The Future of Virtual Reality Films

Originally published in The New U.

It’s official. Among the many Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short Film sits “Pearl,” the first virtual reality (VR) film to do so. Running just under six minutes, the film plants the viewer in the passenger seat of a car capturing a single father and his daughter’s life events. The film can be viewed on YouTube as a VR video enabling viewers to click and drag to pivot around the environment. It’s an immersive experience and certainly begs the question — what is the future of VR in media? Continue reading

II: Project 3A7T4

The student logged into the system and generated a new template. Yawning, he decided that was enough work for the day and moved to close out. When prompted with a request for a file name he paused, typing out 3A7T3 shortly after. He let the simulation run for a little while. He prepared to watch the universe expand but just as soon as he had begun to do so, it had collapsed within itself, condensing into a singularity. Confused, he thumbed through his manual for help. Apparently, he had forgotten to change the presets in which the rate of time progression was ridiculously high. Rookie error. It was easier to start over from scratch so he deleted the project and created a new one. When prompted for a file name, the student simply wrote “Project 3A7T4”

This time when he ran the simulation he was greeted with a blinding light on his screen. The Big Bang. He turned his volume up. He saw the starting of a new world, watched it expand and slowly take up more space within the environment. To accommodate, he changed his field of view and expanded the casing of the virtual environment. He moved his cursor around, before settling on the menu which held the speed controls. The symbols were strange and not human-like but the student simply clicked one of the options from the menu. The simulation began to speed up. A few seconds had passed before a vast expanse of the environment was filled with galaxies and stars and cluster formations. He looked for the randomized life seed. It was located in a galaxy and he zoomed in. The life seed was placed on a now marble blue appearing rock. It had wonderful swirls of white and gray and orbited a bright star. Well, it wasn’t the only one. It was the third farthest large body orbiting the star. The rock had a large, centered mass. The student returned the pace to normal. He prepared to take notes. Slowly, the mass began to split and drift apart. Soon enough, the darkness that would cover half the oblate sphere became speckled with tiny flecks of light. Projectiles flew out of its sides and landed on a much smaller, orbiting rock. Some projectiles continued indefinitely past the range of the large sphere’s gravitational field. The student scratched some more notes into his pad. He wondered where the beings were going. What did their future hold?

I: “Binary”

Fictional piece related to last week's article.

The old café’s weathered sign hung above its entrance. People flowed in and out throughout the morning. Most days, the stream of traffic would subside by the late afternoon. The café had been around for decades, and while the stores in its vicinity evolved every couple of years, it became more of a relic of the community’s past. While the café was considered a popular location for the smartest minds of the era, its inner atmosphere worked as a laxative for Sturtevant’s tired mind. He had set out a stack of files in front of him, the assorted papers tucked neatly within. Taking his glasses off, he set them on the pile. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he settled into deeper thought.

A stack of books dropped in front of him, snapping him out of his reverie.
“Printer’s on the fritz,” said Francis as he sat down. “Third time this week.” Francis was a few years younger than him and still had much to learn about the research field office.
“Again?” Sturtevant replied, slowly. “Use the one on the second floor. Always works for me.”
“Second floor?” Francis sounded flustered.
“Yeah, uh, by the East Wing”
“Never heard of it.”
“Which is why it’s perfect,” Sturtevant replied. The café had been filled with a sort of warmth. Another block of overworked college students had joined the fold. Most were weary while a scarce few babbled excitedly as they’d left the worst of final examinations behind them.
“Your results come in?” asked Francis. Sturtevant motioned to the stack of files on his desk.
“In here somewhere. Looks cleaner but it’s still a mess.”
“Hmm. Sounds a lot like my desk. Jenny gives me hell for it, but I’ve got a perfect batting average when it comes to finding what I need.” He checked his watch. “Oh, I gotta run but I’ll see you around Stert.” Sturtevant merely nodded as Francis walked out the café door, sending a cool breeze into the warmth of the packed café.

Sturtevant reassessed the files in front of him and fished out the clean folder from the middle of the pile. The papers within were crisp and orderly, unlike the crumpled lumps of papers in the other folders. Taking a deep breath, he opened the file. All that was on the sheets were lines and rows of seemingly random 1s and 0s. Funny, he thought to himself, the printer may have malfunctioned.

However, the time stamps on the paper were accurate. Everything was as it were. That’s what he was looking at, jaw agape. His universe was composed of binary.

Solar Storm, Part II

This is a continuation from here.

It’s dark. There an excess of numbing silence. There is just enough light to see what’s ahead. Light from the closest sun travels millions of light years to diffuse unevenly over the moon’s barren landscape.

Continue reading

An Ion Story

This was an old assignment for a Chemistry class I took in high school (Sophomore year).
We were instructed to write up a story which included a list of common ions into it somehow. 
This is sort of a palette cleanser before next week's post! 
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

“An Ion Story”

It started as an average day. The birds were chirping, and the sun was shining. I remember it rather distinctly. I had a multitude of tasks to tend to. I had to order some more pyrite for my crystal radio. I also needed to go to the store and purchase more salt as the supply was dangerously low. The plans for my research project were etched on the blackboard with chalk. A few weeks prior, I had gone to the edges of a dormant volcano and collected some brimstone and volcanic rock. It was an interesting ordeal. I took the bleach from the cabinet and drove out the mold and mildew from my house. Before I left for the lab, I used my new saltpeter fertilizer on the garden. Everything seemed to be working exceptionally. The advent of Spring had brought forth a pleasant odor, similar to that of marsh gas. A few months back a dentist had told me that the laughing gas would make every part of my body feel relaxed, and maybe nauseous and lightheaded.

Boy, was he right. The gas had such a great effect on the sensory systems that I had to conduct further examination on it. On my way to work, I grabbed a coffee and put 10 packets of sugar in it. Not that I was going to drink it of course. The lady at the counter looked at me funny as I poured the white powder into the drink. The wind was brisk when I stepped out again. I passed the remains of a museum that once contained asbestos. Before it was demolished, there was an addition that was home to a bunch of these limestone sculptures. I had been there a couple of times myself. To be honest, those sculptures of people with stone cold eyes freaked me out. However, it was the angel statues that got to me. They had a bitter eeriness about them. Some were frozen in the midst of a lunge towards the viewer. The front entrance of the lab was a pain. It took too much effort and security measures to get from floor to floor. It was a necessary precaution nonetheless. I got to the room after what seemed like hours. Since I was one of the newer scientists, I had one of those crumby rooms with a gypsum ceiling that was poorly designed. Continue reading

Blanket

I don't use blankets
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Every night when I’m finished dealing with the stresses of the day, I retire to my room and sit on my bed and read a book. After 12 minutes of reading, it’s lights out. I begin counting the seconds whilst staring at the ceiling. Soon enough, my eyelids slowly descend to cover my pupils and ship me into my world of dreams. That’s how my days end now. The highest number I’ve ever gotten to is eight hundred forty-five. That’s about the fourteen minutes, I’d say. Fourteen minutes to my dreamland.

My bed has no blankets. It’s a queen sized bed. It could be absolute zero for all I care and you still wouldn’t find me tucked in all cozy with “my blankie” or comforter. But what about the monsters at night? What about the things that lurk in the dark, waiting to ambush me? What about the creaking of the floorboards or the barely noticeable sounds that echo through the rooms? I’ll take my chances. Continue reading

Fiction 1

Below is a fictional piece, and it’s the product of thirty minutes of writing, and revising.
Estimated read time: 4 minutes.

Part I
People don’t make the best decisions while they’re drunk. As I down another shot my vision dims temporarily before sharpening once more. Thank goodness for livers. The fine gentleman across from me does the same, granted, with much more reluctance. Continue reading