"I get criticized often for saying this, but I think Beijing is capable of acting irrationally when it comes to Taiwan," says retired Rear Adm. Eric McVadon, who served as a naval attaché in Beijing and is currently senior adviser of Asia-Pacific studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in Cambridge, Mass. "They are obsessed with Taiwan. On some given day, it's entirely possible for people to be standing around a table in the Politburo in Beijing, and someone gets the ball rolling. And when it stops, we're at war."
Achilles' heel: Think of the PRC's missiles as the equivalent of knowing lots of little things. Taiwan only needs to know one big thing.
Updatery: Mr. Parsons writes to point out an "open secret"; a secure, hidden airbase suggesting Republic of China defense planners have the above scenario - or something like it - in mind.
Taiwan military officials at Hualien Air Base disclosed April 27 that an underground air base located inside an adjacent mountain would serve as a sanctuary for its fighters during a Chinese air attack.
The hidden base, dubbed Jiashan, is inside a hollowed-out mountain just west of Hualien Air Base on the island’s eastern coast. The disclosure came as Air Force personnel practiced repairing runways after a simulated air attack from China as part of the annual Han Kuang military exercises.
Militaryphotos.net has discussion and Google Earth imagery here.
Oh, it be a mountain!!!
Take down the coordinates and look at the area on Google Earth. That baby is a mountain!!! The pic that I posted is not that accurate (I don't know how to copy the Google Earth pages like some other guys in the site do). But go to GOOGLE EARTH and the zoom function will allow you to see the tunnel entrances.
And the resolution of the area is so well you can actually identify:
--F-16's very easily in the reventment area and throughout the airfield
--a lineup of F-5's on the easterly ramp
--an ATR-72 in the civilian tarmac
The aptly named Claire Berlinski describes a phenomenon she calls the Weimar City.
What is a Weimar City? It is a city rich in history and culture, animated by political precariousness and by a recent rupture with the past, vivified by a shocking conflict with mass urbanization and industrialization; a city where sudden liberalization has unleashed the social and political imagination—but where the threat of authoritarian reaction is always in the air.
Weimar Cities are not freaks of nature. They may be expected to arise under certain social, political, and historical circumstances. World War I destroyed both Imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The remnants of both entities succeeded in imposing alien new social orders on themselves, fragile experiments in democracy. The Turkish Republic has lasted far longer than the Weimar Republic, but the stories do not differ in the fundamentals; they have merely been telescoped or expanded by contingent events.
Until it became redundant in the 1870s, there had been troops at Tower Y, as well as coastguards after Napoleon's defeat. The spartan living quarters, however, had been crammed around the entrance floor, above an arsenal of gunpowder and cannonballs, and below the wind-scythed roof deck. Today, from the battlements, or rather the roof terrace, three other towers can be seen, dotted along the shingle coast.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an exploration-based adventure game played from a first-person perspective. The apotheosis of Lovecraft in video game has arrived.
Amnesia does not give the player access to weapons, giving them no defense against the gruesome creatures that wander Brennenburg Castle. As such, the player must use their wits to escape and hide from the monsters until they lose interest in finding the player. Players can also choose to hide in the shadows at the cost of slowly losing their sanity.
Separate from the player's health bar is an indication of the character's sanity. Being in darkness too long, witnessing unsettling events, or staring at the monsters for too long will reduce the character's sanity. As the sanity level decreases, visual and auditory hallucinations start to occur and the player is noticed by monsters more easily.
Take Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (the temporature at which books warm), for example.
What probably pissed Bradbury off more than anything was that people completely disregarded his interpretation of his own book. In fact, when Bradbury was a guest lecturer in a class at UCLA, students flat-out told him to his face that he was mistaken and that his book is really about censorship. He walked out.
This Martian sunset, captured by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Nov. 4 and 5, 2010, appears bluish. The panoramic camera movie combines exposures taken through different camera filters and accelerates about 17 minutes of sunset into a 30-second simulation. This clip is the longest sunset movie from Mars ever produced, taking advantage of adequate solar energy currently available to Opportunity.
The tome, which is written in Latin, is illustrated with diagrams, including the rhinoplasty, in which the patient's nose was attached to a flap of skin from his upper arm.
In one plate, the patient is seen in bed with his forearm attached to his head and a flap of skin from his bicep region stuck onto his nose. The book tells how he stayed like that for about three weeks until the skin from his arm had attached itself properly.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if an adult film version of it wasn’t flattering enough, Playboy just released a pictorial of two lovely, naked women painted to resemble the suits from Tron, just in time for this week’s release of Tron: Legacy.
If this turns up on Ace of Spades HQ, I expect a hat tip for assuming any of those guys have had sex. With a woman.
Produced for the National Naval Medical Center in 1973, The Return of Count Spirochete is a delightful animated cartoon dramatizing the medical facts about venereal disease.
As the story begins, we join the (probably) world famous "Communicable Disease of the Year Award" ceremony, which acknowledges the one disease that has "done the most effective job of contaminating others." Smallpox, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and the common cold are all serious contenders for the coveted "Fourth Horseman."
However, in a surprising turn of events, the award goes to Count Spirochete (aka syphilis), much to the chagrin of the other contestants. In response to their outrage, the master of ceremonies then proceeds to explain in graphic detail the various reasons why Count Spirochete is deserving of the award.
With end of term I am finally able to look into this Minecraft thing my students have been on about (via Boing Boing). I don't think I have enough end of term to have the time it would take to risk downloading and installing the thing.
In Minecraft, the world is made up of blocks, each a three-dimensional pixel or a voxel. This world has mountains and trees and seas and animals and rivers of lava, but all of these exist in a universe in which Euclidean geometry past the cube is as arcane and impenetrable as it would be in Flatland. Trees are simply blocks of wood and blocks of leaves stacked on top of each other; pigs are just quivering cubes of bacon, stacked in pig-like configutation. When I chop down a tree, or hew coal out of a mountain, or scoop water out of a lake, the chunk or bucket comes out in my hands in a perfect, self-sustained cube.
To Lovecraft, the eldritch often took the form of non-Euclidean geometry. In Minecraft, horror is found in a world that is all too perfectly the opposite.
The best reason to invest in a Kinect controller. Aside from porn applications, obviously.
The Therenect is a virtual Theremin for the Kinect controller. It defines two virtual antenna points, which allow to control the pitch and volume of a simple oscillator. The distance to these points can be controlled by freely moving the hand in three dimensions or by reshaping the hand, which allows gestures that are quite similar to playing an actual Theremin.
Harvard University scholar Richard Wrangham claims fourteen years of observation of the Kanyawara chimpanzee community in Kibale National Park, Uganda reveals young chimps in the wild play boy and girl games, much like their human counterparts, scientists found (via Gates of Vienna).
Although both male and female chimpanzees play with sticks, girl chimps treat sticks like dolls copying their mothers as they care for infants.
The findings suggest girls play more with dolls than boys not because of sex-stereotyped socialization but because of ‘biological predilections.’
Clevver Movies has just received word that Marvel Studios has tapped Conan writers Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to pen the script for Dr. Strange.
The character of Dr. Stephen Strange first appeared in 1963 as a world-renowned, but self-centered, New York surgeon. The doctor's world was turned upside down when his life-saving hands were left disfigured after a car accident. He then found his way to a healer in the Himalayas, where he learned to tap into psychic powers to fight evil.
After being with studios such as Columbia Pictures and Paramount, Dr. Strange will come to the silver screen in a Marvel Studios production, set to be released in 2012.
The 2010 lunar eclipse was the first to fall on the winter solstice in 372 years. And, perhaps more importantly, it was quite the show. Although the skies over Toronto were overcast as late as midnight, a very timely clearing trend took over and left perfect viewing conditions for the eclipse. As I mentioned during a break from watching it all go down, the early morning hours might have offered the clearest skies of the year, with loads of stars visible to the naked eye from downtown areas that generally suffer from much light pollution.
The wee hours are not what they used to be with my early am schedule. And I call myself a goth.
You are about to construct a lovely Christmas message from all the words Google has blacklisted (typing them in will yield no search results). It will almost certainly be offensive (hat tip to Mr. Liddle).
By extension: Curious when the word "Christmas" will be added to the blacklist.
The one who neglects the present moment loses all that he has. As the arrow passing through the heart, the warrior not knowing what it was.
Stuttgart State Opera Orchestra and Chorus - Window of Appearances from Akhnaten.
According to the composer, this work is the culmination of his two other biographical operas, Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha (about Mohandas Gandhi). These three people — Akhenaten, Einstein and Gandhi — were all driven by an inner vision which altered the age in which they lived, in particular Akhenaten in religion, Einstein in science, and Gandhi in politics.
Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts. [points to sword] This you can trust.
Senior army commanders have asked for the Challenger 2 tanks to be deployed in Helmand, in an admission that forces there lack armoured protection.
Because British forces had not noticed they lacked armoured protection until now, apparently. While they offer the same rationale as the Americans for not having sent in the tanks already (bad PR with the Taliban a more pressing concern than fighting the Taliban), to me the plain fact seems to be they hadn't done it because the Americans hadn't done it.
A few miles south of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province lie the ruins of an ancient fortress, Qala-e-Bost.
The Zoroastrian sun festival in honor of the Spring equinox, the Nauruz, is thought to have been celebrated here three thousand years ago. References to a fort at this location date back to the fourth century BC and Alexander the Great is thought to have used it.
Today, the citadel's sinister foundations still stand, protected by the rocky mound around them, but in war-torn Afghanistan they receive few visitors.
On this, the darkest solstice since the Tudors were in power*, I realize, yes, that is "Pomp & Circumstance" on Radio France. Alex Taylor has been busy winding up our French cousins since he took the helm at Musique matin, asking his guests what they had for breakfast. This will send them round the twist croissant.
Well played, sir.
Minor quibble for Alex: Teresa Stratas is from Toronto, so far as I know, the "s" at the end of Stratas is not silent (though in contemporary Greek, personal names will drop the "s" as a form of endearment).
It's the first time in almost 500 years that a lunar eclipse has coincided with the winter solstice - the longest day of the year - on 21 December.
There is also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a selenelion, which occurs when the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time. This is also known as a horizontal eclipse, because both sun and moon appear above the horizon at nearly opposite points in the sky.
Lawyers for Julian Assange have expressed anger about an alleged smear campaign against the WikiLeaks founder after incriminating police files were published in the newspaper that has used him as its source for hundreds of leaked US embassy cables.
Bjorn Hurtig, Assange's Swedish lawyer, said he would lodge a formal complaint to the authorities and ask them to investigate how such sensitive police material leaked into the public domain.
Writing for City Journal, Guy Sorman considers Asia's rising megacities.
Take Shanghai, China’s largest city, with a population of more than 19 million. Originally built by Europeans for Europeans, Shanghai has preserved some of the streets of its West-in-the-East past and boasts a lively, nearly tropical ambience that endears it to foreign visitors. But the Chinese government has, unsurprisingly, sought to transform the city into a glittering showcase of China’s rising power—above all, to lure foreign banks and investors away from Hong Kong. The tactic has yet to succeed: Hong Kong remains more attractive, though less because of its impressive buildings (Shanghai’s can compete in height, if not in architectural quality) than because of its commitment to the rule of law.
In the magical world of Harry Potter, people move in photographs. So it is perhaps appropriate that Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger in the hit movies, has made history by appearing in the first ever moving magazine cover.
Marie Claire has launched an app for the iPad, turning Watson's December covershoot for the American edition of the publication into a 'living' image.
Three icy volcanoes line up on Saturn’s moon Titan, giving some of the best evidence yet that explosive eruptions are possible on worlds beyond Earth.
The volcanic peaks and pits lie in a region called Sotra Facula on Titan’s southern hemisphere. The mountains rise more than 3,000 feet into the air, and the deepest hole sinks nearly 5,000 feet below the surrounding plains
More fool them: University qualifications are not worth what they used to be. At least one giant accounting firm has decided to bypass university graduates entirely, choosing instead to hire and train school leavers directly.
Business lobby groups said the move also highlights a growing ‘suspicion’ among firms that a university degree is worth less than it used to be.
Phil McCabe, from the Forum of Private Business, said: ‘Entrepreneurs are already sceptical that universities can produce workers with the attitude and aptitude they need. And the pool of talented young employees in higher education is likely to shrink as a result of barriers created by tuition fees.’
Its researchers found that business owners are twice as likely to prefer recruiting school or college leavers than graduates or post-graduates.
Being paid for professional, applicable training instead of taking on a mountain of debt for an undgraduate (or graduate) "studies" degree. It isn't a choice, it's an intelligence test.
Launched in 1977, the unmanned ship is about 10.8 billion miles away from the sun, in an area of the solar system called the heliosheath. The heliosheath is the final area of the solar system where the sun's wind blows.
"Voyager 1 has crossed into an area where the velocity of the hot ionized gas, or plasma, emanating directly outward from the sun has slowed to zero... The event is a major milestone in Voyager 1's passage through the heliosheath, the turbulent outer shell of the sun's sphere of influence, and the spacecraft's upcoming departure from our solar system."
On board: One of two Golden Records (image) composed of sounds and music representing life on Earth.
The Voyager Golden Record has "115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals... musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages."
Also: The late, great Carl Sagan accompanied by an immortal Vangelis soundtrack.
And: From Voyager's Golden Record, "Kinds of Flowers".
The Destroyer, at its core, is an enchanted suit of armor first forged by Thor's father Odin, the Asgardian ruler played in "Thor" by Anthony Hopkins. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Destroyer first appeared in "Journey into Mystery" #118 in 1965, and despite its capacity for great destruction, the armored force of nature wasn't always intended as a thorn in Thor's side.
If you're in a fight, you want the Canadians on your side
Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and The United States, in a pre-recorded short film that aired on NBC, prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Feb. 12th, 2010.
In the Marvel Comics universe perhaps no hero wields greater magical powers than Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. Doctor Strange possesses numerous magical artifacts which he uses to amplify his power, but there are only two he keeps on his person at all times. One is the Cloak of Levitation wrapped around his shoulders and the other is the Eye of Agamotto fastened at his throat.
The Atlantic, May 2009: “Time is the substance of which I am made,” wrote Jorge Luis Borges, whose stories seemed to issue from the lucid core of a particularly nasty intertemporal hangover.
He could just as well have been writing about Alan Moore, latest and most wizardly (more on this later) of the literary time-tamperers, whose shadow over pop culture is currently longer than those of Vonnegut, Dick, and Borges combined.
When private detective Jack Chandler (Richardson) tries to track down a teenage runaway (Linnea Quigley), he runs into a cult of Egyptian chainsaw-worshipping prostitutes led by "The Master" (Gunnar Hansen—Leatherface from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre).
I remember being at this bar called Tosca in San Francisco, and I met this guy one night. He was really cute, and we were talking, and then, like, he just said something about how he had always had a crush on me. And I was suddenly mistrustful about why he was talking to me.
I hope Flea-readers will forgive this instance of shameless product placement. Special circumstances.
I am not even an Apple guy but this is a TRON iPod Dock for pity's sake.
Monster proudly unveils the future of sight, sound and style, inspired by the iconic disc featured in Disney's epic film, Tron. With its soothing, luminous glow, the dual-pipe lighting rings on the Tron Light Disc Sound Dock come alive to the rhythm of your favorite music. This dazzling synchronized display is more than a conversation piece - it's a technological work of art that brings the world of Tron straight into your home or office.
Soothing. Luminous. If I hadn't already blown the bank on this holiday season I would have to reconsider my permanent Apple boycott.
The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are.
Not many of Philip K. Dick's books have been adapted for the stage. Even given my reservations, I wish I had not missed Edward Einhorn's take on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), finishing its run yesterday.
I read the book after I had already seen Blade Runner, and I was struck by how different it was—and to my mind, better. The thing that intrigued me about it was Mercerism, empathy, and their relationship to the symbol of the electric sheep—none of which appeared in the movie at all. The movie is of course an entity in itself, and groundbreaking in its own way, but it didn’t capture the heart of what the book said to me.
Then I read about one of Dick’s inspirations—he had read a Nazi journal in which an SS officer complained about not being able to sleep because the crying of the children in the concentration camps kept him awake. Instead of empathizing with the suffering of the children, the officer only saw them as a nuisance that disturbed his sleep. Dick started thinking of people who lacked any sort of empathy as androids. To me, the book is all about how the process of war and killing (or being enslaved) makes people into androids, and Mercerism is all about resurrecting that spirit inside.
Which is to miss much of the point of Blade Runner and of Dick's novel. Yes, Mercerism is missing from Ridley Scott's film adaptation but the theme of missing empathy takes centre stage nevertheless. In the end, it is the androids who demonstrate an ability to care for one another and humanity which has demonstrably lost the capacity to do so.
In fact, my only complaint with the director's cut of Blade Runner is how apparent it becomes that Deckard was himself a replicant all along. Much more interesting, more compelling for Deckard - a man - to have learned empathy from the machines he was sent to destroy.
It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley]. It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair. Remember that?
Yes, thanks. But I also remember Kingdom of Heaven, is the problem.
H.R. Giger called his painting The Pilot - a much grander, more mysterious name - but, hey, it's Ridley Scott's baby. The trouble isn't in resurrecting this story thread per se, the alien distress/warning beacon and the alien(s) who sent it are part of what puts the medias in Alien's in medias res. The trouble is that in exploring this storyline we lose yet more of the shadows that leant the original film its Lovecraftian cosmic menace, already attenuated in the stark blue light of James Cameron's (admittedly excellent) sequel. Even Scott acknowledges the Xenomorph form was "played out" by the following sequels, he can't be bothered to remember whether there were four or five films in the franchise. Now we risk losing the Space Jockey as well.
Worse yet, by giving us the same Ten Little Indians narrative structure yet again - and yet more of the inevitable, egregious CGI that has propped up so much lazy sf storytelling - it is difficult to believe Scott has any surprises for us. I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But if just one more ill thought out installment of this franchise gets released it is game over, man. Game over.
Noir Jewelry has released a line inspired by DC Comics. Most of which is a little lame. The exception bing a rather impressive ring I gather is Metropolis but which for great justice should actually be the bottle city of Kandor.
Some electric cars try to be as practical and mass-market as possible, while others aim for uniqueness and beautiful design (maybe someday we'll have a combination of both). The Takayanagi Miluira Retro EV definitely falls in the second category. The electric 1-seater looks kind of like a car from the 1920s with a bit of steampunk aesthetic thrown in.
With reservations: A three-day expedition in to yesterday's future, The Steampunk World's Fair at Piscataway, New Jersey might be worth a road trip.
The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century — 1,681,161, to be exact — are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
Dan Cohen and Fred Gibbs, the two historians of science at George Mason University who have created the project, have so far charted how frequently more than two dozen words — among them “God,” “love,” “work,” “science” and “industrial” — appear in British book titles from the French Revolution in 1789 to the beginning of World War I in 1914.
Which suggests they have got as far as to ask about the terms they imagine were important to the Victorians.
Interesting in itself and for Camus' approach to adapting Dostoevsky for the stage. At three and a half hours, I expect sitting through it felt longer than reading the novel.
Albert Camus talks about his stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed", (also known as "The Devils" and "Demons"), in 1959, a year before his death in an automobile accident. Interviewer: Pierre Dumayet.
in 1897, French adventurer Jacques de Morgan found himself standing in a dark crypt in Egypt, knee-deep in bones that crackled and snapped with every step he took: He had discovered the world's largest dog cemetery.
De Morgan's pioneering discovery was soon forgotten in professional circles. But now, more than a century later, researchers from Cardiff University, in Wales, have turned their attention to the dog mausoleum once again and are conducting excavations at the site. Paul Nicholson, a lecturer in archaeology from the university who is leading the dig, says that thousands of mummified dogs were once placed into niches in the cavern.
The existence of this Guess commercial suggests the '90s were not a complete bust.
"Cheat", not standing a chance against the ever intoxicating looks of a seductive girl (Juliette Lewis), the cheater (Peter Horton) falls deep into a trap set by a cunning P.I. (Harry Dean Stanton) and his wife (Traci Lords).
Imagining a parallel universe in which superheroes inhabit a Steampunk Victorian world, the Union of Superlative Heroes is a collection of characters from a variety of countries, each with their own unique abilities or mutations. Twenty cards in all, this set profiles such epic figures as Marquis Le Bat, Stupendous Man, Empress Amazonia, Arachno Kid, Prince Aqueous, Lord Wolverton plus fourteen more.
With these images I was exploring the unique photographic possibilities presented by using a Microsoft Kinect as a light source. The Kinect - an inexpensive videogame peripheral - projects a pattern of infrared dots known as "structured light". Invisible to the eye, this pattern can be captured using an infrared camera.
With one important caveat (outlined above), I agree with Theodore Dalrymple's analysis of the WikiLeaks contretemps.
...WikiLeaks goes far beyond the need to expose wrongdoing, or supposed wrongdoing: it is unwittingly doing the work of totalitarianism.
The idea behind WikiLeaks is that life should be an open book, that everything that is said and done should be immediately revealed to everybody, that there should be no secret agreements, deeds, or conversations. In the fanatically puritanical view of WikiLeaks, no one and no organization should have anything to hide. It is scarcely worth arguing against such a childish view of life.
Childish isn't the half of it. It is no accident WikiLeaks' greatest supporters are half-wits, wreckers and counter-revolutionaries. They are not only dancing while Rome burns; they lit the fires.
Documented in Geoffrey Jones' Oscar nominated short, we learn that even decades ago England suffered from the wrong kind of snow (via Small Dead Animals).
Comprising train and track footage quickly shot just before a heavy winter's snowfall was melting, the award-winning classic that emerged from the cutting-room compresses British Rail's dedication to blizzard-battling into a thrilling eight-minute montage cut to music. Tough-as-boots workers struggling to keep the line clear are counterpointed with passengers' buffet-car comforts.
"War Picture Library was a British 64-page Pocket library war comic title published by Amalgamated Press/Fleetway ... for 2103 issues. Each issue featured a complete story, beginning in 1 September 1958 with "Fight Back to Dunkirk" and finishing 26 years later with "Wings of the Fleet" (3 December 1984)."
The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (BPH, or Ritman Library) in Amsterdam has been a very important institution for research into hermetic philosophy and related currents, particularly early modern Rosicrucianism and alchemy, for decades. In a dramatic and very unsettling turn of events, the library’s existence as we know it is now being threatened.
I signed the petition but have had second thoughts. In light of the Netherlands likely near future, it may be best for the collection to be broken up, sold and moved overseas. Almost two-thirds might be saved from the fire.
Much as I would like to blame Homeland Security for Einstürzende Neubauten's tour cancellation, it sounds as though the band did not get their visa applications lined up with enough time to spare for the process.
Which is a pity as they seem to have got melodic in their old age.