The Sideshow
  • Avatars might encourage women to lose weight: Study

    Avatars might help women lose weight, a new study finds. (Thinkstock)Avatars might help women lose weight, a new study finds. (Thinkstock)

    Virtual reality avatars can help encourage women to lose weight, according to a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

    Researchers asked 128 women about their interest in using avatars—virtual representations of themselves—as tools to help them lose weight. According to the findings, nearly 90 percent of women asked expressed an interest in the technology.

    The researchers then selected eight women to take part in the four-week avatar study. WTOP.com spoke to George Washington University's Melissa Napolitano, who served as lead author on the study.

    Napolitano explained that the participants checked in once per week at a clinic. While there, each woman watched a 15-minute DVD that featured an avatar that looked like her.

    From WTOP.com:

    Each week, the avatar demonstrated a specific weight loss skill, from judging portion size to tackling mindless snacking, with narration provided by a dietitian.

    "Their avatar went through a grocery store, snacked at a dinner

    Read More »from Avatars might encourage women to lose weight: Study
  • The "Star Wars" saga is so ingrained in our collective consciousness that even a potato chip container is enough to spawn some hilarious and impressive fan films.

    A few months ago, Pringles potato chips and Lucasfilm asked fans to create an original short film set in the Star Wars universe using the snack food as a centerpiece.

    “We looked for creativity that was rooted in a deep appreciation of the 'Star Wars' movies and the characters—references and details that could only come from a fan, and that could best be appreciated by other fans,” Lucasfilm’s Global Integrated Promotions Manager Kelli Martin told Yahoo News.

    Now, many "Star Wars" fans will roll their eyes at the idea of using their beloved franchise to sell potato chips. And to be sure, the theme has been worn thin in recent years. Nearly everyone with an Internet connection has their own take—a Yoda pun here, a Darth Vader reference there. There’s so much "Star Wars" shoved in our faces these days that it’s hard for

    Read More »from ‘Star Wars’ fans’ short film to air as national TV commercial
  • Ruins of San Francisco, Nob Hill in foreground, from Lawrence Captive Airship, 1500 feet elevation, May 29, 1906. (George R. Lawrence/Library of Congress)Ruins of San Francisco, Nob Hill in foreground, from Lawrence Captive Airship, 1500 feet elevation, May 29, 1906. (George R. Lawrence/Library of Congress)
    A number of panoramic photographs from more than 100 years ago shows how one man’s creative thinking helped influence photography—especially aerial photography.

    In 1893, photographer George R. Lawrence inherited a camera studio and launched his new company with the motto, “The Hitherto Impossible in Photography is Our Specialty."

    Lawrence was particularly interested in aerial photography, according to the Library of Congress, and in 1901 he began using a series of creative approaches that eventually led to capturing images from thousands of feet above Earth.

    Lawrence first turned to wooden ladders, but he wanted to go higher, so he started using balloons to get his unique photographs. Airplanes were not an option, because it was still more than two years before the Wright Brothers' maiden flight in 1903.

    The high-flying innovator would travel the skies above communities across the United States to capture images of developing cities.

    A 1909 photograph showing Atlantic City from 800 feet in the air (Library of Congress)

    A near-death experience inspired Lawrence to move

    Read More »from Archive reveals early 1900s aerial photography of U.S. cities

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  • Motor Racing-Schumacher faces "long fight" to recovery, says manager

    PARIS, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Michael Schumacher faces a "long fight" for recovery as the first anniversary of his skiing accident approaches, the former Formula One driver's manager said on Sunday. Her comments cast doubts over a newspaper report that said he was making cognitive progress. "We need a long time. It's going to be a long time and a hard fight," Sabine Kehm told Reuters by telephone. "He is making progress appropriate to the severity of the situation," she added, reiterating a statement she made a month ago. ...

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