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Comic-Con 2013: The Best Sci-Fi Events On July 17 – 18

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Next week the San Diego Comic-Con, one of the biggest pop culture events on the planet, will kick off once again, flooding the Gaslamp district with people dressed like Stormtroopers lugging comic longboxes behind them on a wheelbarrow. Going to Comic-Con can be intimidating even if you’re a regular attendee, with so much going on and so many people packed into the relatively small area of downtown San Diego. Over the next few days, we’re going to highlight the most interesting sci-fi-related panels and events any GFR fan should put on their to-do list. First up, here’s the rundown for Wednesday’s “Preview Night,” and the first full day of the Con, Thursday, July 18.

Preview Night: July 17

AlmostHuman

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Akira Live-Action Concept Art Shows Off Future Cityscapes And Sleek Motorcycles

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TetsuoThe live-action adaptation of the anime classic Akira still seems to be mired in development hell, and many fans will likely consider that a good thing. But even if a live-action Akira would be fighting the odds not to be a complete disaster, it’s always a shame when a huge project like this slips into limbo simply because a lot of talented people had sunk their time and efforts into trying to make it happen. Chief among those are the concept and storyboard artists whose vision plays a huge part of developing what the final product might look like. So while it’s probably just as well that Akira is still just spinning its wheels, it’s worth taking a moment to check out some of the awesome concept art done for the project along the way.

First up are some gorgeous looks at the cityscape of Neo-Manhattan (which might have actually been called Neo-Tokyo). We’ve actually seen other Akira images by this artist, Rodolfo Dimaggio, but he recently posted a ton more on his website. Check them out below. (He also did the above image of Tetsuo wrecking up the place.)

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Chemosignals Make Your Nose an Emotional Superhighway

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In 2012, we as human beings are as close to sensory overload as we’ve ever been. The prehistoric “food as necessity” mindset has been replaced by one that offers over 60 kinds of barbecue sauce. Gigantic flat-screens have replaced nearly every other practical form of visual information, from TVs to store signs to bowling prices. Similar comparisons can be made for touch and hearing. Though our sense of smell was certainly more useful in the wild, primitive days of mankind’s origins, it’s the redheaded step-child of the senses, where most products with olfactory promotions are usually just trying to cover up other worse smells. I’ll admit, it’s hard to conceive other methods of nasal persuasion. Researcher Gün Semin and his Utrecht University of the Netherlands colleagues may have proven things haven’t changed as much as we’ve thought.

In a new study for the journal Psychological Science, Semin hoped to prove that emotional expressions weren’t limited to just visual examples, such as widening your eyes in fear or sneering when disgusted. His team hypothesized that chemicals in bodily secretions would cause similar reactions in both the sender and receiver, creating an emotional bond, only through science instead of icky feelings.

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Let Walt Whitman Inspire You To Explore Space With Poetry And Dubstep

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The thing everyone has been waiting for has finally happened; someone finally put a Walt Whitman poem to dubstep. Only the internet could give us such an odd but awesome combination. That’s not to say that the dubstep part really adds anything to the inspiring poem or the video, but (surprisingly enough) it doesn’t subtract from it either. The poem is Whitman’s “Pioneers! O pioneers!” and the video turns it into a call for space exploration.

Walt Whitman was a poet living in Civil War era America, so the original intent of his poem had nothing to do with space exploration but was instead an ode to westward expansion in the United States. That’s not to say that he probably wouldn’t have felt the same way about mankind’s exploration of space. After all, in the 1800’s the American west and the gold rush were that century’s space race. Either way, it is a gripping call for mankind to get out, explore the boundaries of our civilization and expand our knowledge of the universe.

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