Gas Zappers in Sundance 2008!

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Ok, this is the story. My friend Gemma advises me to make a video to create the game characters of Gas Zappers so I did it. Originally, right after I finish I want to release it here to let you guys see it but Sundance contacted me and say it got in the Short Films program, along with my other video “Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People”. Here I would like to give my million Thanks and Kisses to Noah Vawter, Gemma Shusterman, John Blue, MC Paul Barman and Noah Reinhertz for all the support and hardwork.

This is crazy, I got two short films in the 2008 Sundance! This year the Festival Short Film Program comprises 83 short films representing 17 countries from 5,107 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by more than 15% over last year. We will be there from Jan 17 to 23, 2008, so if any of you wanna hang please email me! Also my friend Eddo Stern will be showing his works in the New Frontier On Main program too. Here are more info on my two shorts:

“Gas Zappers”
directed by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
music by Noah Vawter

Gas Zappers is a short animation about climate change. The main character, the ironically overappropriated and fuzzy polar bear, abruptly finds itself in a position to save its home living environment through dextrous maneuvers in an Al-e Gore-ical world. The idiom of the video game is exploited to challenge and illuminate the simplistic notion of quick fixes to environmental issues. Aesthetically, graphical and musical styles from the glory days of video games conjure the triumph and delight of virtual success. As the bear progresses with celebrity companions through different climate change scenarios such as Venice underwater, confrontations with bulldozers, and anthropomorphized killer oil derricks, it narrowly succeeds each time thanks to its renewable energy defenses. A narrative unfolds that, like the artists’ previous works, waggishly interrogates the spectacular mode of ecological policy.

“Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People”
directed by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
narration written and performed by MC Paul Barman
music by John Blue

“Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People” is a video/ animation that employs images from popular culture, political figures and imagery found in the internet. The piece adopts the form of viral advertising in a reduction of contemporary events to a cartoon like mythology while touching on issues such as identity politics, U.S. foreign policy, sexuality and power.

Both films will be playing in the Frontier Shorts Program. The confirmed schedule is:

Gas Zappers (New Frontier Short Program):
Fri. Jan 18, 1:00pm, Holiday IV
Fri. Jan 18, 11:30pm, Prospector
Sat. Jan 19, 6:00pm, Tower
Tue. Jan 22, 3:15pm, Holiday III
Sat. Jan 26, 8:30pm, Holiday II

Because Washington is Hollywood for Ugly People (New Frontier Short Program):
Fri. Jan 18, 1:00pm, Holiday IV
Fri. Jan 18, 11:30pm, Prospector
Sat. Jan 19, 6:00pm, Tower
Tue. Jan 22, 3:15pm, Holiday III
Sat. Jan 26, 8:30pm, Holiday II

For the complete film guide you can download it here

Virtual Labor Lost

Gaming Comments Off on Virtual Labor Lost

Credit: Synthetic Worlds Initiative, Indiana University

The failure of a highly anticipated game shows the academic limits of virtual worlds.
By Erica Naone

Academics are flocking to use virtual worlds and multiplayer games as ways to research everything from economics to epidemiology, and to turn these environments into educational tools. But one such highly anticipated effort–a multiplayer game about Shakespeare meant to teach people about the world of the bard while serving as a place for social-science experiments–is becoming its own tragedy.

The game, called Arden, the World of Shakespeare, was a project out of Indiana University funded with a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant. Its creator, Edward Castronova, an associate professor of telecommunications at the university, wanted to use the world to test economic theories: by manipulating the rules of the game, he hoped to find insights into the way that money works in the real world. Players can enter the game and explore a town called Ilminster, where they encounter characters from Shakespeare, along with many plots and quotations. They can answer trivia questions to improve their characters and play card games with other players. Coming from Castronova, a pioneer in the field, the game was expected by many to show the power of virtual-world-based research.

But Castronova says that there’s a problem with the game: “It’s no fun.” While focusing on including references to the bard, he says, his team ended up sidelining some of the fundamental features of a game. “You need puzzles and monsters,” he says, “or people won’t want to play … Since what I really need is a world with lots of players in it for me to run experiments on, I decided I needed a completely different approach.”

Castronova has abandoned active development of Arden; he released it last week to the public as is, rather than starting up the experiments he had planned. Part of the problem: it costs a lot to build a new multiplayer game. While his grant was large for the field of humanities, it was a drop in the bucket compared with the roughly $75 million that he says goes into developing something on the scale of the popular game World of Warcraft. “I was talking to people like it was going to be Shakespeare: World of Warcraft, but the money you need for that is so much more,” he says. Castronova also says that he was taking on too much by attempting to combine education and research. He believes that his experience should serve as a warning for other academics.

Continue reading the Original Article at Techonology Review 

How Africa’s desert sun can bring Europe power

Renewable Energy Comments Off on How Africa’s desert sun can bring Europe power

A £5bn solar power plan, backed by a Jordanian prince, could provide the EU with a sixth of its electricity needs – and cut carbon emissions,

Europe is considering plans to spend more than £5bn on a string of giant solar power stations along the Mediterranean desert shores of northern Africa and the Middle East.

More than a hundred of the generators, each fitted with thousands of huge mirrors, would generate electricity to be transmitted by undersea cable to Europe and then distributed across the continent to European Union member nations, including Britain.

Billions of watts of power could be generated this way, enough to provide Europe with a sixth of its electricity needs and to allow it to make significant cuts in its carbon emissions. At the same time, the stations would be used as desalination plants to provide desert countries with desperately needed supplies of fresh water.

Last week Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan presented details of the scheme – named Desertec – to the European Parliament. ‘Countries with deserts, countries with high energy demand, and countries with technology competence must co-operate,’ he told MEPs.

The project has been developed by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Corporation and is supported by engineers and politicians in Europe as well as Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Jordan and other nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Europe would provide initial funds for developing the solar technology that will be needed to run plants as well as money for constructing prototype stations. After that, banks and financial institutions, as well as national governments, would take over the construction programme, which could cost more than £200bn over the next 30 years.

original article via Guardian UK

Australia ratifies Kyoto Protocol

Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Comments Off on Australia ratifies Kyoto Protocol

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in his first act after being sworn in this morning.

The ratification will come into force in 90 days.

“This is the first official act of the new Australian government, demonstrating my government’s commitment to tackling climate change,” Mr Rudd said in a statement.

Mr Rudd said the ratification was considered and approved by the first executive council meeting of the government this morning.

“The governor-general has granted his approval for Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol at my request,” he said.

Under United Nations guidelines, ratification comes into force 90 days after the instrument of ratification is received by the UN, making Australia a full member of the Kyoto Protocol by the end of March 2008.”

Original article via The West

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