Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nick Cave's soundtrack for The Road

In a 4 minute feature BBC4 did about The Road's production, for the first time it's possible to hear some excerpts from the musical soundtrack, created by Nick Cave.

BBC Today: The Road moves to the big screen

Friday, February 27, 2009

Preparing our kids for the apocalypse

An expert panel discusses whether first person shooters are adequately preparing today's children for the aftermath of the apocalypse.

These games make it all seem deceptively simple. I mean in the future a kid's not going to be able to kill a six-foot long irradiated beetle just by pressing a few buttons, he's gonna have to get down there and hack, and hack, and hack.

The Onion: Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

La jetee

The 1962 short film La Jetée is an experimental science fiction movie comprised mainly of still photographs, centered around the themes of World War 3 and time travel. Most prominently, Terry Gilliam's movie 12 Monkeys drew its main inspirations from it.

Dinosaurs and Robots: La Jetée (1962)

The Locarno restoration

Here's an interesting article on the current state of the world, comparing it to the interim years between World Wars 1 and 2:

Locarno, a picturesque Swiss town on the shores of Lake Maggiore, was the site of a series of treaties signed in 1925 between France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Belgium. They ostensibly guaranteed the post-World War I borders on Germany's western frontier with France and Belgium, but agreed that Germany's eastern frontiers could be subject to revision. They also paved the way for Germany's membership in the League of Nations. (...)

Above all, Locarno failed because it combined wishful thinking with political weakness in a way that was bound to be tested and exploited by the fascist powers. If the 1930s were, per W.H. Auden's line, a "low, dishonest decade," it was mainly because the 1920s were so high-mindedly self-deceived.

We are in a similar state today.

Bret Stephens Says We Can't Allow Barack Obama's Optimism to Lull Us into a Weakened Foreign Policy -

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Check out the thermal damage caused by a nuclear explosion

This little widget allows you to check out the blast radius of different sizes of nuclear bombs on any given location. It uses Google maps, so make sure to check out your hometown, too. Would be too bad if you camped inside the blast-radius, wouldn't it?

Ground Zero: Google Maps and Nuclear Weapons

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Day of the Triffids, 1951

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, 1951.

When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.

I felt that from the moment I woke. And yet, when I started functioning a little more smartly, I became doubtful. After all, the odds were that it was I who was wrong, and not everyone else-though I did not see how that could be. I went on waiting, tinged with doubt. But presently I had my first bit of objective evidence-a distant clock struck what sounded to me just like eight. I listened hard and suspiciously. Soon another clock began, on a hard, decisive note. In a leisurely fashion it gave an indisputable eight. Then I knew things were awry.

The way I came to miss the end of the world-well, the end of the world I had known for close on thirty years-was sheer accident: like a lot of survival, when you come to think of it. In the nature of things a good many somebodies are always in hospital, and the law of averages had picked on me to be one of them a week or so before. It might just as easily have been the week before that-in which case I´d not be writing now: I´d not be here at all. But chance played it not only that I should be in hospital at that particular time, but that my eyes, and indeed my whole head, should be wreathed in bandages-and that´s why I have to be grateful to whoever orders these averages.

Read John Wyndham: The Day of the Triffids

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bullet dodging armor

IBM filed (and shorty after withdrew) a patent on a Matrix-style bullet-dodging armor:

The patent proposes a system where an external device monitors the area for incoming projectiles. If it detects a projectile headed near a person hooked into the system it can either shock their muscles in order to move their body a particular way to dodge the bullet, Neo style, or it could simply make the intended target collapse.

IBM files Matrix style bullet dodging patent | The Firearm Blog

So Much for 'Bionic,' Bullet-Dodging Armor | Danger Room from

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turing machine built with LEGO

Some guys constructed a working Turing machine from Lego! Unbelievable I think. Those are probably the same guys constructing Skynet in a couple of years! Beware!

More selfmade weapons: selfmade knife

Here we go again with even more weapon technology from "postapokalyptica". These guys teach you how to make your own knife!

I started with some leaf spring from a 57 Dodge half ton pick-up. Leaf spring from US made cars and light trucks from the 1950s and 60s are made of a high carbon steel alloy called 5160. This alloy is an excellent choice for almost any kind of knifemaking. 5160 has 0.56 - 0.64 carbon, 0.75 - 1.00 manganese, 0.15 - 0.35 silicon, 0.70 - 0.90 chromium. It has great edge holding abilities and can withstand prying sideways better than most high carbon steels. I heat the steel in the forge to a non-magnetic state and hot cut a chunk about 7 inches long and about 2 inches wide...

Make sure to learn how to make your own! This may be the advantage you'll need one day to survive ;-)

Selfmade guns & automatic weapons

If you ever find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world, with no weapons and electricity, you will probably ask yourself how all your knowledge helps you now. Well, these guys from Chechnya have an answer for that - check out their self-made weapons. I am not sure, but I believe they could build a "railgun" too! Fallout 3 goes reality (or vice versa?)

English Russia » Chechen Self-Made Weapons

Monday, February 16, 2009

Big gun

Flickr Photo Download: Photography Masters Cup -

Hess's solo flight

One of the most unexpected and absurd turnings in the development of the Second World War:

On May 10, 1941, German official Rudolf Hess made an unauthorized visit to Britain. He was arrested after he broke his ankle in a parachute jump from his Messerschmitt, which crashed just south of Glasgow, Scotland. Hess, whose German title of deputy Führer put him in charge of the Nazi Party apparatus, was on a solo mission. He said he wanted to negotiate a peace in which Britain would be safe from attack if it gave Nazi Germany a free hand in Europe. Dismissed as insane by the British and Adolf Hitler, Hess remained in Allied imprisonment until his death in 1987.

According to the memoirs of Albert Speer, Hitler's main architect, Hitler was quite shocked by the betrayal of the second man in command Hess. Speer described it as one of the hardest blows to the plans of Hitler, as it laid open the internal struggles between the top Nazis.

Howstuffworks "United States Enacts the Lend-Lease Bill: January 1941-June 1941"

Iron Sky new cast member

News from the producers of Iron Sky (the Space Nazi flick of which we have posted the trailer before):

German actress Julia Dietze will topline “Iron Sky,” a dark sci-fi romp about moon-based Nazis who invade Earth. (...)

Dietze, who co-starred in Til Schweiger’s medieval laffer “1½ Knights: In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde,” will play the lead role as a moon Nazi officer who is sent to Earth to find out if the planet is ripe for conquest by the Fourth Reich.

Julia Dietze to star in 'Iron Sky' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety

New army toy

Danger Room reports about a new non-lethal gun commissioned by the US Army to toy maker Lund & Company:

The FN303 "paintball gun on steroids" (pictured) can fire pepper spray, paint, and non-lethal impact rounds -- making it awfully useful for keeping crowds in check. Soldiers and cops rate it very highly. But it's got some problems at longer ranges. And in America, it still suffers from image problems after the death of Victoria Snelgrove, who died after being hit in the eye by an FN303 round in a disturbance after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

Army's Ultimate Paintball Gun is No Toy | Danger Room from

I can read movies

Some great 60ies inspired book covers for fake novelisations of modern movies by graphic designer Mitch Ansara.

Flickr: spacesick's Photostream

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nazi school names

A recent study showed that in Germany, some schools are still named after dubious characters with Nazi background, such as a chronicler from the town of Frankenberg near Chemnitz, Max Kästner:

In one section the author eulogizes the Nazis' reign of terror. "The last Marxist hideout was smoked out," he writes, going on to note that a highpoint in Frankenberg's history was when it was home to SS concentration camp guard unit SS-Totenkopfsturmbann Sachsen. "We regretted seeing the SS depart when they were relocated to Weimar-Buchenwald for important political reasons," he writes.

However, subsequent research seems to prove that these passages of the town chronicle were not written by Kästner (after whom a school for mentally handicapped children is named in Frankenberg), but added by the then mayor of the town, Ehrhardt Weichelt, a convinced Nazi.

Whatever the outcome, dealing with this history is always risky business, some facts of which will probably never be known for sure (see the case on the alleged Dachau visit of Heesters for a similar disagreement).

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Dubious Role Models: Study Reveals Many German Schools Still Named After Nazis

Wall plug emoticons

Top row, fifth square from left, is simultaneous retail-lust and sticker-shock, on seeing something you really, really want, on eBay, while noting its Buy It Now price. Third row, fifth square from left, is the emotion you feel on dreaming you are Hitler (but somehow innocent, as though Hitler were an Etsy crafter who works, very tentatively, in felt).


Monday, February 9, 2009

Isle of the Dead, 1969

Isle of the Dead by Roger Zelazny, 1969. My favorite Zelazny story by far, this is an express mind-trip into the life of a nearly immortal planet-creator out to correct the crimes of his revengeful antagonist--on one of the planets of his creation. Funny, fast-paced and extremely entertaining.

Isle of the Dead on Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iranian satellite

Iran claims to have launched its first satellite into space. So far the story adds up, with numerous plausible sightings of the new body in space. One way to look at it is a pretty remarkable scientific feat for a country facing as harsh international sanctions as does Iran. On the other hand of course a rocket capable of reaching the earth orbit also enables its bearer to hit targets on the ground thousands of kilometers away, so it's no surprise that there's a lot of worrying going on around the world about the new implications of this achievement.

Video: Iran Launches Satellite, Allegedly (Updated) | Danger Room from

Laptop, Russian style

Encumbered by the financial crisis, a cunning Russian not able to afford a regular computer notebook built a "mobile" PC, by fitting all components of a regular desktop PC into a wooden suitcase. This is what you could call a "case mod", huh.

English Russia: The Mobile Computer

Monday, February 2, 2009

Terminator motorcycle

Wired shows us some new pictures from the set of the Terminator Salvation movie, like this remote-controlled killer motorcycle designed by Skynet to take out humans. Yuck, this gives a whole new meaning to the word "roadkill".

Exclusive Images Reveal McG's Terminator Salvation Vision | The Underwire from

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Zombie Emergency Kit - Everybody should have one...

For MIT's 2008 Campus Preview Weekend, hackers placed boxes with clear fronts, chainsaws, and the text 'In Case of Zombie Attack, Break Glass' on the front in the lobbies of MIT's buildings 16 and 46. The selection of Building 46 was a clear reference to the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences housed there; zombies traditionally seek brains to eat. These are similar to some of the old fire alarms around campus (you can find one on the second floor of 26) which say "In case of fire, break glass."

IHTFP Hack Gallery: In Case of Zombie Attack, Break Glass

Military Hand Signs

I think everybody has seen this in movies, but do you know how to do it? Guessed so. Now, here is your chance to learn how to command a silent killer swat :-)

Show me your leaders, ...

It's quite interesting that sometimes you can just look at a gallery of the past heads of state of a country to know what kind of history it has. Example Afghanistan see above.

Abandoned places in Japan

One of the great joys of the internet for me was the arrival of the "abandoned places" kind of sites. I recently came upon these fantastic images by Japanese photographer Shibakoen Kotaro, featuring all kinds of ruins ranging from abandonded amusement parks, resorts, schools, and also the fort island of Hashima.

Haikyo Defure Spiral