Say the words "The Star Wars Holiday Special" around a group of geeks, and you'll most likely be met with guttural groans and a lot of glares. The 97-minute TV special debuted on November 17, 1978 (making this its 35th-anniversary year), and never aired again. Many fans, as well as director George Lucas, would prefer to pretend the Wookiee- and disco-saturated show never existed, but I watch it every year as a holiday tradition to amuse myself and horrify my friends.
The infamous TV special aired on CBS, parent company of CNET. It featured not only the iconic "Star Wars" characters Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2, but also new characters like Chewie's wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and his father Itchy. If that's not intriguing enough, we get "Golden Girls" actress Bea Arthur playing Ackmena the cantina bartender; "The Carol Burnett Show" veteran Harvey Korman playing a myriad of bizarre characters; and actor Art Carney as electronics salesman Saun Dann and friend to the Wookiees. … Read more
Facebook is applying its "Hacker Way" to help youngsters be more responsible in the social-networking realm.
On Thursday, the company announced Project:Connect, a partnership between the social network, the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) that's designed to shed light on what it means to participate responsibly in digital environments. Together, the partners will host an all-day hackathon in New York on May 9.
"We need to give youth the tools they need to become engaged and responsible digital citizens," Connie Yowell, director of education at the MacArthur Foundation, said … Read more
Arthur Levinson, Apple's chairman of the board, still misses Steve Jobs.
"I'm still not to the point where I walk into that board room and don't miss Steve," Levinson told Fortune in an interview published today. He went on to say that being Apple chairman, a position he took in 2011 after Jobs' death, still feels "weird."
Levinson is one of the more respected figures in the biotechnology industry. Until 2009, he was CEO of Genentech, a company that many believe kicked off the entire biotechnology industry. He currently serves as chairman of … Read more
Last month, John R. MacArthur fired off what may be the single dumbest old-media-blame-new-media anti-Google screed ever to post in the pages of the Providence Journal. In case you missed that gem, MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's Magazine, remedied that situation by reposting his piece on the publication's Web site.
I'll confess to being a Harper's fanboy, someone who has read the magazine starting back in the day when it was edited by the brilliant Lewis H. Lapham. It's been a staple of American intellectual life since its start in the mid-19th century. All the … Read more
Video games tend to be more enjoyable on a large screen, but what happens when you harness the power of a 20-foot-wide multitouch display that runs at 8,160x2,304 resolution? Some incredible pew pew.
Fleet Commander, designed by computer science grad student Arthur Nishimoto and developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Chicago, is perhaps the most tantalizing "Star Wars" concept game ever made.
Under development for several years, it currently harnesses the power of a giant multitouch LCD wall to "explore how a real-time interactive strategy game that would typically rely on complex keyboard commands and mouse interactions [could] be transferred into a multi-user, multitouch environment," according to EVL. Fingers are tracked via TacTile software. … Read more
"Secret Thoughts," a play by British novelist and playwright David Lodge, is introducing audiences to a hot new actor--Arthur the robot.
Arthur comes onstage for about 20 seconds, scans the room, and collides with furniture in the production, which is described as "science against art, and morality against indulgence." In it, Ralph, a married, groundbreaking cognitive scientist, meets Helen, a recently bereaved novelist, and "sparks fly" (presumably not from the robot short-circuiting).
It's really just a walk-on (roll-on) part for the remote-controlled bot, who's made mostly of fiberglass. But it leads to a pivotal conversation between the characters about the emotional intelligence of robots. And, of course, it marks another exciting step forward for aspiring robot thespians everywhere.
The world premiere of "Secret Thoughts" will show through June 4 at the U.K.'s Octagon Theatre Bolton located in Lancashire in Northern England.
"At the Octagon, we have the facilities to make theatrical sets, costumes, and props, but a modern, sleek robot was a bit beyond our reach," Oliver Seviour, the play's production manager, said in a release.
So the Octagon decided to turn to students at the nearby University of Bolton for casting help. The theater sponsored a bot designing and building competition, and first-year special-effects student Laura Durham took the prize for her creation, which can move backward, forward, and sideways. The upper half can rotate to scan the room, as called for in the script. … Read more
It's Natali Morris' second-to-the-second-to-the-last appearance on the show before her departure from CNET on April 29, but today she turns the studio upside down when she tells us she disliked "Batman Returns." After we finish putting the studio back together, we also chat about the effects of Coldplay on your romantic life and play a couple Calls From the Public.The 404 Digest for Episode 799 Coldplay fans are least likely to have sex on first date? Never say anything bad about " Batman Returns." One of today's Calls From the Public references this NHL promo commercial. Episode 799 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Fifty years ago Sunday, a Hughes Labs researcher named Theodore Maiman changed the world.
That day, Maiman became the first person on Earth to build a working laser, something that colleagues at a number of other companies and institutions had been feverishly trying to do for months or even years.
Coming out of World War II, explained Hughes Lab veteran and current Raytheon optics and lasers senior principal physicist Daniel Nieuwsma, many people were working with radar and were looking or ways to boost their power.
One method that was tried was using masers, or microwave amplification by stimulation of … Read more
Updated 7:00am PST Tuesday with response from FTC chairman and comment about no other directors left on both boards.
Another executive with ties to both Apple and Google is leaving one company's board of directors.
Arthur Levinson, former chairman of Genentech, has resigned from Google's board of directors, effective immediately, Google said Monday. A member of Google's board since 2004, Levinson has also served on Apple's board since 2000.
In early August, Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple's board of directors.
No specific reason was given for Levinson's exit, but there likely … Read more