Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.17.14

PES, the creator of several stop-motion videos-including Western Spaghetti and the Academy Award nominated Fresh Guacamolehas created a new short: Submarine Sandwich. It’s pretty cool how he makes use of everyday objects in innovative ways.

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Star Wars meets Indiana Jones in this amusing retcon of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

Concept artist Reid Southen has recently edited a movie clip from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark that shows Indy (Harrison Ford) being chased down by the spherical droid seen in the newly released teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (previously). The original scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark displays Indiana Jones being chased through a temple by a massive boulder after he steals the golden idol. Southen’s full edited video is available to view as a GIF image on Imgur.

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Taking their inspiration from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, hip-hop company ZooNation creates a new and unique show

In The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Carroll’s timeless characters find themselves at Ladrington Brook, the Institution for Extremely Normal Behaviour. A young psychotherapist (Tommy Franzen) is given the task of curing their neuroses, and they each express their problems through a combination of dance, voiceover and music. Alice is having an identity crisis. The White Rabbit is always late because of his OCD. The Queen of Hearts has anger issues. It’s no wonder Franzen is driven to insanity (and a superb popping solo) as the first act ends.

After the interval, the storyline goes more or less out of the window, as cast members engage in an exuberant tea party complete with dancing on the table and audience participation. Even Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor was dragged from his seat and onto stage when we were there.

The whole show is warm-hearted, feel-good and cleverly crafted by director Kate Prince. There’s plenty of great dancing, with Franzen, Lizzie Gough and Duwane Taylor excelling in particular. Our only small issue is that at times the quality of choreography feels secondary to the narrative (and the characters’ absurdity).

Sadly, this is across the pond, so I cannot attend (and they’re apparently sold out anyways), but it sure sounds nifty.

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Years after an ex-policeman created it, a gay dating app reaches 15 million users

Ma Baoli quit his job as deputy director of a division of the Qinhuangdao police force in March 2012 so that he could work on running his own website for the gay community to share experiences among one another. Ma, 37, who goes by the online pseudonym Geng Le, created Danlan.org in November 2000, but said that he didn’t start making any money from it until 2007.

His choice, nonetheless, was a lucrative one. The website recently spawned a Chinese-language dating app for men called Blued that has brought in over 15 million users, 3 million of them outside China, in two years.

Last month, his company received a 30 million USD investment from a Silicon Valley venture capitalist company, and Ma is now trying to expand abroad and maybe even prepare for an IPO, Associated Press reports.

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 On a diet? This vending machine will deny you snacks

Rheavendors, the manufacturing company, and Dr. Malcolm Standage, of the machine’s supplier Smart Vend Solutions, said the Luce X2 could “redefine the future of the automatic retailing industry,” The Telegraph reported. “Launching the very first full production facial recognition technology represents an advancement which will bring unlimited benefits to businesses and consumers across the UK.”

The machine is able to use facial recognition with its motion sensors that automatically launch into a video greeting when a user approaches it. Then, the machine’s avatar, an Italian man in a gray suit, shows the user a personalized menu based on his or her most frequently ordered items. In addition to customizing your menu, the machine features a touch screen that can be used to display nutritional information or pass on news and notices.

The space-age device also provides you with the luxury of not having to carry spare change for products. In the meantime, users will be able to use a card to pay, while the company plans a future version that will be fitted with a proximity sensor. The sensor will be able to read payment info from a mobile phone inside the user’s pocket.

While the Luce X2 Touch TV may provide the convenience of identifying and greeting a user, remembering a person’s preferences, and even deny certain products based on a shopper’s age, medical record, dietary requirements, or purchase history, the new technology does raise some eyebrows. Tracking a consumer’s purchase history treads the waters of infringement of their buying freedoms and exposes their personal expenses in front of other people.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.17.14