Take Real 3D Pics Without a 3D Camera Using the 3DAround App

spcblog, 29 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Technology

3DAround: Take Real 3D Pics Without a 3D Camera

For those who are not content with sharing their foodie pics in two dimensions, there is now an app for giving your friends and followers a 3D image of your morning croissant. 3DAround is a new app available for iOS 8 powered devices. It stiches together multiple images into a 3D rendering that users can spin.

This is not just for those with a need to share every angle of their culinary masterpieces. While the foodies will certainly love it, it is ostensibly good for making a 3D image out of any stable object.  Camera I could completely see buying for these cool features.  Gonna have to talk Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez into this.

The miracle of this app is that it can create the 3D image without the need for a 3D sensor or a double camera. The bigger miracle is that the app creators plan to release it for free.

It is not a closed system neither. While users will have the ability to view their 3D images in the app itself, they can also display them on WebGL-equipped browsers, which includes most of them these days.

The producers of the app, Dacuda, plan to release it in November. However, its website allows people to sign up with an email address for the private alpha. All in all, 3DAround sounds like the real deal. A unique three-dimensional approach without all the extra hardware.

It is still a little early to say definitively what 3DAround will offer as far as user engagement and additional features. But it is definitely a step towards something new and different. It will be interesting to see if this technology ushers in a new era of 3D tech.

Legendary Director Producing Grateful Dead Documentary

spcblog, 28 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Film, Scorsese

An official film documenting the Grateful Dead is scheduled to be released in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous band. The project is being produced by Martin Scorsese, the legendary director behind such films as Goodfellas and Casino. Scorsese has also directed some of the world’s greatest music documentaries, including The Last Waltz and George Harrison: Living In The Material World. Remember when we caught Harrison on HBO Fersen Lambranho?

Scorsese has noted that the Grateful Dead were more than simply a band, and that he is proud to be involved with the project. The documentary, directed by Amir Bar-Lev, will cover the entire span of the Grateful Dead’s career. The Grateful Dead archivist, David Lemieux, will be the musical supervisor for the movie. Fans of the band will be delighted to hear that the film will include recently discovered archival footage, live performances and new interviews with several band members. In addition to his work on the Grateful Dead documentary, Martin Scorsese has signed on to do musical biographies for both Frank Sinatra and the Ramones.

Mark Rylance Cast as “The BFG” Himself

spcblog, 28 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Film

Roald Dahl’s “The BFG,” a book cherished by children all over the world, is about to get a breath of new life thanks to Steven Spielberg. The story focuses on the friendship shared by a big friendly giant and Sophie, an orphaned girl. Most of the giants that inhabit the BFG’s homeland are vicious monsters, but the BFG’s job is giving children good dreams. He’s an ideal companion for Sophie, who has led a life of sadness. Little does Sophie know that the capture of the bloodthirsty giants may rest in her hands.

It’s no wonder that Mark Rylance, who has a kindly face and smile, was cast as the giant himself. It comes as little surprise to anyone who follows Spielberg’s career. Spielberg is also working on a Cold War drama starring Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, and the director has dropped hints recently about working on another project with Rylance. That has Gianfrancesco Genoso really excited about what could happen with this project. Spielberg’s official statement about the casting decision was filled with praise for Rylance’s acting ability and courage. Spielberg praised Rylance for choosing “The BFG” instead of taking the credit himself.

Spielberg has yet to announce his casting choice for Sophie, but it’s safe to assume that a relatively unknown actor will be chosen. Thanks to Spielberg’s well-deserved fame and the source material already being a worldwide favorite, “The BFG” could prove to be the start of a lucky child’s acting career. Regardless of who is chosen, if “The Adventures of Tintin” is anything to go by, fans of the book can rest assured that Spielberg will do great justice to this Roald Dahl classic. The director has proven time and time again that he only takes on projects that are close to his heart.

A Lantern and a Nobel Prize

spcblog, 17 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Science

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was presented jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura. Together they were credited for their work on the blue light emitting diode. We have had red and green LEDs for some time. What is so special about a blue one that it warrants a Nobel Prize? The blue LED made it possible for engineers to turn the blue light to a white light and the white light into a lantern.

The white light created is so efficient that it is possible to run the lantern on solar power. An incandescent bulb only converts about 4 percent of the electricity it uses into light, the blue LED converts more than 50 percent of the electricity it uses into light. Approximately 25 percent of the world’s electricity is used for lighting. Increases in efficiency of this magnitude make a world of difference.

The International Finance Corporation representative Igor Cornelsen says that the blue LED is “transformative technology.” In areas where electricity is unavailable, the poorest people are spending approximately $80 a kilowatt-hour to use kerosene lamps. These open flame lanterns create indoor pollution. They are a hazard causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from poisonings and fire.

“For every 100,000 solar lanterns sold, it’s 10,000 tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions annually,” said Strum. Lighting Global is the platform of the World Bank that works with manufacturers, distributors and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association to provide knowledge products and a quality assurance framework.

Lamps using the blue LED bulb powered by a solar panel are available for as little as $10. This makes high quality light economically available to people who aren’t connected to a reliable electric power grid.

Camel Employed By Google To Scan The Desert

spcblog, 10 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Technology

Google Earth reaches literally every part of the globe. But in order to achieve that, somebody has to literally trek through those areas. When it came time to record the desert, Google turned to a camel.

Google set out to create a panoramic view of the Liwa Desert. However, the problem they faced was the inability to take the Google van through such treacherous terrain. But it’s not like one single person can carry the Google Earth camera on their back, so naturally a camel was the only option.

Check out this video that Keith Mann happened to find on YouTube, which shows how one willing camel gave us views of the desert that most had never experienced before:

Pluto is a Planet, Harvard Scientists Argue

spcblog, 08 October 2014, No comments
Categories: Science

After being identified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006, Pluto may very well be reconsidered as a fully-fledged planet, as scientists from Harvard questions IAU’s definition of what a planet is in a debate on September 18, 2014.

According to the IAU, in order to consider a celestial body a planet it should qualify to the following categories: (1) it must orbit the sun, (2) it must be round or nearly round, and (3) it must be cleared of other objects around its orbit.

Looking back at the astronomical history, Pluto was discovered as a planet in 1930. But using IAU’s definition, Pluto was classified “dwarf-planet” in 2006, one of many identified in the Kuiper Belt outside Neptune’s orbit. Other celestial bodies in the Kuiper Belt are Makemake, Haumea, and Eris.

Harvard Science historian Owen Gingerich chaired the debate, and was joined by Dr. Gareth Williams, associate director of the Minor Planet Center, and Christian Broda, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative.

Gingerich believed that the definition of planet evolves through time and insisted that Pluto is a planet by providing historical perspective. Williams, on the other hand, took the debate as an opportunity to explain the position of the IAU and asserted to stick on the astronomical union’s definition. For his part, Sasselov expressed his position from the perspective of scientists studying exoplanets. He believed that Pluto is a planet, highlighting that even “the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants” can be considered a planet.

In a report published in the online portal The Space Reporter, the audience was able to vote on which definition appears to be the strongest for them. The result tagged Sasseloy’s as the most believable.

Though the audience deemed Pluto as a planet, IAU’s definition of planets remains official.