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Scientists Program The Biggest Group Of Robots Ever

kilbotsSwarming robots — on the ground, in the air, even in a swimming pool — are nothing new, and DARPA put out a call back in May for robots to work together in a hive-mind sort of way. Still, all of those developments put together didn’t quite prepare me for the massive swarm of robots that scientists have recently programmed.

The robot is called Kilobot — a name that makes sense metrically, but also has some unfortunate connotations, especially when spoken out loud. It was created by researchers at Harvard’s Self-Organizing Systems Research Group. It’s roughly the size of a penny and has three toothpicks for legs. The parts to build a Kilobot cost about $14, and by itself it doesn’t seem all that commanding or impressive. But when amassed with 1,000 other Kilobots, the tiny robots transform into a collaborative mass that can assemble itself into pretty much any two-dimensional shape it wants.

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Star Wars: Episode VII Leaked Images Show Alleged Stormtrooper Redesign

Trooper1Even with director J.J. Abrams’ penchant for secrecy, it’s inevitable that a production as high-profile as Star Wars: Episode VII is going to have some leaks. And it has, ranging from pictures of sets and aliens to the ever-revolving door of story rumors. The latest comes in the form of pictures purported to be of Episode VII’s redesigned Stormtroopers. And while the unidentified source for the pics does leave us a bit dubious, there are other details that suggest this might — might — be the real deal. The pic up top is the first of two shots posted today by the site Indie Revolver.

Indie Revolver doesn’t say who their source for the images is, instead just claiming that they have “very reliable information that the images below represent how some of the Imperial Forces will appear in JJ Abrams’ Star Wars film.” That’s the sort of thing that would normally have us reaching for our Salt Lick of Skepticism, but in this case the look of the alleged stormtrooper helmet does seem to line up pretty closely with the following drawing, which was posted by artist Tom Hodges on Instagram earlier this week.

StormtrooperDrawing

While not involved with the Episode VII production, Hodges claimed to have gotten a look at the stormtrooper designs via somebody who is, and the drawing was Hodges’ attempt to illustrate what he claims to have seen. Hodges later pulled the image down from his Instagram account, but he has since reposted the image from Indie Revolver on Instagram and confirmed that it is what he saw and based his drawing on, saying:

So I missed A LOT of details. My second view of it, I just was scratching the surface. But I told you it was freaking awesome! #starwars #episodevii #stormtroopers

In addition to the standard-issue stormtrooper helmet, Indie Revolver also shared this second image, which they speculate is an updated version of the “snowtroopers” seen on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

Trooper2

The “snowtrooper” helmet also fits with the description provided in a Making Star Wars story from earlier this summer, and both images are evocative of existing trooper designs by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston, as seen below.

McQuarrieTrooper

JoeSnow

If the pics are legit, the stormtrooper design is a nice evolution of what we saw in the Original Trilogy, and the Clone Troopers that preceded them. Hopefully we’ll see something official from the Star Wars camp in the months to come. Episode VII is currently slated for release on December 18, 2015.

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League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Fan Video Suggests A Far Superior League

It’s no secret that notoriously cranky comics writer Alan Moore is no fan of movies being made of his books, and I can’t really blame him for that. His tomes such as Watchmen and From Hell are complex and ambitious works that defy easy condensation into a two-hour movie narrative, so I can understand why he might be irked that Hollywood has repeatedly adapted his books, whether he wanted them to or not. I’d argue that many of the resulting films, such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta, are more of a mixed bag rather than outright failures, but if there’s one case where Moore’s disdain is absolutely justified, it’s the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, a truly terrible film that looks all the worse when compared to the tantalizing alternate version dreamed up by the video above.

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Edge Of Tomorrow Blu-Ray Packaging Avoids Using The Name At All Costs

Edge of Tomorrow

This has been a damn fine summer for science fiction movies. We’ve got massive blockbusters like Godzilla, maybe the best Marvel movie yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, and a bunch of angry moneys in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Not to mention interesting smaller movies like The Signal, The Congress, and I Origins. One of the true travesties of the summer, however, is that Edge of Tomorrow was a box office failure. It’s one of the most fun, entertaining movies of the year, let alone the summer, full of big action and clever use of time travel. It also has a terrible, super generic name, which some claim is the reason for the flop, though that may be changing, we’re not entirely sure.

Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill, somewhere along the line the title was changed to this bland, focus group approved, pile of crap. All You Need Is Kill is a bit of a mouthful, but at least it catches your attention. Edge of Tomorrow sounds like the title of a power ballad by some Cinderella knock off from the 1980s that no one remembers. But now look at this art that Warner Bros. has released for the impending home release. It’s curious.

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Star Trek Author Perfectly Shuts Down A Homophobic Reader

Star TrekWhen you write, especially in a public forum, you open yourself up to all kinds of criticism. Some is legitimate, still more is knee jerk reaction, and then there are the people who just want to yell at you and be dicks. (Internet comments sections can be great places for writers and websites to interact with readers and open an honest dialogue, but they can also be the basest cesspool of humanity, like the guy who told a friend he hoped he died in a car crash because a video on his website wouldn’t play, or the feminist-leaning site having a problem with anonymous rape gifs.) Sometimes writers yell back, but sometimes they also deliver the perfect, well thought out replies, like the case of Star Trek writer David Mack who responded to a distressed homophobic reader.

Mack is the author of a number of Trek novels across a variety of incarnations of the show. In his most recent book, the Deep Space Nine adventure Harbinger, there is a lesbian relationship between and Klingon spy and a Vulcan. Encountering such a connection enraged one reader so much that he took it upon himself to write to Mack the following message:

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Guardians Of The Galaxy: Enjoy This Video Of Groot Dancing Over And Over Again

guardians-of-the-galaxy-preview-trailer-19Guardians of the Galaxy is one of biggest movies of the year, and smashed previous August box office records when it was released at the beginning of the month. And being a Marvel movie, there are also multiple post-credits sequences for those of you patient enough to wait through until the very end, or those of you who can hold you bladder that long.

One of these scenes, which you’ve probably heard about, hold possible hints about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also contains a character you probably didn’t ever expect to see in a major motion picture ever again. The other has received significantly less public exposure and hasn’t been talked about nearly as much. It is, however, a total blast, and now it’s available online for you to watch again and again.