revoltfactory:

Edible Water Bottle Could Save The Planet

Ooho is a blob-like water container made out of an edible algae membrane for natural and edible packaging

jeremylawson:

James Garner, Witty, Handsome Leading Man, Dies at 86

image

An Actor of Disarming Wit

CreditWyatt Counts/Associated Press

James Garner, the wry and handsome leading man who slid seamlessly between television and the movies but was best known as the amiable gambler Bret Maverick in the 1950s western “Maverick” and the cranky sleuth Jim Rockford in the 1970s series “The Rockford Files,” was found dead in his California home on Saturday night, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed on Sunday. He was 86.  

Mr. Garner, who smoked for most of his life, even after open-heart surgery in 1988, had suffered a stroke in 2008.

Mr. Garner was a genuine star but as an actor something of a paradox: a lantern-jawed, brawny athlete whose physical appeal was both enhanced and undercut by a disarming wit. He appeared in more than 50 films, many of them dramas, but as he established in one of his notable early performances, as a battle-shy naval officer in “The Americanization of Emily” (1964) — and had shown before that in “Maverick” — he was most at home as an iconoclast, a flawed or unlikely hero.

An understated comic actor, he was especially adept at conveying life’s tiny bedevilments. One of his most memorable roles was as a perpetually flummoxed pitchman for Polaroid cameras in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in droll commercials in which he played a vexed husband and Mariette Hartley played his needling wife. They were so persuasive that Ms. Hartley had a shirt printed with the declaration “I am NOT Mrs. James Garner.”

His one Academy Award nomination was for the 1985 romantic comedy “Murphy’s Romance,” in which he played a small-town druggist who woos the new-in-town divorced mom (Sally Field) with a mixture of self-reliance, grouchy charm and lack of sympathy for fools.

Even Rockford, a semi-tough ex-con (he had served five years on a bum rap for armed robbery) who lived in a beat-up trailer in a Malibu beach parking lot, drove a Pontiac Firebird and could handle himself in a fight (though he probably took more punches than he gave), was exasperated most of the time by one thing or another: his money problems, the penchant of his father (Noah Beery Jr.) for getting into trouble or getting in the way, the hustles of his con-artist pal Angel (Stuart Margolin), his dicey relationship with the local police.

“Maverick” had been in part a send-up of the conventional western drama, and “The Rockford Files” similarly made fun of the standard television detective, the man’s man who upholds law and order and has everything under control. A sucker for a pretty girl with a distinctly ’70s fashion sense — he favored loud houndstooth jackets — Rockford was perpetually wandering into threatening situations in which he ended up pursued by criminal goons or corrupt cops. He tried, mostly successfully, to steer clear of using guns; instead, a bit of a con artist himself, he relied on impersonations and other ruses — and high-speed driving skills. Every episode of the show, which ran from 1974-80 and more often than not involved at least one car chase and Rockford’s getting beat up a time or two, began with a distinctive theme song featuring a synthesizer and a blues harmonica and a message coming in on a newfangled gadget — Rockford’s telephone answering machine — that underscored his unheroic existence: “Jim, this is Norma at the market. It bounced. Do you want us to tear it up, send it back or put it with the others?”
Continue reading the main story

In his 2011 autobiography, “The Garner Files,” written with Jon Winokur, Mr. Garner confessed to having a live-and-let-live attitude with the caveat that when he was pushed, he shoved back. What distinguished his performance as Rockford was how well that more-put-upon-than-macho persona came across. Rockford’s reactions — startled, nonplussed and annoyed being his specialties — appeared native to him.

His naturalness led John J. O’Connor, writing in The New York Times, to liken Mr. Garner to Gary Cooper and James Stewart. And like those two actors, Mr. Garner usually got the girl.

Mr. Garner came to acting late, and by accident. On his own after the age of 14 and a bit of a drifter, he had been working an endless series of jobs: telephone installer, oilfield roughneck, chauffeur, dishwasher, janitor, lifeguard, grocery clerk, salesman and, fatefully, gas station attendant. While pumping gas in Los Angeles, he met a young man named Paul Gregory, who was working nearby as a soda jerk but wanted to be an agent.

Years later, after Mr. Garner had served in the Army during the Korean War — he was wounded in action twice, earning two Purple Hearts — he was working as a carpet layer in Los Angeles for a business run by his father. One afternoon he was driving on La Cienega Boulevard and saw a sign: Paul Gregory & Associates. Just then a car pulled out of a space in front of the building, and Mr. Garner, on a whim, pulled in. He was 25.

Mr. Gregory, by then an agent and a theatrical producer, hired him for a nonspeaking part in his production of Herman Wouk’s “Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” which starred Henry Fonda, John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan. It opened in Santa Barbara and toured the country before going to Broadway, where it opened in January 1954 and ran for 415 performances. Mr. Garner said he learned to act from running lines with the stars and watching them perform, especially Mr. Fonda, another good-looking actor with a sly streak.

“I swiped practically all my acting style from him,” he once said.

Mr. Garner claimed to have stage fright and no desire to act in the theater. He later played Lt. Maryk (the Hodiak role) in a touring company of the play that starred Charles Laughton, but afterward would almost never appear onstage again. Still, it was the serendipitous stop on La Cienega that changed his life.

“The only reason I’m an actor is that a lady pulled out of a parking space in front of a producer’s office,” he wrote in “The Garner Files.”

James Scott Bumgarner was born in Norman, Okla., on April 7, 1928. His paternal grandfather had participated in the Oklahoma land rush of 1889 and was later shot to death by the son of a widow with whom he’d been having an affair. His maternal grandfather was a full-blooded Cherokee. (Mr. Garner would later name his production company Cherokee Productions.) His first home was the back of a small store that his father, Weldon, known as Bill, ran in the nearby hamlet of Denver. His mother, Mildred, died when he was 4. When he was 7, the store burned down and his father left James and his two older brothers to be raised by relatives; when his father remarried, the family reunited, but James’s stepmother was abusive, he said in his memoir, and after a violent episode at home, he left.
Continue reading the main story

He worked in Oklahoma, Texas and Los Angeles, where his father finally resettled. He went briefly to Hollywood High School but returned to Norman, where he played football and basketball, to finish. In 1950, when the Korean War broke out, he was drafted.

Mr. Garner’s first Hollywood break came when he met Richard L. Bare, a director of the television western “Cheyenne,” who cast him in a small part. That and other bit roles led to a contract with Warner Brothers, which featured him in several movies — including “Sayonara” (1957), starring Marlon Brando and based on James Michener’s Korean War novel about interracial romance — and sliced the first syllable from his last name.

His first lead role was in “Darby’s Rangers” (1958) as the World War II hero William Darby, a part he was given after Charlton Heston walked off the set in a dispute with the studio over money. At about the same time he was cast as the womanizing gambler Bret Maverick, the role that made him a star.

Alone among westerns of the 1950s, “Maverick,” which made its debut in 1957, was about an antihero. He didn’t much care for horses or guns, and he was motivated by something much less grand than law and order: money. But you rooted for him because he was on the right side of moral issues, he had a natural affinity for the little guy being pushed by the bully, and he was more fun than anyone else.

“If you look at Maverick and Rockford, they’re pretty much the same guy,” Mr. Garner wrote. “One is a gambler and the other a detective, but their attitudes are identical.”

In a Maverick-like (or Rockford-like) move, Mr. Garner left the series in 1960 after winning a breach-of-contract suit against Warner Brothers over its refusal to pay him during a writers’ strike. He did not return to series television for a decade. .

He found steady work in movies, however. In “The Children’s Hour” (1961), an adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s play, he played a doctor engaged to a schoolteacher (Audrey Hepburn) accused of being a lesbian. He appeared uncomfortable in that earnest role, but he was winning and warm in “The Great Escape” (1963), the World War II adventure about captured Allied flyers plotting to break out of a German prison camp, as Bob Hendley, the resourceful prisoner known as the Scrounger.

In 1964 he starred with Julie Andrews in “The Americanization of Emily,” which he called his favorite of all his films. He played the personal attendant of a Navy admiral, a fish out of water and the voice of the movie’s pacifist point of view. Written by Paddy Chayefsky, it contained perhaps the longest and most impassioned speech of his career: “I don’t trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham,” he said, in part. “It’s always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a hell it is. And it’s always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades.”

In 1966, he starred as an avenging frontier scout in the violent western “Duel at Diablo” and as a high-speed driver in “Grand Prix,” a film that sparked his interest in auto racing. He drove in the Baja 1000 off-road race several times, and he drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1975, 1978 and 1985.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

He also appeared in romantic comedies, including three in 1963: “The Thrill of It All” and “Move Over, Darling,” both with Doris Day, and “The Wheeler Dealers,” opposite Lee Remick. There was also a comic western, “Support Your Local Sheriff” (1969), and a follow-up, “Support Your Local Gunfighter” (1971). Other notable films included “Victor/Victoria” (1982), in which he was reunited with Ms. Andrews, playing a man in love with a woman pretending to be a man.

Mr. Garner was often injured on the job; during the Rockford years, he had several knee operations and back trouble. More seriously, in 1988, he had a quintuple bypass operation, which cost him his job as spokesman for the beef industry.

After surgery, he made a vigorous return to work. He appeared in the television films “My Name is Bill W” (1989), starring James Woods as the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and “Barbarians at the Gate” (1993), based on the best-selling book about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco; in “My Fellow Americans” (1996), a comic adventure in which he and Jack Lemmon played feuding former presidents who find themselves framed by the sitting president and end up together on the lam; and in the romantic film “The Notebook” (2004). He also reprised his Rockford character in several television movies and appeared in the movie version of “Maverick” (1994) as Marshal Zane Cooper, a foil to the title character, played by Mel Gibson.

Of Mr. Garner’s other forays into series television, “Nichols” was said to have been his own favorite. A dark comic western set in Arizona in the early 20th century that was produced by Cherokee in 1971, it starred Mr. Garner as a retired soldier who becomes sheriff of his hometown. When NBC canceled it after one season, Mr. Garner was so incensed that he had his character killed in the final episode. He later had recurring roles on a number of shows, including “Chicago Hope,” “First Monday” and “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”; in the short-lived animated series “God, the Devil and Bob,” he was the voice of God.

Mr. Garner disdained the pretentiousness of the acting profession. “I’m a Methodist but not as an actor,” he wrote in “The Garner Files.” “I’m from the Spencer Tracy school: be on time, know your words, hit your marks, and tell the truth. I don’t have any theories abut acting, and I don’t think about how to do it, except that an actor shouldn’t take himself too seriously, and shouldn’t try to make acting something that it isn’t. Acting is just common sense. It isn’t hard if you put yourself aside and just do what the writer wrote.”

Nor did he sit still for the dog-eat-dog business side of Hollywood. In the early 1980s he again sued his employer, this time Universal, which he accused of cheating him out of his share of profits on “The Rockford Files.” Universal settled the case in 1989, reportedly paying him more than $14 million.

Mr. Garner, a lifelong Democrat who was active in behalf of civil rights and environmental causes, always said he met his wife, the former Lois Clarke, in 1956 at a presidential campaign rally for Adlai Stevenson, though in “The Garner Files” Mrs. Garner said they had actually met at a party earlier. She survives him, as do their daughter, Greta, known as Gigi; Mrs. Garner’s daughter from a previous marriage, Kimberly; and a brother, Jack.

Persuasively ambivalent as a hero of westerns, war movies and detective stories, Mr. Garner’s performances may have reflected his feelings about his profession.

“I was never enamored of the business, never even wanted to be an actor, really,” he told The New York Times in 1984. “It’s always been a means to an end, which is to make a living.”

Correction: July 20, 2014

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the co-author of James Garner’s 2011 autobiography, “The Garner Files.” He is Jon Winokur, not Vinokur.

My favourite actor. RIP.

(Source: The New York Times)

8bitfuture:

Major console prices at today’s prices (inflation adjusted).

New material is so dark, you can’t even see it.

8bitfuture:

Read More

(Source: mentalfloss.com)

springwise:

This simple tool repairs flat bike tires in 60 seconds

Punctures are the bane of cyclists’ existence, not least because they seem to happen at the most inopportune moments and require getting your hands dirty to fix. While New York’s Bikestock equipment vending machines have aimed to make available 24 hours a day the tools riders need to fix their bikes, a new device called patchnride is a portable device that permanently fixes any puncture with one easy maneuver. READ MORE…

8bitfuture:

Lego Fusion lets you bring creations into a virtual game.

A new Lego product allows users to build a structure (which must be on a base plate as pictured), and then use an app to scan your creation into a digital game, transforming it into a three dimensional structure in the process.

More here at Engadget.

…since all the creations are stored digitally in the Lego world — you can save them to the cloud with a Lego ID — children are able to carry on with the game even after they’ve put their bricks away for the day. If the parents allow it, kids can connect with their friends using their Lego credentials too. They can visit each other’s towns, see how the other person’s tower looks like and even race those cars against each other. It also presents the opportunity for the child to learn from what their friends have made, and perhaps improve upon their creations.

(Source: epic-humor)

thisistheverge:

Banned beans: can Keurig kill coffee pirates with DRM?
Imitation K-Cups are booming, but Keurig’s new brewer will lock them out

ralphewig:

Alien Hunters - meet the men with a plan for finding life on other planets; these guys are practicing their skills in Earth’s most remote places, developing the technology needed to comb our solar system for evidence of extraterrestrial biology. National Geographic has put together a visually stunning article on the work of astrobiologists (covering our planet literally from pole to pole, studying lifeforms in the most extreme environments Earth has to offer), radio astronomers, and robotic space explorers.

The one factor that biologists argue is critical for life as we know it is water in liquid form—a powerful solvent capable of transporting dissolved nutrients to all parts of an organism. In our own solar system we’ve known since the Mariner 9 Mars orbiter mission in 1971 that water once likely flowed freely on the red planet. […] Jupiter’s moon Europa also shows cracks in its relatively young, ice-covered surface—evidence that beneath the ice lies an ocean of liquid water.

The article covers the full spectrum of the search for extraterrestrial life, from SETI’s search for intelligent messages to the robotic exploration of our neighbouring planets, and hunting for exoplanet in other solar systems; it’s a great read.

fastcompany:

Electric engines are usually silent. There’s no way that would fly for the Harley Davidson crowd, so designers created an entirely new engine sound.

Listen to it here.

I have heard the future, and it sounds like a Harley.

ralphewig:

Pure Energy - hybrid may make you think of a green thumb Prius, but 100+ mpg and 1000+ hp are no longer the polar opposites once thought. Not only has hybrid technology shown up in hypercars like the McLaren P1 (image above) or Porsche 918, but motorsports have made a seismic shift away from pure petrol engines this year. Formula 1 racing for example rewrote the rule book for 2014, equipping cars with energy recovery systems scavenging power from both braking (MGU-K / Kinetic) and turbine waste heat (MGU-H / Heat), resulting in a 160 hp power boost. This has shrunk engine size and fuel consumption (now capped to 100kg per race), even while making cars more powerful than in previous years.

Gone are the 18,000 rpm, 2.4L normally aspirated V8 engines we’ve been used to hearing since 2006. In their place are turbocharged 1.6L V6s. […] The MGU-H is connected to the engine’s turbocharger and generates electricity as the turbo’s shaft spins, allowing it to capture another 2 MJ each lap. The MGU-H can also draw some of that power back from the batteries, using it to help spin the turbo (instead of the rear wheels like the MGU-K) to reduce turbo lag. 

All this new tech results in cars with the neck snapping instant torque of an electric motor, combined with the insane high-rpm power density of a massive turbo strapped to relatively small engines, and all of that at a fraction of the fuel consumption of previous models. Even better, F1’s relentless technology development competition will rapidly push this tech to other applications, from consumer cars to hybrid rocket engines.

8bitfuture:

image

Microsoft demos real-time translation with Skype.

Read More

(Source: blogs.technet.com)