I saw the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes over the weekend and was amazed by its greatness. I applauded at the end with the rest of the audience. The acting, by both the humans and the “apes,” was superb. The revolutionary special effects – using “performance capture” cgi technology in ways never used before, created the most realistic digitalized characters I’ve ever seen. And the engaging and moving storyline with its themes on war, trust and humanity tied it all together into a perfect package. I love the rare science fiction film that surpasses expectations on every level, and this one hits every mark with incredible precision. So it was with great interest that I opened up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films, a book that looks behind the scenes and explains the incredible ingenuity and talent that went behind the two latest movies in the Planet of the Apes franchise. With tons of photos that show how the effects were created along with a fascinating narrative that tells the journey of creating these films, this is a behind-the-scenes book that any Planet of the Apes or special effects fan will thoroughly enjoy.
See high-res sample pages from the book at Wink.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films
by Sharon Gosling, Matt Hurwitz, and Adam Newell
My wife and I gave our kids a pair of tiny bearded dragons for Christmas. They are now probably 10 times heavier than when we got them 6 months ago. My kids aren't that interested in the beardies any longer, but I am.
They love to eat meal worms. I don't let them eat too many, because they need to eat their vegetables.
I like the beardies because they don't bite, they enjoy being held, they are active in the day, and they don't poop on me. As far as reptiles go, Link and Rosa are great pets.
Daoíz and Velarde are 142-year-old bronze make lions that sit in front of the Spanish Parliament in Madrid. Velarde has testicles, but Daoíz does not. A campaign to endow Daoíz with testicles has met resistance from José Ignacio Wert, the Minister for Education and Culture.
Genitalia made from a different metal could have 'harmful effects' on the statue. 'This can be a particularly serious problem for metal sculptures as adding a different material can cause galvanic corrosion,' Wert said.
When I was a kid my friend and I caught some little frogs. My friend liked his frog so much he smothered it to death in his hand. Lenny, the mentally challenged giant in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, squeezed living creatures to death because he loved them so much. Why do people do this? Two Yale graduate students, Oriana Aragon and Rebecca Dyer, are conducting experiments to find out.
Some things are so cute that we just can't stand them. We think it’s about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control. It’s so adorable, it drives you crazy. It might be that how we deal with high positive-emotion is to sort of give it a negative pitch somehow. That sort of regulates, keeps us level and releases that energy.
"This aggression may be the brain’s response to the overwhelming joy incurred by such creatures (similar to how some people cry when intensely happy)."
Why Do We Smother Cute Things?
Designer Janis Straupe created the BUG armoire for True Latvia. I love the way the neatly fitted boards look like a blown-up grain, making the whole thing seem like a scarab under a magnifying lens. The piece is also extremely beautiful when it is partially opened, each set of doors making it seem more like a fantasy jewel box blown up to a delightful, comic scale. And check out the detail shots for the incredible skill and thoughtfulness that went into the interior compartments!
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In January of 1942, as the U.S was entering World War II, a Pennsylvania dentist (and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt) named Lytle Adams submitted the design of a new weapon to the White House, suggesting that it could be effective against the Japanese. Adams’ creation was a bomb that would drop over 800 hibernating bats – to each of which was attached a small incendiary device… as the bomb descended from a high-altitude drop, the bats would awaken, disperse, and nest in structures – which in Japan at the time were largely made of bamboo, paper, and other highly-flammable material. Later in the day the incendiaries would go off, starting fires across a wide area. Adams estimated that 100 bombs might start as many a 1,000,000 fires.
The U.S. military developed the “Bat Bomb”; and while the yields were never quite what Adams predicted, they were impressive enough to drive investment of an estimated $2 million. The project was abandoned only when it became clear that the Manhattan Project would finish before the Bat Bomb was ready.
(More about bats and bombs on Boing Boing)
Here's "the world's biggest" list of how animal noises are written in the world's languages, from bees to woodcocks, from Danish to Urdu. Pigs are especially great: "øf-øf; knor knor; oink; nöff; groin groin; grunz; röf-röf (pron: reuf-reuf); oink;
(via Dan Hon)
In Chimpanzee choice rates in competitive games match equilibrium game theory predictions, a paper in Nature by Colin Camerer and colleagues, researchers document the astounding performance of chimpanzees in classic game-theory experiments -- a performance that's substantially superior to humans who play the same games:
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A San Francisco woman with the moniker "Rat Girl" engages in an unusual pastime: "breeding hundreds of rats in her home and then releasing them into public parks." Authorities say they are powerless to stop her.
It could be worse. She could be breeding politicians.
We've featured the lovely knitted dissections of Aknitomy before (previously), but its proprietor,
Emily Stoneking, keeps on turning out whimisico-scientific knitted fancies that please the eye and tickle the mind. It's not just her classic knitted dissections of frogs, fetal pigs, bats, worms (surprisingly affordable!), and even Easter bunnies -- she's also selling all her patterns, and even kits!
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] Wikipedia: "Caudal luring is the use of tail movements employed by a predator to attract prey animals." (Via Arbroath)
Every week, a new delight from Pancake Master Nathan "Saipancakes" Shields: this week, An assortment of Pacific coast nudibranchs. (previously)
Firebox's £35 monkey brains bowl doesn't go in the microwave or dishwasher, but it is, technically, food-safe. I'm thinking expensive, Maharajah of Pankot-themed pen pot (though you'll have to figure out what to do with the lid).
Monkey Brains Bowl
Jordan is taking orders for custom-made, fleece-and-felt squid body-pillows, in 8' ($75) and 4' ($40) sizes. He's offering a very wide-range of customization options, including firmness, fabric, color, and patterns.
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Thinkgeek's Security Camera Birdfeeder ($15.99) is a bit of gallows humor for the post-Snowden age. Feed animals in your yard while they perch unwittingly into an icon of the corporate-government surveillance apparatus, and try not to think about the CCTVs -- metaphorical and literal -- watching you as you watch them. Then ask yourself: "Who's the birdbrain around here?"
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