Tag Archives: Futurama

Want to animate the next Futurama?

Good News!

Now you can!

According to a press release, Toonz, the software used to animate Futurama as well as the highly-regarded Princess Mononoke and one of my favorites, the animation masterpiece Howl’s Moving Castle, will be made open source and free at an announcement during the Anime Japan expo this week. It is a full-featured animation package, that allows for digital animation, or the scanning and animating of paper drawings. That’s what lends to the hand-drawn nature of many of Studio Ghibli’s films, who animated the latter two films I mentioned.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, remember. Renderman, Pixar’s animation software used in all their movies, was made free for non-commercial use a little over a year ago. If you’ve ever wanted to see what goes into this kind of animation, or try your hand at it yourself (it’s not for the faint of heart), then now’s your chance!



Speaking of making decisions

Since the session is winding down, I thought I would make a post about a show that I think is superlative, brilliant, topical, intelligent, and pretty dang funny to boot. It’s Futurama, created by the same guy who developed The Simpsons, and what makes it great is that it has actual Ph.D.’s on the writing staff, including one in mathematics that discovered and proved a mathematical theorem that was worked into an episode! There are also writers with Ph.D.s in chemistry and computer science, and one with a law degree.

Futurama doesn’t do lowbrow. Science and technology are intricately woven into every episode, it’s one of the reasons I hold it in such high regard. While so many television shows strive to make us stupid, Futurama strives to make us smart.

Witten's Dog, a corollary to Schroedinger's Cat, and it tastes like grapeade

Witten’s Dog, a corollary to Schroedinger’s Cat, and it tastes like grapeade

So what does this show have to do with class or making decisions? It turns out that there is an episode (episode 9, specifically) of Futurama from their ninth season titled “Free Will Hunting,” and the whole premise is that the Robot Bender discovers he has no free will and therefore lacks the ability to make decisions, after he lectured Fry on the importance of each decision one makes every day. Indeed, it is the seemingly small decision Bender makes to wear his ‘nerd glasses’ that sets off a chain of events worthy of Scorcese. It is brilliantly written, moves very quickly at first, and  really offers an interesting commentary on the importance of making decisions, and the ramifications that can result.

It’s available on Netflix if you have a subscription, or if you know someone who has it it is definitely worth watching. I also thought about having an on-line episode viewing, but I suspect getting everyone together online at the same time is unlikely. But if you get the chance, don’t miss it!

A most unusual post

Today I am writing two letters of recommendation for former students hoping to attend grad school, and doing a hardware review for a company’s network, so i won’t have as much time as usual to put up posts as I had hoped. Therefore, I am going to do something I have never done before and put up a post that is science-related but not technology-related.

C|net has an article about what would happen to you if your unprotected body was hurled out of an airlock and into unfiltered space. Don’t think it doesn’t happen; if The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Outland, and Futurama’s treatment of Attila the Hun, Dr. Moriarty and Evil Lincoln have taught us anything it’s that it happens all the time.

So if you’re ever at risk of being sucked out of an airlock, at least arm yourself with the knowledge of what to expect. As quickly as technological advancement occurs, you never know when you’ll find yourself floating in space!

Watch Stephen Hawking Be Hilarious

Just a quick post to highlight the below clip of Stephen Hawking’s appearance on John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight.” Although there is some science talk, it is more an example of Dr. Hawking’s exceptional sense of humor, which is to be expected of the smartest man on earth who has also appeared in multiple episodes of both The Simpsons and Futurama (Did I mention his appearances on Futurama?). He also is involved in science, apparently.

The video is below, enjoy it in all its glory.