Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the “best” American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.
We knew The Terminator was an unstoppable influence on cyberpunk, and American culture in general, and now it will have its place along side cyberpunk classics Blade Runner and Alien.
From the press release:
The Terminator (1984)
In 1984, few expected much from the upcoming film “The Terminator.” Director James Cameron, a protégé of legendary independent filmmaker Roger Corman, had made only two films previously: the modest sci-fi short “Xenogenesis” in 1978 and “Piranha Part Two: The Spawning” in 1981. However, “The Terminator” became one of the sleeper hits of 1984, blending an ingenious, thoughtful script — clearly influenced by the works of sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison — and relentless, non-stop action moved along by an outstanding synthesizer and early techno soundtrack. Most notable was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star-making performance as the mass-killing cyborg with a laconic sense of humor (”I’ll be back”). Low-budget, but made with heart, verve, imagination, and superb Stan Winston special effects, “The Terminator” remains among the finest science-fiction films in many decades.
What cyberpunk movies will be included in the future? With T1 now registered for preservation, things look good for Terminator 2: Judgment Day to join it since many consider it to be better than T1. Just don’t hold your breath for T3, k?
If you want to see the full list (some 500 movies so far), just head over to the NFR site and take a look-see at what has been selected for preservation. Quite an impressive list, not only including major films but newsreels as well. But some notable cyberpunk movies are absent… at least until next year anyway. Movies like WarGames,Tron,Sneakers (a personal favorite), and Robocop should be included. The Matrix also, though it may be a little early for it to qualify (possibly in 2010?).
There’s still plenty of cyberpunk movies yet to review, with possible gems for the Registry to save. And when next year’s selections for preservation are announced, and any cyberpunk movies get the nod, we will let you know.
This post has been filed under Movie News by Mr. Roboto.
(AP Photos) Meredith L. Patterson goes from hacking computers to hacking DNA
Building germs in the garage? Why not? The computer industry started out in garages, and now future genetic engineers may come from the same location. These biohackers are currently twisting the double-helix of life in hopes of finding breakthrough cures and therapies, or at least creating mutant strains to help humanity. They don’t have the PhD’s or advanced medical knowledge, but they can find most of the info, materials, and equipment they need off the Internet. A Massachusetts company is also helping the DIY gene-twisters:
In Cambridge, Mass., a group called DIYbio is setting up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a used freezer, scored for free off Craigslist, that drops to 80 degrees below zero, the temperature needed to keep many kinds of bacteria alive.
Co-founder Mackenzie Cowell, a 24-year-old who majored in biology in college, said amateurs will probably pursue serious work such as new vaccines and super-efficient biofuels, but they might also try, for example, to use squid genes to create tattoos that glow.
Cowell said such unfettered creativity could produce important discoveries.
What’s the worst that could happen? There are critics who see this DIY attitude as an open invitation to terrorism, or at least a recipe for disaster. But given how the current system is used just to make profits, and how hacker innovation has allowed computer technology to explode to its current state, biohackers may be better than the money-driven model.
Besides, what’s the worst that could happen with genetic engineering?
Here comes (!) the ORGASMATRON! Oxford University researchers have announced that they are currently developing a chip that will be implantable in the brain and can stimulate certain areas like the orbitofrontal cortex, which has been shown to produce sensations of pleasure from eating… and SEX.
Guess which pleasure sensation they’re aiming for…
(Neurosurgery professor Tipu Aziz, said) … current technology, which requires surgery to connect a wire from a heart pacemaker into the brain, can cause bleeding and is “intrusive and crude”.
He continued: “When the technology is improved, we can use deep brain stimulation in many new areas. It will be more subtle, with more control over the power so you may be able to turn the chip on and off when needed.
Sex is just one possible use of the chip. They’re looking at other possible brain-stimulation therapies within ten years.
Meanwhile, in a secret lab in North Carolina, USA… Another “orgasmatron” has been developed for women (click the pic above to read the full article on io9):
Women who have used the device say they feel as if their clitoris and vagina are actually being stimulated, to quite realistic effect. (”One woman asked me, ‘Would it be considered adultery if I gave the remote control to someone other than my husband?’ ” Meloy says.)
Some volunteers also report fleeting episodes of clenched foot muscles, Meloy says, probably a result of electrical pulses leaving the spine and stimulating nearby motor nerves. (He wonders if the phenomenon might somehow be related to a common orgasm description: “My toes curled.”)
And when the device’s pulse intensity is cranked up to maximum, Meloy says, some women find their vaginal and rectal muscles squeezing rhythmically in time with the pulses, even before the orgasmic finale.
I wanted to blog this sooner, but a stomach virus kept my power levels down for a couple of days.
The idea of a personal robot has been on most everyone’s mind lately, even driving an intrepid inventor to build his own. Having a two-legged, walking, talking, thinking, tireless robot that can do household chores would be a blessing to some. But a recent article from the BBC News Magazine shows that such personal robots may not as close as most might think.
While many obstacles have been cleared so far, there are still some major roadblocks ahead (other than price) that may keep personal robots a dream:
Walking. With the likes of Honda’s Asimo robot seen walking about, one would think they would have the robotic walking mastered. But it’s actually harder than you might think. “Human walking is controlled falling. Robots doing controlled falling ends up in falling - but with a complete absence of control,” goes the article. If you watch Asimo’s walk, it definitely doesn’t look like human-style walking. Also consider this following video of another walking robot that ends up on the floor instead. So much for progress.
Handling abilities. Imagine your robot trying to grab a beer from the fridge, only to crush the can or destroy the bottle in its iron grip. Now imagine that same robot trying to shake your, or another person’s, hand. Being able to grasp something without crushing it requires a fine touch… no pun intended. But may be a bit easier than some other obstacles.
Vision and Thought. In humans, vision and thought are fundamental and often integrated functions: What we see triggers our brains to “react” to the input. Unfortunately, robot vision isn’t so advanced since they have yet to develop human-like thought.
Multitasking. Humans are great at handling multiple tasks, even though some are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Robots can only do one task at any given time. Until robots can walk and chew gum at the same time, they will only be useful for what they were designed and programmed to do.
Human stuff. Humans came about as the result of millions of years of evolution. Some are trying the same tactic with robots. So far, they have yet to “leave the swamp.”
Ethical issues. OK, what would happen if the robots finally achieve human-level abilities? Would they be slaves to the man and woman? Does the world really need a mechanized “human?”
What’s a robot to do? They’re still saying that household robots are possible in ten years, but they won’t be the humanoid C3PO types. They’ll be limited, specialists like Roombas. Designed to do specific tasks like wash the windows, take out the trash, or get a beer from the fridge… hopefully without crushing the can or destroying the bottle in its iron grip.
The quest for Internet domination continues. With king W on his way out next month (hopefully sooner), the media fascists are now looking to kiss Barack Obama’s ass in an obvious attempt to seize control of the Internet. Fortunately, Obama’s Change.gov site put the gestapo’s agenda (the “MPAA’s Key International Trade Issues”) online for all to see, and the EFF translated the political-lobbyist-speak into plain English.
The MPAA has “issues.” To solve these “issues,” the MPAA wants to be able to do packet sniffing and filtering for censorship operations, implement a “three strikes” punishment system for file sharers, and force foreign governments to do similar stuff.
Seriously, does anyone give a fuck about the media gestapo anymore? They’ve been spewing the same shit about “piracy” and “lost revenues” out of their mouths for the past couple of years now. Their solution? Persecute people without the means to defend themselves in court. God forbid the MPAA goes after some high-ranking congressperson’s kid who’s been openly sharing the latest Jonas Brothers CD on Bittorrent. If they want to show how serious they are about stopping piracy, they need to grow testicles and start with the Somali pirates.
Normally, I wouldn’t consider doing this, but here’s a little ditty that best expresses what I’m feeling about the media gestapo. Soon to be reviewed for CPR, this is the Futuristic Sex Robotz with Fuck The MPAA. Feel free to sing along:
It started with a more helpful idea. Toronto inventor Le Trung wanted to build a robot to help the elderly. Then his hormones kicked in, and Aiko became his love toy.
“Aiko is what happens when science meets beauty.”
And she is a beauty. A fembot that Hajime Sorayama could have envisioned, but Le made her real… and almost perfect. Aiko has a couple of flaws: She can’t walk… yet (Le is looking for a sponsor to help with that part.) and sex, which he hasn’t tried yet:
“Her software could be redesigned to simulate her having an orgasm.”
The ultimate Stepford Wife… Not. Aiko was originally designed for housework so she can handle simple cleaning tasks easily enough, but being a robot…
“Aiko doesn’t need holidays, food or rest, and will work almost 24 hours a day. She is the perfect woman.”
Before you consider her a push-over, better watch the video and pay attention around the one-minute mark. Le created his fembot with face recognition and sensors so she can react to touches. Touch her the wrong way or cause her pain and she’ll bitch-slap you for your efforts.
It’s now official, cyberpunked living is HERE. If this blog doesn’t convince you, then you may want to google the nets for a fembot announce earlier this year named E.M.A., The kissing robot, a.k.a. “Femisapien” for US robosexuals.
From this simple-looking wood block with a button and a cable began a 40 year trek that culminated in the modern computer as we know it. Yes!
The (computer) mouse that roared. When Doctor Doug Engelbart first demonstrated his computer in 1968, he probably didn’t realize what impact his system would have on the world. After all, computers were not exactly “personal” back then. But Dr. Engelbart’s system, which he and 17 researchers had been working on since 1962, would indeed impact our world like a Jupiter-sized meteor. An impact that we still feel today. What exactly was his incredible system was about?
The presentation included the debut of the computer mouse, which Engelbart used to control an onscreen pointer in exactly the same way we do today. For a world used to thinking of computers as impersonal boxes that read punched cards, whir awhile, then spit out reams of teletype paper, this kind of real-time graphical control was amazing enough.
But Engelbart went beyond merely demonstrating a new input device — way beyond. His demo that day in San Francisco’s Brooks Hall also premiered “what you see is what you get” editing, text and graphics displayed on a single screen, shared-screen videoconferencing, outlining, windows, version control, context-sensitive help and hyperlinks. Bam!
Does all this sound familiar yet? One more thing: Dr. Engelbart used his super-system to demonstrate a new “network,” the NLS or “oNLine System” which was being used at Stanford. Videos of the “The Mother of All Demos” can be found on Stanford University MouseSite.
The Internet, Windows, OS X,… Today (December 9, 1968) is the 40th anniversary of the demo that influenced the world… and in a way, cyberpunk as well.
Toronto-based producer/director Rob “Eyeborg” Spence lost his eye due to a gun accident and only had it replaced with a prosthetic three years ago. Now he wants to augment it with a wireless camera, not to restore his vision, but to become a literal camerahead, with the ability to record and store images of what he sees:
I am not restoring vision, I’m just modifying my prosthetic eye into a video camera with the same capabilities as a modern cell phone. I can stream the footage, save it to a hard-drive, or put it in my documentary film called Eye 4 an Eye.
Equiped for the job. In Rob’s case, such use for his camera-eye is obvious. As a professional filmmaker, he must have spent countless hours setting up shots, finding the right angles, and adjusting lighting whenever possible just to ‘get it right.’ With a built-in camera, all he needs to do is look and… ACTION! Stephen Speilberg probably would give up his own eyes to do what Rob is planning. I bet there are many photo-journalists who wish they could have such cameras when news breaks around them, and not waste time setting up cameras and cables when things go down in a split second.
The beginning of the Trend? Rob and Tina ought to get together and discuss their plans for their eye-cameras, maybe share notes and record their shared experiences. But could these two be just the beginning of the trend of voluntarily having such camcorders implanted into their eye sockets?
No doubt, there are going to be those who have lost an eye who would want such implants, including those who would want them connected to their brains. Then you may have those photo-journalists and movie-maker types who would willingly sacrifice a good eye for such a setup. Not to mention the possible security-surveillance applications…
Before I judge my neighbor, let me walk a mile in his moccasins. - Sioux proverb.
In what has to be major proof of science fiction becoming science reality, neuroscientists at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet have shown that a person’s ‘conscious’ can be moved between bodies by using virtual reality headgear. The people reported feeling like they were in the new body as if it was their own. The full report can be read and downloaded from the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One).
“The present findings could have groundbreaking industrial and clinical applications” write neuroscientists Valeria I. Petkova and H. Henrik Ehrsson of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. “Experiencing ‘becoming’ a humanoid robot in tele-robotics and feeling ownership of simulated bodies in virtual reality applications would probably enhance user control, realism, and the feeling of ‘presence.’”
Freaky Friday… Any day of the week. While tele-robotics may be the most immediate application of the body-swap phenomenon, it’s possible to apply this to some more fun uses:
Imagine surfing the nets Tron-like, or engaging in online deathmatches or quests using tele-presence: Would you alter your tactics if you felt like you could actually die online? How would Deus Ex or System Shock feel playing inside the games? Would you feel the G-forces of a flight or driving simulation?
Of course, cyberspace would only be the beginning. How does a meatbot sound to you? A Remote controlled human fresh from the clone vats and piloted by tele-presence to do your bidding. Or maybe a “backup” clone of yourself that you can send into dangerous areas to throw would-be assassins and religious trash off. Or maybe “masquerading” as Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush (to undo the harm they’ve done), or as Ron Jeremy or Sarah Palin or… Your meatbot doesn’t even need to be the same sex as you!
In conclusion, these experiments have demonstrated how remarkably easy it is to ‘move’ a human centre of awareness from one body to another. This speaks directly to the classical question of the relationship between human consciousness and the body, which has been discussed by philosophers, psychologists, and theologians for centuries. The continuous integration of multisensory and motor signals in ego-centric reference frames thus maintains the co-alignment between the experienced self and the physical body.