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News

Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83 396

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
Esther Schindler writes: According to the NY Times, Leonard Nimoy died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83 years old. He was, and always shall be, our friend. From the article: His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Sci-Fi

Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the geriaction-heroes dept.
An anonymous reader sends news that Harrison Ford is now confirmed to be returning as Rick Deckard in the upcoming sequel to Blade Runner. Ridley Scott is now officially an executive producer for the film as well, and Denis Villeneuve will direct. It's set to begin production in the summer of 2016.
Movies

The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings 194

Posted by timothy
from the thought-he-was-great-in-wargames-though dept.
reifman writes In 'The Imitation Game': Can This Big Fat Cliche Win Best Picture?, reviewer Monica Guzman blasts the film for distorting history and missing the opportunity to inspire today's tech savvy, highly surveilled generation to follow in Turing's path: Instead of an inventor, it shows a stereotype. Instead of inspiring us to follow in the footsteps of a person who shaped technology, the film inspires us only to get out of the way of the next genius who can. The Imitation Game changed aspects of the real Alan Turing's personality to conform more closely to our idea of the solitary nerd. It falls in line with the tired idea that only outcasts could love computers...As for explaining the science behind Turing's code-breaking machine, the movie doesn't bother. if invention doesn't deserve top billing in this story, where the technology at its heart is not only historically significant but hugely resonant in our lives today, then I don't know where it would. The message of the movie is that the uncommon man can do amazing things, but the message we need is that the common man, woman, anybody can and should tinker with the technology that manages our whole world.
Movies

Why Hollywood Fudged the Relativity-Based Wormhole Scenes In Interstellar 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-what-they-do dept.
KentuckyFC writes: When Christopher Nolan teamed up with physicist Kip Thorne of Caltech to discuss the science behind his movie Interstellar, the idea was that Thorne would bring some much-needed scientific gravitas to the all-important scenes involving travel through a wormhole. Indeed, Thorne used the equations of general relativity to calculate the various possible shapes of wormhole and how they would distort the view through it. A London-based special effects team then created footage of a far away galaxy as seen through such a wormhole. It showed the galaxy fantastically distorted as a result, just as relativity predicts. But when it came to travelling through a wormhole, Nolan was disappointed with the footage.

The problem was that the view of the other side when travelling through a wormhole turns out to be visually indistinguishable from a conventional camera zoom and utterly unlike the impression Nolan wanted to portray, which was the sense of travelling through a shortcut from one part of the universe to another. So for the final cut, special effects artists had to add various animations to convey that impression. "The end result was a sequence of shots that told a story comprehensible by a general audience while resembling the wormhole's interior," admit Thorne and colleagues in a paper they have published about wormhole science in the film. In other words, they had to fudge it. Nevertheless, Thorne is adamant that the visualisations should help to inspire a new generation of students of film-making and of relativity.
Movies

BitTorrent Announces Exclusive TV Shows 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the torrent-theater dept.
An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today announced an exclusive partnership with Rapid Eye Studios to launch BitTorrent Originals. In short, the two will identify, produce, and distribute original video content for the BitTorrent Bundle platform, the company's direct-to-fan publishing platform. BitTorrent Originals will be timed exclusives, meaning they will debut on the BitTorrent Bundle platform and only be available there for 30 to 60 days. After the BitTorrent exclusive window closes, each project will be available through other distribution channels.
Movies

Spider-Man Finally Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-live-and-die-and-live-and-die-and-live-again dept.
New submitter Chas writes: After years of Marvel fans screaming for a more unified approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe between the property-holders (Sony, Marvel, Fox), Marvel has announced that they've reached a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.

From the announcement: "Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films."
Television

Something Resembling 'The Wheel of Time' Aired Last Night On FXX 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-sherlock-but-trying-to-solve-asmodean's-murder dept.
eldavojohn writes: If you didn't partake in the DDOS attack on Dragonmount as fans tried to figure out just what the %&#% was going on last night, you should probably prepare yourself for Billy Zane filled disappointment and watch a curious pilot covering the prologue of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan that apparently aired around 01:30 AM Eastern time on FXX. The reviews of said pilot are unkind and appear to contain question marks all the way down starting with Jordan's Widow disavowing its authorization.

The world of film and TV development is a confusing one, but it appears that NBC initially bought options to turn it into a mini series which were then optioned by Universal/Red Eagle Entertainment in conjunction with Red Eagle Games to do a coordinated release. Red Eagle games announced a combined effort with Jet Set games and around 2012 began releasing information on an "Aiel War" project to target mobile gaming platforms. But that appeared to die with its failed kickstarter attempt. It is suspected that Red Eagle Entertainment is behind the odd FXX airing last night. Was this an eleventh hour "use it or lose it" move by Red Eagle Entertainment without Universal's knowledge? In any case, it was a secretive, odd, low-budget, disappointing start to The Wheel of Time in film.
Businesses

Netflix Now Available In Cuba 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the binge-away dept.
aBaldrich writes Streaming video service Netflix will be available to Cuban customers starting today, at the $7.99 U.S. per month rate that it offers in the U.S., the company announced today. It'll still require an international payment method for now, as well as Internet access (which still isn't ubiquitous in [Cuba]), but it's an early start that Netflix says it wanted to offer in order to have it available as Cuban Internet access expands, and debit and credit cards become more available to Cuban citizens. Until now, Cubans have had little access to this kind of American entertainment. The U.S. government maintains a floating balloon tethered to an island in the Florida Keys that broadcasts the pro-democracy TV Marti network. The Cuban government constantly jams the signal. "Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture, and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience," Reed Hastings, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Google

Google Earth Pro Now Available Free 117

Posted by timothy
from the more-data-points-to-chew-on dept.
HughPickens.com writes Google has long offered a Pro version of Google Earth for $399 per year that includes some pretty cool extras not found in the free version. Now Rick Broida reports at Cnet that you can get Google Earth Pro absolutely free. All you have to do is download the installer, run it, then sign in using your e-mail address (as your username) and license code GEPFREE. Features include: Advanced measurements: Measure parking lots and land developments with polygon area measure, or determine affected radius with circle measure; High-resolution printing: Print images up to 4,800 x 3,200 pixel resolution; Exclusive pro data layers with Demographics and traffic count; Spreadsheet import: Ingest up to 2,500 addresses at a time, assigning place marks and style templates in bulk; and Movie-Maker: Export Windows Media and QuickTime HD movies, up to 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. If you've ever been involved in a property dispute, you'll know how acrimonious they can get. Google Earth Pro includes parcel data that definitively defines property boundaries. "Do you really need this? Probably not, as Pro was created with business/enterprise users in mind," writes Broida. "Let's be honest, [Google Earth Pro has] entertainment value that's virtually impossible to measure."
Businesses

Apple Said To Be Working On a Pay TV Service 155

Posted by timothy
from the box-for-every-day-of-the-week dept.
walterbyrd writes Apple is in talks with TV programmers to put together its own over-the-top pay TV service, Recode says. According to the site's industry sources, Apple's proposed service would be comprised of bundles of programming, secured through deals with content providers and sold direct to consumers, rather than a full TV lineup. Apple has reportedly already shown demonstrations of the proposed service to people in charge of TV programming, but Recode says the talks 'seem to be in early stages,' with the pricing and release date still yet to be set.
Piracy

Music Doesn't Feature In the Pirate Bay's Top 100 Biggest Torrents 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-films dept.
journovampire writes Good news for the industry's anti-piracy efforts? Or rather embarrassing for music's appeal in the big, wide world? No single music release features in the Top 100 most-torrented files. From the article: "MBW has analysed TPB’s Top 100 most-pirated files in the 48 hours since its re-emergence. And although you’ll find plenty of movies and a smattering of porn in there, you won’t see a single music release. The Top 4 most-pirated files over the weekend were all movies, led by new Jason Statham vehicle Wild Card. It was followed by three more Hollywood releases – The Interview, American Sniper and Nightcrawler."
Media

UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice? 332

Posted by timothy
from the is-your-nose-on-the-glass? dept.
An anonymous reader writes Details have emerged on the new UHD Blu-ray spec and players set to start shipping this summer. UHD promises resolutions 4X greater than Blu-ray 1080p as well as much higher data rates, enhanced color space and more audio options. But, will consumers care, and will they be willing to upgrade their HDTV's, AV Receivers, and Blu-ray players to adopt a new format whose benefits may only be realized on ultra large displays or close viewing distances? The article makes the interesting point that UHD isn't synonymous with 4K, even if both handily beat the resolution of most household displays.
Star Wars Prequels

Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts 422

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-enough-anthropomorphic-animals dept.
ageoffri writes: When Star Wars fans learned that George Lucas was making the prequels, most were filled with excitement and anticipation. When Episodes 1-3 were actually released, many found them unsatisfying, and became disillusioned with Lucas's writing. Now, it appears Disney felt the same way. Though they bought Lucasfilm and began production on Episode 7, they weren't interested in using the scripts Lucas had already worked on. In an interview, he said, "The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn't really want to do those. So they made up their own. So it's not the ones that I originally wrote [on screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens]." After what happened with the prequels, that may be for the best — but others may worry about Episode 7's plot being entirely in the hands of Disney and JJ Abrams.
Businesses

Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film 138

Posted by timothy
from the scotty-gets-the-girl-and-saves-the-universe dept.
According to a report at The Verge, itself based on another at Deadline.com, Shaun of the Dead creator Simon Pegg is to co-write (along with Doug Jung) the next Star Trek film. Pegg is also signed on to play Scotty, as he did in both the Star Trek reboot and Into Darkness.
Programming

Interviews: Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose Answer Your Questions 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Alexander Stepanov is an award winning programmer who designed the C++ Standard Template Library. Daniel E. Rose is a programmer, research scientist, and is the Chief Scientist for Search at A9.com. In addition to working together, the duo have recently written a new book titled, From Mathematics to Generic Programming. Earlier this month you had a chance to ask the pair about their book, their work, or programming in general. Below you'll find the answers to those questions."
Movies

Amazon Plans To Release 12 Movies a Year In Theaters and On Prime 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-more dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon has announced that it will begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video. From the article: "This is a big move from Amazon, as it seeks to narrow the theatrical release window to between four and eight weeks. It can often take up to a year for films to land on subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, however they do typically land on DVD/Blu-ray within around four months. Production for the aptly titled 'Amazon Original Movies' program will kick off in 2015, and plans are afoot to create around a dozen original titles for release in cinemas each year."
Movies

Silicon Valley Security Experts Give 'Blackhat' a Thumbs-Up; Do You? 98

Posted by timothy
from the but-nothing-beats-wargames dept.
HughPickens.com writes Cade Metz writes that last week Parisa Tabriz, head of Google's Chrome security team, helped arrange an early screening of Michael Mann's Blackhat in San Francisco for 200-odd security specialists from Google, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, Twitter, Square, Cisco, and other parts of Silicon Valley's close-knit security community, and their response to the film was shockingly positive. "Judging from the screening Q&A—and the pointed ways this audience reacted during the screening—you could certainly argue Blackhat is the best hacking movie ever made," writes Metz. "Many info-sec specialists will tell you how much they like Sneakers—the 1992 film with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Ackroyd, Ben Kingsley, and River Phoenix—but few films have so closely hewed to info-sec reality as Mann's new movie, fashioned in his characteristic pseudo-documentary style." "Unlike others, this is a film about a real person, not a stereotype—a real guy with real problems thrust into a real situation," says Mark Abene. "The technology—and the disasters—in the film were real, or at least plausible.

Director Michael Mann worked closely with Kevin Poulsen in researching, writing, and shooting the film. Like Hemsworth's character, Poulsen spent time in prison for his hacking exploits, and Mann says his input was invaluable. "It's the first crime-thriller to hinge so heavily on hacking without becoming silly." says Poulson. "We put a lot of work into finding plausible ways that malware and hosting arrangements and all these other things could be used to advance the plot and all of that I think turned out pretty nice."
I'm a fan of Michael Mann, and the previews I've seen of Blackhat make it look at least like a passable thriller. For anyone who's seen the film already, what did you think?
Sci-Fi

Heinlein's 'All You Zombies' Now a Sci-Fi Movie Head Trip 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-do-the-timewarp-again dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Sara Stewart reports at the NY Post that the new sci-fi movie Predestination, opening January 9, is "loopier than Spielberg's [Minority Report]; its plot twists and turns 'like a snake eating its tail,' one character remarks, until you're not sure whether its developments are even plausible in a fictional universe." It's based on Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction classic All You Zombies, first published in 1959. The story involves a number of paradoxes caused by time travel, further developing themes explored by Heinlein in a previous work, By His Bootstraps, published some 18 years earlier. Predestination's plot concerns the intersection of a time-traveling assassin and an androgynous young writer
Movies

Porn Companies Are Going After GitHub 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-it-down dept.
rossgneumann writes Porn production companies are currently engaged in a scorched earth copyright infringement campaign against torrenting sites with URLs containing specific keywords and Github is getting caught in the crossfire. Several Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints filed to Google by companies representing various porn companies in the last month alone have resulted in dozens of legitimate Github URLs being removed from the search engine's results, TorrentFreak first reported."
Movies

Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-show-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes with reports that Netflix may be shutting out international VPN users. "Netflix can only stream the videos that studios make available in a given country, which has led to a booming business in workarounds (such as proxies and virtual private networks) that let you see the company's catalogs in other nations. Heck, one New Zealand internet provider practically built a service around it. However, you might not get to count on that unofficial solution for much longer. VPN operators claim to TorrentFreak that Netflix recently started blocking some users who use these technological loopholes to watch videos that would normally be verboten. The effort isn't widespread and mostly appears to focus on connections with many simultaneous Netflix sign-ins (that is, they're obviously being used for circumvention), but it's a surprise to viewers who were used to having unfettered access."