*Prospect* Is a Master Class in Low-Budget Space Opera

The indie science fiction film Prospect, directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, shows that you don’t need $100 million to make a first-rate space opera. Horror author Christopher M. Cevasco was surprised that the movie looks as good as it does.

“If I had just seen this movie in a vacuum and wasn’t told it was a low-budget film, I wouldn’t have thought that it was,” Cevasco says in Episode 360 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It seemed high-budget to me. They did a lot with a little.”

One way that Earl and Caldwell are able to stretch their budget is by setting most of the action in the wilderness. Science fiction author Rajan Khanna enjoyed how the story, which involves ruthless characters struggling over a scarce resource, resembles a classic Western.

“It replicated the idea of what it must have been like back in the day, where you’re just camping in the wilderness and all of a sudden a dude rolls up with his six shooters and wants to rob you,” he says. [...]  read more

Zuckerberg says breaking up Facebook “isn’t going to help”

With the look of someone betrayed, Facebook’s CEO has fired back at co-founder Chris Hughes and his brutal NYT op-ed calling for regulators to split up Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. “When I read what he wrote, my main reaction was that what he’s proposing that we do isn’t going to do anything to help solve those issues. So I think that if what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to be able to invest billions of dollars per year like we are in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference” Zuckerberg told France Info while in Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Zuckerberg’s argument boils down to the idea that Facebook’s specific problems with privacy, safety, misinformation, and speech won’t be directly addressed by breaking up the company, and that would instead actually hinder its efforts to safeguard its social networks. The Facebook family of apps would theoretically have fewer economies [...]  read more

Why I travel the world with my mother

… it was when I went to Canada and Greece at five years old that I really knew … I decided to become a freelancer, working in content creation and travel … that led to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. … As a child, while I loved travelling, water sports and Gaelic Football, …
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #travel #tours

Monster Hunter World has a free trial on PS4

If Monster Hunter World completely passed you by when it released last year, you can make up for lost time by trying it out in a free trial on PS4 right now. 

From now until May 20, PlayStation 4 owners are able to play through the opening parts of Capcom’s monstrously fun game. 

If you access the trial you’ll get to experience two of the five locations from the full game: Wildspire Waste and the Ancient Forest. You’ll be able to quest, explore and play online with players who own the full game. If you decide you’d quite like to keep hunting monsters and wish to pick up the full title, any progress you make in the trial will be carried over. 

Time to slay

This trial is perfectly timed for new players as Capcom has recently unveiled its DLC for Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. If this trailer caught your attention, the free trial is a great way to test out the base game before committing yourself when the expansion releases in September this year.

In our  [...]  read more

Original Content podcast: We’re not impressed by Netflix’s ‘Extremely Wicked’ Ted Bundy movie

Despite its grandiose title, Netflix’s “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” turns out to be surprisingly forgettable.

In this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by Brian Heater to review the film, which features Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy and Lily Collins as his initially unsuspecting girlfriend Liz Kendall.

The film is ostensibly about their relationship, but director Joe Berlinger and screenwriter Michael Werwie can’t quite seem to commit — they end up dramatizing the broader story of Bundy’s capture and trials, while only intermittently returning to Kendall in the film’s second half.

Bundy’s actual murders also get short shrift. While one might argue that we already know he’s a killer and don’t necessarily need to see grisly recreations of his work, by being so coy about Bundy’s murderous side, the film ends up feeling strangely unbalanced and empty.

We also continue our discussion of the final season of “Game of [...]  read more

Recommended Reading: Google Duplex still confuses restaurants

One year later, restaurants are still confused by Google Duplex
Natt Garun,
The Verge

Google had us in awe when it debuted the AI-powered Duplex tech at I/O 2018. The system can be used to make reservations on your behalf, and it can even make a call if one is required. A year later though, it seems restaurants are still confused by the technology. From calls that look like spam to using different voices and accents in immediate follow-ups to confirm reservations, Duplex still has its quirks. But there’s also an interesting wrinkle: it can be more polite than a human.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/11/recommended-reading-google-duplex-is-confusing-restaurants/

Space Photos of the Week: Hot Hubble Time Machine

This is no ordinary space photo: It is 16 years’ worth of Hubble data—7,500 exposures in total, including more than 265,000 galaxies. But that’s not all. Some of the galaxies in this image are so ancient, they date back to almost the beginning of the universe. That means that most of the light you see here as tiny specs of starlight, the light from galaxies full of planets and black holes and a myriad of mysteries, has been traveling through the universe for the last 13.3 billion years. Hubble is not just a telescope, it’s a time machine.

You might not know it, but a satellite galaxy orbits our Milky Way, and it’s called the Large Magellanic Cloud. In this photo you can see a section parsed out from the LMC—a star cluster that contains many stars known as Cepheid variables. These stars dim and brighten at regular intervals, and astronomers on Earth can use them as a way to measure the distance between us and the galaxy, helping to better calculate the rate of expansion [...]  read more