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Joaquin Phoenix Reveals Real World Origin Of His Joker Laugh

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Joaquin Phoenix reveals how he created his laugh for Joker, and the inspiration he drew from. Warner Bros. and DC Films are stepping outside of their shared universe to bring a different type of movie based on comic book characters to the screen. Joker will be an origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime, with Phoenix portraying the iconic Batman foe.

Joker is written and directed by Todd Phillips, who's been allowed to take liberties with the character thanks to the film's standalone status. He isn't changing everything about the character though, with the clown makeup and a maniacal laugh being examples of sticking to the source material. Early looks at Phoenix in the makeup started to get people excited for Joker, but it was the release of the first trailer that really sparked interest. One of the highlights of it was finally getting to hear Phoenix's version of a Joker laugh. After hearing his chilling take, Phoenix is now revealing how he created it.

During an interview with the Italian magazine Il Venerdi, Phoenix explained where he got his Joker laugh from. It was one of the first aspects of the character that Phoenix wanted to figure out and perfect, and the hunt for his laugh brought him to real world influences. After being translated back into English (via CBR), here is what Phoenix said: "I watched videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably."

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Phoenix noticeably transformed his body to play the skinny Joker, but now we know the lengths he went through to nail his personality and characteristics. It isn't clear this real world inspiration for Joker's laugh means that he also has the pathological laughter disorder in the movie though. Either way, Phoenix using uncontrollable laughter as the root of his Joker laugh does fit, and may explain why it's so effective. If nothing else, Phoenix's ability to use this to create his version of Joker could add another layer of realism to it and Joker as a whole, which is certainly something the film is striving for with its look, tone, and story.

While Joker has been the subject of plenty of debate over the film's script, the one aspect of it that is almost universally anticipated is Phoenix's performance. This interview comes as Joker is gearing up for its world premiere on the festival circuit. The movie will debut at the 2019 Venice Film Festival on August 31, and then also play at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in September. Many believe that this rollout ahead of the film's theatrical release in October gives Joker a chance to be in the awards conversation for the next several months, with Phoenix's performance expected to be the biggest takeaway. But, with the movie projected to open big as well, Joker could be a movie that performs very well at the box office and garners awards attention.

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Bond 25 Writer Teases Introduction of New Iconic Characters

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A Bond 25 writer teases the introduction of new iconic characters. The latest installment of the 007 franchise has been a long time coming, yet even now as things move ever closer to completion, fans are still being teased by the possibilities of the new film.

As has been acknowledged many times before, the battle to get Bond 25 off the ground has been an extensive one, with much initial uncertainty as to who would even be playing Bond, and who would be directing the highly anticipated follow up to 2015’s Spectre. After fighting its way through a great deal of gossip, rumors and tumultuous encounters, Bond 25 emerged on a clear path to production, with True Detective and Beasts of No Nation director Cary Fukunaga on board to direct and Daniel Craig back once more to portray the iconic British super spy. However, just when fans thought that things were moving along smoothly, word spread that the story was still in need of tweaking, causing Craig to reportedly push for Fleabag actor/writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to take a crack at breathing new life into the script.

In a new interview with Waller-Bridge, THR touches on numerous aspects of the rising star’s career, as well as her work on the Bond 25 script. And while much has been made about the fact that for the first time, a Bond film is going to have traces of a woman’s touch in its DNA, Waller-Bridge is more focused on the character and allure of Bond, as well as setting up new characters who can potentially help move the series forward and become valuable parts of the Bond legacy. When asked about recent rumors that Lashana Lynch will be the new 007, Waller-Bridge said: "The whole thing has potential to birth new iconic characters all the time."

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The statement is a bold one, indeed, neither denying the new status of the iconic 007 codename, nor confirming it. But the fact that Waller-Bridge is able to state that there's potential in Bond 25 for not just singular but plural new characters who could go on to “iconic” status is very intriguing, to say the least. Bond films have always been known for a variety of recognizable traits and when it comes to characters, there have been many who've forever solidified their place in the 007 lore. It’s very rare for a Bond film to already be confident of the inherent possibilities of its characters so far in advance. For some Bond fans this will be a highly encouraging prospect, while for others, it could once again lead to anxious feelings with regard to Bond 25’s potential.

All that being said, anyone who's familiar with Waller-Bridge and her work will know that she's a very talented writer, who rarely (if ever) pulls any punches with regards to the content of her work. If she's confident that Bond 25 has the potential to give rise to new characters, then that's a possibility worth being excited over. Beyond that, it’s worth considering that Fukunaga has also contributed to the script, and with both creative forces working to build a better Bond, anything is possible.

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Mexico City’s Best Green Spaces

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Mexico City has some serious green spaces and not just quaint city parks or tree-lined neighborhoods.

In May of this year, Mexico City registered some of the highest levels of air pollution in recent history. The particles that chilangos (as Mexico City residents are colloquially known) often feel in the air were actually visible. The city, ringed by pine and snow-covered mountains visible on clear days, felt like a bar at last call back in the day of indoor smoking. 

Smoke from wildfires across Mexico had conflated with the city’s status quo pollution (there’s at least 25 million people living in the metropolitan area, with millions of vehicles churning out exhaust and a number of factories emitting industrial waste) and low oxygen levels (its lowest elevation is 7,200 feet) making the city “unsafe” by World Health Organization standards for multiple days at a time. It’s been established that should the Valley of Mexico enter a serious drought, vulnerable populations in poorer neighborhoods would be the first to suffer.

City officials called a state of emergency and went with their go-to air quality emergency plan of limiting which cars can circulate on certain days of the week (this does not pertain to buses and garbage trucks). The city’s Chief of Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, tossed blame for the air pollution problem on the previous administration while a 2017 pre-mayoral tweet resurfaced in which she accused the former city government of waiting for the annual appearance of the Mesoamerican rain deity Tlalóc (who was late to the party this year) to help with the dire situation. 

Now, it’s August and Tlalóc has arrived. The first storm didn’t do much other than prove how dirty the air really was. But now the capital is thriving with near-daily afternoon showers and clouds which have improved the mood of capitaleños, for the time being at least. And, to be fair, much has changed since 1992 when the United Nations named Mexico City the world’s most polluted city. It’s now not anywhere near the top of the list and ranks somewhere similar to Los Angeles in that realm. 

Fortunately, Mexico City has a green lining for these moments and any moment, that travelers and locals alike can take advantage of: some serious green spaces. And we’re not just talking quaint city parks or tree-lined neighborhoods. There are massive pine forests which lead up to 13,000-foot peaks within the city and volcanoes that loom in the distance. Take that, everywhere else. So, we’ve compiled a list to some of the best green spaces in and around the city.

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Desierto de los Leones

Desierto de los Leones National Park

Area: 4,611 acres 

How to get there: Can be accessed by rideshare apps and taxis for about 250 pesos one way from most parts of the core city, whether you’re calling from Roma or Coyoacán. A return ride is more reliable in taxi due to limited cell service in the park. The trip takes about an hour by car. A bus marked “SANTA ROSA / DESIERTO” leaves frequently from outside the Viveros subway station and takes about an hour depending on traffic conditions. 

Hours: The park is open daily from 6 a.m.-5 p.m., though the former convent is closed on Mondays. 

This park on the city’s southwest side requires a bit of travel, with winding roads passing the outskirts of town and into an area where many chilangos have their vacation homes. The main attraction for most people is the 17th century ex-convent founded by Carmelite monks. The convent is open to tour, and wandering onto the surrounding hiking trails takes visitors through a thick forest where lesser kept remains of the convent can be found embraced by nature’s reclaim. Sit down for a game of chess if there’s a table set out—there often is—at the entrance where there’s no shortage of places to eat fresh quesadillas and prized wild mushroom soup, a staple of Central Mexico’s mountain cuisine. Bring a jacket as it’s much cooler here than in the city. 

Bosque de Chapultepec

Area: 1,675 acres 

How to get there: Best accessed by Chapultepec, Auditorio or Constituyentes subway stations, or by taxi or rideshare. 

Hours: The park consists of three sections, section 1 being the most visited and regulated, open from 5 a.m.-8 p.m, and closed on Mondays. Sections two and three are open 24 hours every day of the year. 

Near Mexico City’s bustling business district of Reforma Avenue, lies the Bosque de Chapultepec (a Nahuatl phrase meaning “grasshopper hill”). This impeccably manicured and lively space gives green life to the city’s center, where many trees were felled in order to make way for human progress. The park itself boasts two lakes which were created during the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship of the early 20th century, though the area has been the site of irrigation and aqueducts since the era of Tenochtitlán (the former capital of the Aztec empire on which Mexico City sits). In addition to being a sacred space for the Aztecs, and likely those who came before them, the park also boasts a curious mansion on said grasshopper hill which was built between 1785-1863 and housed an Austrian archduke and his Belgian princess wife during France’s invasion of Mexico. 

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Los Dinamos

Los Dínamos 

Area: 6,002 acres

How to get there: Taxi or rideshare will take you all the way to Dínamos 4 in less than an hour from most parts of the core city, depending on traffic conditions. From the Taxqueña subway station, take a bus marked “Los Dínamos” which takes about an hour to arrive, depending on traffic conditions. 

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Los Dínamos is the go-to spot for rock climbing fanatics, hikers and mountain bikers in CDMX. Similar to Desierto de los Leones, it’s on the city’s southwest side though easily accessible through the southwest borough of Magdalena Contreras, just a 30-45 minute drive from many places in the central city. The park is sectioned off into four locations, with Dínamos 4 being the most remote and flaunting the highest elevation (more than 10,000 feet). Like any good mountain send-off trail in Mexico, there are vendors selling local cuisine, cerveza, and even in this case pulque (slightly alcoholic fermented agave nectar) to replenish your energy sources after meandering through any of the 16 miles of rustic trails. 

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Cumbres del Ajusco National Park 

Area: 2,300 acres

How to get there: Rideshares and taxis are pretty easy to come by from within the city and to return, though the trip will likely take more than an hour. If you find yourself stuck after a hike, just ask around and you’ll find a taxi driver. From the Universidad metro, take the “San Miguel Ajusco” bus which takes about an hour to arrive, from there, ask for the “parque nacional” which can be another 20 minutes. 

Hours: Open hours, though recommended during daylight as trails can be difficult to navigate in the dark. 

Mexico City’s highest point is Ajusco mountain, which guards the southern edge of the city. At 12,894 feet, Ajusco is rugged and steep, but not a technically difficult mountain to climb. Cabins and of course quesadillas and birria (a hearty country soup made with goat or sheep meat) stands abound and the foothills are a popular place for family members to gather. Also part of the national park is the Volcán Xitle, a volcano that blew its top roughly 1,700 years ago and covered much of the city’s south side in volcanic rock. Rumored to have been used as a place for sacrifices and offerings to the Gods, it still draws visitors to its crater for hiking and to connect with the legends of its pre-Columbian past. 

Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla National Park (aka La Marquesa)

Area: 4,349 acres

How to get there: Rideshares and taxis make the roughly hour trip from the core city on a regular basis. To go by bus, go to the Observatorio subway station, exit and head across the road to the bus station and purchase a ticket to Toluca (make sure it’s an “intermedio” ticket) which will drop you right at La Marquesa in about 45 minutes. 

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

La Marquesa is a popular park which climbs into the highlands surrounding Mexico City, bordering the city limits and the neighboring State of Mexico. There are hiking trails, diversions (think go-karts and paintball) and horseback riding and is a great place to stop off on the way to or from the stunning Nevado de Toluca volcano or Valle de Bravo, a charming village-surrounding Avándaro lake valley now being touted by Mexico City real estate agents as “the Hamptons of Mexico City” (please don’t go there looking for that). La Marquesa sits at more than 10,000 feet and entices visitors with sampling a variety of Mexican delicacies such as rabbit, mixiote (a pit-barbecue dish) and cecina (dried beef). You can even fish for your own trout and have a restaurant grill it up for you. 

Los Viveros de Coyoacán

Area: 119 acres 

How to get there: The best way to arrive is to the Viveros subway station. 

Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Viveros is the Spanish term for plant nursery, and there is a large one on site at this park where you can buy anything from herbs to a palm tree. But the real draw and importance of the space is the surprisingly private forest that lies within the park’s walls. Most visitors to Viveros get their walk or run in on the more than one mile-wide loop that encircles the collection of neatly planted trees, including varieties of acacia and eucalyptus. The part plant nursery/part public park was founded as a space to reforest the city and was declared a national park in 1938. 

Bosque de Tlalpan and Fuentes Brotantes

Area: 936 acres combined

How to get there: For Bosque de Tlalpan: Take the Metrobus Line 1 south to Villa Olímpica and take a 10-minute taxi drive or walk 15-20 minutes. For Fuentes Brotantes, exit at the Ayuntamiento station and take a five-minute taxi drive or walk 10 minutes. 

Hours: Bosque de Tlalpan is open daily from 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fuentes Brotantes from 9 a.m-6 p.m. 

Right along Insurgentes Avenue, the main artery connecting the north and south of the city, lie two national parks in the southern delegation of Tlalpan. Bosque de Tlalpan is made up of steep inclines dotted with pines, oaks and cedars. It’s a popular place for people to hike, hold picnics and other events (including a weekly organic market) and to come with children to enjoy the massive jungle gym equipment. At the southern edge of the park with a separate entrance and hours is Fuentes Brotantes, where natural spring waters flow into a large pond enjoyed by passersby and plenty of ducks. Both parks are often tapped for their natural and tranquil atmosphere to host activities such as yoga and dance classes. 

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UNAM Botanical Garden

UNAM Botanical Garden

Area: 30 acres

How to get there: Take the subway to Universidad, and take a short walk into the UNAM campus. 

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Small, sweet, and complete is the UNAM Botanical Garden, part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s massive campus that is home to more than 300,000 students. UNAM has a great deal of outdoor spaces to enjoy, such as the Sculpture Park and its central Las Islas common area, but the Botanical Garden is one of the most relaxed areas on campus, featuring plants and trees endemic to Mexico, including a wide variety of cacti. There’s even a gift shop where you can adopt a native, endangered cactus (for a small fee) and care for it in your own home. The space is popular for students and cityfolk alike, with plenty of space to stretch out and take in the sun and the oxygen that it provides. 

Parque Nacional Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatépetl

Area: 98,842 acres

How to get there: The best bet is to rent a car so you can explore the park at your leisure. Otherwise, buses make the hour-and-a-half trip regularly for Amecameca, from the city’s TAPO bus station, from there you can hire a taxi to take you into the park. 

Hours: 7 a.m.- 9 p.m., with special backcountry permits required to hike Iztaccíhuatl (it’s at least a 14-hour out-and-back hike). 

While not technically part of Mexico City, this massive national park is home to two of Mexico’s largest volcanoes which play a major role of  the valley’s indigenous legends. On a day with moderate traffic, the park is between one and two hours to the east. On clear days (mostly in the late fall and early winter), the snow-capped mountains can be seen from the city itself. Iztaccíhuatl, at more than 17,100 feet, last erupted in 1868 and is now considered dormant; known colloquially as The Sleeping Woman or The White Woman for its year-round snowpack, and its form of a woman resting on her side. As Aztec legend goes, she was the true love of warrior Popocatepetl (17,800 feet), which is still active to this day, dousing dust on surrounding communities in his mourning of her death. It erupts at small levels regularly, and its habit of spitting out ash contributed in part to the poor air quality the city experienced this spring.  

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Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco

Area: 531 acres

How to get there: Rideshares and taxis are abundant in the area, though congestion is high in Xochimilco due to two-lane roads and travel from central areas of the city can take an hour or more. The park sits right off of the Periférico highway which circles the city. On Metrobus line 1 or Tren Ligero, get off at the Periférico station and take a bus east asking for Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco. 

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 

Xochimilco is one of Mexico City’s most important neighborhoods in terms of its food production on floating islands known as chinampas (an ingenious creation of the Aztecs) and the canals built from now mostly dry Lake Texcoco, making up for about 60 miles of waterways. The delegation’s water and trees function as lungs as well as a popular recreation area and home to the endangered axolotl (cuteness level: red alert). So popular, in fact, that water in the canals is pumped out and treated and also diverted from other areas of the city for the popular Xochimilco boat rides. The Xochimilco Ecological Park is home to migrating birds as well as native flora and fauna that has managed to stand up to the tests of Mexico City’s rapid urbanization of this not-long-ago rural delegation. 

Cerro de la Estrella National Park

Area: 200 acres

How to get there: Take the subway to the Cerro de al Estrella National Park station and have a taxi take you to the park. 

Hours: Open daily 5 a.m.-7 p.m.Overlooking the densely populated Iztapalapa borough, Cerro de la Estrella sits at more than 8,000 feet  (more than 700 feet above the city) and is covered in pines, eucalyptus and white cedar. It's popular for trail running and offers an excellent view of the city on a clear day. Though the cherry on top is really a pyramid. Other visitors go for the pre-Columbian sites including a pyramid and petroglyphs, the work of various indigenous groups (namely the Chichimecas) dating as far back as 1500 BCE. 

Cuicuilco Archaeological Zone and Ecological Park

Area: 44 acres

How to get there: Take the Metrobus to the Villa Olímpica station, Cuicuilco sits alongside northbound Insurgentes Avenue. 

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

The largest archaeological site in Mexico City is also one of its oldest and greenest. Long before the Mexica (also known as the Aztecs) took hold of the valley, this pyramid was built by the Cuicuilca people (of whom not much is known) in honor of a fire deity, possibly referencing nearby Xitle volcano which erupted between 245 and 315 CE and ultimately lead to the abandonment of Cuicuilco. Much of the pyramid still lies beneath more than 30 feet of volcanic rock from that eruption. Agaves, eucalyptus, grasses and many endemic flowers make up the ecological aspect of this ancient part of the city. An onsite museum boasts what is arguably the best depiction of the now-dry Lake Texcoco on which Mexico City was formed as an island.  

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Parque Bicentenario 

Area: 136 acres

How to get there: Take the subway to the Refinería station which sits on its eastern border. 

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Providing respite on the city's north side, Parque Bicentenario is home to five gardens, an orchid house and a conservatory. The park has undergone a number of recent reforestation programs providing shade for chilangos to rest under in between soccer matches. With sports fields and a lake, it's provides this side of town with a tranquil and family friendly place to spend time. While it's often quiet on weekdays, the weekends welcome hordes of people to celebrate everything from having a day off to birthdays and weddings in the wide green areas. The park is even adapted from time to time to host major concerts featuring national and international acts such as Hello Seahorse! and Björk. 

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Triumph’s 179HP Rocket 3 Has The Largest Moto Engine Ever

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The original Triumph Rocket is a legendary machine, flexing more muscle than anyone else on the block. Now the exclusive Triumph Rocket 3 TFC motorcycle raises the bar for performance, power, and style, continuing the legacy of the iconic company.

Designed to be the ultimate two-wheel beast, the Rocket 3 TFC houses an all-new 2,500cc engine that, according to Triumph, delivers the world’s highest torque and has the largest capacity of any production motorcycle. Whatever the case, the bike delivers 179 horsepower with 165 lb-ft of torque — making it the most powerful Triumph thus far. It also has Arrow mufflers with carbon-fiber end caps, premium carbon fiber bodywork, a unique hydro-formed three-header exhaust, signature twin LED headlights and cast-aluminum wheels. For a smooth ride, the intimidating motorcycle has state-of-the-art premium Brembo Style brakes and fully-adjustable Showa mono-shock suspension. There will only be 750 examples of the Triumph Rocket 3 TFC motorcycle, so you’ll need to hit the button quick if you want one in your garage. The Rocket 3 TFC is available worldwide, starting at $29,000.

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Truff Hot Sauce

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Do you like your food hot? Enjoy the thrill of heat? For all of you with a penchant for all things spicy, your life just got a whole lot spicier! The Truff Hot Sauce is the most sophisticated sauce in the game, it is a red chili-based hot sauce that is infused with Italian black truffle oil, savory spices, and delicately sweetened with agave nectar. In other words, this is not your average hot sauce, it has been meticulously crafted from ingredients normally reserved for fine tequilas, delicate delicacies, and elegant dining experiences, to deliver a dynamic taste unprecedented in hot sauce.

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REZVANI TANK X SUV

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If you require a little more from your luxury SUV than Rolls-Royce, Bentley, or Mercedes-Benz can provide, Rezvani has you covered. The Tank X is built on a Jeep Wrangler chassis, although little is retained except the frame and axles. Rezvani drops in a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Dodge Demon with a few tweaks to bring horsepower up to over 1,000. Getting that hypercar-like power to the pavement are standard Fox 2.0 shocks with four inches of lift and Nitto Trail Grappler tires, with Fox 3.0 Extreme shocks with five inches of life available as an option. The interior is as luxurious as you'd expect, with plenty of leather and a large infotainment screen. For an additional $100k, you can upgrade to the Military Edition, with ballistic armor, thermal night vision, cloud-connected video surveillance, and above-military-grade EMP protection that will keep your electronics working even in the event of a (distant) nuclear blast. $349K

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These Robotic Shorts Make Walking And Running Easier

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Exosuits — wearable robotic technologies that enhance our physical abilities — are slowly but steadily leaving the world of comic books and becoming a practical reality. This week, scientists introduced an exosuit that seems to reach a new milestone, helping users both walk and run with less effort.

The exosuit is the result of a collaboration between researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the University of Nebraska Omaha, and Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea. Perhaps more accurately described as a pair of exoshorts, the device is lightweight, fully portable, and mostly made out of a flexible material (except for the battery and motor unit). It works by using motors to pull cables that help extend the hips in a naturalistic and ideally optimum way as we move our legs, which should then reduce the amount of energy our bodies expend in order to move.

Previous exosuits could already reduce the energy costs of walking, according to Philippe Malcolm, a biomechanics expert at the University of Nebraska Omaha and senior researcher on the project. Newer, soft exosuits have been able to do this without feeling rigid and restricting range of movement.

But there’s been less luck in creating portable technology that enhances a person’s ability to run, which relies on different joint and bodily movements than walking. And though a typical human can easily transition from walking to running at a moment’s notice, the same hasn’t been true for exosuits.

“In order to be able to assist not only running or walking, we needed a system,” Malcolm told Gizmodo by phone. To get over this hurdle, the team created an algorithm that detects whether the person is running or walking. Depending on the movement, it switches to the needed “force profile” for the exosuit to do its job.

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A closer look at the exosuit

Once they created their prototype, they tested it out with healthy human volunteers across different walking and running scenarios, including on a treadmill or while walking uphill. During these trials, they measured how much energy the volunteers were spending by tracking how much oxygen they needed to breathe. The results of these experiments, published Thursday in Science, are modest but impressive.

“So we found a 9 per cent reduction in the energy consumption during walking and a 4 per cent reduction during running,” Malcolm said. “There’s been higher reductions by other devices that assist only with walking, or only with running. But these are statistically significant [reductions]. And they’re within an order of magnitude where performance improvements could be expected.”

The reductions could amount to having 5kg or 7kg taken off your waist while walking or running, respectively. But there needs to be more research done to actually show that the exosuit can help the average person run longer or faster. And there’s still ample room for improvement with the current design. For instance, though the device now weighs 5kg, the team is working on a system that would weigh only 3kg.

While the exoshorts do require some training to use, they aren’t terribly complicated.

“We tested the device with healthy people who already trained for multiple sessions with the actual suit, so you do need a certain time to adapt and learn how to benefit from the system,” Malcolm noted. “[But] there’s no specific instructions. You just put it all in and walk and run some time with it.”

For the time being, this research is a glimpse into the future of these devices, which could be modified for different purposes and functions depending on the situation. Exosuits with back support could help people better carry heavy loads with a lower risk of injury, Malcolm said, while others could help people with disabilities better rehabilitate or navigate on their own.

And to really get into the sci-fi realm, you could combine exosuits with another emerging technology: implants that allow the brain to communicate with and operate devices just like they were another limb. That sort of combination could one day enable the creation of “implantable neuroprostheses that can influence or assist human movement,” wrote José L. Pons, a biomechanical engineer and scientific chair of the Legs + Walking Lab at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, in an accompanying editorial in the journal Science.

That’s not to say these suits aren’t having any real-world impact already.

This winter, the Boston company ReWalk Robotics began selling a soft exosuit system to physical rehabilitation clinics, based on some of the technology developed by the Harvard team. The ReStore Exo-Suit, as it’s called, was cleared as a medical device in America in June by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help with the physical therapy of people with lower limb disability caused by stroke.

The suit is mostly focused on the ankles, rather than the hip, but uses the same basic principle to assist people as they walk.

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Chris Rock Calls Jason Shawn Alexander’s Killadelphia “the Best Graphic Novel I’ve Ever Read”, Jordan Peele Calls it “a Classic”

Chris Rock Calls Jason Shawn Alexander Killadelphia "the Best Graphic Novel I've Ever Read", Jordan Peele Calls it "a Classic"

As Jason Shawn Alexander approaches the 300th issue of Spawn, he has announced his new comic book series with American Gods writer Rodney Barnes – a new vampire horror comic book, Killadelphia. And they’ve brought some impressive review clips as well…

When a small-town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father—the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.—he begins to unravel a mystery that leads him down a path of horrors that will shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality… and vampires. Welcome to Killadelphia.

Alexander is quoted as saying “Killadelphia has a human element that I don’t often get to see in the horror genre, and rarely get a chance to portray. The story, at times, has me at the edge of my seat and at others, leaves me with a lump in my throat. One gets the feeling you’re reading about real people with real lives in an extraordinarily frightening situation. Luis NCT and my part, at this point, is to bring the art to the level of Rodney Barnes’ emotive words. I think the audience, and myself, have an amazing ride ahead of us.”

Barnes adds “I wanted to tell a story about people who have fallen through the cracks of society. Those who dream the American dream but do so from the back of the line. That is until now.Can they who have been shown little mercy themselves be merciful? We shall soon see. I can’t say enough about Jason Shawn Alexander’s art, which beautifully captures the mood and tone of an American city under siege. And I’m excited for all to experience the horrors which lurk in the alleys and low places of a town we call Killadelphia.”

Series editor Greg Tumbarello touched on the tone and aesthetic of the comic. “Killadelphia is an enthralling horror story that claws into the most terrifying elements of humanity and a society in chaos, while being balanced against an incredibly personal story of a son searching to break beyond his father’s shadow by solving his murder,” said Tumbarello. “Not only do Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander perfectly complement each other, but the entire creative team has seamlessly come together to make some of the most exciting comics you’ll ever read. This is a series you cannot miss.”

Killadelphia #1 Cover A by Jason Shawn Alexander (Diamond Code SEP190042) and Killadelphia #1 Cover B “Black Friday Variant” by Francesco Mattina will be published on Wednesday, November 27th.

And here’s that critical acclaim;

“It’s the best graphic novel I’ve ever read. Five times more graphic and eight times more novel.” —Chris Rock

“Killadelphia is the stunning and fresh horror fable I’ve been craving. This one feels like a classic.” —Jordan Peele

“Jason Shawn Alexander is one of my favorite artists working today, and writer Rodney Barnes is the perfect collaborator for this atmospheric horror story with a terrifyingly real sense of place.” —Brian K. Vaughan

“Sparely written, beautifully rendered and topical, Killadelphia is a genuinely frightening horror graphic. Can’t wait to read the next issue!” —Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due

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Barn Find: 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S By Bertone

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For car enthusiasts, barn finds are like discovering a complete fossil of a beast that once roamed the earth triumphantly. This 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone is another rare road-wrecker that’s been collecting dust in a barn, and it could be yours to restore.

The Miura you see here was once owned by racing driver Hans-Peter Weber, who kept it in its original condition until he passed away in 2015. Upon further inspection, the front turn signals and seatbelts aren’t original, but the rest of the ride is authentic. The 365 horsepower Miura P400 S only has 10,000 miles on the odometer, so it has a lot of adventurers ahead of it. There are only 338 examples of the S variant made from 1968 to 1971, making this unrestored ride quite rare. It’s heading to the auction block in London on October 24 just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. So, if you’re looking to own this impressive vehicle, plan accordingly.

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This Collection Of Marvel's Earliest Comics Is Absolutely, Well, Marvellous

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This year, Marvel Comics turns 80, and the company is already doing all sorts of things to celebrate its big anniversary. But one of the latest is a collaboration with high-end book publisher the Folio Society that’s giving us a gorgeous recreation of one of the comics that started it all.

The just-revealed Marvel Comics: The Golden Age 1939-1949 is a hardback collection of some of the earliest and most influential comics of the publisher’s earliest years — back when it was still called Timely Comics rather than Marvel. Specially curated by famous Marvel editor Roy Thomas, the hardback (presented in a retro-comics-inspired case designed by Marco D’Alfonso) collects five comics from that initial decade covering some of Marvel’s formative characters, from Namor the Sub-Mariner, to the original Human Torch, to Captain America.

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One of the most interesting of the five is a 64-page facsimile of the first issue in the series that would one day give Timely its famous name: Marvel Comics #1. Every comic in the collection is based on archival vintage material from both Marvel’s own archives and the private collections of fans, seeking to ensure the most faithful and accurate representations of the original material are brought to life.

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If all that wasn’t enough, the hardback also comes with a bonus print by D’Alfonso himself featuring the characters included in the collection, which, between Cap, Namor, and Jim Hammond (the original, android Human Torch), is essentially an Invaders reunion with a few extra guest stars.

But that marvellous-ness also carries on over to the price: When it releases September 25, The Golden Age will cost you a whopping $US225 ($332). Considering the Folio Society plans on more collaborations with Marvel going forward, you’re gonna wanna start saving up now if this catches your interest.

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1 hour ago, MIKA27 said:

Barn Find: 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S By Bertone

Featured Image

For car enthusiasts, barn finds are like discovering a complete fossil of a beast that once roamed the earth triumphantly. This 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone is another rare road-wrecker that’s been collecting dust in a barn, and it could be yours to restore.

The Miura you see here was once owned by racing driver Hans-Peter Weber, who kept it in its original condition until he passed away in 2015. Upon further inspection, the front turn signals and seatbelts aren’t original, but the rest of the ride is authentic. The 365 horsepower Miura P400 S only has 10,000 miles on the odometer, so it has a lot of adventurers ahead of it. There are only 338 examples of the S variant made from 1968 to 1971, making this unrestored ride quite rare. It’s heading to the auction block in London on October 24 just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. So, if you’re looking to own this impressive vehicle, plan accordingly.

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my father and uncle, his brother (both sadly no longer with us), were very close but very different. like me, dad had no clue about cars and less interest. as long as they go.

my uncle was a fanatic. he had the 2nd range rover that ever came to australia (he gave it to us for a driving holiday at the time, great fun as people had never seen anything like it), and a terrific collection of old and vintage cars. an american jeep from WWII (not sure where he got it but my grandfather worked with macarthur during that war as their local architect). he also had quite a few vintage rollers, a real passion. 

his first vintage roller was acquired in a similar way to this barn story. he and dad were on a car rally (i was never sure how he convinced dad to join him but i suspect dad would have taken the fishing gear). northern nsw. this would be more than 60 years ago now. perhaps closer to 70. northern nsw would have been a bit wild west then. apparently they were whizzing along a dirt road through the banana plantations and my uncle hit the anchors - no idea what they were driving then - and said that they had to go back. he'd noticed parts of a car sticking out of a pile of dirt and leaves. went to the farmer and offered to buy the wreck. the farmer said he was welcome to it for five quid and the costs of getting it off the farm. 

it was a vintage roller, needed to have the engine turned on by revving it up at the front - not a key. you know the old movies where they wind up the engine? and it had a little touring seat at the back on the outside, which we would sit in as kids when he drove around (no chance of that these day). my uncle fully restored it, and numerous other cars, and it still drives today. with my cousin, another car nut. 

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On 8/16/2019 at 4:14 PM, Ken Gargett said:

my father and uncle, his brother (both sadly no longer with us), were very close but very different. like me, dad had no clue about cars and less interest. as long as they go.

my uncle was a fanatic. he had the 2nd range rover that ever came to australia (he gave it to us for a driving holiday at the time, great fun as people had never seen anything like it), and a terrific collection of old and vintage cars. an american jeep from WWII (not sure where he got it but my grandfather worked with macarthur during that war as their local architect). he also had quite a few vintage rollers, a real passion. 

his first vintage roller was acquired in a similar way to this barn story. he and dad were on a car rally (i was never sure how he convinced dad to join him but i suspect dad would have taken the fishing gear). northern nsw. this would be more than 60 years ago now. perhaps closer to 70. northern nsw would have been a bit wild west then. apparently they were whizzing along a dirt road through the banana plantations and my uncle hit the anchors - no idea what they were driving then - and said that they had to go back. he'd noticed parts of a car sticking out of a pile of dirt and leaves. went to the farmer and offered to buy the wreck. the farmer said he was welcome to it for five quid and the costs of getting it off the farm. 

it was a vintage roller, needed to have the engine turned on by revving it up at the front - not a key. you know the old movies where they wind up the engine? and it had a little touring seat at the back on the outside, which we would sit in as kids when he drove around (no chance of that these day). my uncle fully restored it, and numerous other cars, and it still drives today. with my cousin, another car nut. 

What a great story Ken and an amazing find!! :) 

Makes one wonder what else is laying around yet to be discovered in a barn or buried beneath the ground.

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How A Really Obscure Soviet Race Car Ends Up On A California Wine Bottle

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We get emails all the time from people asking us to identify cars they encounter, and these are some of my favourite emails we get, after the ones scolding me for my toilet-mouth. We just got one today that caught my attention, both because of the car and the context: the context was a wine label, and the car was a strange Soviet teardrop-looking thing. I was curious.

The wine is from a grapes-brewery (I think that’s what they’re called) named Prototype Wines, and since I know Jack Faeces about wine, I can’t comment about what it’s like.

But I do know weird cars, and the car on the label absolutely qualifies. It was familiar-looking, though, and I was certain I’d seen it before.

The somewhat awkward, uncertain look of the design suggested an origin from somewhere other than the usual suspects. Eastern European, it looks like. Was it one of those Skoda streamliners from the 1930s? No, it looks more post-war. Soviet?

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Yes, Soviet.

Then I remembered that GAZ made some strange race cars after the war, and a bit of Googling later, I had my answer: that’s a 1950 GAZ Pobeda M-20 Sport.

The story behind the car is pretty interesting; after the war, there were a number of European sports cars that made their way into the Soviet Union, including some of the Auto Union mid-engined streamlined cars. These appropriated race cars were used in racing inside the USSR for a while, until a 1948 decree prohibited the use of foreign-built race cars in competition, meaning that domestic manufacturers had to pick up the slack.

Racing wasn’t a huge priority in the Soviet Auto industry, so not many resources were spared to develop cars, but there were some efforts, of which this car, the GAZ Pobeda M-20 Sport, is likely the first real successful one.

The drivetrain and basic chassis was taken from the normal M-20 Pobeda, a four-door family/general-use sedan built from 1946 to 1958 in the Soviet Union, and under licence in Poland from 1951 all the way until 1973.

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It was popular, finding a lot of use as taxis, and the 50-ish horsepower two-litre inline-four wasn’t exactly a screamer, but it got the job done. It wasn’t really the ideal platform for a racing car, but in the Soviet Union, you worked with what you had.

To turn the M-20 into the Sports version, there wasn’t that much done to the chassis, but the engine did get bored out to 2.5 litres and got twin carbs, giving it a substantial boost to 75 HP.

Still, that’s not a lot of horses, even stout Soviet ones, so more effort was spent on keeping it light and improving the aerodynamics. With that in mind, the GAZ designers came up with a body made of light duralumin, with skirted wheels and a dramatic elongated teardrop shape.

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Protrusions were mostly eliminated, and the grille was reduced to a wide low intake and a couple of “nostrils” on the hood. The resulting car weighed 1,200kg, not bad considering the original was a tubby 1,460kg, and was capable of hitting 161km/h, good enough to set some intra-Soviet speed records at the time.

Five cars were built, and this can really be thought of as the first real Soviet designed-and-built race car.

OK, so now we know about the car — why and how did it end up on a wine bottle? Was there significance to the Soviet heritage? Did the winery even know what the car was?

To find out, I reached out to the company that designed the label for the winery, Vanderbyl Design. I spoke with Michael Vanderbyl, the owner, and asked if he knew what the car was. The answer?

Sorta.

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Michael explained to me that the image was found in an old archive of Russian and Soviet photographs and clip art. The name “Prototype” was a tricky one for a wine, so Michael decided that an unusual, concept-looking car was something most people could associate with the word “prototype,” and so he set out to find something unusual and, ideally, unrecognisable.

That old Russian file provided just what he needed.

So, while he wasn’t sure of the specifics of the car, he knew it was Soviet, which also meant that the image didn’t really have an owner, since the entire country has been gone for decades.

A little bit of tweaking and reworking the image to get it to print well, and, boom, the Prototype wine label, complete with a strange, evocative car.

So, there you go, that’s how an obscure but important Soviet race car ends up on a wine bottle: by chance, mostly.

 

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Watch This Hero Blindly Navigate The Entire Nürburgring

Misha Charoudin has lived at the Nürburgring for four years, instructing and driving on it almost every day. With thousands of laps behind him, he could probably direct someone around this track blindfolded. In fact, he’s put out a video of him doing just that.

It’s insane.

He spends 7 minutes calling out curbs, braking zones and corner exits as his fellow instructor blasts around the track in a Mercedes-AMG GT R. That’s seriously impressive, but what’s unbelievable is that he also calls out the signs and other markers as he passes them.

It’s hard enough to know where to go on the Nürburgring with all of your senses functioning. The track goes on forever and is full of blind corners that all look the same to an untrained eye.

So being able to know exactly where you are by the seat of your pants and what you have stored in the ole’ noggin is wild. This display of knowledge will be hard to top, unless, of course, someone manages to actually drive the track blind.

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Daniel Craig's Next Bond Movie Finally Has A Title: No Time To Die

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The age of just calling it “Bond 25” is over. It’s time for, err, well, No Time to Die.

The title of the long-in-the-making return to James Bond for Craig — and his final one in the role he took over since 2006's Casino Royale — was officially revealed on social media today, as well as a new release date of April 3, 2020 in the UK, and April 8 2020 in the U.S.

It will release on April 8 2020 in Australia.

It was accompanied by a short video of Craig doing the classic Bond “walk on from off-camera and turn to look at the audience” bit that usually concludes with Bond shooting a would-be-assassin. This time, he just reveals a fancy title treatment.

The news also comes with a brand new synopsis for the film, revealing that Bond has retired — only to be drawn back into the spy game by Felix Leiter for a new mission:

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In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Directed by Cary Fukunaga — who replaced Danny Boyle on the project — and written by Fukunaga, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Scott Burns, and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, No Time to Die also stars Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch (herself rumoured as a potential replacement for Craig as 007), Billy Magnussen, and Ana de Armas, alongside returning names like Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, and more.

 

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Lana Wachowski Is Helming The Matrix 4, With Keanu Reeves And Carrie-Anne Moss Returning

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Time to grab your pleather pants and hack into some robots, because The Matrix is back, baby. Variety has revealed that The Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski will write and direct a fourth film in the series, with original series stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss set to return as Neo and Trinity.

Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich confirmed to Variety that Lana Wachowski, one-half of the Wachowski sisters filmmaking duo, is returning to The Matrix series. The script is being written with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. No word yet on whether co-creator Lilly Wachowski will be returning in any creative capacity to the project.

“Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in The Matrix universe,” Emmerich said.

A new Matrix film has been rumoured for years — including when The Matrix stunt performer and John Wick director Chad Stahelski hinted back in May that the Wachowskis were coming back.

Of course, he mentioned both sisters, not just Lana Wachowski, so it’s unclear how much he knew or whether things have changed since then. According to Variety, the next Matrix film is set to start filming next year.

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How China Built Some Of The World's Most Versatile Vehicles Around A $150 Engine

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Back in 2015, I visited China and found myself enamoured by a vehicle so simple that it didn’t even have a hood to cover its single-cylinder diesel engine. That basic motor, which can be cranked by hand, is a part of what I later found to be one of the most incredible modular vehicle architectures I’d ever seen.

Shortly after arriving in Guilin following a 27 hour train-ride from Xi’an that was as terrible as it sounds, my friend Justin and I discovered on the streets of Guilin a truly incredible machine — one that ticked every car enthusiast box in my mind: Quirky, versatile, capable, easy to work on and dirt cheap.

At the time, I didn’t know what this thing was, all I knew was that it was the first stock, street-legal vehicle I’d ever seen with a completely exposed engine, and it steered kind of funny. Also, it was everywhere, working on farms, hauling dirt at construction sites, and popping around the city carrying cargo. Everywhere I turned, I saw a tiny diesel engine hanging off the front of various types of vehicles, so I had to learn more.

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My friend asked a local what the thing was called, and the gentleman told us “Tuo La Ji,” which is written 拖拉机 in Chinese.

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It means “tractor,” but the individual characters mean “Drag,” “Pull” and “Machine,” which is fitting, really.

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Because I’m having a hell of a time finding solid information on the humble Tuo La Ji (seriously, I just watched a man dressed in a Spider-Man suit operating his tractor just so I could learn more about how these things work), I’m going to have to make a few assumptions on how they operate. But for the most part, it’s pretty straightforward.

The drive unit consists of a flat-mounted diesel engine with its crankshaft at the front of the vehicle and its head farther rearward. The intake is on the right side and the exhaust exits the engine on the left. Vertically above the flat-laying cylinder is a fuel tank and what I assume to be a water tank that needs to be replenished as the engine heats the H2O.

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Though there’s a starter motor at the front of this engine just above the headlight, the driver actually used the hand crank on the right side of the vehicle to fire up the diesel motor. It was impressive. The motor apparently sends power to the front wheels via the flywheel-mounted pulley, through two rubber belts, and to another pulley that drives the alternator and also the transmission via what I’m assuming is a vertically-oriented gear drive.

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As for steering, the entire front end pivots. This particular vehicle has a steering wheel, though some have handlebars. The photos above don’t show any sort of drag link that might push an arm that would cause the front drive unit to pivot about that joint just in front of the U-bolts, but instead, it shows a shaft with a pseudo-U-joint. But that shaft appears to go to the transmission, so I’m assuming the steering pitman arm and drag link — shown below on another vehicle I spotted — are just hidden from the pictures.

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Some of these machines are apparently available in four-wheel drive, with a rear output yoke appearing to come off the back of the transmission.

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Here’s a look at a four-wheel drive Tuo La Ji off-roading. Look at all the flex in that detachable front drive unit!:

What’s most amazing about this setup is that it’s so modular. I stopped by a store in Guilin that sold the engines, which cost about $215 each. Just look at this sea of motors:

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Off to the side were a couple of subframes (the left one is for a push-style tractor setup), and nearby were a few posters showing what this little motor can do.

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One advertisement showed a man working his field using the roughly eight horsepower engine:

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The whole front drive unit from the initial steering-wheel equipped Tuo La Ji I showed before — the engine, gearbox, front subframe, fuel tank, water tank, exhaust, intake, alternator, all of it — can apparently be detached simply and thrown onto another vehicle. Possibly even a handlebar-equipped one like this:

The video above shows a Tuo La Ji in operation. It’s just amazing and, if I’m honest, a bit confusing. There some levers on the handlebars that actuate cables, which I assume operate some sort of brake — possibly one per wheel?

There there are some levers ahead of the driver that seem to allow for transmission shifting, and then there appears to be a foot clutch? I’m not entirely sure, but that just adds to the allure of these modular, exposed-engine machines.

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Unlike The Movie, The Blair Witch Game Doesn't Seem So Scary

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If you’re familiar with its source material, Blair Witch, the upcoming game for PC and Xbox, has a lot to live up to. It’s impossible to understate the influence of 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, a found footage film that blurred the line between fact and fiction and emphasised a slow-burn dread over outright scares. Few horror works are as distinct, and Blair Witch, the forthcoming game, is an attempt to create a video game rendition of that film’s slowly encroaching horror. After playing a short demo of it a few weeks ago, I’m not sure it will succeed.
In the early 1990s, filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez made a horror film disguised as a documentary. It was about a group of young people who went deep into the woods of Maryland to find a witch who supposedly haunted the region, only they never made it back. The filmmakers marketed the fictional movie as a real documentary, even suggesting the stars — unknowns who played characters they shared real names with — were actually missing.

In 1999 The Blair Witch Project was released to phenomenal success, fuelled in part by speculation: though Myrick and Sánchez were frank about the true nature of their film in interviews at the time, audiences still thought the movie’s events might have been real. The success of The Blair Witch Project essentially invented a genre of film and changed horror in ways that are felt today in various media, including video games.

Twenty years later, recorded footage, slow-burn horror, and the notion of being stalked by an unkillable madness-inducing entity are all part of the horror game bag of tricks, popularised, ironically, by streaming. With games like Five Nights at Freddy’s, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Outlast influencing a whole new generation of horror, it’s the perfect time for a Blair Witch video game in the modern horror mould.

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In this Blair Witch, developed by Bloober Team, the Polish studio behind Layers of Fear and Observer, you play as Ellis, a former cop who joins the search for a boy named Peter Shannon who has gone missing in the woods of Maryland circa 1996. You’re alone, with the exception of your dog (which you can pet), occasional radio calls from others, and whatever might be lurking in the woods.

My demo session with Blair Witch wasn’t conducive to the extended descent into the forests and my own paranoia the game seems designed for. I played a series of five vignettes from various parts of the game, each about 5 to 10 minutes long. In these vignettes, I began my trek through the woods, was chased by an entity I could not see, got lost in a tunnel, fended off monsters with my flashlight, and finally approached the home where the eponymous witch lures their prey.

It was a varied taste of what Blair Witch has to offer, but it was at odds with the kind of experience players will likely have in the final game, which I was told is one continuous experience not broken up into levels or sections. So while I got to see a lot of the game, nothing really had an effect on me — the anticipation and dread so necessary for horror like this to work was more or less absent thanks to this presentation.

Beyond one or two jump scares, the game never got in my head. The monsters were barely visible, vaguely humanoid blurs that rushed through the woods and were scared away by pointing my flashlight at them. They weren’t all that creepy, and the woods never felt sprawling enough to get lost in.

Aesthetically, the game nails the movie’s feel. The dense, plain-looking forests felt sinister, and the crude wooden symbols from the movie were strewn around as creepy collectibles. I just can’t be sure if it’s to an effective end, since I was unable to linger in any moment of this game for too long.

Though my time with this truncated version of the game left me sceptical, Blair Witch could still work when I get the full game, turn off the lights, and play through it in a night or two. There’s some good stuff here — your dog, Bullet, is not susceptible to the Witch’s Curse and is impervious to the visions that plague your character over time.

He’s kind of a compass or early warning sign, so you get antsy when he’s not around or starts barking at things you can’t see. In the demo, I got nervous when Bullet started barking, filled with the kind of dread that’s good for a horror game.

Blair Witch’s approach to found footage is pretty fun as well. In certain areas, you find tapes you can play on your handheld camcorder. Tapes show you something that happened in the place where you stand, and by watching them you can change the environment.

A door that’s shut in front of you might be opened on the tape, so if you scrub to that moment and then look up, you’ll find the door open. It’s a neat, unsettling trick that, while very simple, could lead to some fun moments. There are also great, creepy instances when you have to navigate with the camera — what you see on its screen can be very different from what’s in front of you.

Throughout the demo, the Bloober Team developers present stressed that they didn’t want to make their Blair Witch a translation of any particular film or prior text. While the events of the movie happened in the world of the game, the developers want their take on Blair Witch to be something other than a slavish reproduction of the film.

The game has the vibe of the movies — dense woods, creepy abandoned homes — but it also feels like a modern horror game. You don’t have a weapon, just your flashlight, your camera, and your radio or phone. You rummage through shelves and discarded items, finding spooky photographs and turning them over in your hands for possible clues.

At the same time, a horror game with an unarmed, first-person protagonist trying to solve a mystery has been done before in ways that felt more frightening than what I experienced of Blair Witch. I hope that when taken as a whole on August 30, Blair Witch will feel more like a proper, dread-filled Blair Witch experience — or even just a solid horror game.

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Should The Porsche-Designed Type 64 Racer Be Considered Nazi Memorabilia?

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Last week, there was a massive and pleasingly idiotic screwup by RM Sotheby’s during the auction of a very rare 1939 Volkswagen-based Type 64 race car designed by Ferdinand Porsche. This car was controversial long before the auction, both regarding its status as a Porsche and its dark origin story.

As far as the is-it-a-real-Porsche-or-not question goes, I think this one is easy: I don’t care if they slapped PORSCHE letters on the nose in 1949. It’s not a Porsche-brand car because when it was designed and built the company didn’t exist yet.

Is it the spiritual and conceptual wellspring from which Porsche DNA sprang? Absolutely. But it was, essentially, a VW Beetle with a tweaked engine and a special aerodynamic and lightweight body designed for racing. Think Bradley GT, but much, much cooler.

I don’t even think this point is even controversial, really. Hell, even Porsche themselves seem to know the difference. Look how it’s described in this 1977 official brochure called The Porsche Family Tree:

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It’s considered an ancestor, and identified as a Volkswagen. I say, case closed.

But there is some real controversy around the car, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the semantics of whether or not it’s a Porsche. It has to do with the dark past of the car and the internet’s favourite dark-past players, Nazis.

It also doesn’t have to do with the car failing to sell even after a $US17 ($25) million bid at a recent auction, itself a bit of a mishap that involved the car incorrectly called at up to $US70 ($104) million.

The Type 64, also known as the 60K10, was built to compete in a Berlin-to-Rome Axis race that never happened. As such, it was definitely built with clear propaganda goals: bring attention to the allegedly upcoming Strength-Through-Joy (KdF) Peoples’ Car (you know, Volkswagen), and to generally flaunt German National Socialist industrial prowess to the rest of the world.

Really, you could argue that nearly every German racing car of that era was designed to be propaganda for the Nazis. The legendary Auto Union Silver Arrows, those V12 and V16 mid/rear-engined racing cars built in the late 1930s are a perfect example of this.

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Audi, the lone modern survivor of the Auto Union, has spent a lot of money collecting surviving examples of these cars, and proudly display them, which makes sense, as they’re amazing, highly influential machines. They no longer display a swastika, like in that picture above, though:

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So, is it right or wrong to remove the Nazi associations from these cars? These Auto Unions have as much Nazi pedigree as the Type 64, but I don’t recall as many headlines calling them “Nazi Cars” like we saw for the recent Type 64 auction.

In some ways, removing the swastikas washes away the miserable associations of these cars’ birth, and it’s very easy to see why Audi would choose to do that—who the fuck wants a car with a swastika on it?

I guess that’s the question, right there: if you want a car with a swastika on it, because you actively like that it has a swastika on it, well, then that’s where these things flip from being fascinating bits of motoring history to becoming Nazi memorabilia.

Does that mean a car like the Type 64 shouldn’t be collected, because of the potential for glorifying Nazi accomplishments?

The truth is I’m very torn here. As just a car, I really like the Type 64, because I’ve had a lifelong obsession with classic air-cooled Volkswagens, and this is a very important part of the car’s history.

But I’m also a Jew who has lost family in the Holocaust, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get on so hot with the sort of people who find the Nazi origins of this car to be its greatest appeal.

You can’t just peel off the swastikas and pretend nothing happened — that’s not going to help anyone. At the same time, it’s crazy to ignore these cars because of their awful origin stories. The cars themselves are inert machines and have no more prejudices than they have growing fur in their wheelarches. It’s not their fault they came into being as a part of one of the worst chapters in human history, but that’s still part of these machines.

There’s plenty of blood to spatter for many, many cars here, too. It’s not even just German cars, though they tend to get the most focus, because, duh. But there’s blame to go around — should we have similar qualms when Model Ts go up for sale, because Henry Ford was a virulently anti-Semitic ghoul who sent Hitler birthday money and published years of hateful screeds in his newspaper?

In museum contexts, I think a car like the Type 64 will fare better, as museums are able to give the full context of a car’s history, and are (ideally) less likely to fetishise the car’s Nazi origins. A well-designed automotive museum installation showcasing the Type 64 can provide plenty of background and history to be up front about the history, while also highlighting what makes the car technically interesting.

Corporate collections are more problematic, as a company has a financial interest in hiding unpleasant parts of its past. That’s why we see Auto Union racers stripped of swastika decals, and why Volkswagen’s heritage collection starts at the strangely late date of 1950.

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It’s also why you’re unlikely to see a jaunty Hitler mannequin in Mercedes-Benz’ displays of a 1936 W150. It’s interesting to see how uncomfortable these cars make people. Look at this odd video made when a Mercedes-Benz 770 made specifically for Hitler went up for auction:

It’s not often in a car auction that anyone feels compelled to remind you that cars are inanimate machines, incapable of choosing their own fate, but that’s exactly what happened here.

This is a really tricky question, somewhat similar to questions about the ethics of using any useful results from Dr. Josef Mengele — the “Angel of Death” — and his often revolting and inhuman experiments he conducted in concentration camps. In some ways, the car question is harder, because Mengele didn’t really do anything actually useful, but these cars have real technical and historical interest.

I wish I could just come out and say that any car touched by some miserable Nazi fucker is not worth saving, but the truth is I don’t believe that, not really. There are interesting cars with horrific pasts, and they’re worth keeping in historical and technological context.

I think context is absolutely key here when it comes to selling or collecting these cars. If a collector wanted to buy the Type 64 to be part of some Aryantastic Museum of Superiority, then I think it’s pretty clear: the car has become, again, an instrument of hate.

But I don’t think it has to be that way. The Type 64, and cars like it, should be able to be appreciated on their own merits, as just a car, in the context of other cars that came before and after it, but the circumstances of its creation cannot be washed away or forgotten.

These cars, I think, can still be collected and appreciated, but with a good dose more responsibility expected of them than just buying something like, the first Volvo P1800 or that V4 Mustang prototype or something.

To handle these sorts of cars right, sellers have to believe in the idea that they represent more than just a car, and be willing to exercise judgment about who they sell them to, that is, if they care. If Richard Spencer set up a GoFundMe to buy the Type 64 so he can paint swastikas all over it and sit in it as he stares at himself in a hand mirror and tearfully jerks off, then I suppose a seller could have taken his idiot-money and handed him the keys.

But, hopefully, people with cars like these do appreciate what their significance is, good and bad, and are willing to find contexts where these cars can be preserved, without turning them (back) into instruments of hate.

Hopefully.

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New ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ Trailer Teases John Rambo’s Final, Epic Mission

The latest trailer for Rambo: Last Blood is one hell of a tease for action hero John Rambo’s final ride. Sylvester Stallone returns for the fifth time as Rambo, the Vietnam War vet haunted by his past and frequently reeled into vigilante work wherever he happens to be.

The new Last Blood trailer sets up the basics: Rambo’s niece, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), is taken by a group of South American criminals. Naturally, losing a close family member doesn’t sit well with Rambo. He ventures forth on a rescue mission, hoping to find Gabrielle and bring her home. Along the way, Rambo is going to face down the criminals who took her, eventually turning his family home into a battleground.

In addition to laying the groundwork for the story, the trailer does a great job of showing off Stallone in full action-hero mode. Blood-spattered, dirty, sweaty, and with every muscle popping as he does things like forge weapons in his barn or prepares to fire off an arrow, Stallone’s Rambo is a showcase for how committed the actor is on playing a rough, tough vigilante. Who cares about how old Stallone is when he can clearly still kick serious ass?

In addition to Stallone and Monreal, Last Blood stars Paz Vega, Adriana Barraza (Babel, Thor), Óscar Jaenada (The Shallows), and Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Life Itself). Adrian Grunberg (Narcos, Man on Fire) directs Last Blood.

Rambo: Last Blood arrives in theaters September 20, 2019.

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First Trailer for Scott Cooper’s ‘Antlers’ Brings Nick Antosca’s Creepy Short Story to Life

Director Scott Cooper has tackled gritty crime dramas, Western adventures, and even a romantic musical drama in his ten years at the helm; Antlers will mark his first all-out horror film. And as the first trailer for the film shows, it might not be his last. The creepy “horror in the hills” vibe is strong here thanks to Cooper’s cinematically trained eye and Nick Antosca‘s thoroughly creepified source material, though having Guillermo del Toro on the film’s production team likely has a little something to do with the aesthetic, too.

Cooper directs from a screenplay by C. Henry Chaisson & Antosca and Cooper himself, based on Antosca’s short story, “The Quiet Boy”; you can read that story here if you can’t wait for Antlers. Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, JT Corbitt, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, and Amy Madigan star, and the producer team includes del Toro, David Goyer, and J. Miles Dale. Antlers arrives in theaters sometime next year … we hope. Thankfully, the Fox Searchlight picture appears to be one of the existing titles that new owner Disney will allow to see the light of day, but things may change between now and then.

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Marvel Studios No Longer Involved In Spider-Man Movies

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In a shocking turn of events, Marvel Studios will no longer be involved with the production of Spider-Man movies. After Sony tried (and failed) to launch their own Spider-Man shared universe with the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, the studio struck an unprecedented deal with Marvel Studios, which allowed Peter Parker to become part of the highly-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler in 2016's Captain America: Civil War and went on to reprise the role four more times, including a pair of successful standalone films.

Holland's most recent turn was in July's Spider-Man: Far From Home, which earned widespread critical praise and recently became Sony's highest-grossing film of all-time at the box office. With the Spider-Man film franchise more fruitful than ever within the friendly confines of the MCU and a third film poised to jump off Far From Home's stunning post-credits scenes, it seemed like the partnership between Sony and Marvel would thrive for years to come. But that assumption would apparently be wrong.

According to Deadline, Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige will no longer produce Spider-Man movies. This comes after the two sides failed to reach an agreement that would have given Marvel "a co-financing stake moving forward." According to their report, Sony rejected an offer from Disney that would have seen a "50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios." Instead, Sony was hoping to simply continue the terms of the initial agreement, but Disney passed on that. Director Jon Watts and Holland remain in place for two more solo Spider-Man movies, which will be overseen by Sony's Amy Pascal. Per Variety, however, it's possible Sony and Marvel could reach a new Spider-Man deal.

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This means that unless the two parties reconvene and iron out new terms, Spider-Man is out of the MCU. After Far From Home made over $1 billion globally, there will most assuredly be more Spider-Man movies, but they'll happen without the MCU connections and crossovers that fans love. On the surface, this is a big blow since a key component of this Peter Parker was his relationship with Tony Stark and Far From Home explored his dynamic with Happy Hogan. Now, this aspect of the films is gone, and the creative team will need to find ways to write around it. Watts and company will be able to come up with something, but it remains to be seen if it's a satisfying explanation for viewers. Fans were excited to see Spider-Man and related characters (like J. Jonah Jameson) continue to be a part of the larger MCU sandbox.

Even without Spider-Man at their disposal, Marvel Studios has a bevy of characters that can carry the franchise through Phase 4 and beyond. Black Panther and Captain Marvel headlined $1 billion solo films of their own. Thor's standalone series is continuing with Love and Thunder, and Marvel always has new heroes to introduce. Still, Spider-Man is arguably Marvel's most popular character and was set up to be a key figure on a New Avengers roster moving forward. Abruptly, those plans must change, and it'll be interesting to see where both sides go from here. Sadly, just as Disney/Marvel gains the ability to use X-Men and Fantastic Four, they watch Spider-Man head off on his own again.

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This All-In-One Retro Gaming Console Honors The Famicom

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Love Hulten has made a huge impact on the world of gaming with their series of retro-inspired systems and consoles — each more beautiful than the last. But this time, they’ve come out with something exceedingly special: an all-in-one tribute to Nintendo’s first system that uses genuine vintage parts.

Called the FC-PVM, the core of this system is a genuine, original Japanese Famicom console mated to a 9″ Sony Trinitron PVM-9042QM monitor. But it doesn’t stop there; the brand also took the original controllers and turned them into wireless ones that can actually hideaway inside the system when they’re not in use. To further the all-in-one design, the top even has slots for up to 8 different game cartridges — meaning it can store up to nine at a time. As far as we can tell, this one-of-a-kind throwback unit isn’t for sale, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the near future — especially if there’s enough interest in the project.

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Bugatti’s Centodieci Is A $9M 1,600HP EB110 Hypercar Tribute

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The French car manufacturer always focuses on immense power and bold design when it comes to their gorgeous speed demons. And every time we think they can’t top their previous monstrous hypercar, they prove us wrong in spectacular fashion. The Bugatti Centodieci Hyper Sports Car is yet another incredible vehicle from the revered company that has us drooling without shame.

Paying tribute to the ‘90s EB110, the Centodieci looks like a modern version of the classic, including a back wing that’s attached to the body, which is adjustable for your desired angle, and a transparent glass surface to display the engine. At the heart of this beautiful beast lies a 1,600-horsepower W16 engine with four turbochargers. This allows the Centodieci to rocket from 0 to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds. It also has flying taillights with high LED graphics, stacked matte black tailpipes, and a laminar flow-optimized rear window. There will be ten examples available, and each is reported to go for $8.9 million. Deliveries for the hyper sports car will commence in 2021.

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NASA Mission To Visit Jupiter's Moon Europa Moves To Final Construction Phase

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A mission to sample Jupiter’s moon Europa for signs of life will move into its final design and construction phase, according to a NASA announcement.

Scientists have long wondered whether the ice-covered moon could harbour life in a subsurface liquid water ocean. NASA has committed to a launch readiness date in 2025, though the mission could be ready as soon as 2023.

Europa is one of Jupiter’s many moons, around the size of Earth’s Moon. Planetary scientists have paid lots of attention to it because it is believed to have a subsurface ocean, and of course, water’s presence is an important ingredient for life, at least as we know it here on Earth. A mission to fly by the planet and grab sample materials could provide evidence as to what mysteries the planet’s ocean holds.

A Europa clipper mission would orbit Jupiter and repeatedly fly close to Europa, measuring it with a suite of nine instruments, including cameras, a radar, a magnetic field-sensing instrument, a heat measuring device, and a mass spectrometer to measure what kinds of matter the moon ejects into space.

Scientists operating the Hubble Space Telescope have already spotted evidence of Europa spewing a plume of water vapour, and last year, scientists realised that the Galileo Jupiter Orbiter might have flown right through one of those plumes. Perhaps those plumes have even deposited evidence of life, like amino acids, on Europa’s surface.

The “confirmation” is part of NASA’s project management plan, which divides missions into phases separated by independent reviews. This decision moves the project from its preliminary design phase to its final design and construction phase, after which another review would move it to the system assembly, test, and launch phase.

A Europa-exploring mission has been on scientists minds’ for decades. The most recent mission has likely benefitted from the advocacy of recently unseated congressman John Culberson, a Republican from Texas’ 7th congressional district.

A lander to Europa’s surface was scheduled to follow closely on the Clipper’s heels, but plans for it have been delayed until no earlier than 2030, Science reported.

This most recent announcement is an exciting step forward for those wondering whether there’s extraterrestrial life here in our own solar system. Let’s hope it gets off the ground.

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