things that aren't practicable to ship overseas, and this is one of those cases where just too many things could go wrong...
I wonder.. another option might be to ship only the cels, minus the glass, and use something like thin sheet metal to keep it flat and unpunctured. Or, indeed, the whole frame plus the sheets (alumin[i]um comes to mind, or maybe even some kind of plastic), if the buyer were willing to swallow the additional shipping cost.

Postage is always something of a problem, indeed. Still, if people are made aware of the non-trivial cost of DHL/FedEx/UPS, I wouldn't stand in their way. (Without a need for tracking, of course, surface shipping can work out quite affordably. I was surprised at transatlantic surface for a pair of hiking boots being only about $11 - they did take about six weeks to arrive, though!)

I do hope it finds a suitably appreciative home, in any event. That's really quite a lovely piece.

(Don't think I've ever owned any cels, come to think of it. I always used to love wandering around the gallery in the Warner Brothers Store at the UTC, though.. and actually did make one purchase from them, a beautiful pair of Bugs & Lola pewter and crystal champagne flutes. I'm waiting for the occasion to use them =:)
*nods* Yeah, that's why I wanted to emphasise I wasn't getting at you. To be honest I'd probably have taken the same stance if I'd been selling, say, a similar Disney-related item. I'm honestly not sure how easy it is to track airmail parcels from here to the USA - I know Parcelforce (basically Royal Mail) can do it, but as you mention yourself, the price is very high.
The lips thing; in development there are three different layers of cells that differentiate. One of those layers of cells, the innermost one that forms the lining for your GI tract, also differentiates to form lips and some parts, not all, of genitalia. So that's what lips are.