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Netflix Offers A New “Bright” Featurette

Dark Horizons - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 8:12am

Netflix has premiered a new featurette for David Ayer’s “Bright,” the upcoming big-budget original film which blends a gritty police drama with fantasy elements.

Set in an alternate present-day where humans, orcs, elves and fairies have been coexisting since the beginning of time, the story follows two cops from very different backgrounds – the human Ward (Will Smith), and the orc Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) who embark on a routine night patrol that will alter the future of their world as they know it.

The project, which also stars Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramirez, Ike Barinholtz, Enrique Murciano, Jay Hernandez and Margaret Cho is coming to the streaming service on December 22nd.

The post Netflix Offers A New “Bright” Featurette appeared first on Dark Horizons.

"Maybe It's a Piece of Dust"

/. - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 7:30am
An anonymous reader shares a report: I was in the Grand Central Station Apple Store for a third time in a year, watching a progress bar slowly creep across my computer's black screen as my Genius multi-tasked helping another customer with her iPad. My computer was getting its third diagnostic test in 45 minutes. The problem was not that its logic board was failing, that its battery was dying, or that its camera didn't respond. There were no mysteriously faulty innerworkings. It was the spacebar. It was broken. And not even physically broken -- it still moved and acted normally. But every time I pressed it once, it spaced twice. "Maybe it's a piece of dust," the Genius had offered. The previous times I'd been to the Apple Store for the same computer with the same problem -- a misbehaving keyboard -- Geniuses had said to me these exact same nonchalant words, and I had been stunned into silence, the first time because it seemed so improbable to blame such a core problem on such a small thing, and the second time because I couldn't believe the first time I was hearing this line that it was not a fluke. But this time, the third time, I was ready. "Hold on," I said. "If a single piece of dust lays the whole computer out, don't you think that's kind of a problem?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon's Next Big Bet is Letting You Communicate Without a Smartphone, Says Alexa's Chief Scientist

/. - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:45am
An anonymous reader shares a report: The next big function to take off on Amazon's Echo devices will be voice or video calling -- which is a way Alexa can reduce the need to have your smartphone on your at all times, said Rohit Prasad, VP and Head Scientist at Alexa Machine Learning. "If you have not played with calling and the video calls on Echo Show, you should try it because that is revolutionizing how you can communicate," Prasad said in an exclusive interview with CNBC at an Alexa Accelerator event in Seattle Tuesday night. (The event is dedicating to developing new voice-powered technologies.) "When you can drop in on people who have given you access -- so I can drop in and call my mom in her kitchen without her picking any device -- it's just awesome." (Amazon added the ability to call mobile numbers and landlines for free onto Echo devices a few weeks ago.) Amazon doesn't have a smartphone that lets customers bring a digital assistant everywhere -- like Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant -- and communicating through Alexa devices is one way of reducing the need for a personal handset, Prasad said "I can easily drop in and talk to my kids," Prasad says. "They don't have a smartphone so that's my easiest way to talk to them. It's yet another area where Alexa is taking the friction away."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chrome 62 Released With OpenType Variable Fonts, HTTP Warnings In Incognito Mode

/. - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier today, Google released version 62 of its Chrome browser that comes with quite a few new features but also fixes for 35 security issues. The most interesting new features are support for OpenType variable fonts, the Network Quality Estimator API, the ability to capture and stream DOM elements, and HTTP warnings for the browser's Normal and Incognito mode. The most interesting of the new features is variable fonts. Until now, web developers had to load multiple font families whenever they wanted variations on a font family. For example, if a developer was using the Open Sans font family on a site, if he wanted a font variation such as Regular, Bold, Black, Normal, Condensed, Expanded, Highlight, Slab, Heavy, Dashed, or another, he'd have to load a different font file for each. OpenType variable fonts allow font makers to merge all these font family variations in one file that developers can use on their site and control via CSS. This results in fewer files loaded on a website, saving bandwidth and improving page load times. Two other features that will interest mostly developers are the Network Quality Estimator and the Media Capture from DOM Elements APIs. As the name hints, the first grants developers access to network speed and performance metrics, information that some websites may use to adapt video streams, audio quality, or deliver low-fi versions of their sites. Developers can use the second API -- the Media Capture from DOM Elements -- to record videos of how page sections behave during interaction and stream the content over WebRTC. This latter API could be useful for developers debugging a page, but also support teams that want to see what's happening on the user's side.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EA Closes Visceral Games & Reworks “Star Wars”

Dark Horizons - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 1:29am

Electronic Arts has announced today they they will close down their Visceral Games studio, the creators of the famed “Dead Space” game series along with the likes of “Battlefield Hardline,” “Dante’s Inferno” and several games based on “The Godfather” and James Bond films.

For the past few years the studio has been developing an untitled “Star Wars” video game with “Uncharted” series director Amy Hennig helming the title. The game, first announced in 2014 and targeting a 2019 release, was to be a third-person action-adventure game with a large single-player campaign focus and linear story – basically the mold of the “Uncharted” series.

With the studio now shuttering and EA infamous for focusing their efforts on microtransaction-heavy and multiplayer-focused titles with costly DLC (a strategy that effectively led to the death of the single-player “Dead Space” franchise), executive Vice President Patrick Soderlund has confirmed the game will be retooled by a different development team moving forward:

“In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.

We will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”

With the change in development team, the game won’t be making its 2019 release target – no word as to when it will now eventually arrive. The new team members will be assembled from across EA Worldwide Studios to join the EA Vancouver team that has already been working on the project.

The game was seen as a counterpart to EA’s multiplayer-only 2015 “Star Wars: Battlefront” game which scored criticism for its lack of campaign – that lead to this year’s sequel incorporating a single-player campaign element. The good news is EA is determined to continue with the title, and this hopefully won’t go the way of abandoned game “Star Wars 1313”.

Source: Kotaku

The post EA Closes Visceral Games & Reworks “Star Wars” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Verse of the Day - Psalm 34:19-20

Bible Verse of the Day - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:00pm

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Psalm 34:19-20

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

We know that the righteous can have troubles, but how do we understand that God delivers us from them all? How do we understand that he protects all our bones, especially in light of recent tragedies and the persecution of believers in many places in the world? Paul demonstrates the answer: whatever happens to him will turn out for his deliverance — whether it is through his death to be with God or whether it is through his release from prison to continue ministry (Phil. 1:19-23). Our deliverance is secure. We are conquerors in Christ. Nothing Satan can do to us can steal us away from God's love, not even death (Romans 8:32-39).

My Prayer...

Father, please give me the faith I need to believe that whatever happens in my life will not steal me away from your love and deliverance for me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.© 1998-2017, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

SpaceX's Reusable Rockets Win US Air Force General's Endorsement

/. - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:00pm
As the military looks to drive down costs, the head of U.S. Air Force Space Command said he's "completely committed" to launching future missions with recycled rockets like those championed by SpaceX's Elon Musk. "It would be 'absolutely foolish' not to begin using pre-flown rockets, which brings such significant savings that they'll soon be commonplace for the entire industry, General John W. 'Jay' Raymond said," reports Bloomberg. From the report: "The market's going to go that way. We'd be dumb not to," he said. "What we have to do is make sure we do it smartly." The Air Force won't be able to use the recycled boosters until they're certified for military use, a process that Raymond suggested may already be in the works. "The folks out at Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles that work for me would be in those dialogues," he said, declining to specify when certification could take place. "I don't know how far down the road we've gotten, but I am completely committed to launching on a reused rocket, a previously flown rocket, and making sure that we have the processes in place to be able to make sure that we can do that safely."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

“Breakfast Club” Criterion Release Causes Debate

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:19pm

There’s no question that John Hughes’ 1985 high school comedy-drama “The Breakfast Club” is a classic of its generation and an important piece of cinema, but it’s also a film that has been fairly easy to find with several past disc releases.

Earlier this week came the announcement that the Criterion Collection is set to release a new edition of the title on January 2nd – this one boasting a new 4K digital restoration and a bunch of special features including new and archival interviews, commentary, and essays.

The most notable one though is a whopping fifty minutes of never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes, the first time many fans will get to see elements from Hughes rumored two-and-a-half hour original director’s cut of the film.

It’s a great disc from the sounds of it, nevertheless it has caused some debate on social media and in forums about the Criterion Collection going with such a mainstream studio release as opposed to something more exotic (ie. much more arthouse) or something rarer which hasn’t been released to disc before which is more their style.

Then again, the collection is also famous for publishing some major mainstream films in order to help fund some of the more obscure titles in their catalogue. However you feel about it, fans of the label can enjoy a Flash Sale currently on at the tie with everything in stock 50% off (discount code COOP). That will run through until 9am US-PST tomorrow.

Source: The Playlist, Criterion Forum

The post “Breakfast Club” Criterion Release Causes Debate appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Jackman, Reynolds Up For “Detective Pikachu”?

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:18pm

Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson are all reportedly high on the contenders list for the lead role in the “Detective Pikachu” animated feature at Legendary.

That Hashtag Show broke the story of the names, but stress that none of them have actually taken any meetings about the role in the film which is an adaptation of the “Pokemon” franchise spin-off game “The Great Detective Pikachu”.

“Goosebumps” director Rob Letterman helms the project penned by Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch. The story follows the high-functioning but bossy yellow creature and his human friend as they become a very unlikely mystery-solving team.

Production is rumored to begin in January.

The post Jackman, Reynolds Up For “Detective Pikachu”? appeared first on Dark Horizons.

“Big Hero 6” Series Sets November Launch

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:16pm

Disney XD has revealed that “Big Hero 6: The Series” is set to kick off November 20th with the one-hour telemovie “Baymax Returns” on Disney XD and Disney Channel.

The rest of the series will then hit in early 2018, but two full-length preview episodes will be available on the DisneyNOW app and Disney XD VOD immediately following the debut of “Baymax Returns”.

The series picks up after the events of Disney Animatio’s “Big Hero 6” and continues the adventures and friendship of Hiro, the fourteen-year-old orphaned tech genius and Baymax, his very special plus-sized inflatable healthcare companion. Hiro faces daunting academic challenges at the prestigious ‘nerd school’ and the social trials of being the ‘little man on campus’.

The series sees the return of Maya Rudolph as Aunt Cass; Jamie Chung as no-nonsense, speed genius Go Go; Scott Adsit as huggable robot Baymax; Alan Tudyk as tech guru Alistair Krei; Ryan Potter as tech genius Hiro; Genesis Rodriguez as quirky scientist Honey Lemon; David Shaughnessy as the butler Heathcliff; and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee as Fred’s dad.

Khary Payton and Brooks Wheelan take over the roles of Wasabi and Fred respectively.

Source: Disney XD

The post “Big Hero 6” Series Sets November Launch appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Hilary Swank Tries Sci-Fi In “I Am Mother”

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:16pm

Hilary Swank has signed on to star in debut filmmaker Grant Sputore’s Australian sci-fi thriller “I Am Mother” at Southern Lights Films and Penguin Empire.

Michael Lloyd Green penned the script about a teenage girl (Clara Rugaard) raised underground by a robot mother designed to repopulate the earth following an extinction event. Their bond is threatened when a blood-drenched stranger (Swank) is taken in by the teen, only to find herself at odds with her robot parent.

Overnight, the stranger casts doubt on Mother’s claims about the outside world and begins to unravel the fabric of their insular family. Unsure whom to trust, the girl begins to probe into Mother’s dubious nature and uncovers the truth of her greater mission.

Luke Hawker and Tahlia Sturzaker also star in the project which Kelvin Munro and Timothy White are producing.

Source: THR

The post Hilary Swank Tries Sci-Fi In “I Am Mother” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Dreamworks Sets A “Trolls” Animated Special

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:15pm

DreamWorks has announced “Dreamworks Trolls Holiday,” a half-hour animated musical special set to launch November 24th on NBC.

The special boasts the same A-list talent involved in the film franchise including Anna Kendrick as the voice of Poppy, Justin Timberlake as Branch and Zooey Deschanel as Bridget.

The story sees the eternally optimistic Poppy, queen of the Trolls, learning that the Bergens no longer have any holidays on their calendar. She enlists the help of Branch and the Snack Pack on a mission to fix something that the Bergens don’t think is broken.

The special will air on Friday November 24th at 8:30pm ET/PT. Following its premiere it will be available to own on DVD and digital on November 28th from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and then on Netflix from December 6th.

Then the all-new animated series “DreamWorks Trolls: The Beat Goes On” will premiere on January 19th 2018 exclusively on Netflix.

Source: Dreamworks Animation

The post Dreamworks Sets A “Trolls” Animated Special appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Bautista To Voice Animated “Groove Tails”

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:14pm

Dave Bautista (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) will lend his voice in multiple roles on the animated action-comedy “Groove Tails”.

The story will deal with a group of mice engaging in a competitive street dance competition. Cameron Hood is attached to direct from a script by Johnny Mack, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow.

Jamie Foxx will also star and produce alongside Michael Becker, while Jingle Punks (“Lego Ninjago,” “Step Up”) will develop the music. Bautista is currently filming the fourth “Avengers” film.

Source: Deadline

The post Bautista To Voice Animated “Groove Tails” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Grillo, Bell, Dale, Qualley Enter “Donnybrook”

Dark Horizons - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:14pm

Frank Grillo, Jamie Bell, Margaret Qualley and James Badge Dale are set to star in Tim Sutton’s gritty indie thriller “Donnybrook” for Rumble Films and BackUp Dilms.

The story follows two men who try to get to a legendary backcountry bare-knuckle brawl where the winner gets $100,000. Bell is Jarhead Earl, a man who wants to help his family by competing in the tournament.

Grillo will play hot-tempered and murderous drug dealer Chainsaw Angus with Qualley as his sister. Badge Dale will play a drug-addicted crooked cop.

David Lancaster will produce and filming begins Monday in Cincinnati.

Source: THR

The post Grillo, Bell, Dale, Qualley Enter “Donnybrook” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Peer Pressure Forced Whales and Dolphins To Evolve Big Brains Like Humans, Says Study

/. - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 7:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: The human brain has evolved and expanded over millennia to accommodate our ever-more-complex needs and those of our societies. This process is known as "encephalization" and has given us the big brain we need to communicate, cooperate, reach consensus, empathize, and socialize. The same is true for cetaceans, like whales and dolphins, it seems. These sea creatures also grew big brains in order to better live in societies, according to a study published on Oct. 16 in Nature Ecology & Evolution. According to Michael Muthukrishna, an economic psychologist at the London School of Economics and co-author of the study, the researchers used two related theories, the Social-Brain Hypothesis and the Cultural-Brain Hypothesis, to make predictions about various relationships between brain size, societal organization, and the breadth of behaviors the cetaceans would display. Then they tested these predictions by creating and evaluating a comprehensive database of cetacean brain size, social structures, and cultural behaviors across species using data from prior studies on 90 types of whales and dolphins. The study found that cetaceans had complex alliances and communications, played and worked together for mutual benefit, and could even work with other species, like humans. Some also have individual signifiers, sounds that set them apart from others, and can mimic the sounds of others. In addition, it found that brain size predicted the breadth of social and cultural behaviors of these marine creatures (though ecological factors, like prey diversity and latitudinal range, also played a role). The researchers concluded there was a tie between cetacean encephalization, social structure, and group size.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russian Troll Factory Paid US Activists To Fund Protests During Election

/. - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 5:30pm
bestweasel writes: The Guardian reports on another story about Russian meddling, but interestingly, this one comes from a respected Russian news source, the RBC. From the report: "Russian trolls posing as Americans made payments to genuine activists in the U.S. to help fund protest movements on socially divisive issues. On Tuesday, the newspaper RBC published a major investigation into the work of a so-called Russian 'troll factory' since 2015, including during the period of the U.S. election campaign, disclosures that are likely to put further spotlight on alleged Russian meddling in the election. RBC said it had identified 118 accounts or groups in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that were linked to the troll factory, all of which had been blocked in August and September this year as part of the U.S. investigation into Russian electoral meddling. Perhaps the most alarming element of the article was the claim that employees of the troll factory had contacted about 100 real U.S.-based activists to help with the organization of protests and events. RBC claimed the activists were contacted by Facebook group administrators hiding their Russian origin and were offered financial help to pay for transport or printing costs. About $80,000 was spent during a two-year period, according to the report."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EA Shuts Down Visceral Games, Shifting Development On Its Star Wars Game

/. - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:50pm
Visceral Games, the studio behind games like Battlefield Hardline and Dead Space, is being shut down by EA. The Star Wars game in development at Visceral will be revamped and moved to a different studio. Kotaku reports: "Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe," EA's Patrick Soderlund said in a blog post. "In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design." Soderlund added that Visceral will be "ramping down and closing" and that "we're in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA." "Lastly," he said, "while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we're now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ZTE Launches Axon M, a Foldable, Dual-Screened Smartphone

/. - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:10pm
ZTE's new Axon M is a full-featured smartphone with a hinge that connects two full-size displays, making the Axon M a flip phone of sorts. "Its front screen is a 5.2-inch, 1080p panel, it has last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 20-megapixel camera," reports The Verge. "But flip the phone over and there's an identical 5.2-inch display on the back, making the Axon M anything but run-of-the-mill." From the report: The M's hinge allows the rear screen to flip forward and slot right next to the main display, creating an almost tablet sized canvas. You can stretch the home screen and apps across the two displays for a larger working area, or you can run two different apps at the same time, one on each screen. You can also "tent" the phone, and mirror the displays so two people can see the same content at the same time. ZTE says that it is utilizing Android's default split-screen features to enable many of the dual-screen functions, and it has made sure the "top 100" Android apps work on the phone. In the "extended" mode, which stretches a single app across both screens, the tablet version of the app is presented (provided there is one, which isn't always a guarantee with Android apps). It's even possible to stream video on both screens at the same time and switch the audio between them on the fly, which might be useful if you want to watch a sports game and YouTube at the same time, I guess.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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