In May 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and wounded 14 others in a misogyny-fueled rampage in the town of Isla Vista, California, before committing suicide.
Shortly after the shooting, a film production company began making Del Playa, a horror/thriller film that appears to have been based on the incident. Producers are saying there’s no connection, but the Change.org petition disagrees.
How giant clams will improve your cell phone screen
The next great technological advance in smartphone screens and solar cells could come from an unexpected source — giant clams. New research from UC Santa Barbara shows some species of these large bivalves produce their white coloration via color-mixing techniques akin to those used in reflective displays.
Appearing in the journal Optica, the study focuses on two species of giant clam and the symbiotic photosynthetic algae with which they cohabitate. Iridescent cells on the inside edge of the clams’ shells where the algae live produce a dazzling array of colors, including blues, greens, golds and — more rarely — white, which the animals mix in different ways.
“If we could create and control structures similar to those that generate color in the clams, it might be possible to build color-reflective displays that work with ambient light sources such as sunlight or normal indoor lighting,” said lead author Amitabh Ghoshal, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. “Producing color the way giant clams do could lead to smartphone, tablet and TV screens that use less power and are easier on the eyes.”
The rise of digital tools in filmmaking —and specifically, computer-generated imagery
(CGI)— creates a very seductive promise: grab a computer and you can make whatever film the heart desires.
But despite advances in technology, visual effects (VFX) tools remain
expensive and difficult to use, argues computer science professor Theodore Kim.
Take the 2011 film “Super 8,″ for example: The movie tells the story of a group of kids who are
making their own film using the vintage technology of the movie’s title. The J.J. Abram’s movie had a budget of $50 million and a
special effects crew of about 360 highly trained professionals, including some from Industrial Light and Magic — pretty much the opposite of teenagers
running around their backyard with a Super 8 camera.
Kim, who won an Oscar in 2012, develops simulation tools for Hollywood films. He creates algorithms that generate complex effects like smoke, tidal waves and explosions. His software, Wavelet Turbulence, was used on the train crash sequence in “Super 8.”
CGI still show us something we’ve never seen before?
Kim believes that innovations will happen outside of the studio system: “[Exploration] will happen through
independent filmmakers, or most likely at universities. In the media
arts and technology program here [UC Santa Barbara], these are exactly the types of things
we’re trying do.”
Curious to see how Theodore Kim developed his smoke simulation tool? Watch the video below: