Posted 2 months ago

Jupiter Ascending - a new trailer for the Wachowskis Brother’s next movie project has been released, and it does look truly epic. Both the story line and its visual execution span galaxies; it’s genuine space opera, and thankfully without the toddler toy marketing campaign thrown into the lineup. In spite of the delays in production (or maybe because of them), this one looks to be well worth the wait.

Though the studio reportedly pushed the film to February, 2015 to give the directors more time to massage the film and work out some FX work, this new trailer has a lot in common with what we’ve seen before. Yes, there’s some new footage, but its just as bizarre as all the other footage they’ve released. Depending on your take on the project, that could be a good thing or a bad thing.Here’s the full synopsis:

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Posted 2 months ago

Alien Hunters - meet the men with a plan for finding life on other planets; these guys are practicing their skills in Earth’s most remote places, developing the technology needed to comb our solar system for evidence of extraterrestrial biology. National Geographic has put together a visually stunning article on the work of astrobiologists (covering our planet literally from pole to pole, studying lifeforms in the most extreme environments Earth has to offer), radio astronomers, and robotic space explorers.

The one factor that biologists argue is critical for life as we know it is water in liquid form—a powerful solvent capable of transporting dissolved nutrients to all parts of an organism. In our own solar system we’ve known since the Mariner 9 Mars orbiter mission in 1971 that water once likely flowed freely on the red planet. […] Jupiter’s moon Europa also shows cracks in its relatively young, ice-covered surface—evidence that beneath the ice lies an ocean of liquid water.

The article covers the full spectrum of the search for extraterrestrial life, from SETI’s search for intelligent messages to the robotic exploration of our neighbouring planets, and hunting for exoplanet in other solar systems; it’s a great read.

Posted 2 months ago

Grey Knights - a stunning teaser trailer for Lord Inquisitor, a fan made Warhammer 40K movie. If you ever wondered how a space marine puts on his bulking armor, now you know. The trailer is even more impressive in that it was rendered in real-time on nothing but a desktop PC, and in full 4k resolution no less, nuts.

I tried to sit down and watch Ultramarines, Games Workshops’ official animated Warhammer 40K film, a few years ago. Made it maybe 15 minutes in. It was awful. Like bad 90’s PC game cinematics. Where official projects fail, however, fan projects can be counted on to succeed. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fan project quite like this one.

The Lord Inquisitor is an animated film that, a few of years back, began as a labour of love of just one man, artist and modeller Erasmus Brosdau. He put the trailer you see up top together by himself, an incredible achievement considering it blows the official movie out of the water.

[…]

It’s since ballooned out to become a planned 40-minute film, and is now the work of a team, including Warhammer 40K authors and helping hands from employees of places like Crytek and Ubisoft

Posted 2 months ago

Empowering Excellence - my new book is available in stores as of today, you can get it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon (for US, UK, and Europe), and Angus & Robertson in Australia. B&N doesn’t have much information about it on their site yet, but it’s a little cheaper, so they may be your best bet.

As this is my first non-fiction book, I have to admit to being somewhat anxious about how it will be received. After almost 20 years of leading engineering teams all over the aerospace industry, I wanted to share what I have learned. The book is meant for anyone finding themselves in (or endeavoring to) the leadership position of a technical organization; I’ve tried to put down a concise blueprint of the elements which proved themselves to be most effective over time and have become the foundation of my own leadership style.

If you do pick one up and read it, please leave some feedback (good or bad) where you bought it; I read all reviews myself and am very curious to hear what you think. Hopefully it will add some useful tools to your belt and maybe you’ll even have fun reading it; enjoy!

Posted 2 months ago

Phoenix Towers - the world’s newest / tallest building includes planets orbiting its base; seriously! The design for the Phoenix Towers to be constructed in Wuhan China was inspired by Asian mythology of the legendary bird rising reborn from its own ashes, includes two towers (one representing a male, the other a female phoenix), and between their mid sections several globes are suspended. And just to top it off, the entire complex is set on an island within a lake.

UK-based Chetwood Architects just unveiled plans for the Phoenix Towers in Wuhan, China, which will be the world’s tallest pair of skyscrapers upon completion. The supertall structures are the centerpiece of the firm’s four master plans slated for construction in China. The Phoenix Towers are outfitted with wind turbines, solar panels, thermal chimneys and rainwater harvesting systems and they will act as an “environmental catalyst” to re-invigorate the city of Wuhan.

[…]

Inspired by the symbol of the Chinese Phoenix, which combines male and female principles in perfect balance, the architects designed two interdependent towers. The “male” one (Feng) feeds the “female” (Huang) with renewable energy and together they act as a beacon of sustainability in the area.

Many more images at the original site.