January 31, 2010



While I cannot say I will be rushing out to purchase People Tree products, I am delighted to learn Emma Watson has a better grasp of economics and development than the press corps of the entire Western world.

"Rather than give cash to charities you can help people in poorer countries by buying the clothes they make."
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Commercial espionage

MI5 accuses China of bugging and burgling to uncover British trade secrets. Honeytraps, bribery and blackmail are mentioned but the following strikes me as the simplest method by far.

A leaked MI5 document says that undercover intelligence officers from the People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of Public Security have also approached UK businessmen at trade fairs and exhibitions with the offer of “gifts” and “lavish hospitality”.

The gifts — cameras and memory sticks — have been found to contain electronic Trojan bugs which provide the Chinese with remote access to users’ computers.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Maiden flight

Ria Novosti has video of the maiden flight of the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50.

It is not terribly stealthy looking. But given Russian engineering, I expect it is just stealthy enough to do the job.

The fifth-generation T-50 fighter has taken its maiden flight in Russia’s Far East. “The results of the T-50’s 47-minute flight were positive,” said the press service of Russian aircraft giant Sukhoi Company.
Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Owl City: Fireflies

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2010

The Saturdays: Just Can't Get Enough

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

January 29, 2010

Prospective (Promising) Aircraft Complex (System) of Front line Aviation

Russia tests the Sukhoi T-50, a fifth-generation fighter developed in collaboration with India.

The Sukhoi T-50 prototype took to the skies for a 45-minute flight from an airfield at the company's production plant in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday, Sukhoi spokesman Alexei Paveshchenko told The Associated Press.

Russian officials have spent two decades trying to build the so-called fifth-generation fighter and hope the T-50 can challenge the U.S. F-22 Raptor, which first flew in 1997. The Russian project has been veiled in secrecy and no pictures of it had been released before the maiden flight.

If the prototype bearing a close resemblance to the Raptor goes into production, it will be the first major new aircraft design built in post-Soviet Russia. Officials have expressed hope that the T-50 will enter service in 2015.

More on the Sukhoi PAK FA and Sukhoi/HAL FGFA.

Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM | Comments (2)

My tribe

Welsh supermarket bans shopping in pajamas. Even if you wear your best pajamas.

Posted by the Flea at 08:03 AM

The Courteeners: You Overdid It Doll

Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM

January 28, 2010

Cyber armies

Google is not alone in condemning China's cyberattacks and espionage.

Two weeks ago the chairman of Indian's Cyber Law and IT Act Committee told reporters: "China is very active in cyberspace. It has raised a cyber army of about 300,000 people and their only job is to intrude upon secured networks of other countries. All this is all aimed at supremacy. Every country must set up cyber armies to counter China."
Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | Comments (1)

The Top 100 movies of all time

By number of tickets sold.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM

Marina & The Diamonds: Hollywood Infected Your Brain

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

January 27, 2010

Not helping

Haiti's Scientological benefactor has been revealed. John Travolta thought it was so important to make a show of himself bring in a crack team of Scientology "touch assist" therapists he flew them to Haiti himself in his private Boeing 707.

To Haiti's only airport. Which can handle only as many as 130 flights a day. After a massive earthquake.

WWTDD? comments on the healing power of Scientology.

You might think that an army of people who can heal the sick just by touching them would be a bigger story, maybe the biggest story of the past thousand years, but it’s not. It’s true, obviously, but it’s not very interesting. That’s why no one talks about it. I’m surprised they even mentioned it here.

Travolta's publicist, and the Church of Scientology, had a good day at the expense of dying people. Think what you will of Scientology's claims or Scientology's motives, they are hurting the situation far less than the UN and something like 10,000 "aid" organizations.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

Indian Air Force tribute

To the tune of Vande Mataram.

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

Adam Lambert: Whataya Want From Me

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM

January 26, 2010

A legend in her own lunchtime

Mardi Tindal drives Michael Coren over the brink. Michael Coren channels Fenris Badwulf (via Five Feet of Fury).

“I simply wept. My tears were quiet, but I spoke through them, and I was being listened to. My husband said, ‘There is great power in what you have just said, and it is a powerful message that makes clear why you are weeping.’” Ah yes, the silent tears of the great person who understands what we mere mortals can never know.

“And I said, ‘Doug, I’m weeping for the millions of lives that have been lost as a result of what did and did not happen in Copenhagen,’” she said. “My experience was that I had a place to go with my tears and my lament.” Yes Doug, yes! You are man Doug, you are patriarchy, you are suffering natives, oppressed transgendered people and the cries of the kittens and puppies as the very soil screams for peace, harmony and government funding.

The article is a masterpiece of sarcasm, do click through. Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Michael Coren and Fenris Badwulf at the same time? No. You have not.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Non sola fide

IDF field hospital begins transferring patients to USNS Comfort and other local hospitals.

Beginning yesterday, 24 January 2010, the IDF Medical Corps hospital in Haiti began transferring dozens of patients (orphans and premature babies) to the Italian hospital in Haiti and to the US Navy Ship, the 'Comfort'.

Statement by Lt. Col. Danny Moshayev:

"Today we are starting a process of evacuating patients to the USNS 'Comfort'. We have fully briefed all commanders of the medical divisions in the hospital. We have picked the patients that can be treated in the American ship. We are operating appropriate tools for the evacuation of the patients. In addition to this mission, we are transferring two premature babies. They are being transferred to the regional Italian hospital, which is capable of effectively treating children, and especially premature babies, and we are sending out a medical team to accompany them, bring them to the hospital and make sure that they are getting the best treatment possible".
Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM

Joel Goldsmith: Air Part 3 (Stargate Universe soundtrack)

Certainly the most beautiful SF soundtrack since Blade Runner - there is a debt to Vangelis in the synthesized brass - and perhaps the most beautiful SF beautiful soundtrack I have ever heard. Unfortunately, this uploaded MP3 audio does not do the music justice (though kudos to the uploader for a valiant attempt to duck the dialogue).

Stargate Universe is brilliantly well done also; faithful to the camp source material but for the first time taking the source material seriously. I am going to buy a Blu-ray player to see and hear it properly.

After the jump: Better audio. Shorter clip.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)

January 25, 2010

Everything is the product of one universal creative effort


An organic approach to urban transport planning (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

When presented with oat flakes arranged in the pattern of Japanese cities around Tokyo, brainless, single-celled slime molds construct networks of nutrient-channeling tubes that are strikingly similar to the layout of the Japanese rail system, researchers from Japan and England report Jan. 22 in Science. A new model based on the simple rules of the slime mold’s behavior may lead to the design of more efficient, adaptable networks, the team contends.
Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Less hope for Canada

A generation ago Korea was devasted by war and decades of brutal occupation by the Japanese empire. Canada, by contrast, had the third largest fleet in the world.

I do not believe I need to elaborate on the problem.

Korea to Build 6 'Mini Aegis' Destroyers

The Navy will build six 5,600-ton "mini Aegis" destroyers. Navy headquarters announced the plan in a parliamentary audit at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters on Tuesday, pledging to use the destroyers as part of the main naval combat fleet.
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

George Lucas continues to rape his creation

Fresh from seeing James Cameron's Avatar, director George Lucas is set to makeover both the Star Wars trilogy and its heretical "prequels" in 3D.

He said that he had initially thought of the idea after finishing the last Star Wars film, The Revenge of the Sith, in 2005. But he was convinced about the idea after watching blockbuster Avatar, which picked up two Golden Globes last week.

Lucas said: 'We've been looking for years to do this but the technology hasn't been there. I think this will be a new impetus to make that happen.'
Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (1)

The Widdler: Dank Dub

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

January 24, 2010

Helping is futile

Some might scoff at Scientologists using "touch assists" to heal Haitian earthquake victims. I can think of many more expensive wastes of time applied to the same problem; at least Scientologists are preventing genuine Haitian recovery on their own dime.

Amid the mass of aid agencies piling in to help Haiti quake victims is a batch of Church of Scientology "volunteer ministers", claiming to use the power of touch to reconnect nervous systems. Clad in yellow T-shirts emblazoned with the logo of the controversial US-based group, smiling volunteers fan out among the injured lying under makeshift shelters in the courtyard of Port-au-Prince's General Hospital.

A wealthy private donor provided his airplane to fly in 80 volunteers from Los Angeles, along with 50 Haitian-American-doctors, in a gesture worth 400,000 dollars, said a Parisian volunteer who gave her name as Sylvie.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Amuro Namie: Hide and Seek

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

January 23, 2010

False consciousness

Charles Krauthammer: "You would think lefties could discern a proletarian vanguard when they see one."

Democrats, if they wish, can write off their Massachusetts humiliation to high unemployment, to Coakley, or, the current favorite among sophisticates, to generalized anger. That implies an inchoate, unthinking lashing-out at whoever happens to be in power — even at your liberal betters who are forcing on you an agenda that you can’t even see is in your own interest.

Democrats must so rationalize, otherwise they must take democracy seriously, and ask themselves: If the people really don’t want it, could they possibly have a point?
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Airborne Laser (ABL) Engages MARTI Target

DrewM: "Seriously, if you only watch one airborne laser test video this year, this is it. It's like the Enterprise firing its phasers."

Also: Army betting big on laser weapons.

The U.S. Army is betting big on laser warfare -- designing, testing and perfecting ultra-precise weapons based on devastatingly powerful beams of light. And given recent developments, it's only a matter of time until the military has in its arsenal a weapon that until now has been the staple of science fiction -- the ray gun.

Set your phasers to kill.

I am all in favour of laser weapons, don't get me wrong. But the money would be better spent educating American children in the ideals of the Founders including and especially their martial virtues. The armories of the West are not the problem. There are no weapons to save your families without the will to use them, only booty for the treasure-stores of the colonists.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (2)

Sade: Soldier of Love

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

January 22, 2010

Seven figures

What Would Tyler Durden Do? offers pictures of half-naked celebrities and analysis better informed by reason than anything in the Establishment media.

Take George Clooney's million dollar donation toward Haitian disaster relief, for example.

Look, I don’t even really know where Haiti is, I have no animosity towards them. I hope the telethon is a big hit, I hope people give, I hope Haiti gets back on their feet, but what’s the deal here. Are they trying to fix it like it was before, or does Haiti need a whole new country? Because even before the quake the buildings and roads look like Earth on that ‘Life After People’ show, except Haiti has people. What have they been doing for 300 years? How do we know what buildings to fix? How do we know which ones were broken by the earthquake and what ones were already fucked up? I’m not so sure you should get a new building just because you broke the other one. Are we just taking their word on this? How does that work? If you were an insurance agent, and someone wrecked their 95 Accord, you wouldn’t give them a Maybach would you? This is exactly like that, except in this case the person didn’t have any insurance, and instead of a 95 Accord they had a rusty bike with no seat.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Fleet in being

StrategyPage reports the U.S. Navy accidentally (?) posted their classified estimate on the size and composition of the Chinese Navy. Some bright spark noticed the mistake (?) and removed the data, but not before it was made immortal on the interwebs.

To that end.

The strength of the Chinese fleet was listed as;

Submarines- 62 (53 diesel Attack Submarines, six nuclear Attack Submarines, three nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines). The U.S. has 72 submarines, all nuclear (53 attack and 18 ballistic missile.)

Destroyers-26. The U.S. has 52.

Frigates-48. The U.S. has 32, including two of the new LCS vessels.

Amphibious Ships 58. The U.S. has 30, all much larger and equipped with flight decks and helicopters, plus landing craft.

Coastal Patrol (Missile)- at least 80. The U.S. had a few of these, but got rid of them. China uses these for coastal patrol and defense, a concept they inherited from the Russians.

In addition, the U.S. has eleven aircraft carriers (ten of them nuclear powered) and 22 cruisers.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Elder Sign

If you suffer from an overwhelming sense of dread brought on by the realization of your own insignificance in the universe, then you need Elder Sign. Visit Elder Sign dot ca.
Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Coil: Ether

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

January 21, 2010

Tube map of the Milky Way, 2010


Samuel Arbesman. Mind the gap.

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (3)

Blast at Iran military base leaves 3 injured

It must have been a big blast. I was nowhere near it and yet I read the news and am left with a warm feeling deep inside.

An explosion has ripped through a military base in Iran's southern province of Hormozagan, damaging properties and leaving three people injured.

The incident took place at around 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday (0530 GMT) as an explosive charge went off in Naiband district of Bandar Abbas — Hormozagan Province's capital.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM

John & Edward (Feat. Vanilla Ice): Under Pressure/Ice Ice Baby

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM

January 20, 2010

Uniform portrait of Lieutenant Junior Grade (LtJg) John F. Kennedy, May 1942


Frank Turgeon Jr.*

* If anyone can find a better biographical source than that N.Y.I. Photo-Training endorsement, please let me know.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Glee Cast: Don't Stop Believin'

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

January 19, 2010

George Washington (the Athenaeum portrait), 1796


Gilbert Stuart, 1755-1828.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM

Beyoncé: Halo

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

January 18, 2010

O'Neill Cylinder, 1976


Don Davis, 1952-.

For NASA. The High Frontier. Larger.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

When all else fails

Just why is Haiti in such a dire situation, so much worse than any other country in the Americas? Some blame God. Some blame the Devil. Some blame the Americans. Some blame globalization. Some even blame the Goddess of Warmening. Many blame some combination of the above. And here was I blaming, oh, let's see, Haitians when I of all people should have known better.

Blame the French! But of course.

After a dramatic slave uprising that shook the western world, and 12 years of war, Haiti finally defeated Napoleon’s forces in 1804 and declared independence. But France demanded reparations: 150m francs, in gold.

For Haiti, this debt did not signify the beginning of freedom, but the end of hope. Even after it was reduced to 60m francs in the 1830s, it was still far more than the war-ravaged country could afford. Haiti was the only country in which the ex-slaves themselves were expected to pay a foreign government for their liberty. By 1900, it was spending 80% of its national budget on repayments. In order to manage the original reparations, further loans were taken out — mostly from the United States, Germany and France. Instead of developing its potential, this deformed state produced a parade of nefarious leaders, most of whom gave up the insurmountable task of trying to fix the country and looted it instead. In 1947, Haiti finally paid off the original reparations, plus interest. Doing so left it destitute, corrupt, disastrously lacking in investment and politically volatile. Haiti was trapped in a downward spiral, from which it is still impossible to escape. It remains hopelessly in debt to this day.

Not that I am entirely sympathetic to the argument; the article goes on to point out half of Haiti's current debt is down to the Duvalier's. But the case is clearly made with all the best intentions.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Slavoj Žižek in Examined Life

At a certain level of your most alimentary experience... handy to think with.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Tangerine Dream: Bath Tube Session

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

January 17, 2010

Pieta, 1876


William-Adolphe Bouguereau
, 1825-1905.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

Alexandre Désilets: L'éphémère

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM

January 16, 2010

The Flatiron, 1905


Edward Steichen, 1879-1973

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM

Voodoo economics

Remind me again: How much help Haiti offered to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? After 9/11?

There are reasons these people cannot - will not - help themsleves and these have precious little to do with an earthquake. Worse yet, there are reasons these people cannot - will not - help themsleves in future. For one thing, our help is not helping.

It's easy to blame poverty for the magnitude of the devastation in Haiti this week, but poverty is the result of poor governance. The island of Hispaniola provides a useful comparative laboratory in this regard, like the Korean Peninsula or the two Germanys during the Cold War. Haiti is on the western side of the island, and the eastern two-thirds make up the Dominican Republic, a functioning democracy with a relatively strong economy. The 2008 per capita income in the Dominican Republic was $8,200, making it 119th in the world. In Haiti, income was $1,300, ranking 203rd, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Satellite images of the island clearly show the divide between the two countries because of deforestation and a lackluster agricultural sector on the Haitian side.

There is nothing compassionate about ensuring a people live in penury forever, for all they seem willing to endure such compassion indefinitely.

On point: Assuming this Time Magazine report is accurate, Haitians are responding to crisis with their usual unique aplomb. Let's send them 100 millions dollars!

Angry Haitians set up roadblocks with corpses in Port-au-Prince to protest at the delay in emergency aid reaching them after a devastating earthquake, an eyewitness said. Shaul Schwarz, a photographer for TIME magazine, said he saw at least two downtown roadblocks formed with bodies of earthquake victims and rocks.

"They are starting to block the roads with bodies, it's getting ugly out there, people are fed up with getting no help," he told Reuters.

Aside from a complete lack of elementary building codes, emergency planning and the rule of law, you know what is slowing down emergency aid? Road blocks made of corpses.

On a related note, Time Magazine is racist.

A voluntary organization for every 800 residents: Theodore Dalrymple on Haitian poverty, a matter of deep ideological contention.

That Haiti was a slow-moving disaster even before the earthquake was visible—obvious, in fact—from a height of 35,000 feet. When you flew from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince, the border was as clearly visible as on any map, a straight line drawn on the earth’s surface: on the Dominican side, verdant, on the Haitian side, brown, bare as a desert.
A Nigerian journalist once said of his country, “No known system of government works in Nigeria.” This is even truer of Haiti. It’s often claimed that Haiti’s desperate situation is the consequence of outside interference—principally American, of course—plus recurrent, often bizarre, dictatorship. But Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, has suffered similar disadvantages; yet it prospers.
Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM | Comments (2)

Top 10 Places You Can’t Go

My favourite place I can't go from a top 10 list of places you can't go is the one I had never heard of, is Club 33, "officially maintained as a secret feature" of Disneyland.

Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at “33 Royal Street” with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it. Fees for joining range from 10 – 30 thousand US dollars and membership comes with a car park. If you want to join the club, you have to go to the end of the fourteen year waiting list.

According to Wikipedia, the waiting list closed to new enquiries in 2007.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM | Comments (1)

U.S. to trade gold reserves through Cash4Gold.com

Watch this space. It took several long seconds before I worked out where this link went, just wait until you hear their Craigslist plan.

U.S. To Trade Gold Reserves For Cash Through Cash4Gold.com

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Pixies: Hey

Hat tip to Ben.

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

January 15, 2010

Bharat Mata, 1905


Abanindranath Tagore, 1871-1951.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

The Ideological War Within the West

An excerpt from John Fonte on an alternative ideology to liberal democracy that has taken to extra-constitutional lawfare to achieve its ends (via Gates of Vienna).

Thus, it is entirely possible that modernity—thirty or forty years hence—will witness not the final triumph of liberal democracy, but the emergence of a new transnational hybrid regime that is post-liberal democratic, and in the American context, post-Constitutional and post-American. This alternative ideology, “transnational progressivism,” constitutes a universal and modern worldview that challenges both the liberal democratic nation-state in general and the American regime in particular…

The excerpt is too good to excerpt, RTWT.

Unrelated: But also via Gates of Vienna; laminated linen armour protected Alexander the Great.

A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research.

Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander (356–323 B.C.) and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.

I am looking forward to a Dragon Age: Origins update along these lines.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

Thank God for Andy Choudary

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Titus Awakes

A new Gormenghast novel based on notes left by Mervyn Peake was written by Maeve Gilmore shortly after her husband's death from Parkinson's Disease in 1968 and discovered only now having been lost to the attic (a Gormenghast plot in itself; spoiler warning on the following).

The existence of her manuscript, handwritten in brown ink in four exercise books, remained unknown until Sebastian Peake's daughter Christian discovered them in the attic of her south London home.

Mr Peake said: "I was mesmerised."

Maeve Gilmore concluded the story with Titus making his home on an island, which Mr Peake interpreted as Sark in the Channel Islands, where the young family had lived in the 1940s. "It was where the family was at its happiest," he said.

"Titus metamorphosis’s into Mervyn Peake and comes home to where he wants to be," he explained.


Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Lady Gaga: Paparazzi

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Lady Gaga talks about her new role as Creative Director at Polaroid

The Flea: For all your secular music programming needs.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

January 14, 2010

Battle on Santo Domingo, c 1875


January Suchodolski, 1797-1875.

Larger image.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

Les Fantaisistes de Carrefour: Rêve Bleu

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

January 13, 2010

Nose Dive on the City, 1939


Tullio Crali, 1910-2000.

Posted by the Flea at 07:38 AM | Comments (1)

Inappropriate Behaviour with Sentimental Toys

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Fever Ray: When I grow up

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

January 12, 2010

St. Ambrose with Saints, c. 1514


Ambrogio Bergognone, 1470s-1523/1524.

Posted by the Flea at 07:29 AM

Vegetating in fibres of blood

The discovery of lost works by William Blake is the sort of thing that forces a less fortunate book collector to break out in hives; a not entirely pleasant experience I can assure you.

In among a box of second-hand books bought from a North London dealer in the late 1970s was a thick international railway timetable.

So boring did this tome appear to be that the seller apparently missed the eight small etchings hidden between the pages — a mistake that, in effect, handed the buyer a small fortune when they were identified three years ago as unique works by the visionary artist and writer William Blake.

Tate galleries have now bought these brilliantly executed and disturbing pictures for £441,000 and will exhibit them at Tate Britain in July.

They are not the sort of images that are likely to be ignored again. In one a naked man screams in horror as flames rage around him. In another a figure with long hair bends over a glowing red pool. Blake’s caption reads: “vegetating in fibres of blood”.

That's the stuff.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Optimistic about the impending apocalypse

The Dutch believe the end is nigh.

They are quite right, of course.

Thousands of people in the Netherlands are preparing themselves for the end of the world in 2012, collecting emergency life supplies. Radio Netherlands reported on Monday that most people are taking precautions to face the apocalypse as predicted by the Mayan calendar. According to the Dutch-language De Volkskrant newspaper, supporters of the end of the world theory are even preparing life rafts and emergency supplies.

Some interviewed by the newspaper were optimistic about the impending apocalypse, UPI reported.

"You know, maybe it's really not that bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed," Petra Faile said. "I don't like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse."

Too good to excerpt, I stole the whole article. To hell with Iranian IP.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Pogo: Skynet Symphonic

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

January 11, 2010

Isle of white, 2010


NASA Terra. "Isle of white".

Posted by the Flea at 06:49 AM

Flea demands Persian Wars reparations from Iran

The West suffered immensely after it was invaded by the Persian Empire during the Persian Wars and deserves reparations, Canadian blogger Ghost of a flea said in a post this morning.

The hard line Canadian blogger has ordered the formation of a team to study the damages Western civilization suffered from the 498 BC Persian invasion in order to demand compensation.

"You inflicted lots of damages to the West, put your weight on the shoulders [of European people] and became victors in Asia Minor. You didn't even share the war profits with the West," Flea said. "If I say today that we will take full compensation ... know that we will stand to the end and will take it."

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM | Comments (2)

Surface to air

Using Jane's Land Based Air Defence as a reference and Google Earth as a guide, IMINT & Analysis offers Syrian Strategic SAM Deployment and Iranian Strategic SAM Deployment for your consideration. Not that any Flea-readers are likely to dare an attempt on either polity's airspace in the near future but it is a testament to what is possible in our peculiar digital age.

The following may be the money quote; it is good news.

On the surface, Iran's ground-based air defense picture appears to be relatively robust thanks to the presence and reach of the seven S-200 batteries. However, a closer analysis reveals an overall coverage which is currently full of holes and vulnerabilities that a potential aggressor could exploit.
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

A Camp: Song for the leftovers

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

January 09, 2010

The Siege of Acre. The Hospitalier Master Mathieu de Clermont defending the walls in 1291, c. 1840


Dominique-Louis Papéty, 1815-1849.

Posted by the Flea at 07:49 AM

Ancient Warriors - The Knights Templar

"Seventy years before, the Templars - this Scourge of God - was only eight men strong..."

Just saying.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM


Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

Sorab Wadia: I wanna be like Osama

You will cheer at about 1:20.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

January 08, 2010

Portrait of a Knight of Malta, Fra Antonio Martelli, 1607-8


Caravaggio, 1571-1610.

The identity of Caravaggio's Knight of Malta.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Adversus Haereses

Jon Stewart speaks truth to the Heresiarch George Lucas: "My son's favourite movie is The Phantom Menace and I explain to him, no it's not. Your favourite movie is A New Hope."

* In case that link does not work for Americans; web broadcast of the show appears to be restricted to different national markets.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | Comments (1)

Festival of One Thousand Welsh Male Voices: Cwm Rhondda

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

January 07, 2010

Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, 1630


Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Lady Gaga: Kaboom

The Fred Phelps family covering Lady Gaga's Poker Face is news, I admit, if only because the original is so catchy I was singing along to the revised lyrics... "God hates you!" (more Phelps/Gaga after the jump).

@LadyGaga "Poker Face" parody by WBC is done! Lyrics: http://tiny.cc/LGL2 Music: sound bite

But I think the real news is to be found in the lyrics to Lady Gaga's aptly named "Kaboom"; expect human rights fatwa service presently.

Dont make me lean on em
baby boy whats up
dynamite sh*t go Boom in the club,
baby boy get on
oooooh, alahh halahh alahhh

Westboro Baptist continued: I recognize our American cousins to the south will not find this amusing.

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM

Unprecedented Talent and Unthinkable Challenges

One week to go and it is back to New York for Project Runway Season 7. Regular Flea-readers will not be surprised to learn Lifetime gives me nothing for plugging this stuff.

The Lifetime show has already created buzz by announcing to Access Hollywood that Nicole Richie, just four months removed from giving birth to her second child, would serve as the first celebrity guest judge - joining host Heidi Klum, style expert Tim Gunn, and regular judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia.

"Project Runway" season 7 premieres January 14th on Lifetime.
Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM

January 06, 2010

Baroness James, and her killer instinct

PD James talks to BBC director general Mark Thompson on the Today Programme. Enjoy.

Murder takes many forms, and despite having served up most of them, P D James, our 89-year-old grande dame of crime writing, is always looking for new ideas. Last week she delivered death by interview, and her victim was Mark Thompson, the BBC's £834,000-a-year director general.

“It seems so extraordinary,” tutted the old lady as she slipped the DG a deadly question about the high salaries paid to the corporation’s executives.

Even on the radio, you could see Thompson turning pale. “Well, we, we, the, the, it,” he spluttered, “…the private broadcasters, as you know, are, um, ITV, er, Channel 4….” Gasping for life, he claimed that Lord Reith would be proud of today’s Beeb, and was then stretchered from the studio, leaving Baroness James – just the tiniest note of satisfaction in her voice – to dismember her next guest, Justice Minister Jack Straw.

Hat tip to the SIster of the Flea.

Posted by the Flea at 01:31 PM

Fall of the Rebel Angels, c. 1528


Domenico di Pace Beccafumi, 1486-1551.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Omar Anoke: Its a good day to die

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

January 05, 2010

God the Father in Glory with St. Mary Magdalene and St. Catherine of Siena, 1509


Fra Bartolommeo di Pagholo, 1472-1517.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Ours is still the most '70s

I only link to this story about the opening of the Burj Dubai* as it includes an height comparison with the CN Tower, most often neglected in related reportage.

* Soon to be the Smoking Crater Dubai, if recent events are any indication.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1)

For people of the 21st-century

Julia Fischer on the strangely gripping world of Bach concertos.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

Led Zeppelin: Achilles Last Stand

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

January 04, 2010

Beetle Helm, 1976


Ian Miller, 1946-.


Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

The Snows of Madness

Fenris Badwulf wrote this. Emphasis added. Warmening commentary at the link.

My younger relatives, what would be classified as 'youth' by the activists, are healthy, normal, well-adjusted. That is to say, they are racists, born racists by virtue of their skin. Judging people based on their skin is racism, the activists say, and the activists judge that white skins are all bad people, unless they pay taxes to keep activists in jobs. But my younger relatives do not realize this yet. They want to have jobs when they grow up, so they do not rub shoulders with social parasites. Without exposure to tapeworm-Canadians, they are unaware of how important it is for them to feel bad about themselves and to hand over their money to people to spend it for them. Instead, I, as honored uncle (the other two being in prison this particular Holiday), raised their consciousness by introducing them to Eastern European war movies this Holiday. I care.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine

About. Operation Coffee Cup.

From the 1961 Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Socialized Medicine as proposed by the Democrats, then a private citizen Ronald Reagan Speaks out against socialized medicine. There is no video because this was an LP sent out by the American Medical Association.
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony

Margaret Thatcher: The Downing Street Years. No humbug, the unvarnished truth.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


"She thought all men feeble and gentlemen more feeble than most." Classic. She was right about upper middle class intellectuals too; seeing everyone's point of view and having no point of view of their own. God, this is like taking a warm bath. Far, far too much to quote. Budget two hours or so and watch the whole thing. England was still England not so very long ago.

If you do not have time to spare for the whole thing, spare thirty seconds starting at 0:50 of Episode 3. "They are a weak lot some of them in Europe you know..."

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)

Mediæval Bæbes: Adam Lay Ibounden (live)

Hat tip to Ben.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

January 03, 2010

The Toilet of Esther, 1841


Théodore Chassériau, 1819-1856.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

Old UK Photos

Featuring old photos of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the British Isles. I have only started poking around but there are a few treasures; I am particularly curious about places where Flea-ish relations once dwelt.

The majority of the photographs are dating from the 1890's and 1900's. Most topographical photographs in those days were taken by photographers working for postcard companies, so many of these images are scanned from old postcards. We have old photos of the smallest villages, and we have old photos of the great cities like Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. There is something for everyone.
Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

More her style than karate

Some ideas never get old. Take Margaret Thatcher's first few months in power as an inspiration.

During Margaret Thatcher’s first months in power she clashed with ministers, cold-shouldered civil servants and declined an offer of 20 “karate ladies” to guard her at an international summit, secret government papers reveal today.

One of her first moves on taking office in May was to start cutting Civil Service jobs. The Government machine needed cutting by at least 5 per cent, she insisted, but ideally closer to 20 per cent.

The United Kingdom is a Parliamentary dictatorship as a matter of fact, if not quite as a matter of law. All that is required is for the people of the United Kingdom to elect parliamentarians capable of making the right decisions and carrying them out. Nothing is irreversible. Nothing is lost unless we decide it is.

Which is the saddest part of the story, actually.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Land of the Gurkhas

Filmed by Christoph von Furer-Haimdendorf and narrated by David Attenborough. Broadcast by the BBC in the 1960's. The film is part of a large archive of footage shot by Haimendorf in the Himalayas and is put up with his permission.
Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

I'm in space, I'm looking for the chosen place

According to her publisher, Nina Hagen has written an autobiography and it is not at all what I would have expected.

"Nina tells how she, at an early age in an atheist environment, came upon a forbidden but fascinating being named God. She takes the reader with her on a wild road movie in which she has demonic experiences in an Indian ashram.

"On the way, she looked love, drugs and death in the eye. But above all, she encountered God."

The book is to be released in March. Hagen told Thursday's Bild newspaper that she had been baptised in August and that she wanted to share with readers the joy of finding Jesus. "The baptism saved my life," she said. "I was in a bad way before that."
Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM

Nina Hagen: Universal Radio

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM


TTC spokesman Brad Ross, who somehow manages to sleep at night, said the TTC hopes riders do not take out their frustration with today's fare incrased on frontline workers.

Brad Ross can go to hell. My comment to The Sun.

We shouldn't complain to operators about a fare increase? The same operators who walked out in a wildcat strike leaving tens of thousands stranded downtown? The same operators who leveraged their strike into wages and benefits the rest of us now have to pay for?

I don't think so.

Don't get me started on Toronto's sanitation workers, another group who blackmailed the city at the risk of its citizens, another group who should be fired en masse.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

January 02, 2010

Hillary, 2008


Tony Puryear, 1957-.


Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Princess Leia Bikini Contest

I hope Flea-readers will forgive me for these every so slightly out of date Olivia Munn Slave Leia bikini competition interviews.

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

Kylie Minogue: Speakerphone (Toronto - October 9, 2009)

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

January 01, 2010

Un Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche, 1912


Walter Crane, 1845-1915.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

Pew v pulpit

As with almost every institution of the West, the elite skews left.

According to the poll conducted by Zogby International -- a research group that has been tracking public opinion since 1984 in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe -- many church members strongly disagree with their leaders' contention that more immigrant workers need to be allowed back into the United States.

The survey also showed that most parishioners advocated for more enforcement to cause illegal workers to return home while the majority of religious leaders were calling for illegal immigrants to be put on the path to U.S. citizenship.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

You laugh, you lose

Much to the annoyance of received wisdom in Europe, Akmail Shaikh was executed in China. He hoped for a career in music.

Akmal Shaikh is British and bipolar. He wanted to celebrate world peace with a song on rabbits. He faces imminent execution in China instead. Please listen to his song and his story.

This is what keeps progressives awake at night.

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)

Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tears

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM