Monday, February 28, 2005

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Gorilla's caretaker sued over alleged breast-baring request
Associated Press

WOODSIDE, CALIF. - A third woman has filed a lawsuit claiming a caretaker for Koko, the world-famous sign-language-speaking gorilla, pressured her to expose her breasts as a way to bond with the animal.

Iris Rivera, 39, sued the Gorilla Foundation last week in San Mateo County Superior Court, saying the foundation's president, Francine Patterson, repeatedly told her to expose her breasts.

Rivera, an administrative assistant at the foundation until she quit last month, claims Patterson told her last year that Koko was signing that "she wants to see your nipples."

Two other former employees filed similar claims last week.
HoustonChronicle.com - Gorilla's keeper sued over breast claim

OMG! WTF? Just shoot me now.

Clinton: Hillary would be an ‘excellent president’
Trekkies Unite to Save "Enterprise"
Friday February 25 5:50 PM ET

By Sarah Hall

Loyal Trekkies--er, make that Trekkers--beamed across the globe Friday to express their discontent over UPN's decision to axe Star Trek: Enterprise.

Earlier this month, the network announced the show's impending demise at the end of its fourth season, leaving Enterprise devotees facing the prospect of network television devoid of a Star Trek series for the first time in almost 20 years.

Aghast at the realization that the show had reached its final frontier, viewers galvanized a plan to keep Enterprise alive by attempting to raise $32 million dollars to fund the cost of a fifth season and alerting the powers that be to the show's committed fan base.

On Friday, Trekkies held "Save Enterprise" rallies at the Paramount lot in Los Angeles, the offices of CBS and the Sci-Fi channel in New York, the Fox affiliate in Washington, D.C., the offices of the BBC and Channel 4 in London and at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Tim Brazeal, a systems administrator from Knoxville, Tennessee who is spearheading the project, said that three people have pledged $3 million toward salvaging the show, while fan site TrekUnited.com had raised $49,410 by Friday afternoon.

According to chatter in fan forums such as TrekUnited.com and SaveEnterprise.com, the L.A. rally drew the most participants, with an estimated 200 to 400 Trek enthusiasts voicing their support for the show.

Rather than channeling their inner Mr. Spock, participants were urged to come dressed in normal attire, as a statement on SaveEnterprise.com advised, "Although we think that coming in dress would be great, we also think this would stereotype us all as 'Hardcore' Trekkers and would hurt more than help. Please wear your daily wear."

Most of the rally attendees complied with the dress code, though some could not resist donning Vulcan ears for the cause.

Enterprise, a prequel to the original 1960s Star Trek series, currently draws about 3 million viewers a week, about half the number who watched its first season, and way down from the 12.5 million who tuned in for its 2001 premiere.

As of now, its final episode is slated to air on May 13.

Efforts to save shows headed for cancellation typically fail, though dedicated fans managed to breathe life into past struggling shows such as the WB's Felicity and Roswell and ABC's Once and Again through Internet campaigns.

If the Trekkers fail in their mission to keep Enterprise on the airwaves, money will either be refunded to donors or donated to tsunami relief, Brazeal said.

However, even if Enterprise bites the dust, there's still a bright spot on the horizon for Star Trek fans.

Earlier this week, Variety reported that scribe Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers) has been hired to pen the script for Star Trek XI, the latest installment in the long-running sci-fi franchise.

The project was reportedly shelved in January, but production is apparently back in motion, though Paramount has not yet set a release date for the film, which is rumored to focus on the Romulan War, which took place before the original series.
Yahoo! TV News & Gossip -

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Breakthrough: Intel builds laser using silicon
Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In an advance that could drive down the cost of optical networks, researchers have built a laser using silicon, the same material used in computer chips, that shines without stopping or blinking.

The technology could have important uses, Intel Corp. researchers said. It could be used to make high-bandwidth, light-based communications inexpensive enough to replace copper wire inside computers, and could reduce the cost of lasers used in medicine, defense and other industries.

The research is published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Until recently, few experts thought humble silicon could be used to build a laser, said Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's photonics lab. It tends to absorb light energy, dissipating it as heat rather than amplifying it as current lasers, which use more exotic materials, do.

"This is a fundamental breakthrough," said Paniccia, a co-author of the Intel study. "It's one of those things that's a game changer."

Intel researchers had already announced in January that they had built an all-silicon laser. But that device had a problem: The laser effect stopped after a time. A solution to that problem resulted in laser light that came in pulses -- impractical for most uses. Now, they have built in a tiny component that eliminates that problem.

"That was a major remaining milestone for these lasers," said Bahram Jalali, a University of California, Los Angeles electrical engineering professor who was not involved in the Intel research.

Laser beams are usually created by using a blast of electricity or light to boost the energy levels of electrons in the atoms of a crystal, semiconductor or gas. The electrons then release photons, the basic element of light, which can be formed into a concentrated beam.

That process doesn't work with silicon, so the researchers focused on a weak scattering of photons called the "Raman effect," which is already in use in one type of laser. They found the Raman effect is 10,000 times stronger in silicon.
HoustonChronicle.com - Breakthrough: Intel builds laser using silicon

Monday, February 14, 2005

Enterprise Ad Posted Online

The newspaper advertisement purchased by fans of UPN's canceled Star Trek Enterprise has been posted at the campaign organization's official Web site, www.enterprisefans.com. The ad will run in the "A" section of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Feb. 15 (rather than Feb. 21, as previously reported), the Web site announced.

The full-page ad urges fans of the show to write to network executives in support of its continuation after it concludes its fourth season on UPN this spring. It also invites supporters to join in a rally on Feb. 25 outside Paramount Studios in Hollywood, where Enterprise is filmed.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Digital Atelier

My auctions started to be delisted. EBay has a program called VeRO which is their division to handle a company's complaint of IP/copyright infringement. EBay, and I can't really fault them for this, defaults to companies to police their IP. So if something is infringing, they tell ebay about it and the listing is removed. I had been told that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) was the entity responsible for the complaints on my auctions (two at the time). A quick web surf shows that Vivendi (who bought out Sierra and Blizzard a few years back) is in fact a member. For those of you not aware, the ESA sponsors E3, and is mostly just the legal/lobbying body for some game companies. They are very pro-DMCA.
Digital Atelier

eBay Forums: auction pulled by VERO-- any real ...

eBay Forums: auction pulled by VERO-- any real ...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Wonderfalls That Never Was

Bryan Fuller, co-creator and co-executive producer of the short-lived Fox fantasy series Wonderfalls, told SCI FI Wire he'd developed stories for a second season that never came to pass, as Fox pulled the show after just four low-rated episodes. Caroline Dhavernas starred as Jaye, a bright young woman who worked at a Niagara Falls gift shop and thought she'd lost her mind when inanimate objects at the store suddenly started talking and prodded her to intercede in the lives of people she didn't know. The full 13-episode series, including nine episodes that never aired in the United States, is now out on DVD.

"Actually, I [developed] four episodes of a second season while we were in post-production on the first season, before we knew definitively we were going to be canceled," Fuller said while promoting the DVD collection. "It was like, 'Well, let's get this going just in case, so we can hit the ground running and be ahead of the game should we get picked up.'"

Fuller added: "So there were four stories. The big thrust of the second season was going to be a miracle-birth arc, with Sharon [Katie Finneran], the lesbian sister. We set that up in a [first-season] episode called 'Safety Canary,' where she breaks up with her bisexual girlfriend, who then goes back to her husband and has sex with him. After they've had sex, Sharon comes back to her bisexual girlfriend and says, 'I want to still be with you,' and then they have sex. So the semen in the bisexual girl's vagina gets into lesbian Sharon's vagina and she becomes pregnant, though she's never had sex with a man. So the whole arc of season two was going to be this miracle birth/Jesus arc and Jaye coming to the conclusion she may be a little bit of a prophet.

"And we had another first-season episode, 'Cocktail Bunny,' that was setting up arcs for season three," Fuller continued. "It's one of those things where it's not on the drawing board or in the bible or the book. It's just all in my head. When the characters become real to you, you start fleshing out a future for them that, like a future for anybody, may or not be."

The Wonderfalls DVD includes featurettes, commentaries and a music video. Fuller, who is currently developing an animated series for SCI FI Channel based on the Mike Mignola comic book The Amazing Screw-On Head as well as an hourlong drama for another network, joked that while the Wonderfalls collection "ain't no Lord of the Rings special extended edition," he's nevertheless thrilled that fans have the opportunity to watch the series in its entirety.

"There's big satisfaction," Fuller said. "You want your art to be available to an audience. Now that the show is available on DVD it's available to an audience. That's huge. They have to seek it out, but they can go to a store or Netflix it and have it brought to their door. To be honest with you, I think the show got better with every episode, and there were nine episodes that no one saw. I guess there are a couple of weaker ones where I'd go, 'Ooh, we could have nailed the script better on that,' but overall I really do think the episodes got better. So anyone who checks it out on DVD, if they liked what they'd already seen of the show, will hopefully agree with me and find that it gets better with each episode."
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel
Berman Reacts To Enterprise

Rick Berman, executive producer of the just-canceled Star Trek: Enterprise, told SCI FI Wire that he was surprised not by UPN's decision, but by the fact that viewers continued to tune out the series despite a marked improvement in quality, strong reviews and guest appearances by the likes of Brent Spiner. "Nobody is more surprised about that than we are here," Berman said of the precipitous fan drop-off in an interview conducted after UPN announced Enterprise's fate. "We've always seemed to have a big drop from before Christmas to after Christmas, which I've never quite understood."

Enterprise attracted more than 13 million viewers in its debut, but by the fourth season, that audience had fallen to just 2.9 million.

Berman added: "I think the whole network had a big drop from before Christmas until after Christmas. I am not only very proud of the shows that we've done so far for the fourth season, but the shows that we've done that haven't aired yet are undoubtedly some of the best shows that we've produced. I don't think it has to do with the quality of the show. That just might be ego speaking, but I think we've done a great job. If you look at the performance of [Star Trek] Nemesis, you see what I think was a terrific movie that did not perform anywhere near as expected. I think that's been happening with Enterprise." The 2002 movie Nemesis grossed $43 million domestically and had foreign ticket sales of $23 million, the worst performer in the film series.

Berman is the man who has been principally responsible for shepherding the Trek franchise since he was handed the reins by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. "Whether you want to call it viewer apathy or franchise fatigue or any of the cute little titles that people have come up with, I think it's the case," Berman said. "We've figured out that we've produced 624 hours of Star Trek over the last 18 years, and of those 18 seasons, seven of them we did two shows simultaneously. It's a lot of television. And each show has had the previous shows in reruns to compete with. Climates have changed. I think you can just squeeze so many eggs out of the old golden goose." Berman and Enterprise co-executive Brannon Braga are penning a series finale that will air on May 13.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel
Sturmgrenadier - Online Gaming Syndicate