First Trailer of The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies

The first teaser trailer of the final installment of the Middle Earth saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is now available.

And we can't wait to see more.

 The poignant 2 minute clip starts with Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman, talking about how future generations will remember the good, the bad, those who survived, and those who didn't. A series of brief scenes are shown with a hearfelt background song by Pippin "Edge of the Night". The teaser closes with Thorin asking Bilbo Will you follow me one last time?



 Director Peter Jackson has promised the third film will offer epic action scenes and visually stunning moments. And we ask which characters will be killed?


 The long wait begins. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters on December 17.

 What do you think of the first teaser? Do you think it will end on a high note like the LOTR : Return of the King?


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Is X-Men: Days of Future Past the Best X-Men Franchise?

In comparison to previous X-Men movies, critics have given X-Men: Days of Future Past the best reviews by far. And from the box office perspective it will be a huge blockbuster and could beat the record of X-Men : The Last Stand ( 2006 - $459 million  ) which was also directed by Bryan Singer. Currently, it has raked over $260 million worlwide.


For me, this is not the best X-Men franchise. The Last Stand still stood out. But still I enjoyed the story ( loosely based on the storyline of Uncanny X-Men comics ), the impressive action sequences and the fresh characters of Bishop, Warpath, Blink, Sunspot and Quicksilver who is truly amusing.


New Characters introduced :

Bishop, played by Omar Syhas ability to absorb all forms of energy and release it in different forms like kinetic blasts.


Warpath, played by Booboo Stewart, a first native-american mutant with superhuman senses, strength, agility and flexibility. He has super resistance to injury and explosions.


Blink, played by Fan Bingbing, has the ability to teleport and create portals for others to teleport as well.


Sunspot, played by Adan Canto is an afro-brazilian mutant with ability to absorb and channel solar power.


Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, can think and move at supersonic speeds which allows him among others to run up walls,cross bodies of water and create cyclone-strength winds.



I'm just a little bit disappointed with the future last scene. The fight scenes could have been extended. And it was too dark to really appreciate all the action sequences. But overall, it was a great ride.

After the movie, don't leave first. As in previous films, a cliffhanger post credit scene is shown about a cloaked man with telekinesis.

For those who have seen the latest flick, is X-Men: Days of Future Past the best X-Men franchise? Share with us your thoughts.
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American Idol Season 13 Finale : Caleb Johnson Wins

Rocker Caleb Johnson beats Pop Diva Jena Irene in American Idol 2014. It was the first in 13 seasons that a hard rock singer wins Idol. . He previously auditioned in Season 10 and 11 and finally in Season 13 won the well deserved title with his impeccable voice.



This is one of the best Finale Show. There are just too many wow moments. I enjoyed most of the performances. There's a cool collaboration of John Legend and Malaya. Lovely! Caleb rocked the stage with Kiss. Paramore and Jena were just as good. Alex Preston with Jason Mraz. Amusing Ryan Seacrest duet with Richard Marx. And of course medley performances from JLO, Keith, Harry and Randy.

Except for the dipping ratings, overall this was a wonderful American Idol Season.


 
Final Results & American Idol Winner Crowned... by IdolxMuzic
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Color On Toothpaste Tubes Indicating Chemical Content Is A Hoax

The popular belief that  the color on toothpaste tubes indicating chemical content is just utter nonsense. I learned this from the website Hoax-Slayer.com.


The site says the squares, called eye marks, are for manufacturing purposes. It helps the machines used in packaging when to cut or crimp the tubes.

So you don't need to worry now. Go ahead buy your favorite toothpaste!




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Michael Jackson's Hologram Performance at 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Michael Jackson was brought to life in a hologram performance of his latest single Slave to the Rhythm during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.


Looks creepy to some, but I quite enjoy the show with plenty of signature moves from the King of Pop and spectacular choreography of back up dancers wearing futuristic security gears.

The song is part of Jackson's latest posthumous album Xscape.



How do you find the performance? Is it cool or creepy?


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Student Jailed For Hacking School's Grading System

Jose Bautista, a high school senior in Northwest Miami-Dade School, USA was arrested for allegedly hacking the school's report card database and changing his grades and his four friends. He now faced charges of intellectual property offense, modifying programs and an offense.



The school's Principal informed the police that Bautista gave him a written confession.

The student is now under house arrest with GPS monitor while the case is awaiting judgement.

As of this writing, it is unclear if the busted students would be allowed to graduate  or if they will face any punishment.

Kids these days are too smart for their own good. Well, I guess some company would be interested to hire him for his guts and great skills.


Via CBS Miami
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Malaya Watson's Moving Elimination in American Idol Season 13

This is heartbreaking.

Malaya Watson after performing Chaka Khan's Through The Fire

After being in the the bottom three for several weeks, Malaya Watson is eliminated in American Idol Season 13. She finished at eight place.

American Idol Season 13 Top 8 after 80s theme performance night

After her final performance of Jennifer Hudson's I Am Changing, the judges made a standing ovation, recognizing her immense talent and great potential. Jennifer Lopez is clearly the most affected as she has repeatedly been impressed by Malaya's incredible voice.

We are all sad that Malaya is voted off. If there's any consolation, well she's only 16 and there's tons of other opportunities that awaits her.

What do you think of Malaya Watson's moving elimination?


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David Archuleta Release Documentary About His Two Year Mission

Pop sensation David Archuleta has completed a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Chirst of Latter-day Saints last March 28, 2014. For the first time, KSL in collaboration with LDS Church Missionary Department has released  a 22 minute documentary about the American Idol's life as a missionary in Chile Rancagua Mission.



Two years ago when Archuleta announced his decision to serve God and his church. He said “I’ve been able to bring you guys on this journey so far, but I hope that you guys will respect that this will be more of a personal thing; that I’m trying to focus on something else now, not my career, not trying to do music.” 

In this exclusive feature, fans will get a glimpse of what David did when he put aside his music career. In the interview he admitted "A lot of people told me, well, you don't have to go on a mission; you're doing a lot of good in what you're doing. And, it was really a conflict because I had always wanted to go on a mission when I was little."

See the short film, David Archuleta : Called to Serve at  KSL's official website.



  
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Australia Tops Best Place for Teens

Australia is the best place to be a youth, says a recent study with Sweden and South Korea ranked as second and third among the 30 countries examined.

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index assessed the teens in areas such as education, economic opportunity, citizen participation, access to health and technology, safety and security. 


The top countries whose teens are living better lives are :

  1. Australia
  2. Sweden
  3. South Korea
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Germany
  6. United States
  7. Japan
  8. Spain
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. Thailand
The bottom five countries were India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria

For a complete report, you may refer to Youth Index website 
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Should You Watch or Boycott The "Noah" Movie?

Noah Movie, the latest Hollywood take on an epic Bible tale is under scrutiny. Many religious purists call for boycott claiming Hollywood has twisted a sacred story. In some Middle Eastern countries, the film was banned for contradicting the teachings of Islam with its portrayal of a prophet.


The question posed by most Jews, Christian, and Muslim believers is : should one watch or boycott the Noah movie?

As a Christian and a movie fan, I am inclined to watch this flick for a number of reasons. As a believer I know what is the real story. And nothing can persuade me to doubt what really happened. Director Darren Aronofsky who is an atheist has in fact made it clear that the movie is merely "inspired by" the Biblical story. And the producers have tried to convey the message of repentance and God's mercy. You may want to watch the featurette below.

This is even a good opportunity to tell our non-believer friends our faith. I have friends who are non-christians and over lunch we had a nice conversation about the story as what is written in the Bible.

The movie seems to be well crafted. Based on early reviews, critics have praised the excellent acting of Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson and other actors. The action scene and visual effects were also impeccable.

I will definitely watch this movie. How about you? Are you watching the Noah movie?

Featurette about the Biblical accuracy.




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Is Terminus in The Walking Dead A Safe Place?

We have heard the sayings about the Walking Dead's Terminus, "Those who arrive, survive. and "Sanctuary for all, Community for all." Is it really a safe place what it appears to be?

In the episode 15 of  Season 4, "Us", we finally have a glimpse of what Terminus is. Previously, we have been given an idea of what this new sanctuary could be . In a radio broadcast heard by Daryl, Michone and Bob, it was revealed that this is a safe haven that is willing to accept survivors.



Glen and his group are welcomed by the unusually quiet place with vegetables growing, long griller and a woman named Mary whose smile seems to have darkness inside. She happily accepts them and offer food. I can sense grave danger here! Too good to be true right? First, it was so easy to get in. No checkpoint. No security.  It's almost a trap. 




Terminus is a compeletely new location and was not mentioned  in the comic book. But there has been a varied speculation that some elements in the book would be featured in this new home like cannibalism by the "skin eaters" called  "Hunters". We shall see more details in the final episode next week or we might have to wait for Season 5 in October 5, 2014.

As a teaser, Walking Dead series creator Robert Kirkman disclosed the following "Terminus could be what it is on face value or it could be hiding something darker. We do try to change things up, so it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that Terminus is all lemonade and sunshine and recliners and pajamas. So we'll see, maybe this season has a happy ending."





What's my take on Terminus?

I think Terminus is somewhat similar to Woodbury. Remember in Season 3 when Glen was abducted by  Governor and his gang. Rick's group then was forced to attack the asylum. I can sense the same pattern. Only the difference this time it's Beth who is abducted by the Terminus gang.

This will again be an interesting  grand finale of Season 4. It would bring all the group together in a huge battle. We shall see Rick's group ( with Carl and Michone ), Daryl and the new found group Marauders in a chaotic reunion that will leave us breathless!




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Hospitals in UK Burn Aborted Babies For Heat

This is real and not just some script in a horror movie.

The Telegraph reports that thousands of aborted and miscarried babies in UK hospitals were burned for use in heaters.


Most parents who lost their children in early pregnancy were not even aware of this barbaric act. Some medical practitioners who discovered thought this was unacceptable.

The investigation will be aired in UK's channel 4 program tonight at 8pm - Amanda Holden : Exposing Hospital Heartache.


Via [ The Telegraph ]


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Singapore Banks Introduce Real-time Interbank Transfer

Rolled out yesterday, fourteen banks in Singapore has introduced real-time interbank funds transfer. The new service dubbed as FAST ( Fast and Secure Transfers ) was introduced "in response to the increasing demand from consumers and businesses for funds transfer that is faster and more efficient", says The Association of Banks in Singapore.


The new function is currently free of charge for retail customers and $0.50 for corporate accounts. But starting June 2014, fees could be increased to $10 per transaction.

FAST has currrently capped transfers of up to $10,000 which could be done online, on mobile apps and some ATMs.

Previously, instant funds transfer is only available between accounts of the same bank and transactions of different banks would take two to three working days.


The 14 banks included  are ANZ Bank, CIMB Bank, Citibank, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Far Eastern Bank, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, RHB Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank.

This advanced payment system is 3rd in the world after South Korea and the UK. The Association of Banks in Singapore did not disclose the cost of  FAST system, but analysts estimate that this kind of infrastructure could be worth more than S$100 million. 


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Preschoolers Show Support for Missing Aircraft MH 370

People all over the world took to social media to show support. For instance, Twitter hashtag "#PrayForMH370" has been used by users  who either tweeted their personal prayer for the missing plane or created drawings or phrases to show  they were thinking of the missing passengers. 

In Singapore, despite a glimmer of hope, there's a group of innocent kids who wish to join the world with prayers and inspiring messages.

Preschoolers from PCF Punggol East  composed positive remarks such as "Please wait for them" and Don't worry, your family members will come home".

The activity is part of children's learning to empathize. They were asked to imagine how they would feel if the victims were their family member. Most of them said they would feel sad and afraid. 

So they conducted a brainstorming on how they would comfort the grieving family members. Some suggested giving a hug and kiss and others thought of writing a letter. 

Below are some of their heartfelt and moving words of encouragement that will melt your hearts. 

They wish that it will reach those who are affected. Please share to help them fulfill that.










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Study Shows Religion Is Good For The Brain

Just want to share these interesting articles which says religious activity benefits a person's mental and physical well being.

One recent study  found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they are religious. Stress are lowered through prayer and meditation.


“One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress,” said Dr. Majid Fotuhi, founder and chief medical officer of NeurExpand and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School. “Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you’re praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.”

Listening to sermons and reading religious books like the Bible also proved benificial.

“There’s something magical about socializing,” Fotuhi said. “It releases endorphins in the brain. It’s hard to know whether it's through religion or a gathering of friends, but it improves brain health in the long term. And it’s also been shown that people who are introverted and don’t participate are more likely to get Alzheimer’s.”

Harold G. Koenig is co-director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University Medical Center said , " The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. They don't drink alcohol as much, they don't use drugs as much, they don't smoke cigarettes as much, and they have healthier lifestyles. They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, probably better cardiovascular functioning.

Read more at Discovery Magazine and Beliefnet.com
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Analysis Says MH 370 Crashed in Indian Ocean ( Video )

CNN reported that a classified analysis of electronic and satellite data suggests the flight likely crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.


Based on radar data and satellite pings, theories of hijacking or pilot suicide were being considered.

Malaysian officials said yesterday that the hunt for the plane was spreading deeper into both the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

As of Friday, 57 ships and 48 aircraft from 13 countries were already involved in the search.

With this expanded search , Cmdr. William Marks of the USS Kidd destroyer said "I, like most of the world, really have never seen anything like this," "It's a completely new game now. We went from a chess board to a football field."


Via [ CNN ]

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Weibo, "China's Twitter" Enters US Stock Market

Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like service has filed yesterday to raise $500 million via share sale on the US stock market. It hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to manage the initial public offering.


Owned by Sina Corporation, Weibo has over 129 million monthly active users and generated $188 million profits in 2013.

Internet market in China is booming with more than 500 million users. Major social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not allowed in the country which benefits local firms.

"We expect our advertising and marketing revenues to increase in the foreseeable future as we continue to introduce new advertising and marketing solutions and attract more customers", Weibo said in its filing.

This is an exciting trend to see in the world's fastest growing major economy.



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Zuckerberg To Obama : Government Damaging Future

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called President Obama to express his confusion and frustration with the repeated reports of US government's internet spying activites. In a post yesterday, Zuckerberg described the behavior as  damaging to the future of internet.


"The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst." Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Although Zuckerberg's post does not point out National Security Agency's ( NSA ) surveillance programs, the statement was triggered by a recently leaked documents from Edward Snowden that NSA has impersonated a Facebook server to infect surveillance targets' computers and get files from a hard drive. 

Zuckerberg has assured the public with his statement. "To keep the internet strong, we need to keep it secure. That's why at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole internet safer and more secure. We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people's services.
The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world."

I certainly hope that the government will now become more transparent with what it has been doing.
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Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 With 239 People Missing

Malaysia Airlines announced it has lost contact with its Boeing B777-200 aircraft travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers, including two children and 12 crew members on board.



The airline said in a statement that flight MH370 disappeared at 2:40 am Saturday. It was expected to land Beijing at 6:30 am. " Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their search and rescue team to locate their aircraft.

According to China's state news agency, the plane lost communication over Vietnam with control department in Ho Chi Minh City at 1:20 a.m. The radar signal also was lost.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement. "Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members."

I wonder the aircraft is equipped with high speed internet and a lot of sensors. How can they not know where to find it? We shall know the details later today as Malaysia Airlines planned to conduct a press conference.
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Oscars Pizza Guy Had His 15-Minute Fame And More

Edgar Martirosyan is, certainly, now the world's most famous pizza delivery guy after appearing at the recently concluded Academy Awards 2014.


In an interview with Ellen, Edgar had no idea he would be serving Hollywood's biggest stars at the Oscars ceremony. He thought the pizza were for some writers at the Dolby Theater. He was told to wait.

When Ellen, who was hosting the awards show, came backstage and asked him to follow her, he then had the biggest shock of his life.




It was a once in a lifetime experience to be envied by millions of fans who witnessed him delivering pies to celebrities like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.

Lucky him. CNN reported that his pizza family business has suddenly become so famous. All of its branches are busy with orders.

Watch his interview here.


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Sisaundra Lewis, Former Celine Dion's Vocal Director, Impress Judges in The Voice USA

Sisaundra Lewis showed a powerhouse vocals with her rendition of Aretha Franklin's Ain't No Way. A former vocal director of the living legend Celine Dion, all the judges pushed the buttons and were wowed by her impressive vocal range.

Within a few seconds, Shakira pushed the buttons for the 44 year old, Florida native. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton then followed. Although Usher pushed the button at the very last second, he was clearly thrilled.

Sisaundra chose Blake who said he would buy her album it it come out tomorrow.




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Best Performance : Pink Sings Somewhere Over The Rainbow at Academy Awards 2014

In a tribute to the 75th Anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz", Pink performed Somewhere Over The Rainbow in a simple yet moving way. Wearing a glittery red gown, she reminded us that she's not only really good in acrobatics but has an impeccable vocal range as well.


At the Academy Awards show, before singing the Judy Garland song, Whoopi Goldberg revealed Pink's  real name which is Alecia Moore.

What do you think of Pink's slower version?

 
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Daryl Breaks Down And Finally Beth Had a Drink in the Walking Dead "Still" Episode

After a very long wait, finally, Daryl Dixon ( Norman Reedus ) had a real moment in The Walking Dead Episode 12. For sure, all Daryl's rabid fans were very pleased their idol had all the attention . Well, Beth was there too. But only two of them in this episode plus all the walkers.


After the group's separation, Daryl had been very quiet and after she was forced by Beth to drink, he broke down and let out all his emotions. He blamed himself for the loss of some of their friends at the prison and the dispersion of survivors.

He recounted his dark past and how he followed his brother Merle in making bad decisions. It was a poignant retrospection.


Beth, on the other hand, proved she could survive on her own and not just be Maggie's sister. She had an intense scene with a walker. One of the best I have seen in this Season.

This may not be the best episode but a worthy filler episode until we get to the last four episodes. The last scene where Beth and Daryl burn down the house reflects their decision to forget the past and move on.  Brilliant.

If you miss the episode, you may watch by clicking this link.


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Selfie of Ellen, Bradlley & Others Earns The Most Retweets Of All Time

Another award goes to Ellen DeGeneres who earns the most retweets of all time with over 2 million RT and counting.



While hosting the 86th Academy Awards, Ellen and other celebrities made an epic selfie photo  that beats Barack Obama's previous record.


The tweet received 921,000 retweets in less than 40 minutes. Later DeGeneres announced at the Oscars show, looking at Meryl Streep, that they made history and "crashed" @Twitter.

What made this extra special? It is Meryl's first tweet. After the group selfie, she was heard saying " I've never tweeted before."






Watch the video here :
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And The Oscar Goes To...

The awards season ended with the most anticipated 86th Academy Awards.  It was an exciting night. As Ellen Degeneres said "Anything could happen tonight. So many possibilities. Possibility number 1, 12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number 2, you are all racists." And she was right to predict it would win.

Here are the winners :
  
Best Picture: "12 Years A Slave"



Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"



Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"




Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"



Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"



Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave"



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