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Kirk’s Goofy Phaser Rifle Just Sold At Auction For $231,000

While I’ve always been pretty responsible when it comes to money — mainly because I’ve never had a ton available to blow on frivolous things — I know there is one area where I could blow through a lot of cash fast if I ever become independently wealthy. I’m talking about movie/TV props. They inherently carry a story with them, they bring you a little closer to the shows and movies you love, and they look great up on a mantle or in a display case. But if I am ever going to dive into the prop world head first, I’m gonna have to negotiate one hell of a raise. A phaser rifle Kirk uses in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” just sold at auction for a whopping $231,000.

Kirk and his phaser rifle

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Gale Anne Hurd Talks Zombies And Walking Dead Season 4

Zombie Hungry!

SPOILERS IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP ON WALKING DEAD!

Now that The Walking Dead has wrapped up its season three with a disappointing finale, not much has changed in terms of location or motivation on AMC’s widely popular zombie series. While the Governor (David Morrissey) is still out there somewhere and the people at Woodbury are now at the prison with Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group, it’s almost maddening to think of how little momentum the series has going into season four.

In an interview with IGN, Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd talked about what to expect from the next season of the show. Hurd contends that the Governor is still a threat, even with only two henchmen and a small arsenal of weapons. Hurd says:

The Governor is still out there with Shumpert and Martinez. They’ve still got significant firepower. If they go to Woodbury, at this point, Woodbury’s not as protected as it used to be. I think everyone was traumatized by what happened, and I think they feel safer in the prison.

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Brown-Haired Teen Invents DNA Tester, Proving Redhead Is His Brother

Fun with DNAYou ever notice how the older you get, the more awful teenagers have become? Positively insufferable, am I right? Where were all the kids in my life that invented lifesaving gels or lion deterrents?

Fred Turner, a brunette 17-year-old from Yorkshire, England, was sick of jokes that his ridiculously redheaded brother Gus had a different father. So, naturally, he did a shitload of research and figured out how to build his own DNA testing machine. £400 and a year’s worth of trial and error later, Fred had a functional polymerase chain reaction machine built solely of parts he found around the house or could easily acquire, as opposed to buying a brand new one that would have set him back around £3,000.

Once it was built, he immediately put it to use, collecting cells from his brother’s cheek and putting them, along with other chemicals, into the machine’s centrifuge, soon after heating them to release the DNA. Yadda, yadda, yadda, and he ended up with more DNA than he started with, so it’s essentially a DNA Xerox machine. He then sent his brother’s DNA to a lab, which sent him back a genome sequence. Fred searched through Gus’ genes for the genetic mutation that causes red hair, and sure enough, he found it, proving that his mother wasn’t some loveless whore like all the schoolkids potentially could have said.

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Avatar Sequels Will Take Place Underwater

Sam Worthington Thinking...At this point, it’s hard to believe that James Cameron’s Avatar is four years old. It’s also hard to believe that Avatar 2 hasn’t been released in theaters everywhere by now. As James Cameron is putting the finishing touches on the Avatar sequel screenplays – both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 will be made concurrently – the films’ producer Jon Landau talked about the technology behind the sequel films.

According to THR, the Avatar sequels will take place in the oceans of the alien planet Pandora. While the production can replicate water and underwater sequences using CGI and motion capture, they cannot replicate the actors’ performances in CGI water. So it seems like James Cameron may have to make the Avatar sequels the old fashioned way, underwater. Landau explained:

We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater… We could simulate water [in computer graphics], but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.

Historically, this would not be the first time James Cameron shot a movie completely in an underwater tank. He used this method to create real reactions and situations on The Abyss in 1989. According to the actors in The Abyss (especially Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the production was hellish and miserable. There were a number of incidents where Mastrantonio, Ed Harris, and Cameron himself almost drowned while making the film.

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Da Vinci’s Demons Mucks With History: This Week In Science Fiction

Tom Riley as Leonardo Da VinciDa Vinci’s Demons
Starz, Friday 10/9c

As near as I can tell, this new series from Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer is basically going to be Assassin’s Creed II: The Show. I’m totally okay with that, so I’m hoping the show is good and can help fill the void that’s about to be left by the end of Starz’s Spartacus. Da Vinci’s Demons stars Tom Riley as a young, photogenic Leonardo Da Vinci as we explore the “untold story” of his life as a dashing inventor of things and a man far ahead of his time.

Da Vinci’s Demons is set during his early years in Renaissance Florence, and will have Da Vinci getting involved in all manner of intrigues, conspiracies, and power plays, caught up in the struggle between the schemes of the corrupt, elitist powers that be and his own desire to let reason and knowledge change the world. From the look of things, we’ll get to see plenty of the original Renaissance Man’s more incredible inventions. This is a guy who spent the 15th and 16th centuries conjuring up designs for such seemingly anachronistic creations as parachutes, machine guns, diving suits, and a friggin’ armored tank. If Da Vinci’s Demons can have as much fun with the character as the AC games did, you can bet I’ll be sticking with this one for the long haul.

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In Mildly Hypothetical News, Science Funding Cuts Will Ruin America

Cash moneyMuch like the word “douchebag” doesn’t really have a positive meaning, neither does the word “sequester.” It’s bad enough when jury duty is involved, but when it comes to the government gutting science funding, it’s downright angering. Our president wants to spend $100 million on a brain-mapping program, which isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but seeing as how his own brain has long been overtaken by Washington D.C. and politics in general — and perhaps even before that, if his sci-fi knowledge is considered — I guess it’s no surprise he doesn’t see the immediate dangers of such cutbacks. Cutbacks which will see science funding drop from $140 billion to $130.5 billion.

The largest amount of damage will be dealt to the medical fields, where cancer and Alzheimer’s research will take an immediate hit. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose $31 billion is more than a fifth of the entire amount, is at its lowest funding now since 2002. NIH Director Francis Collins predicts the loss of around 20,000 jobs in the scientific community, which has gone through a cutback-filled decade already.

Much research will go unseen due to a lack of grant funding. The National Science Foundation will probably fund between 800 to 1,000 fewer grants in the next year. Since we’re talking about money and everything, how about the fact that research ends up making things easier and cheaper in the long run? The Department of Defense had a budget of around $700 billion, and while I’m not denying that the D.O.D. certainly deserves a sizable cut of the federal budget, that’s just fucking ridiculous. And they’re not making anything any cheaper for anybody. Probably. Maybe they’re making life cheaper by ending so many of them.