October 31, 2012

Mesa need some thinking time to respond to dissa news

George Lucas has sold LucasFilms - and the Star Wars franchise - to Disney for four billion dollars. Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger discusses the deal (video at the link).

Three issues for the panicked fanboys to consider:

First, Lucas raped our childhoods a long time ago. It is difficult to imagine what Disney could do to the franchise they haven't already done (viz the video below).

Second, Disney has done a good job with its Marvel film adaptations. The choice of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark may be the single most inspired casting decision ever.

Third, and I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but Disney is in this for the money, not for George Lucas' herpes and fail artistic vision. They should realize there is an enormous market for a remastered - but unedited - BluRay release of the original Star Wars trilogy.

With luck we might even get the Holiday Special as a special feature.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

The Asgarda

Girls and women from across Ukraine meet to study history, life skills and an ancient Cossack martial art, Bojovyj Hopak (YouTube link), wielding scythes, pickaxes and Japanese chained nunchucks.

A former PE teacher, Tarnouska is a formidable presence – handsome Slavic bone structure and wheatish skin accented by a tattooed bicep bearing the insignia of the Ukrainian National Movement (a centuries-old resistance movement to Ukraine's many occupiers). Yet her 200 followers clearly dote on her rousing brand of girl power. Between issuing imperious orders she told me that her charges were heirs to the Amazons: the proud warrior women first celebrated by the Ancient Greeks, said to have hailed from Scythia, to the east of modern-day Ukraine.

The article is a couple years old but I expect you will forgive me for drawing your attention to it. We need more women like this.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Peter Murphy - Cuts You Up

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 30, 2012

Rescue of HMS Bounty during Hurricane Sandy

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

Nuking a hurricane would be ineffective, sadly

"A fully developed hurricane releases 50 or more terawatts of heat energy at any given moment, only about 1 percent of which is converted into wind. The heat release, Landsea wrote, "is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes."  The entire human race in 2011 used about a third of the energy present in an average hurricane."

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM

The last of us

Called "Zombie Apocalypse," the exercise follows the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's campaign launched last year that urged Americans to get ready for a zombie apocalypse, as part of a catchy, public health message about the importance of emergency preparedness.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

"Hrafngaldr Ódins" - The Raven Charm of Odin

A forgotten Edda poem.

"In 1867, the Norwegian authority on Old Norse literature, Sophus Bugge, dismissed the Raven Charm of Odin as a hoax and decided that it should never again be published as a part of the Poetic Edda. He based his decision on his belief that the Edda poems were representative of simple folklore, a category into which the Raven Charm did not fit. Also, he confessed, as many before him, that it was impossible to decipher this poem.

"All the Edda poems are metaphorical and allusive, giving away just a tip of an enormous narrative iceberg. But at least it is usually possible to recognize a narrative, and thanks to Snorri Sturlusson, who in 1225 wrote an explanation of the metaphors known as The Prose Edda, most of the Edda poems may be understood. Not so with the Raven Charm, and Snorri never even mentioned this poem.

"However, I believe that Snorri consciously left out of his explanation poems and parts of poems that were simply too seething with paganism to be acceptable in his time..."

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

October 29, 2012

Kellogg's presents Tom Corbett Space Cadet

Featuring Kellogg's Variety and Kellogg's Raisin Bran.

For example: Tom Corbett Space Cadet Fight for Survival - Season 4, Episode 25 (June 6, 1955)

Posted by the Flea at 05:58 AM

Space Patrol - The Evil Eye of Venus (Part 1)

Posted by the Flea at 05:57 AM

Cosmic Jokers - Galactic Joke

Posted by the Flea at 05:52 AM

October 27, 2012

Culture is our mineral wealth

Music is our petrol.

The pickup halted in Kidal, the far-flung Malian desert town that is home to members of the Grammy award-winning band Tinariwen. Seven AK47-toting militiamen got out and marched to the family home of a local musician. He wasn't home, but the message delivered to his sister was chilling: "If you speak to him, tell him that if he ever shows his face in this town again, we'll cut off all the fingers he uses to play his guitar with."

The gang then removed guitars, amplifiers, speakers, microphones and a drum kit from the house, doused them with petrol, and set them ablaze. In northern Mali, religious war has been declared on music.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Glittering Images

Whatever my reservations about her reception of the Star Wars "prequels", Camille Paglia is still a machine gun (hat tip to Mr. Percifield).

Welcome to the inaugural Acculturated-Ricochet podcast on pop-culture! In our debut show, Ben Domenech and I interview art historian and literary critic Camille Paglia about her new book Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars, which hits a bookstand near you on October 16.
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

To bully or intimidate

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatically valid sentence in the English language.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

October 26, 2012

K'utz Chman

One of the oldest Mayan tombs ever discovered has been unearthed at Retalhuleu, a temple site in what is now western Guatemala. Archeologists have named the occupant K'utz Chman, "Grandfather Vulture" in Mayan, after a vulture-headed figure found at the site.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

In the land of Shinar

A Twitter map of London represents the linguistic diversity of England's erstwhile capital city (now, amongst other things, the capital of Free France)..

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM


The Spraytect Self-Defense iPhone Case adds pepper spray functionality to your iPhone 4/4s. Now word yet on an iPhone 5 version.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Caravan Palace - Suzy

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 25, 2012


An experiment in virtual reality uses video game to treat pain.

A video game may sound silly, but this particular game, SnowWorld, is a groundbreaking experiment in virtual reality. In SnowWorld, Brown could concentrate on throwing snowballs at penguins and mastodons to the music of Paul Simon, instead of focusing on the painful wound care happening at the same time.

Dr. Maani explained that SnowWorld uses the age old trick of distraction.
Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

Today I learned

There is an evil-looking, weird sculpture of "Jesus rising out of a nuclear explosion with the souls of the dead" in the Papal Audience Hall in the Vatican.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

Alternative energy

India is building a thorium reactor.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Sam and the Womp - Bom Bom

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

October 24, 2012

Cult of Mac

"Apple's emphasis on its icon and the company's policy of not live-streaming its launch events are just a couple ways that Apple product launches resemble religious revival meetings, according to one anthropologist."

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM

From Westeros to Qarth

Official maps of George R.R. Martin's world of ice and fire.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Kito & Reija Lee - Sweet Talk

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM

October 23, 2012

Russell Means, R.I.P.

As an undergraduate in art history, I met Russell Means on his visit to The Spirit Sings, a controversial exhibit of Native Canadian arts staged in conjunction with the Calgary Olympics. He addressed the controversy, naturally, but it was an observation about the settlement of the West which stuck with me.

American Indian identity had persisted in the United States, he argued, and had had an earlier and stronger resurgence, because warfare had underlined the importance of that identity. Canada's relatively peaceful* conquest, by contrast, was not the accomplishment it is commonly made out to be. Instead of gold prospectors and railroad barons, it was the Hudson's Bay Company and North-West Mounted Police (later the RCMP). In Canada, peace, order and good government arrived before European settlement, like "a great grey sludge rolling west across the Prairie."

* Pace the Metis, who fought.

Posted by the Flea at 11:48 AM

The greatest critic of the last 30 years

Comprehensively jumps the shark. Camille Paglia on George Lucas. I can barely copy and paste these words.

It was never my intention to include George Lucas in Glittering Images. I had planned to end the book on some strong examples of contemporary art. But I couldn’t find any! Everything seemed derivative, reminding me of ten other prior works over the past 200 years. As I was channel surfing during the five years of writing the book, I kept stumbling on the Star Wars films being shown on cable TV. Slowly, step by step, I fell under the spell of the long finale of Revenge of the Sith (2005), which was the last film Lucas directed in the series. It is absolutely spectacular — combining apocalyptic nature with a devastation of industry and the destruction of politics, all interwoven with a passionate light-saber duel (filmed in Australia) and climaxing with a tortured parallel birth and death. Nothing even remotely as powerful has been produced by any of the fine arts — including literature — in the past 30 years.

No. Just no.

Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM

Too clever by half

"In linguistics or usage, hypercorrection is a non-standard usage that results from the over-application of a perceived rule of grammar or a usage prescription. A speaker or writer who produces a hypercorrection generally believes that the form is correct through misunderstanding of these rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated."

Posted by the Flea at 11:44 AM

Cheryl Lynn - Got To Be Real

Posted by the Flea at 11:42 AM

October 22, 2012

Yuri Gagarin on BBC TV, July 11 1961

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM


The abandoned city at the end of the world.

Tangentially related: The first beauty contest in the Soviet Union (НСФВ).

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Unlock the 007 in you. You have 70 seconds!

Sadly, you also had to be the sort of plonker who drinks Coke Zero.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Iryna Bilyk - Snow

Pretty sure this one is hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

October 20, 2012

I've Got A Secret - Samuel J. Seymour (1956)

"A 96-year-old Samuel J. Seymour appeared on the TV game show I've Got A Secret in 1956 with a doozy of a secret. At age five, he witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and still managed to stay away from cigarettes"

Posted by the Flea at 10:58 AM

The Iron Price

"The family of a war hero only discovered the full weight of his bravery after his death when his cremation left behind a huge pile of shrapnel."

(Hat tip to Mr. Brooks)

Posted by the Flea at 10:57 AM


Jo Teeuwisse has superimposed today's streets with those depicted in three hundred World War II photographs she found at a flea market and Amsterdam.

Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM

Letomi - Sansa's Hymn

Gentle Mother, font of mercy,
Save our sons from war, we pray.
Stay the swords and stay the arrows,
Let them know a better day.
Gentle Mother, strength of women,
Help our daughters through this fray.
Soothe the wrath and tame the fury,
Teach us all a kinder way.
Gentle Mother, font of mercy,
Save our sons from war, we pray.
Stay the swords and stay the arrows,
Let them know a better day.

Posted by the Flea at 10:52 AM

October 19, 2012

Sword Fighting As It Was For the Vikings

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Vyborg Shipyard Hull No 101

"Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System."

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Fortification information

One of the aims of the Fortification Study Group is to assist those seeking to understand more about fortification in general or help with particular questions (via Bldg Blog).

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Hear Us Roar

Tywin Lannister places twelfth in this year's Forbes Fictional 15 list of wealthiest characters. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark also feature while Smaug the Magnificent takes the top spot.

For the fan who has everything: This wall mounted White Walker.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Aram Khachaturian - Gayane Ballet Suite (Adagio)

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 18, 2012

Plaque of the Sun

I have no word in my vocabulary for a crime of this magnitude.

Stone carvings in Morocco's High Atlas mountains dating back more than 8,000 years and depicting the sun as a pagan divinity have been destroyed by Salafists, a local rights group said on Wednesday.
Posted by the Flea at 07:29 AM

House Targaryen

Their family tree.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Laura sings the "Diva Dance" from the Fifth Element

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

October 17, 2012

Night and the city

Chris Donlan plays through L.A. Noire with his dad, who grew up in the city in the 1940s.

In the publicity pictures, the Richfield Tower looks like a cross between Liberace's refrigerator and an over-engineered art deco tombstone, in fact. It was torn down in 1969, and my dad hadn't seen it since 1961 when he left L.A. to become a priest. I wasn't expecting to see it in the game, because I'd never heard anyone but him ever talking about it. I told dad we'd look for it, but I wasn't optimistic.

I'll never forget the moment we found it. Dad could just about remember the cross-streets - 6th and Flower - and I had a little trouble fiddling round in the game's map to set a waypoint. Then we were off. On the drive, dad kept up a low-level muttering trail of recollections and fiercely specific critiques: the lamps on this bridge were right, but the large dumpsters in alleyways weren't like anything he remembered seeing; a gas station's Coke machine was just perfect, but little skirtings of exposed brickwork around the low walls of vacant lots 'didn't seem very Californian'; this was meant to be 1947? Why was that a 1950 Chevy, then? When we finally turned onto 6th, though, he suddenly stopped talking.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM


A "novice treasure hunter" turns up £100k of Roman gold coins in the woods near St Albans, Hertfordshire. I have dreams about this sort of thing.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Cobra effect

The cobra effect is where a solution for solving a problem could actually make it worse.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Daft Punk - End of Line

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

October 16, 2012

Bryant Oden - The Duck Song

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Also, why we call them "connections"

Walter Russell Mead on the lasting consequences of the Battle of Hastings (via AoSHQ).

An ear for the difference between Saxon and Norman-French based words remains important even in popular literature. In the Harry Potter books, the good characters often have trustworthy Saxon or Celtic surnames (Weasley, Dumbledore) while you can tell the bad guys by their evil French names like Malfoy (bad faith) and Voldemort (flight of death). "Muggles" is about as Anglo-Saxon as an invented word can get, and to English ears it sounds like a word that ought to exist even if you have never heard it before.

This is one of the few serious rhetorical missteps of George R.R. Martin's Ice and Fire stories; thanks to the English exporting their revolution to America, he doesn't have the ear for these all too persistent markers of class and privilege.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM


Speaking as a slick, dandified cate eater, I resemble this remark.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Deadmau5 - Strobe

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 15, 2012

Joseph Smith's White Horse Prophecy

Because we are going to be hearing enough about it this month. Fair warning: Much less interesting than it sounds.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM


The Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid is designed to fight fires aboard warships. It will presumably also be most proficient at setting them.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Game of Thrones Season 3

The cast.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Lake Street Dive - I Want You Back

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

October 13, 2012

Multiplication in Japan

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM


In a former life consulting for the UK Department of the Environment, the timber people would talk about wood frame high rise construction. It looks like they have decided to go for it.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

Fair play

"Swiss photographer Sabine Liewald has filed a lawsuit against Apple for using her Eye Closeup photograph to promote the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s Retina Display."

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Edith Piaf - La Java de Cezigue

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

October 12, 2012

The Curia of Pompey

Archaeologists believe they have found the first physical evidence of the spot where Julius Caesar was murdered.

Posted by the Flea at 09:32 AM


The Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts is hosting an exhibition of study photographs used by the artist to create some of his best known works.

Posted by the Flea at 09:26 AM

Commodore VIC-20

The wonder computer of the 1980s.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones - Sunny (Live 1970)

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

October 11, 2012

Choice, even in small matters, gives meaning to life

In 1989, Theodore Dalrymple visited Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 (via AoSHQ).

It didn't take long to discover that this was no ordinary department store. It was filled with thousands of people, going up and down the escalators, standing at the corners, going in and out of the front entrance in a constant stream both ways - yet nothing was being bought or sold. I checked this by standing at the entrance for half an hour. The people coming out were carrying no more than the people entering.

And then: The Third Commodity Exhibition at Department Store No. 1.

And then: Shopping at the paradise store, where the customer is always wrong.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

HBO decided to split the third book into two separate seasons

"More or less the third season will talk about the first half of the third book and the fourth season will be about the other half and perhaps will also appear the first chapters of Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons, because its action will be told chronologically."

(Spoilers from beginning to end.)

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Spring of the leaf

And fall of the leaf.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

This is how I work

I'm Felicia Day.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Petra Marklund - Händerna mot himlen

Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

October 10, 2012

Caribbean Fashion Week

Vice Magazine asks why the dancehall girls of Kingston, Jamaica "cause the local men so many problems" and explores an "illegal and dangerous" skin bleaching trend. Questions best posed by a tall, slender bottle blonde British model with plunked eyebrows and a public school accent.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Since I don't smoke, I decided to grow a moustache

Arab politicians head to Turkey for moustache implants, so manly.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM


The Great Wall of India.

Long overshadowed by its lengthier neighbor to the east, this is the second largest continuous wall on the planet. ... In its entirety the wall extends for 36 kilometers and is, simply put, massive.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Mary J. Blige - Just Fine

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

October 09, 2012

The Maple Trail - Cable Mountain Warning, Part One

Cable Mount Warning, Part One from The Maple Trail on Vimeo.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

Provide ship or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes

And there will be some who will not fear even that void.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM

Risk society

“Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities."

Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

Posted by the Flea at 06:01 AM

October 08, 2012


The weak link in the great chain of socialism (hat tip to Rick McGinnis).

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

A step by step guide

How to steal the space shuttle.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Breweries of Europe

A handy infographic.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Qugas - Equilibrium

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 06, 2012

A Very European Break Up

Posted by the Flea at 11:28 AM

Apple et Samsung triumphans

Sony, Panasonic and Sharp - and, by extension, Japan - facing difficulties.

The companies still have famous brand names, and tech analysts say they still produce some of the world’s highest-quality hardware devices. But they face a fundamental problem: It’s been years since they’ve turned out products that people feel they need to have.
Posted by the Flea at 11:27 AM

Sadly, no chocolate almond flavour

"Beekeepers in north eastern France have been scratching their heads after the hives began to produce a weird colored substance instead of regular honey. They think candy M&Ms are to blame."

Posted by the Flea at 11:24 AM

Jolin Tsai - Black Haired Beautiful Girl

Posted by the Flea at 11:22 AM

October 05, 2012


Anabasis (Ἀνάβασις – Greek for "going up") is the most famous work, in seven books, of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and "one of the great adventures in human history."

Themes from the Anabasis were used in Sol Yurick's novel The Warriors, which was later adapted into a 1979 cult movie of the same name, and finally a Rockstar Games video game in 2005.

Can you dig it?

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM


"Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the angular diameter of the full moon."

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

Adele - Skyfall

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

October 04, 2012

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies

George R. R. Martin tried to talk HBO out of adapting A Game of Thrones for television..

“It’s too big. It’s too complicated. It’s too expensive,” he told the show’s prospective producers, according to “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones,” a new, $40 companion book published last week.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Book fetish

Book Riot offers a round up of book themed gifts. Loving the literature tights.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM


The art of cat arrangement.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Uner - Cocoua (Original Mix)

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

October 03, 2012

Systems, not Sith

How inter-service rivalries doomed the Galactic Empire.

In Star Wars, the Empire is presented as a monolith. Storm Troopers, TIE Fighters and even Star Destroyers are supposedly just indistinguishable cogs in a massive military machine, single-mindedly pursuing a common goal. This is, of course, a façade – like all humans, the soldiers and Officers of the Imperial Military will each have their own interests and loyalties.
Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

The whole is pervaded by the scent of turpentine

The Milky Way is dwarfed by its massive hot gas halo.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM


"Propria hominum nomina in quattuor species dividuntur: praenomen, nomen, cognomen, agnomen."

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

STS9 - Golden Gate

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

October 02, 2012

Taylor Mali - Like, you know

Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM

Low fantasy

If George R.R. Martin wrote Disney movies.

All the spinning wheels in the kingdom are burned, which causes massive social and economic upheaval. Laborers form unions and protest that the king’s edict has taken their livelihood and driven them to drink and debt.
Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM

The pig of unending bacon

Rejoice! We may soon have vat grown bacon and an end to bacon shortages.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM

Ex Deo - I, Caligvla

NSFW (metal, cheeze)

Posted by the Flea at 10:22 AM

October 01, 2012

El Guincho - Bombay

NSFW (breasts, gratuitous, Espagnol)

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

Jaime Lannister vs Cthulhu

By George R.R. Martin.

It hurtses news: I can live with it if we get to hear Seth MacFarlane say "khaleesi."

The "Family Guy" creator, 38, has been spotted on a number of dates with 24-year-old "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke. Clake, who plays the very blonde Daenerys "Dany" Targaryen on the show, was seen hugging MacFarlane around the waist after a lunch date yesterday in L.A.  -- and the couple was even seen smooching inside his car.
Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM

Don't you ever stop being dandy

The Fantastic Adventures of Adam Ant, 1981.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM