How John Textor Helped Change the Face of Entertainment

Have you ever watched a movie, such as Ender’s Game, and realized just how amazing some aspect of the movie, such as make up artistry are, and later discovered that what you were seeing was not make up artistry at all, but a virtual actor brought to life by technology? The shock of making such a discovery often opens wide the imagination of the viewer to wonder just how something so amazing and realistic, as a virtual actor, was created. The answer to that question is actually really simple, thanks to the work and leadership of John Textor.

Although there maybe those who are unfamiliar with the name John Textor, they’re definitely familiar with his work during his tenure as, both, Chariman and CEO of Digital Domain Media Group and Digital Doman Productions. While these titles are impressive, what’s even more impressive is the realization of how amazing the scope of digital effects can range when you take a look at the projects that were completed under John Textor’s leadership. Some of the more famous endeavors among his credits include; Ender’s Game, Flags of our Fathers, Tron: Legacy, Real Steel, Pirates of the Caribbean at the World’s End and Transformers.

While the effects developed for the above listed movies is quite impressive, that’s simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the developments that are under way. You only have to remember the appearance of the virtual versions of Tupac Shakur, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music Festival and the even more recent appearance of virtual Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards to appreciate the leaps and bounds in virtual technology being made under John Textor’s guidance. While these developments were more than enough to stagger the imagination, the realization of how much more spectacular future developments might be boggles a person’s mind.

Although John Textor is no longer at the helm of Digital Domain and Digital Domain Media Group, he is still very active in the visual effects industry as the Executive Chairman of Pulse Evolution Corporation. The main focus of Pulse is the specialization of computer generated likenesses that can be used in a variety of applications. Given John Textor’s previous successes in this area, there’s no doubt that Pulse will become the front runner in this field of effects technology.

The Gap Between The Rich And Poor Is Bigger The Grand Canyon and It’s Growing

1% Of The World’s Population Will Have More Wealth Than The Other 99%

The anti-poverty group, Oxfam said it would do everything possible and demand action, so the expanding inequality between the rich and the poor is stopped. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland is where politicians and billionaires gather to discuss world economics. The group will address that forum and explain the rising inequality between the masses after a study found that by next year, 1% of the Earth’s population will have more wealth than the other 99%.

An Oxfam report shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the top 1% has increased from 44% six years to 48% last year. If the current trend continues, the top 1% will own more than 50% of the Earth’s wealth by 2016.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said: “Our message is that rising inequality is dangerous. It’s bad for growth, and it’s bad for governance. We see a concentration of wealth capturing power and leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for.”

As Marc Sparks knows, the gap between the rich and the poor is not a new issue. But the issue can be addresses if members of the forum see themselves as the poor see themselves. Ignorance is a big part of the problem.

Marc Sparks Moves Offices after Ten Years at the Same Location

PR Newswire recently reported that after ten years in the same location, Marc Sparks of Timber Creek Capital has changed office locations. Sparks has been described as a “serial entrepreneur”. Part of the move is most likely due to a desire to further this goal. The layout of the new office space has been noted to be especially conductive to group collaboration. This is one of the most important aspects of any sort of small group project. In fact, many see it as a sort of incubation area for startups. A startup company tends to start on the smaller side, and communication is the lifeblood of these sorts of new groups. By ensuring proper communication, Sparks might well help to keep himself fully in the loop and able to guide things in the proper direction. Even more so, based on his past experiences he should be a good guide for future projects.

Sparks has even been quoted as saying that proper communication accounts for about 25% of what allows a company to succeed. So it’s little wonder that someone with his proven record is eager to be involved with such discussion. However, it’s not only about his own success.

Sparks has also mentioned that part of what guides him is a desire to see other people succeed. He’s been part of the trials and tribulations which come with founding a startup. And he’s eager to share what he learned in order to help others overcome the most difficult aspects of the experience.

He seeks to imbue others with what has been called “sparks speed”. This refers to the dogged determination, sense of urgency, and cleverly utilized motivation that Sparks has become known for over the years. Along with his general desire to maximize output by maximizing the communication between every member of his team.

Those Concerned Over Tax Hikes – Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

 

During the recent State of the Union address, the president ignored the will of the people to shift center-right with his economic agenda and proposed a series of new tax increases. In all, the president would look to collect $320 billion to fund new polices that will redistribute wealth or as he now phrases it: share the success. Without any fiscal restraint and entitlement reform, the current half-billion deficits will balloon back to $1 trillion over the next decade and that is not factoring in the cost of the president’s new tax increases to fund expanded entitlements.

Ben Shaoul and anyone else concerned about the impact the fiscal mess will have on the nation and their personal finances need not be troubled. This is because the proposed tax increases stand no chance of being passed by a GOP-controlled congress. Here are the list of some of the key taxes recently proposed:

  • A hike in the dividend and long-term capital gains rate from 23.8% to 28%. The proposal is considered dead on arrival.
  • Repeal of the step-up rule on inheriting capital assets. Anyone who inherits assets be they land, property, coins, numismatic coins, collectibles, artwork, etc. are allowed to establish their basis in the inheritance as the fair market value at the time they take possession. This is significant tax savings. President Obama claimed this is a “trust-fund” loophole that by implication only the uber rich receive. The tax proposal is also DOA.
  • Repeal of tax-free withdrawals from College 529 savings plans. This represents a major breach of trust with the people which would take confiscate money they set aside for education purposes. The proposal is also DOA

Skout, The Future of Social Interaction

We live in an age of technology that is rapidly pushing us forward. We find that this technology is playing a great role in how we interact with each other. Social media has truly changed the way that we interact with and meet people. Apps on our smart phones are a very easy portal into this social media that we use on a daily basis. Here in this article we will be looking at the ever popular app, Skout. This app has been growing very quickly, and it looks like it is not slowing down any time soon.

The world of dating has truly taken a very technological approach lately. There are many dating sites online and there are dating apps as well. To say that Skout is just a dating app is putting it in a category where it should not be. However, dating is a key function of the Skout app. This app is designed to help individuals meet each other in a close range more easily. This app is aided by the use of GPS, giving users access to other individual’s profile information and pictures. These profiles and pictures can be just what is needed to start a conversation or get a date going.

One key feature of the Skout app which makes this social networking app different from the other dating apps is the ability to send virtual gifts to others. This can be a fun way to flirt, or just a fun way to build more friendships. This is a great way to build rapport with your new friends and break down social barriers. Skout is taking a fresh look into the world of social networking apps, and they are working hard to stand out in a seemly endless sea of apps available for smartphones.

Skout truly is standing out in the business world. Skout has been grabbing the attention of numerous business publication and investment capital firms. With 40,000 new users being added daily, it is easy to see why Skout earned 22 million dollars of start up capital in 2012. The future of this app is bright, and the CEO is looking to make much more than just a dating app. Skout is aiming to created a global based social networking app that will be comparable to Facebook. This is a very big goal to take on, but it seems to be a goal that can be obtainable with the growing numbers.

Only time will truly tell the fate of Skout, but if history repeats itself, the fate of Skout is looking like it is going to be a very grand one indeed. There are many more growth cycles that can take place with this company, and it is going to be exciting to see Skout’s rise to the top in the world of global social networks.

John Textor Makes Films Come Alive

When John Textor first got to Hollywood, he was able to set up shop as a graphic designer who worked on movies and television. He started out as the CEO of Digital Domain. They were responsible for the graphics and animation in a great many movies and television shows. He left the company in 2006 to found Pulse Evolution. At Pulse Evolution, he has worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Ender’s Game. His company currently does as much work as it can in the rendering of human likenesses.

Video Games

When you play a video game, you are looking at the likeness of someone else that was generated by a computer. John’s company is able to use cutting edge technology to create the likenesses of humans for all sorts of applications. They can use these likenesses in TV and movies to make sure that the sequences seem as real as possible, but they also use these likenesses to create better imagery for video games.

The Digital Human Actor

His company broke ground in this field when it created the first believable digital human actor for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Creating this actor was difficult because of the unique plot of the film. However, John has been on the cutting edge of animation for so long that his team was able to pull it off. They won an Academy Award for this achievement, and they won an award for visual effects from the CLIO Awards.

John Textor has spent his whole life working to make beautiful images, and he images can be seen all over the world. When you watch a movie or TV show, you are looking at technology that he pioneered, and you could be seeing more of his images on your next trip to the theater.

GOP Representative Believes That Minimum Wage Should Remain Low

 

GOP Representative Tom McClintock raised some eyebrows today when speaking on C-Span and saying that he does not believe the minimum wage should be raised. It was not just that he had said this (something that is common among GOP politicians), it was the reason that he stated that he supports keeping the wage low. McClintock said that the wage should remain low for minorities whose work may not be worth more than $7 an hour.

Raw Story has said that the Representative appears to be taking a more hard lined approach than even some within his own party. Even potential Presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney are now saying that the minimum wage should in fact be increased to $10.10 an hour. This is a big departure from the Republican talking points from even just a few years ago.

There is something to be said for someone who stands by their positions even when they are unpopular. However, there is something else to be said for someone who brazenly states that he believes the minimum wage should remain low because the minorities who are paid minimum wage may not in fact be worth the $7 an hour that they are being paid. That kind of commentary smacks of racism and more than a little privilege. It is not something that has played over very well with Sultan Alhokair or anybody else for that matter.  However, at least for now the Congressman stands by what it is that he has said.

Capital Strategist Sam Tabar’s Advice For Smart New Investments

With plenty of consumers using the start of the new year to begin planning their investments, capital strategist Sam Tabar has a few pieces of advice to help them get started.

A recent survey by Fidelity Investments found that 54 percent of consumers are planning to make financial resolutions for the upcoming year. And in Sam Tabar’s view, they would do well to follow through and start investing right away.

“The best time to start investing is the present,” he said. “You do not want to look back in your retirement years and wish you had began investing sooner.”

In a set of recommendations released on CNBC.com, Tabar warned that novice or casual investors should steer clear of commodity trading, which can be especially risky compared to stock markets or mutual funds.

“It takes quite a bit of research to profit in commodity trading,” he said, adding that investors would also need the wherewithal to handle short-term losses that often pop up in the commodity sector.

For consumers who want a better alternative to the traditional stock markets, Tabar suggested investing in private business. He specifically noted the rise of social entrepreneurship, with a growing number of startups pledging to donate a portion of the funds they raise to help people in need.

Tabar, a Columbia Law School graduate who has worked in the legal and capital strategy fields, is an active investor himself. He has also followed his own advice, as his investments include THINX, a manufacturer of women’s undergarments that pairs each of its underwear sales with a donation of sanitary cloth pads to benefit young women in Africa.

Whichever route investors decide to take, Tabar stressed the importance of building a diversified portfolio rather than banking on one exciting investment or high-performing stock. “All good things must come to an end,” he said, “and you want to make sure that you do not have all your eggs in one basket when that hot stock comes back down to Earth.”

Poll Shows Americans Still View Economy in a Recession

A recent Fox News poll indicates that 64% of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession. That is nearly a two-thirds super majority of the public, but the silver lining for President Obama is that the disapproval numbers are coming down. This same time last year had nearly three-fourths of Americans feeling that the country was mired in a recession.

In fact, public optimism over the economy has been steadily improving in recent months. It is likely a reflection of the current state of government now that the GOP has taken over the legislative branch. The public still wants the country to shift away from President Obama’s policies. During the past six years, the nation has transformed into a majority part-time work force with most of the jobs being created offering low-wages and no benefits. The poll indicates that almost 6 in 10 people are now optimistic about the chances the economy will recover. Interestingly enough to people like Sultan Alhokair, that is nearly the same number of people who do not approve of the direction the nation is taking.

For his part, President Obama’s approval rating has improved. While it is still negative with only 45% approval to 51% disapproval, it is marks a turnaround from the pre-midterm low of 38-59% percent in September. That is likely reflects his recent foreign policy gains particularly with Cuba and the collapse in gasoline prices. Interestingly enough, the president has done nothing to increase domestic oil drilling and has vowed to veto the Keystone Pipeline XL bill.

La Poste Testing Delivery Drone

 

GeoPost, the subsidiary of La Poste group specialized in the transport of packages, has been experimenting since September for delivery of packages by drone. While these tests are just preliminary at the moment, it could very well be a sign that GeoPost are planning for much more serious endeavors in the future, much like the means in which Amazon is entering the drone industry.

The tests are conducted in the Var at the Center for Studies and Tests for Independent Models. Ultimately, the system could serve remote areas in the mountains, the countryside or the islands.

It’s not just giant Amazon e-commerce that is interested in the potential delivery using drones. In France, La Poste will also works through its subsidiary. Since last September, drone delivery trials are conducted at the Centre for studies and tests for independent models (CEEMA) located in Pourrières in the Var.

This center belongs to the Atechsys company, a manufacturer of aerial drones and civilian submarines. As part of this project called Geodrone, Atechsys designed a prototype capable of carrying a package of 40 x 30 x 20 cm with a maximum weight of up to 4 kg.

The machine is equipped with six electric rotors and has a range of 20 km. The deliveryman drone carried out a mission which was to submit a package of 2 kg after covering a distance of 1,200 m.

Geo locating drone delivery is great news for business owners, like Sergio Andrade Gutierrez, who need to ship packages quickly and to remote places.
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