Soft robots aren’t new—DARPA, for example, developed a small one capable of changing color to camouflage itself (see video below). As impressive as that is, the biggest drawback is the tether, which is pretty much a power cord. Now, researchers from Harvard have figured out a way to, as they put it, “cut the cord” and develop a soft robot that can walk without a tether.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Back to the past of the future.
Klaatu barada nikto.
Saturn made news a few months ago when astronomers spotted what they believed was a new moon being born in the planet’s A Ring. As it turns out, the event was rare not because it featured the birth of a new moon, but because of its placement. Saturn’s F Ring, it’s outermost one, gives birth to moons fairly regularly, but those events are easy to miss because the moons die almost as quickly they appear.
To look at, the F Ring isn’t as bright as most of the inner ones, it’s made of chunky ice and is thinner than the others. But it does illustrate a principle called the Roche limit, which is the boundary beyond which moons can form and stay intact. Inside the Roche limit, gravity pulls at the newly formed moons on opposite sides with such force that it can tear them apart, particularly when they’re not particularly massive.
Watching a biopic of yourself must be a strange experience. Seeing what is ostensibly your story, played out by actors and actresses, all of whom are much better looking than you are in reality, seeing key events form your life rendered dramatically, that all sounds quite surreal. Do you get sucked up into the story like every other audience member (ideally anyway), or do you sit there mutter “that’s not how it happened” to yourself for two hours? In most of these cases, the subjects in these films are long dead, so this is a moot point, but sometimes they’re still with us, as is the case with the new Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. If you wondered how the renowned physicist responded to this film, the answer is, he was moved to tears.
James Marsh’s (Man on Wire) film recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it earned a ton of praise, specifically for Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending) in the lead role as Hawking. Based on a memoir of the same name by Jane Hawking (played by Felicity Jones), Stephen’s wife, the film depicts the life of the two from their early days at Cambridge through Stephen’s deteriorating health and some of his most important work.
For all of the recent set photos, leaked costume designs, and late in the game casting, we’re still 15 months away from seeing J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, which doesn’t drop until December 18, 2015. But, for those of you who just can’t wait that long, we’re not actually that far from seeing new entries into the Star Wars canon. The animated series Star Wars Rebels hits airwaves early in October, only a few weeks away, and as the first addition to the post-Disney galaxy far, far away, that’s an exciting prospect. In advance of the premiere, Lucasfilm has release three new TV spots for Rebels.
The new series is set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, where the Empire is tightening its grip on the galaxy, and they’re just now getting to outer rim planets like Lothal. This extended look introduces you to a group of unlikely heroes, drawn together by loss and oppression and the press of circumstances, who are wiling to stand up to the tyranny. This group forms the first seeds of what will ultimately become the Rebel Alliance.
At this point, Star Wars: Episode VII is already deep in production. They’re so deep, in fact, they actually took a two-week hiatus while returning star Harrison Ford recovered from surgery on the leg he broke on set, and are now back filming again, as you can clearly see in all of those set photos that popped up over the last couple days. This far into principal photography you expect most of the cast to be set, but that’s not going to stop J.J. Abrams from finding a spot for an old pal, in this case former Heroes star Greg Grunberg, who has reportedly joined the cast.
Not only has Grunberg worked with Abrams a ton in the past, appearing in the likes of Mission: Impossible III, Alias, even all the way to Felicity (he also had a small role in 2009’s Star Trek, voicing James Kirk’s stepdad), the two go even further back than that. They’re actually childhood friends, and Grunberg even participated in those movies that Abrams made as a kid in the late 1970s and loves to talk about so much.
Over the last few days it feels like all I’ve written about is Star Wars: Episode VII. Between connections to Star Wars: Rebels, set photos of that one ship, and those even newer set photos of that badass other ship (see, I’m trying to be a good sport and not spoil anything above the jump), there’s been quite a bit to discuss. And that continues, as we’ve heard some possible news about whereabouts one of the returning franchise vets who may be missing in action (if you’ve kept up with the scuttlebutt, you know who I’m talking about).
As per usual, there are possible SPOILERS for Episode VII beyond this point. You’ve been warned, continue with caution. Also, take what you read beyond here with a grain of salt. Nothing is official, and nothing is likely to become official until we actually see the damn movie on December 18, 2015. Keep that in mind.