Here are full-ride videos of Disney's Rise of the Resistance ride

Rise of the Resistance officially opens December 5 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but you can see just about the entire ride right now. What flavor of walkthrough would you like?

Just the pre-show:

Seven minutes of highlights featuring enthusiastic and photogenic ride-goers:

First person:

An extended look at the queue:

What do you think--is cloaked Kylo Ren a timeless villain people will care about in a few years? Is it weird to pretend to be a First Order member for work? Are the multiple phases of the ride really a meaningful improvement on Star Tours? Can you think of other rides that hide multiple lines like a turducken of waiting? Read the rest

This fictional American soccer club is popular enough that Topps is selling jerseys and trading cards

Here's Know Your Meme on Asbury Park Football Club:

In 2013, Ian Perkins, a lifelong soccer fan and New Jersey-based British guitarist for the American rock band The Gaslight Anthem, began asking locals on Twitter about the location of the town's titular park, hoping he may be able to find a pickup game with the Americans. In response, Shawn Francis, then a stranger and social media professional who had run a number of Major League Soccer (MLS) accounts, chimed in by saying that "soccer isn't for playing anymore, but only for consuming." Shortly after this cheeky exchange, the two men decided to entertain the idea of building the joke further into a convincing facade of a professional football club, beginning with a Twitter account launched under the team name Asbury Park on January 7th, 2017.

The club's site is superior to most "real" teams, and has plenty of well-designed merchandise for sale:

And now Topps is selling a set that includes a jersey and a set of 12 trading cards:

While searching through the Topps Vault, unidentified film canisters from 1978 were recently uncovered. When developed just last month we discovered unseen photos of soccer players, but unlike the images used on cards from that era which featured teams and players from England, these featured players from a club much closer to the Topps headquarters in NYC.

It appears that prior to the full scale production of the 1978-79 Topps soccer set, Topps partnered with a legendary local soccer club out New Jersey for a test run.

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The Chinese version of 23andMe purports to tell you what percentage Uighur you are

K. Oanh Ha submitted her DNA samples to 23andMe and 23Mofang, a Chinese company inspired by 23and Me, and wrote about the results for Bloomberg.

Unlike 23andMe, 23Mofang estimated life expectancy and assessed mental illness, indicating in her case, an elevated risk of developing bipolar disorder. The two tests differed fairly dramatically on ancestry:

You might assume that the two companies would offer similar analysis of my ancestry, which I’ve long thought to be three-fourths Vietnamese and one-fourth Chinese (my paternal grandfather migrated from China as a young man). Born in Vietnam and raised in the U.S., I now live in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.

23andMe’s analysis mirrored what I knew, but my ancestry according to 23Mofang? 63% Han Chinese, 22% Dai — an ethnic group in southwestern China — and 3% Uighur. (It didn’t pick up my Vietnam ancestry because the analysis only compares my genetics to those of other Chinese, according to the company.)

You can see the rest of her results at Bloomberg, including how some of the information changed each time she checked the companies' online portals. She also acknowledges the very real possibility that the Chinese government could seize results from 23Mofang and use information, such as purported Uighur heritage, to subject individuals to heightened scrutiny. Read the rest

3D-print your own Baby Yoda

Various official Baby Yoda toys will be available in a few months, but anyone with access to a 3D printer can print their own right now. Christopher Frieze has posted one version for free download. It looks great as a tree topper:

And Chris is currently working on a version of Baby Yoda and soup:

Download a design and support Chris here.

(Via TheRPF.) Read the rest

Apple's "Snowbrawl" commercial is by the director of John Wick and Deadpool 2

"Snowbrawl" is a high-energy 90-second David versus Goliath snowball fight directed by David Leitch for Apple.

The commercial is nice, but the real magic is in this mini-documentary, which shows some of the simple tools used to achieve such kinetic shots:

Kudos to Apple, the two videos really do a good job of making it seem like anyone who can afford an iPhone can create a great-looking movie. Read the rest

Compare the fat joke in the Black Widow trailer with Daisy Ridley saying she was "taking in no nutrients"

The new Black Widow trailer features David Harbour's character being mocked as "fat."

Meanwhile, this is from GQ's brand new feature on Daisy Ridley:

By the time The Last Jedi opened, the wear was showing on Ridley. “I saw a picture of me at the London premiere and I was so skinny and my skin was terrible.” Internally, things were worse: she had developed holes in her gut wall, the result of stress. Her self-diagnosis is blunt: “My body was just fucked up. I got tests done and it turned out my body was taking in no nutrients. I was just like a little skeleton and I was just so tired. I was becoming a ghost.”

The feature also takes pains to detail Ridley's current habits:

Ridley, who’s been in back-to-back photo shoots ahead of this month’s release of The Rise Of Skywalker, is famished. It’s mid-afternoon and she’s not eaten since dawn, but the menu is a bit mystifying to her.

An interesting choice by Disney after the response to Thor in Endgame. Read the rest

Are electronic toothbrushes worth it?

Wired takes a long look at the rapid progress in oral health in the 20th century from this:

In 1899, the British Army was recruiting troops to fight in the Boer War and recruiters were appalled at the health of the men who were turning up. They were stunted, malnourished and had appalling teeth. “It became a national scandal,” Bairsto says. “No one was cleaning their teeth. Many couldn’t chew their food.”

to Philips selling a $270 electronic toothbrush (pictured above). Are electronic toothbrushes any better than a mundane brush? Put away your skepticism, Wired says:

All that said, the Cochrane reviews are pretty clear. They looked at plaque buildup and gingivitis (gum disease), finding that electric toothbrushes were, on average, more effective than manual ones. The effects were real. An average 11 per cent reduction in the degree of plaque buildup, in the short term, and a 21 per cent over three months term; a six per cent or 11 per cent reduction in gingivitis, depending on how you measure it.

Refreshing news! But there's still cause to be skeptical:

The question is where to go next. Apps that track behaviour and sensors that check you’ve brushed every tooth are already in place; how much more high-tech can toothbrushes get? How much more advantage can be squeezed from them?

One possibility is raising the stakes. There have been hints that periodontal disease is linked to wider health problems – sufferers are more susceptible to stroke, to heart attacks, to blocked arteries, to high blood pressure, and to cancer.

Read the rest

The most disturbing horror film of the season is Peloton's new commercial

It's gratifying to see the correct takes pouring in that Peloton's new bicycle advertisement is deeply disturbing. I think it looks like an ARG advertisement for HBO's Westworld series, where everyone in the house is a host.

Vice:

tell me this shit isn’t wildly sinister. Her grim motivation that pushes her to drag herself out of bed combined with exclaiming at the camera how blatantly, inexplicably nervous the Peloton makes her paint a bleak portrait of a woman in the thrall of a machine designed to erode her spirit as it sculpts her quads.

AVClub:

He smiles and she looks at him with the sort an expression that manages to convey duty and fear, mixed with a dash of Stockholm Syndrome, all at once.

Decider:

Here’s what I do know. This commercial is not the Peloton’s fault. Oh no, you may think this ad is about how a Peloton coaxed a woman into madness. I’m here to tell you this is a false read. As someone who jokes that she loved Midsommar so much she joined the cult of cycling clubs this year, I can tell you that cycling doesn’t make you crazy. Much like Captain America’s supersoldier serum, it just amplifies whatever crazy you already have. For me, that’s making jokes about Midsommar whenever possible. For this woman, that’s talking to no one on her iPhone, her eyes full of constant dread, and obsessively filming her every workout just so she and her husband can watch it together.

Read the rest

There are no humans in Star Wars, so what are the creatures we are watching?

From 2013, but new to me, Max Gladstone makes some close observations regarding the odd world of Episodes 1-6.

The title card tells us that the story takes place long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. So the characters aren't actually human or even necessarily from a human-like society, they're just played by human actors.

What can we learn about the creatures true nature from studying the first six movies?

I think a few important context clues present a very different picture of the dominant race of the Original Trilogy.

Gender is the most important clue. The Original Trilogy has a shortage of women when considered by the standards of a two-sexed mammalian species. Leia is the most prominent female, and the only one to feature in all three movies. Aunt Beru and Mon Mothma also have named speaking roles. Aside from these three, I can’t think of another definitely-female-definitely-‘human’ in the series. In RotJ Leia describes her mother, who is obviously a queen. These females all possess at least local political and social authority.

Family is a second important clue—or, rather, the absence of family. With one notable exception, people in the series don’t talk much about parentage. No non-Force sensitive male ever describes his family, if I recall correctly. Han, Lando, Wedge, Biggs, Tarkin, Dodonna, and so forth, all might as well have sprung from the brows of their ships. In six+hours of film about war, I would expect to see someone to drop at least a single reference to parents of some sort.

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Build the Mandalorian's Razor Crest in Lego microscale

Johan Scheffer has posted designs for Lego microscale versions of the Mandalorian's Razor Crest and a few other Star Wars vehicles.

For more Mandalorian, Redditor Crybug created a Christmas card:

And enjoy a few gifs:

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The electronic votes said he lost in a statistically impossible landslide, but the paper ballots said he won

Nick Corasaniti has a good news, bad news story in the New York Times on ballot security. The bad news:

Vote totals in a Northampton County judge’s race showed one candidate, Abe Kassis, a Democrat, had just 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across more than 100 precincts. Some machines reported zero votes for him. In a county with the ability to vote for a straight-party ticket, one candidate’s zero votes was a near statistical impossibility. Something had gone quite wrong.

The worse news:

The machines that broke in Northampton County are called the ExpressVoteXL and are made by Election Systems & Software, a major manufacturer of election machines used across the country. The ExpressVoteXL is among their newest and most high-end machines, a luxury “one-stop” voting system that combines a 32-inch touch screen and a paper ballot printer.

The good news was that the chairwoman of the county Republicans realized the numbers made no sense and promptly initiated an investigation. When officials counted the paper backup ballots generated by the same machines, they realized Kassis had narrowly won.

It is still unknown what caused the problem since the machines "are locked away for 20 days after an election according to state law." However, suspicions include a bug in the software, as well as a fundamentally flawed design. Read the rest

The Secret World newsletter

The excellent first edition of Matthew Braga's new Secret World newsletter looks at exactly who you're calling when you use a satellite phone or Garmin emergency beacon to call for help:

It turns out that, anytime someone calls 911 on a satellite phone, or presses the SOS button on a dedicated GPS tracker — anywhere in the world — those messages typically go to one place: The International Emergency Response Coordination Center, or IERCC, about an hour outside of Houston, Texas. The center has coordinated more than 10,000 rescues in 169 countries, and responds to anywhere from 30 to 60 requests each day. Whether you’re a hermit in the Scottish highlands in medical distress, or a kayaker in eastern Tajikistan with altitude sickness (true stories) the IERCC is your point of first contact. Every hour, every day of the year, a rotating team of six watchstanders determine the closest available search and rescue team and coordinate the response.

The IERCC headquarters includes what sounds like a real-life vault from Fallout:

The entrances were hidden within a pair of massive pagodas, with gunports for the armed guards to shoot at whoever who came near.

Read the rest of the newsletter here, including a description of drone warfare involving tractor beams. Read the rest

Watch the kabuki version of The Last Jedi

Rennosuke and the Three Light Sabers adapts to kabuki the story of Kylo Ren from the end of The Force Awakens through the end of The Last Jedi. It opens with the destruction of Starkiller Base:

The confrontation between Kylo Ren and Snoke occurs around 27 minutes in. During the lengthy fight sequence, Rey serves only as someone to be rescued:

After the victory over Snoke, the two fleets are badly damaged, and the action moves to the salt fields:

There, Kylo Ren faces Luke, and we see a glimpse of young Ben Skywalker:

You can watch the entire performance here:

Read the rest

Paper sculptures of microorganisms

Rogan Brown creates intricate paper sculptures inspired by microorganisms:

When looking at, for example, microbes and trying to imagine the vast colony of bacteria that lives in and on our bodies the range of factual visual representation available is relatively limited so I have to use my imagination to scale everything up and create an “artist's representation” of what it might look like. Scientific accuracy is not the goal, artistic and poetic truth are.

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If you're in Amsterdam over the next few days why not drop by the Kunstrai Art Fair and check out my sculpture "ControlX2-17" (courtesy of #galerienummer40) #paperart #papersculpture #scienceart #kunstrai2017

A post shared by Rogan Brown (@rogan_brown_) on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:49am PDT

His sculptures are typically all white:

White maximizes light and shadow and evokes marble, dead coral and fossils. I think of my work as creating fossils, time fossils, imaginary fossils. I see myself as an archaeologist of the interface between nature and the imagination—nature IS imagination, according to William Blake. The fossil allusion also contains a warning about what we are in the process of doing to nature. In addition, white carries associations of purity and innocence, which is a counterpoint to the explicit sexuality. But above all, the calming effect of white allows me to be as frenetic and excessive as I like in terms of form without overwhelming the viewer. I have tried using color (or rather tonalities of the same color).

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“Cytokinesis Glial Variation” (hand and laser cut layered paper, 119x117cms/47x46”) This work depicts the mitosis of a glial cell.

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The perfect stocking stuffer is this Japanese company's new clear eraser

Seed's latest eraser is the Clear Radar, and the result of five years of work.

(Via Mulboyne.) Read the rest

"Asset" is a magazine about miniature donkeys

Perfect topic, perfect name:

ASSET magazine is a professional quality, full-color publication which compliments, promotes, and presents the Miniature Donkey in a favorable light and gives them credibility as an alternative livestock.

The National Miniature Donkey Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989. The Association's goals are to protect and promote the Miniature Donkey breed, and to provide an educational forum for owners and breeders on donkey care and management.

The National Miniature Donkey Association also maintains a guide to breeding miniature donkeys, where I learned that "The Miniature Donkey is a compact, well-proportioned animal with a sweet, sociable disposition." Read the rest

Highlights from the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Cup

The Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Cup was held November 17 in Moscow. Competitors squared off in four events:

3x3 Speed Cubing - solving the Rubik’s Cube as fast as possible; Fastest Hand - a challenge that solves the Rubik’s Cube with only one hand; Re-Scramble - pits competitors trying to replicate a computer generated pattern from another cube as fast as possible and; 3x3 Female - a track exclusively for female competitors.

Here are highlights from the event, which was attended by Erno Rubik himself:

Red Bull has also posted a series of instructional videos on solving Rubik's Cubes:

Read the rest

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