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Sci-Friday

Its Friday the 13th! Kiss that $900m goodbye.

Even though they only occur up to 3 times a year at most, Fridays occurring on the 13th of the month are notorious. Though superstitions may seem silly, many take them quite seriously. Even large-scale hotels will tend to omit the existence of a 13th floor all together, opting instead for a 12, 12A, 14, or skipping from 12 to 14 completely. But why? It’s just a number, and just a day, right?

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th, also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by this fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.  According to Doctor Donald Dossey of the Stress Management and Phobia Institute,

“It’s been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day.”

That’s a pretty hefty sum of money, if you ask me. But what is it exactly that makes people dread this day to such an extreme extent?

Honestly – we aren’t 100% certain. Theories stemming from the last supper, the Stock Market crash, numerology, and even our favorite required high school reading, The Canterbury Tales, float around; however,  according to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century.

One common theory holds that the superstition is really a modern mixture of two older superstitions, claiming thirteen as an unlucky number and Friday as an unlucky day. That’s right – the one day of the workweek we look forward to and anticipate more than any other is actually a doomed day of bad fortune. How do you like them apples?

Let’s not get bent out of shape over this, though. Granted, I grew up having a black cat as a pet/stand in best friend until I was 9 years old and have always thought skulls are pretty, so maybe I’m a little on the creepy side to begin with – but superstitious days can be fun! If we can’t find a way to sleep through it or avoid it, why not make the most of it?

Hollywood has been feeding off the Friday the 13th superstition for years ranging from Black Sabbath’s debut album to the classic Friday the 13th horror slasher series, in which five of the twelve total films (including the most recent edition released in 2009), all having release dates on a Friday the 13th. Gimmicky, sure, but fun, right?

2012 is no exception! Today, the horror/comedy The Cabin in the Woods, starring Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon makes its debut at Regal Henrietta, Culver Ridge, Greece Ridge, and Eastview, AMC Loews Webster, and Tinseltown, sure to pack theatres full with Friday the 13th scream-seekers and popcorn lovers alike.

This Friday the 13th, don’t hide under your covers! Grab your favorite black cat, smash a mirror, walk under a ladder, open an umbrella indoors, and check out some cheap cinematic thrills! After all, it’s all in good fun – right?

Categories
Sci-Friday

Will STASIS creep you out? The latest in horror video play.

Last week we discussed the rejuvenated popularity of sci-fi and fantasy on television as well as the big screen.  With The Hunger Games still packing theaters full and the leak of the second Game of Thrones episode for season two, both genres are undeniably thriving.  However, it appears that sci-fi is about to receive recognition on yet another screen – your PC.

This week, a second teaser trailer for sci-fi horror adventure game STASIS was released. Although no real gameplay is included in the trailer, the game’s designers have done an excellent job in creating tension build up– and that’s just in the trailer. If the game in its completed stage keeps up with what the trailer has anticipated, players are sure to experience all the chills, thrills, and goosebumps they hope for.

STASIS begins with “you” waking up disoriented on the floor as John Marachek – an ordinary family man who finds himself in an extraordinary and unfortunate situation. Although the game plays off of traditional adventure game mechanics including puzzle solving and logic, it is very unique in its graphics and attention to detail, creating an interactive and realistic environment for players to immerse themselves in.

Possibly the most terrifying part of STASIS, though, is that most of the situations the player finds himself in are not over the top far-fetched and could feasibly happen in real life, truly playing off of players’ instincts and challenging their thoughts. Dubbing its environment as “a place where humanity’s horrors come out to play”, STASIS ultimately asks the question: how far would you go to protect your family? – a question I’m sure we’ve all thought about at one time or another, but hope to never need to find out.

Although no official release date has been announced, Stasis is predicted to launch sometime in 2013. While STASIS is certain to meet or exceed expectations and excitement, I would not be surprised if it also leaves us questioning things we’ve never previously considered or looking at daily circumstances in a slightly different light.

Categories
Sci-Friday

As Ned Stark dies, science fiction is reborn.

Just a mere two years ago, it seemed as though Science Fiction’s popularity as a genre was dying in the United States. The nice folks over at io9.com even created this nice little infographic for us, detailing the rise and fall of Sci Fi and Fantasy esteem on television, both in a steady decline after receiving a sincere whooping from reality television.  Although it does sadly look like reality TV is here to stay, at least for a little while longer, it also appears that both Sci Fi and Fantasy are in the midst of a popular comeback tour.

Headlining for the Fantasy fanatics, we have the Game of Thrones HBO program, based on the popular Song of Ice and Fire book series. I have not read the books myself, and the only two scenes of the show I’ve witnessed both happened while walking through my living room when others were watching it – one with the unnaturally blond chick drenched in blood from consuming a human heart, and the other with a woman breastfeeding a young boy who looks to be about 9 or 10 years old – so while I personally do not share the same enthusiasm for Sunday’s premiere, I do recognize I am very much in the minority and should probably give these books a chance. Season 1’s finale brought in over 3 million viewers, trumping the ever popular Vampire porn series, True Blood, and leveling the same playing field as Boardwalk Empire. With these figures and a projected even higher audience for Season 2, it’s hardly feasible to regard Fantasy as a dying genre in 2012.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it should come as no surprise to anyone that playing in SciFi’s court, we have The Hunger Games. This popular book series took it to the big screen, hitting theaters last weekend. Although only in its second week, The Hunger Games has already broken box office records, grossing an estimated $155 million in its opening weekend and selling out more than 2,000 show times before Friday’s premiere to reach the highest advance ticket sales of any non-sequel movie. Even with sequels included in the mix, The Hunger Games still scored highly on the charts, ranking as third-highest opening gross ever, beat only by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight. To top that off, it also receives the award for biggest opening weekend for a non-summer release. I’d call that a return with a vengeance for Sci Fi!

Although reality television remains America’s guilty pleasure we love to hate, it is extremely refreshing to see both big and small screen hits stemming from literary roots. And, you know, the reassurance that our country still has the ability to branch out of the Kardashian/Jersey Shore bubble once in a while.

 

Categories
Sci-Friday Technology

Sci-Friday: In 2012, Big Brother is following. And you love it.

Anyone who has ever spoken to me knows I’m a product of my generation. A day without my smart phone is comparable to the day I was cut from my mother’s umbilical cord. I must have Spotify on any computer I use because silence is the devil. I own paper books – but they’re becoming dusty because I have a Kindle now. If you still use an AOL email address, I assume you’re elderly; if you still use a yahoo email address, I assume you live under a rock.  I multi-task like a champ, at all times keeping two browsers open with six tabs running on each to toggle between my work tasks and my personal branding and you better believe I will click off a website in under a second if I don’t like the fonts it uses.

I’ve always loved reading, and though I enjoyed George Orwell’s 1984 when it was assigned in high school, it was almost laughable to think of this supposed futuristic world taking place a year before I was even born. I hadn’t really given the book, or the premise behind it, much thought until this week when my friend told me she had quit Foursquare.

“I have to check in before my roommate gets home so he doesn’t steal my mayorship.”
“Yeah, I recently just lost all of mine.”
“How?”
“I quit Foursquare. Twitter, too.”
“Why?”
“I reread 1984. It really creeped me out.”

Light bulb. While I didn’t react with the same Big Brother fear that she did, I definitely got that feeling of everything coming eerily full circle. Facebook asks what’s on your mind. Twitter asks what’s happening. Foursquare asks where we are –and we tell them. 1984’s constant tabs on everyone was government mandated, but we voluntarily share everything and anything with anyone who cares enough to read it.

That’s okay, though – we have privacy settings we can select! Sure. But just how private are they? After I had accepted my position with my current employer and submitted my two week notice to my previous one, I updated my Facebook status with my exciting news. Two days later, I received an email from another company I had interviewed with, informing me they had wanted to extend a second interview to me, but found during their “standard social media search” I had accepted a position elsewhere and wanted to know if this was true. I double checked. All my privacy settings were set to friends only. Unless I have a friend working in this company’s HR that I was unaware of, there’s more than one way to find someone’s information if you really want to.

Privacy settings aside – what about the individual who chooses not to partake in social media at all? Well, that comes with the price of an attached stigma. In college, one of my internships told me they had checked to see if I had Facebook before interviewing me because if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t have been offered the internship. Why? Because everyone has a Facebook account. If you don’t, you’re weird and behind the times.

The future of 1984 that George Orwell so vividly painted for us may now be 28 years in the past – but is it? Giving up all our info is voluntary, of course, but I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’ve become very relaxed and almost lazy about it. We all have things we’d never tweet, update, or check in with, but when I think about how open I am about the tiniest things, anyone, anywhere, could easily figure out who I am, what I’m about, and where I’ll be at any given moment- and I even use those fancy, new-fangled privacy settings available.

So knowing this, and being called out on it, am I likely to get be more mindful of what I do or don’t post on my social networks? Nope. Big Brother, feel free to keep watching. It’s Follow Friday, and I have a Twitter feed to catch up on.