drxenos writes "A LaserDisc purchased on eBay was found to contain raw footage from Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi. From the article: 'The origin of the LaserDisc isn't entirely clear, but it was purchased for $699 off eBay, apparently once used to demonstrate Lucasfilm's EditDroid station — one of the first digital film editing systems sold nearly 30 years ago. Ironically, George Lucas himself never used EditDroid to make a movie; the Star Wars clips were loaded simply to show off its capabilities to prospective buyers.'"
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juliangamble writes "Designer Prescott Harvey has written and animated an open letter to J.J. Abrams about the plans for the next Star Wars movie. He says, 'Like so many people, I've spent most of my recent years wondering why the original Star Wars trilogy was so awesome, and the new movies were so terrible. What are the factors that make Star Wars Star Wars? I took an empirical approach, determining what elements were in the original movies that differed from the prequels. My first major epiphany was that, in the originals, the characters are always outside somewhere very remote. The environment and the wildlife are as much a threat as the empire. All three movies had this bushwacky, exploratory feel. Contrast that with the prequels, where the characters are often in cities, or in the galactic senate. In order for Star Wars to feel like a true adventure, the setting has to be the frontier, and this became my first rule.'"
An anonymous reader sends this story from Kotaku's Jason Schreier about the downfall of LucasArts: "Over the last five months, I've talked to a dozen people connected to LucasArts, including ex-employees at the company's highest levels, in an attempt to figure out just how the studio collapsed. Some spoke off the record; others spoke under condition of anonymity. They told me about the failed deals, the drastic shifts in direction, the cancelled projects with codenames like Smuggler and Outpost. They told me the stories behind the fantastic-looking Star Wars 1313 and the multi-tiered plans for a new Battlefront starting with the multiplayer game known as Star Wars: First Assault. All of these people helped paint a single picture: Even before Disney purchased LucasFilm, the parent company of LucasArts, in November of 2012, the studio faced serious issues. LucasArts was a company paralyzed by dysfunction, apathy, and indecision from executives at the highest levels."
First time accepted submitter loftarasa writes "A group of scientists led by Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuletic have developed a form of matter by binding massless photons together in a special kind of medium to create 'photonic molecules', effectively bringing us a bit closer to a world with lightsabers. 'The discovery, Lukin said, runs contrary to decades of accepted wisdom about the nature of light. Photons have long been described as massless particles which don't interact with each other – shine two laser beams at each other, he said, and they simply pass through one another. "Photonic molecules," however, behave less like traditional lasers and more like something you might find in science fiction – the light saber.' The work is described in Nature (paywalled)."
An anonymous reader writes "The buildings and set of the fictional city Mos Espa are set to be swallowed by migrating sand dunes in the Tunisian desert. From the article: 'Ralph Lorenz, from Johns Hopkins University, US, together with Jason Barnes, from the University of Idaho, and Nabil Gasmi, of the University of Sousse, Tunisia, visited the Mos Espa site in 2009, and noted that part of a nearby set used in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope had already been overrun. Using satellite images of the site, they were able to determine the speed of dune movement, which is approaching the buildings once inhabited by such luminaries as Anakin, his slave owner Watto, and rival podracer Sebulba.'"
An anonymous reader writes "When George Lucas produced his Star Wars movies, he subtitled them 'Episode I,' 'Episode IV' etc. But that style will become inappropriate and confusing with Disney producing a new Star Wars movie each year, observes blogger Christopher Knight: 'Those were individual chapters of one story in an epic fantasy setting. And it suffices for that one multi-generational epic on film. Except now, there is the intent to produce several stories in that same setting. And they aren't necessarily going to pertain to the tale of the Skywalker family from Anakin to Luke to whoever it will be in the next trilogy.' Knight's solution is to retroactively amend the titles of Episodes I through IX to reflect it being the Skywalkers' saga, just as Lucas retroactively subtitled the first movie to be Episode IV."
malachiorion writes "Does George Lucas hate metal people? I know, sounds like standard click-bait, but I think I present a relatively troll-free argument in the piece I wrote for Slate. We stuck to the Star Wars canon, pointing out the relatively grim state of affairs for droid rights, and the lack of any real sympathy for their plight from the heroes, or, it would seem, George Lucas. C-3PO is more correct than he might realize, when the says that droids 'seem to be made to suffer.'"
New submitter Unixnoteunuchs writes "Coming to a theater in Window Rock in the Navajo Nation on July 4, 2013, Star Wars Episode 4 dubbed in the Navajo language. This is the first time a major motion picture has ever been dubbed in a native American language. This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language, a complex and beautiful Athabaskan tongue heavily reliant on adjectives and compound words. Listen to this article and how 'computer' and 'droid' would translate."
First time accepted submitter awaissoft writes "There's big, then there's really big, and then there's colossal, which might be a good word to use when describing a near 46,000-pound Lego X-Wing that made a triumphant debut Thursday in New York's Times Square. The full-size replica, about 42 times the size of the Lego Star Wars X-Wing set available on store shelves, celebrates the debut of Cartoon Network's The Yoda Chronicles, which premieres on May 29 at 8 p.m. It took a small army of 32 Lego master builders, housed in a facility in the Czech Republic, to build the 45,980-pound, or 23-ton, Lego ship. It stands 11 feet high and 43 feet long, and contains more than 5 million Lego pieces."
An anonymous reader writes "Electronic Arts announced today it has landed an exclusive multi-year agreement to develop and publish games based on Lucasfilms' Star Wars universe. EA said the it will create and publish Star Wars games for a 'core gaming audience' across 'all popular platforms' and genres. The EA studios creating those 'core' Star Wars games are Battlefield developer DICE, Dead Space developer Visceral Games and Mass Effect house BioWare."
New submitter hebbosome writes "Researchers at Georgia Tech have provided a glimpse of a future full of highly-sensitive robots. Their nanoelectronic pressure sensors, comparable in sensitivity to human skin, are made out of new type of vertical transistor (abstract). 'In Wang’s nanowire transistors, the gate traditionally used in electronics is eliminated. Instead, the current flowing through the nanowires is controlled by the electrical charge generated when strain or force applied is to the transistors.' 'The arrays include more than 8,000 functioning piezotronic transistors, each of which can independently produce an electronic controlling signal when placed under mechanical strain.' They could immediately be used in human-machine interfaces for capturing electronic signatures, and, down the road, in robots and prosthetics."
Dawn Kawamoto writes "LucasArts employees held a wake Friday night, days after Darth Vader Disney slayed their studio. Taking the high road, two LucasArts employees put together a eulogy that offers a retrospective on the culture, memories and accomplishments of the team. Most of us who've witnessed a blood bath at the workplace aren't as charitable. Darth Vader Disney is expected to strike again in the next two weeks at its studio and consumer product divisions."
An anonymous reader sends news that Disney is closing LucasArts. The game studio has been around since 1982, and brought us classics such as Labyrinth, The Secret of Monkey Island, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Star Wars: Battlefront. They also published Star Wars: Galaxies, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The company held a meeting today informing employees of the layoffs. "In some ways, the news is not a surprise. LucasArts had seemed directionless in recent years. The company's core business of games based on the Star Wars license have been largely disappointing in both quality and sales. While the company had some success with games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Battlefront series, both of those franchises seemed to have died on the vine. The cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront III was particularly ugly, which led to nasty public fingerpointing between LucasArts and developer Free Radical. ... LucasArt's other big franchise, Indiana Jones, has failed to make much of a dent in games in recent years, with the exception of Traveller's Tales LEGO Indiana Jones series that, once again, was not developed by LucasArts. Meanwhile, series like Uncharted and Tomb Raider, which are both heavily influenced by the Indiana Jones films, have thrived." If only they hadn't abandoned the X-Wing series of games. I would have bought a new one of those in a heartbeat. Update: 04/04 18:09 GMT by T : Dice.com's news service (Dice.com is the corporate parent of Slashdot) mentions one small silver lining for those employees who stuck it out to the end: the best kind of parting gift. "Soon after the acquisition, a number of people departed LucasArts, deciding the time was right to head out in search of a new job. Many others remained, encouraged to hang on as long as they could by talk of generous severance packages. Sources among those laid off say the packages were, indeed, generous."
ceview writes "The Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill (Scotland) will allow groups promoting a belief to marry couples according to a report on the BBC. The government said the change was relevant to bodies such as humanists, who are classed as religious rather than non-religious at the moment. Groups such as The Flat Earth Society and Jedi would be allowed to perform such ceremonies."
93,000 writes "According to Yahoo, George Lucas has let slip that Han, Leia and Luke will return for the next Star Wars installment. From the article: 'Lucas backtracked, saying, "Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them." Then he tried to cover his tracks: "I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not."'"
eldavojohn writes "El Mayimbe (who has a history of scooping movie news) has been picked up by Fox News Latino as claiming that Harrison Ford is confirmed to return for Star Wars VII (about 7 minutes in)."
JustOK writes "Darth Vader did a lot of bad things and did a lot of things badly; the Battle of Hoth was of both types. The Empire's attempt to capture Echo Base, while successful, was still a horrible failure. Sure, the Empire overran the ground defenses and captured the base, but most of the Rebels escaped. Luke, Leia and Han all got away. The Rebels had a poorly-laid-out ground defense, and a planetary shield that can't keep an invader out while complicating their own escape. This article at Wired takes us through all the missteps in the battle."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. In a statement, the pontiff said: 'After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.' Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office."