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August 31, 2012

Meanwhile, Asus

Best Buy sent me a flying saying I could get my zen with Asus. And by getting my zen, I assume they mean waiting seething medititating for a week before hearing from Asus customer service. After examining the invoice, they weren't convinced the Asus computer I bought from Best Buy is in fact an Asus and asked if I could send them a photograph of the machine. I did. It's an Asus.

Which it turns out is a Greek word meaning "don't buy me." I figure I could wait another week but have decided to go ahead and send them a picture of the box before they ask.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Cassinigram

True color images of Saturn.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Dao-Music - Quantalux

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Luke Scott - Loom 4K (2012)

I'd love to see it in 3D.

Written and directed by Luke Scott (Ridley’s son), the sci-fi short film “Loom” is gathering attention and praise on both film and sci-fi sites as an example of the clear beauty of RED Epic 3D and the company’s new laser projector. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski does gorgeous work with the camera, bolstered by an atmospheric score, but it’s Scott’s script and direction, along with Giovanni Ribisi’s quiet performance, that demonstrate the 20-minute film has potential to be more.
Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

August 27, 2012

Farewell their fallen comrades

"Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Maori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit's parade ground."

Hat tip to Mr. Brooks.

Posted by the Flea at 07:35 PM

August 25, 2012

The apotheosis of Best Buy

Posting is going to be sporadic until further notice. My valiant, ancient laptop died spectacularly yesterday having stood in the stead of a vareity of malfunctioning machines over the years. My ludicrously fast desktop is still down for the count, its CPU fan still out of order.

The state of play: Best Buy will sell you a three year, in home warranty but they have no intention of helping you repair a malfunctioning machine until it is out from under its manufacturer's warranty. In most cases, this means their 3 year service plan is actually a 2 year service plan and, I would have thought, a class action suit in the waiting. Lawyers of Canada may contact me via the side bar to the main page of this blog.

In the meantime, Asus (rhymes with "Jesus") (if you are Spanish speaking) (who knew?), quite understandably need the model number and serial number of the device Best Buy sold me. These are, along with the warranty card, nowhere to be found on the case or shipping box. The classic Catch 22, we won't tell you your serial number or model number when we sell you this machine. You will need both pieces of inforrmation should you ever attempt to hold us to the warranty we sold you with it.

In fairness to Asus, they are now examining the invoice from Best Buy. Rest assured, Asus and Best Buy will honour their commitments to the letter - if in abeyancve of the spirit - of the contract we agreed even if I have to take them to court to encourage them to do so. But I don't expect them to do so any time soon. In the meantime, I will post here as opportunity presents.

Don't buy anything from Best Buy.

Yours in seething rage.

The Flea

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

August 24, 2012

Romantic traffic

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Peter Andrews documents the beauty of America's interstate system.

Posted by the Flea at 07:49 AM

Peripheral

The Lapka personal environment monitor allows your iPhone to gather analog measures of humidity/temperature, radiation, electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), and organicity (the nitrate concentration of your food, and hence the kind of fertilizers used to raise it).

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

A/B testing

I have seen continuous A/B testing done on the fly. The process is now being more optimized and, apparently, offered with an interface allowing "creatives" to make sense of the statistics.

Tools like Swrve allow the designers themselves to rapidly test hypotheses about their games on just 5% of their users--everything from tweaking level difficulty (by adjusting enemy health or character physics), to seeing if users were more apt to select (and buy) a protagonist with a red or purple headband.
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Carice van Houten - Particle of Light

Ode to R'hllor.

Second look at: The Red God.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 23, 2012

Just the thing for my Dormant Volcano Base

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Volcanic basalt furniture by Maffam Freeform.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Kali Yuga

Richard Duncan, formerly of the World Bank and chief economist at Blackhorse Asset Mgmt., says America's $16 trillion federal debt has escalated into a "death spiral" (hat tip to Fenris).

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Dramatis personae

Ciarán Hinds has been cast as King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder. In other Game of Thrones casting, Ed Skrein is Daario Naharis and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm.

Update: Meet the new faces of Season 3.

Zusammenhang: Making-Of-Trailer in voller Länge.

Mit einer Episode aus der zweiten Staffel der US-amerikanischen TV-Serie "Game of Thrones" ist das deutsche Unternehmen Pixomondo für einen Emmy in der Kategorie "Visual Effects" nominiert. SPIEGEL ONLINE zeigt weltexklusiv das Making-Of zur erfolgreichen zweiten Staffel der Fantasy-Serie. Hier der Trailer in voller Länge.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Bunny dressage

"Invented in Sweden in the early Eighties, Kaninhop involves bunnies bouncing their way around courses consisting of several small jumps of varying height and length."

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Kievelektro - Summer Sea

Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

August 22, 2012

Curiosity descent

What it looks like to land on another planet.

This is a full-resolution version of the NASA Curiosity rover descent to Mars, taken by the MARDI descent imager. As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600x1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data. The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Precarious

Volvograd's Motherland war memorial statue is leaning as its foundations subside and is now in danger of collapse.

When it was completed in the late 1960s, the Motherland statue was the largest in the world. Made of concrete, it stands 85 metres (300 ft) high and weighs around 8,000 tons.

It commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad, when the Soviet army eventually managed to defeat the invading German forces in what is widely seen as a turning point in World War II.

Elsewhere: Precariously leaning towers of the world.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Cockneys vs Zombies

Zombie related: "Bruce Campbell has seen the new Evil Dead, still swears it's awesome, is probably making a cameo."

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Einstürzende Neubauten - Sehnsucht

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 21, 2012

Dame of Thrones

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Kristen McMenamy in W Magazine (hat tip to Mr. Percifield; nsfw - fashion).

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Facekini

Orange is the most effective in protecting people from sea creatures.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Nope

"The pools have been designed to jut out from the building, giving the impression to swimmers that they are practising front crawl suspended in mid-air."

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Mozart - Requiem In D Minor, K 626 - 1. Introitus Requiem Aeternam

Tamás Gol - Budapest Concert Orchestra (2006).

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

August 20, 2012

Type 26 Frigate Global Combat Ship

The latest design of the Royal Navy’s next generation of warships has been unveiled today by the Ministry of Defence.

The Type 26 Global Combat Ship measures 148m end-to-end - equivalent to 15 double-decker buses stacked in a row - and contains vertical missile silos and a hangar to hold a helicopter and smaller boats.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

DARPA chameleon

"The robot, made of soft silicone, has been designed to infiltrate areas through small gaps, before adapting its 'skin-tone' to that of its surroundings."

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Chemistry-and-Camera

Mars rover Curiosity zaps a rock, engages spectrometers.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Kakkmaddafakka - Restless

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 18, 2012

Tale of Jack Frost (1964)

Jack Frost (Russian: Морозко, Morozko) is a traditional Russian Fairy tale which served as the basis for a Soviet production (Gorky Film Studio) that was originally released in 1964. A version with a new soundtrack was released in 1966 in the U.S. It was directed by Aleksandr Rou, and starred Eduard Izotov as Ivan, Natalya Sedykh as Nastenka, and Oleksandr Khvylia as Father Frost. The script was written by Nikolai Erdman. The soundtrack was composed by Nikolai Budashkin, who was inspired by the works of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Posted by the Flea at 11:48 AM

Neverwas Haul

"Equal parts locomotive engine, steamship, and Victorian house, the Neverwas Haul is home to the Travelling Academy of UnNatural Science."

Posted by the Flea at 11:44 AM

Bauhaus - Shadow Of Light (1984)

Posted by the Flea at 11:42 AM

August 17, 2012

Mr. Digit and the Battle of Bubbling Brook (1961)

Hat tip to Alex.

Mr. Digit explains the to the public the impending change to all-number calling in this 1961 film starring the then-well-known radio and television team, Peg Lynch and Alan Bunce ("Ethel and Albert"). They portray a couple coming home from vacation to find their time-honored telephone number, "Bubbling Brook 3-2468", is being changed to seven numerals.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

The apotheosis of Best Buy

Several thoughts:

I - When Best Buy sells you a three year Performance Service Plan, what they mean is a two year service plan. The first year is between you and your manufacturer for everything except whatever your manufacturer does not cover and, of course, whatever Best Buy forgot to opt out of in the small print. This may sound like a rip off but, trust me, you'd feel more ripped off if it took you six emails, three phone calls (two dropped, one unreturned) to find someone at Best Buy to tell you they won't fix the problem. The thieving fucks.

II - Don't buy anything at Best Buy unless it is essentially disposable, you are better off in Chinatown where at least the overheads are lower. Also, don't buy anything at Best Buy.

III - Next time, I'm buying a Mac.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Benny Benassi feat. Chris Brown - Beautiful People

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 15, 2012

Kelly Clarkson joins Metal Skool

With her friend jack Daniels (nsfw, obviously).

Top Comment: "Definition of third wheel = Singer from yellow card."

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Art competitions at the Olympic Games

From 1912 to 1952, you could win gold medals in architecture, literature or music. I would enjoy being a town planning Olympian.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Ghost Tits

Featuring Olivia Munn (nsfw, obviously).

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Vocals Only)

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 14, 2012

David Blackwood - Lone Mummer Inside (1979)

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Mummering began to die out after Confederation in 1949, but was revived in the mid-1970s following the release of a National Film Board documentary, Blackwood.

This short film studies the works of one of Canada's greatest contemporary etchers - Newfoundland-born David Blackwood. The artist himself guides viewers through a step-by-step explanation of the etching process. Scenes of his hometown, examples of his own work and vivid tales of an old mariner recall the tragic seal hunts and a way of life that has now vanished.
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

The Campaign for Wool

Live naturally & choose wool.

Wool Week 2012: Wool Week 2012 will begin in the United Kingdom on October 15th.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Nom nom nom!

A whale shark sucks fish out of hole in fishing net.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Grimes - Heart Beats

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

August 13, 2012

The Gary Barlow tragedy and internet idiots

Gary Barlow isn't that well known on this side of the Atlantic but, ten years after his boy band career, he is still a serious star in the UK. Having done so much work toward the Jubilee and the Olympics, and with the birth - and death - of his daughter a week ago, he went on to perform at yesterday's closing ceremonies.

A number of people commented at Jason Manford's Facebook page decided to somehow find fault with the man for doing so. Manford's response is worth reading in full.

From the follow up posts of Person D I can see that he is neither a father, nor a lover of children but still, what a very odd, inhumane and heartless thing to think and write. I suppose it goes back to the argument of when does life begin? I personally think it begins when you and your partner decide that you want this child. And that is when love starts too. I mean it’s obvious that for a mother, the bonding process starts sooner than for a father. The mother goes through all the emotions, the cravings, the pains, the sickness, the worry, she feels the kicks, the pressure on her bladder, her swollen feet, her baby brain, her body changing, her mind changing, the nesting, the tears and the laughs that come during the 38 weeks. She is the one who can’t get comfortable in the night, who is cold when everyone else is hot and hot when everyone else is cold, who is trying not to waddle, who is still doing too much when she should be resting, who is doing her pelvic floor exercises and who just wants a healthy baby at the end of it.

But the Dad is bonding too all this while. He is scared, he is worried, both for his baby and his wife. From the moment his wife comes in with the ClearBlue, he is on it. He is thinking about the extra mouth that needs feeding, he is wondering where he is going to get the energy from to go through it all again, he is wondering how long he can afford to take off work, he is worried for his wife, he wants to keep her happy, but she’s crying and throwing up and keeps leaving the key in the door, and he comes home from work and she’s up some step ladders, 7 months pregnant putting up some curtains and he shouts, scared that he could lose them both at any moment. He goes to the hospital with her, he hears the heartbeat and his eyes fill with tears, partly with relief but also with ultimate pride, that this woman has done this for him, has given her body, and mind and maybe even her career so that they can, together, bring a child into the world.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Nemean Games

"Professional athletes, branded sports gear, mobile phones and advertising logos are banned from this pine-clad sanctuary in the northern Peloponnese, the site of a 2,300-year-old athletics stadium which every four years hosts an authentic ancient games."

Background: With the Isthmian Games, the Nemean Games were held both the year before and the year after the Ancient Olympic Games and the Pythian Games in the third year of the Olympiad cycle. Like the Olympic Games, they were held in honour of Zeus.

Foreground: The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games.

"It is our belief that the modern Olympic Games, despite their obvious success in many respects, have become increasingly removed from the average person. Our goal is the participation, on the sacred ancient earth of Greece, of anyone and everyone, in games that will revive the spirit of the Olympics. We will achieve this by reliving authentic ancient athletic customs in the ancient stadium of Nemea."
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

The Nemean Games 2012

η Μέρα β΄ μέρος: Nemea 2012.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Underworld - And I Will Kiss

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

August 12, 2012

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ - Voulez Vous

Posted by the Flea at 10:49 AM

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ - Take a chance on me

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ - Knowing Me Knowing You

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ - Waterloo

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM

ABBA In Japan (November 1978)

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

August 11, 2012

Eurovision Song Contest 1974

Auf Deutsch.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Meanwhile, Mars

The first HD panorama from Gale Crater.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Space infographic

How big is our solar system?

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

NINO - Apopse den pame spiti

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 10, 2012

Trey Ratcliff - 30 Days and 30 Nights in Queenstown, New Zealand

This one is worth clicking through to watch in full screen HD.

I've just moved to New Zealand, and my first 30 days and 30 nights here made a powerful impression on me. I've never done anything quite like this before, so I thought I would share what I felt with you.

The music is from my friend... one of the few people on earth that makes my heart beat a little faster than normal... Hans Zimmer. It's called "Budget Meeting" from the movie King Arthur.
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Hans Zimmer - Chevaliers de Sangreal

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

August 09, 2012

Automated construction

Behrokh Khoshnevis describes a 3D printer designed to build a house in 20 hours.

Called Contour Crafting, the process involves utilizing a gigantic 3D printer that is placed overhead an empty lot where the home will be built. The machine builds walls with multiple layers of concrete, adding plumbing and electrical wiring as it goes and eventually leaves a complete home that only needs doors and windows to complete.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Carl Sagan

"Maybe we're on Mars because we have to be, because there's a deep nomadic impulse built into us by the evolutionary process, we come after all, from hunter gatherers, and for 99.9% of our tenure on Earth we've been wanderers. And, the next place to wander to, is Mars. But whatever the reason you're on Mars is, I'm glad you're there. And I wish I was with you."

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Irish Olympic Sailing Commentary

(nsfw - colourful language)

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Bruce Springsteen - Mrs. McGrath

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

August 08, 2012

Robert Hughes - The Shock of the New (1980)

Episode 1 - The Mechanical Paradise (via Five Feet of Fury, with sad news).

Robert Hughes: The art critic with a dash of the streetfighter.

Being a critic nowadays, he once said, was more “like being a piano-player in a whorehouse; you don’t have any control over the action going on upstairs”.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Counterfactual landmarks

The Thames Tunnel and the Great Tower of London.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Security questions

Are a joke.

When hackers broke into Mat Honan's Apple account last week, they couldn't answer his security questions. And Apple didn't even care.

Gmail users: Turn on two-step verification.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Sir, You Are Being Hunted

An Alpha Teaser for Big Robot's open-world tweedpunk action title.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Moon Duo - Sleepwalker

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 07, 2012

The World of Travel - Slovenia

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Martina Cufar and Mariona Marti @ Gorges du Verdon

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Maximum depths

Twenty-seven of the deepest canyons you can explore.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Laibach - B Mashina

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 06, 2012

Fall/Winter is coming

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“Inspired by the HBO series Game of Thrones, Helmut Lang designers Nicole and Michael Colovos looked to the rangers of the Night’s Watch, a rugged band of soldiers sworn to guard the northern border between the kingdoms of men and the haunted forest.”

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Ice and Fire round up

Amateur: Team Westeros.

Professional: Game of Thrones inspired merchandise on Etsy. The dragonglass arrowheads could come in handy.

Commentator: A Game of Thrones interpreted chapter by chapter through haiku.

Tyrion wakes on the edge of the sky
Will he fly
not if Bronn decides

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Trailer 2012 #2

I will sing a song of my people.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Quilty - The Road To Knock/The Hut In The Bog/Union Reel

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 05, 2012

Public Image Limited - The Order Of Death (Miami Vice)

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

Peter Gabriel - The Rhythm Of The Heat (Miami Vice)

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM

Ward Brothers - Madness Of It All (Miami Vice)

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

Godley & Creme - Cry (Miami Vice)

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM

Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight (Miami Vice)

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

August 04, 2012

Forsaken Beauty

"Fervent fans craving a taste of True Blood can stay fashion-forward by sinking their fangs into the fragrance and beauty collection Forsaken."

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM

He hath indeed better bettered expectation

"While shooting The Avengers director Joss Whedon took a two week vacation in which he secretly shot a micro-budget feature film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing."

The movie basically puts a modern-day spin on the classic story while keeping the original dialogue from the play. Whedon explained at Comic-Con that... "It’s kind of a dark movie. There’s a lot of lying and ultimately, there’s a real deconstruction of our notions of how love is supposed to operate and how courtship is supposed to operate. Shakespeare looks at it with a very cold eye, and manages to find redemptive romance in it anyway."
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

Habeus corpora

In China, the rich and powerful can hire body doubles to do their prison time for them.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

Coil - Things We Never Had

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM

August 03, 2012

Hour 25 - Philip K. Dick

Mike Hodel interviews Philip K. Dick for science fiction themed radio show Hour 25. Recorded in 1977 before the release of A Scanner Darkly.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

Philip K. Dick - The Android and The Human (1972)

"A native of Africa is said to view his surroundings as pulsing with a purpose, a life, which is actually within himself; once these childish projections are withdrawn, he sees that the world is dead, and that life resides solely within himself. When he reaches this sophisticated point he is said to be either mature or sane. Or scientific. But one wonders: has he not also, in this process, reifed -- that is, made into a thing -- other people? Stones and rocks and trees may now be inanimate for him, but what about his friends? Has he not now made them into stones, too?"

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Click and hold

Lolz.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Globaïa - Welcome to the Anthropocene

'Welcome to the Anthropocene' Earth Animation from Globaïa on Vimeo.

Hat tip to Justin!

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Die Antwoord - I Fink U Freeky

(nsfw - language, Die Antwoord)

Live on Letterman, which is still on the air, apparently.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

August 02, 2012

Thomas Jane - #DIRTYLAUNDRY (2012)

"In a run-down neighborhood, Frank Castle wakes up and exits his van to get his laundry done."

(nsfw, gore/punishment)

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Meanwhile, in Sleepless City

A sex robot restaurant opens in Japan.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

The Guardian - Skinhead (1986)

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Percy Mayfield - Nothing stays the same forever

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

August 01, 2012

Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo - Sight (2012)

Creepy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Six important sci-fi ideas

Garrett Putnam Serviss (March 24, 1851–May 25, 1929) was an astronomer, popularizer of astronomy, and early science fiction writer. In the same year H.G. Wells published The War of the Worlds, Serviss published an unauthorized sequel, Edison's Conquest of Mars.

...famed inventor Thomas Edison turns the tables on the aliens from The War of the Worlds by flying to Mars and killing all of them with his revenge boner -- it's the Victorian-era equivalent of shameless straight-to-DVD crapfests like Transmorphers and Titanic II.

Also, it was one of the most revolutionary sci-fi novels ever written.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Robbaz - Rollercoaster Tycoon 3

Welcome to Valhalla "Viking Commentary".

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Drive - Incubus

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM