The U.S. Army is asking Hollywood for help. It wants better military training simulators for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is cost. The price tag for a live-fire exercise for a single Bradley fighting vehicle is just under $5,000, according to Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera. In a simulator, the cost is $11. The research for improving the simulators is coming from the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). The organization is reaching out to writers, directors, cinematographers, production designers, art directors, sound mixers, and special effects designers—a collection of creative thinkers who know how to use their imaginations—hoping for help in developing realistic simulations that help soldiers practice negotiating, learn local cultures, and deal with hostage situations. Projects under development at ICT include artificial intelligence that allows digital characters to react to various military situations. Applications for the military technology include special effects for video games. For more information, go to www.ict.usc.edu.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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