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Terrifying New Wasp Species Named After Harry Potter Creature

The Ampulex dementor. (Ohl et al.)

After a round of public voting, a newly-discovered Thai wasp species has officially been named Ampulex dementor, inspired by the soul-sucking dementors in Harry Potter.

Dementors — for those who don’t live and breathe fictional wizardry — are hooded, flying creatures that suck victims’ souls out through their mouths, leaving them cold, lifeless shells of their former selves. Read More

Wiki World

Wikipedia’s Big Data Can Be Used to Predict Summer Box-Office Hits

Robert Downey Jr. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

If you turned to Wikipedia for a pre-Avengers deep dive into the Marvel canon or refresher on Harry Potter’s defenses against the dark arts, you are apparently not alone. What’s more, your digital breadcrumbs might be a preview of coming box-office receipts. A team of researchers has shown that Wikipedia data can predict how popular a film will be.

A team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics looked at 312 movies that came out in 2010 (think Inception, Toy Story 3 and Twilight: Eclipse) and built a mathematical model that measured the number of readers and editors for the movie’s Wiki page. The model’s data was juxtaposed with box office earnings and showed almost a 77 percent correlation between popularity on Wikipedia and big opening weekends. Read More

Paper Barons

J.K. Rowling Disses Apple and Amazon, Embraces Crowdsourced Storytelling

Just follow the owl

Pottermore, the mysterious website that will become the online hub for all thing Harry Potter, made waves across the e-book industry today.

In a video posted to the site this morning, J.K. Rowling, who personally owns the digital rights to her work, revealed that she will be cutting out the middleman and selling audio and e-books of future Harry Potter stories through the Pottermore site.

Perhaps more interestingly, through a series of cool stop-motion animations, Rowling revealed that she will be bringing Harry Potter’s enormous fan community into the creative process. Read More