Categories
animation

Princess and the Frog Trailer

Disney has released the trailer for its newest full length feature animation, The Princess and the Frog. It will be the animation studio’s 49th animated feature and the first traditional animation feature since Home on the Range — my least favorite Disney animation of all time. I’m hoping things have improved…


[Princess and the Frog Trailer – YouTube]

The new movie will add to Disney’s profitable princess franchise, and, more importantly, with directors John Musker and Ron Clements at the helm, I suspect it will have the kind craftsmanship and story that will make it worthy to become part of the Disney Classics canon.

Ron and John’s directing credits include: The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet. These guys have worked with the masters and, of course, are masters in their own right.

The Animation Podcast has a great interview with Ron and John in three parts.

Categories
Science

White blood cell chasing a bacterium

Neutrophil granulocytes, generally referred to as neutrophils, are the most abundant type of white blood cells in humans and form an essential part of the immune system. Watch as this crawling Neutrophil chases down a bacterium in this short video from the 1950s.


[Crawling Neutrophil Chasing a Bacterium – YouTube]

How does it know how to track things? It’s amazing to think this kind of activity is happening inside our bodies all the time.

Categories
Science

Cold Fusion Hot Again

60 Minutes is reporting that Cold Fusion is gaining traction and may soon be vindicated. I’m a skeptic but I want to believe.

When first presented in 1989 cold fusion was quickly dismissed as junk science. But, as Scott Pelley reports, there’s renewed buzz among scientists that cold fusion could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production.

60 Minutes – Cold Fusion Hot Again

Categories
Sport

Amazing Trials Riding

This video of Danny MacAskill has got to be one of the most amazing collection of trials riding I’ve ever seen.

Filmed over the period of a few months in and around Edinburgh by Dave Sowerby, this video of Inspired Bicycles team rider Danny MacAskill features probably the best collection of street/street trials riding ever seen. There’s some huge riding, but also some of the most technically difficult and imaginative lines you will ever see. Without a doubt, this video pushes the envelope of what is perceived as possible on a trials bike.

Categories
Music Science

Bicycle Built for 2000

In 1962, the IBM 704 became the first computer to sing. The song was Daisy Bell. John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum programmed the vocals and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. This performance was the inspiration for the famous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the HAL 9000 computer sings the song as it is deactivated.

In 2009, the song has been recreated using 2000 clips of human voices collected via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Workers were asked to listen to a short clip of the 1962 recording and then prompted to repeat the sound as best they could.

See the Bicycle Built for 2000 project page for an interactive look at each sound clip.

Categories
animation Sport

The Sweater

The NHL playoffs begin today. Personally I’m rooting for the Calgary Flames, but I’ll be happy if any Canadian team wins the cup.

Whether or not you’re planning to watch any of the games tonight, take ten minutes to enjoy The Sweater, a classic Canadiana short from the NFB.

In this animated short, Roch Carrier recounts the most mortifying moment of his childhood. At a time when all his friends worshipped Maurice “Rocket” Richard and wore his number 9 Canadiens hockey jersey, he was mistakenly sent a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from Eaton’s. Unable to convince his mother to send it back, he must face his friends wearing the colours of the opposing team. This short film, based on the book The Hockey Sweater, is an NFB classic that appeals to hockey lovers of all ages.

The Sweater, Sheldon Cohen, provided by the National Film Board of Canada.

Categories
animation

Repeated Actions in Animation

Back in the early days of Disney animation, it was not uncommon for animators to cycle animation forward and then backward, repeat action more than once, or use a cross-over technique in which two or more characters do the same action.

From The Illusion of Life:

Sometimes an action could be repeated just as it was in a second scene, but more often a new beginning or a different ending were called for. In these cases, the animator could repeat part of the action by borrowing drawings from the earlier scene. In other cases, there would be an action that could be repeated intact in the same scenes—a character climbing a slippery pole, or sliding down an incline, or being knocked down by a mechanical device.

I remember watching the Disney classics as a kid and thinking some of these scenes are very similar to other Disney movies. I never realized that this type of repeated action was so prominent between films until seeing this YouTube compilation:


[Youtube link – Resemblance]

Having said that, I don’t considering this to be as big of a cheat as to deserve a flippant “fail” tag so indiscriminately handed out by the Pharisees of the net.

The copying done here, is not tracing, but transferring poses from one character to another, perhaps even from Disney’s large collection of reference footage. As anyone that’s done any animation knows, putting any animation onto a new character is still a very difficult task regardless of where you get the poses.

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Categories
Music

Britains Got Talent – Susan Boyle

47 year old Susan Boyle has always wanted to be a professional singer. When asked by Simon Cowell what’s held her back all these years, she replied. “I’ve just never been given a chance before.”

I love this: Britain’s Got Talent – Susan Boyle

Categories
Music

2009 Sasquatch! Music Festival

Even though it’s still over a month away, I’m getting more and more excited about the 2009 Sasquatch! Music Festival. It’s going to be a fantastic time.

Categories
religion

On Being Open Minded

A common argument against believing in the supernatural is that sceptics disregard eye-witness testimony to such phenomena. The following video from QualiaSoup rebuffs this line of reasoning eloquently while expounding the virtues and pitfalls of open mindedness.


[Open-mindedness– YouTube]

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