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Riddick Almost Turned Vin Diesel Into A Hobo

Vin DieselThe process of bringing Riddick, the third film in the so-called “Furyan Chronicles,” to the big screen has been a rocky road. They had funding, they lost funding, and you’ve heard, repeatedly, about how much producer and star Vin Diesel and director David Twohy had to sacrifice to finally finish this film they’re so passionate about. But what does that really mean? Well now we know a little bit more about exactly what was on the line. Had the movie failed to materialize, Diesel could have been homeless.

It probably wouldn’t have been all that bad, I’m sure that Paul Walker would have let Diesel crash on his couch if it came to that, but the New York-born actor did apparently risk his home on the deal, putting his house up for financing. Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, Diesel said, “I had to leverage my house…If we didn’t finish the film, I would be homeless.” I can’t help but picturing him as a cartoon hobo, with a bindle, maybe sharing the last bean with that space dog from the Riddick trailers.

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Westworld Coming To HBO Thanks To Bad Robot And Jonathan Nolan

westworldWhile brother Christopher is off making the original film Interstellar, Jonathan Nolan is hopping on the remake train, and he’s headed down to Westworld. And he’ll be meeting up with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, producer Jerry Weintraub, Warner Bros. TV, and the granddaddy of all cable stations, HBO. Because yes, this is a TV show port, not a cinematic adaptation. Is this good news to everyone? I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I understand that it makes sense for books to be adapted into TV series, because a feature’s length may not be enough to tell a story respectfully. But I don’t understand the process of stretching a film into an entire series. Then again, I’d be hard-pressed to find a more powerful team of creative forces to get behind this.

It’s one of HBO’s biggest commitments ever, and they’ve granted Westworld a pilot production commitment, making it the first cable project that Bad Robot has gotten involved in. The pilot script was written by Lisa Joy, who wrote episodes of Burn Notice and Pushing DaisiesDark Knight trilogy and Interstellar. He’ll also serve as director. Weintraub, who produced the Oceans trilogy and Behind the Candelabra, will be executive producing with Nolan, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk. I’m thinking this pilot would have to be a complete disaster to not make it to series.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Officially Casts Bradley Cooper As Rocket Raccoon

Bradley Cooper Is Rocket Raccoon“I love it when a plan comes together!” It looks like Marvel has finally assembled the entire team for Guardians of the Galaxy. More than six months ago, actor Chris Pratt was cast in the leading role of Star-Lord/Peter Quill in Marvel’s newest cosmic movie. Shortly thereafter, Dave Bautista was cast as Drax the Destroyer, and Star Trek‘s Zoe Saldana joined in the role of Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy. A few weeks ago, Vin Diesel signed on to voice the treelike alien Groot and now it appears Marvel has found their Rocket Raccoon…and it’s actor Bradley Cooper.

According to Marvel, Bradley Cooper will indeed voice the gun-loving Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. In a press release, Marvel mentioned that Cooper would lend his voice, but it didn’t disclose whether he’ll also provide motion capture for the character. Regardless, the entire team is assembled and we’re one step closer to seeing the comic book movie launch into theaters next August.

Rocket Raccoon is the lovable, violent, anthropomorphic raccoon who is an expert marksman and a master tactician among the the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Rocket also acts as the Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant, the area of outer space sealed off from the rest of the galaxy by the Galacian Wall. He has the ability of super speed and acute senses. He is also an accomplished starship pilot and second-in-command when Star-Lord isn’t around.

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Transformers 4 Set Videos Reveal Anti-Transformers Propaganda

Director Michael Bay is in the middle of principal photography on the fourth installment of his Transformers series, and a leaked call sheet from the set reveals a few more tidbits about the upcoming movie. The film is currently shooting in Chicago’s McCormick Place and Millennium Park, which have been the source of a few leaked videos that give you an idea of type of destruction you’ll see next summer.

Apparently, Bay wasn’t joking about the next installment taking place four years after the events of Dark of the Moon. The locations have been covered with anti-Transformers propaganda material, including graffiti reminiscent of Shepard Fairey’s 2008 Barack Obama campaign poster, but instead of “Hope,” they read “Hate.”

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Robotic 3D Printer Spiders Could Build The Spacecraft Of Tomorrow

spiderfabWe know that NASA has been talking about taking 3D printing into space for a little while now, and I’ll admit that my limited mental scope only thought they’d be sending a few manufactured 3D printers up there to work on things in the International Space Station, but boy was I off. They’re currently getting involved with the Washington-based aerospace company Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) to work on a much grander project they’re calling SpiderFab, which will be an arachnid-like bot that will be capable of building massive spacecraft while orbiting Earth. Sounds pretty awesome, right? I can already see businesses getting involved so that giant floating billboards will be circling the Earth in 10 years. But this collaboration has more sincere goals.

NASA chose TUI as the winner of the Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, awarding them a $500,000 contract, which will go a long way toward getting this unique concept into space. Simply put, there’s a multi-limbed robotic spider creature that is capable of 3D printing structures on the go, such as antennas, and it can make them much larger than anything that can comfortably be rocketed into space fully constructed. Since the main components consist of the spider and the polymers needed for building, as well as the program to tell the spider what to do, of course, this makes for a far smaller payload than sending already built parts. Conservation is key when you’re burning thousands of pounds of fuel to get a successful launch. TUI’s CEO and Chief Scientist Dr. Rob Hoyt can of course explain things better than I can:

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Lego Robots Battle To The Robot Death

Lego Mindstorm EV3Hacktivism and hackers have been getting a lot of press lately, from Aaron Schwartz to the Syrian Electronic Army. So when I read about another hackathon, I cringe and wait for the bad news. But not this time. When you combine Legos and robots with hacking, you get a whole lot of awesomeness.

Groups of techies from companies like Facebook, Flickr, Autodesk, and Pandora received Lego’s new EV3 Mindstorm kits and were told to have at it. Each team built a robot and then, naturally, the robots fought to the robot death. Before we get to the battle, take a moment to check out the new Lego development, the third generation of the Mindstorm model. The kit contains motors, sensors, and other elements that allow users to create and control robots via a small programmable brick, smartphones, or software. They walk, talk, dance, or hack the websites of major media outlets.

The Mindstorm EV3 hits shelves this weekend on September 1—just in time to distract your kids from going back to school. Or if you’re in my class, just in time to get an A, especially if you can program to write competent essays.

Flickrbot

Flickrbot

Flickr-bot, an homage to Emperor Norton, a San Franciscan who declared himself emperor of the U.S., used banknotes as a weapon, in reference to the currency Norton developed and used (and that people actually accepted). A money-spewing robot? What’s not to love?

Flickrbot

Flickrbot

Autodesk’s diminutive droid clung to an iPhone (in a Lego case, of course) and got so wrapped up in playing with the phone that it kept running into feet, otherwise oblivious to its surroundings. I don’t know if it was the intent, but this robot is certainly the most human-like. We’re not the only ones that are easily distracted.

Autodeskbot

Autodeskbot

Bay Area-based Pandora used the kit’s computer with two robots in a San Francisco Giants v. Oakland Athletics showdown. One pitched while the other hit. The baseball robots can compete autonomously or via human control, and registered hits both ways. At least this event was free from doping scandals.

Pandorabot

Pandorabot

Pandorabot2

Oakland Pandorabot

The Facebook bot was more the t-ball type than fast pitch, and cruised the bases using route indicators.

Facebookbot

Facebookbot

At the end of the day the judges deliberated. Since none of the robots actually delivered Robot Combat League style beat downs, the victor had to be named by decision, and Pandora took home the top prize. Now to program the robot to get rid of all their ads.

Pandora wins