Category Archives: Technology

Technology

Shia LaBeouf’s Trump art project shut down one day after moving to Liverpool

He Will Not Divide Us is curtailed on police advice after reports of ‘dangerous trespassing’, with alt-right group thought to be involved

He Will Not Divide Us, Shia LaBeouf’s artistic protest against the Trump presidency, has been shut down again, just one day after moving to its latest location in Liverpool.

On Wednesday. the city’s Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (Fact) centre announced that they would be displaying the project, which currently takes the form of a live stream of a white flag featuring the words: “He will not divide us.” The announcement came after the actor’s artistic group LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner said that it was not safe to display the artwork in the US.

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Rediscovered 1920s Home Movies Are the First to Show the White House in Color

An archivist working at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library has stumbled upon color home movies taken in the late 1920s by former First Lady Lou Hoover. Incredibly, this is very likely the first color film to show a US President, the First Lady, an… Continue reading

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Rotten Tomatoes: is the semi-fresh aggregation site really destroying cinema? | Peter Bradshaw

Batman v Superman producer Brett Ratner is right to address the site’s dumbing down of film criticism, but his negative review is also a case of sour grapes

Brett Ratner is right. Sort of. The director of the Rush Hour films and the producer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has launched a passionate denunciation of the movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. I’m giving his attack a “semi-fresh” rating.

Ratner says: “The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. I think it’s the destruction of our business.” Well I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly hurting the art of conversing about film. Whenever someone solemnly invokes a Rotten Tomatoes score you can feel the conversation become paralysed.

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A Four-Year-Old Boy Used Siri to Save His Unconscious Mother’s Life

When a young boy identified only as Roman couldn’t wake up his unconscious mother, he did what any astute, technologically-adept four-year-old would do: He used his mother’s finger to unlock her phone, and then asked Siri to call emergency services. The boy’s actions saved his mother, but the incident exposes some…

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Emma Watson taking legal action after private photo hack

The Beauty and the Beast star has instructed lawyers over ‘not nude’ pictures that were allegedly stolen and posted online

Emma Watson is taking legal action after private photos of the star were allegedly stolen and leaked online.

Related: Emma Watson: feminist to the core or carefully polished brand? | the Observer profile

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You’ve Got Mail: the forgotten world of 90s movie websites

Shonky graphics, confusing menus, weird picture galleries … the film websites from the internet’s early days haven’t age well. So why are they still there?

You’ve Got Mail has dated horribly in the 19 years since it was released. It isn’t just the haircuts that have aged, or the music, or even the fact that it’s about a battle between small bookstores (which don’t exist any more) and big bookstores (which don’t exist any more) over who gets to sell the most books (which nobody reads any more).

Related: How Twitter killed the official movie website

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F-rated: IMDb introduces classification system to highlight work by women

Rating awarded to Frozen, American Honey and others, as database adopts system to raise profile of movies written by, directed by and starring women

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has adopted the F rating, a feminist classification system designed to highlight films that are written, directed or starring women.

The F rating was created in 2014 by Bath film festival executive director Holly Tarquini to “support women in film and change the stories we see on screen”. It was inspired by the Bechdel test, a system devised by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel to determine whether a work of fiction features at least two women talking about topics other than a man.

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DARPA’s Brain Chip Implants Could Be the Next Big Mental Health Breakthrough—Or a Total Disaster

How did a Massachusetts woman end up with a four electrodes implanted into her brain? Why is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency developing a controversial, cutting-edge brain chip technology that could one day treat everything from major depressive disorder to hand cramps? How did we get to deep brain

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How to have a pop culture hit like La La Land and Rae Sremmurd

What are the ingredients of a smash movie or track in 2017? Embrace nostalgia, follow the superstars, and piggy-back on the social networks …

How do you make a hit? This is the question I have posed to dozens of entertainment executives, pop-culture historians and academics over the past few years. Some of them claimed to know. Others maintained that such knowledge was impossible. But the most interesting things I learned weren’t the variables of some mythic formula, but rather how the shifting rules of cultural popularity are a window into the way the world works, and how it is changing.

If the media revolution of the past generation could be summed up in one word, it would be “more”. The number of opportunities for artists and creators has soared as the internet opened new markets around the world and made possible new media, such as self-published ebooks, and technology, such as ever-cheaper cameras and video-editing software. But the sheer supply of creativity has made breakout success more difficult in just about every industry. In 2000, more than 90% of new television shows survived to year two; today, 50% of shows are cancelled before their second birthday. Despite the surge in new films – which have increased by a factor of seven since the early 80s – Americans bought 200m fewer movie tickets in 2016 than in 2002. Little surprise, then, that we are living in a heyday of flops: 27 of the 30 biggest box-office bombs in Hollywood history have come out since 2005.

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Lightning Earbuds With Built-in Charging Make Avoiding Wireless Slightly Easier

After the initial outrage of Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 died down, users not wanting to go wireless soon realized that using the phone’s Lightning port meant they could no longer charge while listening to music. Pioneer’s new Rayz Plus earbuds include a simple solution to that problem, but…

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IMDb shuts down its message boards

The Internet Movie Database says its message boards are ‘no longer providing a positive, useful experience’ for the majority of its 250 million monthly users

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is shutting down its message boards, the organisation has announced.

In a statement on its website, the IMDb said it had “concluded that IMDb’s message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide”, and that the decision was “based on data and traffic”.

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10 Incredible Robots That Are Inspiring Us to Build the First Artificial Human

We’re not yet capable of building humanoid robots that are indistinguishable from biological humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying. Here are 10 real robots that are helping us achieve this futuristic milestone.

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Ghost in the system: has technology ruined horror films?

Well-dwelling Samara gets streamed in Rings, an HD reboot of The Ring, yet the genre has shown that a tech update doesn’t always lead to more scares

Nearly 12 years after The Ring Two – and 15 years after The Ring and 19 years after Ringu, the original Japanese horror movie that inspired it – Rings opens in theaters this Friday. The producers, Walter F Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, have stuck around for all three American versions, but there are no holdovers from the cast and crew – no Naomi Watts, no Gore Verbinski (director of The Ring) or Hideo Nakata (director of Ringu and The Ring Two), no Ehren Kruger (screenwriter of both the first and second Americanizations). In terms of continuity, it feels like a game of telephone where the line has been severed completely and we’re not even hearing gibberish on the other end. We need to be reminded why, exactly, The Ring was so scary in the first place.

Related: In praise of Resident Evil: the horror stalwart that refuses to die

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Kal Penn raises $800,000 for Syrian refugees after receiving racist tweet

Star of Harold and Kumar films – and son of Indian immigrants to the US – was spurred to fundraise for a humanitarian charity by racial abuse

Kal Penn, the actor best known for his roles in the medical TV show House and the Harold and Kumar film series, has so far raised over $800,000 (£635,000) for Syrian refugees in response to a racist tweet he received.

Penn set up a fundraising page on Crowdrise to raise money for International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian and relief charity that, among other activities, has launched an emergency appeal to help refugees in the US. Penn’s page is entitled Donating to Syrian Refugees in the Name of the Dude Who Said I Don’t Belong in America, and the actor has reproduced a tweet containing the text “… because you don’t belong in this country you fucking joke”.

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Split still No 1 at US box office as A Dog’s Purpose scampers into second

James McAvoy’s bravura turn helped M Night Shyamalan’s film hold the top spot, while A Dog’s Purpose dodged controversy and Resident Evil crept in

M Night Shyamalan’s revival as a commercial force was underlined by the figures for his multiple-personality thriller Split’s second week at the US box office: it held on to the No 1 spot with an estimated $26.3m (£20.9m) for a total of $77.9m (£62.1m), well ahead of second-placed family movie A Dog’s Purpose, which managed $18.4m (£14.6m).

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Everything Trump Fucked Up in Science and Technology This Week

It’s amazing to think that we’ve all been alive for a thousand years, our bodies swept by a burning wind into nothing but dust and a lingering scream. Except we haven’t—it’s just the end of the first week of the Trump administration, and a disconcertingly large number of horrible things have already happened.

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USB-C Power Meter Helps You Spot Counterfeit Accessories Before They Fry Your Gadgets

The promise of USB-C is great: One cable to connect all of your devices, laptops, tablets, smartphone. Unfortunately it comes with the big caveat that you might end up damaging your gear if you cheap out on a USB-C cable. But Satechi’s new Type-C Power Meter makes it easy to tell if your USB-C gadgets are at risk of…

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Why It Matters That Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By an AI

We’re at the halfway point of the epic 20-day, 150,000-hand “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence” Texas Hold’em Poker tournament, and a machine named Libratus is trouncing a quartet of professional human players. Should the machine maintain its substantial lead—currently at $701,242—it will be considered a major…

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UK box office still in love with Oscars darling La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s musical paean to Hollywood outshines James McAvoy in Split and Vin Diesel’s return as action hero Xander Cage

Each awards season, the market typically anoints one runaway box-office winner that captures the imagination of audiences, with notable examples from the last decade being The King’s Speech (2011) and Slumdog Millionaire (2009). Last year, that film was The Revenant – a 156-minute survival ordeal that hardly looked a commercial slam-dunk on paper, but which achieved a muscular £23.4m by the end of its UK run.

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Kristen Stewart co-authors research paper on ‘pioneering’ film technique

Twilight star among three authors of paper explaining how ‘neural style transfer’ method was put to use in her directorial debut, the 17-minute short Come Swim

Twilight and Personal Shopper Kristen Stewart has co-authored a research paper on “neural style transfer”, an arcane technique that uses artificial intelligence to reconfigure an image in the style of another.

Written with Bhautik J Joshi, a research engineer at Adobe, and producer David Shapiro, Stewart’s paper is related to work done on her short film directing debut Come Swim, which received its world premiere at the Sundance film festival on Thursday. Called Bringing Impressionism to Life with Neural Style Transfer in Come Swim, the paper was submitted on Wednesday on Cornell University library’s open-access arXiv.org website, an online repository for scientific research papers.

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