This is how we made cricket balls in 1956

Friday, 25 April, 2014

I would expect automation features in the production of many cricket balls today, but dare say there’d be people still making them entirely by hand, the way they were sixty years, or more, ago.

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There’s a rhythm and reason why the beat goes on

Friday, 25 April, 2014

What’s the recipe, I wanted to avoid using the word formula, for writing a catchy song that’ll get people on their feet dancing? Rhythms and beats of course, but that has to be the right mix, just the right mix, of regular rhythms and unexpected beats.

So now you know.

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Animated no, but alive yes, the world’s oldest living organisms

Friday, 25 April, 2014

New York City based artist Rachel Sussman has travelled the globe photographing organisms that are, wait for it, two thousand years, or more, old. Think the early days of the Roman Empire. Some of the mainly plant like entities that Sussman found are far older though.

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So, what’s your post apocalyptic speciality?

Friday, 25 April, 2014

The work you do today may be satisfying and fulfilling, but how useful might your profession be in the wake of some global catastrophe?

What do you consider to be the most useful and mostly useless post-apocalypse professions? How long would it take for society to rebuild enough for your profession to be useful?”

A thought provoking question. As a writer/content producer, I’d likely be next to useless. At least in the time immediately following whatever had happened. Possibly later down the line being able to record, or re-record, information – assuming most of humanity’s store of knowledge had been lost – may be of value, but who knows.

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Transcendence

Thursday, 24 April, 2014

2 and a half stars
Transcendence scene

Artificial intelligence scientist, Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall), who has high hopes these technologies can make the world a better place, sees an opportunity to help dying husband and colleague, Will (Johnny Depp), by uploading his consciousness to the internet, in Transcendence, trailer, debut feature of US cinematographer Wally Pfister.

Having acquired a taste for the unlimited possibilities afforded by the global communication and information network, Will, with the help of Evelyn, then creates a sprawling, solar powered, data centre in the New Mexico desert. Alarmed by their potential, Max (Paul Bettany), a former colleague of the couple, sets about trying to stop them.

Long story short, an all powerful omnipresent entity presents a threat to humanity of unimaginable magnitude. Supposedly. Yet the threat doesn’t seem much menacing. And that’s where “Transcendence” falls short. There is no real sense of crisis or drama. Visually appealing certainly, but otherwise quite one dimensional.

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Timeout’s Top 100 animated movies

Thursday, 24 April, 2014

Timeout has put together a list of the Top 100 animated film features. I have to say I was surprised by the title that took out the top spot… though not by its overall inclusion of course.

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Look, car on cracking ice, no Photoshop used

Thursday, 24 April, 2014

Photo by Nickolay Rykov and Dmitriy Chistoprudov

And here is a photo, by Nickolay Rykov and Dmitriy Chistoprudov, of a car sitting atop what appears to be fracturing ice. What you see is what you get, no Photoshop involved here.

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The long distance travels of a penny coin

Thursday, 24 April, 2014

Ever wondered how many times the coins you’re holding in your hand, as you wait to place a coffee order or whatever, may have been in your possession previously? It’s a question US comic book artist and illustrator Chris Ware explores in “Head or Tails”, a short graphic novel published in The New York Times.

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The Finishers

Wednesday, 23 April, 2014

3 stars
The Finishers scene

After reading about a man who competes in an Ironman contest with his disabled son, 17 year old Julien (Fabien Heraud), who has cerebral palsy, hopes he can convince his father, Paul (Jacques Gamblin), a former triathlete, to do the same, in The Finishers, trailer, the latest feature of French director Nils Tavernier (“Aurore”).

At first the aloof Paul, who has never been especially close to Julien, and has struggled to find purpose since retiring as an athlete, thinks the notion absurd. Julien’s mother, Claire (Alexandra Lamy), is also opposed, thinking the undertaking to be far too dangerous. Little by little though, Julien brings both of them around to the idea.

Based in part on actual events, “The Finishers” is a touching, uplifting, story of overcoming obstacles both physical and psychological. The hardships confronted by Paul and Julien as they train, and then compete, are all too palpable. There are a couple of loose ends, and scenes that stretch credibility, but these can mostly be overlooked.

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Carl Sagan, a daughter’s perspective

Wednesday, 23 April, 2014

Carl Sagan’s daughter, Sasha, discusses life at home with her famous father, where there most certainly was no such thing as a dumb question:

After days at elementary school, I came home to immersive tutorials on skeptical thought and secular history lessons of the universe, one dinner table conversation at a time. My parents would patiently entertain an endless series of “why?” questions, never meeting a single one with a “because I said so” or “that’s just how it is.” Each query was met with a thoughtful, and honest, response – even the ones for which there are no answers.

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