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Leonard Nimoy, Anton Yechin, Karl Urban and John Cho Talk Star Trek

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Independent posted a new interview with Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy and here are few excerpts of the article.

Delighted to be back on board, Nimoy admitted, "It (Star Trek) went off in a direction that I didn't relate to very well. The makers of this film re-awakened the passion in me that I had when we made the original film and series. I was put back in touch with what I cared about and like about Star Trek. So it was an easy way to come on home."

Regarding Zachary Quinto performance as a younger Spock, Nimoy said "Zach made some choices that I thought were wonderful surprises to me. We did not talk about specifics, like 'Do this. Don't do that.' We had very general conversations about the philosophy and psychology of the character, the philosophy of Star Trek and the fans' reactions to various aspects, but there was no specific instruction. It didn't need that and it didn't call for that."

"I think between us, we have book-ended the character. He has created a Spock that comes before the Spock that I portrayed. I'm playing a Spock that comes much, much later and is much more resolved, much closer to who I actually am today," explained Nimoy

The full interview with Nimoy is here.

CanMag posted an interview with actor Anton Yelchin (Chekov) and here are excerpts.

Regarding the Chekov role, Yelchin said "I thought I was born to be this character. No. I actually wasn't a fan. I'm a fan now. I watched a lot of the original series, and there's just something so great about it that you can't help but really love it."

"The biggest part of this experience for me was just the characters are so great. I've had so much joy playing this character, and that's been the most important thing to me. Everything else is secondary."

The full article is here
posted a video interview with Karl Urban (McCoy) and John Cho (Sulu) and here are excerpts.

Urban said: "This is the first one, so you're getting it all fresh."

He also admitted he was a childhood fan of the show: "I watched the original show as a boy, and caught quite a few of the subsequent series, so for me it was a big thrill to be a part of this."

"One is that Roddenberry created really meaningful characters, or whatever it is that pull between Kirk's passion and Spock's logic, that has said something to generations and really appealed to them." Cho said

"It also has a very optimistic and hopeful vision of our future," he added, "and the Enterprise is essentially a group of people of different genders and races and species working towards a common goal, and I just think that's a very attractive message."

You can watch Urban and Cho here

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Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience on DVD & Blu-ray

Friday, May 1, 2009

Disney Home Entertainment will release the much anticipated "Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience" on DVD & Blu-ray this June 30th. The movie also includes outstanding guest appearances by chart-topping artists Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift. The film can be viewed in 3D on Blu-ray ONLY.

The 3-Disc Blu-ray edition will include:
• 3-D and 2-D Extended Version of the Movie with 2 performances not seen in theaters - "Can´t Have You" and "A Little Bit Longer" (BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE)
• 2 Additional Bonus Songs - "Love Bug" and "Shelf"
• Up Close & Personal -- Go behind the scenes with the ´Jo-Bros´ and learn what this tour means to them.
• 4 free pairs of 3-D glasses (BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE)
• DisneyFile - Digital Copy of extended movie in 2-D

The 2-Disc DVD edition will include:
• 2-D Extended Version of the movie with 2 performances not seen in theaters – "Can´t Have You" and "A Little Bit Longer" plus bonus features listed above.

Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience - Deluxe Extended Movie, in 3-D, makes the event so real, viewers can virtually reach out and touch the brothers. Up Close and Personal brings fans closer than ever to Kevin, Joe and Nick´s world as they and their band prepare for their live sold-out concerts all over the world

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Review

Thursday, April 30, 2009




WHAT a shocker: mediocre indie film-maker turned mediocre studio director-for-hire delivers mediocre comic-book movie. If the producers of the cumbersomely titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine were hoping to find the new Chris Nolan, Bryan Singer or Sam Raimi with this first spin-off from the hugely successful Marvel franchise, they've backed the wrong candidate in Gavin Hood. The South African director may have won an Oscar for best foreign-language film with his worthy-but-dull post-Apartheid ghetto drama Tsotsi, but with his follow-up film Rendition there was no disguising the bland nature of his directing style with subtitles and pseudo-exotic locations. Rendition was one of the dullest, most inept Hollywood political thrillers of recent years, and the skills that created it are in full force in Wolverine.

Though rumours abound of studio interference, which may account for why the story barely hangs together, that can't be blamed for the general lack of imagination on display in the visuals, the absence of excitement in the set-pieces, or the way the very qualified cast barely seem able to connect with each other on screen. Instead all that comes through is a certain misplaced arrogance that this kind of blockbuster film-making is easy to pull off, when nothing could be further from the truth. It takes a special kind of directorial élan to make a good comic-book movie: a reverence for the source material is paramount, but so too is an ability to take essentially pulpy characters and over-the-top plot lines and create for them a vibrant, dynamic and believable world (as opposed to a realistic one) in which it's easy to lose yourself for a couple of hours.

One of the best examples of this kind of filmmaking remains Bryan Singer's first X-Men movie, which took a popular long-running, but hardly Spider-Man-famous, comic book series and effortlessly sketched out why a bunch of weirdly costumed mutant super-heroes should make for compelling characters. The key scene was the introduction of Wolverine, a snarling, feral, hirsute loner with nine-inch retractable steel claws and a bad case of amnesia. Given to head-cracking bouts of berserker rage, intense introspection and the occasional flash of sarcastic humour, he was played with magnificent confidence by the then unknown Hugh Jackman (a last-minute replacement for a suddenly unavailable Dougray Scott). Together with Singer, he ensured that the character's first few minutes on screen were instantly scorched into the memory of any blockbuster fan who saw it. Here was a protagonist in a populist movie that looked as if he was worth spending time with and exploring.

Or so it seemed. The single biggest problem with Wolverine is that Hood offers up no convincing reason why the character needs a stand-alone origins story, especially since so much of what's covered here was referenced in the first two Singer-directed X-Men films. If anything, all Hood manages to do is transform the character into a bore by stripping him of any mystery. If you've seen either of those first two efforts, you'll know that at some point in his past, Wolverine underwent a torturous military-backed experiment that resulted in his skeleton being fused with an indestructible metal known as "adamantium". With his memories also ravaged, the only clue to his identity came from the names on his dog tags: Wolverine and Logan.

This new film is thus a padded out, sequential adventure revealing how these two things happened, with Hood delivering lots of badly constructed scenes showing us how Logan first discovered he had retractable claws, how he got his name, hell, even where he got his leather jacket from. Not since George Lucas spent more than six hours detailing in excruciating and inconsequential detail how Darth Vader came into existence has a popular character's story arc seemed so irrelevant.

The tedium kicks off in 1845 with a rushed and confused prologue that introduces us to little Logan's father (yes Wolverine is very old) who apparently is not the man Logan thought he was. What bearing this has on proceedings is never made clear, since the film quickly introduces us to Logan's stepbrother Victor (Liev Schreiber) who, comic book fans will know, grows up to be Sabretooth. Indestructible brothers in arms, they are shown, in a Watchmen-style credit sequence, fighting side-by-side through the world's major wars until a youngish general by the name of Stryker (Danny Huston) recruits them for a special ops team full of mutants. More mind-bogglingly dull back-story follows, including Logan's years as a haunted, disillusion war veteran living the quiet life as a logger with his schoolteacher girlfriend in the Canadian Rockies, which is Hood's drawn-out way of tipping us off to the ineffectively handled third-act narrative reveal he's got planned. Meanwhile, he further signals how confused this film is by proceeding to introduce at least a half-dozen more mutants into the story, including Cyclops from the first three X-Men films, and fan favourite Deadpool (a very brief cameo from Ryan Reynolds). Sorry, I thought this was called Wolverine, not "Wolverine & Co".

As for Jackman, physically he may look the part thanks to his widely commented hyped exercise regime, but did all that time in the gym drain him of all the exuberance, humour and depth of feeling he brought to the character first time round? Apparently. The only time we see a glint of the old Wolverine is in a final, post-end-credits shot of him necking saki in a Japanese bar. It's a blatant fan-courting sequel set-up, but also where this film should have begun.

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H1N1 Vaccine (Tamiflu) - How to protect yourself from the Swine Flu

As the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is a new virus, there is no swine flu vaccine available to prevent infections.

And unfortunately, the seasonal flu vaccine that many of us received will not provide any protection against the swine flu virus.

Experts are already working on a swine flu vaccine though.

Swine Flu Vaccine

It is estimated that the swine flu vaccine won't be ready until sometime around September to November. In addition to the time required to actually make a new vaccine, the likely need to make seasonal flu vaccine for next year may delay things a little.

Can the swine flu vaccine be combined with the seasonal flu vaccine? Probably not, as vaccine companies will be done making seasonal flu vaccine by early summer, well before they can likely even get started on the swine flu vaccine.

Once the swine flu is ready, who will get it?

As was planned for other pandemics, swine flu vaccine will likely be given out based on specific categories and priority levels and the severity of the pandemic.

At first, swine flu vaccination would be 'targeted to protect workers with critical skills, experience, or licensure status whose absence would create bottlenecks or collapse of critical functions, and to protect workers who are at especially high occupational risk.'

What about children?

In general, children are considered to be in a priority group for getting swine flu vaccine:

  • Infants & toddlers 6 to 35 mo old - Tier 1
  • Household contacts of infants less than 6 mo - Tier 2
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs with high risk conditions - Tier 2
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs without high risk conditions - Tier 2 (Moderate Pandemic)
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs without high risk conditions - Tier 3 (Severe and Less Severe Pandemic)

To get the first three tiers of people vaccinated is estimated to require about 104 million doses of swine flu vaccine.

Twitter quitters are fleeing the site in droves

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009 Ask any high school kid -- soaring popularity loses some of its luster if more than half of your new friends ditch you after the first month.

And that's the problem that Twitter Inc. executives are facing.

It seems that while people are joining the micro-blogging site in droves, a whole lot of them don't sticking around for long. A Nielsen Co. report released yesterday shows that 60% of Twitter users do not return to the microblogging site the next month. And for the 12 months prior to Oprah Winfrey joining Twitter this month with great media fanfare, the site had a retention rate of less than 30%.

"Let there be no doubt: Twitter has grown exponentially in the past few months with no small thanks to celebrity exposure," wrote David Martin, vice president of Primary Research at Nielsen Online, in a blog post. "People are signing up in droves, and Twitter's unique audience is up over 100% in March. But despite the hockey-stick growth chart, Twitter faces an uphill battle in making sure these flocks of new users are enticed to return to the nest."

And Twitter has been having staggering growth in the last several months. A few weeks ago, online traffic tracker comScore Inc. reported that Twitter had a 131% increase in U.S. visitors just from February to March of this year. And that news came on the heels of another comScore report released earlier this month showing that Twitter traffic jumped 700% in February compared to the same month last year.

While part of Twitter's meteoric growth has been linked to an influx of middle-aged users, it's also been gaining a lot of mainstream media attention. Everyone from Oprah to a NASA astronaut to the women of The View television program have not only been Twittering but talking about it -- a lot.

Is this just because Twitter is a fledgling site that maybe hasn't found its footing yet?

Not really, according to Nielsen. Compared to the early years of social networking giants Facebook and MySpace, Twitter's retention is still bad. Both Facebook and MySpace had twice the retention rate that Twitter does now, Nielsen reported. When their audiences ballooned, so did their retention rates. Both companies now have about a 70% retention rate.

"Twitter just doesn't seem to have a whole lot of stickiness to it," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc. "People join Twitter ... and then it has to be an ongoing commitment. Twitter's charm is that it's immediate and instant. The minute you get busy, its usefulness fades."

Gottheil also doesn't see any obvious solutions for turning Twitter's retention problem around.

"It's a major head scratcher because it's intrinsically a slice of time," he said, noting that when the influx of new users ebbs, the people quitting Twitter will really take a toll on the site. "I hope they reach a phase of general stability. It has to level off at some point and it won't level off at everyone in the whole world using Twitter."

Swine flu: New Zealand investigates 56 new cases‎

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Note from The Web Trends Author:

Rangitoto College is where i spent 2002-2006 at high school. Exciting that it's on Twitter trends now :D

Tests have "unfortunately" confirmed at least three New Zealanders have tested positive to swine flu, Health Minister Tony Ryall announced tonight.

Melbourne tests on 10 Rangitoto College students who tested positive for influenza A came back from the World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory tonight, confirming three positives to swine flu.

"Unfortunately tonight we can confirm New Zealanders have tested positive to swine flu," Mr Ryall said.

Tests on a fourth sample were continuing, Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs told reporters.

He said three samples all tested positive for the same strain of swine flu. A further sample was being retested.

Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Jacobs announced tonight that results from some of the Rangitoto College party who tested positive to Influenza A on Sunday, have also tested positive for Swine Flu H1N1.

Results from three of the samples were received earlier this evening from the World Health Organization regional laboratory in Melbourne and all tested positive for the same strain of Swine Flu. Testing continues on a fourth sample.

On the basis of these results, we are assuming that all of the people in the group who had tested positive for Influenza A have Swine Flu. As a result we are continuing with the current treatment which has been based on this assumption.

We were advised that the lab in Melbourne selected four of the best samples of the very delicate genetic material to analyse. They found three positive results and one is still to be confirmed.

Staff from Auckland Regional Public Health are getting in touch with those affected and informing them of the results.

This is expected to be completed by 10:00pm tonight.

All ten are understood to be recovering at home.

There is no need to change the treatment and follow-up of the Rangitoto College group.

The Tamiflu treatment will continue and they will remain in home isolation and should complete 72 hours of Tamiflu before they can return to normal activities.

The Rangitoto students returned to Auckland on Saturday from a trip to Mexico. An 11th member of the group has also tested positive for influenza A.

The test results were announced in Wellington tonight, at a press conference attended by Mr Ryall, Director-General of Health Stephen McKernan, Mr Jacobs, and National Co-ordinator Emergency Planning Steve Brazier.

Mr Ryall made a ministerial statement when Parliament sat at 2pm, and told MPs all 10 of the students were recovering.

Mr Ryall told Parliament another 56 people nationwide were being monitored and were being tested to find out whether they had influenza A.

The Truth About Swine Flu

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yet, no one Monday could explain why.

At least two weeks after the first reported death, Mexican authorities still haven’t said exactly where the outbreak began, or how.

“We are in the most intense moment of the epidemic, and the number of cases unfortunately will continue to rise,” Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said. “For that reason, we will take all the preventive measures necessary for its containment.”

But health officials have proved slow to interview and examine family of those who have already fallen ill or died. Citizens are being told to wear surgical masks to prevent contagion — soldiers, police and volunteers have passed out some 6 million in Mexico City alone — even though U.S. health experts say such masks are useless.

Mexican officials first warned the nation of this flu — a new hybrid mixing swine, bird and human varieties into a deadly cocktail — Thursday night, 11 days after its first fatality was reported in southern Oaxaca state.

Spreading in the United States, Canada and Europe, the outbreak that appears to have started in southern Mexico now displays “a significant upward shift in risk for a pandemic,” or global scourge, according to WHO.

The new flu is suspected to have killed at least 149 Mexicans since claiming its first victim April 13, Cordova said. Some 2,000 people have been treated for flu-like symptoms, and the government so far has determined definitively that only 20 of the fatalities were caused by the new flu strain, he said.

Firm says it knew of flu

The spiking level of alarm has fueled criticism among Mexican media and the political opposition that the government acted far too slowly in dealing with the outbreak.

“Nobody believes the government anymore, said Edgar Rocha, a 28-year-old office messenger, told the Associated Press.

When asked why it took so long to identify the outbreak, Cordova told a news conference Monday: “We’ve never had a situation like this in the world. It’s the first time that a swine flu has been detected in humans. … Evidently, no one is a world expert.”

But a Seattle-based risk assessment firm, Veratect, whose clients include corporations and nonprofit organizations that operate internationally as well as some foreign governments, says it noticed something was wrong in late March.

It issued a warning to its clients on April 2 of what it said could be a worrying new flu strain in southern Veracruz state.

Veratect’s chief scientist, James Wilson, said in a posting on his private blog, Biosurveillance, that the company noticed something amiss on March 30, when a lawyer fell seriously ill in Ottawa after returning from Mexico.

Near a pig farm

On April 2, Veratect noted news reports of the Veracruz outbreak and four days later reported that 400 people had come down with acute respiratory problems in La Gloria, a village 150 miles east of Mexico City where a large pig farm is located.

“It was there to look at,” Veratect President Bob Hart said in a telephone interview Monday, adding that the e-mail alerts were sent out to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to the Pan American Health Organization. “We were raising our alert levels on our Web portal.”

Cordova criticized Veratect for not sharing its information with the Mexican government.

He also said the Veracruz outbreak didn’t initially raise alarms because it came toward the end of the country’s normal flu season, and most people examined were infected with a human flu, rather than swine flu, Cordova said Monday.

Later, a 4-year-old boy sickened in that outbreak was confirmed to have the swine flu strain, he said.

Mexican officials say they examined specimens from the first Oaxaca victim, who hasn’t been identified, after the person died.

Once those samples were determined to be of an unknown flu strain, they were sent to U.S. and Canadian experts for further identification.

Many Mexicans seem unwilling to buy such explanations. Some suggested Monday that the government held off announcing the flu virus until after the President Barack Obama’s visit to Mexico City on April 16 and 17 for fear the U.S. leader would cancel his trip.

“They weren’t ready,” said Juan Carlos Izquierdo, a 22-year-old artist, who added that he rarely believes half of what officials say. “Now, they want to act, and we don’t know if it is too late.”

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