September 30, 2011

Aristocracy vs meritocracy

In comic books villains earn their fortune, heroes inherit.

Conventional wisdom, and the vast majority of popular film and fiction outside the superhero genre, suggest that the heroic characters—the ones we admire and identify with—ought to be the ones who earn success through their own merits after a long struggle, while the villains are snobbish children of undeserved privilege. When it comes to the most famous businessmen in comics, though, we find that just the reverse is the case ...

The news comes as no surprise to supporters of the Empire; ask self-made man Darth Vader (via Ace).

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

First they came for the kobolds

It isn't that Dragon*Con founder Ed Kramer has allegedly been molesting children for decades, for him the justice system will run its course. It is that so many people for so long knew exactly what was going on and said nothing for fear of losing their vendor's booths (via Five Feet of Fury).

If this seems hard to fathom, you have to understand how the fandom industry works — and how lucrative it is. Long forgotten sci-fi authors who toiled away in obscurity can achieve new popularity and legitimacy just by being included in the program.

Objection: Armored Facilities Manager writes.

I have to take some exception that _everyone_knew_ all along and didn't say anything. I say this because I was in the gaming organization, DAGR, that Ed started and ran for years prior to Dragon Con and I knew Ed for years while I was in middle and high school.

The creepy factor was not obvious and in many cases the accusations seemed VERY much the case of it looks like this and so it MUST be the worst conclusion possible. Given how interpersonal-politics in business between people works and how a nominally innocent situation could be readily construed, it was the sort of thing I questioned for years when I did hear the accusations because, again, I was in the same circles and had not come to the same conclusions nor seen any convincing evidence. Just accusations that seemed spiteful from start to finish.

As Nancy states, the more blatant behavior started later but the early accusations on such tenuous evidence helped me to discount the accusations.

In retrospect, with victim testimony and corroboration, Ed's behavior was execrable, there's no doubt about that. But if I assumed that every instance of people having arrived freshly showered equated to them just having been In flagrante delicto, then EVERYONE was having some sort of salacious activity and that was simply not what I saw or thought what was obvious.

Put another way, folks would borrow showers in a hotel room because many were either short of funds to actually get their own hotel room or they were just unavailable, so using a shower or getting an offer of one was a boon (little used enough by some sadly). I myself surfed a room or two at the con when in High School (Late 80s). Some argue that the folks who don't take the time to get a shower is often an issue.

Some of my unsettled response to the "Everyone knew!" attitudes after the fact is that it bears a remarkable resemblance to the sudden and dramatic agreement after accusations of witch-craft, or similar, by a gaggle of people all too willing to confirm what everyone knew. I even saw the example that Joe Christ cites at Goth-Con and frankly, I didn't jump to the same conclusions.

I have to take some exception to the above articles salacious terminology and ridicule of the sci-fi community. It's ill mannered and ill conceived. More so the idea that Ed held the power of god over everyone. Given how much of Dragon Con is entirely run by volunteers who have ZERO financial stake in the convention itself, it stands to reason that someone who saw the obvious would have raised a flag if it was in fact that obvious.

Having been of 'that age' around Ed and having no inappropriate conduct at all ever from him aside from kindness and courtesy it was hard for me to believe or credit the accusations whispered by various people.

Hindsight is 20/20. Jumping to the obvious conclusion that everyone should have known all along is a poor logic.

Again, as it became clear the whispered accusations were in fact true, I found myself disappointed in a man that I thought was an ok fellow. whispered accusations were in fact true, I found myself disappointed in a man that I thought was an ok fellow.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Queen: We Are the Champions

Scientists say: The catchiest pop song of all time.

All power to Freddie Mercury, obviously, but I can think of a half dozen catchier Queen singles. For instance:

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

September 29, 2011

Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire, full colour 7" multi-touch display, wifi tablet is, at time of launch, only available for pre-order in the United States. Sucks to be you, Canada!

I did not get a heads up through the Amazon Associate program but, given the Kindle Fire is reported to be a very similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook*, I assume this is content rights issue and not a hardware issue.

... unlike the BlackBerry tablet or the many struggling Android tablets on the market, Amazon gives you many many reasons, right up front, as to why this tablet matters. As Amazon puts it: "18 million songs, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, apps and games." Not that you get all of those free with purchase, but the device is purpose-built as a conduit for media, whether you pay for an Amazon Prime streaming subscription, subscribe to periodicals or buy books, music or movies a la carte.

If you can make money off the back end you can afford to get your tablets out the front door as a loss leader. With Windows 8 tablets just over the horizon, it's a combination that spells serious trouble for firms dependent on hardware sales for their margins. Ahem, Apple.

It doesn't have all the iPad's features but... so what? It's one hundred and ninety-nine dollars.

35 percent of respondents to a Staples survey said they use their tablets in the bathroom. I'm just saying, wouldn't you rather that be a $199 tablet than a $500 tablet?

Related: The birth of the Kindle Tablet and the death of the public library.

* BlackBerry just knocked $200 off all PlayBook models, btw.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

American Juggalo

American Juggalo from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

"American Juggalo is a look at the often mocked and misunderstood subculture of Juggalos, hardcore Insane Clown Posse fans who meet once a year for four days at The Gathering of the Juggalos. We went to The Gathering of the Juggalos and let the Juggalos speak their minds."

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Epic Meal Time: 12 Gauge Hot Dog

On this morning's update, deadmau5 gives a shout out to "EpicMealTime raging their faces off in the middle of the crowd." It occurred to me there may be Flea-readers who have yet to be introduced to this Canadian institution.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Do You Wanna Touch Me

Epic: Real Wild Child.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

Dear Sobey's

Dear Sobey's,

I attempted to use a coupon for two Breads of the World baked-in-store products only to discover (not at the cash, but at the customer service desk) that the two loaves I had purchased did not qualify; this despite the fact they were in baskets some of which were labeled as Breads of the World (though not in the size limitation for the coupon) and most of which were identified by country (i.e. France, Italy, etc.).

I won't bore you, or take up more of my time, with the details but suffice to say your promotion has left me feeling worse about your branding (muddled and confusing, perhaps deliberately so), your front line customer service (who first ignored me - I mean literally skipped to the next customer and refused to speak to me - and then told me it was "not a problem") and your store managemer who told me this was the first she had heard of customer confusion on the subject (your customer service staff member told the cashier lots of customers had "made the same mistake") and that she was not to blame because Breads of the World labeling all came from head office.

That would be you. Please do something to make it more clear to customers which products do and do not fall within the purview of your promotional coupons (for example, if there is a size limitation on the egg potato salad, your coupon should say so; it doesn't). Otherwise, you risk annoying the people you are trying to impress.

The next time I am short changed on my points at one of your locations, I won't take it up with store management, I will treat it as a breach of contract and take your firm to small claims court.

With best regards.

The Flea


PS - Thanks for your reply asking for the store location so you could refer me to the manager I have just told you I have already talked to. But I have her card so if I need to get in touch I've got that covered.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

September 28, 2011

1984 (1954)

Blazing Cat Fur has saved BBC Television's 1954 live production of George Orwell's 1984 from the memory hole.

Featuring Peter Cushing as Winston Smith. Screenplay by Quatermass creator, Nigel Kneale.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a British television adaptation of the novel of the same name by George Orwell, originally broadcast on BBC Television in December 1954. The production proved to be hugely controversial, with questions asked in Parliament and many viewer complaints over its supposed subversive nature and horrific content.

Sadly, today's audience is less likely to complain about the subversive nature and horrific content of reality.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

None of the above

Quotulatiousness explains how to decline your ballot in Ontario's forthcoming election.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Vocabulary builder: Fu er dai

"In the Vancouver metropolitan city of Surrey, 13 members of a Super Sports Car Club composed of ethnic Chinese fu er dai were intercepted by police while racing on a busy highway and fined. But until now none of them have expressed regret/remorse over the matter."

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Mirror mirror

Cracked considers the opportunity to live in a tv ad reality. Choose wisely, they say.

For me, it's a no brainer.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Dj Smash feat. Fast Food: Volnya

The same thing happened to me when I got that McAngus coupon.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

September 27, 2011

The Unipiper - Everyman

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

You say bark, I say bite

Featured at this year's London Design Festival: This 3D printed bicycle.

It was printed from layers of fused nylon, using a technique more commonly deployed in satellite manufacture.
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Designing the future

NPR interviews "visual futurist" Syd Mead.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Downton Abbey at war

British Forces News reports from "the most perfect First World War trench set you could imagine."

That's the spirit: Khaki Devil Limited.

The founders , Taff Gillingham and Kev Smith, are both collectors of Uniforms and Equipment and, in keeping with many others of the 'anorak' variety, would often bemoan the lack of accurate military detail in film, television or theatre productions.

Rather than keep complaining they decided to use their knowledge to offer a service to those Directors, Producers, Costume Designers, Art Directors and other interested parties who want to get the details right.
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Nick Cave & Current 93: All The Pretty Little Horses

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

September 26, 2011

The Northern Indo-Europeans

It would be an eye-opener for these wandering folk to see the state of us now though I suspect our stories about them would look a bit Motel of the Mysteries.

Good fun but all the interjections about the "symbolic" significance of this, that and the other thing are to over complicate the past. Copper and bronze ornamentation did not represent wealth, it was wealth; people weren't buried with symbols of their personal identity, they were buried with their favourite stuff. But such is old school archaeology.

Posted by the Flea at 05:58 AM


Tolkien Library hosts an interview with Benjamin Harff, upcoming Tolkien illustrator and creator of the Edel-Silmarillion, an illuminated version of Tolkien's ur-text.

Posted by the Flea at 05:57 AM

A Game of Thrones - Genesis

An adaptation of the bestseller series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin as a PC strategy game by Cyanide. I would link to it but the game has yet to appear on Amazon.

From Nymeria's arrival in the Kingdom of Dorne to the awakening of the "Others" beyond the Wall, you'll live the origins of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga through more than 1000 years of history. From year -750 to year 299, you will take part in Westeros' founding events and largest battles, such as Aegon the Conqueror's invasion of the continent or the War of the Usurper.

"A Game of Thrones - Genesis" is also a great multiplayer game. Up to 8 players confront each others to claim the Iron Throne in intense games where alliances, betrayals, cheap shots, and pitched battles take place!

Related: Game of Muppets.

Posted by the Flea at 05:55 AM

A challenger appears

Elijah Wood challenges Dominic Monaghan for Fantastic Fest 2011.

Update: Fight! FIght! Fight!

Posted by the Flea at 05:54 AM

Philippe Laurent et Les Joyaux de la Princesse: Lumière Bleue

Posted by the Flea at 05:52 AM

September 25, 2011

Potap and Nastya: We cancel KS

I am going to learn Russian and be a pop star.

Posted by the Flea at 10:08 AM

Nastya Kamensky and Mary Berseneva: Why so silent

This blog is now about Nastya Kamensky.

Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM

Potap and Nastya Kamensky: Summer

I was singing along by the end.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

September 24, 2011

Sea of Faith (1984)

Note to self: Build a Tower. Move in.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM


"Scientists have created a revolutionary brain imaging process which allows them to 'see' moving images inside people's minds."

Coming soon to an airport queue near you.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

This is what happens when your Dad's a graphic designer


Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Planets viewed from Earth

What if other planetary bodies orbited our world (or vice versa) at the same distance as the Moon?

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Agnes Obel: Riverside (Lulu Rouge Remix)

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

Screw You Taxpayer!

It's funny because it's true.

Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM

September 23, 2011

Philip Scott Johnson: Women in art

Nominated as Most Creative Video in the 2nd Annual YouTube Awards. 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art.

Music: Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

Posted by the Flea at 07:11 AM

In the kingdom of words

Having belatedly read Kirill Eskov's The Last Ringbearer - I desperately wish I had written it - it is now safe for me to read the reviews.

The first return is from Salon, Laura Miller calling it Middle-earth according to Mordor. Unfortunately, the whole point of Eskov's spirited, saturnine commentary on Tolkien's masterpiece is lost in Miller's summary. She tries to appropriate Russian cynicism but in doing so shows herself to be a paid up member of the class Eskov has in his sights.

As bad lots go, you can't get much worse than the hordes of Mordor from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." Led by an utterly evil disembodied entity who manifests himself as a gigantic, flaming, pitiless eye, and composed of loathsome orcs (or goblins), trolls and foreigners, Mordor's armies are ultimately defeated and wiped out by the virtuous and noble elves, dwarfs, ents and human beings -- aka the "free peoples" -- of Middle-earth.

Human beings, she says. She means "Men" but can't bring herself to use the word. She goes on to parse "victors" as "history is written by the winners." Such is the pasteurization of English, an injustice both to Tolkien and to his clever Russian critic.

Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM

Jordi Savall: Rotundellus

Cantigas de Santa María - Alfonso X "El Sabio" (1221 - 1284) - Rotundellus.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

September 22, 2011

Monkey points

Just yesterday, I was explaining to my students you never take points on net profit (via AoSHQ).

... the actor who played Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is saying that Lucasfilm still isn't paying residuals, claiming that the film is still not profitable:

“I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you. Now here we’re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time,” said [David] Prowse. “I don’t want to look like I’m bitching about it,” he said, “but on the other hand, if there’s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it.”

If you adjust for inflation, Jedi is the 15th highest grossing films of all time.

Alec Guinness knew what to do. The original Star Wars production could not afford to hire him so, on a bit of a lark, he took the job anyway for 2% of gross.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

The deep web

A map of the undersea cables hosting 99 per cent of global internet traffic.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

The latest moral panic

Touchscreen epidemics.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

Iggy Azalea: PU$$Y

A clear September morning in AD 476. I used to wonder how Rome fell, now I doubt anyone noticed at the time.

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM

September 21, 2011

Inspired by Iceland

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

What could go wrong?

"There was a nuclear war. A few years from now, all this, this whole place, everything, it's gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here, there. Nobody even knew who started it. It was the machines, Sarah."

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Tree of lightning

Thor! Thor!

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

The ugliest building in Stockholm

Guess the mystery building in Stockholm.

(Via The Fourth Checkraise.)

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Casta: Around the Noise

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

September 20, 2011

Men among the ruins

Victor Davis Hanson on life in the ongoing historical reenactment called California. It's Augustine's City of God written by Stephen King.

The Toyota is always around when theft occurs, and always speeding off when anyone spots it. Rural California is also like North Africa circa 420 AD: the few family farms left are mostly fenced or walled, the dogs large, the owners armed — trying to survive against organized Vandal attacks. All we need are mosaics in the courtyard portraying happier times as a testament to future archeologists. Maybe a “Cave Canem!” on the doorstep.
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM


Archeologists unearth evidence of zombie scare in medieval Ireland.

Posted by the Flea at 05:28 AM

Chocolate covered strawberry shot glasses

That's right. Chocolate covered strawberry shot glasses.

Posted by the Flea at 05:27 AM

Star Trek vs Star Wars

William Shatner: Star Trek > Star Wars.

Posted by the Flea at 05:25 AM

Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett: The Lady Is A Tramp

Posted by the Flea at 05:22 AM

September 19, 2011

The Emmy now has meaning

“I’ve learned to really love being on a TV show,” says Emmy winner Peter Dinklage.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

Around the world in 60 seconds

"A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy."

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

Katy Perry: Electric Feel

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM

September 18, 2011

The Varangians

The Viking before of Russia. "Rus" is "rows."

It looks a lot like a Canadian before of Russia.

A thought: Historians who have never done a portage need to shut the hell up about what is and is not possible for a crew of determined hard asses. That goes double for estimating the trouble posed by rapids and cataracts.

Pro-tip: Moving your trading base to the convenient side of rapids and cataracts is what we might call a "good idea".

There's impossible and there's not knowing what you are about. The Vikings never had this problem.

Also: I would be grateful if anyone might recognize the uprights pictured in line along the centre of the river boat (screen capture below). I have no clue what they are for but they look exactly like conventional representations of Irminsul, the world tree. Are they purely decorative?


If these uprights have some sort of function than Irminsul designs are not abstract representations of trees but representative, uhh, representations of a central feature in longships. This would not only change the symbolism attached to Yggdrasil - the world tree as something mobile, your ship as the centre of the world and the entire universe as a boat traveling across the waters.

Or it could just be the archaeologists decided to be a bit fanciful in their ship construction. If this is the case, I guarantee you they regretted the weight at the first portage.

Update: The Father of the Flea has an answer... oar racks! "No checked baggage on this flight!"

A challenger appears: Fenris Badwulf writes:

Your mysterious uprights are used to hold the mast when it is not being used for sailing.

The mast, when 'stepped down' is large and bulky, so it is just stuck up there. It can then serve as a joist and have a canvas or cloth (leather?) tarp thrown over it for the comfort of the crew and captain.
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Noomi Rapace in Thomas Tait: I

"Noomi Rapace dressed in Thomas Tait, at Orionteatern, Stockholm, Sweden. The black Friesians surrounding her are Astor, Quintos, Suleyman, Joopy, Romeo and Othello. The text is from Alan Watts’ Myth and Religion."

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Coil: Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

September 17, 2011

Michael Wood on Beowulf (2009)

Featuring the Beowulf manuscript, a wave sword and Black Shuck.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

We call your wolves

The lyrics: "Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe" by Friedrich Hielscher (1979).

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Blood Axis: Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe

Winter is coming.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Werkraum: Wir rufen deine Wölfe

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

Turbund Sturmwerk: Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM

Der Arbeiter: Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

September 16, 2011

On location: Buttercup Valley, 1982

"A more romantic, if now largely forgotten, time."

It was the Spring of 1982. In the Southern California desert region known as Buttercup Valley, cameras were rolling on a film called Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination.
The photography that follows is a never-before-published archive of private shots snapped on set during the filming of Return of the Jedi.

Related: George Lucas re-edits classic movies.

Also: New scenes! More Porkins!

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Yeah that's what I would do

Because there's no way you could be a Marine.

"They told him he couldn't go in," said Dwight Meyer, Dakota Meyer's 81-year-old grandfather, a former Marine who served in the 1950s. "He told them, 'The hell I'm not,' and he went in. It's a one-in-a-million thing" that he survived.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Nope! Chuck Testa.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Inna: Un Momento

Hat tip to Beautiful Atrocities.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

September 15, 2011

Second look at... communism!

Beauty Class teaches women in China how to be perfect.

Sweet, charming, and lovely, Beauty Class will allow you to reinvent yourself, from an ugly duckling to the white swan. Afraid to wear low-cut tops? Afraid to wear miniskirts? No problem, let us teach you how to change into an S-figure, to cultivate you into a charming collection, transform you into an perfect woman. This is not a legend...

I object to this for some reason.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

The 6 Weirdest Jobs in China

Now wondering if Second Career Ontario will finance my Face Job training.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

50 Words For Snow

Kate Bush is set to release a new album in November (via Quotulatiousness).

We are extremely pleased to announce that Kate will be releasing a brand new album: "50 Words For Snow" on 21 November 2011

The album will be the second release from Kate's own label Fish People and comprises all new material that was recorded during the same period that Kate worked on her album “Director’s Cut”.

A 37 second teaser: Enjoy!

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Serge Gainsbourg : Élisa

Gainsbourg knew what to do.

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

September 14, 2011

Windows 8

What could go wrong?

It may have the start-bar-and-icon Desktop look that Windows users are familiar with, but as the crowd at Anaheim, California, saw, any similarities with Windows 7 end there.

The new system has a new, touchscreen-optimized interface called 'Metro,' which looks more like the Windows Phone operating system.

I must confess, I like the look of it. The "thumbs" keyboard layout is particularly clever; at least if you are young enough to have learned to type with your thumbs.

The next generation of tablets should run Windows 8 without difficulty. Something to consider regarding your Apple/Android portfolio.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Vladimir Putin

Action man.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Beautifully crafted

Thanks to an impending gadget purchase, I have been watching far too many unboxing videos. This is a masterpiece of the genre.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Deadmau5: Raise Your Weapon

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

Dear marketing people

Congratulations on your recent purchase of my email address. This blog is called "Ghost of a flea", I am based in Toronto and I don't work for the The National Post.

You can show willing by working one of the above details into your pitch somewhere. Special points if you name two "journalists" in conjunction with the Postmedia reference.

Suggestions for your consideration:

If you want me to advertise your bands you should offer me comp tickets to their gigs. If you don't, your addy goes in Google's spam filter. You're welcome.

This goes for your indie films, art openings, local theatre, books (esp by Canadian authors), games or pretty much any other product/service you want me to "review".

This goes double for your clients' brands.

Your clients are paying you for promotion. I won't do your work for you for free.

Also, no more offers to run text link ads for clients you won't name, thanks. I value my Google PR at least as much as you claim to.


The Flea

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

September 13, 2011

Prior art


Apple's intellectual property battle against Sumsung has moved to Japan. If the Japanese suit stays true to form, Apple will claim Samsung's Galaxy tablets copied the iPad.

Samsung's argument: Stanley Kubrick invented tablet computers, not Apple.

Samsung will now tell the courts that because a similar tablet actually appeared in Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey (see below) it makes Apple's patent null and void.

Samsung says Kubrick's future-thinking movie opens up the 'prior art' defense, which can be used to invalidate patents if the idea can be proved to have existed before the patent was issued.

Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 Newspad has finally arrived, nine years late.

In fairness to Samsung, Apple really should have seen this coming. Apple cultists enthusiasts had another comparison in mind before the iPad was even launched, Star Trek: The Next Generation's PADDs, or Personal Access Display Devices.

Ars Technica considers the technology, and its development, in detail.

To understand the thinking that led to the design of the Star Trek PADD, we spoke to some of the people involved in production of ST:TNG (as well as other Star Trek TV series and films), including Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, and Doug Drexler. All three were involved in various aspects of production art for Star Trek properties, including graphic design, set design, prop design, visual effects, art direction, and more. We also discussed their impressions of the iPad and how eerily similar it is to their vision of 24th century technology, how science fiction often influences technology, and what they believe is the future of human-machine interaction.

The comparison cannot have escaped Apple entirely, Steve Jobs used Star Trek as a backdrop to his iPad launch.

No word on whether Michael Okuda plans to take Apple to court for infringement on Starfleet's LCARS operating system.

The cookie crumbles: Only half of potential tablet buyers say they will purchase an iPad next year.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Olivia Newton John: Recovery

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

September 12, 2011



The Raincatch is a rain coat that collects rain water and uses in-built purifiers and charcoal filters to make it water drinkable via a series of tubes. No word on whether it achieves maximum pumping action use the motion of the breath.

Kudos to Hyeona Yang, Joshua Noble and the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design. Now an ornithopter, please.

The collar of the coat collects rain, which is then filtered down the back of the coat where it would be passed through charcoal filters and then purified using a chemical process. The water is then stored around the hips of the coat where the weight can be ergonomically carried by the wearer without strain. The aesthetics of the coat are simple but elegant, showing the water and the internal workings of the coat, but hiding the water storage to maintain a clean form factor.

Pro-tip: It helps to fasten the boots slip-fashion. Images and video at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Videogame Classics

Video game covers redesigned as Penguin Classics.

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

Gamer Commute

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

The Sugarcubes: Cold Sweat

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

September 11, 2011

USS New York LPD-21

Forged from the steel of the World Trade Center.

7.5 short tons (6.8 t) of the steel used in the ship's construction came from the rubble of the World Trade Center ... The steel was melted down at Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, Louisiana, to cast the ship's bow section. It was poured into the molds on 9 September 2003, with 7 short tons (6.4 t) cast to form the ship's "stem bar" — part of the ship's bow. The shipyard workers reportedly treated it with "reverence usually accorded to religious relics", gently touching it as they walked by. One worker delayed his retirement after 40 years' work to be part of the project.
Posted by the Flea at 02:32 PM

9/11 on Film

Rick McGinnis on 9/11 documentaries.

There was a phrase heard over and over on the day, ten years ago, and in the weeks and months afterward, from survivors and eyewitnesses, from reporters and columnists: “It looked just like a movie.” Sitting in front of my TV on that morning, as one tower fell and then the other, I just couldn’t see it.

Update: Features.

... you can count on one hand the films directly about the attacks, and neither is anything like a classic.
Posted by the Flea at 01:18 PM

September 10, 2011

Because it isn't always bad news

Due in no small part to the existence of Felicia Day. For example, the world now includes an Official Codex Halloween Costume.

Also, Guild themed soda pop.

Introducing Jones Soda and The Guild.

Who is your inner gamer most like?

The strong Warrior skills of Vork Green Apple Soda....the sexy Priestess charm of Codex Strawberry Lime...the blade slingin' Rogue skills of Bladezz Cola...the Mage like insight of Clara Berry Lemonade...the Long Rage wit of Tinkerballa Grape....or the Warlock magic of Zaboo Blue Bubblegum.
Posted by the Flea at 11:58 AM

Build a house for less than $5000

As someone who will most likely never be able to afford a conventional mortgage, and was raised with Hobbits, this hole in the ground looks like a wonderfully comfortable solution.

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM

I will believe in you if you will believe in me

The first chatbot conversation ends in an argument. Skynet may be less of a problem than I had been lead to believe.

Posted by the Flea at 11:54 AM

Isang Litrong Liwanag

Posted by the Flea at 11:53 AM

Lavika: Eternal Paradise

I don't usually approve of saxophone. But when I do.

Posted by the Flea at 11:51 AM

September 09, 2011

What is Strong?

Hat tip to Damian.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Vera Brezhneva: Real Life

You're welcome.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

September 08, 2011

Today Show: Shark report awkwardly falls apart

That's it. I'm moving to Australia.

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

Woman punches bear to save her dog

Because sometimes it's good news.

Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM

Flash Haka

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

Best velociraptor impression ever

Also, Gollum and Sméagol.

He has another career waiting for him if he wants it.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM

Dan Balan: Chica Bomb (Chew Fu Hurt Lockek Remix)

With September blog sweeps coming up, I figure it's lowest common denominator time. This pretty much divides by zero.

Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM

September 07, 2011

Uptown Downstairs Abbey

"How common!"

"There's a precis at the beginning of each episode. For idiots."

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

A woman's life can really be a succession of lives

Xan Brooks reviews W.E., Madonna's second directorial effort.

Whatever the crimes committed by Wallis Simpson – marrying a king, sparking a constitutional crisis, fraternising with Nazis – it's doubtful that she deserves the treatment meted out to her in W.E., Madonna's jaw-dropping take on "the 20th-century's greatest royal love story". The woman is defiled, humiliated, made to look like a joke. The fact that W.E. comes couched in the guise of a fawning, servile snow-job only makes the punishment feel all the more cruel.

That's just getting warmed up. The rest at the link. Also, video (hat tip to Mr. Jané).

Illustrative: Because.

"Here's Madonna in her British accent again being, of course ... Madonna."

Madonna replies: Madonna is entitled to hate your measly gifts.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Pretty Vacant: Sex Pistols

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

September 06, 2011

Judging people on shallow stuff is human nature

And Alyssa Bereznak is a world champion. Her first two weeks on OKCupid were "the online equivalent to hanging out alone in a dark, date-rapey bar." Barraged with creepy messages, she was happy to meet a "normal" henge fund manager for a drink.

Until she discovered he was Magic: The Gathering champion, Jon Finkel (hat tip to Pocket War Comics).

I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you.

Alyssa Bereznak puts her cards on the table in the unedited, Australian version of her article.

I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing… if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.

This was after their second date, mind you: "That’s right, even after she learned about his hobby, Googled him to confirm his professional career AND criticized his internet dating etiquette, she still went out on another date with the guy."

But then, if you can't pick up after two weeks in a dark, date-rapey bar, your options are limited.

Comments at BoardGameGeek.

Here's hoping she dies alone as a bitter spinster who's dessicated body is found in her one-room apartment (clogged with hundreds of old issues of "Glamour" and "Cosmopolitan" magazines) after being partially devoured by her starving pack of cats.

Also: The Cliffnotes version.

But wait: Really, we're still making fun of nerds? Really?

For the ladies: What is Jon Finkel looking for in a woman? "Self awareness and intellectual curiosity." Hey Jon, here's a pro-tip: They're not on OKCupid (and they don't write for Jezebel).

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Beauty: it’s the new hate crime.

According to some legal experts, "lookism" is the new racism.

Yet again, reverse-lookism is tacitly endorsed by the establishment. That's hatrist.

Anna Kournikova at the link, btw. Just saying.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

100 Years / Style / East London

"100 years of East London style in 100 seconds. Sept 13th 1911 - Sept 13th 2011."

Strangely, the latest looks on Brick Lane don't get a look in.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

IOWA: Simple Song

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

September 05, 2011

It's Freddie Mercury Day

In pictures: Freddie Mercury and Queen.

"To celebrate Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday, we are streaming a continuous version of Queen's legendary 1986 concert at Wembley Stadium."

Queen, Annie Lennox and David Bowie perform 'Under Pressure' live.

Related: "Freddie For A Day is a fundraising campaign for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the charity set up in Freddie Mercury’s name in 1992."

How do I get involved?

It’s very simple. You dress as Freddie Mercury in any way and anywhere you want and encourage friends to sponsor you.

Also: Birthday greetings.

Posted by the Flea at 12:02 PM

Table 7

A short film.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Bueller … Bueller … Edition)

With Ferris Bueller's Day Off released for BluRay, Rick McGinnis imagines Ferris' life after high school.

... the most chilling – and resonant – scene in the film is the one where he turns to the camera and addresses his future. He’s off to college, and it’s unlikely that his friendship with Cameron (Alan Ruck) will survive their undergraduate years in different schools. He’ll stick with Sloane (Mia Sara) of course – she’s too much of a fox to dump, even if he has to try to stay faithful while she finishes her senior year of high school.

He can try but it won't work. Trust me on this. But not to worry, there is lots of time for them to get back together in a sequel.

Fun fact: Mia Sara has a kid with Sean Connery's son and another child with Jim Henson's son.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Emma Watson - Tresor Midnight Rose Ad

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Foster the People: Pumped Up Kicks

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

September 03, 2011


Something new to do in Toronto.

They say it's 356 meters up. In grown up, that's 1168 ft.

Chuck Norris disregards your fears.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 PM

Authors@Google: Penn Jillette

Interesting and engaging even if he interprets the example of Abraham and Isaac 100% backwards.

Penn Jillette visited Google's Santa Monica office on August 19, 2011 to discuss his book "God No! Signs You Already May Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales."
Posted by the Flea at 03:44 PM

Marty Robbins: Big Iron

Posted by the Flea at 03:42 PM

September 02, 2011

The shipping news

The Royal Navy's latest warship HMS Dragon sails into her new home in Portsmouth.

Quick, set sail before they decide to scrap it!

British Forces News has video.

Elsewhere: A Chinese warship confronts an Indian naval ship in the South China Sea.

A Chinese warship confronted an Indian naval vessel as it left Vietnamese waters in July but the Indian Navy has denied the reports.

Nothing to see here. Move along. Video at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

And ... Fight!

The five most badass things done while conquering mountains.

"Break the laws of physics to access axe."

Warning: Concerns men.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

The fewer men, the greater share of honour

"... a video that will (in the Bard's immortal words) make you hold your manhood cheap."

Jeb Corliss by wazzabii

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Icehouse: Hey Little Girl

Shades of Roxy Music. Hat tip to Mike.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

September 01, 2011


When I get my time machine, I am not going back to kill Hitler. For one thing, there will be a line-up.

For another, this.

It was already such a perfect moment. As Luke, dying under the Emperor's torrent of force lightning, calls out to his father to help him, Vader stares quietly, looks at his son, then at the Emperor, and makes his decision. And he DOESN"T FUCKING SAY A THING. That's what makes it so powerful. You could almost see the thought process behind the mask, as Vader slowly comes out of the fog of 20+ years of evil. It's a grand, amazing moment and the pinnacle of the trilogy, in my opinion.

And George Lucas just ruined it.

On second thought, the line up to kill Hitler will probably be shorter.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

History as an experimental science

Prufrock451 answers the question: "Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?"

DAY 1 The 35th MEU is on the ground at Kabul, preparing to deploy to southern Afghanistan. Suddenly, it vanishes.

The section of Bagram where the 35th was gathered suddenly reappears in a field outside Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber River. Without substantially prepared ground under it, the concrete begins sinking into the marshy ground and cracking. Colonel Miles Nelson orders his men to regroup near the vehicle depot - nearly all of the MEU's vehicles are still stripped for air transport. He orders all helicopters airborne, believing the MEU is trapped in an earthquake.

Nelson's men soon report a complete loss of all communications, including GPS and satellite radio. Nelson now believes something more terrible has occurred - a nuclear war and EMP which has left his unit completely isolated. Only a few men have realized that the rest of Bagram has vanished, but that will soon become apparent as the transport helos begin circling the 35th's location.

Within an hour, the 2,200 Marines have regrouped, stunned. They are not the only moderns transported to Rome.

The first week at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

That will be the day

ST: TNG's "Yesterday's Enterprise" suggests there is something to the notion it takes until season three to get your story in stride.

The Enterprise-D encounters a rift in space-time while on a routine mission. As they monitor the anomaly, the heavily damaged USS Enterprise-C, a ship believed destroyed more than two decades earlier, emerges. At that occurrence, the Enterprise-D undergoes a sudden and radical change: it is now a warship and the Federation is at war with the Klingons.

Watching it again, it scared the hell out of me. Something profoundly unsettling. The technical term for the feeling is "Das Unheimliche."

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Josie Charlwood: Feel Good Inc

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM