Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai terrorist attacks

The bodies of at least six victims of Wednesday's shootings lie on the floor of the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai November 26, 2008.

Injured Indian security personnel lie at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. The two men later died from their wounds.

Mumbai under attack - The Big Picture

Dzhabrail smile

Dzhabrail smile

West Bank protests

A volley of tear gas canisters is shot from an armored fighting vehicle on the Israeli side.

The border police spray a liquid chemical on the crowd known as "Skunk Spray" in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

ZORIAH: West Bank Protests - Part 1

Privacy on the ISS

Astronaut C. Michael Foale, Expedition 8 commander and NASA ISS science officer, equipped with a bungee harness, exercises on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) in the Zvezda Service Module on the ISS on April 12th, 2004.

Honestly, the International Space Station looks a bit like a mess. Yeah, yeah, talk about economy, maximum space usage et cetera, but still, take a look at these pictures.

The International Space Station turns 10 - The Big Picture

To prepare for a permanent six-member crew, Nasa is flying four private boudoirs to the orbital outpost. Two were delivered this week aboard the space shuttle Endeavour and were installed in the station's Harmony node. Two more are due to arrive in 2009 and early 2010. The pods are small - about the size of a commercial jet's bathroom - but well designed. Nasa designed and built the four rooms itself, at a cost of about $30.9m.

BBC NEWS: A space of one's own

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Razzle Dazzle camouflage

During World War I, the British and Americans faced a serious threat from German U-boats, which were sinking allied shipping at a dangerous rate. All attempts to camouflage ships at sea had failed, as the appearance of the sea and sky are always changing. Any color scheme that was concealing in one situation was conspicuous in others. A British artist and naval officer, Norman Wilkinson, promoted a new camouflage scheme that was derived from the artistic fashions of the time, particularly cubism. Instead of trying to conceal the ship, it simply broke up its lines and made it more difficult for the U-boat captain to determine the ship's course. The British called this camouflage scheme "Dazzle Painting." The Americans called it "Razzle Dazzle."

Razzle Dazzle: Dazzle Painting

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


In the simplest definition Starflight is a computer game for the IBM PC developed by Binary Systems which started development in 1983, and was released in 1986 "after 15 man years" for the cutting edge video technologies of the time, namely black-and-white, Hercules monochrome, composite TV, 4-color CGA, and 16 color Tandy graphics. Later a second version was released with EGA graphics support and versions were ported to the C64, Amiga, Atari ST and the Sega Genesis platforms. Three years later two of the five original developers went on to create the sequel Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula.

But still this doesn't answer the question of "What is Starflight?" Starflight is an open ended space simulator of 269 star systems and roughly 800 planets. Is also a role-playing game considering your ships strengths are improved as you spend resources on crew training, equipment purchases, and obtain specialized artifacts. It is an adventure game set in space with a sophisticated artificial intelligence system, alien races with distinctive language traits, personalities, and behaviors. It is a simulator of a huge universe requiring greater and greater amount of fuel to travel to distant locations. It contains open-ended scripting with chains of hints leading players varied and different conclusions about meanings and histories and events.

Starport Central, the official home of Starflight III: Mysteries of the Universe

A Scanner Darkly, 1977

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, 1977. The most realistic and most gripping of all of Dick's work. An embedded undercover narcotics officer is increasingly taken in by the drug he has to use in order to maintain his cover, and becomes schizophrenic to the point of total identity loss. It's really a heartbraking tale and mostly auto-biographic.

Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no bugs in his hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out and dried himself, and he still had bugs in his hair; in fact, he had bugs all over him. A month later he had bugs in his lungs.

Having nothing else to do or think about, he began to work out theoretically the life cycle of the bugs, and, with the aid of the Britannica, try to determine specifically which bugs they were. They now filled his house. He read about many different kinds and finally noticed bugs outdoors, so he concluded they were aphids. After that decision came to his mind it never changed, no matter what other people told him . . . like "Aphids don't bite people."

Philip K. Dick: A Scanner Darkly

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The art of Guy Peellaert

Guy Peellaert (Brussels, Belgium, April 6, 1934 - Paris, France, November 17, 2008) was a Belgian artist, painter, illustrator, comic artist and photographer, most famous for his album covers for rock artists like David Bowie (Diamond Dogs) and The Rolling Stones (It's Only Rock 'n' Roll). He also designed film posters for films like Taxi Driver, Paris, Texas and Short Cuts.

The Jonestown massacre

Bodies lay strewn around a vat containing a beverage laced with cyanide at the Jonestown commune of the People's Temple in Guyana, Nov. 23, 1978.

'Jonestown': Portrait of a Disturbed Cult Leader

Birth of a Paradroid

Paradroid was one of my favorite video games back in the day. So simple, but it was so exciting when you managed to take over one of the badass robot models with the high number. Great controls, great sound, great everything! ZZap64 issue from October 1985 has a very interesting production diary by developer Andrew Braybrook, who wrote, designed and coded the game practically alone, constantly griping with the kilobyte limitations of the hardware.

Read: Birth of a Paradroid Parts 1-4

Civil war photographs from LIFE magazine

Ruins of city of Richmond, VA, at end of US Civil War. Date taken: 1865

Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman (C, arms folded), Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, & his generals, during Civil War. Date taken: 1865

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

The falling man

They began jumping not long after the first plane hit the North Tower, not long after the fire started. They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. They jumped continually, from all four sides of the building, and from all floors above and around the building's fatal wound. They jumped from the offices of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance company; from the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading company; from Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors -- the top.

For more than an hour and a half, they streamed from the building, one after another, consecutively rather than en masse, as if each individual required the sight of another individual jumping before mustering the courage to jump himself or herself. One photograph, taken at a distance, shows people jumping in perfect sequence, like parachutists, forming an arc composed of three plummeting people, evenly spaced. Indeed, there were reports that some tried parachuting, before the force generated by their fall ripped the drapes, the tablecloths, the desperately gathered fabric, from their hands. They were all, obviously, very much alive on their way down, and their way down lasted an approximate count of ten seconds.

Esquire Online: The Falling Man - Tom Junod - 9/11 Suicide Photograph

More World Trade Center jumpers at

LIFE magazine's photos of World War I

British tanks parked in a field near the front lines during World War I. Date taken: 1918

Crew of German battle cruiser Moltke posing for group picture aboard ship during World War I. Date taken: 1915

Allied soldier silhouetted by glare of an exploding German phosphorus bomb during World War I. Date taken: August 1917

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

Monday, November 17, 2008

Georg Elser's assassination attempt on Hitler

The Bürgerbräukeller was located in Munich, Germany, and by 1923 was one of the preferred gathering places of the NSDAP, or Nazi Party.

It was one of the large beer halls of the Bürgerliches Brauhaus public limited company, and after its merger with Löwenbräu, the hall was transferred to that company. It was from there that Adolf Hitler launched his Beer Hall Putsch and marched to the Feldherrnhalle in 1923.

After 1933, Hitler delivered a speech to the participants of his earlier failed coup, every November 8. It was there on November 8, 1939, that he barely escaped an assassination attempt. Seven people were killed and sixty-three injured by a bomb blast, but Hitler escaped unharmed, because he had left the gathering a few minutes earlier than planned. The would-be assassin Georg Elser was executed in the Dachau concentration camp on April 9, 1945.

On 8 November, 1939, the bomb exploded at 21:20, exactly as Elser had planned, but Hitler had already left the room thirteen minutes earlier. Eight people died and sixty-three were injured, sixteen of them seriously, and Elser's plot to assassinate Hitler had failed.

Elser was killed by gunshot on 9 April 1945, in the Dachau concentration camp, just a few weeks before the end of war.

Georg Elser Arbeitskreis Hildesheim

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells, 1896. Wells' early work is truly fantastic, and you could never guess that it was written more than a hundred years ago if you didn't know. In fact, replace vivisection by gene-splicing and the tale is 100% up-to-date. A gripping exploration in the makings of a mad scientist, told in an absolutely shocking and haunting way.

ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1' S. and longitude 107' W.

On January the Fifth, 1888--that is eleven months and four days after-- my uncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly went aboard the Lady Vain at Callao, and who had been considered drowned, was picked up in latitude 5' 3" S. and longitude 101' W. in a small open boat of which the name was illegible, but which is supposed to have belonged to the missing schooner Ipecacuanha. He gave such a strange account of himself that he was supposed demented. Subsequently he alleged that his mind was a blank from the moment of his escape from the Lady Vain. His case was discussed among psychologists at the time as a curious instance of the lapse of memory consequent upon physical and mental stress. The following narrative was found among his papers by the undersigned, his nephew and heir, but unaccompanied by any definite request for publication.

The only island known to exist in the region in which my uncle was picked up is Noble's Isle, a small volcanic islet and uninhabited. It was visited in 1891 by H. M. S. Scorpion. A party of sailors then landed, but found nothing living thereon except certain curious white moths, some hogs and rabbits, and some rather peculiar rats. So that this narrative is without confirmation in its most essential particular. With that understood, there seems no harm in putting this strange story before the public in accordance, as I believe, with my uncle's intentions. There is at least this much in its behalf: my uncle passed out of human knowledge about latitude 5' S. and longitude 105' E., and reappeared in the same part of the ocean after a space of eleven months. In some way he must have lived during the interval. And it seems that a schooner called the Ipecacuanha with a drunken captain, John Davies, did start from Africa with a puma and certain other animals aboard in January, 1887, that the vessel was well known at several ports in the South Pacific, and that it finally disappeared from those seas (with a considerable amount of copra aboard), sailing to its unknown fate from Bayna in December, 1887, a date that tallies entirely with my uncle's story.

Read H. G. Wells: The Island of Doctor Moreau

Monday, November 10, 2008

WWI photographs of Frank Hurley

Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector. As they passed toward the front line to relieve their comrades, whose attack the day before won Broodseinde Ridge and deepened the Australian advance. Date made: 5 October 1917

The unmistakable World War I photographic compositions of Frank Hurley

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Battlestar Galactica propaganda posters

Galactica posters made up like WWII propaganda posters...I have this in my kitchen.

QMx BSG Propaganda Poster Set