Whoever you think they were, you are probably wrong.
Le French! Bet you didn't see that coming.
Traditional history tells us that European settlers discovered America about the time of the Renaissance. But revolutionary new archaeological data and the latest DNA research reveal that Europeans visited our shores far earlier - some 17,000 years before Columbus was even born. Filmed in glorious high definition, this two-hour, epic drama follows an intrepid family of stone age hunters as they trek from their homeland in southwestern France, cross 3,000 miles of ocean and eventually make their first permanent settlement in what is today the northeastern U.S.
Not having - knowingly - read the man's work, I googled Charles Stross and learned two things. First, he invented the githyanki, and; second, where he borrowed the name from.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Stross published some role-playing game articles about Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the White Dwarf magazine. Some of his creatures, such as the death knight, githyanki (borrowed from George R. R. Martin's book, Dying of the Light), githzerai, and slaad (a chaotic race notable for their rigid caste system) were later published in the Fiend Folio monster compendium.
It was about two years ago I realized I would never have time to read all the books I would like to read before I die. And the list just got longer.
...you can do whatever else it is you do for eleven other months out of the year, but take one (not necessarily continuous) month's worth off work you would've put into a freelance gig and write your nutjob project.
William Faulkner's speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1950.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
Still topic sixty years on. But today the conflict is all too clear and we refuse to write about it at all.
Alan Moore has gotten used to the fact that some of his fictions "percolate out into the material world."
For example, a mask borrowed by Anonymous to take on a litigious cult is now found everywhere as protest fashion.
A sallow, smirking likeness of Guy Fawkes – created by Moore and the artist David Lloyd for their 1982 series V for Vendetta. It has a confused lineage, this mask: the plastic replica that thousands of demonstrators have been wearing is actually a bit of tie-in merchandise from the film version of V for Vendetta, a Joel Silver production made (quite badly) in 2006.
The Meads Of Asphodel: "Despite a fluctuating line-up, the band continues to release well-received music. The band's most consistent feature is their use of often unusual guest musicians, including members of Hawkwind and a Rabbi."
"A rare 30-minute interview with Mark Hamill, which appears to have been taped in late 1977 just before the release of Star Wars in Britain that December, has surfaced on YouTube."
The interview, which is described as having been conducted at Imperial College London, seems to have been broadcast on British television in October, 1978 — although Hamill at one point mentions the film hadn’t yet released in England, likely placing the original session sometime in late 1977.
Comments to the piece suggest the British still don't grasp American humour.
"Anne McCaffrey wasn't just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science fiction and fantasy authors wrote about women, and the way all of us thought about bodies and selfhood."
The 18MB downloadette is essentially there to stop the game from running without Steam: the main executable is now tied thoroughly into Valve’s security, unreliable offline mode et al. Nothing remarkable there, save for the surprising fact that it was at all unbound at release, but one of the upshots of this is that we’re now limited from faffing about with said executable. Most particularly, the large address aware third-party patch that enabled Skyrim to use more than 2GB of system RAM.
A workaround at the link.
For example: "If you’ve been looking at your own version of Skyrim, and then seeing the images that likes of Dead End Thrills have been putting out ... you might be forgiven for wondering how you can push the game beyond its prescribed options. There are ways."
Take a look at the above Dead End Thrills link to see what Bethesda has achieved with its game design and game engine. Those are all screenshots from the game.
"Trish Summerville, the costume designer for David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo... wants to do for a menswear collection based on the looks she designed for Daniel Craig's character, disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist."
There is a parallel universe where Pierre Trudeau went into acting and William Shatner went into politics. These universes are exactly alike in every other respect.
"William Shatner interviewed and singing on The Mike Douglas Show 25th February 1969. This first part is the interview only, watch the second part for Shatner singing tracks from the Transformed Man live. Shatner talks about Captain Kirk, Star Trek, his new album and more."
One of three tunnels prepared for the Great Escape has been uncovered by British archaeologists.
Many of the bed boards which had been joined together to stop it collapsing were still in position. And the ventilation shaft, ingeniously crafted from used powdered milk containers known as Klim Tins, remained in working order. Scattered throughout the tunnel, which is 30ft below ground, were bits of old metal buckets, hammers and crowbars which were used to hollow out the route.
The bug arises from what sounds like the most trivial of causes: a design fault which means that save files grow in size enormously as players progress through the game.
Skyrim's open-world nature means that a vast amount of data is accumulated regarding what abilities and objects players have acquired, as well as their movements through the game.
Perspective: Useful Skyrim mods.
No matter how good Skyrim is, there will always be mods wanted with the PC version, and this need will always be filled for the PC gamer. ... This latest mod lets you create a Google style street view, which will let you zoom into the map and see details that Xbox 360 and PS3 users can only dream about.
Rumour has it dev kits are on the way, an unveiling is set for CES 2012 in January and that Microsoft plans to take the Xbox 720 to market for Christmas next year.
According to Edge, Ubisoft Montreal – which is not commenting on rumour or indeed speculation – is already working on PCs which have been kitted out with the Xbox 720's specs.
... Edge is also hinting that Sony is working on a quicker release of the PlayStation 4. In its report it believes that "one major Sony-owned studio has now ceased PlayStation 3 development [with] its entire focus having shifted to the console's successor."
David Yates and Jane Trantor are working on a Doctor Who feature film. Expect several years in development and a film that will not "follow from or be based on the current TV series in any way."
This combination could bode well for a new big screen incarnation of The Doctor, since Tranter was involved with the series reboot in 2005, and Yates preceded his successful “Harry Potter” outings directing several BBC TV projects, including the acclaimed “State of Play”.
I haven't seen the American remake but the original State of Play was very well done. And as Yates tends to work with an ensemble could this mean... Bill Nighy as the Doctor?
Too much to hope for. But James McAvoy would do an excellent job as well.
A reported texture glitch in the Xbox 360 version of Skyrim would suck if I were playing the game on Xbox. I admit that in places my PS3 version does suffer from the same lagginess I am hearing other folks complain about.
Not to worry. Bethesda is on the case.
"We are continuing to work on an update for all platforms to address any bugs and perf issues we can," [Pete] Hines says on Twitter, later reminding folks that "patches/updates take a little time. We can't turn it around quite that fast. It's been three days. Calm down. We're working on it."
Just saying: "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." - Stephen King
"US Customs has held up the Damascus Ice shipment because they want to know the Latin name of the species of the tree or trees which contributed the sawdust used to create the fiberboard used to create the plaques. I wish I was joking, I'm not. So things have been pushed back at least a week."
USA Today points to an opportunity in a difficult job market, saying artists are integral to the $60b video game industry, citing a team of forty who helped create the sixteen square miles of Skyrim.
For current blockbuster games, budgeted at $40 million to $60 million, artists are needed to conceptualize environments and characters, create visual effects, add lighting and mesh the art with the game programming.
"We obsess over all the small details," says Bethesda Softworks' Todd Howard, Skyrim game director. "Our art team created all the stuff and placed it all by hand, every tree and every rock."
Then there are the seventy plus actors who performed one hundred and ten roles including Max von Sydow, Joan Allen, Linda Carter, Michael Hogan, Vladimir Kulich and Christopher Plummer in his video game debut.
"Prince of Jutland (AKA: Royal Deceit) is a 1994 film adaptation of the Danish legend of prince Amleth, drawing upon the 11th century works of Saxo Grammaticus, which was also the inspiration for Shakespeare's Hamlet."
NSFW due to naked Helen Mirren (only in the first bit, sorry to say). Also featuring Gabriel Byrne as Fenge, Christian Bale as Amleth, and Kate Beckinsale as Ethel.
I thought it was silly until I remembered the last time Elizabeth and I painted a room in our house. She’d selected some paint colours that she thought would work well, and I immediately renamed them as “Luftwaffe Canteen” and “Feldgrau”.
Good news: "British Teeth" should get me a cool 15 grand from the HRC.
Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human.
The first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics no. 1 in 1938, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and timeless: Superman, a caped god for the modern age. In a matter of years, the skies of the imaginary world were filled with strange mutants, aliens, and vigilantes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the X-Men—the list of names as familiar as our own. In less than a century, they’ve gone from not existing at all to being everywhere we look: on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and dreams.
Art of the Hobbit is "a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit with 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolors" (hat tip to Manaf).
Some 25 years ago, film director Jodorowsky and French comics artist Moebius collaborated on The Incal, a mind-blowing sf epic centered on a crystal with incredible powers. Now DC Comics is gathering the series, retranslated since its 1980s first U.S. appearance in Heavy Metal magazine. The story starts as a futuristic hard-boiled detective caper. Low-rent dick John Difool takes an assignment from a mysterious beauty and, when the job goes awry, seeks refuge in the city's nether regions, where he encounters a dying alien creature who slips him the Incal. Here the tale becomes a cosmic space opera, lightly touched by Philip K. Dick weirdness.
... I loved showing how the characters were, and the pacing is now a lot more deliberate and it is not about generating false scares, is much more grounded. The restored footage was [originally] removed for cheap, second unit scares, but now there is very little that remains of the second unit and I’m very relieved about that.
We reinserted ten or twelve minutes, but it’s only about seven to ten minutes longer in the running time because we removed lots of second unit. The new material is almost exclusively on the thematic and tonal level and now the movie is more coherent.
Actors, insects and standing your ground as an artist at the link.
A blast from the past. Please note: this film has been rescued from an old mildewed-and-damaged VHS cassette tape so the quality in the first few minutes is pretty poor, but it settles down fine just in time for the action inside the club itself.
Featured Blitz Kids: Old school Goths, Gothabillies, New Romantics and at least one tranny who figured (correctly) this was the right crowd. Also, lesbians and besties dancing to Glenn Miller.
I have had two of these hairstyles and dated women with four of these hairstyles. No, wait, make that five. Meanwhile, right off the top, The Smiths.
I would have hit the dance floor with Temple of Love. The Flea Dance appears with Bauhaus, naturally. Or, more recently, to the bemusement of my students at last week's Hallowe'en thing.
The Roman Warm period (which Global Warmists deny happened) was much warmer than even the Global Warmists predict due to awful horrible Carbon pollution. The Roman Warm period ended and the climate really cooled, in several stages (which the Global Warmists deny happened) because of at least one mega-eruption of Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Lake Taupo is actually the remains of a supervolcano which blew up sometime between 100AD and 150AD. Then Kratatoa blew up in a huge eruption sometime around 550AD and the Roman Empire collapsed completely (as did many other civilisations right the way around the world). This caused the Dark Ages to become really dark, and really cold (the Global Warmists deny this happened). Then came the Mediaeval Warm period (which the famous "hockey stick" graph of the Global Warmists deny ever happened).
The Indo-Europeans of the East (complete with tartans).
The Roman historian Pliny the Elder reports a curious description of the Seres (in the territories of northwestern China) made by an embassy from Taprobane (Ceylon) to Emperor Claudius, saying that they "exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking", suggesting they may be referring to the ancient Indo-European populations of the Tarim Basin.
The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.
Also featured: Some PRC officials who seem anxious to prevent history.
Straight Dope turns to Mark Twain for... the wrong answer. While people still fear miasmas, they shouldn't (via AoSHQ).
However funky their smell, dead bodies aren’t especially dangerous, setting aside those that are trying to eat your brain. Precautions may be in order when the cause of death is an infectious disease. (Tuberculosis is said to be especially problematic.) But for the most part toxic pathogens are waterborne, not airborne. True, some germs can be spread by aerosol droplets, but these are exhaled only by the living. The dead have stopped breathing, and one assumes the undead have, too.
The trailer. If you haven't looked at a video game in a while, this is what they look like now.
PikiGeek offers a shot-by-shot analysis, noting the first appearance of pets in the GTA universe. And one of my students also noted a resemblance between a homeless man in the trailer and the protagonist of GTA IV.
Observant fans have noticed that his clothes and hairstyle bear a passing resemblance to GTA IV’s Niko Bellic. Some have speculated that this is Rockstar taking a shot at the pay dispute they had with his voice actor.
Video games are important. They are a storytelling medium, a place for self-expression, a sandbox for the human imagination, and an extension of an ages old tradition of gaming. We play out some of the most essential aspects of our culture in games, and we learn more about ourselves and the world around us in the process. From the powerful cinematic experiences of mainstream gaming, to the hyper-personal environments of indie games, we are in the midst of an explosion of gaming activity that, as some predict, will continue to define the way we live and interact with information, and each other, far into the future.
“Himalayan vultures, which are truly amazing and giant birds, really like to fly with us,” Takserman said. “They like to fly above the wing and in front of the wing and near the pilot and sometimes for a long time and they are very playful. Most of the time it’s a very harmless experience.”
A friend who I am going to assume wants to remain anonymous sent the following.
I just finished "A Dance with Dragons." I've been reading the Martin books bit-by-bit for the last 3 months.
I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I WILL DO WITH MYSELF NOW.
Send suggestions, elsewhise I'm going to reread Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.
So there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is you are not alone, being stuck after the latest Ice and Fire book brings on the male equivalent of postpartum depression. The bad news is there is no cure for the condition. Fortunately, with breakthroughs in narrative treatment, GRRM Male Affect Disorder may be considered a chronic manageable condition.
My first suggestion is a course of The Last Ring-bearer by Kirill Eskov. The Tolkien estate is on Eskov's ass so it is best to find as a pdf download (unless you read Russian in which case you can get a physical copy). It is a short book and will help with the initial effects of Westeros withdrawal.
In the longer term, immersion in an epic world of comparable scale but - critically - employing non-fantasy tropes will, in time, allow you to resign yourself for the next four or five years while Martin posts updates about the football game he just watched when he should have been typing his ass off instead.
Hopefully you haven't read Iain M. Banks' Culture novels. Start with Consider Phlebas. It will be good for what ails you.
PS: I have also found watching the Sharpe television adaptations helps. Sean Bean stars as himself.