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Movie Theater’s Across The Country Celebrate “National Cinema Day” With Cheap Tickets

All across the country, movie tickets are only going to cost $3 for National Cinema Day.

The Cinema Foundation noted that this is in efforts to help encourage people to once again return to the movie theaters.

“More than 3,000 theaters with over 30,000 screens will offer tickets for $3, excluding tax, across all formats and show times on Sept. 3,” said The Cinema Foundation. 

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Labor Day weekend has been considered one of the slowest weekends throughout the year for movie theaters. Throughout the summer, movie theaters have seen low attendance even though it has been higher since they first reopened post-pandemic.

“After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Jackie Brenneman, Cinema Foundation president.

National Cinema Day also acts as a gift of thanks due to the high success of recent releases like “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: Rise of Gru,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” which brought in roughly $1.8 billion. 

“We’re doing it by offering a ‘thank you’ to the moviegoers that made this summer happen, and by offering an extra enticement for those who haven’t made it back yet.”

Theater companies like AMC and Cinemark are adding to the mix with concession specials that they are offering on Saturday. 

According to CBS News, AMC is going to offer a fountain drink and popcorn combo for only $5. Cinemark is continuing with the theme for National Cinema Day by offering a medium ICEE, candy or a small popcorn for only $3. 

As a small preview, exclusively on Saturday, theaters will be showing sneak peeks and clips from several major studios with some of the upcoming films that are set to debut in the upcoming fall and winter months.

Movie theaters have taken a notorious hit over the last few years due to COVID and the theatrical releases coming out in “hybrid” form both in theaters and on streaming platforms. 

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Even with the lower than average movie theater attendants, the summer also saw a number of people coming to watch the big blockbusters like “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Nope.”

According to Comscore, this past summer’s box office was $3.027 billion.

In total, movie theaters have found that the domestic box office has brought more than $5.2 billion and its set to beat 2021.

The organizers of National Cinema Day have noted that the event is set to act as a “trial” to see the response from theatergoers around the country. If the results are successful, it could become an annual event. 

Staring at Computer

How To Protect Your Skin From Excessive Blue Light Screen Exposure

Now that most of us are experiencing what it’s like to work from home for the first time, it’s important to understand the health effects that staring at a screen for a majority of the day can have. We’re all aware of the fact that staying on the internet for too long can have detrimental effects to your mental health, and how the blue light that’s emitted from our screens can cause us to lose sleep and stay engaged online for longer, however, did you also know that the same blue light can take a toll on your skin?

Blue light, or high-energy visible (HEV) light, is primarily from the sun, but it’s also emitted by our phone, tablet, and computer screens. While blue light can at times be beneficial, like for killing bacteria and treating acne, being exposed to too much of it can also prompt the formation of free radicals, which break down collagen and cause inflammation, leading to redness, dark spots, and wrinkles. It can also darken hyper-pigmentation, especially in deeper skin tones, so it’s important to protect skin from its powers in the same way we do from the sun,” explains dermatologist Deanne Robinson, MD.

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One of the easiest solutions to combat the blue light that’s absorbed into our skin is making sure you’re ingesting enough antioxidants and, surprisingly, broad-spectrum sunscreen. No matter what you should always be putting on sunscreen/SPF every day especially in the morning. Even though you might not go outside throughout the day, especially during this pandemic, SPF’s help improve your skin’s hyper-pigmentation, prevents premature aging, and now, protects your skin barrier from blue light absorption. 

In terms of ingesting antioxidants, Dr. Robinson explains that “antioxidants do not physically block the light, rather they work to neutralize oxidative stress caused by the light.” Basically, your skin gets “stressed out” the longer you look at blue light, which leads to all of those detrimental effects, so antioxidants may not stop the blue light from absorbing into your skin, but it will stop your skin from reacting negatively to the light. 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “most of the blue light we’re exposed to comes from the sun, but as research continues to show, we are spending more than half of our waking hours interacting with devices and are therefore exposed to more blue light now than at any other point in history. Luckily, there are plenty of products that provide blue light protection and help shield skin from its harmful effects.”

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Some of these products that the AAO is referring to involve skin serums, sunscreens and moisturizers that are designed to combat negative effects caused by blue light exposure. Serums or other skin care products that have hyaluronic acid are extremely beneficial for this as well. Hyaluronic acid is an amazing way to hydrate your skin in general, and it should be a part of your skin care routine anyway, but one of the many benefits of it is that it hydrates your skin immensely. When your skin is properly hydrated, it’s less likely to “stress,” and remember, there’s no such thing as “over-hydrating” your skin, so be generous. 

When looking for a sunscreen you want to choose a formula that’s described as “broad-spectrum,” has minerals, and has an SPF of at least 30. Broad-spectrum means it protects your skin from multiple kinds of light (such as blue) and the minerals will give your skin a direct hit of antioxidants as well. 

Skin care may be the last thing on some of our minds, but just because we’re not out in public everyday doesn’t mean that our skin’s health needs to suffer too, so what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go put on some sunscreen!

Foldable Smartphone

Flexible Displays Take Center Stage at CES 2020

Perhaps the most exciting new development featured at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is the introduction of foldable displays into a plethora of devices, which promises to revolutionize the way we interact with technology. 2019 saw the premiere of foldable screens in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Fold which, while far from a perfect device, demonstrated the potential that such a dynamic form factor has for expanding functionality in the consumer technology market. Though many of the devices with flexible displays presented at this year’s show are merely prototypes that illustrate a concept, they offer a glimpse into what may very well be the future of how we consume, create, and share digital content.

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One of the more striking innovations on display this year is the use of folding screens in laptop-sized devices, bringing the full experience of the Windows computing environment to the new form factor. Intel showed off their Horseshoe Bend concept at the event, allowing reporters to test the device which unfolds to reveal a continuous 17-inch touchscreen display. The unique device can be used in a number of orientations; it can be held sideways, partially bent, to resemble a large book, or it can be positioned like a traditional laptop with the bottom half of the screen functioning as a virtual keyboard, or it can be unfolded completely for consuming content on a relatively large portable display.

Many of the major tech manufacturers are getting in on the foldable display trend. Lenovo introduced the ThinkPad X1 Fold which, unlike Intel’s prototype, will go on sale within the next several months. Though Lenovo’s device is similar in design and function to Intel’s prototype, it is significantly smaller with a 13.3-inch screen. Unlike the Horseshoe Bend concept, however, Lenovo also offers the “Bluetooth Mini Fold keyboard” accessory, which adds a wireless physical keyboard to the experience which can either sit on top of the lower half of the screen or in front of the device to take advantage of all of the available screen real estate. When folded, the device has a gap in between the two halves of the screen, which makes for a convenient storage location for the bespoke wireless keyboard accessory. Even more impressively, the device wirelessly charges the keyboard when it is stored in this way, reducing the headache of managing the batteries of multiple wireless accessories. In a nice touch, the device’s leather exterior causes it to resemble a traditional Moleskine notebook when folded. The premium look is befitting of the device’s premium price tag, as it will cost $2,499 when it releases later this year.

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Dell, for their part, sought to emulate the functionality presented by a folding-screen laptop while relying on more traditional display technology in their Concept Ori and Concept Duet, two prototype devices which apparently draw inspiration from the Surface Neo and Surface Duo devices Microsoft announced last year. Like Microsoft’s devices, the Concept Duet features two screens connected by a 360-degree hinge which allows the device to be used in a number of different orientations. While Dell’s products appear to be less polished than the ones Microsoft showed off last year, the Concept Duet, if and when it releases in its final form, will likely offer a competitive experience to the Surface Duo at a reduced price. The Concept Ori, on the other hand, strongly resembles Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Fold with a folding display of its own, suggesting that manufacturers are thinking along similar lines when determining how best to incorporate the cutting-edge technology into their hardware offerings. If anything, the multitude of folding-screen devices shown at this year’s CES suggests that the future of consumer electronics will offer a plethora of competitive options for customers excited to take advantage of innovations made possible by cutting-edge flexible display technology.

Google Search

Google Announces New Line of Products at Made by Google 2019 Event

Today, Google held a press event during which they discussed their new line of products, as well as their advancements in engineering and design, with a particular focus on how progress in artificial intelligence and machine learning has affected their business.

Google began the event by discussing the company’s mission, which is to help people in their lives without intruding on their daily lives. Google calls this concept “ambient computing,” by which they mean interactions with computers that exist in the background, rather than ones that occupy the user’s attention by being obvious and intrusive. Google claims that this concept informs the development of all of their products, and stated that all of the products announced at the event would demonstrate the value of this approach to computing.

The first product Google described was the Pixel Buds, a pair of wireless earbuds with advanced software functionality. The Pixel Buds include integration with the Google Assistant, and use bone conduction technology to recognize the user’s voice even in loud environments. They also work several rooms away from the device to which they are wirelessly connected, allowing for greater freedom and flexibility, and include audio pass-through features to enable users to remain present in their environment even while listening to music. The Pixel Buds will cost $179, and will launch in Spring 2020.

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Next, Google talked about the importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness in their company’s philosophy. The company stated that they would commit to investing $150 million into renewable energy sources, and spoke about their commitment to incorporate recycled plastic in their products. Google also spoke of its new video game streaming platform, which requires only a controller and a compatible device, cutting back on hardware costs and waste. They introduced the controller they designed for this specific purpose, which was inspired by the versatile design of kitchen knives for professional chefs.

Google then introduced the Pixelbook Go, an affordable laptop, which is available for pre-order and will cost $649. The company quickly moved on to talk about its updates to Google Nest, a smart home system designed to seamlessly incorporate technology into home life. Google stressed its commitment to security and privacy, describing how third-party developers would have to meet certain requirements in order to enable compatibility with Google Nest products. The Google Nest Hub Next acts as a standalone tablet to be placed on top of the kitchen counter, for instance, and allows users to dynamic move content from one display to another within the home. Google described an update to its Google Home Mini, including advanced artificial intelligence processors and the option to mount the device on the wall. They also described Nest Aware, a camera-based surveillance system for the home, and talked about how smoke alarm features would be integrated into their products. The last Google Home product the company discussed was Nest WiFi, a router system for creating mesh networks within the home.

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Google then discussed the Google Pixel 4, the company’s flagship smartphone which has been completely redesigned. The first feature of the phone the company discussed was its built-in radar sensor, which is used for facial recognition and gesture recognition. The company described their efforts in radar technology as a way to introduce natural human body language as a way of interacting with computers, and described how the Google Assistant is more deeply integrated into the phone’s operating system, again emphasizing the company’s commitment to privacy and ensuring users have control over their data. One example of this is the company’s new Recorder app, which automatically records and transcribes audio on the device, even when it’s not connected to the Internet.

Google described the display of the Pixel 4 as “visually indistinguishable from perfect,” and it is the first phone to feature a display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Additionally, the company claimed the phone’s camera was at the top of its class, and discussed how the company invested into “computational photography,” which is software that improves the visual fidelity of data captured by the image sensor. Computational photography generally involves combining several images into one, reducing noise and expanding the dynamic range of photographs. Computational photography also enables high-resolution digital zoom, and real-time previews of HDR images. Additionally, computational photography allows for more accurate automatic white balancing and approximation of the depth-of-field effect, including bokeh simulation, and improving the detail of night shots, including the ability to capture stars in the night sky. The phone will start shipping on October 24, and will cost $799.

Overall, the range of products announced at this year’s event was somewhat limited, as the updates to the Google Home products seemed fairly minor, with limited appeal. While the Pixel Buds seem impressive, there is strong competition in the wireless earbud market from Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Samsung, and the Pixel Buds don’t feature any truly unique capabilities. Google didn’t go into too much detail about its upcoming Pixel 4, but the smartphone was by far the most interesting product described today, as the company promises their new phone will integrate hardware and software features to provide the best Android experience on the market.

Foldable Smartphone

Folding Screens: The Next Smartphone Design Trend?

Today’s high-end smartphones are so sophisticated and pack so many features that it’s hard to imagine how phone manufacturers will be able to improve their offerings for the next generation of products. The just released Galaxy Note 10+, for instance, packs an impressive edge-to-edge, nearly bezel-less 6.8” display, a whopping 12 gigabytes of RAM, and four cameras on the back that work together to allow for professional-grade photography. But the ultra-competitive high-end phone market demands continual innovation and improvement, year after year, forcing manufacturers to explore increasingly exotic and radical designs for their flagship devices. Perhaps the most promising development in the phone design space is the introduction of folding-screen technology, allowing devices to double their screen real estate and enabling users to fit a tablet-sized display into their pockets.

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The most infamous example is the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which the company showcased in February alongside the Galaxy S10 and S10+, and was initially slated for an April release date before being delayed due to concerns about the device’s durability. While early reviewers praised the unique and innovative form factor of the phone, they brought to light some glaring design flaws: several outlets complained that the Fold’s design allowed dirt and other debris to get caught underneath the display, and that if the user attempted to remove what seemed like a removable screen protector, the device would be irreparably damaged. For a $1,980 device, these issues were considered by many to be unacceptable, and Samsung took the surprising step of indefinitely postponing the launch of the product in order to work on addressing these problems.

Now, several months later, Samsung has unveiled their newer, redesigned Galaxy Fold, which specifically addresses the concerns of early reviewers: the screen protector has been tucked underneath the folding screen’s plastic bezels, making it impossible to accidentally remove and preventing foreign objects from getting lodged underneath the screen. Also, Samsung has reinforced the hinge mechanism to improve the overall durability of the device. As of September 6th, 2019, the device has officially launched in South Korea, and a global launch is planned for the month of September. Reviewers have had the opportunity to handle the redesigned device, and while they praised Samsung’s improvements, some of their original complaints remained: when the device is opened, a distracting visible crease runs down the center of the display, and the phone’s mediocre battery life and small exterior display when the phone is in its folded form leave much to be desired, particularly in light of the hefty price tag.

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While Samsung’s Fold is not technically the first device with a folding screen to hit the global market — the “Royale FlexPai,” which feels more like a proof-of-concept device than a consumer product, has been available in China since January — it’s the first device of its kind to appeal to a general audience, albeit one willing to shell out nearly two grand for a phone with a relatively untested form factor. But it won’t be the last. Huawei has introduced the competing Mate X, a folding-screen phone that differs from the Galaxy Fold with a screen that works differently — whereas the Galaxy Fold opens like a book to reveal its display, the Mate X has a screen that wraps around the exterior of the device, allowing the same display to be used for both folded and unfolded operation. 

Like the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X is marketed as a premium device, carrying a substantial price tag of $2,600. Huawei’s phone features an even larger 8-inch display, and because the device folds outward, not inward, it promises compelling features, such as the ability to show both you and your subject the viewfinder when taking a photograph. A release date for the Mate X has not yet been announced, but Huawei says the phone should be available for purchase before the end of 2019.

Motorola is also rumored to be working on a phone with a folding screen, drawing inspiration from their once-ubiquitous RAZR line of phones to envision a device with a display matching the size of those found on more traditional phones, but which folds into a compact size ideal for portability. Though the underlying technology has existed in various forms for years, mainstream integration of folding displays in consumer electronics is still in its infancy, and as of yet it’s unclear which style of implementation the industry will favor.

What is certain, however, is the disruptive potential of smartphones with transforming form factors. The concept of a device that combines the portability of a smartphone with the usability of a tablet has the capacity to fundamentally alter the relationship we have with mobile computing. Reviewers of the Samsung Galaxy Fold have observed that using the device on a daily basis feels more deliberate and immersive than what is achievable with a standard smartphone, even ones of the high-end variety, as the screen real estate afforded by the Fold’s 7.3” display enables opportunities that are impractical on standard smartphones, such as easily working with multiple open applications simultaneously. As such, devices with folding screens have a good shot at replacing multiple devices used by technology enthusiasts; it’s not hard to imagine a future where one transforming device takes the place of a user’s phone, tablet, and laptop. Nobody knows for certain how the smartphone industry will evolve in the coming years and decades, but devices like the Galaxy Fold offer a glimpse into a future in which radically different mobile computer technology fundamentally changes our collective way of life.

Featured image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/janitors/40280137773/in/album-72157707246668014/