August 18th, 2012

Dynamic bunny

The great sky-fish

How's this for a stunning example of bodypainting? Easy to believe it took seven hours to apply.

Ryan North, of Dinosaur Comics, has (apparently!) been reviewing the rather different Back to the Future novel, on a day by day basis. The catch is that the book was based on a very early version of the script, so we have minor variations like it opening with everyone being atomised, the time vehicle being freezers, and the energy source being nuclear explosions. And, if you'd prefer not ploughing through pages online, and feel the guy deserves a shekel, he'll sell you an eBook version of it all, DRM-free, as ePub and Kindle versions, for a massive $2.99.

Doctor Who will, it seems - although unconfirmed officially - be returning on September 1st 2012. ^_^ It has been confirmed that Matt Smith is on for at least the following season as well, and, interestingly, that the coming season's title sequence will apparently be varying with each episode.

Regarding the Martian soil results in my last entry - one possible explanation that fits both Viking results would be linked by Phoenix's discovery of perchlorates, in 2008. This might be an inorganic route to the observed reaction. What think ye, terminotaur?

Here's rather a nifty means of creating an antenna at sea: use seawater! Quite literally: "The device works by pumping a stream of seawater through a current probe. The height of the seawater stream determines the antenna’s frequency. For example, UHF frequencies require a 2-foot high stream of water, while VHF and HF frequencies require 6-foot and 80-foot high streams (respectively). The width of the stream determines the antenna’s bandwidth. The antenna requires a relatively small footprint and can be modified to accommodate multiple frequencies and bandwidths by stacking current probes and adding additional spray nozzles." So you wind up with antennas that can be created to spec, and vanish when not in use.


Devo are coming out with a new track and game, remembering Mitt Romney's dog, Seamus: "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro". The track itself is over on SoundCloud now.

One of my favorite bits in the recent "porn trial" was the prosecution's witness' assertion that use of a gas mask would elevate the risk of asphyxiation. He apparently didn't quite think that one all the way through. =:D

It seems OnLive, a service that runs PC games server-side and effectively streams the video over broadband, making it possible for even lightweight clients to enjoy said games, has abruptly laid off much of its staff, with some staff and the IP acquired by an as yet unknown third party. It's a sad development, and somewhat surprising, given a similar service, Gaikai, was recently picked up by Sony for $380m. But who's the mystery buyer? Would Microsoft be interested? My feeling is their style tends to be more for "whole" acquisitions, like Skype.

A refreshing column on why beer is everybody's right, not just a male preserve. "While the stereotype of 'a pint of your best bitter barman, and a white wine for the lady' has been persistent, it is very much changing. Major brewers have been after the dainty-wristed, lady-pound for a long time, but generally try to target lager at women." (The comments bring up a troubling point: do Brew Dog really not offer cask versions of their wares in their own pubs? Surely quite a pity, given how much care they obviously lavish in its preparation. And then there's "Feminist-shmeminist. With my first baby, the midwife had me drink beer to help my milk production. Baby doubled her weight in six weeks, and I felt pretty damn good." "Same here... strange as this may sound, it took moving to the US to snap me out of the lager habit. Sports-bar beer is so bad here, you start to look elsewhere. Brooklyn Larger leads to Anchor Beer, then Fish Head, then micro-breweries and before you know it, you're drinking Red Hook ale brewed in a fisherman's shoe, along with armpit hair and industrial waste. Yum.")

This is a regional TV/radio transmission tower - quite a tall affair, as you can see, against a calmly ominous backdrop. (See why I love the Nikkor 300mm f/4D so much? Here's an excerpt at full original resolution - notice the support wires? Quite faint, better seen on the left side. Bear in mind, now, that this is some 16 miles away..) BTW, the preview versions I include in my entries, as below, are usually 640 pixels wide. Can I go wider now, or would that cause problems for some people?


John Lasseter, on Steve Jobs (this being just an excerpt):

Pixar Animation Studios wouldn’t exist without Steve Jobs. It’s pretty remarkable to think about what he gave us.

When he bought us he had just left Apple. He had just started to form his company NeXT and he bought our group from Lucasfilm, when there were only about 40 of us.

In the beginning Pixar was a computer company. We did hardware and software. It was a very high-end computer, it was way ahead of its time so frankly there was no market for it. It was very expensive. Steve was trying to figure out a way to sell it and market it. He had been used to the consumer computer world but this was more of a professional world.

There were four of us doing computer animation research at Pixar in the beginning. I was the only animator there, I was the first traditonally trained Disney animator to actually animate in computer animation.

Steve was always very supportive of letting us continue the animation research. He really started seeing seeing the potential of the evolution of Pixar, from a computer company to an animation studio. And then he saw the vision of us doing a feature film with Toy Story. He kept guiding us.