Dr Herbert West writes: "According to io9, 'Today is an incredibly sad day for fans of comic books, concept art, and downright anything science fiction. Artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, who provided some of the most stunning scifi and fantasy art ever to grace a page, has succumbed to illness at the age of 73.' It's pretty hard to overstate the impact he had on film, comic books, and illustration in general. You can name most any fantasy or science fiction related piece of culture from the last 30 or 40 years, and chances are he provided concept art for it or was involved in some way. Alien, Dune, Heavy Metal, Tron (original AND the new one), The Abyss, Masters of the Universe, The Fifth Element, Willow... the list goes on. With the recent passing of Ralph McQuarrie, it's been a tough week for scifi and fantasy artists."
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dkleinsc writes "The NYTimes ran a profile of the New York Jedi Club, an organization dedicated to teaching the ways of the Force. Jedi Grandmaster Flynn Michael, a sound engineer and (by his own proclamation) an 'over-the-top geek,' connected the ideas of the Jedi with dance, martial arts, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism to form the curriculum."
DeviceGuru writes "Although generally overshadowed by the iPad 3 debut, Apple also introduced the third incarnation of its Apple TV streaming media players this week. Sporting a revamped icon-based UI, the third-generation Apple TV doesn't add much to its predecessor beyond a truly-HD 1080p video output mode. Although Apple TV is still not supported by an Apple Apps Store plug-in apps ecosystem, its new UI (available as a free update for 2nd-generation Apple TVs) does seem to imply that this capability is coming soon. Meanwhile, Roku is gearing up for a $50M IPO, so this cord-cutting story is far from over."
silentbrad writes "/Film (as well as IGN and A.V. Club) reports about Topher Grace's fan re-edit of the Star Wars prequel trilogy into a single, 85-minute film titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back.' Quoting /Film: 'His idea was to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie, as they would provide him a lot of footage to work with. He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels' (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.' It continues with what stayed and what was cut. It's just too bad it was a one-time-only screening."
jjp9999 writes "I've been looking for some good reading material, and have been delving into the realms of some great, but nearly forgotten authors — finding the likes of Lord Dunsany (The King of Elfland's Daughter) and E.R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros). I wanted to ask the community here: do you know of any other great fantasy or science fiction books that time has forgotten?"
eldavojohn writes "Google has just announced Google Play to merge their existing solutions for music, movies, books and apps in the new cloud based storage system promising that you will never have to worry about losing or moving them across devices ever again. You'll be able to store 20,000 songs for free. The region breakdown is: 'In the U.S., music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play. In Canada and the U.K., we'll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia, books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play will be the new home for Android apps.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A recent post at Xiph.org provides a long and incredibly detailed explanation of why 24-bit/192kHz music downloads — touted as being of 'uncompromised studio quality' — don't make any sense. The post walks us through some of the basics of ear anatomy, sampling rates, and listening tests, finally concluding that lossless formats and a decent pair of headphones will do a lot more for your audio enjoyment than 24/192 recordings. 'Why push back against 24/192? Because it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, a business model based on willful ignorance and scamming people. The more that pseudoscience goes unchecked in the world at large, the harder it is for truth to overcome truthiness... even if this is a small and relatively insignificant example.'"
jones_supa writes "A Japanese researcher wanted to see how spider silk would convert to strings of a violin. Dr. Shigeyoshi Osaki of Nara Medical University used 300 female Nephila maculata spiders to provide the dragline silk. For each string, Osaki twisted thousands of individual strands of silk in one direction to form a bundle. The strings were then prepared from three of these bundles twisted together in the opposite direction. The final product withstood less tension before breaking than a traditional gut string, but more than an aluminum-coated, nylon-core string. This kind of spider-string is described as having a 'soft and profound timbre.'"
wiredmikey writes "Sony once again has found itself in the news surrounding another hacking-related incident. This time around, the breach doesn't appear to involve any lost user data or customer accounts, but instead, some valuable property owned by the record company. Today, several British news outlets have reported that more than 50,000 music tracks have been illegally accessed and downloaded by hackers, including a large number from the late Michael Jackson. Sony bought the catalog from Jackson's estate for $250 million in 2010, giving the company distribution rights to the unreleased music. The attack reportedly occurred shortly after details of the massive PlayStation Network breach last April, but details were only revealed this past weekend."
First time accepted submitter puddingebola writes "Ralph McQuarrie, the conceptual designer that created the look of characters such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca and R2-D2, and helped design sets and scenes for George Lucas has passed away at 82. From the article: 'The success of his Star Wars paintings launched a late feature film career for McQuarrie that included helping design such classics as Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial, Back to the Future, Cocoon, Total Recall, and the original TV series Battlestar Galactica.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Symantec has identified a Malware embedded into a Iranian recipe app for Android that destroys images stored on a camera by stamping the cardboard image of Khomeini on it. The controversy stems from a bizarre February 1 ceremony that sought to recreate Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's triumphant return to Tehran in 1979 after 14 years of exile. Immediately fueling a firestorm of ridicule drawing a cult following online. The threat only appears to be focused in App for Farsi and only in third party app markets, according to Symantec."
MojoKid writes "There's been no new Star Trek TV series since Enterprise limped off screens in 2005, but the huge success of the 2009 Star Trek movie and the gradual growth of Blu-ray has caught CBS' attention (CBS acquired ownership of the Star Trek franchise in 2006). The broadcast company is preparing to release Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray with substantial improvements (article contains comparison image shots). The DVD boxed sets that exist today were created from the taped broadcasts that were shown in the early 90s. Rather than repackaging that material, CBS has gone back to the original film stock and started from scratch. The difference is enormous. CBS has released a preview Blu-ray titled Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level with three updated episodes; the show's pilot (Encounter at Farpoint), Sins of the Father and The Inner Light."
New submitter Stowie101 writes "British master engineer Ian Shepherd is ripping Apple's Mastered for iTunes service, saying it is pure marketing hype and isn't different than a standard AAC file in iTunes. Shepherd compared three digital music files, including a Red Hot Chili Peppers song downloaded in the Mastered for iTunes format with a CD version of the same song, and said there were no differences. Apple or someone else needs to step it up here and offer some true 'CD quality downloads.'"
First time accepted submitter achbed writes "In conjunction with a friend of mine, I'm operating a small(ish) site that contains a large quantity of music (mp3/ogg) that we pay streaming licenses for. The site currently has about 35GB of files, and pulls down an average of about 3TB a month of bandwidth — and we're just getting started. We've been unable to find any hosting packages out there that are not of the 'unlimited' variety (meaning they can kick us at any time because we're using too much) that are not costing an insane amount of money. Our current 'main page' host charges about $0.50/GB/mo, which for this much data equates to $500 a month per TB. As we are expecting growth, this is quickly going to become a major problem, as were doing this out of our own pockets (that are not that deep). Does anyone have good leads on businesses that provide significant bandwidth (5-10TB/month) for inexpensive money? Or are we going to have to accept a price in the thousands per month to run this kind of site, with 'going viral' providing a significant risk to our pockets?" $500 for what works out to under 5Mbps (95th pecentile mojo) seems a bit steep. These guys want to enter the 20+Mbps realm; I've done some high bandwidth hosting before, but it seems like you enter a different world when you need more than 10Mbps.
braindrainbahrain writes "Coincidence or conspiracy? Two new science fiction magazines have just been announced and they are both being published by more serious science publications. New Scientist magazine has announced the publication of Arc, 'A new digital magazine about the future.' Arc features such articles as 'The best time travel movie ever made' and 'The future of science fiction, games, galleries — and futurism.' They are advertising new fact and fiction from the likes of Maragret Atwood and Alastair Reynold. The MIT Technology Review has announced the TRSF, dubbed 'the first installment of a to-be-annual "hard" SF collection.' Some authors: Joe Haldeman and Cory Doctorow. As an interesting note, both publications will be printed on paper for the first ('collectable') issue only; all forthcoming ones will be e-books."