CGI Team Creates Realistic Oscar For Michael Bay

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‘Seek Funding’ Step Added To Scientific Method

PARIS—In an effort to modernize the principles and empirical procedures of examining phenomena and advancing humanity’s collective knowledge, the International Council for Science announced Thursday the addition of a “Seek Funding” step to the scientific method.

The Pros And Cons Of Artificial Intelligence

As technology advances to the point where machines have almost human-like capabilities, humanity is left to ponder the consequences involved with either advancing or holding back the field of computer sentience. Here are the pros and cons of artificial intelligence

Biologists Still No Closer To Discovering How Birds Have Sex

BERKELEY, CA—With not a single scientist having successfully observed the behavior despite extensive ongoing research, the field of biology has made no progress in its understanding of how birds have sex, experts at the University of California told reporters Wednesday.

What Smoking A Cigarette Does To The Body

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Alarming Report Finds Only 6% Of Earth’s Surface Indoors

LAWRENCE, KS—Drawing attention to the distressing prevalence of outside areas on the planet, researchers at the University of Kansas released an alarming report Monday revealing that a mere 6 percent of the Earth’s surface is actually indoors.

Meteorologists Say Upcoming Hurricane Season To Be Permanent

SILVER SPRING, MD—Warning residents to prepare for extreme winds, heavy rainfall, and flooding starting in the near future and continuing indefinitely, meteorologists at the National Weather Service announced Friday that the upcoming hurricane season would be permanent.

NASA Deploys Congressional Rover To Search For Funding

WASHINGTON—Calling the program “the most crucial in the agency’s history,” researchers at NASA announced Wednesday they have successfully deployed a Special Exploratory Rover to Congress as part of an open-ended mission to seek out any possible trace of funding on Capitol Hill.

What The Planet Will Look Like In 2100

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What You Need To Know About ‘Female Viagra’

The FDA recently approved the sale of Flibanserin, a pink pill intended for women diagnosed with low sex drive; critics have questioned the pill’s effectiveness, while advocates are praising the move toward supporting both men and women with these sexual issues. Here are some of the most common questions about Flibanserin

GMOs: Myth vs. Fact

Consumers have consistently distrusted the use of genetically modified organisms in their food, believing that they make food unsafe for consumption, although a majority of scientific evidence contradicts these views. Here are the common myths associated with GMOs and the facts that refute them

Timeline Of Google’s History

Google recently announced the formation of Alphabet, an umbrella corporation that will separate the company’s internet search business from its forays into robotics, biotechnology, and other areas of innovation. Here are some of the most notable milestones in Google’s 17-year history:

How Hackers Steal Data From Websites

With millions of Americans’ personal information becoming compromised by recent high-profile data breaches, many people are wondering just how anonymous hackers target and infiltrate these supposedly secure systems. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how your data can be stolen

Man’s Body Running Out Of Ideas To Convince Him He Full

BAYTOWN, TX—Having repeatedly ratcheted up the 34-year-old’s level of discomfort with no noticeable effect on his behavior, the body of local man Kent Dugan confirmed Wednesday that it was starting to run out of ideas to convince him that he was full.

How Apple Plans To Rebound From Apple Watch Flop

With sales of the Apple Watch reportedly down 90 percent since its initial release, Apple is suffering in the wearables market and faces a lack of enthusiasm about its latest product. Here are some ways Apple can improve the watch and prevent the company from falling into a slump:

Astronomers Just Going To Go Ahead And Say Dark Matter Nitrogen

‘Fuck It, We’re Done,’ Say Scientists

WASHINGTON—Declaring that this is the last time they ever hope to speak of the aggravatingly enigmatic substance, astronomers from NASA announced Thursday that they are just going to go ahead and say that dark matter is nitrogen.

What We’ve Learned About Pluto

Nearly 10 years after its launch, the New Horizons space probe made a flyby 7,750 miles from Pluto, marking the first time in history a spacecraft has examined the dwarf planet up close, and NASA has begun to release data and images transmitted from the approach. Here’s what we’ve learned about Pluto so far

Timeline Of Mass Extinction

Scientists predict that human activity has put the world on the brink of the sixth mass extinction in earth’s history, an event characterized by the elimination of a large number of species within a very short period of time. Here is a timeline of extinction events over the planet’s history

Study: Floating Heap Of Trash Now Ocean’s Apex Predator

SANTA BARBARA, CA—Noting that no marine species posed a threat and the total domination of its habitat, a study released Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara revealed that the floating mass of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the ocean’s apex predator.

Dementia Study Reveals Fond Memories First To Go

BALTIMORE—Researchers at Johns Hopkins University published a new study this week on the cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other deteriorative brain disorders, finding conclusive evidence that dementia sufferers’ fondest memories are nearly always the first to go.

FDA Approves Female-Libido-Enhancing Man

WASHINGTON—In an effort to address the needs of women suffering from a lack of sexual desire, the FDA announced Tuesday that it had approved a new female-libido-enhancing man, which is expected to be made available to the general public by year’s end.

New Report Finds Humanity 10 Years Away From Something Called Ash Age

TUCSON, AZ—Explaining that the large-scale shift in geologic conditions and social organization would require a new taxonomic classification, researchers at the University of Arizona released a report Tuesday revealing that humanity is approximately 10 years away from something that will be called the Ash Age.

NASA Announces Bold Plan To Still Exist By 2045

WASHINGTON—In what is being described as the most ambitious mission ever undertaken in the space agency’s history, NASA officials announced at a press conference Tuesday their bold new plan to still exist by 2045.

YouTube Turns 10

On April 23, 2005, three former PayPal employees started a video-sharing site called YouTube, which has since grown into an influential media platform with over 1 billion users.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Geologists Unearth Fully Intact Rock

FORT COLLINS, CO—Describing the discovery as the most flawless specimen ever unearthed, a team of geologists working in northern Colorado announced Friday they had excavated a fully intact rock.

Rehabilitated Otter Released Back Into Food Chain

SAUSALITO, CA—Following nine months of surgeries and physical therapy to heal the aquatic animal’s debilitating injuries, officials from the Marine Mammal Center released a fully rehabilitated sea otter back into the food chain Tuesday.

Conservationists Attempting To Get Head Start On Mars

WASHINGTON—Fearing that any further delay might prevent their movement from having any meaningful impact, a consortium of leading conservationists confirmed Wednesday it is attempting to get a head start on preserving the planet Mars. The newly form...

Apple MacBook vs. Google Chromebook Pixel

Shortly after Apple debuted its new ultra-thin MacBook this week, Google announced its new Chromebook Pixel 2, which similarly boasts the new Type-C USB port and high-tech trackpad.

How Cable Companies Plan To Fight Cord Cutting

More consumers than ever are “cord cutting,” or getting rid of their cable service in favor of watching shows online, challenging the cable industry to launch new initiatives in order to keep customers.

Features Of The Apple Car

After dominating sales of smartphones, tablets, and other electronics, Apple is reportedly secretly designing its first car, code-named Titan.

2015 Tech Trends

Showcasing everything from wearable devices to self-driving cars and personal drones, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show revealed the latest in new technology.
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  • Father Apologizes For Taking Out Anger On Wrong Son

    ELIZABETH, NJ—Moments after losing his composure with an unwarranted emotional outburst, local father David Kessler reportedly apologized to his son Christopher Thursday for erroneously taking out his anger on him and not his older brother Peter.

CGI Team Creates Realistic Oscar For Michael Bay

LOS ANGELES—A leading team of CGI experts hand-selected by blockbuster producer and director Michael Bay has pushed the limits of what can be accomplished with special effects and digital imaging by creating a computer- generated best-director Oscar for the 43-year-old filmmaker.

The $125 million project, funded entirely by Bay, has been called one of the most ambitious CGI undertakings to date, dwarfing even Bay's most ambitious efforts in his 2007 robot-action film, Transformers. A crew of nearly 200 technicians working for nine months on a 15,000-square-foot soundstage was required to realize the director's wildly imaginative fantasy world.

Bay poses triumphantly with his wire-frame best-director Oscar.

"Viewers are going to be blown away by how believable-looking we've been able to make Michael Bay accepting the highest award in film appear," said senior technical director Zsolt Krajcsik, who also worked with Bay on the 2003 film Bad Boys II. "The podium, the backdrop, the sense of creative achievement that hangs about him—it's all so vivid and detailed that you'd swear it was real."

Added Krajcsik, "When you see Michael thanking his talented cast and crew and raising the Oscar above his head, it's going to be hard to believe it never, ever happened."

In order to create the illusion of filmmaking achievement, Bay was first filmed in front of a green screen while being presented a "dummy" award, a green cylinder roughly the size and shape of an Oscar statuette. Technicians next analyzed a real Academy Award borrowed from Ben Affleck, whom Bay directed in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, in order to build a digital model. The team then took the raw motion-capture footage of Bay accepting the dummy award and painstakingly rotoscoped the digitally rendered Oscar into every frame.

The CGI team also took great care to make the scenery match flawlessly with the new digital footage. Not only did technicians create a 3-D computer model of the Kodak Theatre, where the 2008 Academy Awards will be held, but they also engineered a startlingly lifelike audience. The computer-generated crowd was designed using advanced artificial intelligence software, which allowed the digital actors to behave as individuals and respond to each other and their surroundings as if Michael Bay were actually standing before them, being honored by his peers and the Academy. Using this program, thousands of meticulously detailed figures seemed to laugh, applaud, and cry at appropriate moments in Bay's 15-minute-long acceptance speech.

The same technology, which features a sophisticated cloth-simulation application, was used to create Bay's digital tuxedo.

"There is no way this would have been possible five years ago," Krajcsik said, later admitting that CGI technology is still decades away from making an Academy Award win for Rush Hour 3 director Brett Ratner look plausible.

While the production is a testament to recent technological advances in the field of CGI, the human aspect of the project also proved extremely challenging. As part of his intense preparation for the role of an acclaimed director, Bay said he interviewed several Academy Award winners, including Steven Spielberg and Marisa Tomei.

"This was a world that was completely foreign to me," said Bay, who spent months practicing the choreographed motions of holding the statue aloft and kissing it. "I tried to get a sense of what it would actually be like to hold an Oscar for the first time, and not just the emotions involved, but the actual heft and tactile feel of accepting the award."

Meryl Streep, who commanded a $5 million salary for her role as the presenter of the Oscar, said the production was the biggest challenge of her career.

"To put yourself in that mental place, in a world where something like this would be possible, it's just indescribable," Streep said. "Standing in front of that greenscreen and trying to make it look as though I actually believed what I was doing was the most difficult thing I've ever attempted as an actor."

The completed production will debut on ABC during the Academy Awards in a seamlessly integrated advertising block Bay purchased that directly precedes the presentation for best director, and has already garnered considerable buzz for its purportedly mind-boggling visual effects.

"We'll just have to wait and see if it lives up to the hype," Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert said. "However, if the special effects team has succeeded in making Michael Bay getting anything above a People's Choice Award seem even remotely convincing, then this has Oscar written all over it."