In a room redolent of dried fish, stale beer and pipe tobacco, men from the depressed outskirts of St. Petersburg, Russia, crowd around a television. They watch intently as an actor dressed in a shirtfront and double-breasted coat beats people over the head with a cane, a scene they’ve viewed dozens of times. The film, released in 1990, is Yuri Mamin’s Bakenbardy (Sideburns).
A small provincial town is home to two rival teenage gangs, one devoted to loose living and punk music and the other a collection of narrow-minded bodybuilders obsessed with order and convinced of their own moral rectitude. However, this cosy state of affairs is upset by the arrival of two strangers dressed like Pushkin, the famous early 19th century Russian poet, who proceed to found their own organisation, dedicated ostensibly to the memory of the great writer and the "salvation of Russia". Gradually, they begin to assume control of the town...
Come all ye sons of Newfoundland
And shed a tear or two,
While I relate the hardships great
Befell this steamship’s crew;
Upon the thirty-first of March,
That sad and fatal night,
The Newfoundland’s bold hardy crew
Got lost upon the ice. ...
The Sealers of Newfoundland: While aboard the Terra Nova in March 1922, George Allen England wrote the following as an ode to the sealers.
Ho! We be the Sealers of Newfoundland!
We clear from a snowy shore,
Out into the gale with our steam and sail,
Where tempest and tumult roar.
We battle the floe as we northward go,
North, from a frozen strand!
Through lead, through bay, we fight our way,
We Sealers of Newfoundland!
Yea, we be the Sealers of Newfoundland!
We laugh at the blinding dark;
We mock the wind as we fling behind
The wilderness hoar and stark.
We jest at the death, at the icy breath
Of the Pole, by the north lights spanned.
In a wild death dance we dice with chance,
We Sealers of Newfoundland! ...
Weather Station Kurt (Wetter-Funkgerät Land-26) was an Automatic weather station, erected by a German U-boat crew in Northern Labrador, Newfoundland in October 1943. This was the only armed German military operation on land in North America during the Second World War.
"...to hit the smug Superman even once, that's Batman's victory. To show what humanity can achieve with work and dedication. To face the impossible as a challenge and a duty. Superman is just swatting a fly. Batman is reaching out to touch the face of God. By punching it."
Lying deep in torpor beneath the Mayan tombs is a most-ancient Methuselah. Sleeping away the ages until his time to arise finally comes, he guards himself, and his potent blood, most assiduously. But you have learned where he rests -- and so you search for him. Soon his essence will be yours.
"It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as 'tastes like chicken.' The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes. That is the smell of space."
"Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Jose Molina and Tim Minear reunite for a hilarious, heartfelt Firefly 10th anniversary panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2012."
It was after many government security agencies complained Skype was too hard to intercept because it used encryption and a system of decentralised super nodes to route voip traffic. This meant that Skype traffic was often never routed through a computer that was under the control of a wiretap friendly organisation.
In response, the NSA apparently offered "billions" to any company willing to make the Skype network more friendly for the spooks. Up stepped Microsoft and offered $8.5 billion to buy Skype lock stock and barrel, which was more than double the going rate and what anyone else had bid for Skype. At the time it raised more than a few eybrows because of the obviously inflated price.
Once the purchase was complete, Microsoft changed the internal Skype network so that instead of routing all the encrypted Skype voice and message trafic through the original distributed and dynamic network of relay/super nodes; it is now all routed through a network of grsec Linux servers, under the control of Microsoft and probably by extension the NSA.
The upshot of this is that since it is now predictable where the traffic is routed, and Microsoft has the encryption keys, it is now fairly trivial for the spooks to monitor all Skype voip calls and messages.
"A British study called One False Move, investigating the mobility of children, found that the average eight-year-old saw its ‘home habitat’ shrink to one-ninth of its size within a single generation. In 1970, 80% of British kids 7 or 8 years of age were allowed to go to school unsupervised; by 1990, this figure had dropped below 10%."
"Invite your imagination inside the Vampire Lounge... Rumoured to be owned by a circle of vampires, this cool seducative tasting room is the first of its kind. A secret escape in the heart of Beverly Hills."
Taking a couple days break from the blog. In the meantime, enjoy Triplanetary, the first in the Lensman series by E. E. "Doc" Smith. I will be posting my usual Instagram updates to Ghostofaflea at Twitter.
Triplanetary is a prologue in the Lensman series. It consists of two major parts. The first explains the series background, which consists of a war of mental power between the evil Eddorians and the benevolent Arisians. This conflict is carried out through the history of an oblivious humankind on Earth, during which the Arisians perform a eugenics project to breed two human genetic lines. These lines are intended to become the ultimate weapon in Arisia's cosmic war with Eddore.
"Superman (1948) is a 15-part black-and-white Columbia film serial based on the comic book character Superman. It stars an uncredited Kirk Alyn (billed only by his character name, Superman; but credited on the promotional posters) and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It is notable as the first live-action appearance of Superman on film and for the longevity of its distribution."
The real writers I know, the straight up authentic working hacks, have a reverence for stand up comedy and reality television. Much of the best writing - and, critically, editing - is done for genres people are obliged to dismiss when they are too busy trying to be intellectuals to develop a sense of themselves.
What non-writers don't know is that it is much easier to write in a formal style than an informal style and much easier to write something long and complicated than to write something short and simple. Writing pop songs might be the best example; like playing bass, it's easy to do badly but very difficult to do well.
Cover tracks offers a insight into the process, particularly when a cover is either better than, or mistaken for, the original. Levi-Strauss claims that in order to understand a myth you need to compare different versions - see what has been included or excluded, what's been changed - in order to understand its structure and the truths it is trying to convey. Following this logic, the best way to fully appreciate the original version of a pop song would be to see what other artists have done with it. A cover can be soulless and inept, meaningless imitation or merely technically adept.
Or it can express something just as true as what the original artist intended.
"By implementing this bulletproof matrix of spider silk produced by transgenic goats in human skin Jalila Essaïdi wants to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies. Issues which arise on the basis of ancient human desire for invulnerability."
"Return of the Ewok is a 1982 American mockumentary short, written, produced and directed by David Tomblin, first assistant director of Return of the Jedi, starring Warwick Davis as himself in a fictionalized account of how he got the role of Wicket W. Warrick."
The film, which was shot on Tomblin's own 16 mm camera, was created during production of Return of the Jedi, which he worked on as first assistant director, and was intended to use the movie as a promotional film for Return of the Jedi, but post-production on the film was never completed.
The film is set in both the "real world" and the fictional locations of the Star Wars universe. Real world locations include Stamford Bridge (stadium), Heathrow Airport and Elstree Studios and the actors' dressing rooms, while the fictional locations include Dagobah, the Death Star II, Jabba's Palace, and Endor. Throughout the film, these two realities are intermixed to produce an alternate reality.
"While The Hunger Games had a rabid and active fanbase from the books long before that movie came along, Prometheus’ pre-existing fanbase was much smaller and less obvious. Film geeks and fans of Scott’s 1979 film, Alien (for which Prometheus is a prequel of sorts) form a dedicated core that Ignition was charged with expanding."
...according to Bataille's theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which is destined to one of two modes of economic and social expenditure. This must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.
It’s Robert Baratheon’s remark, ‘’ She must have been a rare wench to make Lord Stark forget his honor” that I’m using to spark this debate. Rare wench, indeed. You could even use the word ‘fictional’ if you like. Catelyn Stark notes that ‘Whoever Jon’s mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely, because nothing she said ‘would persuade him to send the boy away.’ Yes, Ned did, in fact, love Jon’s mother fiercely. Contradiction at its best? Not quite.
Technically, no spoilers as what is offerred is pure conjecture (except for the tv-only people, obviously, but it's not like they are reading this).
For your thoughts: The first coin ever issued in Scotland - a penny - sold at auction for £8,400.
The rare silver penny was produced in Carlisle, Cumberland, 875 years ago by the Scottish King David I after he took over the town and its mint, and his name and crest can still clearly be seen on the coin.
It is thought to have been lost by a Scottish soldier 874 years ago in August 1138 at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, in which King David was defeated by an army led by the Archbishop of York.
An ancient bow has been discovered at the Neolithic site of La Draga, near Lake Bayoles in Catalonia, Spain. The bow has been dated to the period between 5400-5200 BC. It is the first bow to be found intact at the site. Fragments of bows have been found at the site before, but never a complete bow. The researchers say it is the most ancient bow of the Neolithic period ever found in Europe.
Britain's Atlantis: A hidden underwater world under the North Sea has been discovered by divers working with science teams from the University of St Andrews.
Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Divers from oil companies have found remains of a 'drowned world' with a population of tens of thousands - which might once have been the 'real heartland' of Europe.
"Fashion designer Nange Magro demonstrating her mind-controlled dress, named Mechapolypse, that changes shape at your will. The dress is a good example how NeuroSky brain-computer interface technology can be applied to fashion."
Boston Children's Hospital have designed microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate your body, even if you can't breathe.
The particles are composed of oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids, a natural molecule that usually stores energy or serves as a component to cell membranes.
These fatty oxygen particles are about two to four micrometers in size. They are suspended in a liquid solution that can be easily carried and used by paramedics, emergency crews and intensive care personnel. This seemingly magic elixir carries "three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells."