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(angelima/iStockphoto)
(angelima/iStockphoto)

A 3-D Hobbit at lightning speed Add to ...

“The cinema technology industry is working to give moviegoers the opportunity to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3-D at 48 frames per second when it hits theatres in December,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. “The question is, just how many theatres around the world will be able to accommodate this sort of presentation of Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy, the first major motion picture to be made at the high frame rate (HFR) of 48 fps. … Frame rates are the number of images displayed by a projector within one second. Twenty-four frames per second (fps) has long been the standard in cinema, but industry leaders James Cameron and Peter Jackson are among those who propose higher frame rates such as 48 or 60, reducing or eliminating jitter and other motion artifacts. Digital cinema equipment manufacturers are working on implementing high frame rate support.”

Music hath powers

– “Music education produces myriad benefits, strengthening kids’ abilities in reading, math, and verbal intelligence,” says PSMag.com (formerly MillerMcCune.com). “New British research suggests it may also teach something less tangible, but arguably just as important: The ability to empathize. In a year-long program focused on group music-making, eight- to 11-year-old children became markedly more compassionate, according to a just-published study from the University of Cambridge. The finding suggests kids who make music together aren’t just having fun: they’re absorbing a key component of emotional intelligence.”

– “‘Music is a legal drug for athletes,’ claims Dr. Costas Karageorghis, an expert on the effects of music on exercise, at Brunel University [in London]” reports The Guardian. “In his latest book, Inside Sport Psychology, he claims that listening to music while running can boost performance by up to 15 per cent.”

Buzz for creativity

“These days, students and professionals often choose the buzz of a café over a silent library as a place to work away from home,” says The Boston Globe. “A recent study suggests they may have good reason. People subjected to a moderate amount of everyday background noise – around 70 decibels – were more creative and more interested in innovative products. By making it just a little harder to concentrate, a moderate amount of noise induces people to think more abstractly, which enhances creativity. Of course, too much noise eventually overcomes this benefit.”

The world’s top spammer?

“India has become the top spam-spewing nation on the planet, suggests a report,” BBC News says. “Compiled by security firm Sophos, the report ranks nations by the amount of junk mail routed through computers in each country. India has leapt to the top of the spam chart in less than a year, rapidly overtaking the U.S., said Sophos. About 10 per cent of all junk mail sent across the Web came from or passed through computers in India, said the firm. … In second place is the United States (8.3 per cent) and South Korea (5.7 per cent) is third.”

Distracting conversations

“Studies over the past decade at the University of Utah show that drivers talking on hands-free cellphones are just as impaired as those on hands-held phones because it is the conversation, not the device, that is draining their attention,” writes Melinda Beck of The Wall Street Journal. “Those talking on any kind of cellphone react more slowly and miss more traffic signals than other motorists. ‘Even though your eyes are looking right at something, when you are on the cellphone, you are not as likely to see it,’ says David Strayer, a psychology professor and lead researcher. ‘Ninety-nine per cent of the time, it’s not that critical, but that 1 per cent could be the time a child runs into the street,’ he adds. Dr. Strayer’s studies have also found that talking on a cellphone is far more distracting than conversing with a passenger – since a passenger can see the same traffic hazards and doesn’t expect a steady stream of conversation as someone on a cellphone does.”

Our playful nature

“Humans are not nature’s only funsters,” says the New Scientist. “All mammals play, as do some birds and a few other animals. But no other species pursues such a wide variety of entertainment or spends so much time enjoying themselves. The list of universals includes such diverse extracurricular pleasures as sports, music, games, joking, hospitality, hairdressing, dancing, art and tickling. What sets us apart is the fact we play with objects and with language, says Clive Wynne at the University of Florida. ‘What revolutionizes human play is imagination,’ says Francis Steen at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

Thought du jour

“Thought, not money, is the real business capital, and if you know absolutely that what you are doing is right, then you are bound to accomplish it in due season.”

Harvey Firestone (1868-1938)

American businessman

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