Category Archives: Video

Wednesday SciFi Flix: Short Fan Film “The Fallen Jedi”

Short Films – The short (10:00) Star Wars Fan Film “The Fallen Jedi” was uploaded to YouTube in July of 2017 by GUWZs Productions. The synopsis:

Jaina and her darksaber battle Jacen Solo one last time to determine the fate of the galaxy!

This is not the best Star Wars Fan Film I have seen, but it is far from the worst. The special effects of the lightsaber fighting are pretty good. I also really like Jaina’s use of the “darksaber”. A real plus for this fan film is that it is not shot out in the forest. As good as this short is I am surprised that it still has less than 20,000 views after 18 months.

If you are a Star Wars fan I would recommend giving up the 10 minutes to watch this fan film.

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Robot Delivery to University Students and Faculty

Robots – If you are a student, faculty or staff member at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia your next food order may be delivered by a robot. A joint program between Starship Technologies and the hospitality company Sodexo will provide autonomous delivery to the campus. Anyone on campus can order from Blaze Pizza, Second Stop, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks (and more soon) through the Starship Deliveries app. Their order will be delivered by one of 25 Starship robots operating on campus.

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Most deliveries take less than 30 minutes and cost the user $2 on top of the price of the food. Orders and payments are handled through the App. The Starship robot can carry up to 20 lbs. This can easily handle up to three pizzas and salads while keeping them warm or cool respectively. The little robot travels at about 4 mph and is only able to deliver to building entrances. Faculty, staff, and students can keep up with news on the delivery program through the @StarshipGMU Twitter account.

These are not the flying drones that were often spoken about a few years ago to make deliveries, but this more practical approach seems to be an incremental step forward in delivery automation. How soon will it be before these, or a similar robot, are making deliveries in your neighborhood?

Visualization of WWII Allied Bombing Missions in Europe

[OC] Western Allies air missions through World War II, with period-accurate borders. from r/dataisbeautiful

WWII – I came across this earlier today. I think that it is an impressive visual representation of bombing missions by Allied aircraft in Europe during WWII. You can easily see how the Allies were pounding German and Italian positions through the later years of the war.


If you are interested in the World War II era of history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of links to  museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

 

Friday WWII Flix: Short Film “Only Few Seconds”

WWII – Short Films – This short (15:53) World War II-era film was uploaded to YouTube in June of 2016 by MHWL Productions. It depicts an encounter by German troops with American troops from the German perspective. Most dialog is in German but with English subtitles.

I think that the film was well made though as pointed out in the comments to the YouTube post there are some flaws – troops of both sides too neat and clean, poor tactics, and too many US officers on the front lines.

It definitely depicts a bloody and ruthless conflict from both sides.

Ever Wonder How Large Something From Star Wars Is?

Star Wars – The Star Wars Universe has introduced us to a variety of people, creatures, bots, vehicles, and planets over the years. Have you ever wondered how large they were? This short (9:48) video will show you how many of them compare in size.

This video from MetalBallStudios was uploaded to YouTube in February of 2019. As their synopsis of the video states:

Comparison of many things from the Star Wars movies. Only movies from episode I to VIII, Rogue One and Solo. Obviously, not everything appears, only the most representative.

If you are a fan of the Star Wars stories you will find this size comparison interesting.

Have You Heard of the Breakthrough Prize?

Have you heard of the Breakthrough Prize? Probably not. I hadn’t until I came across the article “Breakthrough Prize awards scientists $22 million and star status” about it last fall.

What is the Breakthrough Prize? The Breakthrough Prizes honor important, primarily recent, achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics. Recipients of the award receive $3 million each in prize money. They are also recognized in an “Acadamy Awards like” televised award ceremony. The ceremony is intended both to celebrate their achievements and inspire the next generation of scientists.

The Breakthrough Prizes have been awarded every year since 2013. More than $200 million have been awarded over the life of the Breakthrough Prizes. As they say on their website:

Knowledge is humanity’s greatest asset. It defines our nature, and it will shape our future. The body of knowledge is assembled over centuries. Yet a single mind can extend it immensely. Einstein reimagined space and time. Darwin distilled the chaos of life to a single idea. Turing figured out what it means to think. Great scientists enrich us all. They enable technologies that ease our lives, but they also show us what’s beyond our horizons.

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We have all seen those in entertainment or sports fields recognized in lavish ceremonies. The Breakthrough Prize attempts to give similar recognition to the scientists and mathematicians that are shaping our future.

 

Wednesday SciFi Flix: Short Film “Red Mission”

Short Films – I came across the short (23:47) science fiction film “Red Mission” a few months ago, but did not view it until yesterday. It was uploaded to YouTube in October of 2015 by KP Films. The synopsis:

In the year 2053, Richards, Hudson, and Bowman are the first astronauts to be sent on a mission to the Red Planet. Richards, who is alone in the Mars Red II Recon Orbiter, must figure out what has happened to his friends when the mission takes an unexpected turn.

I thought that this was a well-done film, though it is a little strange. As one of those commenting on the YouTube post said, “This had a very nostalgic feel of an episode of the “Twilight Zone” or maybe the “Outer Limits” TV shows”. I agree that it has that sort of feel. The rating for this film on IMDB was only 4.5/10, a little lower than I would have expected.

Change the World

This is almost five years old now. The address was given in May of 2014 at the University of Texas Austin Commencement and published to YouTube that same month. My son sent me the link to this impressive speech.

These are the remarks by US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven a 1977 graduate of UT and the commander of U.S.Special Operations Command. He challenges the graduates to Change the World and relates aspects of his SEAL training to how we should approach the challenges of life.

It is five years old but is very much still appropriate. I encourage you to take the 20 minutes and listen to the talk.