How to take a self-portrait if you're a robot on mars

Curiosity has learned about the Myspace angle.

The Mars Curiosity rover continues to lad about on the red planet. Yesterday it drilled a hole in a rock for the hell of it*, today it's started taking Myspace selfies:

Nasa has also released a Gigapan version of the shot, which lets you zoom in on any part of the picture to an extraordinary degree. Here's the Nasa logo on the front corner of the rover:

But the thing that's really impressive is that the whole thing is done without actually revealing where the camera is. When I first saw it, I assumed that the rover had a detachable camera it could set up on a tripod, but no; it's actually far cleverer than that. It's a montage of a lot of different shots, all cleverly placed so as to keep the arm which holds the camera out-of-frame. Here's a video of how it was done (the embed link is, sadly, broken).

 

Curiosity has passed the mindless-destruction phase and reached the vanity stage. If puberty continues at this rate, expect to find it curled up at the base of Olympus Mons with an empty six-pack of Strongbow and a headache by May.

*to test if its drill worked

Curiosity is happy to see you. All photographs: NASA

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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“The very beautiful, very troubled JANE”: quoting scripts to highlight film industry sexism

A producer is tweeting the introductions for female characters in the scripts he reads, verbatim. It’s not pretty.

Producer Ross Putman was growing tired of clichéd, sexist descriptions of women in film scripts. “The more that I read, the more I started to recognise some pretty awful constants,” he told Jezebel. “Women are first and foremost described as ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’, or – my personal blow-my-brains-out-favorite, ‘stunning’. I went back and combed through past scripts too, and the patterns were pretty disconcerting.”

After finding himself “posting to Facebook far too often”, Putman decided to start a Twitter page cataloguing every introduction of a female character he found distasteful. The account, @FemScriptIntros, amassed 40,000 followers in days, prompting a kaleidoscope of heated reactions: stunned, angered, not-surprised-but-disappointed.

Reading like bad erotica, the introductions range from hackneyed to surreal, but can be broadly divided into two camps: Jane is either obviously beautiful, or beautiful, but not, like, in an obvious way. “The suggestion is that women are only valuable if they’re ‘beautiful’,” Putman added.

“Changing the names to JANE for me, while maintaining that focus on systemic issues, also – at least, I think – demonstrates how female characters are often thought about in the same, simplistic and often degrading way. [...] Jane has no control over her role in this world – which is far too often to be solely an object of desire, motivating the male characters that actually have agency in the script.”

So, meet Jane, in all her (limited) forms.

Jane: the clear stunner


Jane: gorgeous, but doesn’t know it


Jane: pretty, yet over 25?!


Jane: beautiful, but troubled

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.