This was supposed to be for educational use as an introduction to a classroom lecture, but it was so good it made waves across the world wide web. The title tells you all; the 5 minute clip shows the advancement in visual effects in movies, right from the beginning of the movie era in the early 20th century years to date. In short, it’s a collection of clips and making-of footage from notable visual effects films, with the music from “Rods and Cones” by the Blue Man Group.
Check it out below. It’s quite good, although like many has opined, it lacks some of the most important milestone movies in recent times, including The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Filed under Malaysia
Wishing all my fellow friends and readers from all over Malaysia a Happy Merdeka a.k.a Independence Day! May this 52nd year bring some good changes to the country towards progressive advancement in all social and economic aspects.
Poster Source: Nikasree
Many of the stunning images of eruptions captured from space are of violent stratovolcanoes, such as the one above of Kliuchevskoi, the most active volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula. The image above was taken by astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1994, as an eruption was just getting underway. The ash plume reached as high as 50,000 feet.
See more on Wired
Filed under Automotive
We all know of this, nonetheless this short article by Automobile magazine is a great piece to read.
Where Ferrari and Lamborghini are concerned, the rivalry is so perfect that, if it didn’t exist, some Hollywood screenwriter would have to invent it.
On the one hand you have Ferrari, the legendary marque founded by a notoriously autocratic icon. The cars from Maranello have long been the exotics to love and drive, pedigreed pieces of rolling art and a testament to Enzo Ferrari’s singular, glorious madness.
On the other hand you have Lamborghini, a company born of one man’s dissatisfaction with his Ferrari. Unlike il Commendatore, Italian tractor magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini saw little value in racing, and he would not have gotten into the car business had his personal Ferrari not given him mechanical trouble. As legend has it, Lamborghini presented his concerns to Enzo, who told him to go soak his head, and Ferruccio stormed off, vowing to build a better car.
What resulted is a typically Italian brand of crazy: two tiny companies striving, over the course of five decades, to outdo each other in the field of supercar insanity. The results have been anything but predictable. Ferraris generally feel competition-bred, and as such, they’ve run the gamut from truckish, cartlike monsters to delicate, ethereal machines with gossamer steering and featherlight bodywork. Lamborghinis, by contrast, have almost always been engine-centric, street-focused drama bombs, more concerned with explosive potency than with competition pedigrees. Most people lean toward one of the two approaches, and to this day, representatives from each company grudgingly acknowledge that the other builds acceptable, albeit flawed, cars. Which, all things considered, is just the sort of attitude that keeps a forty-five-year feud going strong.
A super-bright star is gradually going dim, and scientists want YOU to help them find out why.
For nearly 200 years, astronomers have been wondering why the star epsilon Aurigae turns down its light once every 27 years. Based on careful observations of the star’s periodic dimming, scientists believe that the supergiant star must have a mysterious companion that blocks its light periodically. But they still don’t know what that companion is.
Epsilon Aurigae’s next dip in brightness starts this fall, and telescope technology has come a long way since the star’s last eclipse in 1982-84. This time, astronomers are also hoping they’ll have the help of thousands of extra eyes: Starting today, a collaborative project called Citizen Sky is asking amateur astronomers to help solve the mystery of epsilon Aurigae.
“The star is too bright to be observed with the vast majority of professional telescopes,” astronomer Arne Henden of the American Association of Variable Star Observers said in a press release, “so this is another area where public help is needed.”
Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be needing expensive equipments for this. Because the star is so bright, even the most basic equipment — including the naked eye — can provide useful data. Normally the star can be seen from fall to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, even in urban areas with lots of light pollution. But beginning this fall, epsilon Aurigae is expected to gradually dim until it has lost half its light by early winter. The star will be dim during all of 2010 and then bounce back to its usual brightness by summer 2011.
To learn more, watch the video below (complete with Lite Brite illustrations) or visit www.citizensky.org to find out how you can get involved.
Millions of television viewers are now using file-sharing services to access free and unauthorised copies of programmes, research has revealed.
US drama Heroes was the most popular illegal download this year, according to research firm Big Champagne.
About 55 million people downloaded the show, while 51 million chose to access Lost, the second most popular show. Visits to leading “torrent” sites, which index video and music files, have also nearly doubled in the last year.
The proportion of file-sharing involving films and television rather than music is continuing to rise, the research shows. “Millions of television viewers now access free, unauthorised versions of favourite shows at least some of the time,” says Eric Garland, chief executive of Big Champagne. “This is a socially acceptable form of casual piracy – and it is replacing viewing hours.”
Most Popular TV Torrents
- Heroes; 54,562,012
- Lost; 51,151,396
- 24; 34,119,093
- Prison Break; 29,283,591
- House; 26,277,954
- Fringe; 21,434,755
- Desperate Housewives; 21,378,412
- Grey’s Anatomy; 19,916,775
- Gossip Girl; 19,706,870
- Smallville; 19,598,999
All of the programmes in the top 10 were American, but the survey also examined unauthorised downloads of popular BBC show Top Gear.
During the most recent series, the figures show around 300,000 downloads of each episode in the days immediately following their broadcast in the UK. But the UK accounted for just 4% of the download activity, with 47% coming from the United States. Big Champagne says Top Gear has been among the most pirated television programmes internationally.
Top of the chart was Watchmen, downloaded nearly 17 million times, followed by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with 13 million.
The Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, a relatively low budget film compared with the two Hollywood blockbusters, was viewed by nearly 9 million unauthorised downloaders.
Most Popular Film Torrents
- Watchmen; 16,906,452
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; 13, 133, 137
- Yes Man; 13,038,364
- Twilight; 11,632,645
- Fast and Furious; 10,613,668
- Gran Torino; 9,880,700
- Marley and Me; 9,099,219
- Slumdog Millionaire; 8,840,884
- Bolt; 8,690,633
- Australia; 8,628,012
Nice HD stills from the movie. I’m slowly gaining more confidence in this latest work from Peter Jackson.
Check out this animated lenticular poster for the movie The Final Destination, which is running in cinemas now. It’s cool, but it’s 2.4MB in size, so 56K beware!
BMW has finally revealed the long-rumoured Vision ED concept car. Before I go onto the details, let me just tell how I feel on this. In terms of design, if this thing came out about 5 years ago, it would definitely have “wow-ed” me in every aspect, but otherwise as it is now, it doesn’t impress me that much after all. It’s just too futuristic, ambiguous, and skeptical for 2009, something common in automobile concepts a few years back (but not much of concern then since the design aspect was more important those days). Now however, many people would just push this aside stating that it’s some fantasy concept where the end-product would never look close to. Market reality doesn’t match with these extravagant concepts, because like what Engadget says, the “concept won’t look a tenth this wild when it hits the streets”, so why bother making it so dramatic anyway?
Now my opinion aside, this beautiful concept from BMW combines plug-in with diesel powered powertrain, resulting in a sporty dynamically-efficient plug-in hybrid car that shoots from 0-100 in 4.8 seconds while at the same time impressively scoring 62.6 mpg on the E.U. combined test cycle. The concept uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbodiesel that is essentially half of the fabulous 3.0-liter found in the 335d. The engine is rated at a hefty 163 hp with peak torque of 214 lb-ft, paired with a six-speed DCT derived from the unit used in the M3 and Z4.
Basically, the new system is a further development of the mild hybrid that is debuting in the ActiveHybrid 7. Here however, a more powerful 33-hp electric motor is used between the engine and transmission. A second 80-hp motor provides drive to the front axle. The total net output of the drive system is 356 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Good to read and hear, and unlike in the dumb Chevy Volt system, the BMW concept gets its full capability from the blended power delivery, being able to run about 31 miles on electricity alone and the diesel engine’s 6.6-gallon tank can propel the car another 400 miles. Other efficient elements include LED lighting, aerodynamics with drag coefficient of 0.22, very low front end with the mid-mounted engine positioning, thermostatically controlled slats ahead of the radiator for front air resistance, full aluminum chassis and suspension along with a roof and much of the skin made from a light-sensitive polycarbonate, polycarbonate glass, radar sensor for the active cruise control, and many more.
The 2+2 is apparently what BMW refers to as “Forward looking energy management” in terms utilising the other systems in the vehicle to anticipate what is coming and optimize the use of the various powertrain elements to cut energy use overall, but let’s just see how far this goes.
See more pics of the car on Netcarshow.