On the Circumference #3: 3-D scanning, Batfleck
The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
We were sorry to hear of the passing of these contributors to geek-friendly movies and TV:
- Karen Black, August 8 : we had written on March 25 about Karen Black crowdfunding her cancer treatment. At the time, I noted how impactful Trilogy of Terror had been, and that was only one of her geek-friendly credits
- Dennis Farina, July 22: Farina was deservedly cited for his work on Law & Order in mainstream obituaries. For geeks, he is also known for having voiced Wildcat (Ted Grant), a Silver Age costumed hero who appeared twice in the animated Justice League series
- Richard Griffiths, March 28: Griffiths was one of our 2011 Box Office MVPs for his work in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Hugo, but may be best known to geeks as Uncle Vernon Dudsley from the Harry Potter movies
- Haji, August 9: A star of Russ Meyers’ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Haji also appeared in Robert Slatzer’s Bigfoot versus bikers movie (called simply Bigfoot) opposite John Carradine, Wham! Bam! Thank you, Spaceman, and the Double-D Avenger
- Gilbert Taylor, August 23: Some of the most visually stunning geek movies have Gilbert Taylor to thank for the cinematography: Star Wars; The Omen; and Flash Gordon (1980) (among others). Taylor had also worked on several episodes of the John Steed The Avengers
Ben Affleck cast as Batman
There has been a lot of controversy about the recent casting of Ben Affleck as Batman for the 2015 Batman vs. Superman movie.
Joss Whedon and others have made statements in support of the choice (Hollywood Reporter article by Sophie Shillaci), while some fans have started petitions and social media campaigns against the choice.
Personally, I’m not happy about the decision, but I wish the production success with it.
My concern is that it is difficult (but not impossible) for a celebrity to successfully play a superhero. After all, superheroes are already celebrities…we know their strengths and their weaknesses, their social habits, and all about their love lives (if any). I think Ben Affleck is a good actor (and a great director, by the way), and can probably craft a good enough performance as Batman/Bruce Wayne. I just think that you can’t help but see Ben Affleck, and that’s going to overlay our perceptions of the character.
Think about the most culturally impactful portrayals of superheroes. Quick, what was Hugh Jackman doing before Wolverine? Christopher Reeve? Adam West, for that matter?
They were all actors, with screen credits…but they weren’t really celebrities. The average person didn’t walk into the theatre feeling like they knew all about them.
One could present a couple of counter arguments. Michael Keaton was on the A-List (with a recent big hit starring in Beetlejuice) when he first donned the cowl. However, while the Tim Burton movie really did reboot the character, was Keaton’s portrayal embraced by the fans? How often do you see Keaton Batman cosplay at a convention?
Now, there is no denying that Robert Downey, Jr. was a tabloid figure before Iron Man. I’ll give you that one, even if it was a big turning point in his career. I think one reason for that is that the Tony Stark character was not that far from the Downey mythos. That wasn’t a big case of cognitive dissonance.
Do we think of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman like? I’d say we don’t…I certainly don’t think of him as an upper class sophisticate.
I also understand the feeling that Ben Affleck had a chance at playing a superhero (Daredevil), and that wasn’t the most successful one for Marvel. Other actors have played more than one superhero, but it’s as rare and hard to do as playing two professional sports at the highest level.
I would rather have seen an unknown or little-known in the part, but I’ll hope for the best.
Did anyone check with Andre Delambre on this one? 😉
Okay, one of the high-tech innovations I haven’t used (or even seen in person) yet is a 3-D printer.
It still sounds to me like the replicator, or in some ideas of how they worked, the transporter. The latter is usually thought of as actually beaming the component parts (physically transporting something), but there is a pattern of the person stored, and they can be “reconstructed” from that. Another idea (things weren’t all that well explained in the beginning) is that the object was disassembled to determine its make-up, and then the pattern was used to create a replica in a distant location from locally available materials.
In reality, I think the 3-D printer works more like the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker. The material out of which the shape is made doesn’t have to have any special similarities to the material of the original (that’s why, as Makerbot helpfully explains, you can’t print a 3-D hamburger and then eat it).
However, it is still somewhat mind-blowing. 😉
The next thing from Makerbot is the
being released in mid-October.
You’ll be able to scan an object, and then 3-D print it.
It certainly appears to me that I could scan it in Los Angeles and have somebody print it in New York.
Not only that, they cheerfully tell you that you can alter the pattern: scan a garden gnome, and add a hat or more beard, for example.
They also explain that it isn’t designed to scan and reproduce living things…
What’s the opposite of cryptozoology?
The “discovery” of the olinguito recently got a great deal of coverage, some of it a bit…well, inexact, perhaps.
It’s a cute little mammal…sort of looks like a kinkajou, but only a couple of pounds…perhaps a quarter of the weight of your small housecat!
This, however, isn’t like traditional cryptozoology. There weren’t a lot of reports of it and no specimens…there were specimens with no reports. Those are specimens in museums, and even a living one that was shipped from zoo to zoo because it didn’t get along with the “other olingos”…when it wasn’t one.
It took someone noticing that the remains in museums weren’t actually from an olingo to get the ball rolling.
This is not the first time an animal has been discovered in a museum.
For example, something similar happened with the bonobo, a species of great ape that had been misidentified as a small chimpanzee. In reality, chimps and bonobos behavior is pretty different…with the very active and…let’s call it flexible sex lives of the latter being commonly referenced.
Because humans have proven to be such reliable decision makers…
has a great video and accompanying text about the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition having received a humanoid robot (an “Atlas” model) since they won a contest…no, they didn’t have to send in boxtops. 😉
They are going to compete, in December 2014, in a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) test that puts humanoid robots into real life situations.
I have to say, Atlas reminds me a bit of Tobor the Great…I think it’s the general bulkiness. However, I do think Atlas looks cooler, with some sort of Whovian-looking panel on the chest.
In the video, they make a point that they don’t do artificial intelligence, which I think is supposed to be reassuring (this is a big, powerful robot). I think I’d be more comfortable with something that feels it has a personal stake in its interactions (as opposed to something that can be very low risk for its controller), but that might just be me. 😉
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle