Quick bytes: including Ben Kingsley's bizarre moko

by Diana Balham / 15 November, 2013
Also featuring a fly-through of 17th Century London and an unbeatable rock-paper-scissors robot.
ONCE WERE ACTORS: Actor Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji) often gets picked for the “ethnic” roles. For reasons unexplained he plays a Maori in the film version of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi thriller Ender’s Game (click here for the Listener's interview) and speaks on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about getting his non-permanent full-facial tattoo. He explains to the TV host that traditional ta moko traces your whakapapa: “Like Facebook on your face!” exclaims Kimmel.

THAT’S JUST GREAT: Check out this 3D computer-generated fly-through of London before the Great Fire of 1666. It was made by Pudding Lane Productions (six students studying game art design) for a competition run by the British Library and tech companies Crytek and Gamecity. This was the winning entry, cleverly using a new art form to highlight everyday features of England’s capital in the 17th century, with its animal carcasses, smalls hung out to dry, gallows, graveyards and even a couple of corpses from the Great Plague, which had been raging through the city until the fire stopped it in its tracks.

MOVIE SHORTS: The companion to the book Films in Five Seconds, specially for people who can’t sit still in a movie theatre for three hours. Classic films are reduced to pictograms that tell the whole story in the time it takes to scarf a handful of popcorn.

WHICH DOCTOR?: Here’s the trailer for the 50th-anniversary Doctor Who special The Day of the Doctor. You might wish to move on to 11 Things We Loved in the Doctor Who 50 Year Trailer, by Christopher Allen, who played archaeology student Clive Aubrey in the time of the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy).

BUNCH OF KILLJOYS: It’s official. Japan’s tech geniuses have run out of gadgets to improve upon. Here is the Janken robot, developed by the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory to beat humans at rock-paper-scissors every time by using high-speed recognition and reaction to work out what shape the human is making and trump it. Just because they can:

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