All posts by Adidas Wilson

Divers use custom Snapchat Spectacles to explore deep underwater

With the exception of professional deep-sea divers and filmmakers, underwater scenery has largely remained unexplored territory on social media. But that could change with an unusual invention from Royal Caribbean, which plans to strap waterproof cameras on cruisegoers’ faces to help them get enviable vacation pics.

This week, the company is debuting a scuba mask with built-in Snapchat Spectacles, which could soon enable everyday divers to swim and shoot videos and photos of marine wildlife in places like Belize and Mexico. The “SeaSeekers” goggles were built by Sexton, an Oregon-based firm that specializes in custom underwater housing. (The concept was developed by Boston ad agency MullenLowe.)

To promote its #SeekDeeper campaign, Royal Caribbean equipped three well-known divers with their own SeaSeekers, which they wore while exploring water that tours often visit. The company dispatched marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa to Cozumel, Mexico, to provide a new look into the migration of whale sharks. It sent marine biologist Gabriela Nava to examine a coral reef restoration project. And in Belize, free diver Ashleigh Baird wore a pair while visiting the Great Blue Hole, one of the largest underwater sinkholes of its kind.

According to Royal Caribbean chief marketing officer Jim Berra, the goal is to receive a patent for the product and then equip ships with the goggles so guests can rent them by this fall. He said one purpose of the campaign is to remind people of the biological diversity of the Caribbean.

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“You can get off the beaten path and have these types of water-based adventures and then capture it in a really fun and unique way,” Berra said.

Royal Caribbean only made 10 prototypes of the product, but it gave Adweek an early preview. And while doing a demo in the Caribbean would have been ideal, the next best thing was a luxury hotel pool a little closer to home in New York.

During an early-morning swim on Thursday at the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel, I got a chance to try the SeaSeekers. To the untrained eye, it might look like a colorful scuba mask. However, to anyone who’s seen a pair of Spectacles in action, there’s no mistaking the yellow-ringed circular cameras on the polarized lenses, fastened safely behind the waterproof plastic. (This week Snap Inc. won three Cannes Lions for designing Spectacles, which one judged described as both “functional” and “beautiful.”)

While I’m a proficient swimmer, I’m far less proficient as a scuba diver, so the goggles felt foreign at first. And while the overall design was fairly comfortable, the nose had no padding (a minor inconvenience but one that proved a little painful over time). There was just one other problem: The suction around the eyes and nose was not 100 percent waterproof, which made it tough to stay underwater for too long without getting water in my eyes and nose. However, that in no way seemed to affect the function of the glasses themselves, which worked underwater perfectly.

Compared with the Caribbean there’s not a lot to document in terms of wildlife in a Manhattan pool. But I brought a friend along, who helped keep things interesting while we documented an improvised form of spontaneous synchronized swimming—underwater handstands and torpedoing through the blue like whatever fish might be floating off the coast of Belize. And the Specs worked each and every time, syncing to my water hazard of an iPhone 6 sitting safely on the side.

Viewing the underwater snaps afterward felt more immersive than a lot of other content, and it makes a lot of sense why a cruise line would want to have a way to show people on land what they’re missing. And, to be honest, the SeaSeekers were actually pretty fun to use—they even made me wish I could actually go out in the deep blue sea. (All that organic content cruisegoers will generate onboard could make for good social marketing just in time for the winter travel months.)

Source:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/royal-caribbean-built-waterproof-snapchat-spectacles-for-underwater-exploring-and-we-tried-them-out/

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Minnesota Woman Sues Disney-Pixar for Using Her Ideas in Film ‘Inside Out’

A Minnesota woman has filed suit against The Walt Disney Company and Pixar for breach of implied-in-fact-contract, claiming the companies took her idea of emotion and color-based characters and used it in their blockbuster hit “Inside Out.”
 
Denise Daniels is a nationally recognized for her work to “help children better manage and deal with their emotions,” according to the lawsuit.  
 
In doing so, Daniels and a team of four, developed “The Moodsters,” which is a cast of five characters who live “deep down inside every child.”
 
The lawsuit states that every year between 2005 to 2009, Daniels and her team pitched their characters and curriculum to people to Disney-Pixar. 
 
One of those points of contact was Pete Docter, the Minnesota-native who directed “Inside Out.” 
 
The ideas were disclosed, “with the understanding, as is custom in the entertainment and motion picture industry, that Daniels would be compensated if Disney-Pixar used the idea. Disney-Pixar accepted these disclosures under these circumstances.”
 
Her characters were “anthropromorphus figures with human characteristics, including body, language, voice, and facial expressions,” representing the following emotions: happiness (yellow), sadness (blue), anger (red), love (pink) and fear (green).
 
The plot and color coordination of the characters in “The Moodsters” is closely followed with the film “Inside Out,” but Daniels did not receive credit for her idea or compensation, the lawsuit alleges.
 
The characters in “Inside Out” are named: Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
 
“Inside Out” was released in June 2015 and goes inside the brain of an 11-year-old who moves from Minnesota to California.

The production budget for the film was $170 million, and Disney-Pixar generated a gross revenue of $1.2 billion for the film, the lawsuit states. The film has also raked in more than $100 million in DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming and downloads.  
 
The lawsuit states: “One reason Inside Out is considered so novel, creative, and inventive is because Disney-Pixar had never before released a movie that anthropromophized emotions,” and it notes one reviewer called the film “inventive.” 
 
Yet, Daniels maintains that she is the “exclusive owner” of the original ideas, and Disney-Pixar continues to profit from those ideas through merchandising and other means.  

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Source:

http://kstp.com/news/disney-pix-inside-out-moodsters-lawsuit/4522693/

Idris Elba slays in new preview for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

The first bullseye The Dark Tower movie hit was casting its lead: Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, the last of the knights known as gunslingers, a lost man wandering an apocalyptic wasteland in search of the Man in Black, whose next stop on his march of destruction is our world.

The casting choice by director Nikolaj Arcel was a change from the novels. Stephen King had envisioned a Clint Eastwood-style, blue-eyed, white man as his six-shooting knight, but the author has applauded the choice of Elba for the lead character in his epic saga. Tough is tough; it doesn’t have a color.

Sunday during the BET Awards, Sony Pictures aired a new teaser for the Aug. 4 fantasy adventure that focused on the Mandela and Beasts of No Nation actor — and the royal legacy of his hero in The Dark Tower, a man seeking justice… although revenge will do, if that’s all that’s available.

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In the story, the tower is a mythic structure at the nexus of all space and time. Its levels constitute different worlds and realities, and our world is stacked among them — a critical building block, actually. Matthew McConaughey’s magic-wielding Man in Black wants to bring it down, collapsing the worlds on each other and allowing his trapped master, the Crimson King, to be freed to rule them.

 

He needs others with power — like Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a boy from present-day New York who possesses a psychic ability known as a “shine” (an obvious homage to another classic King novel). By harnessing people with this strength, the Man in Black can use them to break through the dimensions and attack the tower.

So, by protecting the boy, Roland the Gunslinger is protecting these worlds. He does not hesitate to draw his irons to save Jake. He does wonder if we have guns and ammunition here — though he’s certain such weaponry is difficult to acquire and only available to the highly trained.

For more on the upcoming film, read Entertainment Weekly‘s profile of Elba from our visit to The Dark Tower set, and check out our full coverage of the Stephen King adaptation.

Source:

Idris Elba slays in new preview for Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’

Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 Will Lead Into The “Next Incarnation Of The MCU”

Now that Spider-Man‘s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s clear that he’s going to become more and more important to the franchise going forward. After debuting in Captain America: Civil War and with his solo movie Spider-Man: Homecoming coming up, the wall-crawler will next team up with the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. After that two-part extravaganza though, Spidey has his most important job yet – launching the next phase of the MCU.

Speaking to Io9, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige explained the role that the Homecoming sequel will play in the wider scheme of the cinematic universe. Apparently, it’ll guide the audience into what fans call Phase 4 of the MCU, with the movie dealing with the aftermath of Infinity War just as the first Spider-Man deals with the fallout of Civil War. 

“So much happens in [the 3rd and 4th Avengers movies], as you can imagine, and so much is affected by it that we felt what better person to hold your hand and lead you into the next incarnation of the MCU, in a grounded, realistic manner, than Peter Parker? So, coming out two months after Untitled Avengers, [that’s what] much of what the next Spider-Man film will be about.”

“It was purposefully done like this. Like how the events of Captain America: Civil War impacted Peter as he was dropped off by Tony and expected to go back to continue his sophomore year, how the hell are the events of Infinity War and Untitled [Avengers] going to affect him as he, yes, goes back to his junior year?”

It sounds like there will be some interesting parallels between these first two MCU Spidey films. As we’ll see very soon, the first one will tackle Peter’s struggles to balance being part of New York’s superhero community with being a regular high schooler. Homecoming 2, then, will see Peter struggle to adjust to regular life after battling big purple alien tyrants in space.

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Whatever form the sequel takes, the future looks bright for Spider-Man’s cinematic career. Early reviews on Homecoming are starting to come through and they’re very positive, with folks saying it’s the best Spidey movie since 2004’s Spider-Man 2  – which is very exciting to hear.

Fans will get to find out for themselves if that really is the case when Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7th, before its sequel arrives on July 5th, 2019.

Source:

http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/spiderman-homecoming-2-civil-war/

Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s

Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however Apple can lay claim to transforming existing things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right. Fingerprint authentication and contactless payments are just two recent examples, having both existed in Japan and on niche devices for over a decade before Apple raised them to global prominence with the iPhone.

 

Next up on Apple’s agenda is augmented reality, the act of superimposing digital data and visuals atop a live video feed of your surroundings — something that Google, Microsoft, and many others have been experimenting with for a long time. Apple is far from being able to claim it invented AR, but its new ARKit in iOS 11 is already showing signs to suggest that Apple will help bring AR into the mainstream faster and better than anyone else.

The chronic problem with augmented reality has always been one of practicality. You could have the most basic forms of AR on your regular phone, as provided by apps like Layar, which has been around since 2009, but those have never been particularly compelling. Or you could have more sophisticated and appealing augmentations, as presented by Google’s Tango project, but you’d need a big fat phablet to lug around to make them happen. Apple’s difference is to combine the convenience of your daily phone with the appeal of advanced AR.

Looking at this distance-measuring app, it seems so simple and obvious. Of course your super-powered, multi-core phone should be smart enough to measure out basic distances, and there have indeed been many wonky apps trying to do that in the past. But measuring with AR, as already shown off by Google Tango phones, allows you a much more intuitive method for doing it. Having the phone actually aware of the three-dimensional space in its view allows for precise measurements, which can be represented with a neat hologram of a measuring tape. Apple’s advantage in the contest for doing this best is simple: while Google Tango demands special hardware, ARKit requires only that you have a recent iOS device. At WWDC earlier this month, Craig Federighi described ARKit as “the largest AR platform in the world,” and he was right.

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Apple’s AR will immediately reach millions of people who already have the requisite hardware. And while it looks to be functionally as flexible and capable as Google’s Tango (check out some early examples of fanciful experiments with ARKit), its broader audience makes it much more enticing for serious developers to invest their time and money into. Google’s Tango is about the future whereas Apple’s ARKit is about the present.

Considering how little time it took to develop two convincingly accurate AR measuring apps with the iOS 11 beta, and reading the comments from their makers, Apple also appears to have an advantage in the ease of development with ARKit. It’s exciting to think that there are still three months before the release of the next iPhone and the accompanying finalization of iOS 11, by which time Apple’s big-budget app developer partners are likely to have a deluge of AR-enabled apps for people to play with. That’s how stuff goes mainstream: as a big wave of change that touches everyone from casual Pokémon Go players to serious home DIY geeks figuring out how to arrange their living room furniture.

For the people who don’t care about incremental changes in phone specs or design, the differentiator between devices has always been in the unique things that each one can do — or, failing that, the convenience and ease of use of common features. Apple’s iPhone is more convenient than Google’s Project Tango devices and with iOS 11 it’ll have much better AR capabilities than its nearest premium Android rivals. So if we’re looking for the AR innovator that will take the technology into the mainstream, Apple once again looks like the likeliest suspect.

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/26/15872332/apple-arkit-ios-11-augmented-reality-developer-excitement

Fake news of a fatal car crash wiped out $4 billion in ethereum’s market value yesterday

“Vitalik Buterin confirmed dead. Insiders unloading ETH” read the title of the post on 4Chan, the notorious online message board frequented by internet trolls. “Fatal car crash,” it went on. “Now we have our answer. He was the glue.”

“ETH” refers to ethereum, the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency, which was invented by a 21-year-old, Vitalik Buterin, in 2015. The currency’s price has risen by 50 times this year so far, and many market watchers have wondered when the gains would stop. The price was already in the midst of a sudden decline yesterday that saw about $4 billion wiped off its total market value, and according to the post, Buterin’s untimely death explained it and heralded a crash.

It turns out that Buterin wasn’t dead, nor involved in a car crash. He took to Twitter to prove that all was well, but how to supply evidence that he was indeed behind the Twitter account? In the cryptocurrency equivalent of posing with the day’s newspaper, he scrawled out some data linked to the latest block (you can see that data for yourself here) mined on the ethereum blockchain on a piece of paper and took a selfie with it. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange did something similar to dispel rumors of his demise by reading out data from the bitcoin blockchain on a live stream in January. Buterin then posted the selfie on Twitter:

Ethereum’s slide seemed to hit a bottom after the hoax was posted on 4Chan, recovering about 10%. Despite yesterday’s steep sell-off, it’s still trading 39 times higher than it was at the start of the year.

Source:

Fake news of a fatal car crash wiped out $4 billion in ethereum’s market value yesterday

Amazon Unveils New Kindle Highlight and Note System

Amazon has just unveiled a new system that allows you to easy view all of the notes and highlights that you have made in a Kindle e-book. It is accessible via the web and harvests all of the content you have saved on your e-reader, Fire tablet or your favorite Kindle app. It is also optimized for mobile devices, so it displays properly on any Android or Apple smartphone.

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Amazon sent an email to users this afternoon and it stated “We have good news. Customers have been asking for more ways to access their Kindle notes and highlights—especially on their phones. We’ve created a new home for all your notes and highlights that’s easy to access from your phone, tablet, or PC. Now you can easily refer to your notes and highlights wherever you are. Visit the new home for Your Notes and Highlights at read.amazon.com/notebook.”

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/amazon-unveils-new-kindle-highlight-and-note-system

How One Man Overcame Blindness and Started an Audiobook Show for New Scifi and Fantasy

In early 2015, 33-year-old Chris Herron was declared legally blind, and was told he had an 80-percent chance of losing his sight entirely in three months. Now, he’s almost fully recovered, and has launched an audiobook channel that helps scifi and fantasy authors… just like how they once helped him.

Herron is the founder of Tall Tale TV, a YouTube channel where he makes and releases audiobooks for burgeoning scifi and fantasy works. Before that, he spent almost a year wondering if he would be able to read books again after being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of blindness for working-age adults. It’s where people with diabetes (Herron’s had Type 1 since he was 7) suffer from leaks or bleeding behind the eyes if they don’t keep their blood sugar low. He was told he’d need surgery in both eyes, and he had a four in five chance of going blind.

“[When I found out], I hyperventilated and they had to lay me down. It came as a major shock, I had never even considered the possibility of not being able to see,” Herron told io9. “I decided I was going to fight it, and I was going to come out the other side regardless what they told me the chances were.”

He immediately set out to change his lifestyle— losing 30 pounds in the first month from diet and any exercise he could do, which started as guided walks with his wife. He described his sight as “like looking through a cloud of ink,” which meant he had trouble with many basic tasks. He also lost the ability to read and didn’t know how to read Braille. Given his lifelong love of fantasy and science fiction, and how they served as an emotional release during bouts of depression, this hit hard.

“It was actually pretty devastating because I loved writing and I loved reading,” Herron said. “It was actually my wife who suggested I turn to audio books.”

The first audiobooks he picked up were from Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series, and Herron said they changed his life. He’d listened to audiobooks before, but it was in passing while commuting to work, so he was worried it wouldn’t be the same. But Herron was amazed at how much he loved them, saying “it gave the book[s] an entire new layer or dimension.” Herron listened to them for several months, using them to help during a difficult time. Then, his sight started to return. Herron said it happened gradually so he didn’t really notice, but one visit to a doctor’s office showed how far he’d come and the odds he’d beaten.

 

“My doctor looked at my eyes and he personally was kind of floored… he told me, ‘Your vision is back at about 80-percent, and you’re going to be fine,’” Herron said. “I was so happy I cried.”

Since then, Herron’s sight has improved to about 90-percent of what it was before the diagnosis. He’s able to read regular books again, as well as use a computer for longer than a minute or two. But, he’s still “obsessed with audiobooks.” More so… he’s making them now.

A couple of months ago, Herron started Tall Tale TV, in hopes he could expose scifi and fantasy writers to a diverse audience, and give readers (especially those who are visually impaired) a new way of experiencing their work. The site focuses on short stories and individual chapters, so people don’t get overwhelmed when listening to them. Right now, Herron narrates all of them by himself in his spare time (he also has a full-time job), but is looking to expand with more books and voice actors in the future.

 
 
 

You can check out Tall Tale TV here, with a new audiobook chapter expected to go up this week. It’s worth checking out. The channel is a new project, but a noble one. Herron’s helping burgeoning writers grow in a genre that many of them have loved during their entire lives, using a medium that helped him during one of the hardest times of his own.

Source:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/how-one-man-overcame-blindness-and-started-an-audiobook-1796402123

Couple beats restaurant owner, her teen daughter over fast food order

Shocking surveillance video shows the moment a Georgia couple brutally beat a restaurant employee and her teenage daughter — all because they weren’t satisfied with their order.

The couple, identified by police as Nathaniel Eric and Latasha Smith, were at the Quik Chick takeout stand next to U.S. Highway 1 in Baxley around 3 p.m. Thursday when they complained to owner Jeanette Norris that their chicken was too cold and that they didn’t get enough fries, WTOC reported.

Norris checked the food, spoke with the couple for a few seconds and even refunded their money — before Latasha attacked her, slapping and punching her in the face.

“She went berserk,” Norris told the station. “They both lost it, him and her both; started cussing and beating on the window.”

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Then the owner’s 15-year-old daughter walked out of a truck parked in front of the eatery — only to be immediately socked in the face by Nathaniel, knocking her off her feet, the video shows.

“One of my employees yelled, ‘He’s got her,’ and that’s when I realized he had hit her,” Norris said. “Who does that? Who punches a child like she’s a grown man standing there? He needs putting under the jail.”

When two other customers arrived, the couple drove off in a silver Cadillac Escalade.

Norris was left with a broken nose after the attack — and her daughter suffered bruises and a concussion, the station reported.

Police told the station that the attack was completely unprovoked.

Source:

http://nypost.com/2017/06/25/couple-viciously-beats-restaurant-owner-her-teen-daughter-over-fast-food-order/amp/

 

Twenty years of Harry Potter

1 Some first editions can appreciate in value pretty fast. There were only 500 hardback copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone printed in the first run in 1997, of which 300 went to libraries. If you find one of these knocking about in your downstairs loo – the print line on the copyright page is 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 – it’s worth a small fortune. Expect upwards of £30,000 for it. Fun fact: there was one of these in the Daily Telegraph’s books cupboard for many years, but it mysteriously went missing in the early noughties. If you’re the bastard who stole it, please have a word with the paper’s former literary editor, Kate Summerscale.

2 Even Homer nods. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is fighting a duel with Voldemort when he accidentally does something (Priori Incantatem) that causes the Dark Lord’s wand to spit out, in reverse order, spectral images of the people he has killed. Harry’s father, James, comes out before his mother, Lily – when, according to the established story, he died in the process of trying to help his wife and child escape. Fans feverishly speculated as to whether JK Rowling was setting up some crafty plot twist. She eventually admitted it was a mistake (Erratum Cockupis Normalis), due to “late-night writer’s fatigue”; the text was corrected in later editions.

3 Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on 26 June 1997, passed practically unnoticed. That day, people were more interested in the news of the election of Bertie Ahern (remember him?) as taoiseach of the Irish Republic. They were still making a fuss about Cool Britannia (remember that?) and the fresh-faced, new prime minister, Tony Blair (remember him?); going bananas about the Spice Girls (remember them?), and wondering about Diana, Princess of Wales’ love life. The bestselling novel of that year was a John Grisham.

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4 Children’s books can be political. Rowling’s brilliant decision was to have her characters grow up at the same rate as her readers. Each book was set in one school year, and grew longer, darker and more adult in theme. By the time we reached book four, Goblet of Fire, we were seeing do-gooding Hermione’s Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare formed in response to the bond slavery of these sock-loving poppets. In the person of the hack journalist Rita Skeeter, Rowling sent up the tabloid press. The ministry of magic sent up Whitehall bureaucracy. And, as any fool could plainly see, the story’s master narrative – with purebloods fighting a war of annihilation against “mudbloods” – is about the struggle against your basic blood-and-soil fascism.

5 Academics can give us all a laugh. Harry Potter studies is a flourishing corner of the humanities and theory industry. See “The Hippogriff in Harry Potter As a Prime Example for Intertextuality”, “No Grace for James: James Potter and the Noble Heathen”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: A Psychoanalytic Viewpoint”, and “From the Holocaust to 9/11: Harry Potter and the Contemporary Struggle with Evil” for details.

6 Some people can be as dumb as stumps. In several places in the US, copies of Rowling’s books were burned by fundamentalist Christians who believed they were encouraging children to take up witchcraft. “Behind that innocent face is the power of satanic darkness,” said pastor Jack Brock of the Christ Community church in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 2001. “Harry Potter is the devil and he is destroying people.”

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Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/26/twenty-years-of-harry-potter-the-20-things-we-have-learned