AP answers your questions on the news, from Sarah Palin’s memoir to how 3-D movies are made

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ask AP: Palin’s best-seller, making 3-D movies

Sarah Palin wrapped up her new memoir “Going Rogue” in just four months after the book deal was announced — you betcha she did! — but did she write it alone, or did she have help?

Curiosity about the making of Palin’s best-seller inspired one of the questions in this edition of “Ask AP,” a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers’ questions about the news.

If you have your own news-related question that you’d like to see answered by an AP reporter or editor, send it to newsquestions(at)ap.org, with “Ask AP” in the subject line. And please include your full name and hometown so they can be published with your question.

You can also find Ask AP on AP Mobile, a multimedia news portal available on Internet-enabled mobile devices. Go to www.apnews.com/ to learn more.

In a recent AP story, Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer said a 3-D version of “Men in Black” is being considered, and he said it isn’t clear what other Sony movies might be reissued in 3-D.

It’s my understanding that a 3-D movie is photographed using two different images, one for each eye.

So has Sony been shooting its films in 3-D for years but just releasing them in 2-D? Or is the company planning to re-shoot those old 2-D titles from their film library in 3-D? Or is it planning to use some sort of fake 3-D simulation process on the original films?

Jon Larimore

Arlington, Va.

According to the people at Sony Corp., CEO Howard Stringer was referring to an upcoming “Men in Black” movie, which would be the third in the series.

It’s still in development, and the company’s movie studio is considering shooting and releasing it in 3-D, but it hasn’t made a decision yet.

Indeed, 3-D movies require two images. For live-action sequences, that generally requires a special camera set-up that captures left-eye and right-eye images. For animated movies, that can be done on a computer.

Sony has developed its own single-lens 3-D camera, which it showcased in Japan in October.

But the studio says it hasn’t been shooting its 2-D films with 3-D cameras and squirreling away the footage.

It has developed some 3-D titles, including the recent “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” ”Open Season” (2006) and “Monster House” (2006). It’s possible those films may be rereleased in 3-D on home video as televisions catch up with the technology in theaters.

There are also ways of converting old 2-D movies into 3-D artificially. Sony says it is monitoring such developments but has not yet announced any plans to remaster 2-D hits from its library into 3-D.

Ryan Nakashima

AP Business Writer

Los Angeles

Who actually wrote Sarah Palin’s book?

Phil Scott

Vancouver, Wash.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate is the credited author of her best-selling memoir, “Going Rogue,” with assistance from Lynn Vincent, a writer and features editor for World magazine, a conservative Christian publication. Vincent is a San Diego resident who has written or co-written several books, including “Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime and Corruption in the Democratic Party.”

Palin reportedly spent weeks in San Diego shortly after resigning as Alaska governor and worked on the manuscript with her collaborator. The folksy memoir was completed just four months after the book deal was announced.

In the book’s acknowledgements, Palin thanks Vincent for her “indispensable help in getting the words on paper.”

Rachel D’Oro

Associated Press Writer

Anchorage, Alaska

We’ve all gotten e-mails asking that you forward them to all your friends to help cure a disease, be given the wish of your choice or become disgustingly wealthy. I’m sure someone is benefiting from jamming the Internet with all these e-mails, but I’m at a loss to figure out what that benefit might be. Can you explain?

Bill Hart

Canton, Ohio

Even if a spam e-mail isn’t trying to sell you something, the person who sent it is probably trying to defraud you in another way.

One kind of spam tries to sell you things, like Viagra. Some senders of these messages will actually deliver products to their buyers. But such messages often link to sites that try to steal your credit card number or give you a computer virus that can be used to control your computer and carry out online crimes.

Another variety promises some freebie, like pornographic pictures or a fun video or timely news story. This kind of spam rarely delivers anything but headaches. You are told you need to open an attachment to view the images, but the attachment can contain a virus, allowing the sender to can take control of your computer and use it to send out more spam.

Some chain letters are just harmless hocus-pocus — a cute story with a prompt to forward it to 10 friends or risk a year of bad luck. But this type of game can be malicious, too, opening you and your friends up to even more malicious spam as your e-mail addresses get forwarded around the Web.

Criminals pump out spam constantly because it is a dirt-cheap way to do a digital stickup. It’s essentially free to send, which is why about 90 percent of the world’s e-mail is spam.

Jordan Robertson

AP Technology Writer

San Francisco

Have questions of your own? Send them to newsquestions(at)ap.org.

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