Former Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer says UFOs are real and "the U.S. military has weapons to use against UFOs and that aliens can help us learn about climate change."
Hellyer says, "the reality is that they (aliens) have been visiting earth for decades and probably millennia and have contributed considerably to our knowledge."
Lest ye be tempted to think this is kind of bitchin', Hellyer goes on.
He says UFOs are not the biggest secret in the world, the biggest secret he says is how a "handful of bankers" have "bamboozled" politicians for the past century to take control of the world's currencies by creating a monopoly on printing money. He adds the bankers are "very clever" in financing politicians and now control the political processes.
Global warming, UFOs and an international banking conspiracy all suggest a common theme in the man's temperament.
Oh – and for a point of reference, the average wage in the mid 1400s was about 6 pennies a day – that equates to 130 modern pounds a day – compared to the current average in the UK of around 96 pounds per day.
The Gormogons suggests many video and computer games have a built in conservative worldview "because conservative behavior is consistent, predictable, and reward-based; as a result, it is easy for software to model in a realistic way."
While I can think of inconsistencies in the thinking and behaviour of people describing themselves as conservative, The Fourth Checkraise, whence this link, makes an interesting observation in response. Call it a sociological difference between the people who make films and the people who make video games.
"Why Video Games Lean Conservative" (well, because (1) unlike movie industry populated by humanities and English majors, video game industry is populated by engineers and (2) unlike movies where you can write and act whatever Mary-Sue-wins-the-day nonsense you want, a game must be based on actual achievement and competition to be interesting)
Think of a Lord of the Rings where, after stringing you along for thousands of pages, all of the hobbits end up dying of cancer contracted by their proximity to the Ring, Aragorn is revealed to be a buffoonish puppet-king of no honor and false might, and Gandalf no sooner celebrates the defeat of Sauron than he executes a long-held plot to become the new Dark Lord of Middle-earth, and you have some idea of what to expect should you descend into Abercrombie’s jaded literary sewer.
He is just getting warmed up.
Via Theo writing at Black Gate, who considers Grin's argument - and societal decline - in detail.
The morally confused anti-hero who alternates between conventionally good and conventionally evil behavior may be interesting and well-written, but when every character exhibits the same moral relativism and behaves in the same morally nebulous manner, it readily becomes apparent that the writer is constitutionally incapable of observing actual human behavior much less creating psychologically credible characters that are not stand-ins for his own confused moral sensibilities. It is precisely this intellectual shallowness that pervades the greater part of modern fantasy fiction.
When it comes to an epic tale with moral clarity set in a supremely realised fantasy world, [Tolkien] pretty much knocked it out of the park. But that means there’s not much point in my writing it again, is there? Forgive me for saying so, but it feels as if folk have been writing Lord of the Rings again for a while now, and I think we could probably, you know, stop.
The Imperia GP would make a fine runabout for my steam powered enabled traction suburb (hat tip to Luxist).
The success of resurrected cars like the New Beetle, the Mini, or more recently, the commercial triumph of the new-look Fiat 500, bear witness to this: Neo-Retro Design is definitely in fashion. In addition to the aesthetic pleasure afforded by the lines, which stand out from the current standards commonplace in today’s vehicles, you can also detect nostalgia for a time when the car was still a magical object, the vector of a rediscovered freedom.
Stuart Nathan interviews Hisham Awad, Future Protected Vehicles project leader for BAE Systems.
What, the Batmobile in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight?
‘Yes, that one. You see, it turns like a motorbike and it has the same wheel configuration.’
Yes, yes, but you’re basing a future fighting vehicle on something you saw in a film?
‘Well, why not?’ Awad replied. ‘In all seriousness, we decided that we didn’t have a monopoly on inspiration, and if we saw something in a film that we thought might be a good idea, why not take a look at it and see if there’s something practical we can develop?’
When I examined the VM script, I noticed that there were very few corrections, and the writing, though slow, had the appearance of easy fluidity. A complicated code would require making a preliminary copy using for example a slate for a scratch pad. Paper was expensive in the 15th century. To produce a 200 page manuscript under these conditions would be a very tedious task. The encoding must have been simple, easy and direct. Gordon Rugg has suggested that the VM is nothing but a meaningless jumble of letters! I wondered whether he was not correct, with one modification, only the individual words were jumbled, i.e. anagrams.
Here is the film Vynález zkázy, the DIABOLICAL INVENTION, which, if it is not the steam-powered Holy Grail of Steampunkishness, it surely ought to be. Czechoslovakian animator Karel Zeman is not a legend in the United States only because the United States is largely unaware of his work, thanks to the Iron Curtain. One more black mark against Communism.
Zeman made THE DIABOLICAL INVENTION in 1958, long before Michael Moorcock (the other candidate for the father of steampunk) wrote WARLORD OF THE AIR in 1971.
In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!" He's in cahoots with the elves, who aim to become "masters of the world," and turn Middle-earth into a "bad copy" of their magical homeland across the sea. Barad-dur, also known as the Dark Tower and Sauron's citadel, is, by contrast, described as "that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic."
Which sounds like fun but puts me in a jam with my tablet timing. No way am I reading 250 odd pages of .pdf at my desktop.
Betsey Johnson's Fall 2011 Collection, which was presented at this evening at Lincoln Center during NY Fashion Week Fall 2011 was a spectacular production---and definitely is the highlight of the entire week. The "He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not" show was more fun to watch than most of the theatrical productions currently headlining on Broadway--and was a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day eve.
The story is based on the novel Oms en série, by the French writer Stefan Wul.
Adapted from Stefan Wuls novel(La Planete Sauvage), this psychedelic sci-fi animated movie depicts a social catastrophe on the far distant alien planet Yagam, run by the Draags, highly intellectual, spiritual, blue-skinned, red-eyed giants. Their household pets are tiny, pink-skinned bipeds called Oms who were brought from the planet Terra. Fed up with the maltreatment from their owners, the oppressed Oms decide to start a rebellion to achieve equality and a better life. But the Draags are determined to exterminate the entire species once and for all. Fantastic Planet was the winner of a 1973 Cannes Film Festival grand prize.
Oms should have most likely been translated to something cognate with the English for hommes.
Kahn’s modernist visualization of the digestive and respiratory system as "industrial palace," really a chemical plant, was conceived in a period when the German chemical industry was the world’s most advanced.
It was the logical way to take out targets that were essentially massive balloons filled with flammable gas. When British First World War pilots were asked to destroy German Zeppelins, they did not turn to guns - but a giant exploding dart.
Now one of the foot-long steel-tipped darts is being sold at auction, without the explosives, and is expected to fetch £1,200.
A few hours in the orgone generator and this will fend off anything in the aether. It's a snip at the price.
"So try Ubik, and be loved. Warning: use only as directed. And with caution."
Chip works for Glen Runciter's anti-psi security agency, which hires out its talents to block telepathic snooping and paranormal dirty tricks. When its special team tackles a big job on the Moon, something goes terribly wrong. Runciter is killed, it seems--but messages from him now appear on toilet walls, traffic tickets, or product labels. Meanwhile, fragments of reality are timeslipping into past versions: Joe Chip's beloved stereo system reverts to a hand-cranked 78 player with bamboo needles. Why does Runciter's face appear on U.S. coins? Why the repeated ads for a hard-to-find universal panacea called Ubik ("safe when taken as directed")?
Prometheus is not a film about the ancient Greek folk hero. Rather, it is a science-fiction film in the vein of the Alien trilogy. Scott originally wanted to make the film a prequel to the 1979 Alien film, but eventually turned it into another project.
The film will star Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.
Variety reports the release date for June 8, 2012.
In later drafts, he thought of Yoda as a kind of small frog, and Yoda had a full name: Minch Yoda. In the earliest script draft, Minch has the immortal line: "Skywalker. Skywalker. And why do you come to walk my sky, with the sword of a Jedi knight? ... I remember another Skywalker."
Ministry of Tofu reports FHM China has ruffled feathers with its acknowledgement of Chunyun, the Spring Festival Fush of Chinese people heading home to celebrate the lunar new year with their families.
Given the size of Chinese population and the degree to which China’s economic gravitational pull of coastal metropolitan regions has reshaped the population distribution, the scale of the human migration during Chinese New Year is unparalleled in the world. Airfares are prohibitively high to Chinese migrant workers who go from rural to urban areas for job opportunities and to the ordinary working class, therefore, the railway and bus are the major means of transportation. According to the official statistics, the number of passenger journeys during Chunyun, or the Spring Festival Rush, will exceed 2.85 billion.
FHM's read on the event is considered a bit racey, apparently. Liu Jianan has the full spread. There is at least one image I would consider gratuitous as it inexplicably steers the pictorial away from mooncake and into Murder on the Orient (?) Express. Not reading Mandarin or whathaveyou I am unable to make out its intended meaning.
Core77 Design introduces Mati Karmin, an Estonian sculptor who makes furniture out of Russian anti-submarine mines. This right here is what we call dieselpunk (hat tip to Mr. Ash).
You'd think using a core component with such a simple shape would only lend itself to a narrow variety of objects, but Karmin's developed fireplaces, armchairs, beds, bathtubs, desks, wardrobes, bar cabinets, toilets, chandeliers, baby carriages and more.
I particularly like the mine stove. Lots more at both links.
A few days ago I mentioned that I am being hired (probably) to do the vampire language for "Blade II", the sequel to the Wesley Snipes movie from a couple years back. The vampire language for the original movie was designed by Vicki Fromkin, a professor emerita in my department who died last year. Unfortunately, her notes on the language were lost, so I'm having to start basically from scratch, with my only guide being the nippets of vampire dialogue from the original movie.
Carbon-14 dating places the book's creation to between 1404 and 1438, in the early Renaissance. It's not the oldest book in the world -- that would be The Diamond Sutra, a seven-page scroll printed with wood blocks on paper in China around 1,300 years ago. But it's older than the Gutenberg bible, the first book printed with modern presses, which rolled off the line in 1453.
Steampunk merges with modern style at The Architectural Design Magazine Home Show coming March 17-20 , 2011 in New York City. Art Donovan of Donovan Design will launch his first NYC show with a collection of "Steampunk Modern" illuminated designs and will also be signing his newest book, "The Art of Steampunk." Steampunk combines modern technology with a style sensibility taken from the Victorian era.
Also wonderful: Chris Howard's steampunk map of New York commissioned for a steampunk cafe opening in Brooklyn later this year.
Compare and contrast two forms of ethnography, one science fantasy and the other science fiction. It is anyone's guess which is which.
Not Endor: The Korowai, also called the Kolufo, are a people of southeastern Papua. Photos by George Steinmetz.
Endor: Opinions are mixed as to whether the Ewoks regarded their own species as food animals. The Korowai, not so much.
In 2006, the television show 60 Minutes claimed that when someone in Korowai society is convicted of being a khakhua (secret witch doctor he or she is tried, and if convicted he or she is tortured, executed, and eaten.
Nobody appreciates the word "cannibal" around these parts but when you find yourself being eyed up alongside the sweet potato it is time to politely but firmly excuse yourself from the table.
By extension: Why were the Ewoks armed with those traps and weapons like the catapult?
I would have thought the answer was obvious: Ewoks use their war machines on other Ewoks. You don't just develop a tradition of religious cannibalism overnight. The political landscape of Endor was no doubt an endless series of brutal tribal wars over status and resources.
The fact that the Empire stumbled on the Ewoks at the dawn of their civilization is an accident of history. Ewoks were obviously vastly more competent and intelligent than any other species in the Star Wars universe. They had no ability to smelt metals, yet they still developed complex war machinery and glider flight.
Supposedly the Empire had subjugated and enslaved the arboreal Wookie race. Yet they were not able to do the same to the Ewoks. Why? Because Ewoks were simply smarter. When the Empire were finally forced to go up against them, it was a massacre. Lasers and armored vehicles were unable to cope with the Ewoks' deadly tactical genius.
On their own planet, Ewoks were kept in check by their constant intertribal struggles. Yet these same battles honed them to a vicious edge unparalleled in Galactic history. If even one Ewok were ever to escape from Endor, it would be all over for the rest of civilization. Ewoks with spaceflight capacity would lead inevitably to a tyranny that would make the Empire pale by comparison.
What happens when you detonate a spherical metal honeycomb over five hundred miles wide just above the atmosphere of a habitable world? Regardless of specifics, the world won't remain habitable for long.
Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (3rd Movement)
The Third Part of Bartok's masterpiece, an eerie slow movement, is a classic bartokian "night music" piece. Here the RIAS symphony Orchestra under Ferenc Fricsay, who was Bartok's student, deliver an incredible, stunning performance. For me this is the best version ever of this work and it is a shame that Deutche Grammophone could not record it in stereo.
NASA SP-413 - Space Settlements: A Design Study: "This report grew out of a 10-week program in engineering systems design held at Stanford University and the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the summer of 1975. The project brought together nineteen professors of engineering, physical science, social science, and architecture, and two co-directors. This group worked for ten weeks to construct a convincing picture of how people might permanently sustain life in space on a large scale. The goal of the summer study was to design a system for the colonization of space."
The focus of the system is a space habitat where 10,000 people work, raise families, and live out normal human lives.
The question, "What is feasible?" can be finally answered only by future historians. If in the 14th and l5th Centuries when new technology first made transoceanic voyages possible, European rulers had inquired what they should do with this new capability, no man could have been long-headed enough to perceive all the possibilities, nor persuasive enough to communicate his vision to others.
Josef Suk's "coming to terms" piece concerning the deaths of his father in law Antonin Dvorak and a year later that of his wife Otilka here in a live performance by the National Orchestra of Belgium under chief conductor Walter Weller. I'll let Musicweb's Paul Serotsky describe the piece in more detail now:
Part I: 1. Andante sostenuto concerns the struggle between Life and Death. Asrael, a threatening shadow, observes the rich vitality of Life. Unfurling his leathery wings, he swoops in search of prey. His cold hand touches his chosen victim, and Life fights back...
Part I: 1. Andante sostenuto (continued fom the first segment). Realising (once more) that the conclusion is foregone, Life commits all its energies to a desperate struggle. But the strength that Life expends is the soul that Asrael gains, relentlessly sucked out of this world into the next.
The Motorola Xoom tablet powered by Google’s tablet-specific Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) topped the polls and was named the best gadget at CES 2011. Well done, Motorola.
That said, I am frankly baffled by the selection of tablets on the market. No matter what I search, my Amazon ad links default to "Motorola tablet". This suggests something about what Amazon wants us to look at but what relation this has to what works is anyone's guess.
Given the dominance of the iPad and the fact I work in the design industry I had thought to finally give in and go with Apple. But given Apple's tendency to ringfence their products to the point of diminishing their interoperability with my existing work flow, it is still a tough sell. Unlike my Mac enthusiast friends, I am after a working tablet not a marker of my identity/paper weight. Unfortunately, my brand loyalty to HP would seem particularly ill advised given their early forays into the tablet market and, more troubling yet, Google's Android platform appears to be having teething issues across the board.
My hypothetical tablet should be able to open .pdf files and talk to my desktop via USB and/or WiFi. It would not hurt if the thing go negotiate the internet reasonably painlessly. Ideally, my hypothetical tablet will also have the power to run a few RAM intensive VST plug ins for a DAW setup I could take with me on the road.
But the main thing I am after is a gadget that can open CBR files and a big enough screen that I can lay back on the couch and read comic books.
(I would say suggestions and insights are welcome but my comment system is still down for the count. Apologies.)
Dune Behind the Scenes hosts a page of props from the 1985 David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic (via >Den of Geeks! top 75 spaceships from movies and tv list). So many knick knacks, so little shelf space.
Tyran Grillo reviews the ECM CD release recorded at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 4 “Los Angeles” (2008) was the result of a Los Angeles Philharmonic Association joint commission. The symphony is dedicated to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian political prisoner in whose moral steadfastness Pärt found inspiration for the present work. Says the Estonian composer, “The tragic tone of the symphony is not a lament for Khodorkovsky, but a bow to the great power of the human spirit and human dignity.”
It is the Singapore model, it is a term that people understand in Russia these days. It means that theoretically you have a free press, but in practice there is self-censorship. Theoretically you have courts; in practice the courts adopt decisions dictated from above. Theoretically there are civil rights enshrined in the constitution; in practice you are not able to exercise some of these rights."
The Google Art Project allows you to take a streetview stroll into a number of famous art museums and then an extreme close up of a representative sampling of their contents. The extreme close up above is taken from a relatively dark spot in Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors.
Related: An handy guide of hex values for Crayola crayon colours. Take Burnt Sienna or Purple Mountain's Majesty, for example.
Patrick Richarson asks Jerry Pournelle, Orson Scott Card, Tom Kratman and Larry Correia for their opisions about a perceived rightward drift in the politics of sf.
Orson Scott Card:
“I left SFWA [the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America] in 1987,” he said, “and haven’t looked back. I have very few friends among sci-fi writers and have no idea at all what their politics might be.”
“Back when I cared,” he continued, “most of the writers of my generation were so extremely leftist in their formal opinions, and so extremely elitist in their practices, that it would be difficult to discern where they actually stood on anything. It’s as if the entire Tsarist aristocracy fervently preached Bolshevism even as they oppressed their peasants. But that view is based on observations back in the mid-1980s. Since then, my only exposure to their views has been the general boycott of mine. In short,” he said, “I’m their Devil, but I have no idea who their God is anymore.”
Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring/Summer 2011 Show
Aside from Emma Watson, I admire Burberry's century long strategy of building a fashion house around a trench coat. They will be wearing something like it come the Federation assuming there is anything left of us after the somewhat belated Eugenics Wars.
Crowley himself described the man as "a definite gift from the Gods". Admittedly, he meant as a secretary but to someone with Uncle Al's organizational challenges I would take the words as high praise.
Context: Beyond our Ken: a review of ‘Against the Light: A Nightside Narrative’ by Alan Moore.
“This is a terrible defect in your outlook on life; you cannot be content with the simplicity of reality and fact; you have to go off into a pipe-dream.”
Aleister Crowley, writing to Kenneth Grant, February 15, 1945
As fascinating and as ultimately mystifying as a giant squid in a cocktail dress, what shall we make of Kenneth Grant? I know few occultists without at least a passing interest in his work, and I know fewer still who would profess to have the first idea what he is on about. What he is on.
The updated Dallas pilot, from Cane creator Cynthia Cidre and Warner Horizon, centers on the offspring of bitter rivals and brothers J.R. (Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (Duffy) -- J.R.'s son, John Ross (Henderson) and Bobby and Pam Ewing's adopted son, Christopher -- who clash over the future of the Ewing dynasty while the fate of Southfork itself weighs in the balance.
This blog is now about the Dallas reboot.
With the possible exception of Victor and Nikki's wedding, the greatest moment in soap opera history.
I have fortified the chantry with tourtière and Biere Boris. Let it snow.
Is there such a thing as Canadian cuisine? The idea of ordering "Canadian" may have some scratching their heads. But Canada has given the world its share of gastronomic delights. From peameal bacon to poutine to pemmican, CBC Archives digs in to some distinctly homegrown fare.
John Barry, who died on January 30 aged 77, was one of the most successful of all film composers; he won five Oscars for scores that included Born Free, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves, but wrote his best-known and most enduring music for the James Bond films.
Some find perfection in Mozart. For me, it is to be found here. This is music for storytelling.