Movie Review: “Transcendence”

Starring
Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser
Director
Wally Pfister

With Easter just around the corner, it’s probably no coincidence that just as the furor over “Noah,” a man who had visions from God, has died down, we are treated to Johnny Depp taking the futuristic steps in becoming a god in “Transcendence.” A cautionary tale about the evils of technology by way of artificial intelligence gets the visual treatment by acclaimed cinematographer Wally Pfister (“Inception,” the Dark Knight trilogy) in his directorial debut, but this is more than just a big budget version of “Siri Goes Wild.”

Johnny Depp plays Will Caster, the leading scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He’s brilliant to the point of being a bit bored with the non-scientific world, not that his flock of geek groupies seems to mind. (Eat your heart out, Reed Richards). Keeping him tethered to people, places and things is his loving wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall). She’s more than Will’s diplomatic arm candy, though. She’s arguably his intellectual equal.

While Will charges down the road towards creating sentient machines, his best friend and part-time conscience, Max (Paul Bettany), reminds him that just because you can play god doesn’t mean you should. Apparently, he’s not the only one who thinks society should pump the brakes on giving Cortina cyber synapses to work with. The anti-tech terrorist organization R.I.F.T (Revolutionary Independence from Technology) – led be Kate Mara’s Bree – subtly voices its opposition with a coordinated attack targeting the Casters’ former mentor, Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman), and killing his entire staff in the process. But Will isn’t spared when the group attempts to kill him as well, and they pull it off… somewhat.

After he’s poisoned by R.I.F.T. and given only days to live, Evelyn does the unthinkable and transfers Will’s mind into his living computer P.I.N.N. (You can’t have science without a couple good acronyms), the Physically Independent Neural Network. As Will tells a crowd before he’s shot, “Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology.” And he does just that, initially to the delight of his grieving wife Evelyn and the shock of his pal Max. Will is more than just a ghost in the machine, however, using his near-infinite knowledge to help change the world, effectively becoming a god. Yes, connecting to the internet can make you a god, but the Casters come to find that being a diety power couple comes at a price.

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Picture of the Day: Nichole on the beach

Sexy redhead Nichole looks very fetching in her bikini on the beach.

Nichole on the beach

  

Custom-fit covers protect Chevy and Cadillac vehicles

A unique auto and design-related story just crossed our desk, and we wanted to share it with our Bullz-Eye readers. In a collaboration with CoverCar, a unit of Italy-based Confezioni Andrea S.r.l., Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC recently collaborated to create handmade, custom-fit fabric covers to replace the plastic wrap common to vehicle shipping. Already stylish cars and trucks like the Corvette Stingray, ELR electrified luxury coupe, the new Silverado and Sierra HD pickup trucks leave assembly plants in handmade covers that fit like the finest tailored suits. Fussy tailors spend years honing their skills, learning how fabric draped on a body could be pinned, cut and sewn to protect the wearer and make a high-quality fashion statement.

The custom and handmade process behind the “suit” for your vehicle is interesting, and the Italian dude in the video is pumped about these tailor-made covers. The first GM application was for export of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, followed by the 2014 Corvette Stingray, which ships each copy of the 2014 North American Car of the Year in one of the covers regardless of its final destination. Some Corvette owners keep the single-use covers as souvenirs.

Estimates are that approximately 100,000 vehicles will use the custom-fit car covers. In addition to using the covers on Corvettes and ELRs for domestic delivery, the export-bound full-size pickups and utilities, the Chevrolet Malibu and Volt and Opel Ampera extended-range electric vehicles. The wardrobe of custom-fitted vehicle covers will also be an option for GM facilities to use around the world over time.

  

Before You Enter the World of Motorcycles

2 the Harley 72 in green

Are you born to be wild? Does the winding, twisting asphalt call your name? Are you anxious to get to your mid-life crisis so you can finally have an excuse to buy that motorcycle you’ve always wanted? I’ve got good news for you. There is no need to wait for a crisis, mid-life or otherwise, before you get your hands on the ride of your dreams. You can buy one right now and feel good about it. Every time you choose to ride a motorcycle instead of an SUV, you conserve resources and reduce traffic congestion. Not to mention, they are a heck of a lot of fun to ride.

Ever notice how we drive cars, but ride motorcycles?

Before you head off to your nearest crotch-rocket dealer, there are a few things you need to know. First you have to make sure you get properly licensed to ride. All states have their own requirements for motorcycle licensing. You might want to start you journey by checking out DMV.org. There, you will find the specific licensing information for the state where you live. There are often two levels of licensing that distinguish between powered bicycles and full on motorcycles. Scooters are a grey area that could go either way. Check your state ordinances for clarification.

You also need to know your risks. SeriousAccidents.com states that there are over 4,000 fatal, motorcycle related, accidents annually. If you are not concerned about risk, or if “risk” is your middle name, then you are a fool, and your should change you name. Those young enough to treat life so cavalierly are the ones most likely to have an accident. See for yourself:

http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsMotorcycleSafety/

• The highest death and injury rates were among 20-24 year-olds, followed by 25-29 year-olds.
• More than half of all nonfatal injuries treated in EDs were to the leg/foot (30%) or head/neck (22%).
• Motorcyclist death rates increased 55% from 2001 to 2008 (1.12 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 1.74 per 100,000 persons in 2008).
• The number of nonfatal motorcyclist injuries that were treated in EDs also increased, from nearly 120,000 injuries in 2001 to about 175,000 in 2008.

You might even find that some states are home to more motorcycle accidents than others. A little research into the matter might just give you a better idea of what your in for in your particular area. Being aware of the pitfalls up ahead goes a long ways towards helping you to avoid them.

With the risks in mind, naturally, you are going to want some insurance with that helmet. In fact, whether you want it or not, you are going to have to have it before you hit the ground running. You will need to check with your insurance company to see if they provide motorcycle insurance. They will also be aware of the current regulations regarding what type of insurance you need. If the added cost of motorcycle insurance is a problem for you, perhaps you should consider taking up bicycling.

Part of the insurance conversation should be about finding a good accident attorney. In the event of a accident, you don’t want to have to start frantically paging through the phone book for the first attorney who took out a full-page ad. Even if the accident is not your fault, there is something of a bias against motorcyclists in American society. The assumption is that the cyclist was doing something wrong. If the cyclist wasn’t already a convention-defying rebel, he would have been driving an SUV like the person who hit him. There are many attorneys who specialize in motorcycle related issues. Make sure you get to know one before you happen to need one.

Finally, one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents can be avoided altogether just by making yourself more visible. Car drivers hit motorcycle drivers most often because they just didn’t see them. Consider bright, perhaps even garish colors when choosing your ride and accessories. Use hand gestures when you can. Even if the driver does not know the gesture, it might be enough to catch his eye. Just making yourself visible is often enough to ensure you safely get from point A to point B.

But who are we kidding. Riding is not about getting from point A to point B. That’s what the SUV is for. Riding is its own reward. Just make sure the journey is always rewarding. And for the times when it is not, make sure you are properly prepared.

  

Three reasons why staying connected is more important than ever

online dating ads 2

As early as the mid 90s, people in the know were saying that a computer not connected to the internet is just a dumb box. I found that a bit harsh since I was one of those people who didn’t get a permanent internet connection until much later. I still think it is a bit harsh. But now, more than ever, it is oh, so true. Allow me to offer three reasons why you want to take another look at your connectivity:

1. Work from anywhere. Technology did not cut our work hours in half. But it did afford us the opportunity to put in less time in front of a desk. I used to use an application called Logmein to remote into my main computer from any other computer in the world. I had two offices: one in an iron plant and one in the lab. Plus I worked from home sometimes. I needed access to all of the data on all of those computers all the time.

A lot of people depended on their free service. When they stopped offering it, those users went looking for alternatives in droves. Simple Help is one of those services that stepped up to offer a premium service that charges a one-time payment for unlimited use. The freedom to access your main computer from a laptop or secondary computer can make the difference between getting the job done, and making another excuse. Having a source of perpetual connectivity allows you to take advantage of these types of options.

2. Take your home entertainment on the road. There is nothing wrong with watching a little television, or even a lot if that’s what floats your boat. After all, why else did you buy that 65″ TV? Of course you want to watch it. But you can’t always be there when the big game is on. Tablets such as the iPad make excellent portable entertainment systems if you have the right gear and connectivity. I’m a DISH subscriber. But most companies offer some type of online connection to programing. If not, you can always get something like a Slingbox for your mobile television hookup.

You can have access to all your recorded programing as well as live offerings. Anything that would play on your TV at home can play on your mobile device of choice whenever you have the time, wherever you happen to be. The only catch is that you have to have the right connectivity. You can spend your lunch break struggling to stay awake, or laughing at your favorite sitcom. It’s up to you.

3. You’re already paying for it. The key is to stop focusing on minutes, and start focusing on data. These days, the major carriers throw in the minutes for free. What they want to sell you is data. Let them. You will find that for that same $200, and often less, you and your mate can enjoy more data and bandwidth than you can use in a month, with the added value of unlimited text and calling. You do not need unlimited data. You will burn through much less than you think. But you will have constant connectivity for more of the work and play you already pay for.