Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

December 15, 2012

The Hobbit, part 1

Filed under: Culture,Hobbit — Razib Khan @ 2:48 pm

I went and saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yesterday with some friends. It’s been 20 years since I last read The Hobbit, and even longer since I watched the television film from the late 1970s. So I really didn’t notice all the differences between the three hour film and the original novel. Two quick comments:

1) I didn’t pick up on all the big technological changes. I suspect this is something movie reviewers are going to focus on, because they have such a good grasp of the technical element. But for the average person it’s not as obvious. Some of the 3D was well done, but much of it was a little excessive for me.

2) I wasn’t too bored, but a two hour film would have been more than sufficient. Someone behind me literally fell asleep, judging by the persistent snoring.

I’d give the film a B-. This wasn’t in Jar Jar Binks territory.

December 21, 2011

The Hobbit (2012 film)

Filed under: Culture,Hobbit — Razib Khan @ 12:19 pm

My working assumption is that this will be a regression back to the mean in relation to Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I notice is that the projected budget for the two films is already more than a time and a half greater than all three of those earlier releases. Even accounting for inflation I suspect this is just a function of the resources now available to Jackson.

Though I assume it will at least supersede the 1977 Rankin-Bass production of the Hobbit (often parodied on South Park):

January 5, 2011

Hobbit DNA in 2011

Filed under: Ancient DNA,Genetics,Genomics,Hobbit,Human Evolution,Human Genetics — Razib Khan @ 9:03 am

I predicted earlier that Hobbit DNA would be extracted in 2011. It was pretty much an educated guess based on various omissions I sensed in papers in 2010. But it seems that an attempt is going to be made:

Scientists are planning an attempt to extract DNA from the ‘hobbit’ Homo floresiensis, the 1-metre-tall extinct distant relative of modern humans that was unearthed in Indonesia, following a study that suggests problems in standard sampling methods in ancient-DNA research could have thwarted previous efforts.

This year, geneticists at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide hope to recover DNA from a roughly 18,000-year-old H. floresiensis tooth, which was excavated in 2009 from the Liang Bua site on the Indonesian island of Flores.

No guarantees, but still exciting.

(via Dienekes)

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