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  1. #16
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    Springer (1991 debut) was preceded by Geraldo (1987) and Morton Downey Jr. (1988). It wasn't a big leap, it just sort of started traveling that direction.

    "Reality TV" is tougher to pin down. Real World's inspiration came from the 70s, but it was a huge hit for MTV. But there were also talk shows like the ones above that are "reality".

    Even if cable killed TV, it's kind of ironic now that most of the best scripted shows are on cable now.

  2. #17
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    The Real History of Reality TV
    Or, How Alan Funt Won the Cold War


    The manifest destiny of television technology is real-time viewing of all the places the audience is not. It's the ultimate peek into the neighbor's kitchen window. Or, the bedroom window. The entertainment conglomerates found a way to make televised life a business, so now there is a lot of it.

    Reality-based television is not new, of course. Alan Funt, with his 1948 TV series Candid Camera is often credited as reality TV's first practitioner. In fact, he started a year earlier with Candid Microphone on radio. Truth or Consequences started in 1950 and frequently used secret cameras. Both of these two pioneering series created artificial realties to see how ordinary people would respond; the reality series of today borrow a lot from these precedents and differ mostly in scope and locale. A number of "who am I?" game shows accommodated the clunky nature of early TV technology by bringing real people into the studio. What's My Line premiered in 1950; I've Got a Secret in 1952; To Tell the Truth in 1956. These shows seem tame by today's standards, but were certainly cutting a new edge in the 1950s. The judge who married Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller appeared live on What's My Line within a week of performing the wedding. Even in the earliest days, the camera roamed out of the studio occasionally with film technology. You Asked For It took the viewer to amazing sights and spectacular phenomena as early as 1950.

    Perhaps ahead of its time was An American Family on PBS in 1973. It was unusual in its focus on a seemingly mundane family named the Louds, who harbored sensational secrets. This series pushed the documentary genre beyond its traditional bounds. The daily lives of the Loud family were on display. The televised decision of the parents to divorce and the on-screen coming out of their gay son shocked audiences in the 1970s. Sociologist Margaret Mead noted to TV Guide that this no longer fit the documentary category and that we needed a new name for this type of television. We now call it reality TV. The Osbornes and Nick & Jessica now define the reality-soap genre pioneered with the Louds. Non-celebrities can have their own mini-show by auditioning for Supernanny. All of these series share a dominant characteristic of the reality-soap genre: they find compelling storylines in hundreds of hours of videotaped life and, through careful writing and editing, shape the real-life subjects into reality-show characters. Documentaries have always done that, but, as Margaret Mead observed, to engage the audience, this genre moves from observation to storytelling in a way traditional documentaries have not.

    Real People and That's Incredible in 1979 and 1980, respectively, took the camera fully out of the studio to capture people in their real-life settings. TV newsgathering had paved that path. The introduction of Sony's _-inch U-Matic videocassette format in 1970 and RCA's TK-76 camera by 1976 made portable video affordable for every television station. Westinghouse Broadcasting's Evening Magazine (syndicated as PM Magazine in non-Westinghouse cities) took full advantage of the new portability of video and the greater availability of editing technology in the fall of 1976. Westinghouse stood on the shoulders of Don Hewitt and adapted the free-ranging news style of 60 Minutes (begun in 1968) into the video-based magazine show form. The format survives today in Entertainment Tonight, Primetime Live, and Dateline NBC, among other shows. Sony's Betacam technology notched the possibilities up a few pegs higher in 1984. The first recognizable wave of reality-based series soon emerged. Unsolved Mysteries premiered in 1987, America's Most Wanted in 1988, and both Rescue 911 and Cops in 1989. America's Funniest Home Videos added a homemade variation in 1990. In just four years, with four distinct variations on the reality theme, the genre had become a staple of the broadcast schedules.

    The Real World moved the format ahead by staging an environment in which "reality" could occur in 1992. That landmark series married the secret cameras and setups of Candid Camera, to the explorative impulse of You Asked For It, to the personal revelations of What's My Line, to the technology of Evening Magazine, to the voyeuristic appeal of An American Family and Cops. The combination of techniques resulted in a format that is more structured and crafted than any that had come before. The premise comes in the architecture and the choice of city; the character creation comes in the casting; the storyline creation comes in the confessional interviewing, the choice of who and what to tape and the editing. The wide range of reality television series that we recognize today followed. They often came by way of the UK or other foreign television markets, where the concepts were born. An import, Big Brother, and a startup, Survivor, would break open the genre of staged reality in 2000.

    These staged reality shows increasingly borrowed from the concept of game shows, which have been a persistent television staple. From 21 and the $64,000 Question, we have come through dozens of game shows to the perennial Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Along the way shows such as Truth or Consequences and Beat the Clock had used stunts. The Real World, Big Brother and, especially, Survivor took that idea to a much higher-concept level.

    Talent shows were first popular on radio. Both Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts began on radio and appeared on television in 1948. The Original Amateur Hour started in 1934 (which is almost as early as any programming started) under the leadership of its creator, Major Edward Bowes. Mack had scouted for and directed for Bowes and succeeded him as host after his death. The pure talent show genre persisted in the form of Star Search (1983) and now American Idol (2002). Televised talent searches have had the same appeal throughout their entire history: seeing a star created before our eyes. Idol's Kelly, Ruben, and Fantasia have now joined Britney and Justin from Star Search, who followed the footprints of Gladys Knight and Pat Boone from the Ted Mack show.

    A close relative to the talent genre is the comedy/variety series. Ed Sullivan helped inaugurate this television staple, which migrated from vaudeville via radio. His Toast of the Town premiered in 1948 and took on his name as The Ed Sullivan Show in 1955. Uncle Miltie and his Texaco Star Theater also started in 1948 and Milton Berle became so emblematic of the fledgling medium that he earned the nickname Mr. Television. Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar (1950), The Red Skelton Show (1951), and The Jackie Gleason Show (1952) ushered in a classic era for television comedy based on the most real of real entertainment settings–a comedian and an audience on live television. The comedy/variety series lived on in later decades with The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967), Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968), The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971), and Donnie & Marie (1975).

    Hybrid genres have emerged over the years, as well. The Monkees (1966) and The Partridge Family (1970) look less like sitcoms and more like reality television in light of Making the Band (2000). All three attempted to create pop music acts from central casting; all three resulted in more spectacle than musical credibility.

    In the commercial environment that governs almost all our television, the economics are too attractive to ignore. Reality makes for cheap TV. That economic reality drove television programmers outside the U.S. to look for more imaginative ways to make original television locally. As a result, the current genre of reality television was pioneered mostly outside the U.S. The U.S. is not leading the reality trend–it's playing catch up.

    In virtually every line of the production budget, reality-based programming is cheaper than traditional programming. Not as much equipment is needed, and it's cheaper. There is a smaller crew. There are fewer paid performers. There are fewer sets. The economic role of reality-based programming is to permit a network to cost-average down the price of programming across the entire primetime schedule. A network can spend only about half of what it receives in ad revenue on the programming in which the ads run. The more it pays for ER and Friends, the less it can afford for other hours in the schedule.

    While the high-priced shows typically receive more ad revenue, the renewals of the most successful series include the rationale that other shows on the schedule will perform better and can be promoted during the hit show. As a result, series such as Everybody Loves Raymond, and Frasier earn a substantial profit for the producer from just the network telecasts and can receive license fees in excess of the ad revenue the network receives for that time slot. The network, as a result, has to economize in other hours of the schedule. Repeats are one way the network spreads the programming cost out over more advertising; reality programs are another. Reality programs offer the temptation of programming that costs less than $500,000 for an hour or one-third of the cost of an hour of comedy or drama (if the series does not repeat).

    Reality producers know the value of their programs, of course. The most successful producers can sell their series as tent-pole series in their own right, and are no longer constrained by cost-averaging goals.

    One strategy to offset the tension in the license fee negotiations is product integration. Survivor was given a product integration mandate from the start by CBS. The Apprentice found its opportunity in its second year when brand managers saw that Donald Trump won the tossup of whether the show would be seen as a joke or as a streetwise b-school. American Idol had Coke glasses and Ford cars lurking in the foreground from the start.

    The operative assumption is that product placement and selling commercial ad time is not a zero sum game. Commercial appearances during the show do not reduce the number of minutes of ads, and, more importantly, do not reduce the price of the ads. So far, the audience has not defected from reality shows that integrate brands into the show. If we've become desensitized as viewers enough that the advertising in the show does not reduce our responsiveness to the ads that interrupt the show, then the networks and the reality series producers will continue to have enough money to go around.

    Reality television may not be the sociological trifle many assume it is. The late Alan Funt asserted that his Candid Camera taught a subversive lesson: to resist unjust or ridiculous authority. Did three decades of Candid Camera help us question authority during the Watergate era? Did exporting it contribute to the fall of Communism? Dynasty and Dallas get credit for that; perhaps Alan Funt should, too.

    There are other signs of positive contributions to the social landscape from reality television. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has as much or more heart as Truth or Consequences' military reunions did decades earlier. Amish in the Country made the city folk look silly. The PBS variation on Survivor brought us 1900 House in 2000 and Colonial House in 2004, with several other educational editions in between. America's Most Wanted has helped catch 842 actual criminals. Can reality television actually contribute, as well as tear down?

    These are questions for sociologists and historians. Economics, not ideology, drove the decisions to schedule reality television. At the start of television, as now in its relative maturity, television networks needed lower-cost programs to balance higher cost drama and comedy. Reality-based programs marry low-cost production techniques from news with narrative storylines from drama and comedy.

    The range of reality shows is wide. There have been innocent times–think of Art Linkletter and his House Party, with the "Kids Say the Darndest Things" feature. Or, think of Mike Douglas, Merv Griffen, Rosie, and Ellen for feel-good talk shows. There have been reality shows with more adult themes–think Taxicab Confessions and Real Sex. The confessional culture has persisted from Phil Donahue to Oprah.

    The live remote can take us to Bagdhad or to the Big Brother house. We can watch Geraldo blow open Al Capone's vault or we can wait to see if O.J., Martha, Scott or Michael will be found guilty. The ambush has lived on from Candid Camera, 60 Minutes, and This is Your Life to Punk'd. The supernatural dimension has ripped into this plane through Crossing Over with Jonathan Edwards and the Pet Psychic. Animals grounded in this world are featured in Animal Precinct and Emergency Vet.

    In all this diversity, reality TV has one appeal, which it shares with fiction–we as viewers hope, desperately, to find something relevant to our own lives. We seek any small hint about how to live our own lives just a bit better, to justify our hope, or to see that we are not alone in what we face in our life. The possibility that reality-based stories will reveal something real is so enticing that the televised society is just fine with us. Turn the camera on.

    http://www.wga.org/organizesub.aspx?id=1099

  3. #18
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    Default Researchers track evolution of Philly's odd accent

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Will Philly no longer be a place where residents drink wooder and root for the Iggles?
    Gid eowt!
    A University of Pennsylvania linguistics professor says the Southern-inflected sound of the Philadelphia dialect is moving toward a more Northern accent. Some of Philly's trademark twangy, elongated vowel sounds are becoming less so, though others are getting stronger.
    "Certain changes have continued in the same direction over 100 years and everybody's doing it," said Bill Labov, who has studied the Philadelphia accent since 1971 and recorded hundreds of native speakers born between 1888 and 1992 and living in dozens of neighborhoods. "It doesn't make a difference if you come from Port Richmond or Kensington or South Philadelphia."
    With apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a Philadelphian if: you say beggle (bagel), wooder (water), tal (towel), beyoodeeful (beautiful), dennis (dentist) or Fit Shtreet (Fifth Street). Your pronunciation of your own hometown might come out more like Philuffya, you call your football team the Iggles, you say "ferry" and "furry" the same way, and "radiator" rhymes with "gladiator."
    Technological advances have allowed Labov and his colleagues to turn their decades of field recordings into voice spectrographs — computer-generated visualizations of the human voice like an EKG — to track speech variations over time. Regional dialects are cemented by adolescence, so a recording of a 75-year-old Philadelphian made in 1982, for example, should provide a snapshot of what people sounded like around 1925.
    The researchers' recent paper in the journal Language, titled "One Hundred Years of Sound Change in Philadelphia," concludes that the city's linguistic character is not disappearing altogether — but it is changing, with the most dramatic shifts occurring in the mid-20th century. The reasons aren't entirely clear but higher education appears to be a factor, as does simply being aware that certain local inflections are disparaged by outsiders.
    "When we came to one of the most important Philadelphia features, of saying 'gow' for 'go,' it got stronger and stronger," Labov said, "until people born around 1950, 1960, when it turned around and it went the other way."
    The Philly accent is getting thicker in other ways, however. Younger speakers use sharper "i'' sounds than their parents and grandparents, pronouncing "fight" and "bike" more like "foit" and "boik," and their "a'' sounds are closer to "e'' so words like "eight" and "snake" are closer to "eat" and "sneak."
    "Children speak like their peer groups, not their parents," said Penn linguistics doctoral student Josef Fruehwald, so changes tend to occur by generation.
    The familiar Philly-ism "wooder" also might be drying up.
    "That sound is moving toward 'ah' so instead of 'cawfee' more Philadelphians are saying 'coffee,' 'wooder' becomes 'water,'" Labov said. "As people become aware ... they tend to reverse them. They say, 'Oh we shouldn't talk that way.'"
    Not sure if you've heard the Philly patois? Listen to TV commentators Chris Matthews or Jim Cramer and you'll hear it leeowd (loud) and clear. "Jackass" star Bam Margera, who is from nearby West Chester, has it. So does Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Philly-flecked American English a vestige of his childhood years in suburban Cheltenham.
    Philadelphia characters often sound like New Yorkers — think Rocky Balboa — perhaps because Philly's nasal twang is tougher for non-natives to mimic. In last year's "Silver Linings Playbook," Robert DeNiro hung out with an uncle of co-star (and suburban Philadelphia native) Bradley Cooper to get the dialect down, though his wife played by Australian actress Jacki Weaver comes closest to nailing it.
    The generational shift in the dialect was evident during a recent school event at The Franklin Institute, a science museum. Labov and several graduate assistants conducted hands-on demonstrations including one that asked, "Does Mad Rhyme With Sad?" Most of the youngsters answered yes, as in "mahd" and "sahd," while many adults said no, pronouncing "mad" with what linguists call a "tense a" — sort of like "meeyad."
    "I don't know how they can rhyme," said Betty McGonagle, who was on a field trip with students from the Harbor Baptist Christian Academy in Hainesport, N.J. "You're mad (meeyad), and you're sad (sahd)." For her teenage students, the words rhyme.
    Mia Weathers, a freshman at the city's Science Leadership Academy, tried with some difficulty to pronounce "mad" as McGonagle does naturally.
    "That is just, wow. That's strange," she said with a laugh.
    Now the researchers' goal is answering what Labov calls "the most important and most mysterious" question about language change.
    "How is it possible that people in every neighborhood in Philadelphia are moving in the same direction?" he said. "We don't have the answer yet."

    http://news.yahoo.com/researchers-tr...064035245.html
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    Default Canceled soap operas come back to life online

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  5. #20
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    Guinness World Record holder dies in India ponytail stunt

    An Indian Guinness World Record holder who attempted to cross a river suspended from a zip wire attached to his ponytail has died during the stunt.


    Sailendra Nath Roy trying the stunt, moments before his death

    Sailendra Nath Roy, 48, was performing the stunt on the Teesta river in West Bengal state when he suffered a heart attack.

    In March 2011, Mr Roy was named a Guinness World Record holder for travelling the farthest distance on a zip wire using hair.

    He worked as a driver for the police.

    Mr Roy was trying to cross the Coronation Bridge over the Teesta river near Siliguri town suspended from a zip wire 600ft (180m) long at a height of 70ft (20m).

    Hanging For 45 Minutes



    A large number of people had gathered on the bridge to watch the feat.

    Witnesses said that Mr Roy appeared to make no progress after covering about 300ft (90m).

    "He was desperately trying to move forward. He was trying to scream out some instruction. But no one could follow what he was saying. After struggling for 30 minutes he became still," said Balai Sutradhar, a photographer, who was covering the stunt.

    Police said he was hanging for nearly 45 minutes before he was brought down.

    Doctors at the hospital said he had suffered a "massive heart attack".

    Mr Roy had arrived at the riverside on Sunday morning and set up the zip wire from the bridge with help from friends.

    No Permission

    He was wearing a life jacket, but there were no doctors or emergency service on the spot.

    Police said that Mr Roy had not got permission to do the stunt.

    A friend, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "His wife used to urge him to quit doing dangerous stunts. Mr Roy convinced her that crossing the Teesta river would be his last. Unfortunately, that became his last stunt."

    In 2008, Mr Roy pulled the Darjeeling toy train with his ponytail.

    And in 2007, his ponytail tied to a rope, he flew from one building to another in front of television cameras.

    R.I.P. Mr. Roy

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-22334275


    Indian Guiness world record holder Sailendra Nath Roy pulls a 'toytrain' with his pony tail in Siliguri. AFP

  6. #21
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    Default Ghanaians Ban 'Spirit Child' Killing



    Local leaders in northern Ghana have announced the abolition of the ritual killing of babies born with physical disabilities, who were believed to have been possessed by evil spirits.

    "Spirit children" were thought to have been a sign of impending misfortune and given a poisonous drink to kill them.

    One campaigner told the BBC that improved healthcare and education meant such beliefs were becoming less common.

    Activist Raymond Ayine welcomed the ban, which covers seven towns.

    But he said he could not guarantee that the practice had been eradicated from the whole country.

    The BBC's Vera Kwakofi says the Kasena-Nankana region, where the ban has been announced, is the part of Ghana where such beliefs are most widespread.

    Sometimes, babies born at the same time as a family misfortune were also accused of being "spirit children" and killed.

    The "concoction men" who used to give the children the poisonous drink have been given new roles; they will now work with disabled children to promote their rights.

    'Barbaric Practice'

    Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that he took a plastic doll to a soothsayer, saying it was a child with eating problems and physical disabilities.

    "He consulted the oracles, jumped up and down and after this said that the oracles confirmed that the child was an evil child and that the child needed to be killed immediately, and that the child had already killed two members of my family," he said.

    Local chief Naba Henry Abawine Amenga-Etigo said that anyone caught trying to harm children from now on would be handed over to the police.

    Mr Ayine, from the campaign group Afrikids, said he was "saddened that in today's era, a child could lose its life because of such a barbaric practice".

    He noted that in rural areas where such beliefs are more common, women often give birth without ever seeing a midwife, let alone having a pre-natal scan. As a result, childbirth leads to complications more often than elsewhere, he said.

    He also said that even before the official ban, there had been no recorded case of the killing of "spirit children" in the area for the past three years.

    He put this down to awareness campaigns, as well as improved access to education that meant more people understood that physical disabilities had a medical explanation.

    In other parts of northern Ghana, elderly women accused of being witches are sometimes forced to leave their homes and live in "witch camps".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22335634
    Last edited by Number 47; 04.29.13 at 10:12 AM.

  7. #22
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    Default LG To Start Selling Curved OLED TVs In South Korea

    LG Electronics says it will begin deliveries of curved OLED television sets next month, making it the first to offer such a product to the public.

    The use of organic light-emitting diodes allows screens to be made thinner and more flexible than before.

    The 55in (140cm) model will cost 15m won ($13,550; £8,725) and is initially limited to sales in South Korea.

    One analyst said that being first to market gave LG "bragging rights", but suggested demand would be limited.

    LG Electronics and its rival Samsung Electronics both showed off curved OLED TV prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but did not announce release dates at the time.

    The two businesses are part of larger conglomerates that have separate divisions manufacturing their own television display panels. Many of their competitors buy in the components from third parties, making it harder for them to claim such an exclusive.

    Imax Experience

    OLED tech is based on carbon-based materials that convert electricity into light.

    While LCD screens need a backlight to illuminate their crystals, OLED does not need a separate light source.

    This allows the newer type of TVs to be made thinner, lighter and more energy-efficient than before, as well as offering the advantage of deeper blacks.

    In addition, the OLEDs can be fabricated onto a flexible plastic substrate rather than a rigid glass layer, making it easier to manufacture them into a curved screen.

    This has allowed LG to market the new EA9800 model as being only 4.3mm (0.17in) thick, weighing 17kg (37.5lb) and offering an "Imax-cinema-like" viewing experience.

    "With more than five years research behind developing the optimum curvature, the entire screen surface is equidistant from the viewer's eyes, eliminating the problem of screen-edge visual distortion and loss of detail," the company said in a press release.

    Marketing Tool

    IHS Screen Digest, a market research firm used by television manufacturers, said it expected Samsung to follow with a similar product soon, although it noted that teething troubles with making large OLED TVs was likely to keep their prices high and output low in the near future.
    Samsung curved OLED TV Samsung showed off its curved OLED prototype at the Consumer Electrics Show in January

    The firm's senior analyst Ed Border added that, in the short term, curved TVs were likely to be more valuable as a promotional tool rather than a profit-making product to their makers.

    "There's certain content which is great to see in different ways, but for a lot of what's on TV seeing it curved is not necessarily going to improve the experience that much," he said.

    "But I think being curved is a good way of pushing the OLED technology to consumers and acting as a marketing tool.

    "Looking forward, I think there will still be room for flatscreen TVs, especially if you are thinking of hanging an OLED screen on the wall or just want to buy a cheaper LCD set."

    LG said it was now accepting orders for the curved TV set in South Korea, and would announce the timing and pricing of versions for markets elsewhere "in the months ahead".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22335776

  8. #23
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    Default Man Loses Life Savings Playing Carnival Game, Wins Giant Banana



    One man never imagined he would spend his life savings on a giant stuffed banana with dreadlocks.

    Henry Gribbohm, 30, lost $2600 – his entire savings – on a game called Tubs of Fun at a Manchester, NH., carnival. He wanted to win an Xbox Kinect (retail value of around $100), but quickly lost $300 on the game when the balls he tossed, bounced out of the tubs. Instead of cutting his losses, he went home to get the rest of his savings, which he lost as well in a few rounds of double or nothing.

    “You just get caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back,’” Gribbohm told CBS. “You’re expecting the kids to win a few things, let the kids have a good time,” Gribbohm said. “It just didn’t turn out that way.”

    Gribbohm went back to the carnival the next day to complain. “It’s not possible that it wasn’t rigged,” Gribbohm told CBS. The man running the game gave him back $600 and a rasta banana, too. Then Gribbohm filed a report with the Manchester Police Department, who are now investigating his claims of fraud.

    The owners of the carnival, the New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows, are also interviewing the contractor who runs the game and told WBZ-TV they are looking to “get to the bottom of what happened.” The game is not being set up at the next carnival stop while both investigations are under way.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/01/...-giant-banana/

  9. #24
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    Default

    If you are fucking dumb enough to lose your life savings on "Tubs of Fun" at a carnival, you don't get to file a police report afterward claiming fraud.

    What a fucking dumb ass, and I see that he is breeding and making sure that his shallow gene pool carries on. Great.
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    Default

    I think he might be an even bigger idiot for wanting an Xbox Kinect.

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    Can you imagine if this asswipe went to Vegas?

    Excuse me, Mr. Wynn. I believe your games favour the house and are rigged. This is fuckin bullshit!!!!! I want some of my money back!!!!









    Get security here and tell them to exit this guy of the premises, I want them to exit him off his feet and I want them to use his head to open the fuckin door.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    LG Electronics says it will begin deliveries of curved OLED television sets next month, making it the first to offer such a product to the public.
    The Trek future seems to be slowly arriving.

    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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    Your Hacked Nude Photo Here!

  13. #28
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    Robotic insect: World's smallest flying robot takes off


    This "robo-fly", built from carbon fibre, weighs a fraction of a gram and has super-fast electronic "muscles" to power its wings.

    Its Harvard University developers say tiny robots like theirs may eventually be used in rescue operations.

    It could, for example, navigate through tiny spaces in collapsed buildings



    Scientists in the US have created a robot the size of a fly that is able to perform the agile manoeuvres of the ubiquitous insects.

    Dr Kevin Ma from Harvard University and his team, led by Dr Robert Wood, say they have made the world's smallest flying robot.

    It also has the fly-like agility that allows the insects to evade even the swiftest of human efforts to swat them.

    This comes largely from very precise wing movements.

    By constantly adjusting the effect of lift and thrust acting on its body at an incredibly high speed, the insect's (and the robot's) wings enable it to hover, or to perform sudden evasive manoeuvres.

    And just like a real fly, the robot's thin, flexible wings beat approximately 120 times every second.

    The researchers achieved this wing speed with special substance called piezoelectric material, which contracts every time a voltage is applied to it.

    By very rapidly switching the voltage on and off, the scientists were able to make this material behave like just like the tiny muscles that makes a fly's wings beat so fast.

    "We get it to contract and relax, like biological muscle," said Dr Ma.

    The main goal of this research was to understand how insect flight works, rather than to build a useful robot.

    He added though that there could be many uses for such a diminutive flying vehicle.

    "We could envision these robots being used for search-and-rescue operations to search for human survivors under collapsed buildings or [in] other hazardous environments," he said.

    "They [could] be used for environmental monitoring, to be dispersed into a habitat to sense trace chemicals or other factors.

    Dr Ma even suggested that the robots could behave like many real insects and assist with the pollination of crops, "to function as the now-struggling honeybee populations do in supporting agriculture around the world".

    The current model of robo-fly is tethered to a small, off-board power source but Dr Ma says the next step will be to miniaturise the other bits of technology that will be needed to create a "fully wireless flying robot".

    "It will be a few more years before full integration is possible," he said.

    "Until then, this research project continues to be very captivating work because of its similarity to natural insects. It is a demonstration of how far human engineering ingenuity has reached, to be mimicking natural systems."

    Dr Jon Dyhr, a biologist from the University of Washington who also studies insect flight, said these flying robots were "impressive feats of engineering".

    "The physics of flight at such small scales is relatively poorly understood which makes designing small flying systems very difficult," he told BBC News, adding that biological systems provided "critical insights into designing our own artificial flyers".


    Tethered flight: It will take "a few more years" before the robo-flies
    will be able to carry a power source



    Flapping and flying



    As an insect's wings move through the air, they are held at a slight angle, deflecting the air downward.

    This deflection means the air flows faster over the wing than underneath, causing air pressure to build up beneath the wings, while the pressure above the wings is reduced. It is this difference in pressure that produces lift.

    Flapping creates an additional forward and upward force known as thrust, which counteracts the insect's weight and the "drag" of air resistance.

    The downstroke or the flap is also called the "power stroke", as it provides the majority of the thrust. During this, the wing is angled downwards even more steeply.

    You can imagine this stroke as a very brief downward dive through the air - it momentarily uses the weight of the animal's own weight in order to move forwards. But because the wings continue to generate lift, the creature remains airborne.

    In each upstroke, the wing is slightly folded inwards to reduce resistance.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22380287

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    Default Unsuspecting Movie Stars Follow Fake Red Carpet Into Back Of Kidnappers’ Van



    HOLLYWOOD, CA—Los Angeles police confirmed that Naomi Watts, Joaquin Phoenix, and nearly a dozen other top-name actors had gone missing ahead of February's Academy Awards after following a fake red carpet laid outside the Dolby Theatre that reportedly led into the back of an idling, windowless van.

    “It appears that the kidnappers were able to use an array of camera flashes, canned fan screaming, and an imposter catty fashion reporter to lure these unsuspecting movie stars right into their grasp,” said police sergeant Mark Morales, noting that Reese Witherspoon, William Hurt, and the entire starring cast of Silver Linings Playbook were seen waving and turning to show their outfits to an assembled corps of fake paparazzi before wandering into the cargo hold of a Ford Econoline vehicle.

    “There were even several convincing swag bags in the back of the van that appeared to include luxury spa passes and platinum Chopard watches. This plot was clearly carefully planned to prey on Hollywood’s top celebrities.” At press time, sources confirmed the identity of the kidnapper as 65-year-old actor James Woods of nearby Beverly Hills, CA.

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    Bloomberg Refused Second Slice of Pizza at Local Restaurant
    May 2, 2013



    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.

    The owners of Collegno's Pizzeria say they refused to serve him more than one piece to protest Bloomberg's proposed soda ban,which would limit the portions of soda sold in the city.

    Bloomberg was having an informal working lunch with city comptroller John Liu at the time and was enraged by the embarrassing prohibition. The owners would not relent, however, and the pair were forced to decamp to another restaurant to finish their meal.

    Witnesses say the situation unfolded when as the two were looking over budget documents, they realized they needed more food than originally ordered.

    "Hey, could I get another pepperoni over here?" Bloomberg asked owner Antonio Benito.

    "I'm sorry sir," he replied, "we can't do that. You've reached your personal slice limit."

    Mayor Bloomberg, not accustomed to being challenged, assumed that the owner was joking.

    "OK, that's funny," he remarked, "because of the soda thing ... No come on. I'm not kidding. I haven't eaten all morning, just send over another pepperoni."

    "I'm sorry sir. We're serious," Benito insisted. "We've decided that eating more than one piece isn't healthy for you, and so we're forbidding you from doing it."

    "Look jackass," Bloomberg retorted, his anger boiling, "I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don't be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay."

    "I'm sorry sir, there's nothing I can do," the owner repeated. "Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you're walking. You know, burning calories."

    Witnesses say a fuming Bloomberg and a bemused Liu did indeed walk down the street to a rival pizzeria , ordered another slice and finished their meeting.

    New York's so-called "soda ban" would have limited the size of sweetened beverages served in restaurants to 16 oz (0.5 liters). The plan, backed by Mayor Bloomberg, is currently being held up by a U.S. district court.

    Bloomberg has been the mayor of New York City since 2002. Theretofore he was the CEO of Bloomberg LP, the world's leading financial data firm. His personal fortune is estimated at around $27 billion.

    http://dailycurrant.com/2013/05/02/b...al-restaurant/

    (In case you don't already know, this story is satire.)
    Posted from yo' mama's house.


 

 

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