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Watch This Movie And It Will Watch You Right Back

Later this month, a filmmaker will screen a movie for which sensors on selected audience members will determine which scenes will appear on screen.

What's the Latest Development?


Next week at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival in Plymouth, Devon, England, filmmaker Alexis Kirke will screen a new film, "Many Worlds," that will immerse the audience in its plot by using the physical reactions of viewers to affect the story's progress. Specifically, four audience members will volunteer to have sensors attached to them that will monitor heart rate, brain waves, perspiration level, and muscle tension, and the data received from those sensors will determine how the movie plays out.

What's the Big Idea?

It's not the first time audience members have influenced a film's plot, and tech writer Bill Thompson thinks Kirke's experiment poses some interesting questions about audience attention: "[W]ill you, the viewer 'drop out' of the film narrative because it's detecting you; and will the story telling be seamless enough for it to feel more like you're playing a game which takes you in a direction you sort of want to go in?" For his part, Kirke believes that incorporating sensors into test screenings could save directors time as they "relinquish control to the audience's collective emotional state."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

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