All items tagged with "culture"

These clever gadgets bring email into the real world

Brendan Dawes wants to bring digital email into our analog reality. Photo: Wired

Brendan Dawes wants to bring digital email into our analog reality. Photo: Wired

Email has become somewhat of a necessary evil lately, with a attempts like Google’s recent Inbox to use software to corral the over-abundance of the technology into something that makes better sense for us humans.

Designer Brendan Dawes worked with email marketing provider Mailchimp to come up with these fascinating single-use gadgets that bring email into the real world. Nim, the gadget named for a famous chimp in linguistics, is a light switch that lets you turn your email off. And on again, assumedly.

“Email is an interface we’ve been using for years,” Dawes told Wired, “so why not leverage its power some more?”

Dawes has several other gadgets he’s designed in concept. Each one tries to make the digital real and interactive. Some are more successful than others, of course, but they’re all fascinating.

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Iron Man takes on the Hulk in first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

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Hulk smash! Iron Man huge! Photo: Marvel Studios

Update: The leaked Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer has been pulled from several sources, but once the toothpaste is out of the tube, even superheroes can’t put it back. Marvel Entertainment has responded with an appropriately cheeky tweet (see below) and released the official trailer in HD.

It’s hard not to contain our excitement for the upcoming Joss Whedon joint, Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially with this new leaked trailer. It’s not the high-quality one you’ll likely see when Marvel Studios puts the official trailer up on YouTube, but it definitely looks legit.

The trailer gives us our first glimpse of baddie Ultron, voiced by James Spader, and features some creepy use of the Pinnochio song, “I Got No Strings” — a reference to the fact that Ultron is no longer a puppet, perhaps?

Check it out below:

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BBC’s fact-tastic data-dicing tool puts your tiny life in perspective

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

Wondering how many solar eclipses there have been since the day you were born? How about when your next birthday on Mercury is? Perhaps you want to know how much Earth’s population has changed since your very special day.

You can answer these questions and more at BBC Earth with this interactive tool — you just plug in your birthdate, height, and gender, and you’ll get all sorts of interesting facts about our planet, as it relates to your lifespan.

“Find out how,” says the BBC site, “since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space.”

Heady stuff, indeed.

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Sublime night-skiing video shows off brilliant LED technology

Custom LED suits and a small fortune in equipment to make a 12 minute movie: so worth it. Photo: Philips Ambilight TV

Custom LED suits and a small fortune in equipment to make a 12 minute movie: so worth it. Photo: Philips Ambilight TV

Filmed on location at the Alyeska resort in Alaska, the Alaskan wilderness, and the Golden Alpine lodges in Canada, this incredible film of extreme skiing will light up your screens on October 19.

The 12-minute video was created to show off the color and light technology of Phillips Ambilight TV. To do so, the filmmakers created LED ski suits and let loose their pro skiers in the Alaskan and Canadian mountains.

Check out the gorgeous preview in the short teaser below.

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Hard-rockin’ drum pedal lets you be the band

Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

There’s always that moment when your drummer can’t show up for rehearsal. She’s got some other commitment. He’s got another gig. Her boyfriend needs her to take him to the hospital.

It happens. When it does, you can do what I’ve always done – pound your foot against the floor and try to muddle on through – or you can use a drum machine. The problem with standard drum machines is that they’re made to be used by hands or, in some cases, drum sticks. I’m not a drummer (no sticks) and I need my hands to play my guitar. What I really need is a drum machine I can play from the floor, guitar-pedal style.

That’s what caught my eye about the BeatBuddy – this is a guitar-pedal-style device that lets you use your foot to play back drum beats in a variety of styles, fills and different parts included. This is my new best friend when the drummer can’t make it to practice, and it may become my new stage pal if I take my act solo.

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Christian Bale in talks to step into Jobs this spring

Batman goes legit. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage

Bale is the front-runner for the role. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage

Entertainment insiders are saying that Oscar-winner Christian Bale will start filming Jobs this Spring as Apple’s late CEO and wonder-boy, Steve Jobs.

According to Variety, Bale is in talks to star as the mercurial tech leader in the movie based on the biography by Walter Issacson and a script written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network).

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10 new movies reveal roadmap for DC Comics’ cinematic universe

Wonder Woman in 2017! Photo:Warner Bros. Pictures

Wonder Woman in 2017! Photo:Warner Bros. Pictures

At a Time Warner investor meeting on Wednesday, Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara laid out his company’s plans to plaster movie houses with big DC-themed movies over the next six years, starting with Zach Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, set to release in 2016.

Disney-owned Marvel already dominates the box office with its comic-book team-ups like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy as well as movies based on top characters like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America.

It’s going to be a tough job for Warner Bros. to catch up to Marvel, which has already laid a ton of groundwork in it’s previously released films for the ongoing cinematic dynasty, but this new list promises to please fans new and old.

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NASA captures Halloween cheer with jack-o’-lantern sun

Black hole sun/Won't you come... Photo: NASA/SDO

Black hole sun/Won’t you come… Photo: NASA/SDO

Is there anything cooler than images of our solar system? Especially ones of the actual Sol, or, our sun. No, there is not.

This fantastically seasonal Halloween image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which does nothing but stare at the sun all day and night in complete disregard of what its mother told it not to do.

Regardless, this image is amazing.

“The active regions in this image appear brighter,” writes NASA on its website, “because those are areas that emit more light and energy. They are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.”

This image blends the images taken with two different ultraviolet wavelengths highlighted, one at 171 and the other at 193 Ångströms, to create this one-of-a-kind jack-o’-lantern sun.

Whatever — this thing is just creepy cool and I want a giant poster of it.

8-bit Miyazaki tribute film will fill you with nostalgia

It's rainy out there for neighbors. Screengrab: Pablo Fernandez Eyre

It’s rainy out there for neighbors. Screengrab: Pablo Fernandez Eyre

My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle. Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service. Chances are you’re thinking of these lovely, peaceful, wonderful animated films right now.

And these are just a few of the fantastic and bewitching animated films that Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have made together over the past couple of decades. Now, however, Miyazaki has retired after making one final, autobiographical film, The Wind Rises. Studio Ghibli has put its film-making on hold, as well, citing restructuring.

Independent filmmaker Pablo Fernandez Eyre was a little sad when he heard the news.

“I decided to make a tribute to show my love for movies like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away,” he told Cult of Mac in an email. Check out his moving 8-bit piece below.

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Disney’s Tomorrowland teaser brings you a touch of the future

Britt Robertson is given a gift that could change her destiny. Screengrab: Disney

Britt Robertson is given a gift that could change her destiny. Screengrab: Disney

A young girl gets out of jail and is given back her paltry few belongings. A baseball cap, some gum, and a pin. The pin? Isn’t hers.

“What if there was a place, a secret place,” says the voiceover in this new teaser trailer for Disney’s Tomorrowland, “where nothing was impossible. A miraculous place, where you could actually change the world.”

As she touches the pin, the world around her changes. She freaks out.

Says the man in the voiceover, “You wanna go?”

If this would have happened to me when I was a young kid, enthralled with the idea of sci-fi-themed Tomorrowland as the best place to go when visiting Walt Disney’s happiest place on earth, I would have grabbed the pin in a heartbeat. Check out the trailer below.

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