There’s a modest body of literature on the psychology of vacations, and one of its findings is that much of the pleasure comes from anticipation—a 1997 study found that people are happier thinking about a trip beforehand than when they’re actually taking it. The goal of Expedia’s usability researchers is not only to make Expedia’s various sites and mobile apps more efficient but also to make them an extension of the vacation fantasies that are always running in the back of our heads.
Presenting scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, the matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.
Profile of First Second publishing which has made illustrated books an art form over the last decade
“We have a whole process to pair authors and illustrators together! It's something that we do a lot -- and it generally involves a lot of research. As an editor, I visit schools with comics programs throughout the year, meeting young cartoonists and generally keeping an eye on the talent pool. In addition, our staff and I attend a lot of shows, and at the end of every show we bring home mini-comics from people we'd like to work with one day. We also spend a lot of time on the internet, looking at cartoonists' work. And we read extensively to make sure we're aware of amazing authors and artists who are out there.”
I said enthralled at the end of Disney’s Zootopia – hundreds of credits rolled by (some of which are listed at IMDB) of sound effect technicians, animators and stereoscopic artists.
The creative genius John Lasseter has, pardon the pun, pulled a rabbit out of the hat again. Thanks to the many in the credits, here’s the quantum leap Zootopia makes in technical wizardry:
“Disney Pixar's Brave (2012) set a significant milestone for computer-generated tresses with the use of a simulator named Taz. To give Merida's curly bonce that bounciness, it started off with cylinders around which the curls are wrapped, allowing them to stretch and snap back into place. In total, 1,500 handmade strands were placed on Merida's head. Back then, Taz was a CGI revolution.
Jump forward one year and you get Frozen (2013), in which heroine Elsa boasts 400,000 strands of hair on her head. Now if you look at Zootopia, you need to know that the movie features 64 different animal species, from which the creators drew about 800,000 different character models. For example: baby mouse, bigger baby mouse, grandpa mouse, funny uncle mouse, etc. And one mouse has 480,000 hairs alone.”
Forget the technology – it is a magical movie, especially in 3D. And funny too – the sloths at the DMV in the vid hit close to reality
Is bigger better? The cruise industry seems to think so. Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Holland America each unveils its largest vessel ever in 2016: the year also brings the biggest ships to date for luxury lines Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn. Newcomers include Harmony of the Seas, which at 227,000 tons will be the largest cruise vessel ever from any line. The Royal Caribbean ship (see time lapse vid below) will hold 5,497 passengers at double occupancy, a record.
“This year is an active one for ship debuts. In fact, the class of 2016 includes two ships expected to be more luxurious than anything before seen on the high seas, as well as the debut of the newest world’s largest ship.”
Photo below of the infinity-edge pool on the Seven Seas Explorer
An Alaska family has bravely turned over control of their Christmas lights to people on the Internet, who with the click of a button, are able to turn areas on and off at all hours of the day and night.
For the sixth year in a row, Ken Woods, an information technology employee in Fairbanks, has nailed a live camera to a tree outside his home. He has then rigged a dozen different controls, allowing anyone who visits his website to turn a certain area of his lights on or off at all hours of the day.
Known as FPV (first-person view) drone racing, or sometimes FPV quadcopter racing, the sport involves building and modifying quadcopters for speed and manoeuvrability, adding a virtual reality-style headset with a live video feed from the drone, and then finding safe and legal places to fly. Racers compete in heats or time trials, speeding around courses at anything up to 60mph (100km/h)—and having a load of fun in the process. This sport, which seems to appeal to aspiring pilots, makers, and computer game fans alike, has all the adrenaline of flight, while also providing enough crashes, smashes, and collisions to keep even the most ardent sports fans happy.