Posts Tagged With: gammasquad

A Man Convinced Investors Canada Was Making ‘Star Trek’ Medical Tricorders

gammasquadmccoy

Okay, well here’s a thing that happened – a man from Illinois named Howard Leventhal managed to convince a group of investors to give him $800,000 to develop a real-life Star Trek tricorder. Cool! Except, of course, the whole thing was a scam, something the investors should have realized immediately given this device was going to be called “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet”. Here’s how Howard Leventhal described his imaginary device…

“Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series, is designed as a platform to maximize the patient benefits through broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine.”

Ah, telemedicine. Of course.

So, how did Howard convince people his ridiculous tricorder scheme was legit? By claiming Canada was already pumping millions into developing the device. Howard even faked Canadian government documents and forged the signatures of top Canadian Health officials. To all the Americans out there – guys, I know Canada is an exotic foreign country and all, but I can assure you, we don’t have 23rd century technology up here. We make phones with lots of little buttons that nobody wants, not tricorders.

Unfortunately Howard got greedy and tried to get another 2.5 million out of his investors and was caught. I say “unfortunately” because, come on, if you fall for “I’m making a tricorder and Canada’s totally on board!” you deserve to be separated from your money.

via Gizmondo

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Categories: News of the wacky | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rachel McAdams May Be Unfrozen By Creepy Space Keanu In ‘Passengers’

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams is negotiating to star in sci-fi movie Passengers now that a scheduling conflict has caused Reese Witherspoon to bow out. McAdams would be playing a woman in cryogenic sleep on a long interstellar voyage to a new planet. When a computer glitch causes a male passenger to wake up 90 years early, he unfreezes a woman to keep him company. They’re calling that a love story for some reason, not a horror movie.

Already signed to star as the creepy unfreezer is Keanu Reeves, who seemed like a solid dude in his Reddit AMA. Oh, so that’s why it’s not billed as a horror movie, because Keanu Reeves is hot. Sure, he can unfreeze people, but when I try to find Walt Disney’s frozen head, I’m a “trespasser” and a “person who should put on some pants”. YOU WOULDN’T SAY THAT TO KEANU, MAGIC KINGDOM.

Considering this is a film with only two actors in space, we can safely say we’d rather see the chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Keanu Reeves than Witherspoon and Reeves. Also not surprising is that The Weinstein Company is making Passengers a priority now that Gravity – another movie about a man and woman alone in space – has grossed over $330M.

Director Brian Kirk (Game Of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) is also replacing Gabriele Muccino (Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds) for reasons we don’t know. Perhaps because it’s not a depressing movie staring Will Smith. Or perhaps because he said he wanted a “lesser-known” actor as the female star, and there’s no way a studio’s going to take that risk in a big budget movie with only two leads.

(Banner picture via vipflash / Shutterstock.com.)

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How Useful Is Wolverine Anyway? ‘The Pete Holmes Show’ Knows.

Wolverine Gets Fired By Pete Holmes in sketch for The Pete Holmes Show on TBS

We’ve been featuring comedian Pete Holmes’ sketches here for quite awhile. We did a round-up of his Batman parodies, and we enjoyed the one featuring Patton Oswalt and Holmes’ response to Ben Affleck as Batman in Good Will Batman. Now he’s branching out of Batman territory and stating what some of us have always thought about Wolverine: how useful are his powers to the X-Men, really?

Pete Holmes stars as Professor X in this sketch which debuted at New York Comic-Con and is now finally online. It has better CGI on the claws than the ones in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The dialogue is a huge improvement, too.

“Where did I come from, though?”

“No, you’re not hearing me. No one gives a hot sh-t.”

“But where did I come from?”

“GET A JOURNAL, LOGAN.”

These “Ex-Men” segments will be a recurring sketch on The Pete Holmes Show, on TBS after Conan starting October 28th. Hopefully they’ll finally answer the question that has so far been left unanswered. Harvey Dent. Can we trust him?

(H/T: @PeteHolmes)

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Take That Mom! Scientists Prove Video Games Actually Keep Your Mind Sharp.

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These guys could actually make you smarter.

According to a new study conducted by cognitive scientists at the University of California, your mom was totally wrong about the whole “video games rot your brain” thing. In fact, it would probably do her some good to pick up a controller herself.

And it’s not just games that make iffy-sounding claims about “training your brain” that are beneficial – this latest study has found that pretty much any game that requires a lot of multitasking can make a brain think younger…

Basically, the scientists at UC created their own simple video game in which you have to drive a car while paying attention to certain signs that pop up on screen. Initially younger players in their 20s did better than players in their 70s or 80s, but with a bit of training the codgers became just as good at the game as the kids. In fact, most actually became better at the game than your average 20-year-old playing it for the first time.

Even more interesting, these old people continued to “think young” and function at a higher cognitive level even after the game was shut off. The effects of mastering the game also lasted for a long time – up to six months.

Oh, and video games aren’t just good for dusty old-person brains either. Another study has shown that multitasking-heavy video games can also help young people ignore distractions and learn.

So wait, a game where you drive a car while also paying attention to roadside distractions improves brain function? Roadside distractions like oh, I dunno, screaming pedestrians, cops and health-restoring hookers? Well, I don’t see any way around it – now that we have this new information it would be a crime against brains to not install Grand Theft Auto V in every old folks home and school in America.

via The New York Times

Categories: Cognitive science | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The Walking Dead’ Gets A Free Online College Course Backed By AMC

Lobster Dog in The Walking Dead

(Photoshopped by Matt.)

AMC is partnering with University of California at Irvine to offer a free online course about The Walking Dead. Eh, it’s still more useful than Newberry College’s Social Media major.

The eight-week course, titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead,” will include content, video clips and examples from the show, as well as possible participation from the actors.

Possible participation? Don’t tease us like this, AMC.

And it won’t be just about zombies. The companies said the interdisciplinary course will use the show as a lens to examine topics like Maslow’s hierarchy, public health and pandemics and the science of hope. “Others have focused on specific pedagogical models and approaches… [We wondered] how could we get a course with high numbers of users and engagement?” Instructure co-founder Brian Whitmer said in a briefing ahead of the announcement. “We decided to see what a pop culture connection does to engagement.” [Gigaom]

He said “engagement” not just once, but twice? Taintpunch this man.

The online course convenes each Monday starting October 14th, the day after The Walking Dead‘s season four premiere. It joins other zombie-centric college courses like Michigan State University’s “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Disasters, Catastrophes and Human Behavior”, Columbia College Chicago’s “Zombies in Popular Media”, and ENGL 333 at the University of Baltimore. At least it’s a free class. I can’t imagine taking classes in something you can’t use for a job and then end up being a blogger or something. Oh. Wait. I can imagine that.

[Sources: Gigaom, Topless Robot, Variety]

Categories: The Walking Dead | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News, Everyone! Here’s A Mesmerizing Replica Of The Holophonor From ‘Futurama’

Replica Holophonor from Futurama made by Harrison Krix of Volpin Props

Last time we checked in on Harrison Krix of Volpin Props, he was making a portal gun for the Child’s Play charity auction and Skyrim-inspired Boba Fett helmet for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.Now he’s made a one-of-a-kind replica of Fry’s Holophonor from Futurama.

Fry from Futurama playing a holophonor

And you can’t play a Holophonor like an expert without the Robot Devil’s hands, so check out that custom display stand. It’s . . . beautiful.

fry from futurama shut up and take my money gif

A full build diary is available at Volpin Props, but we’ll attempt a quick summary.

Since Futurama is hand drawn, the Holophonor varies wildly from shot to shot. Sometimes whole sets of keys are missing, sometimes it looks about a foot shorter then normal, and the lower bell seems to be anywhere from 6 around to over 18 depending on which frame you’re looking at. I fired up Netflix and grabbed a ton of reference. The keys in some of the more detailed shots reminded me of a clarinet, and the more I checked, the more that I was certain the Holophonor was inspired by one – the grouping of the 4 long keys at the bottom, the same number of front facing valves, even the very long upper hinged keys. [Volpin Props via Nerd Approved]

He popped some tags at the thrift shop with $70 in his pocket and left with a clarinet in serious need of cleaning. After loosening the pegs from ABS plastic with a blowtorch, he painted individual parts with Testor’s spray lacquer and added several custom parts and electronics. There are 54 LEDs of three different colors in the lower bell alone. The lights don’t make holograms, but they do make cool patterns on a wall from up to 15 feet away. We reiterate, SHUT UP AND TAKE OUR MONEY.

Krix says, “this is definitely one of the stranger things I’ve ever built, and I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to build it. I just never want to take apart and clean a thrift-store-purchased clarinet again for the rest of my life.”

Replica Holophonor from Futurama made by Harrison Krix of Volpin Props

Pictures by Harrison Krix via Creative Commons license. More pictures of the build available here.

Categories: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why ‘The Wolverine’ Should Have Had Less Ambition

the-wolverine-cover-creator

The Wolverine is a surprising movie in some respects. Not in terms of the plot; there’s pretty much nothing in this movie that you won’t see coming. But rather in terms of how brutal it’s willing to be, and how much it lets Hugh Jackman play to his strengths. Unfortunately, the third act throws ninjas and a giant robot at us, and nearly derails the whole thing.

Yet again, Hugh Jackman makes this movie. Jackman became the linchpin of the X-Men franchise for a reason; he carries himself off here with a lot of humor, grit and panache. Just like X-Men Origins: Wolverine sputters to life whenever the camera gets in close and gives him a situation to work, so this movie’s best moments tend to be Jackman, up close and personal, whether he’s struggling with guilt or struggling not to beat some jerk senseless. It helps a lot that this movie dances right up to the line of being an actual R-rated Wolverine movie; how they got away with some of the kills here is totally beyond me.

It’s a familiar plot, mind you; a tough guy, stuck in a foreign land, struggling with his past decisions, and discovering the means to move on and some asses to kick. It’s a sturdy form, though, and it’s perfectly suited for the strengths of its lead.

The main problem is the third act: After two acts of Wolverine fighting yakuza and unraveling a not-exactly-complex plot of corporate intrigue, as well as a few pretty solid action sequences and a truly great one on the bullet train we all saw in the trailer, there’s a clunky finale involving ninjas and a giant robot, most of which was utterly unnecessary and brings back unpleasant memories of X-Men: The Last Stand in terms of how overstuffed it is. Even worse, it cheats; you will find yourself asking questions where you really shouldn’t. Yes, they were in the comics this was based on, but they feel extraneous.

It doesn’t help that the big Wolvie/ninjas fight was obviously cut to ribbons in the editing room, probably because it was completely unnecessary. Similarly, the giant robot bit, it’s not a surprise with the big twist, and the movie can’t even be bothered to pretend we’re supposed to be surprised, although there is some killer CGI and acting work at the end. At least it’s not boring, which is more than I can say for some of this franchise’s low points.

It’s a shame because James Mangold handles the gritty, grounded stuff quite well, and this is so close to the R-rated line you kind of wish Fox had let Mangold and Jackman make the R-rated Wolvie movie they’re obviously itching to. Mangold works in bits of dark humor and moments for Jackman to shine into the various fistfights in the first two acts, and as a result they feel a lot fresher and looser. It’s odd to say it should have had less ambition, but if it had stuck with its tough-guy-out-of-water, low-key tone, The Wolverine would have been a better movie. As it is, Jackman gets enough to do, and does it well enough, that it’s worth seeing in that regard alone.

And, oh yes, there’s a post-credits teaser at the end. And it’s going to warm the cockles of the heart of every X-fan. I won’t spoil it here, but even if the movie stank, it’d be worth that money just to see that teaser.

Categories: The Wolverine | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Bethesda’s Dragonborn Armor Clearly Designed By Georgia O’Keeffe

Yeah, yeah, Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim has a trailer, you can ride dragons and it looks like some of it takes place in Morrowind or an area a lot like it, whatever.

I want to talk about this promotional art instead. And I think you can guess what I want to talk about, although I’m going to try not to trip your work’s profanity filter while doing it.

Look, I get it when more staid companies do this. They’re not on the Internet all the time. They don’t have dirty minds like the rest of us. But Bethesda is a video game company. They’re on the Internet all the time. It’s practically their job to look at this stuff and find this.

So, how did this promotional art get by everybody in the marketing department with nobody noticing the helmet had a… how do I put this? …a mouth that looks like the same thing everybody sees in Georgia O’Keeffe paintings? Bethesda not only tweeted this out, they made it into a high resolution wallpaper.

Seriously, how did they not notice this? I showed this to my fiancee yesterday and the first thing she asked was why that helmet had a ladypart made out of blades.

It doesn’t look better in motion, either:

There’s no way this isn’t intentional, either. Look at it:

It’s all there, anatomically speaking. Unless I’ve really missed something about dragon reproduction in the Elder Scrolls universe, it seems pretty safe to say that this is intentional.

Really, what’s that for? What’s the combat efficacy of chin blades, bar your being Bruce Campbell? I have to say, this has achieved the necessary result. I really want to see Dragonborn now. Just not for the reasons Bethesda was hoping.

The post Bethesda’s Dragonborn Armor Clearly Designed By Georgia O’Keeffe appeared first on UPROXX.

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Dragon Baby Is Here To Slay Dragons And Nap, And He’s All Out Of Naptime

When we last featured the work of Patrick Boivin, he had made a cute, CGI-heavy video of an AT-AT behaving like a lovable pet dog and dropping steaming Jabbas on the sidewalk. Prior to that, he made a video of his baby daughter, Marguerite Bulte Boivin, as Iron Man Baby. Even though Boivan is self-taught, the video was so good that Iron Man director Jon Favreau tweeted a recommendation. Now Boivin is back with Dragon Baby, another cute and funny homemade video.

Dragon Baby stars Boivin’s son, Romeo Elvis Bulte Boivin [seriously?], as Dragon Baby, a martial artist toddler wearing Bruce Lee’s iconic Enter the Dragon yellow jumpsuit. Dragon Baby battles a stuffed dragon, and we’re compelled to post it for this .gif alone:

Magnificent.

And, what the heck, here are the two previous videos as well:

(H/T: The High Definite and Pleated-Jeans)

The post Dragon Baby Is Here To Slay Dragons And Nap, And He’s All Out Of Naptime appeared first on UPROXX.

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Noel Cruz Paints Celebrity Dolls To Make Them Uncanny Valley Fabulous

If you’ve ever seen actors playing with themselves — er, action figure versions of themselves, we mean — you already know that many of the action figures and dolls for our favorite movie characters look very little like we remember them. Thankfully, artist Noel Cruz has rectified this with painstaking re-paints of the dolls based upon some of his favorite characters, including actors from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, comic book adaptations, and classic movies. His whole oeuvre is impressive, but we wanted to focus on the ultra-realistic repainted dolls from the movies most relevant to what we enjoy (or mock) on a regular basis.

Cruz uses acrylic paint and ultra-fine brushes to make factory-standard dolls look more true to life, sometimes yielding uncanny results. Many of them have sold on Ebay for over $500.

“As with all my creations, I completely strip the original factory paint on each of the dolls and completely repaint the facial features in, paying attention to accuracy of likeness and lifelike expressions. […] Repaint is a new form of pop art, wherein the doll’s face is treated like a three dimensional canvas, with the added challenge of painting within a very small area . Since dolls are basically miniature pieces, brush strokes and shading have to be very controlled and precise.” — Noel Cruz

All pictures via Noel Cruz, and you can view (or buy) more at his site. Hat tip to ONTD (via Jezebel).

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel (Lord of the Rings)

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn (Lord of the Rings)

Liv Tyler as Arwen (Lord of the Rings)

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter)

Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan (Twilight: New Moon)

Pirates of the Caribbean dolls

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Partial rework of Hot Toys’ Christopher Reeve Superman

The post Noel Cruz Paints Celebrity Dolls To Make Them Uncanny Valley Fabulous appeared first on UPROXX.

Categories: GammaSquad | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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