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Immersive 360-Degree Movie Arrives
Have you ever watched a movie and wanted to move the camera to see what happened to that actor who walked offscreen or to look back at a beautiful sunset after the director cut away for another shot? Well, now you can. "The New Arrival" — a fully immersive, 360-degree film — debuted this week online at AtomFilms and at the Cannes Film Festival. The opening scene features people talking off-camera and requires the viewer to use her mouse to click and drag the picture around to see who's talking. The film's writer/director, Amy Talkington, utilizes the technology by placing different meaningful objects throughout the film. The four-minute short is intended to be viewed more than once from different angles. The technology used to make "The New Arrival" was developed by Be Here Corp., which produces the camera lens and the software, and Intel, which created the compression software that enabled the video to stream across the Net.

Warning: Cell Phone Chatting May Be Dangerous to Your Health
Mobile phones in Great Britain will carry health warning labels after a government committee decided last week that public concern about using cell phones was reasonable reports the Observer newspaper. Although there is no scientific proof that cell phones make people sick, the health warnings will encourage users to be careful about where and how often they use their phones. The government committee on mobile phone safety — which will publish its report next week — will also recommend more research into the health risks of cell phone usage and national guidelines for the construction of telephone masts and their positioning. Earlier this month, Which? magazine alarmed British citizens with a report that a hands-free mobile phone kit that supposedly helped protect users from cell phone radiation was actually tripling the amount of radiation channeled through the user's ear.

Hubble Celebrates Tenth Birthday
The Hubble Space Telescope is 10 years old this week. The nearsighted satellite launched on April 24, 1990, with a tiny flaw on its seven-and-a-half-foot mirror. But the folks at NASA refused to give up, and in 1993 astronauts performed several daring space walks and repaired the telescope. Since then, Hubble has exceeded NASA's expectations, transmitting over 260,000 images from deep space. You can view the Hubble Showcase — a collection of the best pictures from the past 10 years — at the official web site and learn about the stars, nebulae and galaxies depicted in these breathtaking images.

Move Over, Max Headroom
Ananova, trumpeted as the world's "first virtual newscaster," made her debut online Wednesday morning. Like any human newscaster worth her salt, the computer-generated Ananova is programmed to show feelings while reading the news, but her movements are a little more jerky than emotive. Unlike most television presenters, Ananova has spiky green hair and a computer-generated voice. She is the creation of programmers at the new media department of Britain's Press Association news agency in London. Besides reading the news, Ananova can help users search entertainment listings, buy tickets and locate stories about breaking news elsewhere on the Web a few minutes after they are posted. Users can also sign up for e-mail updates on specific news categories, like sports or technology. Ananova will soon be popping up on the next generation of mobile cell phones. Max Headroom — whose reporting was relegated to the inside of a stationary TV screen — would be very jealous indeed.



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