Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nuclear artillery

Now take a look at this baby: this is a nuclear artillery cannon, blasting a couple of kilotons toward the commie enemy behind the next ridge, complete with badass lightning effects too. So why didn't this catch on? Why is it again that apart from this one test, atomic bombs are usually detonated remotely or after you drop them from a large altitude?

This photo is actually from a 1953 test in the Nevada desert called Operation Upshot-Knothole and what we see is the "Grable event", a 280mm cannon shooting a 15 kiloton payload. Yeah, the caption says "Hundreds of high ranking Armed Forces officers and members of Congress are present," I guess most of them would have rather skipped this event and the resulting "increased offsite radiation exposures."

Nevada Test Site - Operation Upshot-Knothole - 1953 - a set on Flickr

In between the decades

Wait, is it the end of the decade already again? Well technically no I guess. Isn't it the same as with the 21st century starting in 2001, not 2000? Anyway, judging from the "The XX best/worst/whatever YZ of the past decade" lists cropping up in the Internets these days, it appears we're in fact transitioning from the ..hm.. ougthies? naughties? to the ..well.. two thousand tenners? This is kind of difficult. What kind of fucked-up language joke is that so that you can't refer to the first two decades in a proper way? So for the next ten years we'll have to call the period between 2000 and 2010 "the past decade" and between 2011 and 2020 "the current decade", until we can finally refer to proper decades like the 20ies, 30ies or the 80ies again? This sucks.

And it will especially suck for all kinds of cultural references, like "this haircut is so 80ies" or "that cool kind of 60ies retro design".. see, it's clear instantly what you're talking about when you refer to "goofy 90ies style clothes", but what about after 2000? "This kind of architectural style is so very reminiscent of the period in the first couple of years after the switch to the new millennium?" Why, why isn't there a way around that when it's much easier to say "XXies architecture". The same problem was obvious 100 years ago, when people tried referring to their "00ies" and "10ies" (??), of the twentieth century, that is, but nobody came up with anything conclusive or otherwise at least usable, what with the Great War and all. Well, well. I for one am quite sure that this will be a major referral problem for years to come. Internets of the world, please create a word that catches on!

Anyway, here's the super-psycho Charlie the Unicorn animated film from the Topless Robot's most notorious video meme list of the 00ies.

Topless Robot - The 10 Most Infamous Video Memes of the '00s

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shotgun master

This advertising video for Benelli shotguns shows you how to do it: shotgun master Tom Knapp showcases his skills, he even shoots his own shell casing after they come out of the gun.

Video: Shotgun Master Can’t Miss | Danger Room | Wired.com


Did we honestly never have a post about the great TV show Jericho so far? Pffshh Jesus, I thought that's why we're here! Jericho was running in only two seasons in 2006 and 2008 and got canceled for good after the very short second season. It's about a small town in the aftermath of a nuclear war and after several bombs detonate over large American cities, disrupting the country.

One of my favorite scenes from that season is posted above, I'm really sorry for spoiling it all if you don't know the show yet (if that's the case don't watch the video, he he). High points in the series are around the climax of season 1, when all-out-war with another community ensues.

The Forever War, 1974

Here's another book that has me coming back for more every now and then: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman is an account of a space war against an alien race, fought with super advanced weapons. Due to the faster-than-light travel through so-called collapsars, the Earth ships are able to reach far-off galaxies, but because of the time-dilation that slows down their subjective ship-time, they never know if they are going to meet an enemy with seriously far-advanced technology, or old-school weapons. It is all very cleverly built up and the tone of the novel is great.

“Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.” The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed a man in combat, silently or other wise, he’d done it as an infant.

I already knew eighty ways to kill people, but most of them were pretty noisy. I sat up straight in my chair and assumed a look of polite attention and fell asleep with my eyes open. So did most everybody else. We’d learned that they never scheduled anything important for these after-chop classes.

The Horde + Portrait of a Zombie

New Zombie movies coming your way: The Horde is a French Left 4 Dead style movie with amazingly fast zombies, while Portrait of a Zombie is a fake documentary about some folks who keep their Zombie-mutated sun restrained at home to take care of him. 2010 is Zombie year (again)!

The Horde Serves Up Frenchie Zombie Death Plus Superman's Monster Movie - The Horde - io9

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Star Wars holiday special

Cracked has an incredibly funny review of the infamous Star Wars holiday special. Check it out on Google video including the original, hilarious advertisements clips--check out the Textile Union around 42min. Man, the seventies!

The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast on TV in 1978 as a fine-print stipulation to the fiddle contest that George Lucas lost to the devil. It was terrible in every possible direction. If Hitler forced aliens to put on a variety show at gunpoint, you’d feel more comfortable watching it.

PS. For a lovely and funny video review check out the take of Nostalgia Critic too.

The 7 Most Baffling Moments in the Star Wars Holiday Special | Cracked.com

2009 in film

This takes a look more on the visual effects side of the movies, but it is still an awesome collection of moving images of this year. 7 minutes, ~350 movies.

Must-Watch Mashup of the Day: 342 movies + 12 months of production + 7 minutes

Legion game

I'm not quite sure if I will love or hate this movie after having just seen the first trailer, but here's a nice little online game while we wait for the theatrical release for Legion in January. I still find myself constantly amazed what kind of browser games are technically possible today. Nice job!

Legion: Online Movie Game

Dubai, seen through a 19th century camera

These are awesome: photographer Martin Becka photographed Dubai with a 19th century camera, and the result is cooly retro-futuristic. More of this please!

Starcraft cake

One of my favorite blogs Blame It On The Voices never fails to deliver, so here's a Starcraft cake.

Blame It On The Voices: Starcraft cake

Iron Sky video game

The still-in-the-making "Nazis from the moon" movie Iron Sky is already being turned into a video game as well, great news!

Operation Highjump will be a real time 3rd person action adventure game set in the WWII era. A standalone story in the world of Iron Sky, the plot revolves around a secret underground Nazi base in the Antarctic.

Iron Sky: Operation Highjump gets its game on. « Beyond the Iron Sky


New trailer for the movie Kick-Ass where Hit-Girl shows some of her skills. Neat!
Topless Robot - Hit-Girl Has a Potty Mouth

Mass We Pray

Nice viral promotional campaign for the upcoming Dante's Inferno video game. The Holy Mass video game comes with Wii-style cross controllers, you can see all the features on the official web site. When you click the "preorder now" button, you will see a short trailer for the game.

Mass: We Pray - The Video Game

Mass Effect 2

Nice stuff they're doing in this video: the three assassins have some neat tricks to dispose of the alien hordes they are fighting. Coming with voice acting by Charlie Sheen and Tricia Helfer, this sequel to the original Mass Effect should be pretty kick-ass.

Topless Robot - Mass Effect 2, Now with Twice the Mass

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wild Palms

This goes way back, I remember the show airing in the 90ies on TV, and it is clear that this mini-series had an extreme influence on science fiction later on. So many elements were picked up by movies like The Matrix or Strange Days. Produced by Oliver Stone and starring James Belushi, this is really a high point of television entertainment and highly recommended.

Episode 1 review

Yes, this is awesome, watch it right now: a 70-minute red-neck rant on why Star Wars Episode 1 was so awful and didn't make any sense. Incredibly well done, cheeky and funny!

Watch This: 70-Minute Video Review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace | /Film

Day of the Triffids series

So "The Day Of The Triffids", iconic novel by John Wyndham, is being made into a mini series by the BBC. Why am I not convinced? We'll see.

Auschwitz sign stolen

This has caused major outrage: the "Arbeit macht frei" sign ("work sets you free") on the entrance of Auschwitz concentration camp museum, one of the most well-known symbols of Nazi atrocities in WWII, has been stolen by what looks like a professional crew.

Thieves steal Auschwitz 'Work Sets You Free' sign - Yahoo! News

Special effects revealed

Be ready to feel really disillusioned after watching this: this studio show reel shows what's really behind the visuals in many popular TV series you surely know like 24 or Heroes. Usually it's a big green screen.

The known universe

Nice video visualizing our understanding of the farthest reaches of space. It takes you across the Milky Way and past the farthest objects discernible from Earth, a couple of billion light years out. Neat, neat. Kind of like a new and updated Powers of Ten.

The Daily What: Stop What You’re Doing And Blow Your Mind To This of the Day

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alas, Babylon, 1959

Alas, Babylon is a novel by American writer Pat Frank, first published in 1959. It takes place in small community in Florida which is spared the nuclear bomb attacks and subsequent fallout. This novel leaves out a few of the more grueling effects, namely radiation disease and nuclear winter, but what's more important is the depiction of life in the small town after it's separated from the rest of the country, and there the novel really shines. (Jericho and Battlestar Galactica, we caught you copying huge portions of the plot here.) This comes from the same period as A Canticle For Leibowitz and On The Beach, both of which are also excellent.

In Fort Repose, a river town in Central Florida, it was said that sending a message by Western Union was the same as broadcasting it over the combined networks. This was not entirely true. It was true that Florence Wechek, the manager, gossiped. Yet she judiciously classified the personal intelligence that flowed under her plump fingers, and maintained a prudent censorship over her tongue. The scandalous and the embarrassing she excised from her conversation. Sprightly, trivial, and harmless items she passed on to friends, thus enhancing her status and relieving the tedium of spinsterhood. If your sister was in trouble, and wired for money, the secret was safe with Florence Wechek. But if your sister bore a legitimate baby, its sex and weight would soon be known all over town.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1 queen, 11 presidents

Nice pictures: Queen Elisabeth photographed with eleven US presidents, this goes way back.

Daily Acid: 11 US Presidents But Only 1 Queen!

How to dissolute a body

Slate gives us some handy advice how to get rid of a body with household chemicals: dissolve it in a solution of lye and water.

Heated to 300 degrees, a lye solution can turn a body into tan liquid with the consistency of mineral oil in just three hours. (...)

In addition to being safer and more efficient, lye is also easier to obtain than strong acids. You can purchase 8 pounds of it—enough to dissolve a few bodies—from soap-making or farm-supply stores for less than $15. If you can't wait for delivery, pick up some drain cleaner from the supermarket, but it's so dilute that you may need to use quite a few bottles.

How long does it take to dissolve a human body? - By Brian Palmer - Slate Magazine

Left 4 Dead intro

Yes this is an old hat, but I love this game intro because it is so spot-on and also shows you all the game's basics (don't go off alone, don't startle the witch, etc.) without a lengthy tutorial. Well done!

2009 photos

Once again, The Big Picture has some awesome shots from this year in their 2009 roundup, like this picture of an Isreali airstrike.

2009 in photos (part 2 of 3) - The Big Picture - Boston.com

The death of Neda

This video made the rounds during the Iran elections in June, and be warned that it's quite shocking footage. Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot and bled to death on June 20, 2009 near a protest demonstration against the outcome of the election.

We specialize in Neda Soltan

Monday, December 14, 2009

Zombie outbreak simulator

Neat: Watch a "live" zombie outbreak on Google Maps. You can adjust various settings in the simulator for totally different scenarios: have a well-prepared, ultra-vigilant public with 100% accuracy react to and wipe out any sign of infection within seconds, or decimate an unsuspecting campus population with fast and highly contagious zombies-- it's your choice.

Zombie Outbreak Simulator | Class 3 Outbreak

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Apocalypse - WWII

After my harsh words about the documentary series "WWII in HD" here comes a recommendation for a much better documentary on World War II: Apocalypse. This is a National Geographic documentary made in 2008 and shows some new and gripping footage.


Looking for a new exciting investment opportunity in these unstable times? Here's a tip: why not go and invest in Union Aerospace Corporation, most probably the most evil company ever devised. If you've never played a game from the Doom franchise, UAC is the supplying company to the US military, building teleporters on the Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos, which leads to the opening of the gates of hell and spawning of all kinds of demons and imps and whatnot, killing everything in sight.

Union Aerospace Corporation :: Homepage

All nuclear explosions

A good visualization of all nuclear explosions that ever took place.

WeLoveDatavis - Nuclear Explosions since 1942 via i.imgur.com

Paula Hitler

Did you know that Adolf Hitler had a sister? I didn't too. Paula Hitler didn't have a lot of contact with him in later life apparently, even though he did pay her some financial support. After the war, she was arrested by US intelligence officers in May 1945 and debriefed later that year. She died on June 1, 1960 at the age of 64.

His rapid rise in the world worried me. I must honestly confess that I would have preferred it if he had followed his original ambition and become an architect...It would have saved the world a lot of worries.

Paula Hitler - He was still my brother

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jurassic Park pamphlet

Yes, very nice: a download with the original prop pamphlet for the opening of Jurassic Park. Also included a visitor's information brochure and three newsletters for circulation in the park. Many more maps and other stuff are avilable for downloads at the comprehensive fan site Jurassic Park Legacy.

Jurassic Park Legacy: Jurassic Park Newsletters

Amnesty International poster

Amazing poster created by Eboy for Amnesty International's Poverty is Modern campaign. Its whole detailed beauty can only be fully taken in at the full 1,20m size, so you should order a copy at the shop today.

eBoy Shop - Amnesty Poster

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tour of the ISS

An extensive video tour of the International Space Station-- after watching the whole video, you should be able to find your way around and work the thing in an emergency.

Cynical-C Blog | Astronaut-guided video tour of the International Space Station

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stephen Colbert does a nuclear explosion

Hurt locker

The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow's (Strange Days, Blue Steel) latest film. It takes place in Iraq shortly after the invasion in 2004 and depicts the events a bomb-disposal unit encounters. Exceedingly well done film!

YouTube - "The Hurt Locker" - Official Trailer [HQ]

James Cameron goes begging for special effects

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Burma Boy, 2007

A fairly unknown book by UK-based Nigerian writer Biyi Bandele, Burma Boy is a short and stark tale of a company of Nigerian soldiers stationed in Burma, fighting in the Second World War against the Japanese forces. It juxtaposes occasional comedy in the form of the strange antics of some of its characters with cruel descriptions of the intense fighting in the jungle. It's an exciting read but it's much too short! Clocking in at just 200 pages in huge type, I'd say it's about 1/20 the length of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, another contemporary take on WWII and right now the defining work of art on the topic for me.

Two years into the war, on a day so hot and stifling the usually bustling thoroughfares of Cairo were all but deserted, a spare, disheveled looking Englishman with a stooping gait staggered through the city’s dark alleyways and bazaars, jostling with horses, camels, bicycles, mopeds, pushcarts, pedestrians and cars, looking, he said, for a chemist. To every hawker he approached and tried to speak to, on narrow, congested streets wafting with the odour of ginger, cumin, sandalwood and mint; and at every shisha-pipe-smoke-filled coffee house he wandered into, it seemed, as he struggled to speak but seemed only to slur, that he was looking for something which existed only in his fever-sapped imagination; that much was clear, that this strange man, dressed in a British army uniform that hung loosely on his shrunken frame, and wearing a major’s rank, was in the grips of a fierce and crippling fever. He shivered under the blistering heat, his teeth clattering as if he were in the deep chill of an English winter’s day.

Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele

1000 years of The Beatles

More Beatles: After just posting the alternate Beatles history timeline a short while back, here's a new take on a similar topic: how will the Beatles be viewed in the year 3126? This is funny, especially the mix-up of the members and the messed-up reconstructed cover of "Sgt. Pet Sounds and the Spiders from Aja" .. hilarious!

A History Channel Documentary from the Future: Beatles 3000 - Funny Videos | Cracked.com

ROM heaven

If you're an avid gamer or just interested in the classics of video games, prepare: for your time as a functioning human being is over for now. TheSmartAss.info has a collection of over 5000 working ROMs that can be played directly in your browser. It includes more than 2000 NES games, 1000 Gameboy games, and another 1000+ games for Sega consoles and Atari computers, and a couple of DOS games. Check out the original Metafilter post with direct links to classic games such as Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog or Duke Nukem, and more instructions on how to use the emulators.

Play 5,000+ classic video games in your browser | MetaFilter

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mechs maul Montevideo

Behold "Panic Attack", a cool short movie directed by Federico Alvarez, young filmmaker from Uruguay. Mechs and spaceships inexplicably attack Montevideo and lay to waste to the whole town and population. The film is quite well produced, and brought a lot of attention to Alvarez -- he was immediately called up and signed by Sam Raimi, to produce a medium budget science fiction film next year.

Sam Raimi Signs Panic Attack! Director for Sci-Fi Feature Film Debut - Film Junk

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Internest

Another really funny feature that used to run on Something Awful was this quirky web comic called The Internest, featuring three birds that represent the operating systems Windows, Mac OS and Linux. All episodes below.

Somethingawful.com: The Internest™

Somethingawful.com: Another Visit to the Internest™!

Somethingawful.com: The Internest Makes You Stupid

Somethingawful.com: Internest™, We Return to Thee

The idea for this seems to have originated in a chat conversation when one of the authors misspelled Internet, and thus the comic was born:

Somethingawful.com: Sardines and Richard Simmon's Thighs: One and the Same?

The Weapon Makers, 1952

Alongside Slan, this is another of the strokes of genius by A.E. van Vogt. It's a sequel to The Weapon Shops of Isher. Both books are action-packs and extremely rich of ideas, introducing and incorporating concepts like immortality, teleportation, time-travel, bullet-time-like superfast motion, invisibility and other skills with ease and playfulness. Van Vogt's imagination is superb and thrilling, and the books do not show their age.

Lingua tertii imperii

The lingua tertii imperii is a term for the Newspeak like use of euphemisms and frequent use of buzzwords by the Nazi propaganda machine. It is the title of the book "LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii: Notizbuch eines Philologen" published in 1947 by Victor Klemperer, Professor of French at the University of Dresden.

Klemperer lists different types of word alienations. Probably most widely in use were euphemisms such as Verschärfte Vernehmung (literally "enhanced interrogation", meaning torture), Evakuierung ("evacuation", really meaning deportation), Endlösung ("final solution" of the so-called "Jew-problem"), and Sonderbehandlung ("special treatment", equalling murder).

Many of the bloated and euphemistic linguistic terms are near to ridiculous when viewed today: examples of this include Zuchtziel ("breeding objective" of the Aryan race of superhumans), Defektmenschen ("defective humans", a term for handicapped people), Ballastexistenzen ("ballast organisms", dito), Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), Schweigelager ("mute camps", another word for concentration camp) etc. As can be seen, German is a language suited quite well for creating super-long word conglomerates that can sound quite innocuous while really being quite the horror.

Even today, there are many examples that should make a German speaker cringe: for instance, words like Gruppenführer ("group leader", formerly a rank in the SS, and these days meaning "section leader" in a company) or reinrassig ("pure breed") are still in use today or have become usual again, even though they did carry a wholly sinister meaning during the Nazi years.

Wikipedia has a really comprehensive and interesting glossary of Third Reich terms.

Glossary of Nazi Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chernobyl footage by Vladimir Shevchenko

Ukrainian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko was one of the first cameramen inside the "red zone" of maximum contamination when the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl happened in 1986. The footage shows him atop of the roof of the nuclear reactor without a protective suit. It also includes a sequence of one of the helicopters that were dumping boric acid into the reactor hitting a crane and crashing.

English Russia » Helicopter Crash in Chernobyl

Bravo and Gypsy

Interested in the history of DTP (desktop publishing) and text editors? Bravo was the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor, created in 1974 for the Alto computer. Quoting here from the excellent Dealers of Lightning:

Bravo's interface was heavily moded, meaning that the result of typing a key would differ depending on whether the program was in "command" or "text" mode. [...] Modes were such notorious pitfalls in interface design that they had spawned a standard cautionary joke. This involved a user who inattentively typed the word "edit" while in command rather than text mode: Typing "e" selected the entire document, "d" deleted the selection, and "i" instructed the machine to insert in its stead the next character to be typed...at which point the user discovered that his entire document had been inalterably replaced by the letter "t." [...]

Moreover, like all CSL programs, Bravo was exceedingly ugly in appearance. For all CSL's delight at its WYSIWYG capabilities, the program made scant use of the bitmapped screen's graphical power. [...] This reflected a deliberate choice by the CSL designers, who avoided elaborate graphics because they slowed down the system. But because the Systems Science Lab engineers were mostly interested in making the computer intelligible to the average use, they loaded up their programs with graphical gewgaws of all kinds, figuring that within a generation or two the machine's speed would eventually catch up.

Tesler and Mott therefore set out to create a modeless graphical interface to make Bravo simple to use. Inspired by the costume Mott's stepdaughter was wearing for Halloween that year, 1974, they called their new program "Gypsy."

[Hiltzik, Michael A.: Dealers Of Lightning - Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. HarperCollins, 1999, p208-9]

While there's also the full manual available, the course outline of the functions and commands of Bravo is quite a lot more interesting, incorporating caveats such as this:

The length of a Bravo session should not exceed one hour or so, and it is wise to put [save] the file several times over the space of an hour. Bravo keeps a transcript of all commands, and the transcript uses some of the space on the disk which Bravo needs to function. Periodically, quit from Bravo, reenter and begin the editing or text input again. Be sure to put the file before leaving, though.

Overstaying your welcome in Bravo, may result in the message "Suggest you P and Q" (Put and Quit). When you get this message immediately put the file, quit from Bravo and reenter again. This action starts a new transcript and frees space on the disk used by the previous transcript.

Sound familiar? Apparently the creators of the software were used to crashes and system freezes so they even built in an Auto-Quit feature.. neat thinking!

Bravo Course Outline

World War II in high definition

I'm currently finished with half of the ten hours that comprise WWII in HD, a tv show made up from color footage from the Second World War around the world. While some of the film material is indeed interesting and the sound work is okay, it's really frightening how cinematic and overly patriotic the footage is presented. Maybe I'm just very wary of overzealous patriotism, but heroic hymns while guns blaze and bombs fall belong in Hollywood movies, not "documentaries".

Also in my view the series singlehandedly dehumanizes the Allies' enemies, giving no face to Germans and Japanese at all, speaking of them (like the soldiers in the field) only as "Nazis" and "Japs". The tone of the narration in no way distances itself from the soldiers' quotes such as (when the bombs strike German towns) "if some civilians and children are torn to pieces, well tough shit for them". Sorry but in the 21st century I do expect more of a documentary than painting history black and white, guys.

World War 2 in High Definition - History.com

Essential weekend reading: Are You Ready?

Keeping in vein with the previous survival post topic, here's the ultimate guide in stockpile-like-hell, kick-out-the-weakest-member-of-your-group, be-more-prepared-than-the-next-guy kind of survivalism: the brochure Are You Prepared?, published by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

FEMA: Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Survival vehicles

Jalopnik readers created a nice list with the best survival vehicles. It has some good suggestions but most of these will not be easy to come by when in a pinch. Therefore, I will stick to the trusted Unimog, which is easily available (if you know where to look).

The Ten Best Post-Apocalyptic Survival Vehicles - Buffalo - Jalopnik

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Faces of WWII

I'm always digging for color footage and photos from World Wars I and II, and this site is a real find: it shows all kinds of scenes from the Second World War, color photographs only. It's amazing how crisp many of these pictures are and how much more one can relate to this era when seeing things in color, not black-and-white.

Color Pictures of World War II

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alien poster

Alternate poster for the movie Alien by Ken Taylor.

OMG Posters! » Archive » Mondo At Gallery 1988 Tonight (Sneak Peeks)


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is simply a mad machine of mind-boggling complexity, as becomes very much obvious from these great photos by The Big Picture.

Large Hadron Collider ready to restart - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dune concept art

These daring designs were created by artist Chris Foss for Jodorowsky's (never completed) movie version of Dune. Jodorowsky said about Foss:

Man will conquer space mounted on Foss' spaceships, never in NASA's concentration camps of the spirit. I was grateful for the existence of my friend. He brought the colours of the apocalypse to the sad machines of a future without imagination.

io9: Rare Dune Concept Art From One Of Space Opera's Greatest Visionaries

Remnants of the Soviet empire

Photos of Mongolia, from Eric Lusito's book "After the Wall - Traces of the Soviet Empire".

io9: Abandoned Ruins of the Soviet Empire

The Downfall meme

Bernd Eichinger, German director and producer of the movie Downfall, has commented on the prevalence of the Downfall internet meme, where geeks around the world take the famous "rant" scene from the movie and put subtitles on it, using any topic from Michael Jackson's death to the financial crisis. Eichinger notes that he finds these mashups hilarious and that he is happy the film and the scene in particular is firing people's imaginations.

Downfall writer praises Hitler rant net meme • The Register

Killed by a German sniper

Photos like this always make me want to find out what happened right before it was taken. The caption says only "American soldier killed by German sniper", so I start wondering: was this soldier guarding some street or area from the balcony? (Some ammo on the railing suggests that) Or was he just reading some newspaper and having a coffee while whittling away time on a boring detail?

this isn't happiness.™ Peter Nidzgorski, tumblr

The Earth's rings

Some nifty photo-montages and 3d animations that show what it would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn.. both seen from a couple of cities, and from space. Nice!

The Daily What: Stop What You’re Doing And Watch The Hell Out Of This of the Day:

First look at Chrome OS

Google offered a first look at the Google Chrome operating system, forthcoming in about a year. This OS is intended for special hardware netbooks, which means the OS can leave out a lot of the usual boot-up checks and processes, resulting in very short boot times. As the Chrome browser is totally integrated in the OS, it benefits from being able to use more computing power for web browsing and watching videos, for instance.

According to Google, "every application is a web application. There are no conventional applications. (Whatever you use), it's a webapp, it's a link, it's a URL." So that means without an internet connection, your PC is dead. But with a connection, all user settings for all applications and for the whole OS are loaded from the remotely stored server (so different users can use the same netbook with all their customizations intact and always synchronized).

I'm kind of warming to this concept of "cloud computing", at least for all the instances where you are on the road and presumably still able to access all your settings, files, accounts, and everything. Let's see if it will really be possible to work with a "crippled" (i. e. online-only) operating system.

First Glimpse at Google Chrome OS - Google Chrome OS - Lifehacker

Beijing underground city

Vice Mag takes a look in the abandoned underground city of Beijing, which was built by Chairman Mao in the 1960s and was originally plannes to house all 6 million of Beijing's population at the time.