Zack Morris returns, 3D modeling made easy, and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 09_14_2013 main

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Finding the edge

Most of my childhood I spent putting myself in as much danger as my body and mind could handle. At the age of two, I climbed to the top of an extension ladder reaching three stories, to the top of our family’s half-built house. A few months earlier, I’d fallen into the trench of the house’s foundation, some seven feet down. At the age of four, I devoured some grizzled old man’s heart medicine, sending my mother and sister on a wild country-road ride to the hospital as my eyes rolled into the back of my head. By age 12, I was hucking myself off the largest snowboard jumps I could find. I leapt from rooftops, and slid down handrails on skateboards and (regrettably) roller blades. These days, I blast around on finely tuned motorcycles with the speedometers removed. But none of that comes close to the crazy-fool fantasies beautifully exhibited in Wired’s photo essay, which shows off “some of the world’s biggest thrill seekers” from Red Bull’s “Illume” photo contest.

The daring men and women in these photos live on what Hunter S. Thompson coined “the edge.” And you know what he says about the edge: “There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” For many of us, looking at these photos is the closest we’ll get.

Andrew Couts  Finding the edge en13_020727_009489 media mag

Ryan FlemingRyan Fleming: Zack Morris returns

If Zack Morris were around today, grown up and matured, he would apparently murder Screech with a robot – but it’s cool since Screech was never really human anyway. Oh, and Jesse Spano is apparently a closeted lesbian.

These and other golden nuggets fell from the mouth of Mark-Paul Gosselaar, the actor who began his career on the seminal Saturday morning live-action show Saved by the Bell. Gosselaar, fresh from completing the third season of the TNT drama Franklin and Bash (sadly free of caffeine pills and Mr. Beldings), did a recent interview with Paul F. Tompkins. Gosselaar arose to the challenge of answering questions as Morris. Because why not?

Jeff Van CampJeff Van Camp: Joking Bad

There are only three episodes left of Breaking Bad, and it’s driving me crazy! I can’t think about anything except Walter White, Jesse, Saul, who is going to die or live, and how I feel about it. I don’t know who to root for. I don’t know how I feel. All I know is that I’m nearing the end of what has to be one of the best television shows in history. The last time I felt this interested and blown away by the scope of a show was when I finished The Wire

If I was smart, I’d wait for a few more weeks and binge watch all the episodes at once. I’m not smart. Instead, every Sunday at midnight, I wait for an email from Amazon’s Instant Video Store, make some popcorn, and fail to breathe for 48 minutes while shit gets real in New Mexico. Apparently, Jimmy Fallon is with me. This isn’t the best 13 minutes you’ll ever spend, but he did a pretty funny spoof on the show yesterday. Good ending, too!

Les ShuLes Shu: 3D modeling made easy

The “buzz” around 3D TVs may have tempered, but stereoscopic images are still an intriguing concept in photography. But 3D isn’t just about putting on some plastic glasses and watching something pop out at you. A group of researchers in Israel have created software that can easily turn objects in 2D images into 3D.

The “3-Sweep” software can extract flat objects out of an image and turn them into 3D shapes that can be manipulated. Looking like something a designer would do when working in Photoshop, the user simply draws selections around an object, and the software quickly turns that object into a 3D component that can be rotated and edited. The researchers will demo the software at the SIGGRAPH Asia show in November, but they have put together a video that shows how the software works.

Adam RosenbergAdam Rosenberg: ‘Mario Paint’ gets lucky

There’s Daft Punk’s song of the summer “Get Lucky,” and then there’s Daft Punk’s song of the summer “Get Lucky” as realized in Mario Paint. Both are unique and wonderful creations that will love your ears ever-so-sweetly. Only one of them has “meows” though. And it’s this one.


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