You are cordially invited to look in on the latest Computer Graphics Challenge! This one - focused on “strange behavior” - offers some funny and vivid looks into the top methods now available to groups of amateurs. There are super prizes and much publicity. A couple of challenges ago, half a dozen entries featured fabulous movie trailers for Greg Bear’s epochal SF novel - EON.
I will likely be providing grist for one of the next challenges. They want to do something with my Uplift Universe. Perhaps a trailer for a movie-yet-to-be. Or else some fully-rendered individual scenes from such a movie.
Hence my request for feedback. I’d like to know which individual scene from one of my books strikes you as the most vivid and exciting in a movie sense, WHILE giving characters some good lines that shed at least a little insight into the plot? And, of course, offering rich opportunities for CG rendering. One that comes to mind is when Toshio and Akki see a starship shot down and the tsunami drives them ashore. Something with Fiben and Athaclena in THE UPLIFT WAR? Or Jacab and Helene aboard the sunship in SUNDIVER? Please pipe in with your favorites! Especially with chapter or page number.
Or else, if you’d like to pick a DOZEN favorite moments, and splice them together into the perfect TRAILER... DOn’t forget those bits of plot teasing dialogue! Have fun. And of course, if you know any CG people who’d like to get involved...
Here are the short films (scroll down!) the animations. And The illustrations.
===== A FEW MORE SELF-CENTERED BITS, THEN FUN ====
John Brockman’s The Edge online intellectual site is hosting another “world question center” - this time on the issue of “WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? AND WHY? I am part of the group ranging from Alan Alda and Joan Baez to Stephen Pinker, George Dyson, Alan Kay and Paul Saffo. Give it a look for a wide spectrum of perspectives on change.
The History Channel has announced a SALE on DVDs. Here’s your chance to own a copy of “The Architechs”! And help make it a viral must-see!
Reminder to set aside (and spread the word) about my January 21st History Channel show “Life Without People.”
Over at Facebook’s discussion groups, one of them - the political compass - is reviving one of the dumber and more tendentious “alternative political spectra” . Yes, I despise the old left-right." My own proposal is more nuanced.
Anybody with some advice for a guy heading to Liechtenstein, via Zurich, in winter?
===== A Whole Load of Cool and Frightening and Boggling Stuff ====
Okay. Time for a data dump. And yes, I’ll get gripes for not having hot linked all these. Sorry. I just can’t. My son is getting bigger and stronger than me and he wants another novel from me before he finishes high school.
Enjoy. And fight for civilization.
... When ancient retroviruses slipped bits of their DNA into the primate genome millions of years ago, they successfully preserved their own genetic legacy. Today an estimated 8 percent of the human genetic code consists of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) -- the DNA remnants from these so-called "selfish parasites."
... Electrodes have been implanted in the brain of Eric Ramsay, who has been "locked in" -- conscious but paralysed -- since a car crash eight years ago. These have been recording pulses in areas of the brain involved in speech and plan to use the signals he generates to drive speech software. One wonders if he could at least eye-blink "yes-no" I would imagine that'd make a gigantic difference.
... Many a mother has said, with a sigh, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?” The answer, for cockroaches at least, may well be yes. Researchers using robotic roaches were able to persuade real cockroaches to do things that their instincts told them were not the best idea.
... Oh, see Sergey describe the new Google Phone phormat... "android"...
... E-mail is looking obsolete. According to a 2005 Pew study, almost half of Web using teenagers prefer to chat with friends via instant messaging rather than e-mail. Last year, comScore reported that teen e-mail use was down 8 percent, compared with a 6 percent increase in e-mailing for users of all ages. As mobile phones and sites like Twitter and Facebook have become more popular, those old Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts increasingly lie dormant. Ah but... shall I act as a grouch? Just as email dumbed down written discourse by eliminating the chance to edit and reconsider intemperate flashes, before licking that stamp... The move to texting/Im and all that now will continue the trend of SHORTENING exchanges down to the 1 sentence or grunt-sniglet level. An effect abetted by "places" like Second Life. But you all have heard me gripe about all that before.
... Among my many connections with the extropian/transhumanist communities -- where I often find myself drifting into my usual role, as contrarian gadfly -- the Methuselah Foundation ("repair and reverse the damage of aging") is right out there, combining research that is bona fide exciting with some other stuff that strikes me and completely bizarre... often on the same page or report or posting! They certainly are drawing funds -- no surprise, as some super-enriched boomers find a limit to what money can buy. Can YOU guess which projects are way-cool and which should creep you out? (Hint, solve mitochondrial aging by moving mito-genes onto the chromosomes? And... you expect that to...work?) Still, well worth tracking.
... Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.
... For as little as $1,000 and a saliva sample, customers will be able to learn what is known so far about how the billions of bits in their DNA shape who they are and what their health risks may be. Three companies have already announced plans to market such services. When I was last at Google, Sergey made me spit in a jar. His wife runs one of these companies. But I have heard no results. Am I a "brin"? Stay tuned.
Might be interested in the Nobel speech by Doris Lessing, this year's winner for Literature, and the first Guest of Honor at a World Science Fiction Convention ever to become a Laureate. Yes, her Canopus books tended to be dense, tendentious and ignorant of advances made elsewhere in SF. On the other hand, Lessing was unafraid of labels and quite aware of the limitations that narrowminded cretins haver tried to impose upon literature, by constraining the range and realm of authorial exploration. She’s gutsy...
... and cantankerous! Get past the sniping at the Internet-- though one sided, it does make a good point. The important point, from my perspective, was that the world needs saving. But, also, writers gotta write.
Paranoia time? I was sent this: Reports from Russia that their Siberian Solar Radio Telescope detected a ˜massive ultra low frequency (ULF) ˜blast emanating from Latitude: 45Â˚ 00' North Longitude: 93Â˚ 15' West at the ˜exact moment, and location, of a catastrophic collapse of a nearly 2,000 foot long bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And now let’s ease (flip) into gonzo land... Russian Military reports state that the total collapse of such a massive bridge, and in the absence of evidence linking its destruction to terrorist activity, could only have been accomplished by an acoustic weapon, of which the United States Military is known to possess.
... Sam Harris is best known for his barn-burning 2004 attack on religion, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, which spent 33 weeks on the New York Times best-seller List. The book's sequel, Letter to a Christian Nation also came out in editions totaling hundreds of thousands. Last Monday, however, the combative Californian produced a shorter (seven pages) and seemingly calmer publication that will be a hit if it reaches 10,000 readers: "Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief and Uncertainty." It appears in the respected journal Annals of Neurology. And Harris, 40, claims it has little if any connection to his two popular books. I wonder about uses, like lie detection... and how we can make this window look in enough directions that it cannot be used against us all.
==== MUCH MORE UNDER COMMENTS=====
I Have a huge amount of stuff stored up here, and, naturally, some of it’s political. Plus Deaf Activism and lots of science. In order not to swamp you all, I will append some of it as a first comment, down below.
Here’s wishing you all a great new year. And for us all.