Some of the best book cover designs of 2015…

The Casual Optimist: Notable Book Covers for 2015

The Casual Optimist: 52 YA Covers for 2015

Buzzfeed: 34 Of The Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2015

(via kottke.org)

See also: Covers – A series of 55 animated vintage book graphics

Craft and creativity

Best book cover designs of 2015

“When considering the book as a whole, I prefer that the interiors contain answers and the covers ask questions.” — Matt Dorfman, NYT

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Star Wars souvenir program 1977
Use your words

Samuel R. Delany’s 1977 review of the original Star Wars

This contemporary review of the first Star Wars movie for Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine by Samuel R. Delany is fascinating.

Samuel R. Delaney (1969) I’m posting this about five hours before I go to see The Force Awakens, which if nothing else I expect to be a blisteringly fast film based on director J.J. Abrams previous two Star Trek films. So it’s really interesting to me how Delaney describes the original Star Wars as “about the fastest two-hour film I’ve ever seen”. By modern standards — and even by the standards of the other Star Wars films — the first installment seems quite slow.

It’s also assuring to see that from the very outset critics like Delaney were calling Star Wars out for it’s lack of human racial diversity and gender equality.


Star Wars:
A consideration of the great new S.F. film

by Samuel R. Delany

My first reactions as the final credits rose on the screen? “Now what happens?” – which is to say George (American Grafitti and THX-1138) Lucas’s Star Wars is about the fastest two-hour film I’ve ever seen: I thought I’d been in the theater maybe twenty-five minutes.

THX, if you’ll recall, looked like it was sired by Godard’s Contempt out of the space station sequence in Kubrick’s 2001i.e. it was basically white, white-on-white, and then more white. What is the visual texture of Star Wars?

Two moons shimmer in the heat above the horizon, and the desert evening fades to purple rather than blue; into the starry black, huge and/or hopelessly complex artifacts flicker, flash, spin, turn, or merely progress with ponderous motion; indoors is all machinery, some old, some new; while plastic storm troopers and dull grey generals meet and march; circus-putty aliens drink in a bar where what appears to be an automatic still gleams in the background with tarnished copper tubing; some of the spaceships are new and shiny, some are old and battered (and you get pretty good at telling the difference between the two).

Continue reading Delaney’s Star Wars review →

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The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.

(via Laughing Squid)

FaceDirector: Continuous Control of Facial Performance in Video

Disney Research Hub: We present a method to continuously blend between multiple facial performances of an actor, which can contain different facial expressions or emotional states. As an example, given sad and angry video takes of a scene, our method empowers a movie director to specify arbitrary weighted combinations and smooth transitions between the two takes in post-production.

FaceDirector

(via)

All roads lead to Rome

At least for Europe it is obvious: All roads lead to Rome! You can reach the eternal city on almost 500.000 routes from all across the continent. Which road would you take?

Available as a poster, along with many other maps showing European capital cities and US state capitals.

Craft and creativity

All roads lead to Rome

“For this we created a algorithm that calculates one route for every trip. The more often a single street segment is used, the stronger it is drawn on the map.”

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