Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Bay Area earthquake never felt - 4.1 in Milpitas

There are reports of a Bay Area earthquake never felt that was a 4.1 on the Richter Scale, described as a "medium-sized earthquake" and centered in Milpitas. A slew of reports claim the tembler hit this morning, but it can't be of much importance because only now are people searching for information about it and its almost 6 PM PST.

There are many earthquakes that strike the Bay Area and California on a regular basis ranging from 2 to 4 in size and up and down the coast. The only special thing about this one is it put Milpitas on the map.

Maybe it engineered the whole thing.

Kind of like Perez Hilton picking fights with celebrities, just on a much larger scale. And perhaps its the only way Congress and the Federal Government will give massively broke California the additional economic stimulus money the state badly needs.

Hate to think it takes an earthquake to get the Feds attention, but one has to wonder these days.

The earthquake didn't get everyone' attention; some of us were still asleep. Soundly.

Stay tuned.

Marin's Industrial Light and Magic to get Oscar Technical Award

According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Marin's Industrial Light and Magic (who's website has of all things the terrifying image of a Tripod menacing Dakota Fanning in War of The Worlds), has won one of 15 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards and will receive the prize at a special Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation to be held at The Beverly Wilshire on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

ILM (as Industrial Light and Magic's is called) won for the development of the Imocap on-set performance capture system. Originally developed in 2006 for Pirates of The Carribean: Dead Man's Chest, the system combines hardware and software to track live actors on-set movements and transfer them to animation for CGI characters. This video discusses the Imocap system:

There are 14 other awards and all of them reveal significant changes in film. For example, if you've ever wondered how the light that shines by as one travels through space in Star Trek is developed, it's called "Ambient Occlusion Rendering" and the Oscar for that goes to Hayden Landis, Ken McGaugh and Hilmar Koch for "advancing the technique" according to AMPAS. Here's a video from Star Trek, watch the sunlight flash during the attack on the USS Kelvin - that's an example of mbient Occlusion Rendering:

Here's the total list and description of all of the winners as described by AMAPAS:

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate)

To Mark Wolforth and Tony Sedivy for their contributions to the development of the Truelight real-time 3D look-up table hardware system.

Through the use of color management software and hardware, this complete system enables accurate color presentation in the digital intermediate preview process. The Truelight system is widely utilized in digital intermediate production environments around the world.

To Dr. Klaus Anderle, Christian Baeker and Frank Billasch for their contributions to the LUTher 3D look-up table hardware device and color management software.

The LUTher hardware was the first color look-up table processor to be widely adopted by the pioneering digital intermediate facilities in the industry. This innovation allowed the facilities to analyze projected film output and build 3D look-up tables in order to emulate print film, enabling accurate color presentation.

To Steve Sullivan, Kevin Wooley, Brett Allen and Colin Davidson for the development of the Imocap on-set performance capture system.

Developed at Industrial Light & Magic and consisting of custom hardware and software, Imocap is an innovative system that successfully addresses the need for on-set, low-impact performance capture.

To Hayden Landis, Ken McGaugh and Hilmar Koch for advancing the technique of ambient occlusion rendering.

Ambient occlusion has enabled a new level of realism in synthesized imagery and has become a standard tool for computer graphics lighting in motion pictures.

To Bjorn Heden for the design and mechanical engineering of the silent, two-stage planetary friction drive Heden Lens Motors.

Solving a series of problems with one integrated mechanism, this device had an immediate and significant impact on the motion picture industry.

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque)

To Per Christensen and Michael Bunnell for the development of point-based rendering for indirect illumination and ambient occlusion.

Much faster than previous ray-traced methods, this computer graphics technique has enabled color bleeding effects and realistic shadows for complex scenes in motion pictures.

To Dr. Richard Kirk for the overall design and development of the Truelight real-time 3D look-up table hardware device and color management software.

This complete system enables accurate color presentation in the digital intermediate preview process. The Truelight system is widely utilized in digital intermediate production environments around the world.

To Volker Massmann, Markus Hasenzahl, Dr. Klaus Anderle and Andreas Loew for the development of the Spirit 4K/2K film scanning system as used in the digital intermediate process for motion pictures.

The Spirit 4K/2K has distinguished itself by incorporating a continuous-motion transport mechanism enabling full-range, high-resolution scanning at much higher frame rates than non-continuous transport scanners.

To Michael Cieslinski, Dr. Reimar Lenz and Bernd Brauner for the development of the ARRISCAN film scanner, enabling high-resolution, high-dynamic range, pin-registered film scanning for use in the digital intermediate process.

The ARRISCAN film scanner utilizes a specially designed CMOS array sensor mounted on a micro-positioning platform and a custom LED light source. Capture of the film’s full dynamic range at various scan resolutions is implemented through sub-pixel offsets of the sensor along with multiple exposures of each frame.

To Wolfgang Lempp, Theo Brown, Tony Sedivy and Dr. John Quartel for the development of the Northlight film scanner, which enables high-resolution, pin-registered scanning in the motion picture digital intermediate process.

Developed for the digital intermediate and motion picture visual effects markets, the Northlight scanner was designed with a 6K CCD sensor, making it unique in its ability to produce high-resolution scans of 35mm, 8-perf film frames.

To Steve Chapman, Martin Tlaskal, Darrin Smart and James Logie for their contributions to the development of the Baselight color correction system, which enables real-time digital manipulation of motion picture imagery during the digital intermediate process.

Baselight was one of the first digital color correction systems to enter the digital intermediate market and has seen wide acceptance in the motion picture industry.

To Mark Jaszberenyi, Gyula Priskin and Tamas Perlaki for their contributions to the development of the Lustre color correction system, which enables real-time digital manipulation of motion picture imagery during the digital intermediate process.

Lustre is a software solution that enables non-linear, real-time digital color grading across an entire feature film, emulating the photochemical color-timing process.

To Brad Walker, D. Scott Dewald, Bill Werner and Greg Pettitt for their contributions furthering the design and refinement of the Texas Instruments DLP Projector, achieving a level of performance that enabled color-accurate digital intermediate previews of motion pictures.

Working in conjunction with the film industry, Texas Instruments created a high-resolution, color-accurate, high-quality digital intermediate projection system that could closely emulate film-based projection in a theatrical environment.

To FUJIFILM Corporation, Ryoji Nishimura, Masaaki Miki and Youichi Hosoya for the design and development of Fujicolor ETERNA-RDI digital intermediate film, which was designed exclusively to reproduce motion picture digital masters.

The Fujicolor ETERNA-RDI Type 8511/4511 digital intermediate film has thinner emulsion layers with extremely efficient couplers made possible by Super-Nano Cubic Grain Technology. This invention allows improved color sensitivity with the ability to absorb scattered light, providing extremely sharp images. The ETERNA-RDI emulsion technology also achieves less color cross-talk for exacting reproduction. Its expanded latitude and linearity provides superior highlights and shadows in a film stock with exceptional latent image stability.

To Paul Debevec, Tim Hawkins, John Monos and Mark Sagar for the design and engineering of the Light Stage capture devices and the image-based facial rendering system developed for character relighting in motion pictures.

The combination of these systems, with their ability to capture high fidelity reflectance data of human subjects, allows for the creation of photorealistic digital faces as they would appear in any lighting condition.

The Oscars for Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be presented at The Beverly Wilshire on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

Avatar, Hurt Locker, Precious head Directors Guild nominees

The Directors Guild of America just announced their five director nominees for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2009. They are in alphabetical order, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, James Cameron for Avatar, Lee Daniels for Precious, Jason Reitman for Up In The Air, and Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds.

Kathryn Bigelow

The Directors Guild is historically a major precusor award for who will take home the Best Director and by extension Best Picture Oscars at The Academy Awards. In all but six of the 61 years of Oscar has the winner of the DGA Award not taken home the Best Director Award. That was true last year as Danny Boyle won Best Director at both the DGA and The Academy Awards and his film Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture

But with the addition of five more films in the Best Picture category, even this historic statistic has to be thrown out. But given her Oscar Awards Season success, the front runner in this category has to be Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Already Bigelow has won awards from a number of organizations including the New York Film Critics Online, Boston Society of Film Critics, San Francisco Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and the Southeatern Film Critics Association.

The surprise nomination goes to Lee Daniels for his riveting Precious. The story of a young teenage African American girls battle with self-esteem in the face of withering domestic violence has won critical success, but a question of to what degree American audiences are ready to embrace a realistic film about an aspect of African American life seldom focused on as much as it should be. Moreover, the involvement of both Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry as executive producers turned off some film critics during its festival run. But all of that was far removed from the masterpiece of a movie Precious is.

James Cameron, Jason Reitman,  and Quentin Tarantino were expected to receive nominations for Avatar, Up In The Air, and Inglourious Basterds.  But of themTarantino's film is described as an  elegantly directed, modern cult classic.    

What does this say about the other top-rated films including Star Trek, District 9, and A Serious Man?   It's still too early to tell this year, but if we ignore the Best Picture race and just focus on Oscar: Best Director, it says the competition's primarily between the already much-decorated Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarentino, and James Cameron.    If there's any logic to this, Kathryn Bigelow should take home both the DGA and the Oscar.

But something says this is going to be a year of surprises.

Stay tuned.

Tiger Woods bisexual? Playboy model Loredana Jolie says yes

The explosive claim that Tiger Woods, The World's Greatest Golfer, is bisexual has been raised by Tiger Woods Mistress Number 10 (or 11?), former Playboy model Loredana Jolie (or Loredana Jolie Ferriolo), in today's New York Post Page 6 and from a blog post that originated at

In the same Page six that claims Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange stabbed himself, the NY Post reports that Loredana Jolie's representative Teisha Dynell said she's going to publish a tell-all book about her alleged trysts with Tiger Woods.

Loredana Jolie

(A momentary aside, it's usually easy to find an online trail for a publicist, but not for Teisha Dynell. When her name's Googled, only this story comes up. That means Teisha Dynell may very well be Loredana Jolie herself or someone's making up the story unless Loredana Jolie steps forward to refute the Page 6 entry, which is doubtful.)

The book, which as of this writing is without a publisher, will explain his alleged desire for "threesomes" and "girl-on-girl sex". Both Radaronline and New York Post Page 6 report that the book will also include Loredana Jolie's claim that Tiger Woods had "sexual encounters with men" according to Page 6.

The Page 6 account concludes with this:

Her rep said, "She wants to use part of the proceeds and the exposure from the Tiger Woods scandal to promote healthy living by opening a transitional home for women who wish to escape or who have already escaped the sex industry."

Stay tuned.

Artie Lange stabs himself? Howard Stern upset with NYPost Page 6

Artie Lange, the sidekick of radio star Howard Stern who was rushed to the hospital for "undisclosed reasons" is now the focus of a New York Post Page 6 claim that he stabbed himself a shocking nine times.

 The first video by CelebTV has the recent news, the next video by Independent Feature claims Artie Lange had not been on the Howard Stern show and was thinking of quitting it altogether. The following video by PIX News goes a step beyond, mentioning an alleged history of "cocaine and heroin use".

The New York Post Page 6 claims that Lange's mother called 911 Saturday morning after entering his Hoboken, New Jersey apartment and found him "bloodied". He reportedly had "six hesitation wounds and three deep plunges".

On his show, Howard Stern preferred to reflect on the positive aspects of Artie Lange's life and contributions to The Howard Stern Show. But Howard Stern also expressed a great deal of anger toward New York Post Page 6. This is what Stern said according to the show's website:

Howard revealed that his hand has been forced by a story about Artie's suicide attempt in Page Six ("I was actually hoping it wouldn't come out.") and had to offer his comment: "I don't know what to think. I'm angry about it. I'm sad about it. I'm all over the place emotionally." Howard directed most of his anger at the worm who leaked the details of Artie's condition: "I'm pissed off at the shithead who got paid by – who? Page Six."

Howard hoped the story would go away and allow Artie to heal privately: "This is a family matter. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say...just remember who Artie is and what a wonderful guy he is...he's wrestling with some serious stuff...I only wish him well." Howard tried reading the Page Six item, but stopped after just eight words: "I just feel sick about this. I don't even wanna read it."

Fans of Artie Lang have went to his Facebook and MySpace pages to leave comments wishing him a swift recovery.

Stay tuned.

Glenn Beck loses another sponsor: ING DIRECT UK

According to the website, dedicated to "holding Glenn Beck accountable for vitriol and race-baiting. (and) Our purpose is to bring together people and organizations who are fed up with Glenn Beck’s hate speech", Glenn Beck has lost another sponsor: ING DIRECT UK.

ING DIRECT UK's decision to drop Glenn Beck reportedly came as a result of extreme pressure applied by the one member of (which also has a YouTube channel). According to's "Angelo" (who's law student, anti-Glenn Beck activist, and one-man-gang Angelo Caruseno, according to The DailyKos), ING DIRECT UK Corporate Communications Head Martin Rutland wrote:

“ING Direct UK has confirmed they do not sponsor or endorse the Glenn Beck show. Additionally, no ING Direct advertisements are being screened during or either side of this show and there are no plans to do so in the future.”

Angelo Caruseno reports that the ING DIRECT UK action brings the total number of sponsors lost to 96, and provides an extensive list you can see here. Some of the notable firms on it are Campbell’s Soup Co., Oakland-based Clorox, DirecTV, GEICO, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Bank of America, Concord Music Group, Best Buy, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Men’s Wearhouse, Radio Shack, Subaru, Travelocity, United States Postal Service (Unbelievable that the postal service would hook-up with Glenn Beck!), Walmart, and Vonage.

Angelo's next targeted Glenn Beck sponsor is Angie's List

Angelo must be effective because his efforts have spawned a blog called Stopbeckisaliar, which works to refute some, but frankly not all, of Angelo's claims.

Stay tuned.

CES 2010 - Alienware M11x laptop $1000, runs Modern Warfare fast

CES 2010 (the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) has this bit of shocking news: Alienware, the Dell company brand known for producing powerful computers for gaming, as well as having a really massively cool logo, has introduced a blockbuster new laptop called the Alienware M11x, which reportedly costs less than $1,000.

At a CES 2010 Dell press conference attended by CNET's Scott Stein, the 11.6 inch Alienware M11x was touted as a light, powerful laptop with six hours of battery life and powered by a Nvidia GT335M GPU. The battery life reportedly and logically drops with the power requirements of the game; Engadget reports that switching to "gaming mode" drops the batterly life from six hours to two hours of "intense gaming." It's said to run Modern Warfare 2 in high def at over 30fps.

That claim has drawn the attention of a lot of skeptical gamers. "Quadzilla" at's forum wrote:

Those performance numbers were probably taken with everything on LOW@1024x768 ... It says Modern Warfare was in HD but im not sure what HD(Highly Doubtful ?) they are talking about lol..

Still, at $1,000, the Alienware M11x just placed itself in competition with the education-oriented Apple Mac Book.  The comparison is appropriate because a good portion of college students play online games and that means using a computer.  Pew Research estimated that 70 percent of college students "reported playing video, computer or online games at least once in a while, and 65% of college students reported being regular or occasional game players."

So which computer is a college student who's most likely to play Modern Warfare going to pick, an Apple Mac Book or an Alienware M11x?

Apple better wake up, Alienware M11x's coming.

Stay tuned.

Miley Cyrus wins People's Choice Award for actress?

Miley Cyrus has earned a high place in pop culture for her songs like Party In The USA, a melodic voice, and her role as Hanna Montana on television. But Miley Cyrus winning an award as a movie actress in the People's Choice Awards is a shock.

Miley Cirus and pole at Teen Choice Awards

Miley Cyrus beat out the following for the People's Choice Awards of Breakout Movie Actress:

Anna Kendrick
Emily Osment
Ginnifer Goodwin
Zoe Saldana

That Miley Cyrus beat out Zoe Saldana, who plays top acting roles in two 2009 blockbuster movies, Avatar and Star Trek for a movie actress award is worthy of conversation because Cyrus appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie. Hannah Montana: The Movie earned just $32 million at the box office and received at best luke-warm reviews.

Miley Cyrus is an incredible singing talent, but to put her in a space with Zoe Saldana and Ginnifer Goodwin is unfair to them. Ginnifer Goodwin is known for her roles in movies like Mona Lisa Smile.

It's even less fair to Anna Kendrick, who's a decorated Broadway actress, who has a list of movie credits, from Up In The Air to The Twilight Saga.

For Miley Cyrus to be in the same list as Emily Osment makes sense because they were both in Hannah Montana: The Movie, and both sing. But other than Osment, the deck was stacked, especially against Zoe Saldana, who's really should have got the award.

Zoe Saldana doesn't have a legion of 13 to 17 year old girls who follow her every move. She also doesn't have daring and controversial actions like Miley Cyrus' stripper pole dance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, either.


Follow that with her Twitter following (before she took her page down) and product endorsement commercials, her concert tour, and a crack publicity team and you have an automatic win in a category she really should not have been in at all.

That leads to this question: was the People's Choice Award just some kind of setup to make sure certain celebrities won awards? If so, by whom? How? Why? Why does Taylor Swift show up the winner on so many award programs?

At some point this appearance of our pop culture taste having the appearance of being engineered can and should be the subject of a Congressional investigation.

Stay tuned.