Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies Summary: The chaotic aftermath of an alien attack has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force.
Creators: Robert Rodat
Starring: Noah Wyle, Maxim Knight, Drew Roy, Will Patton, Moon Bloodgood, Seychelle Gabriel, Sarah Carter, Connor Jessup, Colin Cunningham, Mpho Koaho, Peter Shinkoda, Ryan Robbins, Brad Kelly
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Falling Skies
PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor who becomes the second-in-command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, a group of civilians and fighters fleeing post-apocalyptic Boston following an alien invasion that devastated the planet six months before the events of season one.
Falling Skies

The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel TNT, and is a production of DreamWorks Television. The series premiered on June 19, 2011.
On July 18, 2014, TNT renewed the show for a 10-episode fifth and final season.
Falling Skies
Falling Skies

Falling Skies tells the story of the aftermath of a global invasion by extraterrestrials (including mechanical attack drones called “mechs”, a species of green-skinned six-legged beings known as “Skitters” that appear to control the mechs, and a third mysterious species known as the Overlords, or “Espheni”, presumably the actual engineers of the invasion and the masters of the Skitters). Within a few days the invaders neutralized the world’s power grid and technology, destroyed the militaries of all the world’s countries, and killed over 90% of the human population. The aliens’ objectives are not explained, though the aliens try to round up children between the ages of 8 and 18 and attach a biomechanical obedience device onto (and into) their spines, referred to as a “harness”. The harness controls the child’s mind, and forcibly removing it generally kills the child. The story begins six months after the invasion and follows a group of survivors who band together to fight back. The group, known as the Second Massachusetts (an allusion to a historical regiment from the Continental Army), is led by retired U.S. Army Captain Dan Weaver and Boston University history professor Tom Mason who, while in search of his son Ben, must put his extensive knowledge of military history into practice as one of the leaders of the resistance movement.

Falling Skies
Falling Skies
Falling Skies
Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Combichrist

Combichrist
Combichrist is a Norwegian aggrotech band formed in 2003 by Norwegian Andy LaPlegua, who also founded the bands Icon of Coil, Panzer AG, Scandinavian Cock and Scandy. Combichrist is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The band consist of only LaPlegua in the studio with Joe Letz, Z_Marr, Abbey Nex, and Eric13 for live performances. Releases by the band have been very successful in terms of sales and charted in top positions for dance and alternative charts worldwide, a few releases have even sold out completely.
Combichrist
Formation
The first material LaPlegua wrote for the project was a powernoise/techno crossover track Thanx to my Buddies under the moniker D.r.i.v.E for the Advanced Electronics Vol. 2 compilation. The song was later remade into Like to Thank My Buddies on Combichrist’s album Everybody Hates You. The project’s name was later changed to Hudlager and then finally to Combichrist before the debut album The Joy of Gunz was released on the German record label Out of Line. The band name came from a fanzine of Andy’s in the 1990s, with Combichrist being a character in it that was a “punk-rock messiah.” The character would go on drug and alcohol fueled rampages, later healing those whom he had beaten.
Combichrist
A few years after the band’s conception, LaPlegua departed Norway for the United States, which is now the current home-base for Combichrist and his other projects Scandy, Panzer AG, and Scandinavian Cock.
Combichrist
Success
Combichrist’s first LP The Joy of Gunz was released in 2003. On Halloween of the same year, the limited edition EP Kiss The Blade was released with 667 pressings which sold out in less than a week.
Combichrist
In 2004, the second EP, Sex, Drogen Und Industrial, spent several weeks at number one in the DAC charts. At the same time that Sex, Drogen Und Industrial was released, a limited edition of 666 white-vinyl 12″ pressings for Blut Royale were produced, and sold out quickly.
Combichrist
The year 2005 saw the release of Everybody Hates You and it was at this time that LaPlegua began labeling the music as “Techno Body Music” or TBM. The band released a song called “This is TBM” on the Out-of-Line compilation Techno Body Music volume 1. They played this song live during their 2005 shows, adding vocals to it. No vocal version of the instrumental track was ever released, and the lyrics were instead later reworked for the track “Electrohead.” After this release, LaPlegua stopped referring to their music as TBM. Shortly after the release of the album, Army On The Dance Floor producer Kourtney Klein was added as alternating keyboardist and drummer to the band.
Combichrist
Their 2006 single “Get Your Body Beat” was released to commercial success, debuting in the No. 14 slot for Billboard’s Dance Singles on June 6. The music video for the single was included on the DVD release of the biopunk film The Gene Generation with the song also being used in the movie. The band embarked on a North American tour with KMFDM soon after the release of the single.
Combichrist
On March 6, 2007 What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? was released to some critical praise and popularity.
Combichrist
Pull Out Kings producer and songwriter Z Marr joined the band as keyboardist in January 2008 to begin work on the album Today We Are All Demons. According to an exchange with a fan, Trevor Friedrich of Imperative Reaction, he was asked to join the band as a drummer with Joe Letz (of Eighteen Visions and Wednesday 13) in October 2008. He replaced Kourtney Klein, who began full-time work with Nitzer Ebb.
Combichrist
Combichrist released Today We Are All Demons on Jan 20, 2009. For part the European tour that year, Trevor was temporarily replaced by Mark Jackson of VNV Nation. Combichrist’s song “Shut Up and Bleed” featuring W.A.S.T.E was put on the soundtrack for the horror movie The Collector. Their song “Today We Are All Demons” (Beneath the World Mix) was put on the soundtrack for the movie Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
Combichrist
Limp Bizkit’s guitarist Wes Borland joined Combichrist briefly in October 2009 for their tour of North America and in the studio for recording of new material on Making Monsters.
Combichrist
Combichrist’s latest album, Making Monsters, was released digitally on 31 August 2010 and on CD on 28 September 2010.[20] Combichrist began a tour in support of the new album in late 2010, with Aesthetic Perfection and iVardensphere as the support bands. In 2011, after opening for Rammstein at Madison Square Garden in December 2010, both bands announced Combichrist would be supporting Rammstein on their North American tour and Andy announced the “Monsters on Tour Part II” taking place around the scheduled Rammstein shows. The “Monsters on Tour Part II” had the same support as the 2010 tour but with the additions of Angel Spit and God Module performing with them on select dates.
Combichrist
Combichrist’s song Never Surrender was featured in a gameplay demo for the hack-n-slash style video game DmC Devil May Cry with Andy LaPlegua working on the soundtrack for the whole game. The song Throat Full of Glass is featured in the same game, played during the opening sequence. A new song called Bottle of Pain was released in January 2012 for the Underworld: Awakening movie soundtrack.
Combichrist
In October 2013, LaPlegua announced on Facebook that there would be a new album on the way in 2014.

On 10 December 2013, Combichrist announced the title of their 7th studio album, We Love You, with a March 2014 release date. As well as a 2014 promo tour, We Love You Tour, with support from William Control and New Years Day. Two singles were released from this album, “From My Cold Dead Hands” and “Maggots at the Party”.

Official Site | Wikipedia | Last.fm | Facebook







Ash Thorp

Ash ThorpAsh Thorp is a graphic designer, illustrator, artist, and creative director for a multitude of media, including feature films, commercial enterprises, and print. With an exceptional style of his own, he has quickly gained recognition among the industry, most notably for his role as lead graphic designer for Ender’s Game and Total Recall. He has also contributed to the design direction and concepts for Person of Interest, Prometheus, X-men First Class, the Amazing Spiderman 2, and many more titles. His work has been featured on Motionographer, ImagineFX, Kotaku, and Art of VFX.

In addition to these feature projects, Ash Thorp is further fueled by his internal drive to develop his own signature imprint on the industry. He directed an international team of over 30 members on the Ghost in the Shell tribute titled ‘Project 2501’. He wrote and directed the main title for OFFF Barcelona 2014 alongside acclaimed director, Anthony Scott Burns. He has created feature film tribute prints for Mondo. He launched his own series of illustrations titled ‘Lost Boy’, which is in development for additional media to be announced soon.

Compelled to give back to others, Ash Thorp has travelled the globe to speak at conferences and help share his journey and industry lessons with other creatives. As creator and host of ‘The Collective’ podcasts, he developed this series in an effort to connect artists together. The topics of conversation are diverse, but they are filled with great advice, humor, industry lessons learned, costly mistakes experienced or avoided, and most importantly, it’s aimed to help motivate one another to live out your passion.

Q&A Interview With Ash Thorp
TG: What were some of your early influences and current ones?
AT: I think both my mom and brother were a big influence on me artistically. They are both incredibly talented and it was common to embrace and encourage art in our house growing up. Most of my family are creative types. My current influences are vast… I am influenced by so many different creative spectrums all the way from David Lynch to Moebius.Ash Thorp

TG: How did you get into design and illustration? Do you have any advice for aspiring designers and illustrators?
AT: I first started drawing illustrations as a kid. I always loved escaping into my imagination and pulling the things from my mind out onto paper to scare my mom or impress my friends. Design came to me later in life when I concluded it would be a more sustainable career path for me. Design felt like a natural progression from illustration, and it would still allow me to apply my creative passion. As far as advice, it’s difficult to say since everyone is in different stages in life, but I suppose a unified piece of advice that applies to all of us is: stay hungry, stay humble, expect and encourage change. Most importantly, be in love with what it is that you do.Ash Thorp

TG: What are some of your favorite programs, apps, tools that you regularly use to create your artwork and do you have a process?
AT: There are too many to list! I primarily utilize Photoshop and Illustrator, but sometimes I will use InDesign and play around with C4D for 3D work. Most recently, I have started falling back in love with traditional media. I am in the process of building my book “Lost Boy” using ink and paper to get back to that original feeling of authentic drawings. I have been working with digital medium for so long that it will be a nice reconnection. As far as traditional mediums, I am currently researching and reading about what some of The Greats have found success with using. I recently got lots of nibs and pens from Japan that I’m going to try out, along with some different types of paper. Once I lock in the tools that work best for me and help me get what I want out onto paper, I will be sharing these tools with everyone.Ash Thorp

TG: How much time is divided between traditional forms and working on the computer, and what do you prefer?
AT: When I design, I usually start with an idea that I quickly put on paper in my sketchbook. These drawings are tremendously raw in form, but I can predict the potential in them. They are often mental snapshots of ideas that I will revisit. Once I get the energy and ideas out onto paper, I will then go into either Photoshop or Illustrator to build out these ideas to its final product. I believe I like the use of both paper and digital for mixed reasons. I try to constantly change things up to keep myself fresh and challenged.Ash Thorp

TG: Do you listen to music while working? If so, what’s usually on your playlist?
AT: I absolutely love music, it’s a driving force for my creative passages. I listen to so many different types of music, depending on my mood or if someone has sent me a song/album to check out. I tend to listen to an album over and over again on repeat until I hate it, and then I’ll finally move on to something else. Other than music, I listen to LOTS of film commentary, podcasts, and audio books. Some of the best commentaries I have listened to so far have been by David Fincher, Ridley Scott, and Steven Soderbergh. However, there are so many that I appreciate though, which makes it difficult to really pick a favorite. I am fascinated and in love with the process of making movies, so listening to film commentaries keeps my mind racing while I am building out new content and imagery on my projects.Ash Thorp

TG: What TV shows or movies have been huge influences on your work?
AT: I am a bit of a sponge when it comes to my influences. I love certain pieces about so many different shows/movies. I really loved racing home after school to watch Batman, the animated series; it’s such a masterpiece, and it showed me how it’s possible to respectfully portray the superhero genre. I am definitely inspired by comics, anime, manga, and Sci-Fi films. Some pivotal films that changed my life growing up were Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Alien, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, American Beauty, Godfather, Terminator, Fargo… the good stuff. I was lucky to have grown up in such an iconic part of creative history.Ash Thorp

TG: What were some of your favorite projects you worked on and why, how excited were you when you got to work on the bigger ones?
AT: I think each project has been special to me in its own right. I really try and give each project my everything, no matter how small or big it may be. I feel that is the only way to create memorable work that stands out. I try to select projects that I feel fit me best or that I will grow the most from working on, so that I can further build and develop myself into the person that I aim to be. Overall, I’m most excited and personally enjoy the more self-propelled projects, where I have more creative direction and control of the process and final outcome.Ash Thorp

TG: Any dream projects you would love to tackle?
AT: At this stage in my career, I would really love to build out my own projects with other creative that I admire and trust. I feel that nothing is as gratifying as building your own worlds or seeing your own ideas come to life. There are many creators and directors that I would love to someday have the fortune to collaborate with and merge our talents. Working with Otomo at some point in my life would be an extreme honor to me, as I consider him to a living legend in our industry. There is so much to learn and gain from him, and I admire how he has managed to produce such stunning body of works. It would be a dream to be able to translate his masterpiece “Domu” to film.Ash Thorp

TG: What was your first introduction to point cloud?
AT: I was first introduced to the concept from a brief that Ridley Scott and his production designer sent out regarding their needs on the film “Prometheus.” They mentioned a music video by Radiohead that was created using a Lydar scanner. I kept digging for more information which eventually led me to playing with processing and discovering a whole new world of possibilities.Ash Thorp

TG: Is there anything you can tell us about your project Lost Boy and how far away are you from kickstarting it?
AT: YES! Lost Boy is everything that I aspired to be able to draw or create as a kid. With each moment of time I have to sit and study or draw, I am getting closer to conveying the energy and ideas that I have in my mind. This process is extremely taxing and rewarding at the same time. I am in midst of creating the “Lost Boy” script with my great friend and close collaborator, Anthony Scott Burns. Once the crazy story of the “Lost Boy” world is locked down, I will then be able to expand the characters and further build out the pages and art details. I want the book to be impressive and inspiring, so I am devoting everything I can to see this project through. Ideally, my plan is to have 50-60% of the book completed before I launch the KickStarter, so that I have a solid foundation to show people and for them to believe in and support. By waiting to launch, it will also help minimize the amount of time the pledged supporters will have to wait to receive the final product. I will only be able to complete this book with the love and support of the community. I want to pay that back by giving them something special. I’m hoping to go public with the KickStarter early next year… Fingers crossed!!! Wish us luck, and thank you EVERYONE for the amazing feedback, love and support.Ash Thorp

Check out his website here. | Twitter | Facebook | Tumbler | Vimeo | Behance
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Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man Summary: This film follows the ‘life’ and times of the lead character, an android who is purchased as a household robot programmed to perform menial tasks. Within a few days the Martin family realizes that they don’t have an ordinary droid as Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought. In a story that spans two centuries, Andrew learns the intricacies of humanity while trying to stop those who created him from destroying him.
Director: Terry Chris Columbus
Writers: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Nicholas Kazan
Starring: Robin Williams, Embeth Davidtz, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt, Kiersten Warren, Wendy Crewson, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Lindze Letherman, Angela Landis, John Michael Higgins, Bradley Whitford, Igor Hiller
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PLOT – SPOILER ALERT
The NDR series android “Andrew” (Robin Williams) is introduced in April 2005 into the Martin family home to perform housekeeping and maintenance duties. The family’s reactions range from acceptance and curiosity to outright rejection and deliberate vandalism by the eldest child, Grace (Lindze Letherman), which leads to the discovery that Andrew can both identify emotions and reciprocate in kind. When Andrew accidentally breaks a figurine belonging to Grace’s sister, “Little Miss” Amanda (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), he carves a replacement out of wood. The family is astonished by this creativity and “Sir” Richard Martin (Sam Neill) takes Andrew to his manufacturer, to inquire if all the robots are like him. The company’s CEO (Stephen Root) sees this development as a problem and wishes to scrap Andrew. Angered, Martin takes Andrew home and allows him to pursue his own development, encouraging Andrew to educate himself in the sciences and humanities.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

In 2025, Andrew has an accident in which his thumb is accidentally cut off so Sir again takes him to NorthAm Robotics for repairs, ensuring first that Andrew’s personality will remain unharmed. Andrew requests that while he is being repaired his face be upgraded to allow him to convey the emotions he feels but cannot fully express. The CEO bitterly informs them that upgrade modification will be very expensive (larger than the sum he earns in an entire year) but the price is well within the Martin family’s means, comprising a month of Andrew’s income from the sale of his carpentry and other woodworks and crafts. He is upgraded just in time to witness the wedding of Little Miss (Embeth Davidtz).Bicentennial Man

In 2037, Andrew realizes there are no more orders for him to run so he asks for his own freedom much to Sir’s dismay. His elderly owner grants the request but banishes Andrew so he can be “completely” free. As Andrew leaves, Sir comments that he stopped referring to himself as “one”. Andrew eventually builds himself a home at the beach and lives alone. In 2053, Andrew sees Sir one last time. On his deathbed, Sir apologizes for banishing Andrew, knowing that letting him have his freedom was the right thing as he bids farewell to Andrew, stating that it was an honor serving him.Bicentennial Man

After reluctant help from Lloyd Charney (Bradley Whitford), Little Miss’s son, Andrew goes on a quest to locate more NDR series robots to discover if others have also developed sentience. After more than a decade of futility, he finds Galatea (Kiersten Warren), an NDR robot that has been given feminine attributes and personality. These however are simply aspects of her programming and not something which she developed as Andrew did. Galatea is owned by Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt), the son of the original NDR robot designer. Rupert works to create a more human look for robots but is unable to attract funding. Andrew agrees to finance the research and the two join forces to give Andrew a superficial human appearance.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

In 2073, Andrew comes back to visit but instead sees Little Miss has aged significantly and meets Portia Charney (Embeth Davidtz), her granddaughter (and Lloyd’s daughter) who looks almost exactly like a younger version of Little Miss due to a genetic likeness. As Andrew gets to know Portia, Little Miss is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Andrew and Portia visit her, noticing that she is clutching the wooden horse he carved for her when she was young. After Little Miss silently passes away in her hospital bed, Andrew feels the pain of not being able to cry and realizes that every human being he cares for will eventually die.Bicentennial Man

As time passes, Andrew and Rupert begin to study medical designs capable of producing mechanical equivalents of human organs, including a central nervous system, which eventually allows Andrew to acquire tactile sensations and taste. Meanwhile, his friendship with Portia evolves into romance. At first, Portia is uncertain about “investing her emotions in a machine” and almost marries someone else, but Andrew confronts her about her emotions and they eventually engage in a relationship that is both romantic and sexual. When Andrew and Portia realize that their relationship would never be socially accepted, Andrew petitions the World Congress to recognize him as a human being, which would allow him and Portia to be legally married. The Congress Speaker rejects the proposal, however, arguing that while society can tolerate an everlasting machine, an immortal human would create too much jealousy and resentment.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

Many years later, Portia is only physically middle-aged due to Andrew’s medical breakthroughs but decides that she doesn’t want to have her life prolonged forever. Realizing that he wouldn’t want to live without her, Andrew asks Rupert to introduce blood into his system which will cause his brain to gradually decay and allow him to age to which his elderly friend welcomes him to the human condition.

Three to four decades later, Andrew has become physically elderly with Portia. With Portia watching, Andrew meets with the World Congress a second time to once again petition to be declared human. Interestingly, the Congress President decides to review the case before making a final determination. After Andrew leaves with Portia to await the decision, the two continue to become more physically older than any other human before.Bicentennial Man

In 2205, Andrew and Portia reside in a nursing home with life support machines and Galatea (now human-looking) nursing them. As all three listen to a broadcast, the Congress President finally acknowledges Andrew’s humanity by declaring that the 200 year old is (“with the exception of Methuselah and other biblical figures”) the oldest human being in recorded history and validates his marriage to Portia. Despite his life support machine, Andrew peacefully dies while listening to the broadcast. Afterwards, Portia too dies quietly hand-in-hand with Andrew, saying her last words to him, “See you soon.”

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Martin Rangelov

Marting RangelovMartin Rangelov is a self-taught sculptor from Bulgaria. His style is mainly dark, with biomechanical & steampunk tendencies. Fore more check out his facebook pageMarting Rangelov
Q&A Interview With Martin Rangelov
TG: What got you into sculpturing?
MR: I was 5 years old when I start, I wasn’t a kid who plays sports so I create my ‘play” in home. My instruments can be found in any scrap box or locker, there is nothing fancy about my work, except the end result of course… I believe in the idealized darkness.That does not mean to be bad or anything, I love the mystery that’s all. All of my creations are abstract in some way – there is no realizm, and also – there is no symetry…Marting Rangelov

TG: What would be your favorite alien?
MR: My Fav. alien is The Predator.Marting RangelovMarting Rangelov

TG: What materials do you use the most?
MR: I’m using two types of clay – chavant and polymer.
I love metal.Armours, gears, helmets and all.i love skulls also.
I love masks.A lot of my characters is like having a mask.Marting Rangelov

TG: What do you listen to while cranking out these insane masks?
MR: I listen metal music most of the time, movie scores – also a lot!

TG: Any movie/tv show favorites that you go back to for inspiration?
MR: I was watched the Predator movies over 100 times when I was a child.I love superhero movies also – Batman, Spider-man, Iron man,Captain America, Superman, and many more of course…
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Feng Zhu

Feng ZhuFeng Zhu Design Inc. was established by industry veteran Feng Zhu in 1999.

For more than 12 years, Feng Zhu has contributed to some of the highest profiled projects in the entertainment industry. His broad design skills allowed him to reach across into many fields from hit movies, to triple-A games, memorable TV commercials and toy designs. Founding his own design company, Feng Zhu Design (FZD), his client includes Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, Activision, Industrial Light+Magic, NCSoft, Warner Brothers, Lucasfilm, Bay Films, Epic Games, and many other top studios. In Hollywood, he has worked closely with well established directors including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Michael Bay and Luc Besson.

In the spring of 2009, Feng founded the FZD School of Design in Singapore. This venture was established to train professionals and students who want to break into the entertainment design industry. This type of specialized education is rarely available in Asia.

Today, Feng Zhu Design continues to create original content and provides designs for clients around the world.

Official website. | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Tutorials | FZD School of Design

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Bottled Air

Bottled AirChina is offering a breath of fresh air to tourists affected by its high pollution levels – with plans to sell bottles of oxygen. In an attempt to address its dangerous smog levels – described as an environmental crisis by the World Health Organization – canned air is due to hit the streets. The bottles of air will to be manufactured as part of a tourism scheme by authorities in the southwestern Guizhou province. Air from the area’s eco-tourism zones such as Fanjing and Leigong mountains will be bottled, and on the shelves to be sold from June 20.Bottled AirHowever, entrepreneurial types are already cashing in on the idea. Costumed characters called Oxygen Babies have been giving away bottles, which are filled with air collected at the Tianmu mountain scenic spot in the county of Linan in Zhejiang province. They are expected to tour the country, promoting the new products, which are currently free of charge, and were pictured in the city of Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang province.Bottled AirProduct manager Long Peng said: ‘The air in Tianmu mountain is so fresh that negative oxygen ion is 3,300 per cubic centimetre, much higher than the normal level. ‘The problem is that there are not enough negative ions in daily life. All the modern things we have generate an overabundance of positive ions that make us feel tired, depressed and irritable.’Bottled Air

The inspiration for the idea reportedly came from tourist shops near Mount Fuji in Japan, where cans of fresh air have been a huge success. During a National Congress meeting, China’s president, Xi Jinping, suggested Guizhou ‘sell cans in the future’, adding: ‘Air quality is now a deciding factor in people’s perception of happiness.’Bottled AirHowever, it’s not the first time bottle air has gone on sale in China. Last year, Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, claimed to have sold 10 million cans in just 10 days, as pollution levels reached a record high. ‘I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: don’t just chase GDP growth, don’t chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment’, Chen said.Bottled AirThe move comes after the country’s biggest online travel agency and insurance firms joined forces to offer policies to tourists whose trips are visually impaired by the pollution. China’s air quality is closely watched as it fluctuates dramatically from day to day but in recent weeks has registered far into the unhealthy zone. Air pollution is measured in terms of PM2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are absorbed by the lungs and can cause heart and lung disease. The World Health Organisation recommends a daily PM2.5 level of 20 and says that levels greater than 300 are serious health hazards. Beijing’s air quality frequently surges past a level of 500, and on January 12 soared to 755, the highest in memory.Bottled Air‘I go outside, walk for about 20 minutes, and my throat hurts and I feel dizzy’, Chen told Reuters in an interview on a busy Beijing sidewalk. He handed out green and orange cans of ‘Fresh Air’, with a caricature of himself on them saying, ‘Chen Guangbiao is a good man’. ‘Be a good person, have a good heart, do good things,’ reads a message along the bottom of each can. The 44-year-old entrepreneur, whose wealth is estimated at $740 million according to last year’s Hurun Rich List of China’s super-wealthy, is an ebullient and tireless self-promoter. He is something of a celebrity in China, with more than 4 million followers on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform.Bottled Air

Halt And Catch Fire

Halt And Catch Fire

Halt And Catch Fire Summary: Set in the early 1980s, series dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. Their personal and professional partnership will be challenged by greed and ego while charting the changing culture in Texas’ Silicon Prairie.
Creators: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
Starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé, Toby Huss, Morgan Hinkleman, Alana Cavanaugh, Bianca Malinowski, Scott Michael Foster, Eric Goins, Graham Beckel, Cooper Andrews
Official Website
Wiki Entry
IMDB
Metacritic

Halt And Catch Fire
PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
Halt and Catch Fire takes a small group of people who are all profoundly driven, obsessed, and passionate about the future potential of computers, and sets them about the task of creating a machine from scratch – a goal, which, at the time, (early 80’s) seemed impossible next to the market control of corporate giants like IBM.
Halt And Catch Fire
Halt And Catch Fire
Halt And Catch Fire

This setting is unusual for a television drama, and is engaging enough in its own terms, but its actually not the unusual setting that make this show so watchable; its the deeply interesting characters and the rich dynamics between them that really makes it great viewing.
Halt And Catch Fire

The core character is ‘visionary’, Joe, a man with absolutely no moral or ethical compass – only an unstoppable drive to succeed at any cost. The people unlucky enough to be caught up with him in his mission to make a new pc are consistently at various stages of dissolution, coping with the ongoing aftermath of his wholly egotistical and single-minded goal.
Halt And Catch Fire

The interplay between the people caught up as staff working under Joe is often subtle, but riveting viewing. Definitely worth a look, not only for its unique setting, but for the rich interplay between its dark, complex, and intriguing characters.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Summary: The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day for Sword Art Online, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG that lets players connect to an immersive virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is one such gamer who’s eager to jump back into action, having spent a great deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with newbie warrior Klein. But soon, Sword Art Online’s 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to log out, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower’s final boss – death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can.
Creator: Reki Kawahara
Cast: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Ayana Taketatsu, Haruka Tomatsu
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PLOT – SPOILER WARNING:Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン Sōdo Āto Onrain?) is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. The series takes place in the near-future and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds. The light novels began publication on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko imprint from April 10, 2009, with a spin-off series launching in October 2012, and are licensed in North America by Yen Press. The series has spawned eight manga adaptations published by ASCII Media Works and Kadokawa.Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online

A television anime series produced by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan between July and December 2012. An Extra Edition episode aired on December 31, 2013, and a second anime series, titled Sword Art Online II, began airing in July 2014. A video game based on the series, Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, was released on PlayStation Portable in March 2013, with a second game, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment for PlayStation Vita released in April 2014. The novels and three of the manga adaptations have been licensed for release by Yen Press.Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online

Sword Art Online has received widespread commercial success, with the light novels being the top selling series of 2012. The anime series has received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the exploration of the psychological aspects of virtual reality, while others criticized the series’ pacing and writing.

SETTING
The light novel series spans several virtual-reality worlds, not exclusively the eponymous world of Sword Art Online.
Sword Art Online (SAO) (ソードアート・オンライン Sōdo Āto Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe first virtual game world, and the setting of the first story arc. The world takes the form of a giant floating castle called Aincrad, with 100 floors in it. Each floor has a medieval-themed setting and a dungeon with a boss, which has to be defeated before players can advance to the next higher floor. Like most RPGs, it implements a level-based system. However, the game is altered in a manner in which players are unable to log out, and if players die in-game, their body in reality dies too.
Alfheim Online (ALO) (アルヴヘイム・オンライン Aruvuheimu Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe setting for the second story arc. The player characters in the game are fairy-based, capable of flight thanks to their wings. It is a large world, divided into separate “homelands” for each of its fairy races. In Alfheim’s center is a very large tree called the World Tree, and the goal of the game is to reach the top. It implements a skill-based system with players increasing their stats by developing both their combat and non-combat skills. Aincrad, the castle of the first game, is later accessible to ALO players as well.
Gun Gale Online (GGO) (ガンゲイル・オンライン Gan Geiru Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe setting for the third story arc. It is a virtual game world with a main focus on guns, although melee weapons like lightsabers and knives also exist. From all the games it is the most competitive one as the money earned there can be exchanged for currency used in the real world, drawing high-tier professional players to make a living from it.
UnderWorld (UW) (アンダーワールド Andāwārudo?)Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineThe setting for the fourth arc of the story, the first Virtual World setting introduced to not be a game world. According to Kirito, it is graphically the most realistic of all Virtual Worlds to date. The flow of time in UnderWorld is variable and can be much faster relative to the real world’s. Kikouka claimed that the current rate of its flow is 1000 times the speed of the real-world, and that the maximum rate was 1500 times the real-world’s rate.

STORY
Sword Art Online (SAO) is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), released in 2022. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineOn November 6, 2022, the players log into SAO for the first time, and later discover that they are unable to log out. They are then informed by Akihiko Kayaba, SAO’s creator, that if they wish to be free, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world. One of these players is Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, who was chosen as one of the 1,000 beta testers in the closed beta. Since he had previous experience and knowledge of the game, he felt that he could beat the game easily. As a result, he set out to beat the game on his own. As the game progresses for two years, Kirito eventually befriends a female player named Asuna with whom he ultimately falls in love. After the duo discover the identity of Kayaba’s avatar in SAO, they confront and destroy him, freeing themselves and the other players from the game.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineUpon being sent back to the real world, Kirito learns that 300 SAO players, including Asuna, still have not awakened yet. Following a clue about Asuna’s whereabouts in another VRMMORPG called Alfheim Online (ALO), Kirito also enters the ALO’s mainframe. Helped by his sister Suguha Kirigaya, known as Leafa in the game, he learns that the trapped players in ALO are part of a plan conceived by Nobuyuki Sugō to perform illegal experiments on their minds to put them under his control, including Asuna, whom he intends to marry in the real world in order to take over her family’s company. After Kirito foils Nobuyuki’s plans, he finally reunites with Asuna back in the real world.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSoon after, Kirito plays another game called Gun Gale Online (GGO) to investigate the mysterious connection between it and deaths occurring in the real world. Assisted by a female player he meets in the game called Sinon, he identifies and exposes the culprits, who include some former members of a murderous guild he had previously encountered in SAO.

Kirito is later recruited to assist in testing a state-of-the-art FullDive machine, Soul Translator (STL), which has an interface that is far more realistic and complex than the previous machine he had played. He tests the STL by entering a Virtual Reality world created with The Seed package, named UnderWorld (UW). In the UW mainframe, the flow of time proceeds a thousand times faster than in the real world, and Kirito’s memories of what happens inside are restricted. However, he ends up falling into a trap set by one of the murderers from GGO and wakes up inside UnderWorld without any recollection of how he ended up there, unable to log out, with his real self left in a comatose state.
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