Posts Tagged ‘especially’

CU-Boulder planetarium upgrading to giant-screen theater

Pátek, Srpen 3rd, 2012

If you’re a planetarium junkie in the Boulder area, your experience is about to get a major upgrade.

The astrophysical and planetary sciences department, home to Fiske Planetarium, announced today the launch of a complete upgrade to the projection and other presentation systems that power the planetarium’s big-screen experience. The remodel will turn the dome of the planetarium into an all-encompassing video theater.

“This upgrade will transform Fiske into one of the most sophisticated planetariums and multimedia centers in the country,” said Douglas Duncan, director of Fiske Planetarium. “We will be able to show the universe, and our local neighborhood, in unrivaled detail — 360 degrees, surround video and sound.”

Since 1975, Fiske Planetarium has provided students and community members an interactive tour of the night sky. The facility’s star projector, known affectionately as “Fritz,” has taught a generation how to find the North Star, constellations and the motions the planets trace in the heavens.

While Fritz heads into a well-deserved retirement, the education experience will move into the digital age. Currently, the star projector can show 6,000 stars and other extra-planetary objects. The new system will have a modern star ball that shows 20 million stars and objects, and now they will even twinkle — just like the skyscape one might observe on a clear, dark night.

The equipment overhaul also will allow Fiske to feature travel, education, art videos and other programs designed especially for this type of high-end projection system.

“We’ll be projecting video equal to covering the entire dome with close to 40 high-definition TVs,” Duncan said. “The amount of detail will be spectacular, rivaling the best theaters in the country. We expect it to become a major Boulder weekend destination.”

Other upgrades include new LED lighting and a new laser system, which should make the Friday and Saturday night laser shows even more eye grabbing.

The improvements also will yield new opportunities for faculty, staff and students on the Boulder campus. The planetarium expects to expand its student intern staff, already responsible for productions like last year’s successful “Max Goes to the Moon” children’s planetarium show. The dome will be available to researchers for video conferencing, and HD and Ultra HD modeling of their work.

Within the last decade, several of the nation’s major planetariums have undergone similar remodeling projects. The Fiske project will take advantage of lower digital technology prices and innovations in the field to perform similar improvements at one-fifth the cost, according to Duncan.

Bruce Springsteen once again dazzles at Light of Day

Pondělí, Leden 16th, 2012

It had been a boisterous Saturday night in Asbury Park. A marathon five and a half hours of guitar rock, broken only by brief occasional acoustic interludes, had set the sold-out house astir.

But shortly after midnight, all motion at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park stopped. Every head was turned to center stage as the curtain went up on a solo Bruce Springsteen, who held the audience spellbound with the story of Spanish Johnny and Janie and their “Incident on 57th Street.”

By the time he reached the chorus — one written years ago and recorded on an album devoted to madly romantic tales of street life — the rambunctious, festive crowd was ready to sing it back with the reverence of schoolkids doing a flag salute. Exhaustion, restlessness, inebriation — it was all forgotten. The Boss was in complete command, and the faithful were ready to follow him wherever he wanted to go.

By now, Bruce Springsteen’s unannounced sets at the Light of Day Festival are anything but a surprise. After he’d spent Friday shooting a video in Asbury Park to promote his upcoming album, few wondered if the Boss would sing at the charity concert, held annually to benefit Parkinson’s disease research. Instead, the speculation in the house was mostly about whether Springsteen would match the marathon two-hour set that closed the 2011 show.

He did. Backed once again by the capable Joe Gruschecky and the Houserockers — Pittsburgh’s steel-smelting answer to the E Street Band — Springsteen did not stop strumming until the clock ticked past 2 a.m, and even then, only reluctantly did he unstrap his guitar. Once again, the show reached its climax with a rollicking version of “Twist and Shout” and a cathartic mass singalong rendition of “Thunder Road.” If you missed it, head down to Asbury Park and press your ear against the boardwalk; it’s surely still reverberating.

But while many of the moves — and some of the songs — were the same, this was no rehash of Springsteen’s 2011 set. At this time last year, the E Street Band had no shows on the calendar, and Springsteen attacked the Light of Day concert with the desperate ferocity of a dog let loose in the park after a long winter cooped up indoors.

This January, he’s preparing to take to the road in support of a new set that he’s calling his angriest yet, and the Boss is clearly ready for a year of nonstop activity. His fabled sense of showmanship was perfectly calibrated and fine-tuned, and while it would be wrong to call the veteran rocker acrobatic, he can still execute a triumphant leap from a high drum riser, guitar in hand, as well as any of his countless imitators.

His storytelling vocals were growly perfection — no matter how big a star he’s become, he still effortlessly channels the moral authority of the working class hero — and his guitar leads, especially his barbed scrawls of notes on courtroom drama “Johnny 99,” were reliably exciting.

Expected as his concert was, Springsteen maintained the capacity to surprise. He leapt into the audience during the final chorus of “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” and led the crowd singalong surrounded by Light of Day revelers. E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg took the sticks for a run through “Light of Day,” the optimistic rocker that gave its name to the ever-growing series of charity shows.

LCD, LED and plasma televisions: which is for you?

Pátek, Prosinec 16th, 2011

As modern televisions look very similar to each other with pleasing to the eye, shiny and stream lined designs, you could be forgiven for thinking that LCD, LED and plasma TVs are all the same. They even have similar features such as the ability to access the Internet or display photos.

But despite their similarities and as televisions are sizeable investments, knowing what you want from your television is essential to buying the right model. With the more simple characteristics of the available televisions seeming to be so alike, which set is the best for you?

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions have back lamps behind the screen which shine white light through millions of coloured liquid crystals to create a black and coloured picture. LCD TVs are perfect for the smaller to average sized screens (typically up to 32 inches) as the technology really suits the display, with images appearing sharper and clearer. It is only recently that the LCD TV has expanded beyond the 32-inch option with many manufacturers now providing models over 40 inches.

As well as using less energy than the plasma TV, the LCD also produces less glare and is therefore more suited to natural daylight conditions meaning the need to close the curtains to hide your early-evening soaps from the late afternoon sun is greatly reduced.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) televisions work very much the same way as the more common LCD option. The LED TV is relatively new to the market in comparison to the plasma and LCD, however it has gained a fast following for its energy efficiency and size. An LED TV can be much slimmer than the standard LCD or plasma TV due to its backlight structure that separates it from the crowd. Traditionally, televisions had large back lamps used to light the screen, LED televisions offer two alternatives:

1. The back lamps which usually feature are substituted for lots of tiny LED lights

2. The back lamp format is removed completely and small LED lights are used around the sides of the screen, creating what is called an Edge LED TV.

Although many buyers are opting for LCD or LED televisions, the plasma TV remains an old favourite. The plasma TV works as mini fluorescent tubes are lit by a stream of ultra-violet light which hits various dots of colour to create an image. This process takes place between two pieces of glass, which causes the infamous plasma TV glare.

Sleek and stylish, Panasonic are considered the authority on this type of HDTV but plenty of other manufacturers still produce this breed of box, as well as concentrating on LCD and LED alternatives.

This is due to the fact that plasma TVs are able to produce deeper blacks and stronger colours as well as a quicker image response time in comparison to LCD and LED TVs. This also puts the plasma TV at an advantage for the next generation of home entertainment: 3DTV.

2012 Nissan Leaf

Pondělí, Listopad 28th, 2011

Now in its second model year, the 2012 Nissan Leaf was the first battery electric vehicle to be built in volume and sold by a major automaker in many decades. The five-door compact hatchback has a striking look that’s as pioneering and modern as the Toyota Prius hybrid was in its day. The Leaf is easy to drive, provides comfortable space for four and accommodates five when needed, and costs perhaps one-third to one-quarter as much per mile to operate as a gasoline car–assuming you can afford the higher initial cost.

The 2012 Leaf’s design evolves the five-door hatchback form in some striking ways. The taillights are mounted high up and vertically, containing a rib filled with red LED brake lights. The body swells around the rear wheels, and rather than a grille to admit air into the radiator it doesn’t have, the Leaf has a cover in the center of the nose that opens to give access to its charging ports. Leaf fans will be able to distinguish cars with the SL trim level from the SV base model by their small solar panel on the roof spoiler at the top of the tailgate.

Rather than an engine with some number of cylinders and a power output in horsepower, the Leaf is propelled by an electric motor driving the front wheels and rated in kilowatts of output. The motor puts out 80 kw (107 hp), which propels the 3200-pound car from 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Top speed is capped at 90 mph. Its steering is numb and the roadholding and handling are competent rather than inspiring, though it all works just fine.

Unlike the car to which it’s often compared, the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the 2012 Leaf runs solely on battery power–it does not have the Volt’s range-extending gasoline engine. The 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is built into the Leaf’s floor and recharges by plugging it into the electric grid, using either standard 120-Volt power or a charging station that operates at 240 Volts.

Recharging time for a fully depleted pack is 7 to 9 hours with the charging station, and double that on standard power. Part of Leaf purchase includes a visit from a contractor, arranged via your Nissan dealer, to assess what will be necessary to install a 240-Volt charging station in your garage.

Befitting its advanced technology, the Leaf lets owners manage charging, advance cabin heating and cooling, and other vehicle functions from their mobile phones. They can set times for charging, check charge progress, and have the car tell them its estimated range at any given moment.

But it’s that range that is the biggest question hanging over the 2012 Nissan Leaf. The EPA gives the Leaf a range of 73 miles, and Nissan says it’s “up to 100 miles,” but industry analysts are skeptical that the bulk of U.S. buyers will accept a car without at least 200 miles of range.

Most Leafs are expected to be the second or third car in their household, though electric-car drivers report that their “range anxiety” abates within a few weeks, as they get comfortable with and grow confident in their cars. Most owners will recharge overnight, perhaps “topping up” their battery at charging points at work or at retail outlets.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Nissan Leaf is on the market and thousands of U.S. buyers remain on waiting lists as it maker rolls it out to more regions in the U.S. beyond the largely coastal areas it launched in last year. Nissan plans to expand U.S. Leaf sales into several Southeastern states and Illinois this year.

New Orleans Saints sack Jay Cutler six times in 30-13 win over Chicago Bears

Středa, Září 21st, 2011

New Orleans’ defense held Chicago to 246 yards of offense and only 60 on the ground — 42 of which came on one run by Matt Forte on the Bears’ first-quarter touchdown drive. Saints coach Sean Payton said taking away the run allowed the Saints to keep pressure on Cutler.

“Once a team becomes one-dimensional … it’s challenging in our league,” he said. “When that little bit of threat of the run is removed, especially in an environment like this, that ends up being a recipe for a lot of hits.”

Brees’ bomb to Henderson was the big play of the first half. Chicago had opened the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Dane Sanzenbacher and the Saints had cut the lead to 7-3 with the first of three field goals by John Kasay, a 31-yarder at the end of the first quarter.

But with the Bears in a Cover 2 on third-and-12, Henderson got behind the secondary down the middle of the field to haul in Brees’ pass in stride, slip a tackle and race to the end zone.

“I think Sean did a good job of calling that play at the right time, with that defense,” Henderson said of Payton. “And we took advantage of it.”

Kasay, who moved past Jason Elam into sixth place on the NFL’s all-time field goals list with 438, was good from 29 and 53 yards and Chicago’s Robbie Gould hit a 42-yarder on the final play of the first half, as New Orleans led 16-10 at halftime.

Gould added a 38-yard field goal early in the third quarter before the Saints’ defense turned the tables, as Turk McBride stripped Cutler and Jonathan Vilma recovered at the Chicago 29. Five plays later, Brees found Meachem in the end zone for the 4-yard score and a 23-13 lead.

“It was, I’d say, the big turning point in the game,” Brees said of McBride’s strip, “because it was in the second half and that’s when we wanted to establish ourselves and pull away.”

Brees then found tight end Jimmy Graham with completions of 13, 15 and 7 yards and Mark Ingram ran for gains of 12 and 8 before Sproles took a short pass and sprinted up the right sideline from 12 yards out to make it 30-13 with 12:05 to play.

The defense took over from there, as five of the Saints’ six sacks came in the fourth quarter, including two each by Junior Gallette and Roman Harper.

Henderson finished with three catches for 103 yards and the score. Ingram led the Saints on the ground with 51 yards on 14 carries.

Cutler was 19-of-45 for 244 yards and one touchdown for the Bears, who lost tackle Gabe Carimi and receiver Earl Bennett to injuries in the first half.

Forte was Chicago’s only consistent weapon, running for 49 yards on 10 carries and catching 10 passes for 117 yards as Cutler repeatedly checked down under pressure.

“It was a long day out there,” Cutler said. “I had to throw a lot of balls away before I wanted to. The Saints were the better team today.”