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Movies

Submission + - Flight Of The Navigator: When CGI was HARD! (denofgeek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Jeff Kleiser brought cinema its first photo-real, reflection-mapped CGI in 1986. A full five years before James Cameron's apparently ground-breaking 'metallic' visual effects in Terminator 2, Kleiser was trying to make a silver spaceship out of pixels for Walt Disney's Flight Of The Navigator.

Kleiser tells Den Of Geek just how hard it was to render CGI back when the 'jumping lamp' seemed like a landmark:

"To render the spaceship and get it onto film (along with a matte for the optical printing department), they had their own rendering software running on a prototype supercomputer called the Foonly F-1, which had formerly been used by Information International, Inc to drive their film recorders. The Foonly had very little disk space, so we had to render on the fly and send the data directly to the film recorder as it was being computed. That meant we had no way of reshooting a scene other than re-rendering it from scratch each time..."

The Military

Submission + - SPAM: Military wants bomb to blow up only specfic things

coondoggie writes: "Ok, this one sounds a little ambitious. The US Navy today will offer a $10 million, five-year contract for researchers to build bomb technology that would let pilots in particular select a damage radius that a weapon would generate, or possibly even the type of effect the explosive would have on a specific target. In particular the Navy wants to develop and demonstrate technology that will enable a 500lb class bomb with 2 or more cockpit selectable output modes (make one little boom and make one humongous explosion I guess). The Navy said one output mode will have lethality comparable to current 500lb bombs known as BLU-111s. Then a second mode would have as small of a collateral damage radius as possible enabling pilots to target specific buildings, enemies on the ground or other targets with as much lethal potential as the first option, the Navy said. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA Loses Bid To Keep Revenues Secret (blogspot.com) 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA's motion to keep secret the record companies' 1999-to-date revenues for the copyrighted song files at the heart of the case has been denied, in the Boston case scheduled for trial July 27th, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. The Judge had previously ordered the plaintiff record companies to produce a summary of the 1999-to-date revenues for the recordings, broken down into physical and digital sales. On the day the summary was due to be produced, instead of producing it, they produced a 'protective order motion' asking the Judge to rule that the information would have to be kept secret. The Judge rejected that motion : 'the Court does not comprehend how disclosure would impair the Plaintiffs' competitive business prospects when three of the four biggest record labels in the world — Warner Bros. Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and UMG Recording, Inc. — are participating jointly in this lawsuit and, presumably, would have joint access to this information.'"
Space

Submission + - New element named 'copernicium' (bbc.co.uk)

SpuriousLogic writes: Discovered 13 years ago, and officially added to the periodic table just weeks ago, element 112 finally has a name. It will be called "copernicium", with the symbol Cp, in honour of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) will officially endorse the new element's name in six month's time in order to give the scientific community "time to discuss the suggestion". Scientists from the Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany, led by Professor Sigurd Hofmann, discovered copernicium in fusion experiments in 1996.
Linux Business

Submission + - 1 of 3 Dell Inspiron Mini netbooks sold with Linux (laptopmag.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "According to an article in Laptop Magazine on-line, one-third of Dell Inspiron Mini 9s netbooks are sold with the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Dell senior product manager John New attributed the sales volume to the lower price point of the Ubuntu Linux machines. And the return rate of the Ubuntu Linux machines is approximately equal to that of comparable netbooks sold with Microsoft Windows XP. Dell spokesperson Jay Pinkert attriutes the low return rate to Dell's good communications with its customers, saying 'We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is.'"
Movies

Submission + - What's next for DVD? (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: "As Blu-ray and HD DVD formats are at war with no clear victor in sight, DVD burners are getting cheaper and faster. Sony recently began shipping the latest iteration of its stand-alone DVD burner that's independent of a PC as well as a $70 internal and $110 external drive, and Pixela just released a $300 burner for the mobile camcorder user with its slick, slim-line design. So it begs the question, is DVD really headed for the scrap heap?"

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