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Syfy’s Space Thriller The Expanse Casts Its Lead And An Oscar Nominee

LeviathanWakesOf the laundry list of shows and projects that Syfy is currently developing, the one we’re most excited about has to be The Expanse. The prospect of an adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan series is a legitimately exciting one, and while the network’s track record is spotty to say the least, we can’t help but be optimistic about this one. Not only is the story and subject full of potential, but they’re also in the process of putting together a strong cast, including two more new additions.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Steven Strait (Magic City) have both signed on for the deep space mystery thriller. They join Thomas Jane (Punisher), who climbed on board early last month. The two newcomers may not be household names, but they bring a lot of clout and prestige. Aghdashloo won an Emmy and has been nominated for an Academy Award, and Strait has been working steadily over the last few years, increasing his profile and strengthening his resume.

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Extended Godzilla Final Battle Is Full Of Monsters And Atomic Fire

godzillaGareth EdwardsGodzilla may not be a perfect movie, the human component leaves much to be desired, but the rebooted creature feature is, however, an insane amount of fun. (And it was good enough to land Edwards a gig directing the first stand alone Star Wars movie.) The movie hits Blu-ray and DVD soon, and ahead of that release, Legendary has unveiled a new extended clip.

Be warned, this is a version of the big climactic battle, so there are obviously SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Godzilla yet.

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James Cameron Says Avatar 2, 3, And 4 Will Comment On The Modern World

avatarWe’re about to embark on a massive expansion of the Avatar universe. Early next year James Cameron and 20th Century Fox plan to start filming Avatar 2, Avatar 3, and Avatar 4 back-to-back-to-back. One film will be released each year starting in 2016, and despite being that far away from seeing an actual movie on the screen, Cameron is already pumping up his latest ventures.

Talking to Variety, he doesn’t reveal any specific details about the new Avatar films, but he does disclose some of the things he hopes to accomplish, thematically, and how he wants the upcoming movies to comment on the current world.

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DARPA And Google Developing A Modular Military Smartphone

military phoneGiven how susceptible smartphones are to hacking, if the military switches from radio to those devices, it will need to take measures to become more secure, among other things, and load them with apps and utilities that soldiers can use on the battlefield. The Institute for Software Integration Systems (ISIS—not to be confused with the other ISIS you’ve been reading about on the news these days) is working on just that as part of DARPA’s Transformative Apps program, which seeks to “develop a diverse array of militarily-relevant software applications using an innovative new development and acquisition process.” The problem is that TransApp funding is about to run out, which means DARPA and ISIS are looking for other projects that might help them fulfill the military’s app needs. Right now, the frontrunner seems to be Google’s (formerly Motorola’s) Project Ara.

The concept behind Project Ara is that of a modular smartphone with an open hardware platform that will cost somewhere around $50. It began with Motorola’s ATAP (Advanced Technologies and Products) program, which Google retained after it sold the company. At the helm of ATAP is a former DARPA director, who has helped with the cohesion between ATAP, ISIS, and DARPA to create a modular phone that can be assembled and changed on the fly as determined by the military’s needs.

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Traffic Lights Are Frighteningly Easy To Hack

lightWe all know that any smart device or computer system can be hacked these days, but if you start actually enumerating all of the vulnerable gadgets, it gets a bit overwhelming. Phones, smart appliances, fitness trackers all connect to an app that stores your personal information. But that’s not all. Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published a paper in which they show how easy it is to hack traffic lights. Wonderful.

With the help of a Michigan road agency, the team hacked actual stoplights in a city in Michigan. They demonstrated that the current system of IP-based networked traffic lights that send and receive information from a central point might save money, but that its use of wireless radios is a vulnerability that’s troublingly easy to exploit.

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Comic(s) Relief: Southern Cross Will Cross Sci-Fi, Horror, And Mystery This Winter

SouthernCrossAdding a mystery element to a science fiction setting can make for some truly memorable storytelling. What’s the story behind this crashed alien vessel filled with strange leathery eggs? Who destroyed the Scopuli? What are the Reapers? Throw in a dash of good old-fashioned horror and you’ve most certainly got our attention. If the same holds true for you, you might want to check out Image Comics’ Southern Cross, due out this winter from Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger.

Here’s how Cloonan herself describes the series, to go along with the creepy-ass cover above:

Southern Cross is an ongoing Sci-fi mystery, with a healthy dose of creeping horror thrown in for good measure. The first six issues take place on a voyage to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, as Alex Braith uncovers a mystery surrounding her sister’s recent death — one that is ultimately going to change her life, and the lives of countless others.