This week: Spine-tingling games and one very rough road

Ron Howard wants to make a movie out of your photos

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard has partnered with Canon to make a short film based on personal photos snapped by 8 random people. The pictures and photographers will be chosen by a contest, and Howard’s film will be constructed around the images. It’s going to be a short movie, but Howard loves the idea and wants to use it in his feature films.

Gladiator mentality in Miami Jail

British film maker Louis Theroux made a documentary inside Miami’s mega-jail where violent inmates are stacked 24 men-per-cell. Theroux says a Gladiator-like code has evolved in the harsh conditions. Dangerous inmates fight constantly- for beds, snacks, respect or just to pass the time. Some cells force new inmates to fight for a bunk. Intimidating, if you’re just in for driving without a license.

Video games that make you feel creepy

Disney is working with a new game technology called Tactile Brush that can create the illusion of motion or things moving across your back. In a driving game it makes you feel like you’re in a car doing a hard turn. But it can do subtleties too, like rain falling on skin, wind, or insects crawling up your spine. Disney plans to integrate Tactile Brush into their theme park rides.

Bike down death road

They call it the world’s most dangerous road. A 64 km stretch of mountain road in the Bolivian Andes has narrow unpaved hairpin turns, 800m cliffs, wrecked vehicle carcasses and no margin of error. In some places, it’s only 3m wide. Adventure cyclists brave the snowy and wet conditions to speed down the slopes without skidding off. Every year on the “Road of Death” some 200-300 people die.

Stretching the A380

The Airbus A380 has only been in commercial use for 4 years but airlines are already thinking of packing in more passengers. In 2014, a French airline will start service with 2 planes with a record 840 seats. And Airbus is already working on the next model of the double-decker flyer with a 900 seat capacity. Pushing the envelope, Lufthansa and Air France are eyeing a 1000 seat version.

Build a Sexy Pylon

Our power grid is old and unsexy. Towers designed to carry transmission cables haven’t been redesigned since the ‘20s. Now, competitions are happening in different countries to come up with a new design for the massive steel structures. One proposal: a super-humanoid steel pylon. Designer Thomas Shine says of his pylons: “At least if they are pretty and attractive, that helps.”

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