Currently Browsing: Pottercast
Apr 9, 2013
The Polyjuice Potion has yet to be perfected and science can’t seem to figure out flying on a broomstick, but, finally, Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak is one step closer to reality.
Yes, you read that correctly Harry Potter fans: Researchers at the University of Texas claim to have created an invisibility cloak, similar to the one that saved Harry, Ron and Hermione countless times in the world-renowned seven-book saga.
In their study, published in the March 26 issue of the New Journal of Physics, researchers describe their ultra-thin cloak made of a material called metascreen, which consists of copper strips attached to flexible polycarbonate film. The cloak makes 3D objects invisible from any direction.
What’s the catch? As of now, it only works in microwave light.
The scientist’s cloak, dubbed a “mantle cloak” (we still like “invisibility cloak” better), successfully concealed an 18 cm cylindrical rod in microwave light.
That sounds great, you say, but when can I use it in the real world?
Although the mantle cloak doesn’t work in visible light yet, Professor Andrea Alu, one of the study’s authors, says there’s hope.
“In principle this technique could also be used to cloak light,” Alu said.
To create the cloak, these researchers took a different tactic than previous attempts, which tried to bend light rays around objects so the rays don’t scatter or reflect off the object. Instead, this cloak uses a technique called mantle cloaking to cancel out light waves that bounce off the object.
“When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation,” Alu said.
Scientists have made objects invisible before, but previous methods have all involved bulky devices and cumbrous methods, unlike this 0.15 mm cloak.
Researchers say that if the mantle cloak works in visible light in the future, it could have practical uses, such as in noninvasive sensing devices or biomedical instruments.
But until then, Harry Potter enthusiasts will have to remain content with chocolate frogs that don’t jump, human-manufactured Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and Quidditch tournaments on the ground.
Apr 8, 2013
Poll for International Children’s Book Day also sees Roald Dahl declared best author
The magic of Harry Potter has narrowly edged out the charms of the Gruffalo to see the boy wizard named the best ever fictional character by children. In fact the boy wizard was chosen by parents too as the best book character.
JK Rowling’s creation won 38% of kids’ votes in a survey of 1,037 parents and their children, with Julia Donaldson’s monster picking up 34%, and the Cat in the Hat 28%. But Rowling missed out in the competition to be named best ever children’s author, with kids voting instead for Roald Dahl. Dahl took half of children’s votes, with Rowling voted for by 30%. A surprise success for Beatrix Potter saw the Peter Rabbit creator come in third, with 20% of the vote from children.
Roald Dahl has beaten Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to be named best children’s author of all time by parents and their children.
The much-loved writer remains a firm favourite of children today, more than 50 years since the publication of James and The Giant Peach – Dahl’s first major children’s book.
Parents and children were asked to list their top three children’s authors and top three characters for a survey to mark International Children’s Book Day today.
Children listed Dahl first, followed by J.K. Rowling and Beatrix Potter.
Their parents also picked Dahl as first choice, with Enid Blyton second and Rowling third.
The Gruffalo and The Cat in the Hat were second and third choice for children, while their parents picked Blyton’s Famous Five and Dahl’s BFG.
The survey was carried out by discount book chain The Works to mark International Children’s Book Day. “It’s great to see classic children’s books and characters are still holding favour with kids throughout Britain, with parents’ own preferences presumably swaying their little ones’ reading habits,” said chief executive Kevin Keaney. “More than half (51%) of the parents polled said their children read the same books as they did, showing tastes haven’t changed and classics remain popular.”
Keaney revealed that 29% of parents surveyed said their children owned e-readers, but 88% still read paper books. “It’s also great to see that ebooks aren’t taking over,” said Keaney.
Mar 31, 2013
You may be able to recite the Sorting Hat’s song and rattle off different spells, but don’t get into a “Who’s the Bigger Harry Potter Fan?” contest with Alice Finch. The certifiable Potterhead spent 12 months building an incredible 400,000-piece, 170-square-foot Lego replica of Hogwarts Castle that puts your fan fiction to shame.
In addition to its massive size, the most impressive thing about the Lego castle is its depth of detail. Clearly Finch is a smart woman (probably a Ravenclaw) who thought to include a Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom with a closet for a boggart (à la Prisoner of Azkaban), the Chamber of Secrets, and even the Grey Lady. She also helpfully uploaded a 79-photo Flickr album of the whole castle so fellow superfans can properly obsess.
In an interview with Lego blog The Brothers Brick, Finch explained she got inspired by Lego building with her young sons, and that they, along with her husband, helped her finish this massive project. She also discussed how much time went into getting Hogwarts ready for (toy) students. The castle was finally finished in October for the annual Lego festival Brick-Con, where Finch went on to win “People’s Choice” and “Best in Show” last year — not to mention probably about a million honorary house points.
Mar 4, 2013
Visitors to Making of Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros’ Studios in Watford asked to pay £13 for a bag of sweets
Harry Potter fans doing the studio tour are being charged spell-binding prices for merchandise, the Sunday People can reveal.
Hard-pressed parents, forced to leave through the gift shop, are furious at being asked to fork out nearly £500 for a cloak, £25 for a plastic wand and £13 for a bag of sweets.
That’s after paying entrance prices of £29 for adults and £21.50 for children at the Making of Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios in Watford, Herts.
After his tour, JeremyGC said on website TripAdvisor: “Warner Brothers, your pricing is obscene and immoral.”
The steepest price was £495.95 for a replica of the cloak worn by Professor Dumbledore – played by Michael Gambon, 72.
Dumbledore’s replica robes priced at £500
For £250 you would get a pink ballgown like the one worn by Hermione Granger – played by Emma Watson, 22, in 2007 film Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix.
A Gryffindor house jumper is priced at £75 with a matching scarf at £25.
The plastic replica of a wand like that used by star Daniel Radcliffe, 23, would set you back £24.99.
And for sweets, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans cost £9 and 200g of sherbert lemons sets you back £13.
Prices on the tour, which takes visitors to the set where the eight films based on JK Rowling’s bestselling books were shot, have not gone down well.
JeremyGC added: “The tour was great, no doubt about it. The gift shop on the other hand, which conveniently ends the tour, was stocked with all sorts of wizardy wonderfuls that had the kids’ eyes out on stalks.
“I was expecting to pay above average and I understand they have the opportunity to make a profit but to try to take advantage of families in this way…
“I felt sorry for the poor parents whose kids had begged them into buying something.”
A second visitor called Alech described the prices as a “disgrace”, adding: “All the staff around the tour are friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable.
“The only bad thing about the whole tour is the price of merchandise.
“It is an absolute disgrace. £25 for a plastic wand, £25 for a scarf, £12 for a small jar of sweets, keyrings at £7, £8, £9… I don’t see why they need to price things so high.”
Other items available in the shop include a Harry Potter numbered 07 grey zip-up Quidditch top for £44.95, a red Gryffindor vest for £17.95 and witch hats for £24.95.
After its official opening last year, the Potter attraction came under scrutiny for being too expensive.
A family of four would pay £85 to get into the attraction, and that cost does not include a tour guide.
Visitors can listen to a pre-recorded audio tour if they’re willing to fork out an extra £4.95 for the privilege.
A spokeswoman for Warner Brothers insisted many of the souvenirs were at pocket money prices, while the pricier ones were exclusive items.
She said: “The gift shop offers a wide range of products, from pocket money items through to rare collectables and hand-signed artwork.
“More than a quarter of the items are under £10 and many of the products on offer are not available to buy anywhere else in the UK.”
Jan 1, 2013
King’s Cross Station is one of the main railway stations to serve London. More importantly, in the Harry Potter novels and films Hogwarts students use the station to access their specialized train on Platform 9¾. A sign was put up for Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross in honor of the series, but now the station has gone one step further.
Earlier this month, The Harry Potter Shop opened at the famous location to provide fans all their Harry Potter needs. The store, which will sell licensed merchandise from the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, is the only one of its kind in London, and will also offer official photographs of visitors with the popular disappearing luggage trolley at platform 9 ¾, where Harry began his journey to Hogwarts in ‘The Philospher’s Stone’.
Ollivander’s wand shop?
Watch Warwick Davis, who plays Professor Filius Flitwick in the film series, open the store in the video below.
Extract of a review of the Harry Potter shop from The Guardian:
The shop is similarly styled to the wand shop imagined by JK Rowling, Ollivander’s. It is wooden panelled with lots of drawers and even has similar light fixtures. Though it’s not as dimly lighted and, sadly, the staff don’t come up to you and say: “The wand choses the wizard,” as you look around.
You can buy a generic Ollivander’s wand or replicas of the wands used by the cast in the films – Harry’s, Ron’s, Hermione’s, the professors’, or even the Triwizard champions’ wands. The prices vary but the cheapest was £22.99. It seems expensive but, if you have searched for Potter merchandise online before, this is pretty standard. The shop is under license from Warner Brothers so it makes sense that the prices match up.
There are also collectable items such as a time turner, a small Triwizard cup and – something I thought was really cool – a display of Horcruxes. You could buy the ring or the locket, again rather pricey but, at the same time, very tempting. Especially the time turner.
Items on sale at the Platform 9 ¾ store include character’s wands, Hogwarts clothing, collectors jewelry and crafted figures, as well as the series of books themselves.