Author Archive | majestic

‘VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new’

Are you excited about Virtual Reality, which is finally available to consumers? Not as excited as John Riccitiello, I’ll wager, who says “VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new,” per Gamesindustry.biz:

Unity CEO John Riccitiello on the company’s role in building a market for VR software, and why he’s no fan of the “sour grapes” offered by the cynics.

Ggn John Riccitiello ea core ips.jpg

John Riccitiello (CC)

 

The entire market for game engines has started to look an awful lot like Unity Technologies. Companies like Epic and Crytek have pushed for more diverse platforms, more open pricing models, and more accessibility for smaller teams, but always two steps behind the pace-setter, behind Unity. Indeed, one gets the feeling that every major player in the market would rattle on about “democratising game development” if David Helgason, Joachim Ante and Nicholas Francis hadn’t adopted it as their mantra a decade ago.

However, Unity’s own trajectory shouldn’t be ignored, either.

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The Intriguing History of Ghost Photography

“As camera tech has evolved, so too has the photography of puzzling ‘spirits’,” writes Howard Timberlake at BBC Future:

It’s February 2015 at Hampton Court Palace in London. Twelve-year-old Holly Hampsheir grabs her iPhone to take a photo of her cousin, Brook, as she walks alone through the majestic King’s Apartments. Snap.

It’s not until the following day that they discover Brook was not alone in the picture. A tall, grey, seemingly cloaked woman follows behind her. In a second photo, this strange anomaly is gone.

Was it a stunning image of a tortured apparition making a rare performance for the cameras, or something more… well… sensible?

The answer, as we’ll discover, says more about how smartphones take photos than anything supernatural. In fact, this grey ghoul is just the latest apparition in a fascinating history of ghost photography. Ever since the camera was invented, spooks have appeared in photos.

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Jim Carrey Slams California School Vaccine Legislation: It’s ‘Poisoning More Children’

Jim Carrey just became one of the highest profile “Anti-Vaxxers” per the Hollywood Reporter:

Carrey tweeted that Gov. Jerry Brown is a “corporate fascist” who “must be stopped.”

carrey tweet

Jim Carrey is speaking out against new legislation requiring all public school children in California to be vaccinated starting in 2016.

Carrey, who has been an outspoken critic of vaccinations, said Gov. Jerry Brown needed to be stopped.

“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped,” Carrey tweeted of Brown, who signed the legislation Tuesday.

Read more Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

The new legislation removes personal belief exemptions to vaccinations for religious reasons. Carrey was once in a relationship with Jenny McCarthy, the public face of the anti-vaccination movement. She has said her son developed autism after receiving a vaccination.

Fellow celebrities have also voiced their displeasure with the law, taking to Twitter to retweet those voicing similar positions and writing their own opinions condemning the compulsory vaccination policy.

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Forget Little Green Men – Aliens Will Look Like Humans

Alright alien-hunters, you can stop looking for Grays, Little Green Men or other freakish alien stereotypes. They’re going to look like us according to Professor Simon Conway Morris, reports the Independent:

They are often portrayed on screen as little green men with elongated limbs and saucer-like eyes.

Credit: Anthony Appleyard (CC)

Credit: Anthony Appleyard (CC)

From E.T to the X-Files, aliens from outer space have captured our imagination for decades.

Yet a new book from a leading evolutionary biologist argues that if they exist and we ever encountered them, they would look very similar to us.

Professor Simon Conway Morris said extra-terrestrials that resemble human beings should have evolved on at least some of the many Earth-like planets that have been discovered by astronomers.

In his new book published on 2 July, The Runes of Evolution, the University of Cambridge academic builds on the principle of convergent evolution – that different species will independently evolve similar features, with the comparison of the camera eye of an octopus and a human eye a favourite example – and argues it will not just took place on Earth.

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The Surprisingly Imperfect Science of DNA Testing

Katie Worth tells us “how a proven tool may be anything but,” in reference to DNA testing, for Frontline:

…Peter Gill is a giant in the forensic DNA community, counted among the scientists who wrote the original paper conceptualizing DNA as a forensic tool in 1985. But he has spent recent years warning people using his tool against blindly trusting its results. In a 2014 book called “Misleading DNA Evidence: Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice,” Gill wrote that contamination is dangerous because investigators are eager to believe that DNA found at a crime scene must come from the perpetrator.

“The presence of a DNA profile says nothing about the time frame or the circumstances under which it came to be there,” says defense expert and researcher Dan Krane. “Test results can’t distinguish between the possibility of contamination, or evidence tampering, or, you know, murder.”

Technology may soon increase the danger of implicating innocent people.

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The Dopest Blunts Ever

In interesting find over at Digg, where they profile the maker of some extraordinarily complicated blunts:

Here is a man with too much time and marijuana on his hands. Instagram user Valleyrec420, a self-described California Prop 215 patient, is spending his days rolling the most incredible blunts we’ve ever seen. Err… not that we’ve seen a ton of blunts. We’re not experts. Who’s asking? Are you a cop? You have to tell us if you’re a cop.

Instagram / valleyrec420

Instagram / valleyrec420

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‘Inception’ Is Possible—At Least In Sleeping Mice

A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.If you liked the movie Inception and are interested in the science of dreaming, you’ll be interested to learn that scientists are now able to influence the dreams of mice (humans coming soon no doubt). From Quartz:

Scientists have been poking around in mice brains a lot recently. They’ve found that they have dreams, and that those dreams can be manipulated.

Research (paywall) by scientists at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris has shown that scientists can influence mouse dreams, in a way reminiscent of the 2010 science fiction movie Inception. Researchers placed electrodes into a part of the mouse brain called the hippocampus, which contains cells that send electrical signals in specific places (hence their name, place cells). After monitoring mice in a specific arena, scientists were able to locate specific cells that fired in specific locations.

As the mice were sleeping, the electrodes illustrated that place cells in mice were still firing, as they dreamed about particular places.

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Amazon Debuts Philip K. Dick’s ‘The Man in the High Castle’ Series by Ridley Scott

Hey Dick-Heads, are you excited for the The Man in the High Castle? Amazon Studios has released a new teaser in advance of the debut of the first two series episodes at San Diego Comic Con on July 10th (if you can’t get to San Diego, EW is going to stream the event live):

Based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), The Man in the High Castle explores what it would be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States. Starring Rufus Sewell (John Adams), Luke Kleintank (Pretty Little Liars) and Alexa Davalos (Mob City), the series results from the Amazon Studios one hour pilot, which you can access here if you subscribe to Amazon Prime.

Dick set The Man in the High Castle in 1962, fifteen years after the end of a fictional longer Second World War (1939–47).… Read the rest

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Shocking Documents Reveal Fracking Health Complaints Swept Under the Rug in Pennsylvania

Anti-frackers may be celebrating in New York State, where the ban on hydraulic fracturing was made permanent this week, but in Pennsylvania it’s a very different story. EcoWatch reports that a ream of official state documents show a pattern of sweeping health complaints under the rug:

Heavily-fracked Pennsylvania is a battle ground in the fight to protect affected families from the harms of the toxic drilling method. Last week after months of resisting our efforts, the state finally delivered more than 100 pages of documents to Food & Water Watch that were requested through a public Right-to-Know request. And what we received was shocking. The documents clearly demonstrate an ongoing pattern of alarming negligence and incompetence by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) in responding to scores of fracking-related health complaints from state residents.

fraeckingpa650
Food & Water Watch requested, through a public Right-to-Know request, documents that clearly demonstrate an ongoing pattern of alarming negligence and incompetence by the Pennsylvania Dept.
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The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace

For fans of David Foster Wallace’s writing (Infinite Jest being the main event), the current focus on the man himself rather than his (admittedly challenging) literary legacy is more than a little disturbing, as recounted by Christian Lorentzen at Vulture:

Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he’s slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace.

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