Wish I Was Here

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

3 stars
Wish I Was Here scene

Would be actor Aiden (Zach Braff) is someone who could never quite see the world for what it was, preferring to think he made his way through life as some sort of action hero. After his father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), reveals he is gravely ill though, Aiden is forced to reassess his lot, in Wish I Was Here, trailer, also directed by Braff.

Not only must Aiden change his attitude, he must also bring his socially inept, and reclusive, brother Noah (Josh Gad), around to the situation. At the same time he also takes on role of home teacher to daughter Grace (Joey King), and son Tucker (Pierce Gagnon), after Aiden and his wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson), decide they can no longer afford their school fees.

As a coming of age story for thirty-something adults, “Wish I Was Here” makes a promising start, and certainly has its humorous moments. In trying to take on a number of issues though, religion, purpose in life, quality of school education, among others, it ends up spreading itself a little too thinly, and lacks focus as a result.

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Miss-mixing, the hallmark of the discerning DJ

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

Whose to know if the dance mix you’re listening to is the product of a bot, or a real, live, human DJ? A technique known as miss-mixing, and one that is increasingly being employed by DJs, will help listeners make the distinction. In short, miss-mixing is the practice of deliberately making a mistake while re-mixing music.

Michael Briscoe, aka DJ Whopper, explains how it works:

“I like to drop in on the second or third beat, leave it play for a couple of bars and then quickly correct myself,” explained Mr. Briscoe. “It’s subtle yet affective, I call it The Perplexer. People who don’t know what they’re listening to won’t even notice it while other DJs will be thinking ‘that’s a great mistake, who is this DJ Whopper lad anyway?’ d’ya know what I mean?”

Get it, DJ Whopper? I suppose the… practice is a little like a writer purposely adding errors to their text, and seeing how many times the work is republished by people claiming they wrote the piece themselves, before the fault is noticed.

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One hundred iconic movie scenes

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

One hundred of the best, or most memorable, scenes from films of the last one hundred years or so. In case you don’t recognise everything, here is a list of each scene.

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Just because a ship has no crew doesn’t mean it is abandoned

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

If we’re going to have driverless cars and motobikes, then it makes sense there will also be crewless ships, no captains, no no-one. It seems incredible, but apparently is quite possible:

The SINTEF company MARINTEK is one of eight partners working intensely to develop systems which can function without human intervention. Both day and night watches will be taken care of by a control centre onshore, and the Norwegian researchers believe that a 3 to 4 Mbit broadband connection will ensure effective communication between the vessel and the control room.

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The barn that was raised in just ten hours

Monday, 15 September, 2014

An Amish community in Ohio recently rallied together to construct, or raise, a new barn, and pretty much did so in ten hours. Painted it supernova red to boot.

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Did the Roman Empire set the stage for population growth?

Monday, 15 September, 2014

Actually there’s nothing in this Futurity article directly suggesting that, but the tipping point, or threshold, for the rapid rise in the world’s population, can be traced back to Roman times, rather than perhaps the Industrial Revolution:

“The industrial revolution and public health improvements were proximate reasons that more people lived longer,” says Aaron Stutz, an associate professor of anthropology at Emory University. “If you dig further in the past, however, the data suggest that a critical threshold of political and economic organization set the stage 1,500 to 2,000 years ago, around the start of the Common Era.”

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If life’s a beach then this is life most ordered

Monday, 15 September, 2014

If you’re spending time on certain of the beaches along Italy’s Adriatic coast, I think it’s fair to say there’ll be a place on the sand just for you, so organised do these beaches – as photographed by Bernhard Lang – appear to be.

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Higgs Boson may tear us apart again

Monday, 15 September, 2014

There’s bad news, and there’s good news here. British physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that particle accelerator experiments involving the Higgs Boson, or “God particle”, may cause it to become unstable, something that may result in the destruction of the universe. Thing is though, said particle accelerator would need to be the size of planet Earth…

He wrote: “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV).” What might this lead to? Hawkins explained: “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”

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If there a were a king of the dinosaurs, Dreadnoughtus was it

Friday, 12 September, 2014

At twenty-six metres in length, remember most taller people are not quite two metres in height, and weighing in at close to sixty metric tonnes, a previously unknown dinosaur, whose skeletal remains were found a few years ago in Patagonia, Argentina, has been aptly named Dreadnoughtus schrani.

As a comparison, this beast would have been seven times heavier than Tyrannosaurus rex. Luckily for us – if people had been around at the time – Dreadnoughtus was a herbivore, meaning the species wouldn’t have had much interest in humans as a food source. Heaven help any creature that did something to annoy them though.

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It may be better if we do not encounter extraterrestrials

Friday, 12 September, 2014

It’s quite possible we on Earth are the first born in terms of intelligent life in the cosmos, given the relatively young age of the universe. It’s something that makes the chances of our ever encountering extraterrestrial life pretty remote, and that may not, surprisingly, be a bad thing:

A message with a more straightforward intent could have equally ruinous effects. It could be a new scientific insight or technological blueprint sent as an item of interstellar trade or détente, but have a destabilizing effect on Earth’s economy. Or a message could contain a philosophical statement interpreted to have religious meaning, triggering conflict and disorder. Even “Is Anyone Out There?” would be problematic – the decision to answer or not could provoke more than just verbal conflict within our species.

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