Geek Girl: The Martians Came! In Pieces!
We’ve got a first look of ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ news of George Lucas retiring, an ancient singer bigger than Gaga, and more!
-Lucia Peters and PJ Gach
It’s been a lovely, lively and busy week in geekdom. We’ve had a slew of discoveries: from space and on Earth and we’ve reported two of them here. News that will most likely travel the galaxies: the future of George Lucas has sort of been revealed. A neat Indiana Jones short has surfaced.Oh and we’ve got a killer first look of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!
Read on and discover the cool news yourself!
A Singer Bigger Than Gaga?
It’s probably a good thing we’re talking about Indiana Jones this week, because this story is the perfect tie-in. A tomb of a popular singer was discovered by a combined group of archaelogists from the University of Basel and the Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt, Dr Mohammed el-Bialy and inspector Ali Reda in the Valley of Kings.
This find is noticeable for so many reasons.The tomb was for a woman. Moreover, it was for a woman who was not a part of the royal family. In fact, it was for a professional singer. Her name was Nehmes Bastet. Because of the use of “Bast” (the Egyptian cat godess) in her last name, archaeologists are assuming that she was to have been protected by the goddess. Her tomb dates back to almost 3,000 years ago.
The tomb was originally found last year on January 25, 2011 and was kept quiet for about a year. According to Ahramonline, sarcophagus was painted black, covered in hieroglyphics and a wooden stelae was found with the names of the deceased engraved on it.
Swiss Professor Susan Bickel told the BBC “that the coffin was opened…was able to see the nicely wrapped mummy of the woman who was buried in the tomb.”
For Bastet to have such a well-made coffin, she must have done very well for herself in life. One can only imagine if her concerts were also SRO’s like Gaga’s!
But seriously, what is also fascinating is that her tomb was not originally made for her, it was re-used. One wonders how many more discoveries are hiding in the sands of Egypt.
Go Behind the Scenes of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!
To be honest, Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was far better than I initially thought it had any right to be. When I first picked it up, I was expecting something kind of goofy and mildly entertaining, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Imagine my surprise, then, when I got immediately sucked (no pun intended) into it and discovered that it was actually a really good book. A really, really good book. Well plotted, well written, and improbably dramatic, it manages to draw an unexpectedly brilliant portrait of the 16th President of the United States—if he had been, in fact, a vampire hunter.
Naturally, a book this good easily landed a deal for a film adaptation, which is currently shooting and due out in June. Lincoln will be played by the fantastic Benjamin Walker, known mostly to New York theatre audiences as Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. The cast also features Dominic Cooper, Alan Tudyk, Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and the whole shebang is being directed by Timur Bekmambetov of the popular Russian vampire film Nightwatch. And here’s treat: On January 16, MTV debuted some behind-the-scenes footage from the set! Find out how Benjamin got the role, why he likens working with Timur to working with a really professional six-year-old, and much, much more in this great video. And don’t forget to sharpen those stakes!
Martians– Well, at Least Part of Mars– Came to Visit!
Back in July, we had an unexpected visitor. To be exact, 15 pounds of Martian space rock fell to Earth and landed in Morocco. Apparently they tagged along in a meteorite shower. Who knew they could hitchhike!
Seriously, this is only the fifth time that scientists have been able to prove via chemical analysis that Martian rocks have landed on Earth. The rocks were discovered this past December. They vary in size with the largest weighing in at two pounds. And they’re going for big money too! One dealer was selling them for $11,000 to $52,500 per ounce.
While the rocks weren’t confirmed as being genuine until January 10, collectors, museums and scientists were bidding on them anyway.
“It’s Christmas in January,” said former NASA sciences chief Alan Stern, director of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida told the Associated Press. “It’s nice to have Mars sending samples to Earth, particularly when our pockets are too empty to go get them ourselves.”
Why were Martian rocks hurtling through space? Scientists think that that something really, really, really big slammed into the planet’s surface. There was an explosion and the rocks fell up and kept falling up until they were sucked into space. Which sounds very cool and a bit like a bad science-fiction movie.
They’ve been traveling and smacking Earth every 50 years or so. The last time Martian rocks were found was in 1962.
The scientific community is abuzz with this new find because the rocks are fresh. By analyzing them, they can find out more about the planet’s past.
Scientists are hoping they can get a robotic probe to visit Mars by 2018 and bring back some fresh rocks for research. No word yet it if they’ll also bring back postcards. One can hope.
Indiana Jones and the Stop-Motion Animation
Without a doubt, one of the greatest opening scenes in cinema history has to be the first six minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But you know what? I may have just stumbled upon something even better: The first six minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark… recreated shot for shot in stop-motion animation using Hasbro’s Indiana Jones action figures.
Now, I may be a little biased here, since Raiders is by far my favorite Indy film, but believe you me when I say that this is truly amazing. Animator Jeff Gurwood posted this video, which he called “Indyanimation,” on YouTube last month, and honestly, it’s sort of unbelievable that it took it this long to go viral. But hey, it finally did, and the Internet world is thankful for it! It took Jeff six months to make this little beauty, and yes, he made all the sets himself. Now that’s dedication!
But what am I doing, sitting here and yammering on about it? What I should be doing is showing it to you! So without further ado, here you go, in all its stop-motion, action figure-y glory:
Smile! Or Is The Black Hole Ready for It’s Closeup?
We’ve heard about black holes for years. Whether it was someone droning on about them in science class, on an episode in Star Trek or within the pages of a book, the idea of a giant empty “thing” sucking everything near it into it and gobbling it up, is somewhere in our collective consciousness.
Now me, I’ve kind of envisoned it as a big giant patch of nothingness with a border of stars and planets shaking with fear hoping they don’t get sucked in.
Now scientists are planning to shoot it with the Event Horizon telescope. There’s a black hole smack in the center of our universe and Dimitrios Psaltis, an associate professor of astrophysics at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, has plans for this baby. “So far, we have indirect evidence that there is a black hole at the center of the Milky Way,” Psaltis said. “But once we see its shadow, there will be no doubt.”
He and Dan Marrone, another professor attached to the observatory are working on photographing it. And photographing it soon. The photograph will involve using 50 radio telescopes throughout the world. Once the information is collected, it will be sent to MIT’s Haystack Observatory for analyis– and I guess framing? Who knows.
Can It Be True? Is George Lucas Retiring?
It looks like it might be: According to the New York Times, good ol’ Georgie is ready to roll the proverbial credits. In fact, Lucas himself put it in no uncertain terms: “I’m retiring,” he told Times reporter Bryan Curtis. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all of this kind of stuff.” George’s producer of more than 20 years, Rick McCallum, added, “Once this [meaning Red Tails, Lucas’ latest blockbuster] is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do. He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.”
I suppose it’s kind of a shame that Lucas did all his best work at the beginning of his career; as he’s gotten older, he’s kept tinkering with Star Wars in ways that are hard to understand (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—so why does he keep trying to in spite of it?). But he’s not immune to the criticism, either—he told the times about the series, “Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” Touche, George.
Retirement for him, though, isn’t just going to be pottering around in the garden and drinking a lot of tea. His plan—the next chapter, if you will—is to spend his time doing “personal films.” Termed by the cineastes of the 1970s, these films are “small in scope, esoteric in subject, and screened mostly in art houses.” Maybe this will be good for George. It’s generally true that when you have all the money in the world to make what you want, you get less creative about how you do it. This is what happened to Star Wars in its later years. But in its earlier years, when it had a limited budget, it was enormously creative. Maybe these “personal films” will enable him to get back to those simpler and much more interesting times.
I have only one request: Can we pretend Jar Jar Binks never happened? Please?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s Associate Editor.
PJ Gach is Senior Editor: Style + Beauty at BettyConfidential.