The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter. An arc light, or arc lamp, is a source of illumination created when electricity flows between two carbon electrodes. Use of arc lamps dwindled in the 20th century, edged out by incandescents, but for a long time they were a common light source for movie projectors. Mostly this little detail is just a fun fact--something interesting to bring up at parties. But this week, it's a reminder that the history of cinema is long, even when our memories are short--and that the news of ArcLight Cinema shutting down can bring back a flood of recollections, even for people who may not know the theater chain's namesake.
DJI has a new drone, the Air 2S, and it's one of the best drones I've ever flown. The Air 2S is externally nearly identical to last year's Mavic Air 2. It even uses the same batteries, which makes upgrading a little cheaper. There are some very welcome changes in this update. The Air 2S adds an object detection camera to the top of the drone, which improves the collision avoidance system. It really helps when you're flying toward something at high speed, since the drone pitches forward, rendering the front sensor slightly less effective.
It all started with an odd pile of shells: a pile that, upon closer inspection, fell apart like a flower losing its petals, introducing a burned-out nature documentarian named Craig Foster--and, in time, the world--to the octopus hiding cleverly inside. Known simply as "her," she would become the star of My Octopus Teacher, the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary and surprise pandemic hit that told the story of Foster's unlikely relationship with that eight-armed mollusk. Released in September 2020, it arrived at the perfect moment. Audiences exhausted by lockdowns and unrelenting 2020-ness were primed for escape into the undersea fantasia of South Africa's kelp forests, where Foster met her. Best-selling books like The Soul of an Octopus and Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness had whetted public curiosity about these uncannily intelligent creatures with whom humans last shared a common ancestor 600 million years ago. Yet while most writing about octopuses emphasizes their ostensibly alien, unknowable nature,1 and serious, science-minded nature documentaries elevate concern about biodiversity over sentiment for a single animal, My Octopus Teacher defied convention. It embraced Foster's feelings for the octopus, which over the course of a year evolved from curiosity to care--even to love. And though her own feelings were left for viewers to interpret, the film's indelible impression was of nature populated by species who are not only beautiful and exquisitely evolved and ecologically important, but highly sentient, too. Nautilus talked to Foster about his octopus teacher and how getting to know her changed the way he thinks about nature. I write a lot about nature and biology and ecology, but in the last few years I've focused on the minds of animals and how we think about them.
The minds at Respawn Entertainment are wizards when it comes to the action-adventure genre. Twenty-fourteen's Titanfall and its criminally underrated followup, 2016's Titanfall 2, challenged traditional boots-on-the-ground shooters with a heightened sense of scale and verticality, while the more recent Jedi: Fallen Order etched itself as one of the greatest Star Wars narratives told in any medium. The Los Angeles studio's fixation with exoskeletons, Blade Runner, and visuals that bleed Wachowski and Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell is nothing new, but they are intertwined with world-building to create headier pockets of science fiction bliss. The free-to-play shooter set in the Titanfall universe first launched in February 2019. No extended gameplay reveals that cringe out with comms from Chad and the rest of the QA team.
From writer-director Neil Burger ("Divergent") comes another young adult science-fiction tale, this one of a cruise ship in deep space full of restless teenagers under the supervision of a single adult. Some of the young people find out that the adult is keeping them drugged and docile and forcing them to reproduce artificially. Is that a recipe for YA trouble or what? Just when you thought you could not watch one more film of this kind, here is "Voyagers," a title that sounds enough like "Passengers" (2016) to put you off you spaceship-grown peas and carrots. The story is set in 2063 when Earth is ravaged, and scientists have searched for another planet to colonize.
If aliens ever did decide to pay our humble planet a visit, what form would they come in? Would they be adorable little blue monsters with glow-in-the-dark paws, or gelatinous giants hellbent on our swift destruction? It's impossible to know for certain, given the few real-world glimmers that sadly never turn out to be aliens, but the films below paint a whole host of different scenarios -- from the creepy horror of Killer Klowns from Outer Space to the family-friendly antics of We Can Be Heroes. Here are some of the best alien movies to stream on Netflix... Has Shaun the Sheep ever been in a bad movie? Not that we can think of. Nick Park's cheery, claymation Wallace and Gromit spinoff has been a family favourite for years, and Farmageddon -- a movie which sees Shaun befriending a colourful alien that lands in the woods near his farm -- is absolutely no exception.
Neuralink co-founder Max Hodak, who started the brain-computer interface company with Elon Musk, has claimed that humans have the technology to recreate Jurassic Park. "We could probably build jurassic park if we wanted to. "Maybe 15 years of breeding engineering to get super exotic novel species". It is unclear who Hodak is referring to when he says "we". Neuralink has demonstrated a chip implanted into the brain of a pig and a monkey, but does not appear to have made any announcements with regards to animal cloning. If Hodak is referring to scientists and genetic researchers as a whole, the prospect becomes more feasible – although is undeniably difficult. Scientists have cloned a number of animals, including wolves, dogs, cats, monkeys and, famously, sheep. A black-footed ferret, which is on the US endangered species list, has also been cloned, but scientists have not managed to create an extinct animal yet. Starship SN15 test dates set as SpaceX launches debris hotline Aliens would be'friendly but we can't gamble on it' Scientists connect human brain to computer wirelessly for first time ever Nasa reveals Easter eggs hidden on Mars perseverance Aliens would be'friendly but we can't gamble on it' "Biodiversity (antifragility) is definitely valuable; conservation is important and makes sense.
James Cameron's obsession with the ocean deep began when he was an adolescent, in rural Canada. He read National Geographic accounts of deep-sea excursions and idolized Jacques Cousteau and his crew. "They always had this great French sense of style," he said recently. "They breathed it, quite literally, with their Aqua-Lungs. They got in their silver wetsuits and went exploring. It was like a science-fiction movie. I said, 'I need to do that.' " The problem: he lived five hundred kilometres from the nearest ocean.
Warner Bros. made a point of releasing all its 2021 movies on HBO Max, and the service's next big movie is an appropriate nod to the digital world. The studio has released the first trailer for Space Jam: A New Legacy, and it's more of an ode to sci-fi than you might think. The movie has LeBron James whisked into a "Matrix hell" where he has to play basketball against a supervillain-like Goon Squad to rescue his son. That involves enlisting Bugs Bunny and friends for his squad, of course, but the references go further than that. James can count on help from The Iron Giant's namesake robot, for starters.
There are many great articles about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its benefits for business and society. However, many of these articles are too technical for the average reader. I love reading about AI, but I sometimes think to myself, 'Gee, I wish the author had explained this in simple English.' I will try and explain AI and its related technologies in simple terms, using real-life examples, as though I were talking to someone at a party. Your colleagues or your (close) friends may tolerate your endless and complex ramblings, but I guarantee you that people at parties are far less forgiving.