The Document Collections

Web Content Designed For Anyone

about me

realjohnherlosky1944
  • Location: Lincoln, NE
  • Age: 29
  • Blogging Since:
  • Last Post:
  • Total Posts: 117

my readers (0)

No one has added realjohnherlosky1944's blog to their Reading List yet.

stats

  Day Week All
Posts
0
0
117
Comments
0
0
0
Props
0
0
0

recent comments

No one has commented on realjohnherlosky1944's blog yet.

get in touch

You must login or register in order to get in touch.

my reading list

This member hasn't added any blogs to their Reading List yet.

blog archive


Merry New Year|Merry Christmas to everybody

Posted

It is upon us and also it's period to relax, delighted Holidays in order to all of our visitors

FB Undergoes sex Transformation

Posted

Representatives from social media site Facebook have announced that they are adding several new site options, which will allow users to effectively customize their gender.

This action was taken after Facebook employees consulted members of 5 leading gay and transgender advocacy groups.

There will now be around 50 new options, including 'bi-gender', 'transgender' and 'androgynous'. It will also be possible for users to choose whether the site refers to them as 'he', 'she' or 'they'.

Facebook engineer Brielle Harrison told the press that, "There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world," However, as of 2011, there were an estimated 700,000 transgender adults in the US, so this decision is likely to positively effect a sizeable amount of people.

Gender is not the same concept as sex, or even sexuality, yet the general public erroneously considers all of them to be interchangeable. Whilst a person's sex simply refers to their sexual organs, the term 'gender' actually describes their social role within a broader cultural context.

For example, a person who considers him/herself to be bi-gender can often feel trapped when forced to conform to a culturally enforced 'male' or 'female' gender role. Bi-gender people generally exhibit traits indicative of multiple sexes, or occasionally create alternate personas for both their male and female sides.

People who describe themselves as transgender feel that a sex-based description is an incomplete one. They do not appreciate the rigid definition of 'male' or 'female' being thrust upon them and prefer instead to define themselves. This is, of course, totally independent of a person's sexual orientation. It is possible for a heterosexual male to identify as a female (and vice versa).

For another example, intersex individuals are people born with a variation in their sex characteristics, making them neither male nor female in terms of biology. Often, these people find our cultural enforcement of gender roles to be stifling and deeply emotionally unsettling.

As of this week, Facebook's English-speaking users will have the option to define themselves by these, or a multitude of other gender-based characteristics. The decision will allow users "to express themselves in an authentic way" according to Facebook.

This move reflects the growing exposure that LGBT groups and individuals are getting within contemporary culture. The Transgender Law Center in San Francisco stated that they were "thrilled" by the news. They are likely not alone.

you can find the original articlehere

The Dead Actor's Studio

Posted

Imagine a young Marlon Brando starring alongside Johnny Depp, or Audrey Hepburn playing rival to Sandra Bullock as Marilyn Monroe stops by for a catty cameo.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either tantalizing 'fantasy film making' or else an utterly horrible, cash-in exercise in Hollywood excess. Whatever your viewpoint, it does seem likely that someone, somewhere will try this in the near future.

About three years ago, the news broke that George Lucas, the genius behind the 'Star Wars' merchandise (and a couple of related movies), was buying up the likeness rights to a plethora of iconic, yet deceased, leading men and famous actresses from Hollywood's golden age. His plan? To use a concoction of existing footage, CGI and motion capture to create reasonable facsimiles of classic Hollywood stars and have them appear in future films, despite the notable handicap of being, well, dead.

Initially, it was just for one project, but it raised the prospect of other films being made, as well as a number of interesting philosophical issues.

The majority of critics reacted negatively to the notion of these 'Franken-films', some saying that the magic of an individual acting performance would be notably absent in the films, others upset that the actors themselves could potentially 'star' in projects that they may not have supported in life.

It really must be said, however, that blockbuster movies like 2009's 'Avatar' and 2011's 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' already received plaudits for their use of motion capture techniques and CGI 'acting'. It is an accepted part of modern cinema, like it or not.



Lest we forget, George Lucas' own 'Star Wars' films also featured a number of purely CG characters. In our era, we are becoming very used to CG characters; even CG versions of real actors are commonplace. It really isn't a huge leap of imagination (or available technology) to foresee deceased stars headlining blockbusters once again.

We are also living in a world that specializes in the glorification of deceased idols and recycled imagery (take a look at this month's music magazines and count how many times you see Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain or other dead stars on the covers). Look at the movie magazines as they feature young DeNiro as Travis Bickle, or Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. We, as consumers, are being conditioned to expect our stars to be able to do anything we can imagine, including coming back from the dead.

Why we want it:

The question here, to at least some degree, is 'do we want it?' but for now, I'm going to be positive and assume that we do...

Bringing classic actors back to 'life' would be a daring and controversial decision and would inspire all kinds of debates. It would also, no doubt, stimulate the film industry by providing literally hundreds of thousands of new prospects, pairings and casting choices.

On the downside, it would probably create an updated version of the old Hollywood studio system that would likely prove to be a legal nightmare involving no small amount of heartache for the families of the stars being featured. It could also have the negative effect of holding down upcoming talent.

However, many Hollywood actors do what they do for a shot at immortality and this is, frankly, the closest that they are likely to get to that goal. It would not surprise me at all if 'likeness rights' contracts started containing an 'after death' clause that specified use of the actor's image in posthumous film projects.

Culturally speaking, in a world where dead musicians like Hendrix and 2Pac routinely release albums and where popular music is dominated by the 'sampling' (and in some cases, outright theft) of other works, or where film texts constantly, almost obsessive-compulsively, reference each other (in whantat has become the intertextual equivalent of an M.C Escher drawing), rehashing the stars of the past seems like an obvious choice.

Dead icons could spice up Hollywood by adding controversy, class and bankability to the summer's contrived blockbuster selection. Plus, all their skeletons, secrets and shameful actions are already a matter of public record, so there's no ill-timed revelatory 'gossip' that's going to rear up and threaten the production.

Even those who oppose the making of such movies will still have to watch them in order to write the requisite bad reviews, this simply proves the old adage that controversy generates cash.

When can we expect it?

Oh snap, it already happened. In the year 2000, actor Oliver Reed sadly died during the filming of Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator'. In order for him to finish what would become his final role, the VFX team created a CG 'mask' of Reed's face and used a body double to complete their film.

Remember that car advert with Steve McQueen? It has already begun.

Real, workable CGI stars are already a reality, but the technology does not yet exist to create a completely CG James Dean for a sequel to 'Rebel Without a Cause'. I'd give it maybe 10-20 years before we start seeing the stars in respectful, tasteful cameo roles, or else old actors performing alongside their younger selves. After that, it'll be 3-5 years before we see the screen idols like Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Grace Kelly headlining movies again.

Cool factor 3/5 - It really depends on how these 'stars' are handled. The results could, potentially, be beautiful codas to a star's career (which is how they could be sold to the audience), but they could also be horribly insulting, denigrating the work of great actors and actresses. Time is going to tell, as usual...

you can get the original article here

Star Trek Star 'Outed' simply by Guardian Blunder

Posted

Guardian columnist Jane Czyzselska, writing for the newspaper's companion website, mistakenly 'outed' Shakespearean actor and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' star Patrick Stewart as being gay.

In a column celebrating 'Inception' actress Ellen Page actually coming out as gay, Czyzselska wrote "some gay people, such asSir Patrick Stewart, think Page's coming out speech is newsworthy because a high-profile and surprisingly politically aware young actress has decided not to play by the rules that so many closeted Hollywood actors are advised to follow if they are to enjoy mainstream success,"

It just so happens that the 73-year-old Shakespearean actor, best known for his roles as Professor Charles Xavier in the 'X-Men' movies and as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and its companion films - isn't gay.

In fact, Stewart has been married - to Women - three times, most recently in September of last year, when he married American jazz singer Sunny Ozell. He also has two children from a previous marriage.

The Guardian rushed to correct its mistake, adding an addendum at the bottom of the page, but Stewart didn't seem to mind a bit.

"It makes a nice change" tweeted Stewart in response to the 'outing'. "At least I didn't wake up to the Internet telling me I was dead again". At the time of writing, that post has been 'retweeted' 1,181 times.

For those who don't know, Sir Patrick Stewart is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. He vocally supports gay marriage and was even given the 2013 'Straight Ally of The Year Award' from PFLAG.

Fellow 'Star Trek' star William Shatner joined in the fun, Tweeting, "I never get that kind of coverage! I'm jealous!"

The confusion may have arisen because Sir Patrick's best friend is openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen. If that was the case, Stewart tweeted this response: "I have, like, five or even SEVEN hetero friends and we totally drink beer and eat lots of chicken wings!" Is it just me, or is it impossible to read the above quote without hearing Captain Picard's voice in your head?

On a more serious note, Stewart has often spoken about civil rights, he once said, "From my earliest years as an actor I have always been proud of the support the creative community gives to all forms of human and civil rights,"

In fact, Patrick Stewart is no stranger to fighting the good fight, the actor has been a vocal opponent of domestic violence (working with Amnesty International) and he is also a patron for Refuge, a UK-based charity for abused Women.

... And no, he isn't dead.

the origin of the post is here

Koudounaris' book, 'Heavenly Bodies' is available immediately.

Posted

Paul Koudounaris, who's also known by his nickname 'Indiana Bones' is an novelist, photographer and leading professional on bone-decorated sites and ossuarys. Earlier in 2013, Koudounaris released a hardback featuring hd imagery of that 400-year-old 'catacomb saints' of Rome, a bunch of corpses that was thoroughly garlanded with jewelry and finery before being presented as remnants of saints to congregations across Europe.

Through the Protestant Reformation of that 16th Century, Catholic churches were routinely stripped of these relics, symbols and finery. So they can defy this, The Vatican had very old skeletons removed out of the Catacombs of Rome and generously adorned as a remnants of recognized saints.



Even though typically forgotten until Koudounaris published his book, the catacomb saints still fascinate concerned parties; they can also still inspire religious zeal. In 1977, the town of Ruttenbach in Bavaria labored hard to raise enough money to buy back two of their primary saints from undisclosed collectors, the ornamental skeletons had initially been auctioned off in 1803.

The book, which Koudounaris has slyly titled 'Heavenly Bodies' sees its author attempt to find and photograph each of the present crypt saints.

In his glory days (a era that lasted over 200 years before decisively coming to a close within the nineteenth century), the saints travelled far and wide, being transported at great expense by the Church. They were adored as things of affection, or conduits for prayer.

Although the saints may seem unusual to modern eyes (one Telegraph reporter described them as 'ghastly'), it's vital that you keep in mind that those that prayed at the feet of those gilded cadavers were considerably closer to death than their contemporary counterparts. In the wake of The Black Death (which recurred regularly throughout Europe from the 14th to the 17th Centuries), art, literature and worship had moved to embrace such ghoulish, macabre metaphors.

The remnants were usually decorated by nuns and sometimes located in a range of authentic poses, before being secured in glass cabinets. Some of the careful decoration took as long as 5 years to complete, with jewellery and costumes being acutely impressive.

Koudounaris' book, 'Heavenly Bodies' is on the market now.

Want to locate the original article have a lookhere

WW1-Era Shipwrecks To Receive Protection

Posted

July 28th 1914 was a day that changed the world forever.

A global war was declared that would last for four long, bloody years and would cost Humanity millions of lives. Although the images of the gruelling, inhuman trench warfare that was waged in France are the perhaps most indelible from the conflict, it should also be remembered that an awful amount of lives were also lost at sea.

Britain alone lost over a thousand vessels from 1914 - 1919, together with about 89,300 sailors and merchant navy personnel. Germany lost hundreds of warships, as well as about 35,000 sailors. In addition, civilians were also caught in the ocean-going crossfire, as a German submarine sank the liner Lusitania in 1915, killing almost 2000 people in the process.

As we approach the centenary of the First World War, the seafloors are littered with the stark, skeletal remains of vessels leftover from this conflict. In recent years, however, these ruined ships have come under an increased level of threat from salvage teams, looters and profiteers, many of whom are intent on destroying the wrecks outright.



Shipwrecks such as those left over from the First World War, are a target for two main reasons. Firstly, they can be commercially exploited for scrap metals (and other artefacts) and secondly, fishing trawlers dredging the ocean depths in search of deep-sea fish can impact the ships, destroying them altogether.

In 2011 alone, three British cruisers, the final resting place of about 1,500 sailors altogether, were completely destroyed because copper and bronze had reached sufficiently high prices as to make such destructive salvage exercises profitable.

However, because the 100th anniversary of World War One begins this year, more and more of these ships will be protected by Unesco's 2001 'Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage', an agreement that extends International protection to shipwrecks over 100 years old.

Many people worry that these laws will prove difficult to enforce, however. Others still are worried that this move will increase the destruction of shipwrecks from more recent times, in particular, vessels from World War Two (1939 - 1945), before they come under Unesco's protection.

Today, historians are attempting to use the centenary of the First World War as a way to educate people about the history and legacy of the conflict, as well as to demonstrate the cultural and historical importance of these undersea war graves. Many, including this writer, feel that such sites are deserving of our respect and reverence.

Shipwrecks also provide a very good habitat for local marine life and can even form the basis for coral reefs (if left undisturbed for long enough). These vessels are also studied for scientific interest, with experiments carried out on everything from metal erosion to marine biology.

At the time of writing, the British Government has failed to sign the convention.

SOURCES

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie nce-environment-28056244

VTech Innolab: The Kids Are Alright

Posted

Last night I found myself in the grip of a nightmare. In my dream, a Woman dressed like a Victorian widow was drowning me under a sheet of thick, impenetrable ice. Before that, I'd had a series of other nightmares involving a fire, a group of shadow-like stick figures slashing me with long nails and an attack by large tanks aimed at either shooting me or squashing me, whichever came first.

However, in a lucid state of dreaming, I was able to call on a 'Dream Guardian' of sorts, who furnished me with a magical suit of armour that allowed me to beat all of the challenges. I 'burst' the spindly shadow-men with a blast of light, I doused the fire with water, and I disabled the tanks with a single punch.

Yep, imagination is a powerful thing.

That's what worries me about tablets for kids. When I was a little boy, we played Sega Mega Drive, but I also had a leftover 70's Pocket Simon that I adored. Mostly however, it was playing with toys that allowed me to foster and develop the natural imagination that I now use every day in my other life as a contemporary fiction writer.

I immersed myself in comics, books and ghost stories and, in the process, found a career path that felt right to me (although, looking back, I probably should have paid attention in maths and been a banker).

Today's kids, growing up with tablet PCs, video games and blockbuster movies, may not have as much need for an imagination, or at least, that's what sometimes bothers me. I worry that kids who grow up with 'interactive literature' at their disposal, might become deathly bored with 'grown up' literature when they come of age, and that they might even grow to reject the printed word outright. Not only does 'Crime & Punishment' not have pictures, but the only options for playable mini games would have to be desperately macabre.

Pedantic and repetitive explanations don't necessarily teach children to use computers, either. Anybody can do anything if they have someone telling them over and over again how to do it. So, with more and more interactive toys and less and less cause to take up a cardboard box and 'just add wonder', it is easy to play a prophet of doom to a predicted generation of mindless kids, most of whom don't know how to actually be kids anymore.

However, in my capacity as a tech reviewer, I've found considerable cause to hope for better. After extensively reviewing the latest crop of kid's tablet PCs, I've actually found them to be, potentially, an exceptionally useful learning tool. In fact, provided that they are used as part of a 'balanced diet' (that also includes traditional picture books, regular play and stimulating creative exercises), a children's tablet can be a really enriching product.

With literally hundreds of apps available for cheap download, kids tablets can offer anything from reading and writing programs, to maths, elementary science and even foreign languages. The sheer variety available on tablets like the VTech Innolab or the Leapfrog LeapPad is actually amazing. Some of these tablets (such as the LeapPad) even have specially designed operating systems that give children a basic introduction to the underpinnings of MAC OS, Windows, or Android.



In fact, there's a lot to be said for interactive activities being better than more enriching than 'passive' activities like watching TV. Of course, there will be those parents who don't take the time to use the tablets with their children, but those parents are no different from those who use the TV as an all-purpose babysitter or those parents who never make the time to read to their children.

However, if you want your child to gain a basic grasp of computers and have access to an array of interactive learning facilities, then I can honestly say that you could do a lot worse than getting a kid's tablet.



In moderation a children's tablet can be a passport to excitement, adventure and a high degree of preschool learning. Remember though, I said moderation. Drawing, writing, reading and traditional play are still very much number one in my opinion.

After all, without a little imagination, the adult world can be one nightmare after another.

New Electric Buses, improving arrival time

Posted

Eight experimental electric buses will be operating in Milton Keynes from late January onwards. The fleet will begin operating along the busy Number 7 route, which covers the 15 miles between Wolverton and Bletchley. They are the first electric buses to operate in the UK.

UK-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus have built these new electric buses in conjunction with Japanese company Mitsui and UK engineering group Arup.

Wireless 'booster' plates in the road, placed at the beginning/end of the route, give the buses a charge that allows them to operate for a full day. They are then charged overnight at the bus depot.

The buses will need to stop over the booster plates, before lowering the bus' own receiver plates and resting there for 10 minutes' charge time. The journey will then resume, exactly the same way a regular bus ride does.

The process is called 'inductive charging' and it involves electricity passing though wire coils in the plates that creates a magnetic field. The field then shares its voltage with the bus' receiver plates, charging them up.

Similar electric bus trials are being implemented in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. In 2013, South Korea unveiled a 7.5-mile stretch of road, which recharges electric vehicles as they {you can find more drive over it, without requiring any charge time at all.

In an interview with the BBC, John Bint of Milton Keynes Council said, "Electric buses have huge potential and we're exploring how they can help us take better care of the environment without compromising passenger service,"

If these trial models prove to be successful, the Council plans to run them all across the town.

The environmental impact of this scheme is certainly considerable, with local councils potentially being able to significantly reduce their area's carbon footprint. In addition, the future development of electric buses can only help the similar evolution of the electric car, an invention that has the potential to seriously lower the world's carbon emissions.

Arup consultant John Miles who is also an engineering professor at Cambridge University, told BBC that, "These electric buses will be expected to do everything a diesel bus does (...) They will be operating on a demanding urban route, and that's all part of the trial's aim - to prove that electric buses can be tough as well as green."

the origin of this post is here

You Spin Me Right Round - Xbox 360

Posted

A long time ago in a galaxy of gaming far, far away...There were two factions engaged in a perpetual war, a war between two groups of nerds that had waged since at least the 1970's...The two clans had very different ideas of how games ought to be played and very different cultures, sensitivities and beliefs. On one side, were the PC gamers; arrogant, elitist and prone to almosthere. Games, for them, were hi-spec, graphically rendered masterpieces, the sort of exquisite perfection that Baudelaire may have appreciated had he ever played the original Duke Nukem.

On the other side of this intellectual no-man's land, their dreaded, bitter, Cromwellian rivals did dwell. These were the console gamers (the words spat with derision) the sort of ignorant peasants who rose above their station in life. Not content with 'Pong' or the arcade machines they spent all their coins in, they demanded more, and they got it. These 'cartridge-gamers' did not to bother knowing the game specs or even uploading anything at all. Oh, the nerve of it! Just slap the cartridge in and play!? Whatever next?

Well, flash forward to the early noughties and sadly, not much had changed. Console games had evolved from their humble origins, and had made their way into the home as a sort of super-peripheral. PCs were now a vital part of everyday life, and a house without one would seem as archaic as a home without a TV set. The nerd clans had grown, and still the debate raged, an evolutionary standoff of Morlock/Eloi proportions.

Until computer Gods Microsoft did the unthinkable. The definitive PC makers designed, built and sold in record numbers, their very own console. It may as well have been the bomb.This, the X Box, blurred the lines considerably, and now, even Sony's Playstation has taken note, adding web-based content to its PS3. Internet gaming, for too long the domain of the descendents of the PC brigade, suddenly opened its doors to the Cartridge family and a robust meeting of minds has been taking place ever since. Often involving swearing and abuse hurled at people's mothers, but whatever, progress is progress.

XBox 360 has built on this further, and whilst I stay true to my own proletarian origins by preferring the Playstation, I have to admit the X Box 360 is quite a thing. There are, of course, those old die hards who resent the creation of a console with computer innards. Console gameplay (ever the strong point, especially now with the new may-as-well-be-Playstation-gre at-they-finally-listened-to-me -yay-now-where's-my-check? Controller) With PC processing power? Oh, the Humanity! It's like that kid's book where the white and black elephants go to war and eventually the grey elephant is born. Peace in our time. Ahhh.

Showing 1-9 of 12