Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jean-Paul Sartre's visit to Andreas Baader

November 1974, Stuttgart - Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (center) interviews Andreas Baader in Stammheim Prison at Ulrike Meinhof's request. On the left is Baader-Meinhof lawyer Klaus Croissant, and on the right is Sartre's driver in Stuttgart, Hans Joachim Klein, who later goes underground after joining in terrorist actions with "Carlos the Jackal."

Baader-Meinhof.com: Timeline 1974

"We then spoke of his life in prison. I asked him why he was on a hunger strike. He answered that he was doing it in protest against the conditions of his incarceration.

As we now know, there are a certain number of cells in the prison I went to, but these also exist in other German prisons. They are separated from the other cells; they are painted white and the electricity works until 11:00 pm, and sometimes 24 hours out of 24.

And there’s something he’s missing: sound. Apparatuses in the interior of the cell select sounds, weaken them and render them perfectly inaudible within the cell itself. [...]

These procedures, reserved for political prisoners alone — at least, those of the Baader-Meinhof Group — are procedures contrary to the Rights of Man.

According to the Rights of Man, a prisoner should be treated like a man. To be sure, he is locked up, but he shouldn’t be the object of any torture, or anything having as its goal to bring on the death or degradation of the human person. This system is precisely against the human person and destroys it."

Jean-Paul Sartre 1974: The Slow Death of Andreas Baader

The Baader-Meinhof myth was born inside Stammheim prison. Leftwing sympathisers, including the country's most prominent writers and intellectuals, maintained that they were being tortured in appalling conditions. Stammheim was "like Auschwitz", they absurdly claimed.

Celebrities, like the novelist Heinrich Böll and the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, were wheeled in to dramatise their plight. Although the aged Frenchman privately observed "what an a***hole" after being lectured by Baader in the jail's spartan visitors' suite, on live German TV he lied: "Baader has the face of a tortured man." [...]

Actually, their wing was comfortable; they could choose the colour of the walls. Their cells had libraries and Baader had 974 books including Contemporary Explosives Technology and the Special Forces Handbook. [...]

The cells had electric blankets, which the terrorists had insisted on, to keep the electricity on at night. The inmates promptly converted high-fi amplifiers and the warders' intercoms into a communication network.

Mail online: Clowns of terror: The Baader-Meinhof gang were hopelessly incompetent, befuddled by drugs and casual sex

Monday, September 29, 2008

Survival under atomic attack

1950’s Civil Defense Film to prepare civilians for military attack with nuclear bombs.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The color photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

These color photographs, nearly a hundred years old, are simply breathtaking. They were made by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii by taking three separate pictures on a red, green and blue glass pane, then combining them with a projector to a composite image.

The photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) offer a vivid portrait of a lost world--the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population.

In the early 1900s Prokudin-Gorskii formulated an ambitious plan for a photographic survey of the Russian Empire that won the support of Tsar Nicholas II. Between 1909-1912, and again in 1915, he completed surveys of eleven regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation.

Photographer to the Tsar: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Battle of Passchendaele (1917)

Never seen before, these astonishing photographs, lovingly hand-touched in colour to bring to life the nightmare of Passchendaele, were released this week to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle that, between July and November 1917, claimed a staggering 2,121 lives a day and in total some quarter of a million Allied soldiers.

Hell on Earth: The never before seen colour photographs of the bloody battle of Passchendaele

How to survive in prison as an innocent man convicted of a sex crime

You're one of the thousands of innocent men wrongly convicted of sex crimes in the U.S. every year. Won't it matter to your fellow prisoners that you are not a sex criminal and are completely innocent? Not in the least. It is possible, though, to make it through prison even though you were convicted of a skin beef. You can not only live through the prison experience, you can claim some degree of victory at the end of your unjust prison term. Life will be neither easy nor fun for the innocent man convicted of a sex crime and sent to prison. But, surviving prison is not impossible. [...]

Now that you have been falsely accused of rape or child abuse, been convicted in record time, lost all your assets along with your reputation, and been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a judge who couldn't care less that you are innocent, you would think your troubles are over. Think again. You not only have to make it out of the prison with your life and sanity, but with your self-respect, honor, and integrity intact. Let's face it. After being wrongly convicted of a sex crime, your sanity, self-respect, honor, and integrity is all you have left. Prison will not break you if you are a man— or learn to become a man, even though the main goal of prison officials is to sap the soul from men, and spit out castrated, submissive males. With all the odds against you, it is even possible to walk out of prison a better man with your head held high. Again, it will be neither fun nor easy, but what battle ever is easy? You can either walk out of prison with your manhood intact knowing you beat the corrupt prison industry or you can crawl out on your belly as a hated sex offender.

IPT Journal - How To Survive in Prison as an Innocent Man Convicted of a Sex Crime

Monday, September 22, 2008

That 2000 yard stare

That 2,000-Yard Stare by Tom Lea. 1944, oil on canvas, 36" x 28". U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C.

This is not a page from a history book, not an account of a battle. It is the simple narrative of an experience in battle; like combat itself such a narrative is bound to be personal, confused, benumbed and in its deepest sense lonely. D-morning, 15 September, 1944, I landed on Peleliu Island, about fifteen minutes after the first troops hit the beach, with marines under command of Captain Frank Farrell, Headquarters Company, Seventh Regiment. I remained with Farrell and his men under fire for the first thirty-two hours of the assault. As a Life War Artist my purpose in going ashore was to record the United States Marines in combat. On the beach I found it impossible to do any sketching or writing; my work there consisted of trying to keep from getting killed and trying to memorize what I saw and felt under fire. On the evening of D-plus-one I returned to a naval vessel offshore where I could record in my sketch book the burden of this memory. Before my hand steadied I put down the words and pictures that compose this book. The narrative is printed here as I first wrote it except for minor chronological rearrangement. The sketches are untouched.

Prologue to Peleliu Landing by Tom Lea, El Paso: Carl Hertzog, 1945.

TomLea.net: Peliliu Landing

TomLea.net: Tom Lea works

24: The unaired 1994 pilot

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot - CollegeHumor video

La guerre miasmatique

Regarding the illustrations from "La Guerre au Vingtième Siècle" (1887) by Albert Robida (1848-1926):

The world of the 1950s presented by the artist was merely the Victorian society of his day with the addition of technological marvels like television, rapid-transit systems, submarines, etc. This innovations did not in any way change the assumptions, conventions, ans structure of that society; they might simply have been tacked on as an afterthought. [...] Robida, like his contemporaries, could not picture the ramifications of these developments. Nevertheless, his accomplishment in depicting the great potentiality of science, notably in the way that it would alter the conduct of war, cannot be over emphasised [...].

Robida, as has been noted, termed chemical warfare, la guerra miasmatique, and it was a tactic much favoured by the inhabitants of the artist's mid-twentieth century world. Here casualties are administered an antidote by a medical officer in a gas mask. The chemical big gun on the battlements is disturbingly convincing in its design.

Corps Medical Offensif. Howitzer-like canon proper shells containing typhus and other deadly "miasmas" into the enemy trenches. Warfare has reached a new level of sophistication. "We will enlist the support of the microbes in our just cause",
proclaims one Important Person. This is one side of the reality, a sneak preview of the Great War.

[Frewin, Anthony: One Hundred Years Of Science Fiction Illustration, Jupiter Books (London) Limited, 1974]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Porsche crank radio

Excellent. When the world goes to hell, at least you're going out in style.

P´9110 Crank Radio - Porsche Design Studio

Recent scenes from North Korea

Female soldiers and their antiaircraft artillery parade through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008. North Korea marked the 60th anniversary of its founding Tuesday amid news reports that the communist country's leader Kim Jong Il did not attend a closely watched parade amid recent speculation that he may be ill. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Recent scenes from North Korea - The Big Picture - Boston.com

In The Walls Of Eryx, 1939

In The Walls Of Eryx by H. P. Lovecraft. Published October 1939 in Weird Tales, Vol. 34, No. 4, p. 50-68. A very untypical Lovecraft story (no Elder Gods and Shub-Niggurat in this one) but nonetheless an excellent tale!

Before I try to rest I will set down these notes in preparation for the report I must make. What I have found is so singular, and so contrary to all past experience and expectations, that it deserves a very careful description.

I reached the main landing on Venus, March 18, terrestrial time; VI, 9 of the planet's calendar. Being put in the main group under Miller, I received my equipment - watch tuned to Venus's slightly quicker rotation - and went through the usual mask drill. After two days I was pronounced fit for duty.

Leaving the Crystal Company's post at Terra Nova around dawn, VI, 12, I followed the southerly route which Anderson had mapped out from the air. The going was bad, for these jungles are always half impassable after a rain. It must be the moisture that gives the tangled vines and creepers that leathery toughness; a toughness so great that a knife has to work ten minutes on some of them. By noon it was dryer - the vegetation getting soft and rubbery so that my knife went through it easily - but even then I could not make much speed. These Carter oxygen masks are too heavy - just carrying one half wears an ordinary man out. A Dubois mask with sponge-reservoir instead of tubes would give just as good air at half the weight.

Read H. P. Lovecraft Library: "In The Walls Of Eryx"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scenes from Iraq

A U.S. soldier from the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment secures a roof near the site of a suicide bomb attack in central Baquba, Diyala province August 11, 2008. A female suicide bomber wearing a belt packed with explosives killed a policeman and wounded 17 people when she targeted a police station, police said. (REUTERS/Andrea Comas)

Scenes from Iraq - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Generation Kill: Sgt. Brad "Iceman" Colbert

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Game theory in The Dark Knight

The original plan of equal division is flawed. Each robber has incentive to increase his share by killing a fellow team member. Once a member performs his job, he loses his negotiating power and value to the team.

The Joker plays off this conflict by instructing the robbers to take out fellow teammates once their tasks are performed. The game would be different if the robbers were a group and they repeated crimes together—perhaps an even split could be sustainable. But as the movie hints right away with the first backstabbing scene, this robbery will be a one-shot game.

Many of the robbers fail to see they can be victim to the same deceit they pull on others. The second robber on the rooftop is a prime example. After his partner disarms the silent alarm, he quickly kills him and then proceeds to perform his own job. He doesn’t see the same thing could happen to him.

Mind Your Decisions: Game Theory in The Dark Knight: A Critical Review of the Opening Scene (Spoilers)

Military camouflage

Color + Design Blog / Colors Of Concealment: Military Camouflage by COLOURlovers

Monday, September 15, 2008


YouTube - UnknownWW2InColor's Channel

The Road script review

Quiet Earth has gotten hold of a copy of the screenplay for the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's superb apocalyptic novel The Road. Huge praise is shelled out for the writing, so the expectations towards the movie (slated for 2009) are certainly high:

To be blunt, the script is a complete stunner. It is a devastating masterwork which, I'm glad to report, has been written with absolute devotion to the original novel. If this is the script that gets filmed, then The Road will not only be the most important post-apocalyptic film ever made but it will profoundly affect the cinema going world. But I can't help but wonder; is the world ready for a film this dark?

Quiet Earth World Exclusive: THE ROAD script review

The D-Day photographs of Robert Capa

The Magnificent Eleven: The D-Day Photographs of Robert Capa

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Iron Dream, 1972

The Iron Dream is a metafictional 1972 alternate history novel by Norman Spinrad.

The book has a nested narrative that tells a story within a story. On the surface, the novel presents an unexceptional science fiction action tale entitled Lord of the Swastika. This is a pro-fascist narrative written by an alternate history version of Adolf Hitler, who in this timeline emigrated from Germany to America and used his modest artistical skills to become first a pulp-SF illustrator and later a science fiction writer in the L. Ron Hubbard mold (telling lurid, purple-prosed adventure stories under a thin SF-veneer).

Wikipedia: The Iron Dream

Indeed, in the book Hitler seems to assume that masses of men in fetishistic uniforms marching in precise displays and displaying phallic gestures and paraphernalia will have a powerful appeal to ordinary human beings. Feric Jaggar comes to power in Heldon through little more than a grotesque series of increasingly grandiose phallic displays. This is undoubtedly phallic fetishism on the part of the author, since the alternative conclusion is to accept the ridiculous notion that an entire nation would throw itself at the feet of a leader simply on the basis of mass displays of public fetishism, orgies of blatant phallic symbolism, - and mass rallies enlivened with torchlight and rabid oratory. Obviously, such a mass national psychosis could never occur in the real world; Hitler's assumption that it not only could happen but would be an expression of so-called racial will proves that he himself was suffering from such a malady. [...]

And if this were not enough, consider the astonishing fact that not a single woman appears as a character in the book. It may be fairly said that asexuality is a hallmark of the typical science-fantasy novel; women appear only as chaste stock figures, token romantic interest for the hero, prizes to be won. However, Lord of the Swastika not only lacks this traditional romantic interest, it goes to incredible lengths to deny the very need for the female half of the human race. Finally, all reproduction is to proceed from the cloning of the all-male SS, a weird sort of male parthenogenesis.

[Norman Spinrad: The Iron Dream (p.249-250)]

The 5 scientific experiments most likely to end the world

Cracked is looking at some disturbing experiments which might bring about the end of the world. Well, when they turn on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) later this week, we might learn more about any of these scenarios. I'll definitely make sure to have my plated armour ready though in case we are all set back into the Middle Ages.

The 5 Scientific Experiments Most Likely to End the World - Cracked.com

Pink Floyd blows up the planet

ISO50: Pink Floyd Blows Up The Planet

Monday, September 8, 2008

Zur Erinnerung an meine Schulzeit 1934

The caption reads: "In remembrance of my schooldays 1934"

Abba Kovner and resistance in the Vilna ghetto

On June 24, 1941, two days after Germany launched its surprise attack against the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), the Germans occupied Vilna. As the Germans were sweeping east toward Moscow, they instigated their ruthless oppression and murderous Aktionen in the communities they occupied.

Vilna, with a Jewish population of approximately 55,000, was known as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" for its flourishing Jewish culture and history. The Nazis soon changed that. As Kovner and 16 other members of the Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa'ir hid in a convent of Dominican nuns a few miles outside of Vilna, the Nazis began to rid Vilna of its "Jewish problem." [...]

Kovner was responsible for writing a call to revolt. In front of the 150 attendees gathered together at 2 Straszuna Street in a public soup kitchen, Kovner read aloud:

"Jewish youth! Do not trust those who are trying to deceive you. Out of the eighty thousand Jews in the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" only twenty thousand are left. . . . Ponar [Ponary] is not a concentration camp. They have all been shot there. Hitler plans to destroy all the Jews of Europe, and the Jews of Lithuania have been chosen as the first in line. We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter!"

About.com: 20th Century History: Abba Kovner and Resistance in the Vilna Ghetto

Anne Frank seen from a window

The only known video footage of Anne Frank, seen from the window of her Amsterdam home watching a wedding procession.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dachau concentration camp liberation

A group of German guards being turned over to an American soldier by an armed inmate carrying a German rifle. This same man can be seen below armed only with a shovel.

Two inmates preparing to kill a fallen SS guard with a shovel. In background rows of machine gunned German guards can be seen lying in piles along the base of the hospital wall.

Dachau Concentration Camp - Liberation April 29,1945 Timeline Dachau

Ancient spaceship on the moon

According to William Rutledge in August 1976 there was a classified space mission: the “Apollo 20”, which explored a huge alien spaceship. William Rutledge (according to his story, a man of 76 years old who lives in Rwanda, former of Bell Laboratories and employed by USAF) is the name of the “deep throat” who, since April 2007, has been disclosing information and spreading a lot of video and photographic material on YouTube, about the presumed Apollo 20 space mission. His user name on YouTube is “retiredafb”, and the most amazing footage he released so far is the presumed flyover of an ancient alien spaceship found on the backside of the Moon by the Apollo 15 crew.

Apollo 20 Alien Ship Controversy


Es ist der 10. Mai 1940 um 4.30 Uhr in der Frühe. Der Diktator ist mit seiner Gefolgschaft auf dem Weg nach Rodert, einem kleinen Dörfchen bei Bad Münstereifel. Hier, unweit der belgischen Grenze, hat der Diktator eines seiner geheimen "Führerhauptquartiere" einrichten lassen, es trägt den Code-Namen "Felsennest". Vom "Felsennest" aus will Hitler den Feldzug gegen Frankreich und die Benelux-Staaten kommandieren. Kurz zuvor, während der Anreise im Führersonderzug "Amerika", hat er dazu den Angriffsbefehl gegeben.

Um 5.00 Uhr trifft Hitler während der ersten schwachen Anzeichen des Morgengrauens in Rodert ein und wird von Hauptmann Spengemann durch die Anlage geführt, die ihm bis zum 6. Juni als Hauptquartier und Wohnsitz dienen wird. Ab 5.35 Uhr ist beim "Führer" und seinem Gefolge im "Felsennest" dumpfer Geschützdonner aus westlicher Richtung zu hören - der Zweite Weltkrieg hat nun auch im Westen Europas in seiner ganzen Härte begonnen. [...]

Christa Schroeder, eine von Hitlers persönlichen Sekretärinnen, erinnerte sich später, wie der "Führer" vom "Felsennest" schwärmte: "Er war immer wieder begeistert über die schöne Landschaft und äußerte den Plan, nach Beendigung des Krieges in jedem Jahr einmal mit der gleichen Besetzung eine Erinnerungsfahrt hierher zu machen."

Hitlers vergessenes Hauptquartier - einestages