2017 is bound to usher in an assortment of changes to our society. Most of them will be bad — we're sure to suffer — but some will be good. For example, over the weekend a Los Angeles-based hero vandalised, or rather modernised, the city's iconic Hollywood sign to read "Hollyweed."
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Today, Ayn Rand is perhaps best known as your virgin cousin's favourite author to fawn over during Christmas dinner. But back in the 1940s, Rand was better known for helping root out Communists in Hollywood. She testified to US Congress and even wrote an entire pamphlet about how to make their movies as pro-America as possible that was sent to movie producers. Or at least, Rand's version of "America".
Indiana Jones proved just how useful a good bullwhip can be, both as a tool and as a weapon, but people are still surprised when neuropsychologist Jessica Cail tells them that one of her favourite hobbies is practising whip-cracking. She talks about this peculiar sideline in the latest instalment of the NOVA video series, Secret Life of Scientists.
If this year's Sundance Film Festival is any indication, virtual reality is about to hit the mainstream. Under a program called "New Frontier", the festival is promoting eleven independently produced VR films. The finalists have been chosen from hundreds of entries and among them are some short documentaries, horrifying acid trips and even a Reggie Watt music video.
Screw 360-degree film cameras on drones or Vines on 16-megapixel smartphones. Kodak's going old school with these little beauties. The design is inspired by the Super 8 fad from half a century ago, and these new cameras that shoot film on, well, actual film.
Most robots don't have IMDb pages. Geminoid F isn't most robots.
The scene was set: a surveillance camera, a safe full of money in a Las Vegas casino, a pair of thieves with lock picking tools and a laptop. I watched in awe as the skinny geeks clipped wires and rewired the feed so that it would loop ad finitum. Basically, they recreated the climax of Ocean's 11 before my very eyes.
Camera-equipped drones swoop and shoot aerial shots for TV and movies with gorgeous Planet Earth grandeur. Now, director James Cameron's backing a new contest in New Zealand to find drone designs to make the flying cameras even better-suited to Hollywood.
Originality is over in Hollywood, says this new infographic, and its verdict is irrevocable indeed. Based on United States box office records from 1975 to 2014, it counts all the original films which cracked the worldwide box office top 10 and compares it to the growing amount of sequels, reboots and franchises.
Every nerd born before 1990 knows the Jurassic Park hacking scene. "It's a UNIX system — I know this!" Now, thanks to some nostalgic developers, you too can hack into the mainframe. A newly developed game mimics the 3D interface that Lex conquered to save everyone from the dinosaurs over 20 years ago. It's pretty fun!
Why did Southern California become the epicentre of the American film industry? The nice weather certainly helped. But there's another element that modern Hollywood probably hopes you'd forget: Rampant piracy. Even though it was just the piracy of movie camera tech rather than the Jack Sparrow variety, there were plenty of real world bullets being discharged over it. Including bullets being aimed at the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille.