July 28, 2006

OT: A Look At Massive [9:31 am]

A Mind of Their Own - pdf

Sparked by the popularity of computer-animated movies, Hollywood is looking for new ways to stretch the art form’s boundaries. So producers are using something that Walt Disney himself could have scarcely imagined: technology with the ability to create lifelike animated characters whose actions are guided by computers emulating human reasoning through artificial intelligence.

Known as Massive, the software is the brainchild of New Zealand computer graphics guru Stephen Regelous, who helped create the spectacular battle scenes featured in director Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Massive has since been used in such films as “King Kong” and commercials such as Budweiser’s “The Wave” that aired during the Super Bowl and World Cup telecasts. In that ad, 97,000 virtual fans raise cards to create a collective image of a bottle of beer pouring into a glass.

“It’s bringing characters to life,” said Regelous, 42. “It’s allowing artists to create something more than they’ve ever done before.”

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More on “Tubes” [8:55 am]

Senator open to TV chat about Internet “tubes” - pdf

Mocked by comedian and host of “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart for calling the Internet a bunch of tubes, U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said on Thursday he is open to appearing on the popular cable television program for a rebuttal.

The comedian has parodied the dean of the Senate Republicans for rejecting calls by some Internet companies for a law to block high-speed Internet providers from charging higher prices to carry certain content. Backers of such a law say it would preserve what they call “Net neutrality.”

[...] Stewart parodied the senator’s remarks on three episodes, which have spread over the Internet and were widely viewed on YouTube.com. He questioned Stevens’ knowledge of the Internet, and quipped, “You’re just the guy in charge of regulation.”

[...] One congressional aide said the show had explained the controversial Net neutrality issue “better than any corporate lobbyist or policymaker I know.”

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