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May 31, 2008

John Adams must be smiling in heaven

The Telegraph observes European anti-Americanism, describes America as a force for good and somehow concludes Americans need to project a better image in Europe. Americans - most likely inbound from Instapundit - respond in the comments. One of my favourites.

I'm always slightly amused by these inane popularity polls. Anyone who knows just a bit of the history of this country knows that our forefathers thought very little of Europeans. Europeans were considered as corrupt and effeminate (little has changed in 232 years). America was by design the "anti-Europe." The fact that Europeans hate us today means we are doing something right. John Adams must be smiling in heaven.

I also liked another comment back-handing Canada for its "phony niceness".

Posted by the Flea at 05:23 AM | Comments (12)

The Cramps: Bikini girls with machine guns

With a shout out to the Canadian dextrosphere. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 04:57 AM

From the surface of the red planet

Canada on Mars.

Unlike so much of Canadian nationalism, these kinds of things aren’t about other people - about being better than them, or more moral, or different, or any of that pointless nonsense. It’s only about us and the things we can do.
Posted by the Flea at 04:54 AM

May 30, 2008

Bleed Like Me

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O frabjus day: There is to be another season of The Summer Glau Chronicles and Shirley Manson is to feature in it (details may count as spoilers).

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is already the top-rated new series on television, and one of this season’s few bona fide hits. Now, the show is about to become even more watchable as Garbage’s Shirley Manson makes her first venture into non-music video acting and joins Terminator’s cast as a regular, probably starting this fall

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related, and also via Agent Bedhead: A collective nerdgasm reported at Popbitch.

"Comic fans are having a collective nerdgasm about fantasy superstar Neil Gaiman writing Dr Who for 2010. (Neil once resigned from Today newspaper when asked to write a story on Dungeons & Dragons converting British children to Satanism.)"

Also related: Flea. Needs. This. "Dandi Gentlemen Need Tech Too." (hat tip to Capt. H).

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM | Comments (5)

The perfect and its enemy

A reader writes to Jonah Goldberg on Tolkien and liberal fascism (via Five Feet of Fury).

In his books, the Enemy always starts with seemingly fair motives, even to himself; motives of ordering the world, crafting it into the ideal, mastering the convulsions that threaten to rip it apart. But, being as there are free creatures in the world (Elves, Dwarves, and Men), their willing subservience too is needed to achieve the overall goal. If assent is not achieved willingly, then it is attempted via deception, and at the last by force if nothing else will do. The ideal and its achievement, and thus the glory of the one or ones achieveing it, is placed above all else.
...
Religions, particularly Judeo-Christianity, teach us that the ideal world cannot be achieved by man, and that, in fact, he is the very reason it cannot be achieved. Fascism denies this wholesale.

To put this another way, regardless of the ontological status of Christian truth-claims, we need Christianity - or something very like it - to protect us from the will to perfection. Our fallibility must be defended.

Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

May 29, 2008

Schiller & Sarah Brightman: The Smile (in concert)

Did anyone else notice a radical improvement in their computer audio since Vista Service Pack 1? My not terribly impressive monitors sound ten times better than they did two days ago. It is also now remotely possible I can get my outboard soundcard to do what it is supposed to do (may Native Instruments' tech support be thrice cursed).

Seriously, if you are on Vista, listen to this as a for instance. The panning, the mids, the lows, everything; even the ambient hiss sounds better. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Update: Ok, probably imagining things now but I think my font resolution also improved with my reboot.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)

Ladytron: Ghosts

LadytronVelocifero2.jpg

New Ladytron. Everything else is on hold. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

With Velocifero, the band’s fourth studio album, Ladytron has slimmed things down somewhat and has produced a more undemanding electro-pop record. While 2005’s Witching Hour marked a creative high point, this 2008 release is more accessible and less experimental than most of their previous work.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Who

Well... (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen)

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have

How to catch wild pigs.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Adulthood

Fenris Badwulf does not trust anyone who cannot be trusted with a gun.

The culture I was brought up in, taught me to respect dangerous objects and situations. To be an adult, one was expected to be adult-like around such things as bandsaws, punch presses, moving belts, and firearms. Anyone who was not trusted, was not an adult.

Somewhere between 1975 and now, the culture I was promised, was changed.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

May 28, 2008

Civics

I would have done better on this Civics Quiz if I had not misread a President's name (via AoSHQ).

My results:

You answered 53 out of 60 correctly — 88.33 %
Average score for this quiz during May: 73.4%
Average score since September 18, 2007: 73.4%

One President's name aside, I am embarrassed at my Jamestown error; no excuse for not having got that one right. Still, given 69.56% was the Harvard average, I am pleased. Then there is the small fact of my not being American. I would be interested to see how Harvard students would fair on a quiz in Canadian civics. Ten out of ten on this Canadian History Quiz should not be too much to ask of Canadian Flea-readers.

Update: The Drink Soaked Trots are taking the test, notwithstanding its slant toward free markets.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (8)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Zack Snyder announces an advertising contest for Watchmen. Someone has to fill all those television screens; turning to YouTube to do so is inspired.

Related: "What if Charles Schulz created the Watchmen?"

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (1)

OMD: Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Grammar

Yet more stuff white people like. Debating the Oxford Comma, for example.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (3)

May 27, 2008

The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies

The Mars Phoenix Lander parachutes down to Mars on Sunday, in this image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

The Last Season

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FilmSchoolRejects considers better ratings for this, the final season of Battlestar Galactica. But I am most interested in their homage to The Last Supper.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

The Ting Tings: That's Not My Name

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to Beautiful Atrocities).

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Save Dollhouse

I would say this is jumping the gun but this is Fox we are talking about here.

Die-hard Whedonites are rallying to save Dollhouse, the sci-fi drama about a group of high-tech killer assassins -- eight months before the show even hits the airwaves. Fearing Dollhouse will get booted off the air, just like the Joss Whedon-helmed show Firefly, fans are plotting and organizing their efforts in online forums.
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (3)

May 26, 2008

Clapham Junction days

"Before you can kill the demon, you have to say it's name."

John Humphrys interviews Terry Pratchett, diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The interview was posted to Radio 4 almost a week ago so might not be available for much longer. A comparison between J.K. Rowling's abuse of Muggles and Ursula LeGuin's wizardly humility is especially interesting. Pratchett's description of his diminishing typing ability is heart-breaking and terrifying.

Related: Clapham Junction days.

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (1)

Deus Ex

Art Center College of Design student Jake Loniak presents a concept, electric vertically parking motorcycle controlled by 36 pneumatic muscles with 2 linear actuators. Just the ticket for commuting in MegaTor.

The Yamaha-branded Deus Ex concept is worn as an exo-skeleton with seven artificial vertebra as well as the pneumatically attached helmet. The motor is in-wheel, powered by ultra-capacitors and doped nano-phoshpate batteries similar to those already used in hybrids, and is capable of 0-60mph in 3 seconds. Top speed is 75mph with a recharge time of 15 minutes and cycle time of 1 hour.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

Mosella

The BBC publishes images transmitted from Mars. Funny how yet another successful American Mars mission is presented by the British state press as a success for science and humanity whereas American missions that fail are presented as instances of hubris and the collapse American empire. Funny too it takes a Canadian news organization to point out the $30m worth of Canadian scientific equipment along for the ride which - at something like 8% of the cost - somehow makes this a "Canadian-U.S." mission. Such are the symbolic stakes.

Better to simply applaud the Phoenix Mission as another triumph for the United States and, by extension, for the freedom of conscience and religion that makes scientific inquiry possible and the free markets that enable these spectacular engineering endeavours. I am keeping an eye out for Phoenix to appear on Google Mars, another instance of the remarkable achievements of our civilization. That said, one is possessed with the sense these are precisely the sort of miracles the Romans were about before the plague and the Hun gave them a nasty surprise.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (6)

It’s all very clear to me now

All these worlds are yours except Europa.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (2)

Duran Duran: Sunrise (John Taylor Edit)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

May 25, 2008

In hoc signo

Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, from Blenheim on New Zealand's South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound when the engine of their microlight spluttered, coughed and died. Both men called for the Lord's help.

Wilson said that the pair would have been in deep trouble if the fuel had run out five minutes earlier.

"If it had to run out, that was the place to be," he said. "There was an instantaneous answer to prayer as we crossed the ridge and there was an airfield — I didn't know it existed till then." After Wilson glided the powerless craft to a landing on the grassy strip, the pair noticed they were beside a 20-foot-tall sign that read, "Jesus is Lord — The Bible."
Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM

May 24, 2008

The fire in which we burn

Chris Taylor cites Dr. Tolian Soran, easily my favourite Star Trek film villain* and something of an inspiration. The subject is home improvement and, by extension**, time.

"They say time is the fire in which we burn. Right now, Captain, my time is running out. We leave so many things unfinished in our lives. I know you understand."

Picard's rejoinder to Soran's time-as-predator philosophy - cited in full at Taylor & Co. - is to the effect time is a companion who travels with us, reminding us of the value of each moment.

Mr. Taylor explains.

Don't listen to him though, he's full of shit. Time is a predator, and every second you spend flying that desk is time you're not spending with friends, family, or the baseball channels. How you've lived is important, yes, but time is not your pal. Time is the frickin' enemy, to be smashed with a mallet whenever and wherever possible. If you are a Christian, you will know that every human soul is eternal—but your ability to go canoeing, watch Bollywood movies, and ski down majestic mountain slopes is not. That time is strictly limited.

Amen to that, my brother.

* Yes, including... Khan!!!
** A little Spinoza humour there.

Posted by the Flea at 12:58 PM

The J. Geils Band: Centerfold

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2008

Abusive and insulting

The Crown Prosecution Service has ruled a teenager's use of the word "cult" was not "abusive or insulting" when applied to the church of Scientology and no further action will be taken against him (hat tip to Agent Bedhead). The next step is to pursue charges of some kind against the police officer thought police who accused him of inciting religious hatred and thereby abused and insulted his right to freedom of expression, common sense and over a thousand years of common law.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "The CPS review of the case includes advice on what action or behaviour at a demonstration might be considered to be threatening, abusive or insulting. "The force's policing of future demonstrations will reflect this advice."

A CPS spokesman said: "In consultation with the City of London police, we were asked whether the sign, which read 'Scientology is not a religion it is a dangerous cult', was abusive or insulting. "Our advice is that it is not abusive or insulting and there is no offensiveness, as opposed to criticism, neither in the idea expressed nor in the mode of expression. No action will be taken against the individual."

The teenager's mother said the decision was "a victory for free speech".

Yes, and for the blindingly obvious. Which these days is just about too much to ask.

But wait, there is more... read the rest of the Guardian piece.

Two years ago, the City of London police attracted criticism when it emerged more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology.

The City of London chief superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for "raising the spiritual wealth of society" during the opening of its headquarters in 2006.

Last year, a video praising Scientology emerged featuring Ken Stewart, another of the City of London's chief superintendents, although he is not a member of the group.

Criminal charges. Now.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM

The 200' monster test

To wax Wikipedian, the term "global city", as opposed to megacity, is thought to have been first coined by Saskia Sassen in reference to London, New York and Tokyo in her 1991 work The Global City. The linked articles explain the difference in terminology: a global city is making a contribution of sorts while a megacity is simply large and often with cracks at the seems. Which is fine. That said, I still enjoy the sound of megacity; very Judge Dredd. For example, Toronto would be vastly improved by renaming it MegaToronto.

Alpha world cities / full service world cities[7]

* 12 points: London, New York City, Paris, Tokyo
* 10 points: Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, Singapore

Beta world cities / major world cities

* 9 points: San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, Zürich
* 8 points: Brussels, Madrid, Mexico City, São Paulo
* 7 points: Moscow, Seoul

Gamma world cities / minor world cities

* 6 points: Amsterdam, Boston, Caracas, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Osaka, Prague, Santiago, Taipei, Washington, D.C.
* 5 points: Bangkok, Beijing, Montreal, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw
* 4 points: Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Miami, Minneapolis, Munich, Shanghai
Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | Comments (4)

Gary Numan: Down in the Park

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: Gary Numan interviewed by Graham Norton, and the Sugababes single in question.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Batman and monkey heads

Kevin Smith talks Tim Burton.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

May 22, 2008

A device for the suppression of absence

Alexander Stanhope St. George's wondrous Telectroscope is completed at long last. Now the people of London and New York need never be alone again (hat tip to Mr. Liddle).

During the twilight hours on Tuesday, massive dirt-covered metal drill bits miraculously emerged -- one by the Thames near the Tower Bridge and the other on Fulton Ferry Landing by the Brooklyn Bridge in New York -- completing the final sections of great-grandfather Alexander's transatlantic tunnel.

The drills were removed on Wednesday night and replaced with identical Telectroscopes at both ends, allowing Londoners and New Yorkers to wake up this morning, look over to the far and distant shore and stare at each other for a while (the telescope-like contraption permits visual but not vocal communication).

Consider too this souvenir “box of delights”.

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM

Arvo Pärt: My heart is in the highlands

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

May 21, 2008

DAF: Daf Sheriff

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

Dell M13.30

I rarely link ads but this one has me convinced.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

May 20, 2008

Mushroom-Dollars

About this time and place on our last orbit around the Sun, I posted on the subject of a Dune film adaptation that might have been. I still think an Alejandro Jodorowsky Dune is worth a little trans-dimensional jaunt but given this script summary - reportedly translated from the summary of the script that appeared with the press kit - I have moved a number of other unhappenings further up the list. Time to visit my virtuous self in Imperial Canada and see what life is like without a goatee.

One discovers on a Planet lost
with the borders of the Galaxy,
Dune,
a kind of Mushroom,
who prolongs the Life during several centuries
and allows to see
the Future.

Immediately this Planet becomes the
center attention of the Galactic Empire
and, in the same way that exists today
the Petrol-dollars
over there creates
Mushroom-Dollars,
the Spice.

So that is clear then.

There is no such thing as a petro dollar, btw. Just a multi-billion, multi-generational giveaway of wealth we discovered for machines we developed using capital, industry and expertise we innovated and maintain. Just as soon as our inventiveness renders this inexplicable danegeld cum welfare program obsolete in the West, I expect the PRC will be far less interested in propping up enemy economies than we have been in deference to our delicate feelings. The Chinese, still proud of their long history and tradition, lack our philosophical inclination toward cultural suicide.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Sarah McLachlan: Fear (live)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

WorldWide Telescope

Microsoft Research pulls the thumb out and offers WorldWide Telescope, a Google-ish, impressive and clunky* webtoy.

* It's still Microsoft.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

May 18, 2008

An Hour with Jon Pertwee

Still my favourite Dr. Who, BBC 7 hosts An Hour with Jon Pertwee. That link should be good for a few days but this is just the thing for a Sunday afternoon. Flea-readers are particularly urged to give it a listen for Pertwee's stories from aboard HMS Hood. Noel Coward and Winston Churchill also feature.

Posted by the Flea at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)

Scarlett Johansson: Falling Down (Sessions)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2008

What an Active is

The trailer for Joss Whedon's post-Firefly vehicle, Dollhouse is now on-line.

Is it true that this idea came to you over lunch with Eliza Dushku?

Eliza had made the deal at Fox and we got together to talk about her ambition, her management, her opportunities, because I've always felt that she's a huge star. Plus, she's a friend.

But I was trying to get a movie off the ground, "Goners." "Wonder Woman" had already crashed and burned. "Goners" they had already lost control of the instruments, but who knows? So things were not that auspicious, but I was working it. Not shunning television but not intending to come back. But as we discussed Eliza's predicament, I started giving her some ideas about what I thought she would need: a genre show so she could be political without being partisan; an ensemble show so she didn't have to be in every scene. And I thought about it for a bit and then literally went, oh, curse word, I just came up with the show and the title. And it was the title that I knew I was doomed. Because if you have the title, you know it's right. And that's just bad.

When we really discussed the whole thing, she said, "You're talking about my life. In my life, everybody tells me who they want me to be while I try and figure out who I am." And that spoke to me. I agreed that I'll write and maybe oversee the pilot. So I went home and said, "Honey, I'm sorry, I accidentally agreed to a Fox show at lunch."

Eliza Dushku, smokin'.

Posted by the Flea at 03:58 PM

Liaisons dangereuses: Los niños del parque

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

May 16, 2008

Dambusters

Remember England? A service and fly-past has been held to mark the 65th anniversary of the World War II Dambusters mission.

A Lancaster bomber flew three times over Derwent Reservoir in Derbyshire, which was used by the original pilots to train ahead of their famous raid. In 1943, the RAF's 617 Squadron set out to destroy three dams in Germany's Ruhr valley. They managed to breach two, giving a boost to Britain's war effort. The service remembered the eight aircraft and 53 crew who were lost.

A Spitfire, a Hurricane, two Tornadoes and a Dakota transport plane joined the fly-past.

Hat tip to the Armored Facilities Manager who suggests we turn up the volume (and my bass boost!).

Posted by the Flea at 06:19 PM

This Morn' Omina: Scorpio

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM

Kaffirs

In case anyone is still not paying attention.

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2008

Propaganda: Dr. Mabuse

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Bonus and extra: The astonishing warehouse version.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

May 14, 2008

Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.

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Hedy Lamarr: screen siren, inventor of frequency hopping guidance control systems for torpedoes (via Mark Steyn).

They began talking about radio control for torpedoes. The idea itself was not new, but her concept of "frequency hopping" was. Lamarr brought up the idea of radio control. Antheil's contribution was to suggest the device by which synchronization could be achieved. He proposed that rapid changes in radio frequencies could be coordinated the way he had coordinated the sixteen synchronized player pianos in his Ballet Méanique. The analogy was complete in his mind: By the time the two applied for a patent on a "Secret Communication System," on June 10, 1941, the invention used slotted paper rolls similar to player-piano rolls to synchronize the frequency changes in transmitter and receiver, and it even called for exactly eighty-eight frequencies, the number of keys on a piano.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Полина Гагарина: Я Твоя

I do not have a clue what she is singing about but she is rockin' the chorus. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (2)

Xenu lives

Agent Bedhead comments on Jason Beghe - former Scientologist, Operating Thetan V and Class 5 Auditor - who is the man.

Jason Beghe continues to push forth as a critic of Scientology, and following his interview detailing the COS’s fraudulent practices, he stepped out over the weekend to join an “Anonymous” protest in San Francisco. The proof is in the pictures, and this guy continues to display some serious balls.

On a related note, during one portion of that infamous interview, Jason was asked whether he thought speaking out against Scientology would negatively affect his Hollywood career. The veteran television and film actor dryly replied, “I’m probably not going to be doing any movies for United Artists any time soon.”

Something to put in the plus column.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

May 13, 2008

Benny Benassi: No matter what you do

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (less nsfw than the average Benny Benassi).

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

May 12, 2008

Prisoners of Azkaban

Azkaban.jpg

Her Majesty's government finds yet another new and inventive way to fail her; now it is to be magic wands for prisoners. Which is to completely miss the point of Azkaban. Wands should be confiscated and it should be Dementors all round.

Prison bosses have been instructed to let pagan inmates keep twigs in their cells...to use as wands. Officers have been told to allow prisoners to collect and decorate the twigs which they need for their rituals.

We do not need Death Eaters to end civilization; the Ministry of Magic is doing a fine job of it on its own.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

Sort of a dream

DreamofVeen.jpg

Steampunk makes the New York Times. Which admittedly would have been a bigger deal in gaslight days but still suggests our bit of fun has gone mainstream. Such are the perils of popularity.

If steampunk has a mission, it is, in part, to restore a sense of wonder to a technology-jaded world. “Today satellite photos make the planet seem so small,” Mr. Brown lamented. “Where is the adventure it that?” In contrast, steampunk, with its airships, test tubes and time machines, is, he said, “sort of a dream , the way we used to daydream. It’s like part of your childhood’s just bursting forward again.”

Quite right. Though this is Robert Brown, lead singer for Abney Park. I am not certain if he is on my cad list. Best post a picture of Magdalene Veen, sort of a dream herself.

Related: A new age of steam... Bruce Crower's six-stroke Steam-O-Lene Engine is so powerful "the exhaust blasted paint chips off the ceiling." Just the thing for getting some extra oomph out of my zeppelin-mounted bovine catapult array.

A typical engine wastes three quarters of its energy as heat. Crower's prototype, the single-cylinder diesel eight-horsepower Steam-o-Lene engine, uses that heat to make steam and recapture some of the lost energy. It runs like a conventional four-stroke combustion engine through each of the typical up-and-down movements of the piston (intake, compression, power or combustion, exhaust). But just as the engine finishes its fourth stroke, water squirts into the cylinder, hitting surfaces as hot as 1,500°F. The water immediately evaporates into steam, generating a 1,600-fold expansion in volume and driving the piston down to create an additional power stroke. The upward sixth stroke exhausts the steam to a condenser, where it is recycled into injection water.

Crower calculates that the Steam-o-Lene boosts the work it gets from a gallon of gas by 40 percent over conventional engines. Diesels, which are already more efficient, might get another 5 percent. And his engine does it with hardware that already exists, so there's no waiting for technologies to mature, as with electric cars or fuel cells.
Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM | Comments (11)

Skinny Puppy: The Choke (live)

Gotta love it when clipping adds to the mix; that '80s 8-bit crunch is unstoppable. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM

May 10, 2008

Prequel anxiety

In case there are Flea-readers in need of a massive geek injection, it is difficult to imagine anything more rewarding than Will Wheaton commenting on the Star Trek reboot. The man talks sense. But he remains Wesley Crusher.

I'm going to commit heresy right now and say what few people are willing to say out loud: most of the Star Trek movies are absolute garbage. There have been ten Trek movies, and I'd say that two of them are accessible to mainstream audiences, another two are great, and the remaining six are nearly unwatchable. If JJ Abrams wants to make his new Trek movie unlike the 80% of Trek movies that aren't that good, that's just fine with me. Not that my opinion means anything, you understand, but rambling on and on about things like this is the price of being a geek, and I regret nothing. NOTHING!

Related: Is Guillermo del Toro the Right Man for The Hobbit? Umm... yes. We will have to wait for At the Mountains of Madness but the wait comes with a serious upside. Plus I want to see what del Toro will do with Mirkwood.

If The Hobbit and Hobbit 2: The Quickening make money hand over fist -- which they almost certainly shall -- O'Hehir will get his Spanish fantasy and his Lovecraft film, each with more money and far better marketing than they would get without del Toro's Middle Earth adventure. Don't think del Toro's not well aware of this himself.
Posted by the Flea at 12:03 AM

Cup Of Brown Joy: Elemental

British is best. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:01 AM

My god, it's full of stars

Listen to 2001: A Space Odyssey, read by Arthur C. Clarke.

Posted by the Flea at 12:00 AM

May 09, 2008

Dude

If for some reason I disappear...

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

For your edification

London in colour (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

It was not until 1907 that autochrome - the process through which colour photographs were first produced - was invented in Paris. For the first time, vivid pictures of a world still largely unexplored were revealed to a mesmerised public.

Also: Eye of Sauron spotted.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Beastie Boys: No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Still conferencing today. Will anthropology continue to surprise me? Will I ever get ten minutes to myself? Is a monastic life of Trappist silence still a viable alternative? Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

Parva sub ingenti

New excavation forces archaeologists to ask: Is Stonehenge Roman? Good question. I fail to see why the Romans should be the exception.

In a small pit containing a small bluestone in the corner of the trench, itself cut into the main socket of one of the uprights, they found a Roman coin. Even more alarming, was the excavation of the large pit in the centre of the excavation, where right near the bottom they found a very small piece of what was indubitably Roman pottery. Was there a major reordering of the site in the Roman period?
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM

May 08, 2008

ReGandalf

Sir Ian McKellen confirms Gandalf's return in 'The Hobbit'.

"Yes, it's true," he said. "I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role. Obviously, it's not a part that you turn down, I loved playing Gandalf."
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (2)

The Birthday Massacre: Video Kid

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM

May 07, 2008

Shiny

Cosmati.jpg

Westminster Abbey's 13th century gemstone Cosmati pavement is undergoing restoration. It must be profoundly satisfying work, one of the few occupations I can think of where I could be quite convinced I was not wasting the time granted to me.

Few modern visitors have ever seen it, although since 1268 kings and princes, queens and cardinals have walked across a symbol laden mosaic as intricate as a piece of jewellery. It is made up of rare marbles and gemstones, including some recycled from monuments 1,000 years older, and pieces of coloured glass, set in complex allegorical patterns into a framework of Purbeck marble cut as intricately as a jigsaw puzzle.

Another unseen history: Scapa Flow in three dimensions (via the Armored Facilities Manager).
Also shiny: A Steampunk All-in-One PC (via the Raging Kraut).

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (3)

Ghost of a flea: Literacy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

How to get goth hair

Raven Tombstone and Speedball Sophie - the latter possessing a striking resemblance to an ex of the Flea - explain how to achieve this look (nsfw language, humour in poor taste). Watch this for timely and accurate pointers on accruing Ankh Points.

Related: How to lose Youtube subscribers. Warning: cloves. So, is everyone agreed a woman with a mighty burp is good to be/find?

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (1)

May 06, 2008

View Along Pike Street from the Corner of Second Avenue, ca 1909

"1909," he said. "I've lived here all my life. Was born in a house on Denny. I'm going to be 100 years old next month. 100 years."

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

A legitimate look

I had a belated look at the surprisingly good Project Runway Canada.* I add the sneering "surprisingly" by way of confession and apology, there was much to think about that equaled the first season of the original and was in some ways more coherent than the British Project Catwalk. Toronto being the big fish in a far smaller pond than south of the border, the show's cast of characters lack the immediate name recognition of a Michael Kors** - the reason I first tuned in to Project Runway Season 1. Our Canadianity was more than made up for, however, by series host and icon Iman, our reply to Heidi Klum.

Full force fanboy warning for this Flea-edit of a gothic runway manifestation; Iman tells them what for in the ultimate goth-or-not-goth. "Goth," she explains, "is a legitimate look." And quite right too.

A question of academic interest to many Flea-readers, perhaps. But consider this: Iman's nebulous foreign accent calls to mind my favourite hards as nails Minbari ambassador. Triumphant and terrifying.

* The official website of Project Runway Canada for Flea-readers untroubled by series spoilers. If I had had advance warning of a Project Runway Canada, I would have imagined a Canada Council (i.e. taxpayer) funded identity-fest in which participation - as opposed to competition - was awarded on the basis of encouraging under-represented voices in Canadian fashion while the structure of the show would serve to deconstruct hegemonic femininities. Standing instead on the same ground of ruthless dedication to beauty as its Manhattan counterpart, the Toronto edition runs counter to Canada's establishment ethos. A welcome and desperately needed tonic, in other words.
** Speaking of whom, Project Runway's impending move to Lifetime means Season 6 is to feature Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum but not necessarily Michael Kors - who should hold out for more money - or recently ex of Elle editor Nina Garcia.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Schiller mit Isgaard: Ein schöner Tag

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

May 05, 2008

A serious loss

Recently declassified documents show a now quaint concern for tea shortages in the event of nuclear attack.

Never mind the radiation: British contingency planners worried there would be a dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, recently declassified documents showed Monday. The shortfall of the staple British beverage would be "very serious" if the country were to come under attack with atomic and hydrogen bombs, said according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956.

"The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce (28 grams) per head per week could be ensured," it said. "No satisfactory solution has yet been found."

Not to worry, the documents have become entirely redundant in an England that is no longer England. Let us fear instead for the human rights of Barbary pirates and celebrate an anticipated disruption in the distribution of tobacco, American television and all that is haram and khamr.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | Comments (2)

CSOR

xJTF2x posts a video showing Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) training set to "Fever Dream" by Tyler Bates. Awesome. This was posted about a year ago, I gather there had been discussion of renaming Joint Task Force Two (JTF 2) the 1st Special Service Regiment and CSOR the 2nd Special Service Regiment. YouTube comment hilarity ensues.

Patriot314
i dont think they are renaming anything,
just new units, JTF2, Canadian Special Operations Regiment and Marine Commando Unit

NuclearCrisis
The offer idea was on the table to rename JTF2, its not exactly a new unit either.

hoezay
Wrong. I think he was reffering to that and i would say JTF2 is a pretty new unit. 1993 is not far given the circumstances. Then again i guess you would have have to be 16 to figure that it is far off. No offense.

NuclearCrisis
14 years is'nt exactly new no.

hoezay
I would consider it to be. How old are you?

NuclearCrisis
16 years

hoezay
Then i win.
Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Duft Punk: A New Video

Remember: It is about the art. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (arguably nsfw).*

* Definitely nsfw: The prurient, linked for non-art purposes drunk college girls version.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

May 03, 2008

And then there were ten

Good news for ChiCom war planners as their landing craft production milestones now have a firm delivery window. As news goes for Taiwan real estate; not so much.

After cutting the number of active aircraft carriers from 12 to 11 last year, the Navy is now requesting Congress' permission to go down from 11 flattops to 10 for the years 2012 to 2015.
Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

May 02, 2008

Use it or lose it

The world also needs more lerts.

You can always get another job. Are you really such a wimp that you'll sell your birthright for the 21st century equivalent of the proverbial "mess of pottage": your meager pension, the insurance that probably won't cover you when you need it most?

I have a mortgage, too, and other debts. I was probably fired from my last job for blogging, and going on TV, questioning multi-culti orthodoxy. I doubt it helped that when company time and resources were devoted to a widely hyped, one-sided propaganda display about "global warming," I wondered aloud whether or not I could get Rogers' support for a slide show about Bigfoot.

I. Don't. Care.

Damn right.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM

Let. Them. Rest. In. Peace.

Agent Bedhead on the continuing persecution of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.

At the time of their suicides, Blake and Duncan both genuinely believed they were being harassed by Scientologists, and Theresa remained frustrated that production had halted for a movie based upon one of her scripts, which happened to somewhat criticize the cult. She had a hunch that Tom Cruise, who possessed the requisite access and power, had blocked the film. That certainly sounds reasonable, since his control-freak tendencies are quite notorious. Did Cruise actually do it? We’ll never know, but it’s time for any “interested parties” to stop the madness of destroying the legacies of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. Let. Them. Rest. In. Peace.

Theresa, bless, was a bit loony; she was an artist, a Truther and lived in Venice Beach and Manhattan, Obama's base in other words. I do not know enough to have an informed opinion about her suspicions of the cult after the Beck album cover/acting imbroglio; let alone a Tom Cruise connection, if any, to events. But even a paranoid person has every reason to question the motives of Scientology. There is no reason - ever - to grant the cult any benefit of the doubt.

As for the rest, including and especially NBC, Gina Gionfriddo and Richard Sweren, the motive is obvious: Greed. At least some Scientologists honestly believe they are saving the world. I cannot say the same for Law and Order.

Posted by the Flea at 06:31 AM

Thomas Dolby: She Blinded Me With Science

Obvious Tiffany Shepperd tie in. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: Fox News reportage on Bikinigate.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

May 01, 2008

So not cool

TheresaJeremyBonnieClyde.jpg

I thought I could not get any angrier this week. Turns out I was wrong. Law and Order has violated the memory of Theresa Duncan and slandered Jeremy Blake as a murderer.

Law and Order Depicts Theresa Duncan's Death

But there was a twist - the writer character was murdered instead of committing suicide and the cult harassing her had a leader that isn't publishing books from the gave. Crazy. Plus on TV - the cult was totally innocent - it was the insane paranoia and hatred AT the cult that lead the husband to murder his wife and throw himself off a building to try and give the cult bad publicity. And it was that same paranoia and hatred that made him confess instead of accepting an impending mistrial.

I imagine NBC has good lawyers. That will not be enough for them in Hell. Time to write a second letter today. And forward it to every NBC sponsor I can find starting with Nissan.

Operation Clambake has details.

From NBC Universal Media Village:

LAW & ORDER
BOGEYMAN
04-30-2008 10:00PM

THE DEATH OF A NOVELIST LEADS THE DETECTIVES TO SUSPECT SOME INVOLVEMNT FROM A CONTROVERSIAL CULT BUT PROSECUTING THIS CASE PROVES TO BE A CHALLENGE

A novelist is found dead in her car, which appears to be a suicide at first inspection, but Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) have reason to believe a cult known as “Systemotics” is involved. The victim’s husband, Bradley Cameron (guest star Daniel London) explains to the detectives that he and his wife were paranoid that members of the cult had been trailing them recently. However, Bradley comes under suspicion as the detectives begin to chip away at his alibi. When the case goes to trial, ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) has trouble prosecuting his case when several members of the jury fear for their own safety. Sam Waterston, Epatha Merkerson, and Alana De La Garza also star.

Show Cast: S. Epatha Merkerson, Jesse L. Martin, Sam Waterston, Alana De La Garza, Jeremy Sisto, Linus Roache

Heads up to Anonymous. The story lets "Systemotics" off the hook. Or rather, the story - written by Gina Gionfriddo, writer and Law and Order Producer and Richard Sweren, writer and Law and Order co-Executive Producer - lets "Systemotics" off the hook and blames the victims.

Posted by the Flea at 06:12 PM

What You Should Know About Biological Warfare (1952)

"Biological warfare? What do they expect me to do about it. It's not my headache."

You're wrong! You better found out the facts about biological warfare.

How can we protect ourselves against the threats of germs and toxins? Cold War America gears up to fend off threats from unconventional bioweapons.

Verdict: More relevant than ever.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Bleiburg feat. Gin Devo: Control Your Fear

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Français par le sang versé

Discovery documentary, Warriors of the French Foreign Legion is available on-line thanks to Google. The piece is repetitive and has little to say about the early days of the Legion but is, nonetheless, inherently fascinating due to the subject matter. Part Sardaukar, part extended psychotherapy, there is an undeniable attraction to the idea of dropping everything - including your name - and taking up a life of asskickery.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Day & Night

The Day&Night watch by Romain Jerome does everything except tell the time. And by "everything" I mean it tells you whether it is day or night.

World First – An exceptional timepiece that does not indicate the time!

With no display for the hours, minutes or seconds the Day&Night offers a new way of measuring time, splitting the universe of time into two fundamentally opposing sections: day versus night. ... An avant-garde approach, that is different and even disturbing.

Yours for only $300k. Or rather, it would be only $300k but they are sold out, a fact I find considerably more disturbing than the watch itself (via Luxist).

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM | Comments (9)