Category: News

News in Tech: Virtual Reality and Robots

Pokémon GO is the new AR craze, but there’s a lot of other technology out there that is worth looking at. View full article »

Pokémon GO: Death, Drugs and Accidents

Pokémon GO has hit the world by storm, but like any new technology it’s a little… disruptive. View full article »

Iron Man, Gimmickry and Code Words

Wherein I ponder the a strange intersection of prejudicial code words and reasonable criticism. View full article »

Facebook and Google Own You

The future is now.

In Blade Runner, the dystopian future was heavily influenced by the Tyrell Corporation, which provided artificial humans for almost any purpose.

In Robocop the Omni Consumer Products megacorporation planned on buying the entire city of Detroit and make all the citizens shareholders and employees.

In Elysium, the future was ruled by a wealthy social elite that existed above Earth in a technological Eden.

The problem is that these are not just stories. These are issues that we’re facing today. While the world watches Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle for the American throne, Google, Facebook and the tech community in general are in the trenches affecting our lives right now. Read on for more. View full article »

You have no idea what Reality is

The Atlantic recently published an interview with Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science. In this interview, Hoffman reveals some fascinating ideas about how reality is perceived and how that far off that perception can actually be. Furthermore, it’s possible that living beings are supposed to be that way in order to survive! Read on for more! View full article »

Poker VR and Entertainment

There’s been a certain amount of hype recently about Poker VR. Essentially, it is online virtual reality poker. Of all the places for VR to take hold, poker VR is not what I would have expected. This is not a poker blog, though, so we have to leave the intricacies of online poker for someone else. The interesting thing for us, however, is the motivation behind poker VR.

In essence, poker is a boring thing to watch. Having seen a few Youtube videos in preparation for this article, I can say that poker appears to be more interesting to play than to observe. For the most part, everyone is quietly staring at the table, some covering their faces with hoodies and sunglasses. They sit around for a while, then one makes a move. Then a bunch of chips get pushed around. That’s about it from a spectator perspective. No one is really interesting and things move slowly.

Oddly enough, this boredom isn’t just restricted to poker. Many people watch hockey for the fights. I myself spoke to a boxing trainer who pointed out that the best boxers are also the least interesting. They spend a lot of time and effort evading hits when it is simply more entertaining to barge in swinging. In that last sentences is the purpose behind poker VR; it’s not about poker, but entertainment.

Entertainment consumes everything

Consider some activity of interest. It could be arranging matchsticks, for all that it matters. Now consider a web series on arranging matchsticks. The former is an activity that some people do for some reason. The other is entertainment. The idea of arranging matchsticks is just the flavor with which the entertainment is presented.

It’s like this for a lot of things. When ESPN airs the World Series of Poker, they’re not really airing poker games. They’re airing entertainment that uses poker games at the distinguishing flavor (for lack of a better term). Sports are like this as well. Football has to be entertaining or no one would watch it. Boxing, Tennis, even Chess. There has to be something to hook people or else the entertainment stops working as a product and goes away. When was the last time you watched a chess tournament on ESPN?

Thinking in these terms, poker VR isn’t an evolution of poker in the Internet Age. It’s a gimmick. One that the entertainment community grasped for because poker itself is not very interesting to watch. Thanks to tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, there is a huge amount of money in the poker world. It’s worth the investment of coming up with this kind of gimmickry. It gets people into the gaming who might not otherwise be interested. What does it do for the veterans? Maybe nothing. I don’t think hardcore poker players would care. Perhaps it will get more people in to take money from.

One thing is for sure, however. This isn’t real poker. It’s just entertainment.

Doctor Strange and International Politics

Recently, Comic Book Resources broke a story about how Chinese concerns are what led to Tilda Swinton being cast as The Ancient One. The Ancient One, for those not familiar with Doctor Strange mythology, was a male Tibetan monk of ancient knowledge and power who teach Stephen Strange to be come the Sorcerer Supreme (the magical guardian of Earth). For the film, however, a white female (Swinton) was cast. Why? Read on for more View full article »

Zootopia: Was It Timing or Was It Luck?

Animated films are planned out at least couple years in advance. There is the initial idea, the pitch meeting, various explorations into the viability of the story and so on. At some point, everything is greenlit and the animators go to work. It’s a long process. That begs the question, did the people behind Zootopia know how relevant their story was going to be in an election year, or was it an amazing coincidence? View full article »

Visual Storytelling: A basis in biology

Quite often with visual art we make the assumption that the artist is an intuitive prodigy. The idea is that art is something that is just “known” to the artist. That it is some mystical force that only the special can sense and no amount of classes or guidelines or rules of thumb will make up for it. As it happens, this might not actually be the case! Recent research indicates our brains might be hardwired in such a way that there is at least a base start from. Read on for more. View full article »

ICYMI: Blood Moon and Street Art


The Fourth Blood Moon

Those able to stay up late enough got a treat on April 4: the third showing of the Blood Moon tetrad! There is a six-month gap between each stage of the blood moon, so the next showing will be in September.

The “Blood Moon” is so named because of the the way the sun’s light is filtered through Earth’s atmosphere. A blood moon is a full lunar eclipse where the Earth is between the sun and the moon in a particular manner. Earth’s atmosphere basically captures all of the sun’s light spectrum except for the red wavelength. This means the blood moon is painted with a red color, hence it’s name.

This particular blood moon wasn’t completely obscured by Earth’s shadow. A faint sliver of the moon’s natural color could still be seen. This is because this particular time the moon’s orbit took it to the upper edge of the Earth’s shadow, so, depending on the angle it was viewed at from Earth, it would either be completely obscured, or just peek a bit out from the top. From California this is exactly how it appeared. How will it appear next time? Stay tuned in September and we’ll let you know! For more information, check out NASA’s page on the blood moon tetrad!

The Burbank Art Festival

West Coast Artists came in over the weekend and kicked off the Burbank Art Festival in downtown Burbank. Vendors came out with paintings, photography, sculptures, music and more. Unfortunately, Quantum Pop had to respect a variety of “No Photo” signs put up by the artists, but we still managed to snag some great photos of artists painting the streets with street chalk. There are two more festivals coming up in October; one is in Long Beach and the other is in Westwood. You can find more information at the West Coast Artist website!