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Web Monitor

15:27 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: ageing and the action film, getting the message out and why computers in films aren't like those in real life.

Mel GibsonMel Gibson reveals to Jeanne Wolf in Parade Magazine that he's started feeling the strain of action scenes:

"It's getting harder. You wake up the next day like road kill, even though it's just pretend fighting. Having some 25-year-old guy jamming you into walls and stuff wreaks havoc with your lumbar. I usually book a chiropractor in advance because you know it's gonna suck."

Stephen Battersby at New Scientist opens a cosmic can of worms when he considers the astronomer's dilemma to be discussed in April: after decades of listening out for extra-terrestrial life and hearing nothing, should we be sending out our own messages? And if so, what would ET be interested in?. Mr Battersby's conclusions are a little suprising:

"If Earth's efforts are anything to go by, we can expect a basic maths lesson and some pictures of naked aliens."

Petra Maya at the radio station NPR asks why computers in films are nothing like those in real life. She turns to graphic interface designer Mark Coleran who is responsible for designing computer screens in films such as The Bourne Identity. One reason is that when computers started appearing in films, not everyone knew what they actually looked like - but knew what video games looked like. The use of large text stuck because it got the message across clearly.
Now, he says, life is imitating art:

"The interfaces Coleran creates can seem fantastically futuristic - he gets a lot of inspiration from university software labs and prototypes from companies like Microsoft. But occasionally a product hits the market that bears an uncanny resemblance to one of his fantasy designs. 'And unfairly,' he says, 'sometimes we get credit for it.'"

Links in full

see alsoJeanne Wolf | Parade | 'Life's Experiences Season You'
see alsoStephen Battersby | New Scientist | Exolanguage: do you speak alien?
NPR Petra Maya | NPR | Hollywood's Computers

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