What lies beyond The Dark Knight?

21 rujan 2012

Many people might know what I am talking about here, but just to clear any confusion, I am referring to Batman’s sidekick, Robin – the Boy Wonder. Most of you must have already seen The Dark Knight Rises (for those of you who have not-warning: Spoilers ahead) and after careful consideration, I think everyone has convinced themselves by now that ‘yes, it was an epic end to the trilogy’.

Now, I don’t disagree with this, but Nolan could have made it a lot better. There was however, one aspect of the movie which I think really stood out; the fact that Nolan left it open for other directors to make future sequels by introducing the character of John Blake (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is unmistakably a reference to the famous, Robin. In the movie, he is shown as a rookie cop who finds out Batman’s identity, and in the end, kind of, inherits the Batcave.

Now there is a range of sequels that can spring out from here.

John Blake, whose real name is revealed to be Robin John Blake, can continue Batman’s legacy and protect the city of Gotham. This can be a direct reference to the famous animated series called Batman Beyond, in which Bruce Wayne retires as Batman, and a youngster, Terry McGinnis, takes the responsibility of the famous vigilante.

If you ask me, a movie based on this series will not be a very challenging task for whoever takes over the franchise; the background story more or less is in line with that of the television series. What is exciting is that the viewer will get to see a bunch of new villains, as well as a few old ones such as The Joker. Furthermore, if the film-makers remain true to the series, we might even see Batman in a whole new costume, which, believe me, looks more daunting than the last one.

read more (batman beyond hoodie): http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/13614/what-lies-beyond-the-dark-knight/

GOP Suing to Keep Third Parties Off Ballot in November

07 rujan 2012

Around the country, the Republican Party is mounting legal challenges to keep third-party candidates off the ballot in November.

Writer Karl Dickey reports in the Examiner that “in recent weeks, with the full support and legal assistance of the Republican Party, [Gary] Johnson’s ballot status has been challenged in Michigan, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Iowa and now Ohio.” Gary Johnson (pictured) is the former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president of the United States. As of this writing, Johnson is on the ballot in 43 states.

On September 1 the Ohio voters challenging Johnson’s appearance on the November ballot officially withdrew their opposition. In the one-page notice filed with the office of Ohio’s Secretary of State, Kelly Mills and Cynthia Rees did not explain their decision to drop their protest.

read more: http://beyondthecurtain.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/gop-suing-to-keep-third-parties-off-ballot-in-november/

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker Reuniting for Rush Hour 4

jackie chan chris tucker rush hour 4
It’s been five years since Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker teamed up for the last Rush Hour movie, but it looks like we will be seeing them returning to the big screen for a fourth film soon! Producer Arthur Sarkissian recently spoke with CraveOnline and revealed that he is currently working with the stars to reprise their roles as Lee and Carter for Rush Hour 4 and even named another big franchise that they are looking to for inspiration.

Though Sarkissian readily admits that they dropped the ball on 20072s Rush Hour 3, they are using that experience to bring the potential fourth film back to basics and to focus on what made the first two films so great – the relationship between Chan and Tucker. He also revealed that they will be looking at the success of Fast Five and the ability to switch up the genre and put the characters into new situations as inspiration to bringing a fresh twist on the franchise. Sarkissian said, “It’s not a matter of just bringing them back to do another segment of that or a sequel to it by putting them in another city and having them bicker. I don’t want that. I want something new.” One possible plot idea he sested was bringing in Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as Tucker’s cousin who is now married to Chan’s character with Tucker going to visit them in Shanghai.

read more: http://www.moviesera.com/jackie-chan-and-chris-tucker-reuniting-for-rush-hour-4/

Half of the polar ice cap is missing: Arctic sea ice hits a new record low

north pole
Extraordinary melting of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has shattered the all-time low sea ice extent record set in September 2007, and sea ice continues to decline far below what has ever been observed. The new sea ice record was set on August 26, a full three weeks before the usual end of the melting season, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Every major scientific institution that tracks Arctic sea ice agrees that new records for low ice area, extent, and volume have been set. These organizations include the University of Washington Polar Science Center (a new record for low ice volume), the Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center in Norway, and the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today. A comprehensive collection of sea ice graphs shows the full story. Satellite records of sea ice extent date back to 1979, though a 2011 study by Kinnard et al. shows that the Arctic hasn't seen a melt like this for at least 1,450 years (see a more detailed article on this over at skepticalscience.com.) The latest September 5, 2012 extent of 3.5 million square kilometers is approximately a 50% reduction in the area of Arctic covered by sea ice, compared to the average from 1979 - 2000. The ice continues to melt, and has not reached the low for this year yet.

read more: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2222

Human impact felt on Black Sea long before industrial era

05 rujan 2012

When WHOI geologist Liviu Giosan first reconstructed the history of how the Danube River built its delta, he was presented with a puzzle. In the delta's early stages of development, the river deposited its sediment within a protected bay. As the delta expanded onto the Black Sea shelf in the late Holocene and was exposed to greater waves and currents, rather than seeing the decline in sediment storage that he expected, Giosan found the opposite. The delta continued to grow. In fact, it has tripled its storage rate.

If an increase in river runoff was responsible for the unusual rapid build up of sediment in the delta, says Giosan, the question is, "Was this extraordinary event in the Danube delta felt in the entire Black Sea basin? And if so, what caused it?"

In answering those questions, Giosan and an international team of collaborators including environmental engineers, modelers, paleogeographers, and paleobiologists pieced together a unique history of the region that ultimately provides evidence for a transformative impact of humans on the Black Sea over hundreds, if not thousands of years. The study was published on August 30 in Scientific Reports, a new online journal of the Nature Publishing Group.

read more: e! Science News. Also, check here.

Three High-Altitude Peoples, Three Adaptations to Thin Air

04 rujan 2012

Prehistoric and contemporary human populations living at altitudes of at least 8,000 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level may provide unique insights into human evolution, reports an interdisciplinary group of scientists.

Indigenous highlanders living in the Andean Altiplano in South America, in the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, and at the highest elevations of the Ethiopian Highlands in east Africa have evolved three distinctly different biological adaptations for surviving in the oxygen-thin air found at high altitude.

"To have examples of three geographically dispersed populations adapting in different ways to the same stress is very unusual," said Cynthia Beall, a physical anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. "From an evolutionary standpoint the question becomes, Why do these differences exist? We need to figure out when, how, and why that happened."

To begin to answer some of these questions, a multidisciplinary group of scientists, including Beall, met earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, Washington.

"High-altitude populations offer a unique natural lab that allows us to follow [many] lines of evidence—archaeological, biological, climatological—to answer intriguing questions about social, cultural, and biological adaptations," said Mark Aldenderfer, an archaeologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who organized the AAAS symposium with Beall.

(Aldenderfer and Beall are both past recipients of research grants from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration.)

read more: National Geographic

Vitamin D may increase IVF success – depending on race

A woman's race may determine whether vitamin D helps them to conceive through IVF.

The sunshine vitamin is famed for its benefit to bones and the immune system, but it also plays a role in conception. Now, evidence sests that the vitamin's benefits may only apply to certain racial groups – while white women can boost their IVF success rates with vitamin D, the opposite appears to be true for Asian women.

For couples strling to conceive, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a popular option. The technique involves extracting eggs from a woman and fertilising them with sperm outside of the body. The resulting embryo is then transferred into the uterus. As many women know, IVF isn't a guaranteed ticket to pregnancy – less than a third of treated women under 35 will go on to have a baby, and the odds decrease with age.

In 2010, Sebiha Özkan at Kocaeli University in Turkey and her colleagues found that women with the recommended levels of Vitamin D (30 ng/mil) appeared to boost their chances of IVF success. Women with the highest levels of vitamin D were four times more likely to get pregnant than those with the lowest levels (Fertility and Sterility, DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.05.019).

Both IVF success rates and vitamin D levels are known to vary by race. To find out whether vitamin D carries the same benefits in women of different races, Briana Rudick at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and her colleagues compared vitamin D levels and IVF success rates in white Hispanic, white non-Hispanic, and Asian women from south-east Asia and the Indian subcontinent. All 188 women were having IVF for the first time.

read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22234-vitamin-d-may-increase-ivf-success--depending-on-race.html

A hair lotion that cures baldness could be on the market within two years, believe scientists

01 rujan 2012

They are already talking with pharmaceutical firms about making the product, which would work by stopping the effects of a single guilty enzyme.

US-based dermatologists announced earlier this year that they had found that an enzyme, called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), instructed follicles to stop producing hair.
They identified it by screening 250 genes implicated in hair loss.

George Cotsarelis, head of dermatology at Pennsylvania University, said the one responsible for levels of PGD2 played “the major role”.

He said he was now talking with several drugs firms about creating the anti-baldness product.

read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9485807/Baldness-cure-could-be-on-shelves-in-two-years.html

Google engineer finds British spyware on PCs and smartphones

Two security researchers have found new evidence that legitimate spyware sold by British firm Gamma International appears to be being used by some of the most repressive regimes in the world.

Google security engineer Morgan Marquis-Boire and Berkeley student Bill Marczak were investigating spyware found in email attachments to several Bahraini activists. In their analysis they identified the spyware infecting not only PCs but a broad range of smartphones, including iOS, Android, RIM, Symbian, and Windows Phone 7 handsets.

The spying software has the capability to monitor and report back on calls and GPS positions from mobile phones, as well as recording Skype sessions on a PC, logging keystrokes, and controlling any cameras and microphones that are installed.

They report the code appears to be FinSpy, a commercial spyware sold to countries for police criminal investigations. FinSpy was developed by the German conglomerate Gamma Group and sold via the UK subsidiary Gamma International. In a statement to Bloomberg, managing director Martin Muench denied the company had any involvement.

read more: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/31/finspy_gamma_polcie_spying/

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