Category Archives: info

Facebook hires a Pixar Illustrator to re-imagine the emoticon

 

Emoticons have been around ever since the world wide web became fairly prominent in our daily lives. There are thousands of different variations, designs, animals, really any type you can imagine. Facebook, however, thinks that they can do better. They recently hired famed Pixar illustrator Matt Jones to re-invent the emoticon all together.

“Facebook was canny enough to realize that traditional emoticons are quite bland,” says Jones. “At Pixar we consider emotional states every day with every drawing we make. Our work is informed by the years of study we do, constantly studying people’s gestures and expressions in real life.” (To be clear, it isn’t an official collaboration between Pixar and Facebook. Jones is working independently.)

Jones was studying facial expressions for his work on a new film by Pete Docter (director of Up and Monsters, Inc.), which takes place in the mind of a young girl coming of age. The film, referred to as The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind, is set for release in June 2015. Pixar is famous for bringing to life inanimate, and even mundane, objects: lamps, cars, a hockey puck. This film required an extra level of emotional detail. A young girl’s mental state is a complicated thing.

Docter brought in psychologist Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the research of facial expressions, as a consultant on micro-emotions, the small mini expressions that happen between more major ones. (You may have heard of Ekman as John Cleese’s collaborator on the BBC series, The Human Face.) At the same time, Ekman’s protégé, Dacher Keltner, codirector of University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Program, was starting work with Facebook to improve their emoticons. When Keltner heard about the project at Pixar, he approached the company. That’s how he found Jones.

Keltner started off by giving Jones some of the classic universal emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) to translate into emoticon-style drawings. He loved what he saw — and decided to up the ante. He handed over Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which Darwin published 13 years after On the Origin of Species. The book explores similarities between human and animal facial movements, in support of Darwin’s theory that humans and animals have a common ancestor. It became one of the seminal works on the facial emotive expressions.

Read more here

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Brazilian Bikini waxes are eradicating pubic lice

As I’m sure nobody wants that guy up there crawling around in their pants, recent studies have shown that not only does shaving/waxing your “downtown city center” prevent the little bastards from sticking with you, but because the trend of removing the carpet and “sticking with hardwood floors downstairs” is becoming more and more common, pubic lice are well on their way to becoming an endangered species. So there you go people, do it for science, and for everybody who is going to be visiting you down there as well.

Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked by doctors to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters. More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair — part of a trend that’s increasing in western countries. In Australia, Sydney’s main sexual health clinic hasn’t seen a woman with pubic lice since 2008 and male cases have fallen 80 percent from about 100 a decade ago.

“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” said Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute and a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre. “Without doubt, it’s better grooming.”

The trend suggests an alternative way of stemming one of the globe’s most contagious sexually transmitted infections. Pubic lice are usually treated with topical insecticides, which once included toxic ones developed before and during World War 2. While they aren’t known to spread disease, itchy skin reactions and subsequent infections make pubic lice a hazardous pest.

Via

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One more reason dogs are better than cats; they can drive cars. Seriously, there’s video.

Two stray dogs in New Zealand went through an extensive 5-week training program where they learned how to shift and steer a car. This is real life. They started out on little “doggie go-karts” then upgraded to modified Mini Coopers.

For the four-legged competitors, two months of hard work – and a fair few treats – ensured they were raring to get on the racetrack. So when the big day rolled around, the only ones likely to get hot under the collar were any bystanders who spotted a Mini hurtling towards them with a dog at the wheel. Two mutts made history yesterday by driving a car down a racetrack. Ten-month-old beardie cross Porter put his paws to the pedals first, steering the Mini down the straight and then turning a corner.

He was followed by Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer cross, who completed the same feat. As the Mail reported last week, the pair – along with one-year-old beardie whippet cross Ginny – had been taking driving lessons, which began with them learning to steer a wooden cart pulled along on a string by their trainers.

In just eight weeks, they progressed to driving a real car – a modified Mini in which they sat on their haunches in the driver’s seat. Their front paws were on the steering wheel, while their back paws were on levers attached to the accelerator and the brake.

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In case you didn’t already absolutely loathe every member of the Westboro Baptist Church…

Today, Shirley Phelps-Roper, an absolute fucking moron and member of the Westboro Baptist church, confirmed that they would be picketing the funerals of the children killed in the senseless Newtown massacre.

I’m too fucking angry to even comment.  If I were in the WBC, I’d make sure I had a will in order before going to Sandy Hook.

https://twitter.com/DearShirley/status/279953994124783618

UPDATE: The hackivist group Anonymous has already reacted and promised to focus their power on destroying the WBC And its members.
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4chan trolling TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year… Again

While the official ‘Person of the Year’ honor is an editorial one on the part of Time Magazine, for the last couple years they’ve been running an end of the year online poll to see who their readers think should be Person of the Year. And for the last couple years, 4chan has flexed their online influence to push the voting to their liking. And this year, they like Kim John Un. And who doesn’t, what with that gorgeous hair?

Via

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Brazil to begin cloning endangered species

Being that Brazil contains the Amazon River and the Amazon basin, it has a giant wealth of natural resources when it comes to various species. However, as the rainforests continue to disappear at an alarming rate, so do entire species of plants and animals. In an attempt to preserve some of that diversity, Brazil will being cloning some of its wildlife to ensure their survival.

Brazilian scientists have announced that they are moving ahead with plans to clone a number of endangered species, a list of animals that includes the jaguar, maned wolf, and black lion. The groundbreaking initiative is being conducted by the Brasilia Zoological Garden in partnership with the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA. The researchers claim that they’re not looking to repopulate habitats, but to increase the number of captive specimens available. But in the event of extreme cases, they admit that they’re prepared to release these cloned animals into the wild.

Researchers at the Brasilia Zoological Garden have selected eight animals for the initiative, most of which are on the the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The genetic material required to clone these animals were collected over the course of the past two years, including the genomes of the bush dog, coati, collared anteater, gray brocket deer, and bison. The genomes were harvested primarily from dead animals native to the Cerrado, the vast tropical savannah biome that stretches across central Brazil. The researchers say they have already collected 420 samples which are currently being stored in their gene banks.

Now that this initial phase is complete, the next step will be to train the researchers at the zoo.

These animals will not be the first ones to be cloned by EMBRAPA; the government agency was responsible for the birth of a cloned cow in 2001. Since that time, various other animals have been cloned in Brazil, including other cows and horses.

Via

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Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson joing the cast of the LEGO movie

In 2014 LEGO will be releasing a big budget CGI movie so far simply dubbed ‘LEGO’ and the cast is turning out to be a star-studded masterpiece in itself. Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, and Alison Brie have recently signed on to join the likes of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Morgan Freeman. With this cast, it has to be a winner.

According to Deadline “Ferrell will play Emmet’s primary adversary, President Business; Neeson is the president’s powerful henchman, Bad Cop; Offerman is a craggy, swaggering pirate obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Brie is a member of Emmet’s team with a powerful secret.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

The film, the first-ever full length theatrical LEGO movie, follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Chris Pratt (Moneyball) stars as Emmet. Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises) and Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), will star as two of Emmet’s fellow travelers: Vitruvius, an old mystic; and tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest. She also calls upon the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure voiced by Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, “30 Rock”), with whom she shares a history.

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Jeff Bridges to play The Giver in the on-screen adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel.

 

If you went to school in the US, there’s about a 90% chance that you had to read this book for at least one class. It’s a phenomenal book and with Bridges in the lead role and Philip Noyce set to direct it, the movie should follow suit.

Variety is reporting that Philip Noyce (Salt) is hot to direct this film. Hell yes. This movie NEEDS to be made. Sure, it might be difficult, but come on. The book won a Newbery Medal, as we all remember because we were forced to read the “giant medallion” cover in Grade School.

The Giver is set in a colorless, dystopian future where people are given pills to suppress their feelings. All memory of the past has been erased. When born each child is assigned a job. But the main character, Jonas, is assigned the curious job as Receiver. In which he spends his days receiving the memories and feelings from The Giver. Obviously once Jonas starts receiving these memories, things start to change.

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DARE drops marijuana from their curriculum

Almost everybody who went to elementary/middle school in the US knows all about DARE. The program attempts to educate young kids about the consequences of drug use in order to deter them from using drugs. As of this past week though, DARE has officially dropped marijuana from their curriculum. Due to the miniscule negative effects the drug has and the amount of time they spent teaching kids about marijuana, I’m guessing they realized that the time would be better spent educating kids about the dangers of actually dangerous drugs.

Has the national DARE organization — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — removed the discussion of marijuana from its curriculum? It appears the answer is yes, reports Kevin Shaub at KNDU.

Nearly 100 students who graduated from the Sunset View Elementary DARE program in Kennewick, Washington, will be the last group to be taught the potential dangers of marijuana, said the Kennewick Police Department’s DARE officer, Mike Meyer.
“The new curriculum starts as of December for us here in Kennewick,” Meyer said. “It does not bring up the subject of marijuana at all.”
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Serious Stuff: A Global bacon shortage is “unavoidable”

I hope you learn. I hope you see what you have done internet. I hope you Epic Meal Time loving, meme creating sons of bitches all get what is coming to you. Did you think that your constant references to bacon and consistent harassment of those who said they “Didn’t even like bacon” didn’t have consequences? Well now guess what, that’s right, we’re running real low on the good stuff. And I’ll tell you one thing, if you thought the things crack addicts did to get their fix were bad, wait until you see what an unbaconated American will do just to drink the grease from a fresh batch.

Britain’s National Pig Association said Tuesday that an international shortage of bacon and other pork products is now “unavoidable,” and expects higher prices for consumers soon.

Recent data shows Europe’s pig population declining at an alarming rate “and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world,” the NPA said in a release. Every major pork-producing European nation has fewer pigs today than they did last year, even as demand for pork products has remained high.

A crippling drought in the U.S. farm belt caused the price of corn and soy, two staples of agricultural feed, to skyrocket. Retailers have been thus far unwilling to pass those costs on to consumers, and instead have been paying pig farmers less for each pig.

The problem is not limited to Europe.

The Canadian Pork Council confirms that the size of North America’s pig herd is shrinking, which will drive up prices as farmers start to limit supply.

“It’s because of the rise in the price of corn,” the agency’s public relations manager, Gary Stordy, told CBC News. “Producers are losing money right now and like any other business, when you’re not making money, you shut down.”

U.S. laws that mandate a certain percentage of the corn crop go into ethanol fuel for the transportation industry had lit a fire under corn prices even before the drought. The size of the continent’s corn crop has been rising for a decade, before falling precipitously this year.

When that happens, other corn buyers, including pig farmers, get hit.

“You can buy futures for some commodities, but not feed,” Stordy said. “Farmers can’t find a way to hedge their bets, so they have to pay the market price,” which has suddenly become unsustainable, he said.

The cost increases have made it no longer cost-efficient for farmers to raise pigs, NPA says. It recently warned that a fall of two per cent in the number of hogs slaughtered next year would push consumer prices up by 10 per cent.

Via

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