December 31, 2011

Top Gear - India Special

Jeremy Clarkson has been accused of offensive behaviour after making jokes about India's people and culture in Top Gear Christmas special. Eat English muffins!

Bonus track: Rick McGinnis reviews 2011 tv series box sets.

It’s the car show that’s not really about cars, and at its heart is the acerbic chemistry of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, a trio of middle-aged men whose personalities overlap in whole or part with the vast majority of men. They might lark about in fast cars but the show isn’t about motors as much as it’s about men, their easy but sarcastic friendships, and that irrepressible spark of male creativity that delights in speed, volume, size and danger.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

In 2012, I resolve...

... to pick up my violin.

... to open potato chip bags from the bottom.

... to be more patient with people who think Macs are computers.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Meanwhile, in Shinar

A carving of the Tower of Babel has been found on a stone tablet dating back over 2,500 years.

... the image... shows King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylon 2,500 years ago, standing next to a huge ziggurat – a pyramidlike structure dedicated to the god Marduk that some scholars believe is the Tower of Babel of Biblical fame.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Dave Brubeck with young Russian violinist

"During a visit to Moscow in the '80s, Dave Brubeck met the faculty and students in Moscow Conservatory. While he was improvising on a Ei, uhnem, a Russian folk song, a young man downstage stood up to play Stéphane Grappelli-style violin jazz with him."

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt: What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

I miss Caprica and bitterly resent that it was cancelled.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 30, 2011

Innovation America: Did You Know?

What Sony played at its annual shareholder meeting in 2009 (via Spengler): We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist using technologies that haven't been invented in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Vocabulary builder: Arshgeweih

Arschgeweih n (genitive Arschgeweihs or Arschgeweihes, plural Arschgeweihe)
A tattoo on the lower back of a (mostly female) human. tramp stamp, arse antlers

Arsch (“ass”) +‎ Geweih (“antler, horns”)

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Behind-The-Scenes: Your Bag's Journey On Delta

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Digitalism: Jupiter Room

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

December 29, 2011

Oleg Load: Glacier

Niko Bellic lives!

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM


"Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution."

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM


"New skeletal evidence suggests Columbus and his crew not only introduced the Old World to the New World, but brought back syphilis as well."

Note to self: Add "old carbon" factor from deep, upwelling ocean waters to future archaeology lectures.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Norse Mythology

1 - Creation of the Universe

More below the fold.

2 - Creation of the World

3 - Day Night, Sun Moon

4 - Golden Age of Asgard

5 - Gods of Asgard

6 - Yggdrasil & Norns

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

The Raconteurs: Rich Kid Blues and Kissy Kissy

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 28, 2011

Happy New Year from the IDF

Posted by the Flea at 04:33 PM

San Francisco 1955 in Cinemascope

"Tullio Pellegrini ... combined a 16mm Bell & Howell Cinemascope lens with the wonders of Kodachrome and made this homage to the city of San Francisco" (via Boing Boing).

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Vampire warrioress

Wearing a dress from the Spring/Summer 2012 Ralph Lauren collection, Kate Beckinsale graces the cover of Harper's Bazaar Arabia.

More to the point: Screen Gems has released images from Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein’s Underworld: Amakening including Kate Beckinsale in Selene's practical latex vampire warrioress gear.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

The door to the underworld

The house at 58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn is "the world's only Greek Revival subway ventilator" and disguised emergency exit.

Analogous: 23/24 Leinster Gardens, Paddington, London W2.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

A Feast of Ice and Fire

"From Sister’s Stew to lemon cakes to the seventy-seven course feast for Prince Joffrey, food and its presentation is integral to A Game of Thrones and the world of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Now, A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook to A Game of Thrones offers readers the chance to cook and sample some of the enticing meals from George R. R. Martin’s world for themselves."

These extensively researched and adapted traditional medieval recipes replicate the dishes featured in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Gorgeously organized and presented in full color, with each recipe being introduced with a passage from the book in which it first appears—as well as a map of the region from which it originates—this is the official, must-have cookbook for fans of A Game of Thrones and its sequels. Stocked with over one hundred recipes and organized by region—including The Wall, the North, the South, King’s Landing, Dorne, and Across the Narrow Sea—the book is meant to be readily accessible and achievable by modern cooks. So now, even amateur chefs can feast like a Lannister, or grab a meat pie like a Black Brother on the Wall.
The cookbook includes a foreword by George R. R. Martin.
Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

How to deal with slow walkers

This works much better than when I go "beep! beep!"

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Anna Calvi: Rider to the Sea

You probably thought you had already seen the hottest video you were going to see all year.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

December 27, 2011

The Hexed


Charles II's genome was actually more homozygous than that of an average child whose parents are siblings.

17th century European noble culture commonly matched cousin to first cousin and uncle to niece, to preserve a prosperous family's properties. Charles's own immediate pedigree was exceptionally populated with nieces giving birth to children of their uncles: Charles's mother was a niece of Charles's father, being a daughter of Maria Anna of Spain (1606–46) and Emperor Ferdinand III.

Thus, Empress Maria Anna was simultaneously his aunt and grandmother and Margarita of Austria was both his grandmother and great-grandmother. The inbreeding was so widespread in his case that all of his eight great-grandparents were descendants of Joanna of Aragon and Duke Phillip of Austria.

Someone get this man an anchor job at the CBC. Ba-dum, tsh!

Though I admit I am going to have to factor the problem into my neo-feudalist manifesto.


First image: Clockwise from the top: Philip IV of Spain, Philip II, Charles II and Emperor Leopold I of Austria.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

First world problems

Benedict Cumberbatch has complained he suffers from ‘class-typing.’

‘I was brought up in a world of privilege. It can ostracise you from normal codes of conduct in society. Being a posh actor in England you cannot escape the class-typing from whatever side you look at it.

‘I realised from quite early on that, although I wasn’t trying to make a class specialty of it, I was playing slightly asexual, sociopathic intellectuals.’

He has a point. But whinging about the problem only serves to exacerbate the problem.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (1894)

Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 in D minor is the last symphony upon which he worked, leaving the last movement incomplete at the time of his death in 1896.

This version of Bruckner: Symphony No. 9, conducted by Johannes Wildner with the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia, features a reconstructed finale.

The indisputable fact that the `reconstructed' finale cannot be considered `definitive' is therefore of no overwhelming significance. The facts of the case are that the finale of the 9th was completed by Bruckner in full score up to the beginning of the coda (a fact H. F. Redlich pointed out 50 years ago: `Bruckner and Mahler', Master Musicians, Dent). The finale of Bruckner's 9th was therefore left in a more complete state than Mahler's 10th. The thorough notes accompanying this recording present a strong and largely convincing musicological case for this reconstruction.

I. Feierlich - Misteriso - 00:00
II. Scherzo - Bewegt - 23:18
III. Adagio - Langsam - 34:16
IV. Finale - Misterioso - Nicht Schnell - 59:19

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 25, 2011

Heather Dale: The Huron Carol

This version performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English.

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM

Annwn: Palästinalied

Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM

William.S.Burroughs - The Junky's Christmas

Francis Ford Coppala presents.

Posted by the Flea at 10:22 AM

Nena: Weihnachtslieder

Neunundneunzig Luftrentiere!

Posted by the Flea at 10:22 AM

December 24, 2011



Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM

The Nativity Story (2006)

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM

Qntal: Palästinalied (live)

Posted by the Flea at 09:52 AM

December 23, 2011

March of the Templars

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

Unearthed (2011)

A short film by Dalang Films.

On the edge of space, a mining ship, The Ezekiel, finds an uncharted planet that reveals signs of a possible fuel resource. Two crew members undertake a mission to the desolate rock to take samples for later analysis. The mission goes well until they unearth a dark and terrifying truth.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

At the Mountains of Madness (2011)

Cthulhu Films' Michele Botticelli and Sebastián Ohaco present H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness. Click CC for subtitles.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Malukah: The Dragonborn Comes

With a Voice wielding power of the ancient Nord art.

Skyrim for the Nords!

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 22, 2011



The first trailer for Ridley Scott's Prometheus has arrived (images at the link).

I don't want to get my hopes up... but this looks spectacular.

Posted by the Flea at 01:49 PM

In Russia, game plays you

While I grew up with Pac-Man, in Russia the games were more practical.

Now four students have opened The Museum of Soviet Video Games and it's a world away from today's Xbox generation. Located in a Stalin-era bomb shelter under a university dormitory, the museum is crammed with dozens of ugly arcade machines.

The biggest hit is 'Repka Silomer' (The Turnip Strength Tester), where players pull a lever as hard as possible to wrench a turnip from the ground.

Kotaku visited The Museum of Soviet Video Games* earlier this year (images and adventure at the link).

* Actually, the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. Which makes more sense.

Related: A Soviet game and watch clones site which justifies the existence of the entire internet.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Is that a phone in your pocket?

"The Nokia E-Cu concept phone doesn't need to plug in, it charges from any heat source." Which is clever, but mainly I like the copper-coating. Which, I assume, turns green in your pocket.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

To ooze slowly sideways

"A new satellite survey may have solved the mystery behind one of the world's strangest weight-loss methods: moving to a large area of northern Canada with unusually low gravity."

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Ambient engine noise

For some it's the sound of the ocean, for others, wind chimes. For me, it's the Enterprise D.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Wolf People: Time

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

December 21, 2011

To Fly. To Serve.

Remember England?

British Airways - Our advert 2011: To Fly. To Serve. See how these four words have guided us in the past and will lead us in to the future.

Hat tip to Mr. Jané.

Posted by the Flea at 12:23 PM

Who Dares Wins

"In the pitch-black Libyan desert 70 years ago this week, a former hotelier and four comrades crept through a German camp and blew up 37 enemy aircraft, cementing the status of the SAS."

Posted by the Flea at 12:18 PM

House of Lies

Kristen Bell's new show is based on Martin Kihn's book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time (first link nsfw due to Kristen Bell in her underwear).

Posted by the Flea at 12:17 PM

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Le trailer.

Posted by the Flea at 12:14 PM

Test Dept / Brith Gof: Truan Yw Gennyf Fi

Posted by the Flea at 12:11 PM

December 20, 2011

Trail signs


Mum would tell us how, as a child in England after the War, one of her chores was to wipe away the chalk signs left by passing gypsies. I would have armed her with chalk, a guide to Romany semiotics, and sent her up and down the lane.

The story came to mind with the news police in Chengdu have published symbols from a thief's code.

Recently, Chengdu police made public 17 types of “casing markers/symbols”. “×” represents “plan operation”, [diamond-shape] represents “no one lives here”, a wavy line represents “beware of fierce dog”, while a rectangle with slashes represents “already thieved”.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

No quarter

A rare 18th century red Jolly Roger flag captured in 1780 has gone on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard.

Museum curators say the dreaded skull and crossbones is an excellent example of those used at the time.

A Jolly Roger with a red rather than a black background was the most feared as it meant the pirates paid no heed to the usual rules of engagement and no life would be spared if a ship was captured in a fight.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Craig Rhos-y-felin

A new paper in Archaeology in Wales, produced by Dr. Rob Ixer of Leicester University and Dr. Richard Bevins of Amgueddfa Cymru of the National Museum Wales pinpoints the exact source of rock believed to have been used 5,000 years ago to build the first stone circle at Stonehenge.

Their recent discovery confirms that the Stonehenge rhyolite debitage originates from a specific 70m long area namely Craig Rhos-y-felin near Pont Saeson. Using petrographical techniques, Ixer and Bevins found that 99% of these rhyolites could be matched to rocks found in this particular set of outcrops. Rhyolitic rocks at Rhos-y-felin are distinctly different from all others in South Wales, which gives almost all of Stonehenge rhyolites a provenance of just hundreds of square metres.

More, including images of a suspiciously hengey outcrop, at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 19, 2011

Chariot of the gods


Ridley Scott talks about Alien, Prometheus, H.R. Giger, and the Space Jockey (hat tip to Beautiful Atrocities).

I think one of the reasons why I’ve never gone back to science-fiction, even though I’ve often noodled around, thought about it, looked for story, looked for material, is that there’s a nice purity to the original Alien. It’s fairly pure. And this one does actually raise all kinds of other questions, because if someone could, a being, could be as monstrously clever to create something like we experienced in the very first one – I always figured it’s a weapon, and I always figured that [the ship in the first Alien] was a carrier of weapons. Therefore, who is that, inside that suit? That wasn’t a skeleton, that was a suit. And if you open up the suit, what do you get inside it? And why were they going, where were they going?
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

The lowest note in the known universe

In space, no one can hear sound waves 57 octaves below middle-C, in this case emitting from a black hole in the Perseus cluster.

Earlier observations had revealed the prodigious amounts of light and heat created by black holes. "Now we have detected their sound, too," says Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England, and the leader of the study.

In musical terms, the pitch of the sound generated by the black hole translates into the note of B flat. But, a human would have no chance of hearing this cosmic performance because the note is 57 octaves lower than middle-C. For comparison, a typical piano contains only about seven octaves. At a frequency over a million billion times deeper than the limits of human hearing, this is the deepest note ever detected from an object in the Universe.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

A word from British Forces News

"Fears about the impact of Government cuts on forces pupils in the Falklands have been allayed. It follows a visit by the The MOD’s education chief, who flew 8,000 miles to reassure staff and pupils at Mount Pleasant Primary School."

In related news: We have always been at war with Oceania.

Update a few minutes later: The Memory Hole got that one quickly. For the record:


Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

How To Be Alone

A video by fiilmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Vangelis: Exploration

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

North Korea special

I will update this post with content as I come across it. First, the BBC's Lucy Williamson wears mourning clothes to honour the passing of North Korea's hereditary dictator. Somewhere, Orwell's corpse is spinning.

The full North Korean state television broadcast. There is something immensely satisfying in the Wagnerian quaver in the announcer's voice.

From the comments: "She's not crying as hard as the people out on the streets! Shoot her!"

Out in the streets, North Koreans weeping hysterically over the death of Kim Jong-il.

From the comments: "The Two Minutes Weep: only slightly less known than the Two Minutes Hate."

More below the jump:

The VICE Guide to North Korea: "Getting into North Korea was one of the hardest and weirdest processes VBS has ever dealt with."

A North Korean military parade.

Joint military exercise of Korean People's Army cheers up Pyongyanites.

Life in the People's Paradise of DPRK.

From the comments: "Oh, God. They're using Windows in North Korea."

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

December 18, 2011

Whereto the Temptations of the Devil would inveigle us

Engineers have unearthed a 17th-century cottage, complete with a cat skeleton, near Lower Black Moss reservoir in the shadow of Pendle Hill.

Historians are now speculating that the well-preserved cottage could have belonged to one of the Pendle witches. The building contained a sealed room, with the bones of a cat bricked into the wall.

It is believed the cat was buried alive to protect the cottage's inhabitants from evil spirits.

In fairness, the cat was just as likely there to ward off the Pendle witches.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM


In Tudor England, football was more dangerous than sword fighting. I don't expect the stats have changed much, to be honest.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit

Well appointed Hobbit homes also make for excellent storage.

Collectors who go to great lengths to seek out rare items also want to make sure those pieces are not only protected from damage, but also displayed in such a way to show off that specialness. One man has taken that collector's sensibility to a neat, albeit expensive, extreme, building an actual hobbit home for his J.R.R. Tolkien treasures.

For your own collection: Lego Lord of the Rings!

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Kate Beckinsale on Underworld Awakening

No shocking revelations but shockingly I don't mind a bit.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

The Church: Under The Milky Way

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

December 17, 2011

The Last of Us (VGA 2011 Trailer)

This is in game animation, I suspect taking advantage of the capabilities of next generation consoles rumoured for this time next year. Most probably Naughty Dog's flagship production for the PS4, this is worth watching in HD (nsfw, violence).

The Last of Us is genre-defining experience blending survival and action elements to tell a character driven story about a population decimated by a modern plague. Cities are abandoned and being reclaimed by nature. Remaining survivors are killing each other for food, weapons and whatever they can find. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a young teenage girl who's braver and wiser beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.

Update: Note to self - Google is your friend. The Last of Us is set to drop for Q1 2012. This for the PS3 though I am baffled at the black magic involved. Just spectacular. Writer and creative director Neil Druckman and game director Bruce Straley, who worked on the brilliant Uncharted 2 (but not Uncharted 3) discuss the work at Eurogamer.

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot…

"At the French site Anecdote du Jour you can listen to the world's first audio recordings, made in 1859 and 1860 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville."

The recordings, one of a tuning fork being struck and two of de Martinville singing, are scratchy and thoroughly eerie. All the more so because de Martinville himself never heard them. In fact, nobody heard them until 2008.
Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM

Population control

The 100 worst atrocities in human history.

The savagery of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan may have culled the global population by about 11 percent; two bloody upheavals in China - the An Lushan Rebellion and the collapse of the Xin Dynasty - each may have felled about 6 percent of humanity.

Note: Even this New York Times article admits Saddam Hussein makes the list, though they are careful not to make mention of the fact. As all right thinking people protesting on his behalf knew at the time, it wasn't our problem.

Posted by the Flea at 10:45 AM

Play up, play up

World beating: Modern Warfare 3 hits $1 billion in 16 days.

The Call of Duty series - and its spin-off Modern Warfare - have been a reliable Christmas hit for makers Activision for years. But this year - despite competition from ramped-up rival Battlefield 3 - the shoot 'em up has grossed $1 billion faster than any entertainment product in history.

It beat James Cameron's Avatar to the record by 24 hours - earning $1 billion in just 16 days.

Charty: Skyrim beats Modern Warfare 3 sales in the UK.

Usually I wouldn't care very much about such matters, but this does show that (arguably) innovative open-world RPG's that give the players freedom sell better than limiting games that are the same every year with only slight modifications.

Extraordinary: Around seven out of ten households in the UK play video games, 30 percent of them are home to regular gamers who play at least once a week.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

Purity Ring: Lofticries

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011


A gift, dare we say it, from God.

There was no subject too big or too small for Christopher. Over the past two decades he traveled to just about every hot spot you can think of. He’d also subject himself to any manner of humiliation or discomfort in the name of his column. I once sent him out on a mission to break the most niggling laws still on the books in New York City. One such decree forbade riding a bicycle with your feet off the pedals. The photograph that ran with the column, of Christopher sailing a small bike through Central Park with his legs in the air, looked like something out of the Moscow Circus.

Vanity Fair hosts photos in memoriam.

Also: Julian Barnes remembers an excruciating conversation with Christopher Hitchens.

“Hitch, did you read my novel?” Almost as soon as I had said it, I knew it was a mistake.

And: The Richard Dawkins Foundation is publishing a selection of Christopher Hitchens obituaries.

Better yet: Links to an audio archive of fifty Christopher Hitchens conversations with Hugh Hewitt.

Hitch porn: "Here are a couple of [Christopher Hitchens] appearances on early episodes of Peter's Uncommon Knowledge, along with another lost dazzler, William F. Buckley, Jr., who I hope is needling Hitchens nonstop at this very moment."

The only proper tribute: How do you deal with the death of a great person who doesn't believe in heaven? This problem I know from experience.

But wait: The immortal rejoinders of Christopher Hitchens.

Finally: On deathbed repentance.

Updates: Peter Hitchens, In Memoriam, my courageous brother Christopher, 1949-2011.

Here’s a thing I will say now without hesitation, unqualified and important. The one word that comes to mind when I think of my brother is ‘courage’. By this I don’t mean the lack of fear which some people have, which enables them to do very dangerous or frightening things because they have no idea what it is to be afraid. I mean a courage which overcomes real fear, while actually experiencing it.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Rider on the storm

In 1959, Marine Corps pilot Lt Col William Rankin become the only human being to ever parachute through a full cumulonimbus “anvil” cloud and live (via AoSHQ).

Unable to restart his engine, and struggling to keep his craft from entering a near-supersonic nose dive, Rankin grasped the two emergency eject handles. He was mindful of his extreme altitude, and of the serious discomfort that would accompany the sudden decompression of an ejection; but although he lacked a pressure suit, he knew that his oxygen mask should keep him breathing in the rarefied atmosphere nine miles up. He was also wary of the ominous gray soup of a storm that lurked below; but having previously experienced a bail out amidst enemy fire in Korea, a bit of inclement weather didn’t seem all that off-putting.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Brian Eno: The Demon of the Mines

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

December 15, 2011

Dan Dare's desk of the future


This Aviator Wing Desk is the second thing I will buy after I win the lottery. The Devon Spitfire Leather Chair being the third thing.

Inspired by streamlined World War II fighter planes, our desk is a shining swoop of metal, its shape mimicking the bent wing of a plane. Poised as if for take-off, it features a polished aluminum patchwork exterior accented with steel screws, built around a solid hardwood frame.
Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Who had them

Two lost episodes of Doctor Who have turned up in the private collection of Terry Burnett, a television engineer who bought them at a school fete in the 1980s.

The 1965 and 1967 episodes star William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, the first two actors to play The Doctor.
The find makes only a modest dent in the number of missing episodes, with 106 instalments broadcast between 1964 and 1969 still being sought.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Nazi raccoons march on Europe

In fairness, with raccoons how would you know the difference?

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Other Lives: Dust Bowl III

And in studio:

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

December 14, 2011

Looking for Richard (1996)


Under most circumstances, I wouldn't embed a relatively recent film in its entirety. But as Looking for Richard does not appear to be available on DVD I am making an exception on educational grounds.

It's important to think with and my favourite Shakespeare besides. Al Pacino gets to the heart of Richard III, argues we shouldn't be intimidated by the accents, and demonstrates Shakespeare's enduring insight into our shared, often troubled, human condition.

Which I realize is a bit much to say but... trust me. This is the best introduction I know of for people who weren't raised with Shakespeare or, worse, had it ruined for them by high school English class.

Looking for Richard is a 1996 documentary film and the first film directed by Al Pacino. It is both a performance of selected scenes of William Shakespeare's Richard III and a broader examination of Shakespeare's continuing role and relevance in popular culture.

Not just popular culture, not just politics neither. If you don't know the play, by about half way through Pacino's take it will be obvious Ricard III is not just Tudor propaganda, it's naked horror.

Looking for Richard from samarkkanda on Vimeo.

We could use a Tudor claimant about now to sort things out good and hard, btw. Noblesse oblige suggests some degree of oblige to the people of England. We haven't seen much of that since 1968.

Southern accent: Perform Shakespeare's plays in Shakespeare's dialect.

By opening night, they will have rehearsed using phonetic scripts for two months and, hopefully, will render the play just as its author intended. They say their accents are somewhere between Australian, Cornish, Irish and Scottish, with a dash of Yorkshire - yet bizarrely, completely intelligible if you happen to come from North Carolina.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Shakespeare: Original pronunciation

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Meanwhile, in Toronto

It is a dream come true for anyone who has ever pondered riding a motorcycle dressed as a Stormtrooper or Batman.

Now a company has answered the prayers of comic book fans everywhere with a range of movie costume motorcycle leathers. Toronto-based UD Replicas make detailed versions of superhero and science-fiction character outfits exactly as they are seen on screen.

Other officially-licensed creations include suits from Iron Man 2, Tron and X-Men's Wolverine.

Sartorial: Sadly, these Barney Stinson Armani Suitjamas are currently unavailable.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Game Of Thrones: Season 2 "Cold Winds" Tease

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Florence + The Machine: Shake It Out

Hat tip to Beautiful Atrocities.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

December 13, 2011

We don't even belong to each other


With its 50th anniversary Blu-Ray release, Rick McGinnis considers Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn and feminism.

There’s no doubt that the Holly created by Hepburn, Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod – though certainly not Capote’s original Holly – has become a feminist icon. In Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., Sam Wasson’s recent bestselling book about the film, Ms. magazine co-founder Letty Cottin Pogrebin recalls how Hepburn’s Holly became her role model, inspiring her to not only fill her closet with little black dresses like the ones Givenchy made for Hepburn, but to go out and buy “a scooter, a dog, a rabbit, and a little duck,” in order to fill her life with a bit of the “kookiness” Paramount pictures was heavily marketing as the key to Holly’s charm – a kooky smokescreen for the stubborn fact that Holly, as conceived by Capote, was essentially a call girl.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the dawn of the modern woman.

Audrey Hepburn is an icon like no other, yet the image many of us have of Audrey—dainty, immaculate—is anything but true to life.

Topical: Why I am glad to be single.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

The important thing to understand about Monty Python

Monty Python was documentary. Free the sheep!

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

FC Kahuna: Hayling

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

December 12, 2011

Duran Duran: Girl Panic!

Silence doesn't mean you're forgotten. And John Taylor's bass is still off the hook.

Posted by the Flea at 07:29 AM

Hot Waitress Economic Index

And other signs of an economic collapse.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Hang on, lads, I've got an idea

The Italian Alpine Club has installed an Italian Job hotel 9,300-ft up Mont Blanc.

The inside is thermally insulated and the 'warm and welcoming furnishings' are designed to look like a traditional alpine hut.

The entire structure, which was built off site and airlifted into place, is manufactured to 'resist the extreme stress of high altitude'.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Rapid prototyping

Mass customization meets social media: uFlavor's flavor printer mixes 42 different ingredients at 300 gradations to create bespoke soft drinks on demand.

As well as designing your own drink, you'll be able to share it. And if by some magical trick your drink becomes popular and people start talking about it and demanding it from uFlavor vending machines, then you'll have a hit on your hands--aided by suggestions from uFlavor's system, which learns users' profiles and their preferences, and then suggests new drinks you may like.

Plus you get a percentage every time someone buys your drink. It's a Brave New World.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Alan Cumming & Cyndi Lauper: The Ballad of the Pimp

Because Kurt Weill doesn't get old.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

How To Destroy Angels: Is Your Love Strong Enough

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

December 11, 2011

Vítězslav Novák - Lady Godiva Op. 41 (1907)

Lady Godiva by Vítězslav Novák. Conducted by Libor Pesek with the BBC Philharmonic.

When the Czech writer Jaroslav Vrchlick´y was invited to present a play for the opening of the new Municipal Theatre in the district of the old royal vineyards, today known as the Vinohrady Theatre, in Prague in 1907, he chose the story of Lady Godiva and her protest against the tax laws imposed by her husband Leofric, Lord of Coventry.
Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

The Veronicas: Popular

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

December 10, 2011

Glass microbiology


Luke Jerram is an artist who makes glass sculptures of disease.

These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the artificial colouring of scientific imagery affects our understanding of phenomena. Jerram is exploring the tension between the artworks' beauty and what they represent, their impact on humanity.

Luke Jerram makes HIV:

Posted by the Flea at 10:08 AM

Ignorance is strength

Lacking an exceptional knowledge of anatomy, the British enjoy robust health in comparison to Italians.

Among my Italian friends I am considered something of an immuno-superhuman.

I can leave the gym sweaty to have my shower at home and not catch a chill en route. I can swim after eating and not get congestion or cramp. I can walk around with wet hair and not get "la cervicale".

I even brag about it. At restaurants I will say: "Let me sit in the draught. I'll be fine. I'm English."
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM

Well, what I like best

"Honey is an effective antiseptic wound dressing, mainly the result of the antibacterial activity of hydrogen peroxide that is produced in honey by the enzyme glucose oxidase."

I knew the ancient Egyptians used honey as an antibiotic but until now I did not know how it worked.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

Skinny Puppy: Wavy

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

December 09, 2011

Occupy Comics

Alan Moore: “[The Occupy movement] is a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, nonviolent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. ... I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman makeup on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.”

Frank Miller: "'Occupy' is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America. 'Occupy' is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached - is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves."

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

The 2.5%

George Lucas was so convinced Star Wars would flop in 1977 he bet Spielberg a percentage of the take on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM

Star Wars vs Star Trek

An objective analysis.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

How to reheat pizza

I wasn't going to post this due to an irritating, faux folksy presentation. Then I tried reheating pizza in the frying pan. Seriously, do this.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Tanya and Janna Friske: Western

I have no idea what they are talking about.

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

December 08, 2011

Carl E. Rinsch - The Gift (2011)

The Gift from BLR_VFX on Vimeo.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

Grant a pardon to Alan Turing

"Responsible department: Ministry of Justice

"We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of 'gross indecency'. In 1952, he was convicted of 'gross indecency' with another man and was forced to undergo so-called 'organo-therapy' - chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he'd done so much to save. This remains a shame on the UK government and UK history. A pardon can go to some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws."

Sign this petition (UK citizens).

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

I resemble that remark

Speaking as a guy sporting a bald head, fake “tribal” tattoos and a torso that’s three Carlsbergs away from a beer gut: Time for my new career!

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

The Alan Parsons Project: I Robot

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

December 07, 2011

Radiant Story

Skyrim feels so big in part because at 16 square miles it has a lot of territory to cover. More than this, its procedurally generated Radiant Storytelling system means you will not run out of things to do once the main quest line has been completed.

"The game eventually logs a huge storehouse of knowledge about how you've played, and subsequently tailors content to your capabilities and experiences. Entering a city, a young woman might approach you and beg you to save her daughter from kidnappers. The game will look at the nearby dungeons you've explored, automatically set the mission in a place you've never visited, and designate opponents that are appropriately matched to your strengths and weaknesses."

Skyrim round up: Handy both for my fellow cultists and one easy-to-skip post for everyone who has not drunk the Nord Mead.

i - Dovahkiin Guetenberg: 4000 pages of in game books in handy Kindle (MOBI) and Nook, iOS (EPUB) formats.

ii - Uncommon taste: Potage le Magnifique has caused grown men to weep with joy.

iii - Elder Scrolls Sweet Roll: Featurs a visual upgrade and some frosting.

iv - Not art / Art: The 20th century has a lot to answer for.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

40,000 lines

BioWare's Mass Effect 3 audio lead, Rob Blake claims the script for the forthcoming title will be about as long as the first two games combined.

Related: Screenshots of the new Mass Effect 3 multiplayer feature, implemented via BioWare Montreal.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset

The best part is how the virtual 7.1 surround induces hallucinations. I am waiting for her to show up now.

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Microslav: 1979

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM

December 06, 2011

Gareth Pugh for M.A.C by Ruth Hogben

Via Haute Macabre.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Animal crackers

The Da Vinci code revealed.

An artist claims to have cracked a 500-year-old mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa - by spotting a series of zoo animals hidden in the painting.

Ron Piccirillo believes it is possible to see the heads of a lion, an ape and a buffalo floating in the air around the subject's head along with a crocodile or snake coming out of the left hand side of her body.

Make up your own mind about the faces in the clouds (have you ever really looked at your hand?), but he is on to something with the "heart gnawed by a swelling serpent."

If you take the path to the left of her and the river to her right, our subject is positioned as the Middle Pillar of a caduceus. Typical Hermetic humour...

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

This is the correct procedure

Iggy Pop on French television. The year, 1977.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Nouvelle Vague: Master & Servant

PS: This epic cover of "Fade to Grey".

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

December 05, 2011

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick


Did Philip K. Dick dream of a message from God?

Sceptics say that, while most of what PKD wrote is now admired as insightful, prophetic and astute, these metaphysical writings mention God, so they can be dismissed. No doubt they were prompted by temporal lobe epilepsy or some similarly traumatic neurological event.

The trouble is that the Exegesis doesn’t read like that. It reads like a clever man trying to come to terms with the world around him, a world that he had always distrusted, and that gave him reasons to distrust it.
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Wee console

"... boredom during a bathroom visit could soon be a thing of the past following the development of a urinal-based games console which allows men to aim, shoot and fire at targets with their stream."

Posted by the Flea at 08:56 AM

Bobbie Wygant's Empire Strikes Back Special

I keep telling my students I am a time-traveler from the 1980s. They think I'm joking.

Bobbie Wygant's Empire Strikes Back Special from Atombomb.tv on Vimeo.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Stone Roses: Fools Gold

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

December 04, 2011

Great Battles of the Ancient World

"Great Battles of the Ancient World consists of 24 lectures given by Professor Garrett Fagan, focusing on warfare in the ancient Mediterranean world. The first eight lectures chart the development of warfare from prehistoric times to the glory days of the great states of the ancient Near East and Egypt. The next eight lectures cover warfare among the Greeks and their distinctive form of combat using hoplites, a type of armored infantry that fought in close formation called the phalanx. And the last eight lectures study the legions of Rome, which evolved brutally effective tactics that gave them dominion over the entire Mediterranean basin."

For example, Lecture 13 - The Athenian Expedition to Sicily.

Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM

Tenhi: Saivon Kimallus / Siniset Runot

Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM

December 03, 2011

Adventures in customer service

Conclusion: Canada's unemployment rate is too low.

Ghostofaflea 6 hours ago
Customer loyalty

Dear Koodo,
I was considering upgrading my old Motorola to the Nexus S. Then I noticed your $50- VISA gift certificate offer only applies to new activations. If there had been no promotion, I would have upgraded my phone. But seeing as you do have a promotion but care more for new business than existing customers, I am now considering closing my account with Koodo and moving to a carrier who wants to keep my business.

jaki (Koodo Customer Service) 3 hours ago
I agree, but we are offering up to $25 off accessories on android phones!

Ghostofaflea 2 hours ago
Seriously? You do realize Virgin also offers a contract free service AND has the Galaxy Nexus on the way this week. Koodo has last year's phone and won't even extend existing customers the courtesy of the same offer as people who have never done business with you.

I have been with Koodo for years. Obviously this has been a mistake.

jaki (Koodo Customer Service) 14 minutes ago
Well you have to compare apples to apples,

1) Assuming your with Virgin right now and you are looking to upgrade you are looking at getting $25 accessories off too (I walked over and asked a rep) you could be saying "oh Koodo is giving away $25 giftcards not accessories."

2) How is the phone you are looking for last years model? And why are you bring the Galaxy Nexus in to this? I thought you are looking for a Nexus S

3) Yes we are both non contract but SuprtTab takes for say a $80 monthly plan you are looking at 62months (5 years) and honestly our plans are way better

4) Are you sure you want to be with a company that copied EVERYTHING from Koodo? They copied our tab, unlimited incoming combo, data saver, Canada wide and just now they copied our new data saver.

I understand how you feel, I suggest you give retention a call tell them about your situation and they will most likely reward you with additional tab credits towards a Nexus S.

Good Luck.

Ghostofaflea 8 minutes ago
1) I am not with Virgin, but I will definitely take them up on your suggestion. Let's see if they will give me $50- to leave Koodo.

2) I am bringing the Galaxy Nexus into this because Virgin is offering me the latest Samsung product with the newest version of Android, a better processor, more memory and a bigger screen than the last year's model Samsung Koodo is offering me. Though you aren't even really offering me last year's model unless I am a new customer.

3) If you could be bothered to use English grammar and spelling I might reply to this point. Suffice to say their data plans are better than yours.

4) Virgin sure didn't copy everything from you. Unless their PR is as bad as Koodo's. Try Googling my name, btw. I have 1.2m unique readers a year and 40% of them are in Canada.

jaki (Koodo Customer Service) a minute ago
Pain in the butt typing on my phone, grammar least of my worries.
What kind of data plan are they offering?

Posted by the Flea at 04:39 PM

John Carter - Trailer 2

If he isn't a Virginian, he isn't John Carter. But if it's OTT, it's got a shot at being Edgar Rice Burroughs. Plus Kashmir makes everything better.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

The lone and level sands stretch far away

Let's build a beacon to tell aliens who we were.

The most fruitful work takes place on the blog Centauri Dreams, which is affiliated with a foundation that promotes interstellar travel. The charge is led by a pair of twin brothers, physicists James and Gregory Benford (the latter is also a science fiction author), who approach the field of alien-directed beacon-design first from an economic approach. In a paper in the journal Astrobiology, they lay out how one might build such a device without spending the whole GDP.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

There is no escape into the past

Šuruppak offers up four and a half-thousand year old math homework.

A loose translation of the problem is: A granary. Each man receives 7 sila of grain. How many men?
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Drew Ryniewicz: Billie Jean

Drew was robbed! That said, Paula is right; Simon could usefully have throw some Avril Lavigne her way, on Rock Night, say.

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

December 02, 2011

Stanley Kubrick's photos of 1940s New York


"Before becoming a legendary director, Stanley Kubrick was a poor kid from the Bronx who did photojournalism for Look magazine in the 1940s in and around New York City."

Posted by the Flea at 03:28 AM

Dual-use research

Dutch scientists have created a super-flu which, if released, could trigger a pandemic and a death toll in the millions. And, of course, they plan to publish how they did it.

U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) chair, Paul Keim, adds a note of caution.

"I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one," adds Keim, who has worked on anthrax for many years. "I don't think anthrax is scary at all compared to this."
Posted by the Flea at 03:27 AM

Getting more out of Google

Here are some tips and tricks for refining your Googling.

Posted by the Flea at 03:24 AM

75 years in prison for videotaping police

It's even worse than it sounds.

Posted by the Flea at 03:23 AM

Alyosha: You will leave

Posted by the Flea at 03:22 AM

December 01, 2011



Lauren Paxman considers McQ, the Alexander McQueen diffusion range: "One frock in particular - the £465 Puffball tartan dress - has become the party dress of the season.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

Five personality flaws Skyrim forces you to deal with

"One of the first things my wife said, after watching me play Skyrim for a few minutes, was, 'What must the computer think of you?'"

Related: Buying pants at the mall / Exploring a cave in Skyrim.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Skyrim: Total War

AKA The King of Iron Helmet Tournament: "In his videos, ColloseusX created a whole host of showdowns: 42 Imperials versus 10 Forsworn, 40 Stormcloaks versus 2 Draugr Death Overlords, 30 Bandits versus 2 Falmer Skulkers—and more, all viewable in 1080p."

Or 30 Bandits vs 1 Frost Dragon. This is all live, in-game animation, folks.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Ladytron: Mirage

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM