The Last Jedi, the first teaser/trailer

Tuesday, 18 April, 2017

And over the Easter long weekend, a trailer/teaser for the eighth installment of Star Wars, The Last Jedi, was released.

The clip has been pulled to bits, so if possible spoilers don’t concern you, have a read of Gizmodo’s interpretation of what we see.

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Igor Vitkovskiy, Kiev based artist and design alchemist

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017

Artwork by Igor Vitkovskiy

Igor Vitkovskiy is a Kiev, Ukraine, based artist and design alchemist, who has also worked for film production studios. Possibly this work, which bears the caption “Openhearted”, is from a science fiction film he may have been part of? Either way, it’s an intriguing image.

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Star Wars films Rogue One, and A New Hope, as one film, by Barre Fong

Friday, 24 March, 2017

Spoilers follow, don’t say you weren’t warned.

This had to happen sooner or later. The ending frames of the Star Wars “spin-off” movie Rogue One, have been cut together with the opening scenes of the Original Trilogy title, A New Hope.

Now we can actually see how both films connect to each other, even though we already knew.

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Simon Birch’s recreation of the hotel suite from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Friday, 24 March, 2017

2001: A Space Odyssey hotel suite recreation, by Simon Birch

The hotel suite from 2001: A Space Odyssey, were astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea), ended up after his epic journey through the star gate, has been recreated in intricate detail by Simon Birch, a Hong Kong based British artist, at the 14th Factory, in Los Angeles, an arts project he opened earlier this month.

In something of an intriguing coincidence, Birch collaborated on the project with Paul Kember, and architect, whose uncle, and great uncle, had worked with Stanley Kubrick, on designing the very same hotel room, for the film.

If there’s such a thing as a bucket-list for fan of “2001”, then seeing this, is now on that list.

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Simon Stalenhag’s paintings: depictions of an alien occupied Earth?

Tuesday, 14 March, 2017

Artwork by Simon Stalenhag

The work of Swedish artist Simon Stalenhag is both alluring and unsettling. What exactly is being depicted in his futuristic paintings? Do the people of the Earth find themselves under the yoke of extraterrestrials, who have invaded?

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Voyage, an astronaut’s odyssey through a black hole

Tuesday, 14 March, 2017

Can an astronaut travel through a black hole, and what happens if this is possible? There’s only way to find out, isn’t there? Take the journey, and see.

A sci-fi animation by Hello, Savants!, an Amsterdam based fellowship of creative people with unique disabilities and unexpected talents.

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No synthesizers, no musicians, on recording the Doctor Who theme

Thursday, 2 March, 2017

Late Australian composer Ron Grainer wrote the music for many TV shows and films, between 1960 and 1980. Perhaps one of his best known scores was the theme music to the BBC’s long running sci-fi show, Doctor Who, which he wrote in 1963.

In this short documentary, Verity Lambert, Dick Mills, and Brian Hodgson, producers attached to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, discuss how they went about recording the theme, along with the late Delia Derbyshire, and the challenges posed by the available technologies of the time.

What we learn from them is fascinating, considering that compositions like this are now created in powerful computer systems with dozens of separate tracks and digital effects. The Doctor Who theme, on the other hand, recorded in 1963, was made even before basic analog synthesizers came into use. “There are no musicians,” says Mills, “there are no synthesizers, and in those days, we didn’t even have a 2-track or a stereo machine, it was always mono.”

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The prologue to Alien: Covenant. With Michael Fassbender in one piece

Monday, 27 February, 2017

Alien: Covenant, the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, graces cinema screens in May. In the meantime, director Ridley Scott has released a prologue to Covenant.

Here, those aboard deep space vessel Covenant are enjoying a final meal, before going into cyrosleep for the long voyage to a planet in a distant solar system, that they intend to colonise.

All looks to be well. But is it?

Michael Fassbender features, as you can see. But wasn’t he in several pieces, when we last saw him in Prometheus? Scott has hinted though that Fassbender plays two roles in Covenant.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Covenant and Prometheus will tie together.

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You haven’t seen Rogue One until you’ve seen it in the original 8-Bit

Thursday, 2 February, 2017

An eight-bit rendering of Rogue One, that imagines the Star Wars anthology series film as an arcade game. Directed by Norwood Cheek, and animated by Dilara Mundy.

Be warned, contains SPOILERS, of sorts.

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Robots won’t take all jobs, they don’t know how to do all of them

Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

This is a topic we’re not going to stop hearing about: the threat to jobs from robots, or artificial intelligence. Robots can be taught to do one thing, and another, and they can perform those tasks well, but they still struggle to work in the same way as a person. A human has a mix of skills, flexibility, and judgement, something that cannot easily be automated.

But the new jobs panic is exaggerated and misplaced. For one thing, political and social caution may block some of the potential uses, such as self-driving cars. For another, many jobs will continue to require a blend of skills, flexibility and judgement that is difficult to automate. David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that such employment requires “tacit” expertise that cannot readily be codified.

A good job too. I’m (still) writing a book that’s set 400 years in the future. Robots and artificial intelligence feature. They do much of our heavy lifting, but people still have jobs of a sort. It seems to me there’d be no story if robots performed every last function, and people didn’t even need to do trivial things, such as make phone calls.

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