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The Rick Baker Show - Episode 43 - 7/1/16
On this episode, the first of July (on the first of July) Frank and I welcome special effects legend THE Rick Baker. If you're not aware of Rick Baker, you should be! He's worked on so many iconic shows including Star Wars, Harry and The Hendersons, Men in Black, American Werewolf in London and many, many more. Frank and I are honored to have him on the show. Enjoy it! If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening!
00:00:00 / 01:19:42
Terrence Malick Filmed a Documentary in IMAX

Mark October 6th on your calendars, because that's when director Terrence Malick's documentary about the history of the universe will be released in IMAX theaters. The doc, which Malick has apparently been working on in between his other films, is sort of a tie-in to the themes and visuals explored in The Tree of Life. This first trailer gives a glimpse of the beautiful shots that my retinas can't wait to savor in theaters.

What Killing the 3.5mm Headphone Jack Could Mean for Android Phones

When choosing a new smartphone, it's often hard to find something with literally every feature you want. You might have to go without things like wireless charging or the latest and greatest processor in order to get the best overall fit. However, one thing you haven't had to worry about losing is the headphone jack. That may well be a real concern in the not too distant future.

Motorola is has announced the Moto Z without a headphone jack, and although this isn't the first foray into Android phones without a standard 3.5mm jack, it's certainly the most high profile.

Headphone History

In some ways, this feels like a real blast from the past. The first few Android phones in 2008 and 2009 didn't have headphone jacks either. Back then, HTC was fond of the extUSB port, a tweaked version of a standard miniUSB with a few extra pins that could carry analog audio. This graced such iconic devices as the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) and HTC Magic (Google Ion/T-Mobile MyTouch 3G). A version of the latter was re-released later with a 3.5mm headphone jack because let's face it, not having a headphone jack is annoying.

A headphone jack is the standard way of outputting analog audio, but the early experiments in jackless phones were doing that as well. You could use an adapter for the extUSB port to get a standard 3.5mm jack, or use headphones with extUSB. I think about four of those ever existed because it was far too early to ditch the 3.5mm jack.

However you get audio out of your phone, it needs to be an analog signal when it reached your ears -- something has to process the digital signal, and thus far that has always happened in the phone with a DAC (digital to analog converter). Some phones have toyed with using more powerful, high-end DACs for a supposedly better audio experience. LG even sells a DAC module for the G5 in some markets.

A few OEMs think that the move to the reversible USB Type-C plug is the perfect time to get rid of the old standard, but it might not be a clean break with the past.

Tested: The Best Ways to Sear a Steak!

Summer is here, and it's time for some food science! We team up with Serious Eats' Managing Culinary Director J. Kenji López-Alt to test for an ideal way to sear a steak. Adam and Kenji discuss some misconceptions about steak searing, and test four searing methods at different temperatures.

Watch Kevin Tong Design His C-3PO Info•Rama Poster

Artist Kevin Tong, along with Tom Whalen and Matt Taylor, are currently exhibiting an InfoRama poster exhibit in partnership with Mondo in Austin, TX. Kevin's C-3PO infographic is a complement to his popular R2-D2 piece from 2010, and we're fortunate enough to get a glimpse of his design process in this screen-captured timelapse.

Tested: eVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Video Card

I'd crown the new GTX 1070 as the new God-Emperor of gaming GPUs, except that this card really the baby sister to the GTX 1080, which offers even better performance. On the other hand, eVGA's GeForce GTX 1070 SC costs $439 -- $10 shy of Nvidia's own "Founder's Edition" -- while delivering clock frequencies roughly 6% higher than the reference clocks. Audible noise levels seem slightly lower as well.

While I ran the usual set of benchmarks on the card, I've been living with with eVGA's GTX 1070 in my main system for nearly a week, running games on my 3440 x 1440 pixel Dell U3415w display. Subjectively, I could tell little difference between this card and the GTX 1080 Founder's Edition I'd been running. I did have to dial back ambient occlusion a bit in Tom Clancy's The Division. Doom, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, XCOM2, and several VR titles on the HTC Vive all seemed to run with excellent frame rates on gorgeously high settings.

So What's a GTX 1070?

Take a part that starts out life as a potential GTX 1080 GPU, disable one graphics processing cluster, and voila! You now have a GTX 1070 chip. Each graphics processing cluster consists of 5 graphics compute cores (which Nivdia dubs "streaming multiprocessors" or SMs for short). Let's break down the differences with the reference design -- er, Founder's Edition –in the table below.

The GTX 1070 uses less exotic GDDR5 memory, clocking said memory at a pretty serious 4GHz – faster than the 7gbps memory used in previous generations. So the GTX 1070 includes fewer shader cores, slightly lower clock frequencies, slower memory, and should cost roughly $300 less.

Nvidia suggests some 3rd party cards will be priced as low as $379, though all currently available 1070 cards seem to cost more than $400. Availability remains tight, but a cards from MSI and Gigabyte seem to be available. Supply will no doubt catch up with demand after several months.

How To Slush Cast a Prop Helmet

This week's special project is all about casting! We're in Frank's shop to show you how to create a hollow resin cast of a helmet using slush casting. Here's how slush casting compares to other methods, a demonstration of the full process, as well as tips for your own projects!

Tested: Kyosho RC Surfer 3 Electric Surfboard

I really dig unique RC models, and Kyosho's RC Surfer 3 definitely fits that description. While it looks just like a model surfboard--right down to the handsome dude riding on top--it is also part powerboat. It can ride waves at the beach or make waves of its own further inland.

A Powered Surfboard

RC surfboards are not a new thing. As the name suggests, the RC Surfer 3 ($230) is Kyosho's third variation on the theme. The basic design is a carryover from earlier models, but there are numerous equipment and cosmetic updates that make the most recent version more contemporary.

The surfboard itself is comprised of a molded plastic hull. A waterproof servo actuates a rudder at the tail of the board. This unique rudder resembles an inverted "U" shape. I'm not sure if the intent of this shape is to allow the rudder to double as a kickstand when RC Surfer is on land, but that functionality is there.

Kyosho's RC Surfer 3 is an updated version of a design that has been around for years. It can be driven at the beach or on a pond.

The onboard electronics are an interesting mixture of old and new technology. Propulsion is provided by an old-school brushed can motor with a direct-drive link to the prop via a solid shaft in a stuffing tube. It is undeniably low-tech, but also dead simple and reliable.

A modern ESC is provided for throttle control. Like the steering servo, this device is also waterproof. The ESC has two physical jumpers that are used to enable/disable reverse capability and to choose low-voltage cut-off for NiMH or LiPo batteries.