‘Event Horizon’ Star Sam Neill’s Perfect Response to Black Hole Photo

While many downplayed the event on social media yesterday, we now have our first ever look at a black hole. It’s been mathematically theorized for decades, but we now have visual proof of one’s existence, and that’s a pretty fucking big deal. Unless of course, you were on the Lewis and Clark.

Event Horizon actor Sam Neill took to social media with this hilarious tweet:

Been there, done it . #EventHorizon #BlackHole https://t.co/AKp8no6HTd

— Sam Neill (@TwoPaddocks) April 10, 2019

As many of you know, Neill’s Event Horizon character Dr. William Weir was one of the many passengers on the Lewis and Clark, a rescue ship sent to investigate a ship that once disappeared into a black hole only to return. Spoilers from 1997, but the Event Horizon went to Hell before returning to our dimension.

Let’s just hope that we don’t go anywhere near this black hole…

Event Horizon Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan

Turán’s Brick Factory Problem


During World War II, Hungarian mathematician Pál Turán was forced to work in a brick factory. His job was to push a wagonload of bricks along a track from a kiln to storage site. The factory contained several kilns and storage sites, with tracks criss-crossing the floor among them. Turán found it difficult to push the wagon across a track crossing, and in his mind he began to consider how the factory might be redesigned to minimize these crossings.

After the war, Turán mentioned the problem in talks in Poland, and mathematicians Kazimierz Zarankiewicz and Kazimierz Urbanik both took it up. They showed that it’s always possible to complete the layout as shown above, with the kilns along one axis and the storage sites along the other, each group arranged as evenly as possible around the origin, with the tracks running as straight lines between each possible pair. The number of crossings, then, is

displaystyle mathrm{cr}left ( K_{m,n} right ) leq left lfloor frac{n}{2} right rfloor left lfloor frac{n-1}{2} right rfloor left lfloor frac{m}{2} right rfloor  left lfloor frac{m-1}{2} right rfloor ,

where m and n are the number of kilns and storage sites and displaystyle left lfloor  right rfloor denotes the floor function, which just means that we take the greatest integer less than the value in brackets. In the case of 4 kilns and 7 storage sites, that gives us

displaystyle left lfloor frac{7}{2} right rfloor left lfloor frac{7-1}{2} right rfloor left lfloor frac{4}{2} right rfloor  left lfloor frac{4-1}{2} right rfloor = 18 ,

which is the number of crossings in the diagram above.

Is that the best we can do? No one knows. Zarankiewicz and Urbanik thought that their formula gave the fewest possible crossings, but their proof was found to be erroneous 11 years later. Whether a factory can be designed whose layout contains fewer crossings remains an open problem.

Why you should steer clear of “Florida Man Challenge”

"Fun" as in "fund transfer"

Enlarge / “Fun” as in “fund transfer”

This week, a viral “challenge” took Twitter and other social media by storm. The “Florida Man Challenge” called for people to:

  • Google “Florida Man” and their birthdate,
  • Find a headline about the activities of a “Florida Man” that matched their birthdate, and
  • Post that headline to their social media account.

The challenge spread like a cat meme, so much so that typing “Florida Man” into the Google search bar resulted in suggested entries that were almost exclusively calendar dates.

When I walked into the @tb_times newsroom this morning, ALL of the top stories were about #FloridaMan. It was confusing until we realized why: Everyone is googling to see their Florida Man headline.

Of course, I wrote about it:https://t.co/nFMWQPbMRT

— Gabrielle Calise (@gabriellecalise) March 21, 2019

Doing this was, as we like to say at Ars, a really bad idea.

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Rebooting UUCP to redecentralize the net

UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy Protocol) is a venerable, non-hierarchical networking protocol that was used as transport for early email and Usenet message boards; its intrinsic decentralization and its cooperative nature (UUCP hosts store and forward messages for one another) make it a kind of symbol of the early, decentralized robustness that characterized the early net and inspired so much optimism about a fundamentally distributed arrangement of peers rising up to replace the top-down phone companies and other centralized systems.

As part of the decentralized web movement, UUCP has been rebooted by Dataforge, a Fort Worth, Texas-based “hybrid shell provider/tilde server” whose proprietor Wesley “praetor” Banderia uses his decades of Unix systems administration to keep the system running on a cluster of lovingly maintained vintage SGI machines with a Google Cloud VPS for backup.

Dataforge’s UUCP is encrypted by default using ssh (you could also adapt it to run over TLS) with GPG signing for the content layer. Banderia is seeking other hosts to peer with his system (the system has four peers at present).

From the UUCP manifesto: “We are a dedicated group of artists, system operators, nerds, geeks, nostalgics of every walk of life who desire a fully decentralized internet in the vein of the UUCP networks of yore. In this way, we have revived the network protocol adding modern essentials such encryption, permissions, better integration with dedicated links. While also keeping it’s virtues of transparency, ease of implementation and resiliency. We also return to a place of mutual respect and understanding, freedom for all people who utilize it. Nobody ‘owns’ it. It’s everybody’s to use, tinker with, contribte to and have equal say and access to its content and resources without fear of reprisal, condemnation or censorship.”

This reminds me a lot of Scuttlebutt, the distributed, off-grid secure messaging system.

Why doesn’t this have a proper name?

Following past traditions of UUCP networks, the network at large has no real name. A name implies ownership, and nobody owns the network. Individual site networks are free to have a proper name, but the larger network doesn’t. Just as the Internet doesn’t have a real name.

Dataforge UUCP

(via Four Short Links)

Become a Detective in THE SINKING CITY’s Lovecraftian World

Frogwares has released a new video for their upcoming horror investigative adventure The Sinking City, which will be hitting PC and consoles later this year. The video, which you can watch above, dives into the mechanics of the game, specifically when it comes to using the main character’s sleuthing abilities so as to solve mysteries and crimes. Fans of Frogwares’ Sherlock games will see something that will almost certainly make them very happy!

Tortured by his past and otherworldly visions, Charles W. Reed, a private investigator finds himself in Oakmont, Massachusetts, seeking salvation from the creeping insanity that afflicts him. Once a trade harbor, known for its lucrative smuggling business, Oakmont now lives in secluded isolation from the rest of the world, under a flood of supernatural origins. In this place of decay and superstition; players will have to deal with the dregs of mankind, follow clues they wish they had never found, and unveil a cosmic horror threatening the world itself.

We’ve been covering The Sinking City for a while now and it’s still up there as one of our most anticipated games of the year. If you want to see something really creepy and cool, check out these photos of sculptures used by the dev team for inspiration that we premiered last year.

The post Become a Detective in THE SINKING CITY’s Lovecraftian World appeared first on Dread Central.

Ambitious VR Project Restores 1964 Tokyo With Real Images

Ambitious VR Project Restores 1964 Tokyo With Real Images

The absence of Terminators in 2019 means VR is probably the closest we’re going to get to time travel. But how do we ensure trips to our past are as accurate as possible? NHK Enterprises (NEP) and Rhizomatiks have one idea.

The pair this week announced a new project set to showcase at SXSW next month. Simply named The Time Machine, it will allow audiences to travel back to 1964 Tokyo. Crucially, the Japanese capital has been recreated not through interpretation but by using actual pictures of the city taken from that year. The aim is to provide photo-accurate 3D renditions of sites around Tokyo. Check out the trailer below.

We’ve seen this process, named photogrammetry, used in VR before. It’s being utilized to preserve historic artifacts, for example. But this is the first time we’ll have seen images from the past used to allow people to step back in time. That means that the world you see will be in black and white.

Using an HTC Vive, viewers will find themselves standing at the iconic Shibuya Scramble Intersection in the present day. They’ll then travel back to 1964, visiting sites like Hachiko statue at Shibuya’s JR Train Station, the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo Cultural Center) and Miyamasu-zaka Hill.

Produced by Toshio Tsuchiya, the piece is a part of celebrations leading up to Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics. The games were last held in Tokyo in, you guessed it, 1964.

The Time Machine will be up and running from March 10th – 13th at the Austin Convention Center.

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Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Honor ‘Hereditary’, ‘Mandy’, and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

Fangoria Chainsaw Awards

As the Oscars were Oscar-ing last night, a beloved genre magazine was holding its own awards show: The Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Fangoria readers voted on winners in categories like Best Kill and Best Makeup Effects as well as more traditional categories celebrating aspects of filmmaking like directing and acting, and Ari Aster‘s arthouse horror film Hereditary and Panos Cosmatos‘s gonzo, one-of-a-kind revenge movie Mandy ended up winning the top prizes. If you’re looking to wash the taste of the Oscars out of your mouth with something more adventurous, look no further.

Check out the full list of winners below.

Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2019

The genre magazine released all of the winners through its Twitter account last night, and both Hereditary and Mandy (which each earned a spot on /Film’s collective Top 10 Movies of 2018 list) ended up having very good nights after being snubbed at the Academy Awards. Here are all of the winners:

Best Director: Ari Aster, Hereditary
Best Screenplay: Ari Aster, Hereditary
Best Actress: Toni Collette, Hereditary
Best Actor: Nicolas Cage, Mandy
Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, Suspiria
Best Supporting Actor: Alex Wolff, Hereditary
Best Kill: Charlie Meets Telephone Pole, Hereditary
Best Wide-Release Movie: Hereditary
Best Limited-Release Movie: Mandy
Best Foreign Language Movie: Terrified
Best Score: Jóhann Jóhannson, Mandy
Best Makeup FX: Mark Coulier, Suspiria
Best Creature FX: Sierra Russell and Josh Russell, The Ritual
Best First Feature: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, Ghost Stories
Best Series: The Haunting of Hill House

If you had fun watching the Oscars, you’re certainly not alone – ratings were up from last year, and I largely enjoyed the experience of watching them myself. But for those who were yearning for smaller, more audacious movies to be rewarded for their excellence, this serves as a nice palette cleanser to a ceremony that gave Green Book their top prize.

Hereditary and Mandy are two of 2018’s most bold, stylish, resonant pieces of filmmaking, and as much as I loved Olivia Colman’s free-wheeling Oscars acceptance speech, any organization that awards Toni Collette’s jaw-dropping performance – which I consider to be the best piece of acting in any movie of the year, regardless of gender – has my attention and respect.

Still, even this awards show wasn’t without its own blunder: after all, the Fangoria audience did inexplicably vote for Bird Box in the Best Streaming Movie Premiere category. Bummer – and they were so close to perfection.

Thank you @FANGORIA and everyone who voted for the six Chainsaw Awards that “Hereditary” received tonight! https://t.co/tnfMpCjgXJ

— Ari Aster (@AriAster) February 25, 2019

This made our night, thank you Fangoria https://t.co/AunppCDdrf

— ???????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??????? (@suspiriamovie) February 25, 2019

Well this is beyond awesome… thanks @FANGORIA and everyone who voted!!!!! #chainsawawards https://t.co/NGk7f9hL9h

— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) February 25, 2019

The post Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Honor ‘Hereditary’, ‘Mandy’, and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ appeared first on /Film.

Bigscreen Patches Potential Hack That Could Have Spelled Disaster for the Platform

A team of researchers at the University of New Haven recently uncovered an exploit that could mean a serious security threat to apps built on the Unity game engine. Bigscreen Beta, the Unity-based social VR platform that lets you stream you monitor to others and chat in virtual reality, was particularly vulnerable before being patched last week.

Bigscreen founder and CEO Darshan Shankar says the exploit was “reported to us and has been fixed already” and that it was “not exploited by hackers, and no one is currently vulnerable to this issue. It is fixed.”

The security patch was also publicly noted in the app’s most recent update log, among which included a number of new features such as real-time raytracing lighting effects, new environments, new avatars, and new user interface.

Before the vulnerability was patched in a recent Bigscreen Beta update, University of New Haven researchers were able to accomplish a dizzying list of bad deeds using their own ‘command and control’ tool in effort to not only render the platform unsafe for private conversation, but also potentially infect computers with any type of malware by using Unity’s OpenURL command.

Unity has since issued a warning to developers who use the OpenURL command in their games, saying “you must be extremely careful that you do not provide a string to this function which could possibly be maliciously crafted or modified by a 3rd party.”

The researchers say in a news update that without a user’s knowledge and consent—and even without tricking users into downloading software or granting access to the computer—they were able to:

  • Turn on user microphones and listen to private conversations
  • Join any VR room including private rooms
  • Create a replicating worm that infects users as soon as they enter a room with other VR users
  • View user computer screens in real-time
  • Send messages on a user’s behalf
  • Download and run programs – including malware – onto user computers
  • Join users in VR while remaining invisible. This novel attack was termed as a Man-In-The-Room (MITR) attack
  • Phish users into downloading fake VR drivers

“Our research shows hackers are able to monitor people day in and day out – listen to what they are saying and see how they are interacting in virtual reality,” said Dr. Ibrahim Baggili, founder and co-director of the University of New Haven Cyber Forensics Research and Education Group. “They can’t see you, they can’t hear you, but the hacker can hear and see them, like an invisible Peeping Tom. A different layer of privacy has been invaded.”

The team also created a video showing just what deleterious effects the exploit could have wrought on users if they didn’t find it and report it first.

Thankfully, what could have been a disaster for the platform’s users, which use the app both as a virtual desktop and shared viewing platform, was averted before any harm could be done.

“Working alongside security researchers and our internal security & QA practices will help us stay ahead of malicious hackers,” Shankar told Road to VR.

The post Bigscreen Patches Potential Hack That Could Have Spelled Disaster for the Platform appeared first on Road to VR.