Friday, November 29, 2013

Comet ISON Time Lapse Around the Sun

Time lapse video of STEREO Behind COR2 images of Comet ISON's journey around the sun from 28 November to 29 November 2013. These images show that Comet ISON or some parts of it survived the close trip around the sun. You can even see the comet trying to orientate its tail away from the sun it reappeared. STEREO consists of two space-based observatories - one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind.

Previously: Comet ISON: Is the Comet of the Century Dead or Still Alive?
Comet ISON: Is the Comet of the Century Dead or Still Alive? - See more at:

Comet ISON: Is the Comet of the Century Dead or Still Alive? - See more at:

Comet ISON: Is the Comet of the Century Dead or Still Alive?

So did Comet ISON survive its close approach with the sun? ISON known as the Comet of the Century was supposed to pass a little more than a million miles above the surface of the sun but judging from the video above, the comet's nucleus apparently disintegrated while it was entering the solar atmosphere. But before we can say RIP ISON, surprisingly, something miraculously happened. Something appeared at the other end of its orbit out of the sun!

What does this all mean? Scientists who are previously quick to announce that ISON was dead, are now busy scratching their heads for an answer. We may get some answers in a few days or so but I thought since I've been observing and studying comets for many years, let me try to explain what could be happening to ISON.

1) Comet ISON did disintegrate while it was flying close to the sun during perihelion, leaving a trail of dust.

2) This tail looks like the dusty remains of the comet, pushed out by sunlight after the nucleus evaporated.

3) If the nucleus is no more, then technically Comet ISON is dead. There are other examples of sun grazing comets such as the Great Southern Comet of 1887 which was also "headless" but still appeared as a bright naked eye object for a few days before it rapidly fades.

4) A crucial thing to note. If Comet ISON's nucleus is intact then its tail should be pointing away from the sun as the nucleus of the comet emits volatiles like gas and dust due to sublimation. If you watch the video, you would see that this is not happening.

5) Another scenario - a bit more interesting - is that a small fragment of Comet ISON did survive the close flyby of the sun. This fragment emerged from the Sun with a small nucleus that is beginning to emit dust and gas and growing a tail. If this is true then over the next few hours and days, we should be seeing this tail grow and then point to its proper direction away from the sun.

Update: Here's a latest unprocessed pic that shows that whatever is left of Comet ISON is trying very hard to put on some sort of a show. Fingers crossed!

Update: Watch this video of Comet ISON Time Lapse Around the Sun. It shows the comet or some parts of it survived the close fly-by with the sun.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Fabulous Aesthetics spoofs Bikini Girls vs Carpark Aunty viral video in their new ad

I directed this new ad for Fabulous Aesthetics which is a parody of the original Singapore Bikini Girls vs Carpark Aunty viral video that made the local news recently. The ad hopefully is a first in a series we are calling "Bikini Girls vs". Future episodes will see the suntanning girls fight with all sorts of characters. Go watch it. There are some behind the scenes footage at the end of the video too.

Here's the original viral video taken by a Discuss SG reader which caught two girls suntanning on a multi-storey carpark and a carpark attendant who doesn't look too happy with the girls.

And here are some behind the scenes photos of me and the girls, celebrity blogger and DJ ThyDowager aka Peggy Heng as the carpark aunty and the Bikini Girls, Shann and Teti.

Real Life Instagram makes the world look like Instagram

Real Life Instagram, a project by Brazilian artist Bruno Ribeiro, aims to make anything in real world look like an Instagram pic. Bruno used square lighting gels in various colours and fixed them into cardboard frames that look like Instagram posts and then attached the filters to street lamps and other objects in London.

Full Hollywood Movies in 40 secs Animated Gifs

Reddit's FullMovieGifs has a long list of full length movies which are condensed into 40 second gifs! I just finished watching Jurassic Park, Fight Club and I Am Legend. Avatar will be next. No sound of course, but these are handy when your friend asks you to summarise a movie. Just point him to FullMovieGifs.

Star Wars strikes Thomas Kindade's paintings

I love Jeff Bennett's Wars on Kinkade series in which he carefully inserted Star Wars characters and vehicles into paintings originally made famous by Thomas Kindade. Thomas's paintings often portray bucolic, idyllic settings such as gardens, streams, stone cottages, lighthouses in glowing highlights and saturated pastel colors. Jeff's work just made them more fun!

30 mins raw footage of Star Wars Return of the Jedi

Charlie Owen has made available the complete 30 minutes long, fully restored EditDroid Laserdisc Return of the Jedi raw footage. in 1983, Lucasfilm created a new video editing system called EditDroid. A laserdisc with 30 mins of raw footage from Return of the Jedi was used to demo the EditDroid system at a convention in Las Vegas in 1984. The laserdisc was lost and was never seen again until now.

Charlie says: "The footage here is uncropped and in it's entirety including all off-camera audio with multiple angles of Scene 50 between Luke and Yoda on Dagobah - especially the very important dialogue at 5:10! I have also cleaned up some artifacts and polished up the interlace issues that you get when converting most laserdiscs. I have also upscaled to 1080p so you can view the video as large as possible without serious degradation."

Wear The Force in Bed with Star Wars Onesies

These officially licensed Star Wars Onesies come in Boba Fett, R2-D2, Stormtrooper and Darth Vader designs and they will make you look like you have the Force with you when you go to sleep. Each Onesie is made from 65% polyester and 35% cotton fleece, come with high quality plastic printing along the fronts, back, arms and hoods.

Download and print 3D models of fossils found in Africa

Thanks to African Fossils, you can now download and print skulls of our ancient ancestors in 3D! Their virtual lab showcases fossils and artifacts found mostly at Lake Turkana in East Africa. The models are captured using photometry, SLR camera, software from Autodesk to convert the photos into 3D digital models and laser scanners.

Face Injuries recreated with Cake and Ice Cream

Ashkan Honarvar used existing pictures of young First World War soldiers with facial mutilations as a guide to create this series of portraits of people with severe face injuries using cake, candy and ice cream to imitate the blood and gore of real injuries. The result is gruesome but finger licking good.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Everything you wanna know about Thor: The Dark World - Part 3

The filmmakers of Thor: The Dark World were keen to give audiences relatable references and worlds. Director Alan Taylor was chief among those wanting to ground the film in reality, with a weathered texture and a grittier feel. Says Taylor, “When I came in, I wanted to get more of a sense of the Norse mythology, the Viking quality, the texture, the history and the weight.” As a result, all aspects of Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World”—from the locations, the vast, largely exterior sets, the costumes, hair and makeup, to the armor, weapons, special and visual effects—have been carefully crafted to give a worn, humanizing, historical and grounded quality, with more nods to a Viking era than to science fiction.

Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau elaborates on the director’s and filmmakers’ vision for the film. “Alan and I discussed grounding the look of the film much more in reality, with a gritty texture, making it a much more immersive experience for the audience.” He adds, “This photographic realism was in collaboration with the production designer, costume designer and all departments—hair, makeup, props—just to give a much more naturalistic feeling to the picture, avoiding the more comic-­‐book treatment approaches of some comic book–orientated action movies.”

Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” was conceived as an epic film that spanned the universe. The filmmakers wanted to transport audiences to the different worlds and make them believe in them and feel the sense of history as well as the everyday life of each of them to help them relate to the story and the characters. To bring Asgard and further worlds within the Nine Realms to reality with texture, grit and believability, the director and filmmakers felt the best way was to use a combination of real locations and expansive, detailed sets, built largely outside. This enabled them to utilize natural light and also shoot the action as much as possible on camera.

Creating Asgard was the biggest challenge of all and also involved the largest number of sets. For their initial inspiration, production designer Charles Wood and his team looked to the comic books and at all the material they could find on Thor and the environments that Jack Kirby had produced. They then took their research wider, as Wood explains, “We also looked at images on the Internet, whether architectural or whether it was atmospheric, anything we could find that we felt could have related to the film. We studied all sorts of different historical and modern architectural influences, whether it was Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Chinese or Islamic architectural forms. We also studied light and atmosphere. We then went to the studio and met everyone and Alan Taylor and got their take on it and from that point we essentially started conceptualizing.”

The Medina set/streets of Asgard set that Wood’s team built is the biggest set ever built for a Marvel film and was also one of the longest builds at three to four months. One can actually walk around the streets of Asgard and see the shops, the pubs and the training ground. Charles Wood comments, “The Medina set is the most historic part of the film. We’re saying it is nestled into the mountains of Asgard and has been around there for hundreds, if not thousands of years. We wanted to mix in earlier architecture, because as the city grows above us it becomes more modern and futuristic.”

Explaining some of his influences for the lighting and feel of Asgard, cinematographer Morgenthau says, “We wanted a rich feeling to Asgard. It was a combination of a Nordic soft-­‐like feeling, mixed with a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern feeling, with very vibrant colors, strong contrasts, so faces really popped out against the background.” He notes artistic influences of pre-­‐Raphaelite paintings, the Dutch Masters and the Orientalist School of Painting.

The cast and crew unanimously agree that making a Marvel film is like no other and for the majority, it is a career aspiration and high. Tapping into childhood dreams of Super Heroes and fantastical adventure but with earthly themes, the cast and crew, whether in front of or behind the camera, know there is something special about Marvel films and that their box-­‐office success is no accident. When “Thor: The Dark World” blasts into theaters, audiences will be taken on an epic thrill ride from Earth and back with bigger-­‐than-­‐life but relatable characters whose worlds seem not only within the realm of possibility, but tangible and real as well.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World opens in Singapore on 31 October 2013 in 2D, 3D & IMAX 3D.

Everything you wanna know about Thor: The Dark World - Part 1
Everything you wanna know about Thor: The Dark World - Part 2

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Everything you wanna know about Thor: The Dark World - Part 2

Thor: The Dark World opens on Earth, but we are quickly treated to tantalizing glimpses of the black and charred world of Svartalfheim, where dark elves Malekith and Algrim emerge from their bat-­‐like hibernation. We then see a more earthy and lush Vanaheim where the Warriors Three and the Lady Sif are battling to bring about peace for the Vanir. Thor arrives to help and we discover that, as the peacekeepers of the Nine Realms, Thor and his dedicated warriors have been at war for a couple of years and have finally brought the cosmos to order.

In creating “Thor: The Dark World,” Marvel filmmakers worked diligently to respect the film’s origins and the legions of comic book fans it spawned and worked carefully to endear and excite not only those fans but fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. Executive producer Craig Kyle sums it up best when he says, “It’s Marvel’s job to celebrate the character that made the fans, but also introduce them in a way that we can allow others to now find those wonderful qualities in these characters. It’s finding an entry point for everyone who wants to give these films and characters a chance.”


Reprising his role as Thor, The Mighty Avenger, Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor with a physique to rival men and gods, was delighted to return. “I love playing the character. The trick is each time to find new ways to make the character have some sort of advance or growth from the last one,” explains Hemsworth. “I think you’ve got to make 7 sure the hero is a big catalyst to the resolution from the beginning, that he’s not just there to step in at the very end and save the day. He has to be proactive throughout. There’s a definite conflict within Thor about where his place was. Was it with Jane on Earth or was it in Asgard, and where does his allegiance lie? Also, he’s beginning to understand the darker sides of what it truly means to be king and the burden of the throne.”

Hemsworth embraced the script for Thor: The Dark World and the challenge of further developing both his  character and the polarizing relationship between brothers Thor and Loki, which takes a new turn. Hemsworth relates, “In the very first film Loki and Thor as brothers had a friendship where there was less hatred involved. We get to a place in this one where there’s more of that this time around again. Thor gets to ask Loki what this is all about and how they got to this point in their relationship.


Once more taking on the role of esoteric astrophysicist Jane Foster, Natalie Portman enthuses, “It’s really fun to get to come back and play her again. I think it’s rare to get the opportunity to play these female scientists in this kind of movie, so it’s nice to have a foil for the Super Hero!”

Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” finds Jane Foster making big changes in her life. Portman explains, “Jane has moved, so she’s now in London, not in Santa Fe anymore. Obviously she has gone through missing Thor and also being upset at him because he didn’t come knock on her door when he was on her planet. She’s definitely been getting over that and trying to move on.”

Tom Hiddleston who steps into Loki’s shoes once more says, “I feel like ‘Thor: The Dark World’ is a chance as an actor to find new depth, new dimension, new iterations of Loki’s psychology, of his physicality and his capacity for feeling. On one level he is an off-­‐ the-­‐rails psychopathic agent of chaos, but on a human level, his psychology and his emotional landscape are very, very interesting because he’s so intelligent and yet so broken. This film is a chance to find where his capacity for heroism and his Machiavellian menace meet.”

Hiddleston also notes of his complex, arrogant, and witty character, “He’s still selfish and vain and arrogant and proud, but he’s also elegant and amusing. He’s so full of charisma, and that’s why I love playing him; he’s not an all-­‐out bad guy. He’s someone who knows his true nature and is having a really good time; there is an element of delight and joy at being bad.”

To be continued in Part 3...

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World opens in Singapore on 31 October 2013 in 2D, 3D & IMAX 3D.

Previously: Everything you wanna know about Thor: The Dark World - Part 1

Singapore Haunted Halloween Celebration @ Scape Museum of Horrors 2013

Happy Halloween! Celebrating Halloween at Scape Museum of Horrors 2013 with Singapore Haunted fans and viewers and our friends from Scape, Moviemania and Singapore Poly.

More pics over at Official Singapore Haunted Facebook.

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