Friday, January 30, 2009

Navy dolphins

Under the Navy's plan, the paper explains, the dolphins "would work only at night" around the base, which serves as the home port for eight nuclear missile-carrying Trident submarines. The marine mammals would use their speed and underwater sensing abilities to look for dog-paddling adversaries. If the dolphins found such an intruder, they would drop a strobe light nearby. "The light would float to the surface, marking the spot." Human security guards in nearby speedboats would race to the light, to handle the rest.

The sea lions would play an even more active role in enemy apprehension. They would "carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If they found a suspicious swimmer, they would clamp the cuff around the person’s leg. The intruder [would] then be reeled in for questioning."

Anybody remember Jones from Johnny Mnemonic?

Danger Room: Navy Dolphin Patrol Under Fire

Writing science fiction

Vincent T Grant, former astronaut, shares some secrets about writing science fiction novels:

The other thing is you have to write two stories. But really they’re the same story, but you have to be maybe a kid and a grandma at the same time. So you do kid for two pages. Then you do grandma for two pages. Then the kid again. Now every time you do the kid you use italics. These two guys don’t hear each other until the end of the story when suddenly it’s hello the kid is a robot. You end up with a book where the writing changes every couple of pages. That’s called new wave. Get some practice and you can do three or four switcheroos in the same book.

The cool thing is that there doesn’t have to be a story. Just throw a whole bunch of vague stuff together. If you want you can throw in stuff about ‘little boys’ at random and be William Burroughs.

Tom Ellard: How to write Science Fiction

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.

Chronicle Books: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Stars My Destination, 1956

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, 1956. A classic revenge story set in a distant future (just like The Demolished Man, another Bester classic, is a classic detective story in a future setting). A spaceship mechanic is left for dead by another ship and seeks revenge in a twisting, exciting story. Action galore ensues.

Bester is rightfully credited as the true proto-cyberpunk author, setting the tone for later authors such as William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson, back in the 1950s. His work reads surprisingly up-to-date, written in a fast suspenseful way, and introducing postmodern themes such as global dominating corporations, name abberations (such as @kins and ¼maine for characters calles Atkins and Quartermaine, respectively) and chat-room shorthand (such as &c for etcetera, used by the telepaths in The Demolished Man.)

He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead. He fought for survival with the passion of a beast in a trap. He was delirious and rotting, but occasionally his primitive mind emerged from the burning nightmare of survival into something resembling sanity. Then he lifted his mute face to Eternity and muttered: "What's a matter, me? Help, you goddamn gods! Help, is all."

Blasphemy came easily to him: it was half his speech, all his life. He had been raised in the gutter school of the twenty-fifth century and spoke nothing but the gutter tongue. Of all brutes in the world he was among the least valuable alive and most likely to survive. So he struggled and prayed in blasphemy; but occasionally his raveling mind leaped backward thirty years to his childhood and remembered a nursery jingle:

   Gully Foyle is my name
   And Terra is my nation.
   Deep space is my dwelling place
   And death's my destination.

He was Gulliver Foyle, Mechanic's Mate 3rd Class, thirty years old, big boned and rough... and one hundred and seventy days adrift in space.

Hitler at the Odeonsplatz

A young Adolf Hitler attends a rally in the Munich Odeonsplatz, August 2, 1914, to celebrate the declaration of war.

Adolf Hitler, the young painter

Full Battle Rattle

Full Battle Rattle is a 2007 documentary about the National Training Center in the California Mohave Desert which was built to prepare soldiers for the realities in Iraq. It's a full-grown town with 1600 "roleplayers", 250 of them Iraqi-speaking American citizens. The documentary had its premiere on the National Geographic Channel on Monday, January 12th.

Blog Them Out of the Stone Age » Full Battle Rattle (2007)

Fake moon landing

Not much wrong with this picture you may think. Yet, by thinking that, you would just become yet another of NASA's conspiracy victims.
Firstly, despite the absence of an atmosphere, no stars can be seen in the sky.
Secondly, the interior of the shopping basket can clearly be seen when all areas in shadow should be pitch black due to the absence of air molecules.
Nice try NASA but we are not fooled that easily!

Well, with this image where does one begin?!
Inconsistent shadows, too much ambient light and incorrect planetary positioning in the sky are all evident here.
Also notice how the focal length of the camera lens has changed compared to the pictures above, even though the astronauts' Hasselblad cameras were only fitted with a single type of prime lens.
Just how stupid did the NASA officials think the public were? NASA Fakes Moon Landing!

The Leningrad blockade

Some photos of the Leningrad siege (1941 to 1944), overlaid with modern street views.

English Russia: Leningrad Siege: Now and Then

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dark side of the moon

Dark Side of the Moon is a French mockumentary about the Apollo 11 moon landing which originally aired on April Fool's day 2002 on Arte in 2002. Through clever image montages, fake statements and out-of-context quotings it conveys the image that moon landing was faked and actually recorded in a studio by director Stanley Kubrick under supervision of the CIA. After that, all witnesses are told to have been killed and all proof destroyed. It features interviews with Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin and Stanley Kubrick's widow, Christiane Kubrick. The first 25 minutes of the film are available on Youtube.

Dark side of the moon parts 2 and 3

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Pit and the Pendulum, 1842

The Pit and the Pendulum, published in 1842, is one of the most famous short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, who would celebrate his 200th birthday today.

I WAS sick, sick unto death, with that long agony, and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence, the dread sentence of death, was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of REVOLUTION, perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill-wheel.

This only for a brief period, for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw, but with how terrible an exaggeration ! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness, of immovable resolution, of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was fate were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name, and I shuddered, because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment; and then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white slender angels who would save me: but then all at once there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill, as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help.

And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness superened ; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, and night were the universe. - The Pit And The Pendulum

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Da Vinci alarm clock

An alarm clock for maintaining a polyphasic sleep routine (as opposed to monophasic, i.e. one long period of sleeping every night). There are different sleep patterns (as explained on Wikipedia), this clock is based on the so-called Uberman scheme, structured in 3.5/0.5 hours of waking/sleeping time. This would result in a total sleeping time of only 3 hours a day, thus netting you a lot more working time as compared to monophasic sleep.

Da Vinci himself is said to have slept even less every day, only around 2 hours.

Da Vinci Alarm Clock by Marc Owens » Yanko Design

Wikipedia: Polyphasic sleep

Steve Pavlina . com: Polyphasic Sleep

1938/39 color footage of the German Reich

Eerie color footage from different German cities, dated 1938 and 1939.

We are shown a training camp of the BdM (Bund deutscher Mädel = League of German Girls, part of the Hitler youth), a party meeting of old fighters of the Nazi movement, and a military parade in the Ruhrgebiet in 1938, which just two years before was a demilitarized territory under the Versailles treaty.

Next up is some footage of the visit of David Llyod George, English politician, convinced that Hitler could be persuaded to peace. After some footage from the Spanish civil war, in which the Franco regime was aided by the Nazis, we see some images from the so-called "Gausporttage" (District Sport Festival), including the performances of the Motor-HJ, showcasing the early military education of the youth.

After some shoots of Berlin city life just before the outbreak of the war (also showing the newly built Reichskanzlei, see earlier post), switch to a briefing on an airfield of the Luftwaffe. The new Messerschmitt planes shown here were used in the raid on Poland in 1939.

Another queer event shown here are recordings of the Polizeimeisterschaften (Police Athletics Championship) 1939 in the town of Frankfurt (Oder), one of the disciplines being "hand grenade throwing". The winner threw to nearly 80 meters. The police corps were directly subordinate to the chief of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, and are said to have perpetrated some of the most grueling crimes and massacres against Jews and civilians during the war.

8 years in 8 minutes

YouTube - Keith Olbermann - 8 years in 8 minutes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dead Snow trailer

Director Tommy Wirkola pulls no punches in the carnage department—heads roll, blood flows, and entrails ooze as the young vacationers attempt to make it through the night. Wirkola adeptly utilizes the snows eerie and ominous backdrop to its fullest extent while orchestrating this wickedly gory, yet somehow delightful, tale of Nazi zombie terror. - Sundance Film Festival

Død Snø Official Site

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photographer Documents Secret Satellites — All 189 of Them

Wow. I told you people, they are out there! Who? Who cares.. spies of course. Also check the second link at the bottom - it will lead you to a real cool google mashup which allows you to track any satellite in real time! Awesome...

BERKELEY, California -- For most people, photographing something that isn't there might be tough. Not so for Trevor Paglen.
His shots of 189 secret spy satellites are the subject of a new exhibit -- despite the fact that, officially speaking, the satellites don't exist. The Other Night Sky, on display at the University of California at Berkeley Art Museum through September 14, is only a small selection from the 1,500 astrophotographs Paglen has taken thus far.

In taking these photos, Paglen is trying to draw a metaphorical connection between modern government secrecy and the doctrine of the Catholic Church in Galileo's time.

"What would it mean to find these secret moons in orbit around the earth in the same way that Galileo found these moons that shouldn't exist in orbit around Jupiter?" Paglen says."

Wired: Photographer Documents Secret Satellites -- All 189 of Them

(you can even track the toolbox they lost on the ISS)

Milky Way Transit Authority

Wow, if you ever lose your way around some spiral arm of the galaxy I'll bet this could be useful...

Our galaxy is unimaginably vast, and we really have no idea what is out there. We are discovering new planets in other star systems all the time, learning new facts about the galactic core, and even learning about whole new portions of the galaxy. This map is an attempt to approach our galaxy with a bit more familiarity than usual and get people thinking about long-term possibilities in outer space. Hopefully it can provide as a useful shorthand for our place in the Milky Way, the 'important' sights, and make inconceivable distances a bit less daunting. And while convenient interstellar travel is nothing more than a murky dream, and might always be that way, there is power in creating tools for beginning to wrap our minds around the interconnections of our galactic neighborhood."

Milky Way Transit Authority/

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The great gamble

Interesting background to the Soviet engagement in Afghanistan:

On December 13, 1979, one of Afghan President Hafizullah Amin's Soviet cooks slipped KGB-provided poison into a lunch prepared for the new president and his nephew. The chemicals were estimated to start working after six hours. The Soviets hunkered down to wait for signs of panic at the presidential palace, after which a signal would be given to take over Kabul's key military and communications installations. When nothing happened after the allotted time had passed, the KGB station called Moscow to request further orders. It was decided to cable Amin from Moscow, providing a way to ascertain the president's health by delivering the message to the palace. After a personal communique was sent around eleven p.m., a military intelligence officer and an interpreter set out to deliver it to Amin. The Soviets had extra trouble passing the palace guard because of a nighttime curfew. But when they were finally admitted, Amin and his nephew Asadullah were there. Amin looked pale but showed no other signs of sickness. He listened while the interpreter read the telegram, thanked his visitors, and asked them to send his compliments to Brezhnev, KGB chairman Yuri Andropov, and the rest of the Soviet leadership.

Amin's poison had been dissolved in a glass of his favorite drink, Coca-Cola. Its bubbles rendered the concoction almost harmless. Amin's nephew Asadullah was less lucky. He became seriously ill by the following day, but survived after his evacuation to Moscow for treatment. When the vexing news was relayed to Moscow, an order was given to proceed with the ground-force operation anyway. Another paratroop battalion flew to Bagram to take part in storming the palace. The units obeyed a command to prepare until a second order came to stand down. There would be no coup d'etat attempt that day.

IntelliBriefs: The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan

New tactics in the Gaza war

An extremely interesting article in the New York Times about new tactics in the Israel-Palestinian war.

The grinding urban battle unfolding in the densely populated Gaza Strip is a war of new tactics, quick adaptation and lethal tricks.

Hamas, with training from Iran and Hezbollah, has used the last two years to turn Gaza into a deadly maze of tunnels, booby traps and sophisticated roadside bombs. Weapons are hidden in mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses, and the leadership’s war room is a bunker beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, Israeli intelligence officials say.

The New York Times: A Gaza War Full of Traps and Trickery

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Afghan war carpets

It’s scary to see how the war thematics have moved to all spheres of life in Afghanistan even to carpet weaving skills. Previously this Middle-East country, lying on the border with Russia was famous for its hand-made carpets with beautiful Eastern ornaments. These days weavers make carpets with war.

UPDATE: A site dedictated to these carpets is (they also sell them).

English Russia: Afghani War Carpets

Updated RSS feed

Please update to the new Feedburner RSS feed.

You can now also subscribe via email.

PS. In the feed update sent out via email I noticed a funny footnote:

If you prefer to unsubscribe via postal mail, write to: Gay Bomb Nazi Castle, c/o FeedBurner, 20 W Kinzie, 9th Floor, Chicago IL USA 60610

Great they thought of this, for those lazy people who want to be spared to click on a link to unsubscribe.

Hitler's new chancellery

For building the Neue Reichkanzlei (Reich Chancellery), Hitler issued a blank cheque to his favorite architect Albert Speer. (In fact, the total costs exceeded 90 Million Reichsmark, more than a billion dollars today.)

Hitler wanted to create an impressive building to wow foreign diplomats, who were supposed to be intimidated by having to walk hundreds of meters through the building on expensive yet slippery marble before they would meet the Führer.

The sheer dimensions of the rooms and hallways (some up to 20 meters in heights) and the extravagant decorations (nearly 150 paintings were bought from museums) were designed to reflect the power of the Third Reich and instill in the visitor a sense of worthlessness.

Even though the building was only lightly damaged by air bombings, the Soviet occupation force decided to tear it down shortly after the ending of the war, as it had become one of the symbols of the Nazi reign. Some pieces of the extraordinary marble mosaics are said to have been reused in a Berlin subway station.

einestages: 70 Jahre Neue Reichskanzlei

Colani's spacecraft designs

Some incredible space ship designs by German industrial designer Luigi Colani, for the US, USSR and Japan respectively.

McTodd69/Colani - Photobucket

Paolo Parente's Dust

This seems to be a quite interesting game, notinsomuch as it seems to be a "Risk" clone, but regarding style and story. I just ordered a copy (together with "Cosmic Encounter") and we'll give it a test run at the GBNC lair soon.

UPDATE: First test run took 3 hours, but it's as full of suspense and addictive as a game of Starcraft on the computer, transformed to the board. Awesome!

Fantasy Flight Games: Dust

The crazy science of Nikolas Tesla

Serbian inventor Nikolas Tesla (1856-1943) is often touted as the most important scientist and inventor of the modern age, a man who "shed light over the face of Earth". In the above photo we see him creating metre-long electric arcs and millions of volts with his "Magnifying Transmitter", a variant of his most famous invention, the Tesla coil. Next to these he also conducted experiments with x-rays, the first wireless radio transmission, memory recording, radar, weather control systems, death rays, anti-gravity airships, teleportation, time travel .. you name it.

io9: Everything You Need to Know About the Madness of Nikola Tesla

Dinosaur carving at Angkor

Photo of a relief carving at Ta Prohm temple, Angkor Wat at Siem Riep (Cambodia) depicting a Stegosaurus, which by many Creationist Christian believers is taken as a proof that dinosaurs were present a few thousand years ago and lived together with humans.

1000 Wines: Dinosaur Hunting in Angkor

Star Wars last supper mosaic

Mosaic made up of 67,000 stills from the Star Wars movies. Man.

Star Wars Last Supper Mosaic


I don't know why but this strikes a nerve with me. I really don't get what's going on on Uncyclopedia but it's incredible funny.

AAAAAAAAA! - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia

The Shining family movie

Oldie but still funny, this is a good example of a video that spawned an Internet meme.

The Long Watch, 1948

The Long Watch by Robert A. Heinlein, 1948. Heinlein hardly ever disappoints, but this story of the solitary soldier wasting his own life to save Earth is grippingly told and pushes all the "I-want-to-be-a-hero-and-martyr-too" buttons for me.

Nine ships blasted off from Moon Base. Once in space, eight of them formed a globe around the smallest. They held this formation all the way to Earth.

The small ship displayed the insignia of an admiral--yet there was no living thing of any sort in her. She was not even a passenger ship, but a drone, a robot ship intended for radioactive cargo. This trip she carried nothing but a lead coffin - and a Geiger counter that was never quiet.

From the editorial After Ten Years, film 38, 17 June 2009, Archives of the N.Y. Times

Read Robert A. Heinlein's The Long Watch

Friday, January 9, 2009

Neil Armstrong in landing module

A great photo taken inside Apollo 11's Lunar landing module immediately after Neil Armstrong's historic moonwalk in 1969. Apollo 11 Image Gallery

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Will ecstasy be a crime

Some great promotional posters for the 1956 movie version of "1984", a much better adaptation than the later movie of the same title.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

✈ ▌▌

A very strange phenomenom on Google Trends, the ASCII art of a plane approaching the World Trade Center towers has reached "Volcanic" activity.

Search Engine Land: Google Trends Features ASCII Art Of 9/11

Final cylon stationary

This is something I'd need. As they advertise, it's "perfect for taking notes or plotting out the demise of the human race".

Etsy :: paperphilia :: Battlestar Galactica Jotter Notebook - I Am The Final Cylon

Death of a president

I still remember when i watched the whole film on this video player 2 years ago, the quality is quite bad but the film is very gripping.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dead Alewives: Dungeons & Dragons

The 8bit reenactment by

"Summoner Geeks" version:

Moonwalk on a soccer field

On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. He didn’t moonwalk alone – ‘Buzz’ Aldrin joined him on the surface – and he didn’t walk far.

After travelling hundreds of thousands of kilometers, the landing crew of the Apollo 11 lunar mission barely covered an area the size of a football pitch.

Strange Maps: You’ll Never Moonwalk Alone

Iron Sky teaser trailer

Towards the end of World War II the staff of SS officer Hans Kammler made a significant breakthrough in anti-gravity.

From a secret base built in the Antarctic, the first Nazi spaceships were launched in late ‘45 to found the military base Schwarze Sonne (Black Sun) on the dark side of the Moon. This base was to build a powerful invasion fleet and return to take over the Earth once the time was right.

Now it’s 2018, the Nazi invasion is on its way and the world is goose-stepping towards its doom.