EDITOR'S NOTE: SOME STAR WARS STUFF UPCOMING CAN BE CATEGORIZED. AND THEN, THERE ARE THESE STRAGGLERS ---
OK...THIS FIRST ONE CAN BE CATEGORIZED...EU, BABY!....BUT IT'S HOT.
(GAMEMASTER DAVE.....DARTH BANE! YOUR BOY!)Coming 2006: Darth Bane Novel
The Sith were in shambles. In-fighting among their ranks allowed the Jedi to thwart their dark plans. One last battle to end an era resulted in the extinction of the Sith. Or so it was believed -- one Dark Lord survived.
From the ashes emerged Darth Bane, the lone Sith who was able to foresee the inevitable doom of the misguided order, and learn from this costly lesson. He forged a new order of secretive Sith, plotting from the shadows, carefully rebuilding power a generation at a time for centuries until the revenge of the Sith could finally be achieved.
Who was this Dark Lord? What events forged the man who would split from the Sith ranks and entirely redefine the order?
Readers will find out in the forthcoming hardcover novel, Star Wars: Path of Destruction, A Novel of the Old Republic.
Set over a thousand years before the events of A New Hope
, and just prior to the events of the Jedi vs. Sith
comics series, this novel by author Drew Karypyshyn is scheduled for release in October of 2006 from Del Rey Books.
Keep checking starwars.com as more information becomes available EDITOR'S NOTE: WOOHOO. THEY ARE FINALLY GOING TO FLESH-OUT THE ANCIENT YEARS. WOOHOO, WOOHOO.AND From DWEEBPAL Patrick S (WHO THINKS MY LITTLE RAV4 NEEDS SOME CUSTOMIZING):
ILM Receives Medal
George Lucas' VFX company Industrial Light & Magic will receive the 2004 National Medal of Technology, along with two individuals and four other companies. The award is given out by the Dept. of Commerce and given annually by the president, is the country's highest honor for innovation.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez yesterday congratulated the recipients of the nation’s highest honor for technological innovation.
“I join President Bush in congratulating the 2004 National Medal of Technology laureates,” said Gutierrez. “Their creativity and willingness to take risks to achieve technological breakthroughs have helped make America the leader in innovation.”
ILM is being honored for "over 28 years of innovations in visual effects technology for the motion picture industry."
The National Medal of Technology, bestowed by the President since 1985 as the nation’s highest award for innovation, was mandated by Congress in 1980 to recognize the significant contributions that America's leading innovators have made to the nation's economic strength and standard of living. A distinguished, independent committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive solicitation process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary, who makes recommendations to the President for a final decision.
No date for the official White House ceremony has been set yet. EDITOR'S NOTE: I BET UNCLE GEORGE IS HOPING FOR A 2008 CEREMONY. (OTHERWISE, WHAT TO WEAR WHEN EXPLAINING ADVANCED IDEAS USING VERY VERY SMALL WORDS?)EDITOR'S NOTE: AND NOW....THE EDUCATIONAL PORTION OF THIS POST ---Exploring Real Life VaractylsIn Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi relied on the trusty female varactyl Boga EDITOR'S NOTE: I GUESS THIS ANSWERS THE QUESTION WE WERE DEBATING ABOUT WHETHER 'BOGA' WAS THE SPECIES NAME OR THE CRITTER'S NAME. to sneak up on and then chase down General Grievous on the sinkhole planet of Utapau. These native cliff-climbing lizards, prized as loyal and smart creatures, are often used as quick transport from one place to another.
In real life, Boga resembles a wide variety of reptiles including iguanas, geckos, Komodo Dragons, regal horned lizards, frilled lizards, and even prehistoric dinosaurs. Boga was brought to life as a computer-animated creature.
To get Boga's movements as lifelike as possible, Industrial Light & Magic Animation Director Rob Coleman and his team refined Boga's run cycle by studying actual nature footage of various running lizards. Take a look at some of the lizards that may be the closest creatures we have to varactyls here in this galaxy. You might be surprised how many reptiles resemble and act like Boga in more ways than one
What real-life lizards make sounds like Boga and why?
While most lizards and various reptiles do not communicate by using sounds, geckos (Phelsuma madagascariensis) do. Out of the 800 different species of geckos, some create a clicking noise that mimics the actual word "gecko," which may explain how they got their name. These chirping and clicking noises could be used to defend their territory or attract a mate.
Where do most lizards live on Earth?
Currently, there are over 4, 675 documented lizard species that dwell on this planet. The unusual frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) lives in the tropical and warm-temperate forests of northern Australia and in New Guinea, as do geckos and iguanas (Iguana spp.) who can live in a variety of warm habitats, including rainforests, deserts, and marshes -- and are often kept as domesticated pets around the world. Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis) live in hot grasslands and tropical forests, primarily in Indonesia. Regal horned lizards (Phrynosoma solare) prefer an arid climate much like Utapau, and are found mostly in the western region of the United States and Mexico.
How do lizards climb on steep walls and cave ceilings like Boga does on Utapau's sinkholes?
Geckos are best known for being able to defy gravity as they climb smooth walls and upside down on ceilings. Underneath their toes they have "lamellae" (large overlapping plates) which are covered by thousands of microscopic spatula-shaped prongs called "setae" that operate like tiny suction cups. However, in order not to damage the delicate lamellae, geckos must pick up their toes one by one when moving -- which gives the lizard a funny waddling walk. In addition to gecko, other lizards like iguanas can climb walls at a 90 degree angle.
How do different lizards defend themselves against predators?
Female varactyls like Boga have rigid spines along their tails providing defense; the erect spines can hurt any creature attempting to bite at the tail. Their heads are also protected by an armored skull of dense bone.
For most real-life lizards, like geckos and iguanas, tails are their weakest body parts for a special reason. When a predator grabs it, the tail can easily break off, allowing the lizard to escape. The tail may grow back after awhile, but it will never be fully restored to the original size.
The frilled lizard will hiss and use its frill -- a bit of scaly skin around the neck that looks like an open umbrella -- to ward off approaching enemies, and can run away on its hind legs.
Iguanas can flee from predators by diving from trees from as high up as 15 meters (50 feet) without getting hurt! In addition to using its spines to injure an enemy, the horned lizard will also spurt blood from the corners of its eyes for a dramatic warning. EDITOR'S NOTE: THAT'D WORK ON ME!
Which lizards are good swimmers?
Boga has waterproof scaled skin and like all varactyls, is a powerful swimmer. Varactyls only swim in the grottos when the hot sun shines directly overhead, warming the waters below. To swim in later hours exposes the varactyl to grotto dangers such as the predatory nos monster. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO NAMED CAUSE IT NOSSES ON VARACTYLS. (SORRY).
In real life, it's the iguana that likes to swim for food. The marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) of the Galápagos Islands not only is an impressive swimmer, but its black skin helps to keep its body warm after swimming in the cold ocean. Which lizards resemble Boga the most?
Boga has a pebbled skin with an iridescent green and blue sheen. A bright crown of colored feathers fringes her head and neck, trailing away from her beaked face and keen eyes. Her powerful limbs end in five-toed feet, tipped with curved claws which come in handy while climbing sandstone surfaces. And her long tail helps her balance. She is a massive 15 meters long.
Generally speaking, most lizards have a small head, short neck, and long body and tail. Lizards tend to have mostly dry and scaly skin that they shed, or molt, to make way for the new skin growth underneath. The scale-size and color on lizards vary, depending on where they live. Many lizards have scales that closely blend in with the background, like the frilled lizard who uses this skin camouflage to protect itself against predators. Iguanas also use their green coloring to hide amongst plants and trees. Iguanas' whip-like tails compose about half of their body length, much like Boga. The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard, measuring up to three meters (10 feet) long and weighing up to 80 kilograms (176 pounds)! Regal horned lizards have a set of four equally-spaced horns on the back of the head, as well as spines down its body much like those of Boga.
Do any lizards with feathers exist here?
While no modern-day lizards feature feathers on their bodies, it has been discovered that the ancient reptiles that roamed Earth over 200 million years ago may have.
Recently, paleontologists have learned that some dinosaurs, which represent the missing link between lizards and birds, exhibited feathers. The Caudipteryx had feathers on its tail (more for show than to help it fly), while the Tyrannosaurus Rex ancestor Dilong paradoxus exhibited feather-like structures on its body that resembled hollow tubes. The Microraptor had feathers covering both its arms and legs.
Because many predator dinosaurs like the T-Rex and Velociraptors share in common more than 100 physical features with birds such as a wishbone and three forward-pointing toes, scientists have argued for decades that modern-day birds did indeed evolve from egg-laying dinosaurs.
What do real lizards like to eat?
Boga likes to eat rock-hugging green-muck from the lower, wetter levels and the succulent roots that grow in the porous rocks. However, unlike Boga, most lizards prefer meat.
Frilled lizards dine on bugs like cicadas, ants, and spiders, as well as smaller lizards. Geckos also munch on bugs, but balance out their diet with bananas and other fruits as well as flower nectar.
Most iguanas share Boga's craving for fruits, flower buds, and leaves, but occasionally like to snack on a juicy mealworm!
One of the deadliest lizards in existence -- the Komodo Dragon -- prefers to attack its dinner with an extremely toxic bite. Because they carry strains of deadly bacteria in their saliva, Komodo Dragons can attack larger animals (as big as a deer) than most reptiles can handle. A dragon may eat 60 percent of its body weight at one time!
If you would like to learn more about the lizards that inspired the varactyls, please visit your local or school library for more detailed books.EDITOR'S NOTE: STUDY UP, DWEEBPALS. THERE COULD BE A POP QUIZ AT ANY MOMENT!