Forty years ago, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari (I can't believe I missed this on Wednesday...).
“We were going to build a driving game,” Bushnell said in a 1983 Playboy interview. “But I thought it was too big a step for him to go from not knowing what a video game was to that. So I defined the simplest game I could think of, which was a tennis game, and told him how to build it. I thought it was going to be a throwaway, but when he got it up and running, it turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun.”
In other SCROTUS news, Americans can now rest assured it is their constitutional right to lie about their weight and age on a dating site. Silly me, thinking the Stolen Valor Act was directed toward people falsely claiming a qualification.
The good news: If I move to the States, my free speech rights now include telling people I am, say, a dentist.
A handy graphic of an estimate of global nuclear warhead and missile inventories. The figures for Israel are pure speculation, the estimate for China looks like a gross underestimate and Pakistan is better armed than I had thought.
Utter, unwatchable crap but featuring the correct pronunciation of "Bowie".
The problem: "The outcast, the disillusioned tough becomes the hero; he may be criminal, he may be semi-human," argues John Willett, "but in plays like Baal he can be romanticized into an inverted idealist, blindly striking out at the society in which he lives."
Baal was the first full-length play written by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. It concerns a wastrel youth who becomes involved in several sexual affairs and at least one murder. It was written in 1918, when Brecht was a 20-year-old student at Munich University, in response to the expressionist drama The Loner (Der Einsame) by the soon-to-become-Nazi dramatist Hanns Johst.
The hero of the piece abandons his pregnant girlfriend, murders his friend and dies without purpose, alone, having wasted his life. Consider that this was the Left's response to nascent Nazi art and understand why Germany was Germany in the 1920s.
"One Apple employee (who I can't name as the company does not allow employees to speak on the record without approval from media relations) said that in the future, your phone will show drop shadows based on the actual position of the light in the room, as detected by the phone's ambient sensor - and everything in the UI will be rendered in 3D on the fly."
Conceptually related: A skeuomorph (Greek: skeuos—vessel or tool, morphe—shape), is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original.
Blue jeans have authentic-looking brass rivet caps covering the functional steel rivet beneath; digital cameras play a recorded audio clip of a conventional SLR camera mirror slap and shutter click. Such ornamentation is not necessarily non-functional: the camera shutter sound is used to indicate to subject and photographer when the taking of the picture is complete. However, the function could also be provided with a different sound or feature, yet very rarely is.
A frank discussion about culture and sexism is underway at Reddit, internet bastion of the college educated, secular left.
None too soon.
I got in a debate with an Egyptian a while back over France's proposed burqua law. It seemed incomprehensible to him that women would wear clothes for a reason other than to protect themselves from rape, and seemed to have the idea that rape was very common over here because of the way the women dressed. I explained that over here, we teach men that it is their responsibility to restrain themselves, not the responsibility of women to avoid catching their attention. This was a completely foreign concept to him, and continued insisting that women in this country would be completely safe from rape if they simply adopted middle eastern garb. Made me really pity anyone born within a thousand miles of his culture.
Rick McGinnis reviews the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, and the critical response of a media literate minority.
At first glance, there’s nothing original about The Hunger Games. Ed Morrissey, writing on the Hot Air blog, sums up the various influences: Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” films like The Running Man and Rollerball, “perhaps a dash of The Handmaid’s Tale and a bit of The Truman Show, and almost every post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy ever filmed or even contemplated.” A glance at the rest of the trilogy would add Logan’s Run, that high water mark of Me Decade sci-fi, and I could go on, but the fact is that the young audience for the film and the books have heard of few if any of these precedents, and couldn’t care less. Dismissing youth culture for its lack of originality might be comforting to adults, but it merely irritates young people still unsold on the comforts of feeling jaded.
At the risk of sounding more jaded than thou, McGinnis leaves out the primary source being ripped off, Battle Royale.
Update: McGinnis writes:
I didn't include Battle Royale because I loosely assumed - based on very little evidence, to be sure - that there might be some young people who'd have heard of it, if only because of the prevalence of manga/anime/Japanese pop culture among their demographic. Granted, it's a minority thing, but it's a bigger minority than anyone under 21 who'd have seen Logan's Run/read "The Lottery."
Still, I can't imagine them caring. Originality is overrated, especially in pop culture, and even more especially today.
For awhile, I was planning on sitting down with a bunch of kids at the tiny high school being run on the same premises as the private Catholic school where my kids go. They're bright kids, and apparently much in thrall to the Hunger Games thing. I wanted to get their take on it, and while there, planned to show them the final scene of If...., my favorite teen film. You know - the scene at the commencement with the machine guns on the roof.
I guess my point would have been "Hey, we're all acting shocked that you like this film/book, but frankly, some of us were a lot more nihilistic than you when we were young." Probably a good thing that it didn't happen, as some of their parents might not have thought it so salutary that I allowed them a glimpse of Malcolm McDowell in his full, pre-droog glory.
I was thinking along these lines the other day as much of the internet was outrageously outraged by the cruelty of kids toward a bus monitor, calling her fat until she cried. Pace to the left, worried about bullying, and the right, worried about a coursening of the culture; it is as if we'd never read The Lord of the Flies. Boys acting like viscious little shits is nothing new, what's new is these viscious little shits won't be thrashed for it.
Which is why I thought Battle Royale sounded like a great idea.
Red Nightmare is the best known title of Armed Forces Information Film (AFIF) 120, Freedom and You.
A man takes his American freedoms for granted, until he wakes up one morning to find out that the United States Government has been replaced with a Communist system. The basis for this short film, narrated by Jack Webb, is the alleged Soviet re-creation of US communities for the purpose of training infiltrators, spies, and moles.
To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more.
It's a strange kind of national infrastructure, one that is at its most rigorously functional—one that truly fulfills its promises—when in a state of cascading self-imposed collapse.
Related: "A national redoubt is a general term for an area to which the (remnant) forces of a nation can be withdrawn if the main battle has been lost—or even beforehand if defeat is considered inevitable. Typically a region is chosen with a geography favouring defence, such as a mountainous area or a peninsula, in order to function as a final hold-out to preserve national independence for the duration of the conflict."
Also: "Spiritual defence (‘Geistige Landesverteidigung’ ger; 'Défense [nationale] spirituelle' fr) was a political-cultural movement in Switzerland which was active from circa 1932 into the 1960s. It was supported by the Swiss authorities, certain institutions, scholars, the press and intellectuals. Its aim was the strengthening of values and customs perceived to be ‘Swiss’ and thus create a defence against totalitarian ideologies."
Archaeologists have unearthed the foundation of what appears to have been a massive, ancient structure, possibly a bridge leading to an artificial island, in what is now southeast Wales.
"One other thing that is striking, that might be relevant, is that the timbers seem to be lined up with the middle of the lake," Clarke noted, suggesting that the structures may have been part of a causeway to a crannog, or artificial island, constructed in the middle of the lake. "Even so, if it is a path to a crannog, it's huge."
Much better than the boilerplate interviews for HBO's marketing. Though I find it difficult to believe he is surprised women are attracted to Jaime Lannister and the Hound. Or, for that matter, Theon Greyjoy (there's a fixer-upper). Possibly, he doesn't get out much.
My students were trying to figure out how to implement binaural sound in a video game; the trouble being that, due to the way binaural sound is recorded, your character's viewpoint would have to be fixed. Not great for most game play.
But if you were to make the game for iPhone and take advantage of the accelerometer...
“Meltdown” applies that idea to gameplay, mixing together ambient sounds from the environment with cues that tell you where monsters lie. Invading “creeptures” from another dimension reveal themselves sonically, and it’s up to you to zap them. You wander around your environment, armed only with your trusty iPhone, listening for danger via headphones and stabbing invisible baddies with gestural kills. The game is the work of Abesh Thakur, Orfeas Boteas, Richard Robinson and Varun Nair at the University of Edinburgh.
The first episode of the second season. Rocking some serious Hammond organ in the soundtrack.
Original Air Date—4 September 1976
An Eagle is sent onto the surface of the planet Psychon, which has titanium, needed for repairs to the Alpha Base. It fails to return and is used by Psychon scientist Mentor as a bait with which to entice other members of the Alphan crew onto the planet. Mentor is building a computer but it will be fuelled by the living brains of humans, and he has his eye on those of the Alphan crew. Fortunately his daughter, the shape-shifting Maya, does not share her father's views and is on the side of the Alphans.
Topman, whose shoppers ages' are the target audience for the TV programme, shows a range of 12 bow ties on its website. A spokeman for the store said: "Since the new Doctor Who aired we have seen a dramatic rise in bow tie sales, in the last month up sales have increased by 94%.
... I mentioned how I felt that most movie posters these days were very blue and dark. She didn’t fully believe me and challenged me to prove it. I looked around, and found some people had done this with a few posters over the last few years, but I became curious about the longer-term trends and what they would show. So, as any engineer would do, I wrote some code!
"Pulse is a first person survival game that takes place in an unseen world revealed only by sound. Download the game at www.teampixelpi.com. The game was developed by 5 game design students during a 3 month period at the Vancouver Film School Game Design program."
An ancient 'stone of strength challenge' which made a comeback in a tiny Welsh village has defeated 15 men after they all failed to lift a 28-stone monument. The Y Maen Camp ('Feat Stone') challenge sees strongmen attempt to lift the mammoth stone to shoulder height in the Welsh village of Criccieth.
Not to be confused with Tros y Gareg, Crossing the Stone.
"George R.R. Martin not only created the world of Westeros, but he created a backstory which builds the foundations of the struggles amongst its peoples. Once one understands how their civilization developed then they can understand how their conflicts developed."
Niall Ferguson - The War of the World, Ep 1 The Clash of Empires
"Why, if life was improving so rapidly for so many people at the dawn of the 20th century, were the next hundred years full of brutal conflict? Ferguson (Colossus) has a relatively simple answer: ethnic unrest is prone to break out during periods of economic volatility—booms as well as busts. When they take place in or near areas of imperial decline or transition, the unrest is more likely to escalate into full-scale conflict. This compelling theory is applicable to the Armenian genocide in Turkey, the slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda or the "ethnic cleansing" perpetrated against Bosnians, but the overwhelming majority of Ferguson's analysis is devoted to the two world wars and the fate of the Jews in Germany and eastern Europe. His richly informed analysis overturns many basic assumptions. For example, he argues that England's appeasement of Hitler in 1938 didn't lead to WWII, but was a misinformed response to a war that had started as early as 1935."
The product is made by Hayashi Paper Co., a firm in Shizuoka Prefecture with a staff of around 30. It is the brainchild of Hiroyuki Hayashi, president of Hayashi Paper, who contacted Suzuki and rolled out the idea. The popular author then agreed to write a short story for the roll.
"...here is the vital point that is missed in pretty well every re-telling of the myth of the Titanic: nobody really called the Titanic “unsinkable” until after the ship had sunk."
To substantiate this point, we must remember that the Titanic was in fact the second of three almost identical “sister” ships constructed by the White Star Line. The eldest was the Olympic, which preceded the Titanic into service on just the same route and with precisely the same safety features as her second-string sister. But the Olympic did not sink, and so was never dubbed “unsinkable.”
The 'igloo' was built in the Tunisian desert where many of the scenes were shot near the remote village of Tataouine.
Layers of editing: A word from the comments regarding our betters in professional journalism.
I'd just like to correct the article, if I may, as it's about me... Firstly, the VILLAGE nearby in Tunisia IS spelt Tataouine. This village was the inspiration for naming the planet Tatooine. Secondly, all photos labelled as me, are NOT me, but they feature the campaign leader MARK DERMUL from Belgium. (Love the way they spelt my surname as 'Copper' btw!) Also, the most important thing, this was NOT all my own work. It was an International team effort of six people, funded entirely by over 2,500 Star Wars fans worldwide. And to Nick, Leeds - we had to paint it white to ensure it lasts longer than a couple of years. The weather and climate will 'weather' it soon enough. This is why the decision was made to leave it in a pristine condition. It is NOT being used as a toilet or chicken hut, by the way.
- Terry Cooper, Pontypridd, Wales, UK, 18/6/2012 11:33
"Plattenbau (plural Plattenbauten) is the German word for a building whose structure is constructed of large, prefabricated concrete slabs. The word is a compound of Platte (in this context: panel) and Bau (building)."
More than just a roof over your head: DDR Plattenbauten auf 16mm (1976). Teil 1. Teil 2.
Plattenbau-Revival: Once regarded as the ugliest houses in the world. A hipster invasion was inevitable.
From the days before the transvaluation of all value.
China: The Roots of Madness is a 1967 Cold War era, made-for-TV documentary film produced by David L. Wolper, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Theodore H. White with production cost funded by a donation from John and Paige Curran. ... It won an Emmy Award in the documentary category.
Archaeologist Noomi Rapace is excavating a crevice in a cave with a paintbrush. Shining a small torch into the crevice, she smiles, and tells her assistant to shout to Dr. Holloway, who is excavating a fair distance away down the hill. You can tell he’s an archaeologist, as opposed to another kind of doctor, because he is sieving soil. When his name is called, he instantly throws the sieve to the ground, and pounds up the hill to the cave. Because, as we all know, archaeology can be extraordinarily hard to catch.
Comprehensive spoilers/snark at the link.
I tried telling them, but would they listen? No.: Ridley Scott on God, aliens and his new ‘Blade Runner’ film.
Ciudad Blanca: A team of scientists using advanced laser mapping have detailed a remote region of Honduras that may have revealed the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca, known as the 'White City' of gold.
Yupaha: Historian and architect Richard Thornton believes a 1,100-year-old archaeological site in the North Georgian mountains near Blairsville may be the fabled city of Yupaha, which Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto failed to find in 1540.
"Aircraft with supplies and passengers arrive at the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station during ICEX 2011. Then members of the ICEX team go about daily operations while communicating with the command hut and a submarine. Later, the crew of the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) clears off the submarine's conning tower and observes members of the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station clearing ice from the submarine's hatch after it surfaced through the ice."
"Dimply-lit tunnels snake into the distance, metal steps echo with the sound of footsteps, and huge vertical drops plummet into the darkness – cavernous chambers where missiles intended to carry nuclear warheads would have once been housed."
"This feature-length documentary plus extras, made especially for the 2003 Aliens (1986) DVD release, is incredibly informative with all its interviews with both the cast and crew, as well as behind the scenes footage filmed during the making of the film."
"We may well ask, echoing Yeats: what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards LV-223 to be born?"
All spoilers at the link.
From the comments: The planet is LV223...Leviticus 22:3
Say to them: 'For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.
Lumberingly paced, surprise-free, far less intelligent than it thinks it is (or should be), it aspires to the transcendent awe of its seminal predecessor, wanting to be 2001: A Space Odyssey as envisioned by H. P. Lovecraft, but barely achieves the transcendent awfulness of Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce or Robert Jaffe’s Nightcrawlers.
The Dæmons is the fifth and final serial of the eighth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in five weekly parts from 22 May to 19 June 1971.
Re Prometheus: "As a closing point, let me draw your attention to a very different strand of symbolism that runs through Prometheus: the British science fiction show Doctor Who. In the 1970s episode 'The Daemons', an ancient mound is opened up, leading to an encounter with a gigantic being who proves to be an alien responsible for having guided mankind's development, and who now views mankind as a failed experiment that must be destroyed. The Engineers are seen tootling on flutes, in exactly the same way that the second Doctor does. The Third Doctor had an companion whose name was Liz Shaw, the same name as the protagonist of Prometheus. As with anything else in the film, it could all be coincidental; but knowing Ridley Scott, it doesn't seem very likely. "
Light on analysis but beautifully presented. Most important, perhaps, for underlining the importance of plague in the final fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent, opportunistic conquest of the former heart of the Christian world.
Flotsam & Jetsam is a documentary based around the beachcombers of Texel, one of the largest Frisian islands north of Holland.
Due to Texel's geographical position, tidal system and strong winds, an estimated two tons of Flotsam & Jetsam washes up on its beach each day. The film follows the lives of the beachcombers (or Jutters as they are known), exploring their relationships and history as extraordinary people in extraordinary situations.
I love the left shoes... Click through for full screen HD.
Today's hype leaves no other option but making an application as "social" as possible. This being the certitude du jour, allow me to think differently. True, some apps are inherently social: when it comes to rating a product or a service, the "crowd factor" is critical. Beyond that, it should be a matter of personal choice – an antinomic notion to today's the "Social" diktat.
When George R.R. Martin was young, he would buy dime store turtles from Wooworths to keep as pets. His first fantasy series were stories featuring his turtles as knights, lords and kings.
... these particular turtles seemed to die very easily. I don’t think it was really a very good environment for them. Sometimes they would escape and you would find them under the refrigerator a month later, all dead. So my turtles kept dying, which was very distressing but it also made me think, ‘Why are they dying? Well, they are killing each other in sinister plots.’
"The Atlantic Ocean Road or the Atlantic Road (Norwegian: Atlanterhavsveien) is a 8.3-kilometer (5.2 mi) long section of County Road 64 which runs through an archipelago in Eide and Averøy in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. The fixed link passes by Hustadvika, an unsheltered part of the Norwegian Sea, connecting the island of Averøy with the mainland and Romsdalshalvøya peninsula"
Indiana University theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski presents the case that own universe may exist inside a black hole.
This may sound strange, but it could actually be the best explanation of how the universe began, and what we observe today. It's a theory that has been explored over the past few decades by a small group of physicists including myself.
A habitable settlement will be waiting for the settlers when they land. The settlement will support them while they live and work on Mars the rest of their lives. Every two years after 2023 an additional crew will arrive, such that there is a real living, growing community on Mars.
A group calling itself the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front has claimed responsibility for the non-fatal shooting of a nuclear-engineering executive on 7 May in Genoa, Italy. The same group sent a letter bomb to a Swiss pro-nuclear lobby group in 2011; attempted to bomb IBM’s nanotechnology laboratory in Switzerland in 2010; and has ties with a group responsible for at least four bomb attacks on nanotechnology facilities in Mexico. Security authorities say that such eco-anarchist groups are forging stronger links.
Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt): [Frank] Herbert may have coined the name from 19th-century author Samuel Butler, who has the citizens of Erewhon enact a prohibition on machines newer than 270 years fearing that "it was the race of the intelligent machines and not the race of men which would be the next step in evolution."
Machine breaking: At one time, there were more British soldiers fighting the Luddites than Napoleon I on the Iberian Peninsula.
Followers must vow to fight corruption and defend the truth, spend hours training and patrolling the streets while undergoing gruelling rites of passage, which include a batmitzfa and 'breaking of the back' ceremony.
"The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office is the title of the official resident cat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. Only two cats, Humphrey and Larry, have been given the title officially..."
Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton hosts sketches of her work at her website.
"We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to middle Earth.”
Productivity also matters: Recent data from the OECD showed Greeks actually do work the longest hours in Europe, toiling an average of 2,017 hours a year - compared to 1,647 in the UK, or a leisurely 1,408 in Germany.