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Game of Thrones-inspired opera-TV mashup hits New York next year

A night of opera music inspired by the wildly popular novels and HBO series Game of Thrones will be played by the One World Symphony next February, the Guardian reports. The series is part of the "Operasodes season," which adapts modern TV shows into an evening of music using previously written works. Those who attend the show, which runs Feb. 1-2 in New York, will hear music from Richard Wagner, Annie Lennox, Sergei Prokofiev, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and more. According to Sung Jin Hong, artistic director and composer conductor of One World Symphony, Game of Thrones lends itself to opera quite well. "The show has all the drama, intrigue and passion that operas have been providing us for centuries: seduction, obsession, deception, political maneuvering, romance, heartbreak, incest —...
Culture
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Captain America and the Hulk, as explained by science

Captain America and the Hulk's super powers are explained by science in their respective comics, but the real-life explanations aren't so far-fetched either, according to videos published by Standford University. Stanford biologist Sebastian Alvarado explores the origins of each character by using real-life examples to speculate on how their powers work. In the case of Captain America, included above, Alvarado discusses photo-sensitive carriers of drugs that exist in research today. The films see Cap getting pumped with a special serum and zapped in a chamber. Alvarado draws comparisons to drugs in development that are shot with UV light, which causes them to release and activate whatever they happen to be carrying. As for the big, green, rage monster known as the Hulk, the answer is...
Culture
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Minecraft creator steps up to the Ice Bucket Challenge for a cold hit

The Ice Bucket Challenge is making its way through the gaming industry and has soaked another participant: Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson. The Ice Bucket Challenge dares someone to take a bucket of ice water over their head or donate money toward fighting ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease (though many opt to do both). Once challenged, a person only has 24 hours to fulfill the dare. Notable participants in the past include Martha Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Chris Pratt, Steven Spielberg and Nathan Fillion. Persson's challenge came by way of Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX and chief product architect of Tesla Motors; Musk's five sons selected Persson, Tony Hawk and Johnny Depp. Musk himself was nominated by Bill Gates, who was called out by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. ...
Culture
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Original Star Wars trilogy, unaltered, may be coming to Blu-ray

Disney/Lucasfilm is planning to re-release the original Star Wars trilogy, without any of the subsequent alterations, on Blu-ray, according to a report on ComicBook.com. Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi will be packed up in a release prior to the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode VII late next year, according to the report. "Our sources indicate that the project has been under way for quite some time, but it's been challenging because of some damage to the original negatives they are utilizing," states the report. "The goal is to release A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of Jedi in their complete, unaltered, original form without the redone special edition SFX." Some in the Star Wars fan community have expressed skepticism. Bad-ass...
News
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Here's Tetris, with cushions and pillows

Here's an amusing take on a familiar game. It's Tetris; except played with pillows. Softbody-Tetris was created by Niko Schatz using Cinema4D. It's worth watching to the end. Softbody-Tetris (New Version) from Niko Schatz on Vimeo.
Culture
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Now you can relive 'Guardians of the Galaxy's happiest end credits moment any time

Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy was a pretty feel good romp throughout, but the final pre-credits gag may have been its most heartwarming scene. Now, thanks to Marvel's YouTube channel, you don't have to go to the theater or turn to a bootleg copy for your fix of one of the better tracks from "Awesome Mix Vol. 1." Apparently, Marvel feels pretty comfortable putting up one of the funnier payoff moments from the film just a few weeks after release. The studio probably doesn't want you turning elsewhere to watch this special moment between Drax the Destroyer and Groot. Obviously, if you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, don't press play on the above video unless you want a key plot point spoiled for you.
Culture
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Bill Gates engineers an ice bucket challenge machine, gets drenched

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been making the rounds for as long as I've been alive, or at least that's how it feels. But I haven't cared until today, when I got a chance to see Bill Gates get drenched. For those of you unaware, the Ice Bucket Challenge involves someone being dared to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads or donate money toward fighting ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Don't worry, most of the rich, famous folk taking the challenge are donating too. Once you complete the challenge on video, you can dare three other people to take it within the next 24 hours. Gates being Gates, we got a bit of a production in his challenge, which included a drafting table, tiny scale model, welding torch and, finally, a soaking wet Gates. Now I'm just waiting for when...
Culture
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Of course you want to grow your own Bulbasaur

Did you know you can grow your own Bulbasaur for $50? Well, OK. This is a "succulent monster," not a trademarked Nintendo character that we all know and love. But the distinction is slight, and I think we all know what's going on here. We're not going to call it what it is. We're just going to buy one and train it up to be the most powerful killer of other animals it can possibly be. Or we'll just plant some Echeveria in it and enjoy how cute it looks in the window. Whichever works. Not judging either way. Now someone just needs to make a Charmander incense burner. The Pokémon-athon: 719 Pokemon, 61 games, 1 website Click here for undiluted nostalgia
Report
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'Guardians of the Galaxy', women writers and kicking down doors

Guardians of the Galaxy has enjoyed critical success, with 92% "fresh" on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and incredible commercial success, as it's destroyed August box office records. It was also co-written by a woman: Nicole Perlman. Guardians of the Galaxy is the first Marvel Studios movie to be penned by a woman screenwriter. Perlman is only the second woman to have a major writing credit on a Marvel property's big screen adaptations (the first was Jane Goldman, on X-Men: First Class). Here's why she's getting so much attention. Perlman Perlman has always been interested in science and science fiction, and studied screenwriting at NYU. She gained serious interest when her script about the Challenger mission, written on spec, hit the prestigious Blacklist. She was invited to a sort...
Culture
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This could be the Stars Wars: Episode VII Storm Trooper helmet

The website Indie Revolver has what it calls "very reliable information" about the new design of the Storm Trooper helmet from Episode VII, including images. First glimpse of the @starwars #EpisodeVII Stormtrooper & Snowtrooper (via @IndieRevolver)! The future of the #501st! pic.twitter.com/Zycnl5Q4P2 — 501st Legion (@501stLegion) August 15, 2014 The RPF also has what it calls a "leak" of one of the actual props, which you can see via Indie Revolver if you don't want to sign up for an RPF account on the forum. The design, if real, is much closer in spirit to the original films than what we saw in the prequel trilogy. In case you missed it, we've also seen the updated X-Wing design from the upcoming film. It's suddenly a whole bunch of fun to be a Star Wars fan again.
31 Comments

These portraits from Skyrim look more like magazine covers than video games

Modders have made breathtaking improvements to The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, a game that was visually impressive on its own. Real tender love and care has gone into making the fantasy world and its people more believable and lifelike. These portraits artfully capture that hard work. Taken by a collection of artists across the internet, these screens capture the faces within the world of modded Skyrim. The result resembles magazine photography more than the typical marketing screen grab. This is the second exhibition of Skyrim faces put together by Andrew Cull Photography. For more images, visit the site on Flickr.
Culture
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Zelda carry case adds a little Hyrule glamour

This stylish Legend of Zelda carry case recently showed up on Club Nintendo's rewards catalog in Europe. Featuring the Hylian Crest from The Legend of Zelda series, it's about seven inches long (19.5cm x 12cm x 6.5cm). It also sports two slider grips;  one is stamped with a Zelda Heart Container emblem, the other with the Club Nintendo logo. Nintendo's copy-writers suggest that the nylon case is "just the ticket" for carrying a 3DS with some games, or toiletries or stationery. Club Nintendo is a rewards scheme that allows fans to trade loyalty tokens for digital and real goodies. The carry case costs 4,000 stars.
Culture
7 Comments

Watch the first Oculus Rift operation meant to change the way surgeons are taught

Last month, a mix of scientists, videographers and surgeons made history, capturing an entire surgery in first-person 3D and then turning it into an Oculus Rift experience. The end result is, the team hopes, a new way to train medical students and surgeons. The next step, according to the MOVEO Foundation, which funded the project, is to create the first "live surgery" operation that will be filmed and broadcast on a virtual reality helmet simultaneously. Remi Rousseau, a French engineer involved in the project, emailed us to let us know how things went and send along a walkthrough of the process. I've included it here along with the full video at the bottom. This is a real surgery, so be warned, there is blood: The video was shot in the European Georges Pompidou Hospital in...
Culture
39 Comments

Some fans have figured out Game of Thrones' ending

George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, just admitted that some fans have actually figured out the ending to the epic, seven-book saga. According to the AV Club, Martin commented on the veracity of certain fan theories during a talk at the Edinburgh International Literary Festival. "While some of those theories were amusing bullshit and creative, some of the theories are right. At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I'd planted in the books and came to the right solution." Martin won't change the ending just because a few sharp fans sleuthed their way to the truth. "So what do I do then? Do I change it? I wrestled with that issue and I came to the conclusion that changing it would be a disaster, because...
Culture
25 Comments

World of Warcraft pays tribute to Robin Williams

World of Warcraft creator Blizzard recently paid tribute to the late actor and comedian Robin Williams on Twitter, concluding with "we'll see you in-game." .@robinwilliams Thank you. You gave us so much joy in our lives, and we hope you enjoyed your time in our world. We’ll see you in-game. — World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) August 13, 2014 Williams, age 63, was found dead in his home on Aug. 11. The celebrity was a self-professed player of games such as World of Warcraft and Portal. His son Cody was named for the character in Final Fight, while his daughter, Zelda Williams, was named for The Legend of Zelda's titular princess. Williams and his daughter appeared in several promotions for Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Following his passing, World of Warcraft f...
Culture
25 Comments

This live-action Titanfall short film is about as insane as you'd expect

The latest episode of Titanfall: Free the Frontier, the live-action short film based on Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall, was released today during Gamescom 2014, and it's just as frenetic as the game itself. Respawn originally announced Free the Frontier shortly before Titanfall's release in March, and put out a brief teaser at the time; a longer segment of footage was released during E3. The studio collaborated with Toronto-based visual effects house Playfight and director William Chang to produce Free the Frontier, and you can see a behind-the-scenes breakdown of the process of making the E3 video here. Today's video continues past the spot the E3 clip ended. This time, our hero jumps into a Titan of his own, and carnage ensues. For more on Titanfall, check out our full review. ...
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