Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Broadsword umbrella

Geek apparel of the week: the broadsword umbrella.

The Daily What: Buy This: Broadsword Handle Umbrella

Scott Pilgrim trailer

Scott Pilgrim is a comic series that appears to have quite a following and/or cult status. Here the first trailer for the film adaptation is taken apart frame by frame, which might be quite useful for the uninitiated (like me).

The Daily What: Movie Trailer Analysis of the Day

Awesome things

Well, it appears that the photo series Obama feigning interest in mundane things has become a kind of internet meme, so here's the new and upgraded Obama looking at awesome things.

Bearsharktopus-Man: Awesome Things

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Aerial views of Mexico city

Discovered these a while back but forgot to post them until now: the fabulous aerial views of Mexico city by photographer Oscar Ruiz, taken from a helicopter. He has several amazing slideshows on his home page, some of which will leave you gasping at the incredible size of that megalopolis.

Distrito Federal desde el Aire (ESPAÑOL)

Zero history cover art

Here's the first glimpse of the new William Gibson novel. According to the G. W. Putnam fall catalogue the book has 384 pages and will be published on 7th September 2010. Can't wait! Here's also some blurb for the book:

Whatever you do, because you are an artist, will bring you to the next thing of your own. . . .

When she sang for The Curfew, Hollis Henry's face was known worldwide. She still runs into people who remember the poster. Unfortunately, in the post-crash economy, cult memorabilia doesn't pay the rent, and right now she's a journalist in need of a job. The last person she wants to work for is Hubertus Bigend, twisted genius of global marketing; but there's no way to tell an entity like Bigend that you want nothing more to do with him. That simply brings you more firmly to his attention.

Milgrim is clean, drug-free for the first time in a decade. It took eight months in a clinic in Basel. Fifteen complete changes of his blood. Bigend paid for all that. Milgrim's idiomatic Russian is superb, and he notices things. Meanwhile no one notices Milgrim. That makes him worth every penny, though it cost Bigend more than his cartel-grade custom-armored truck.

The culture of the military has trickled down to the street--Bigend knows that, and he'll find a way to take a cut. What surprises him though is that someone else seems to be on top of that situation in a way that Bigend associates only with himself. Bigend loves staring into the abyss of the global market; he's just not used to it staring back.

Zero History

Under the dome, 2009

Rarely we feature current books, but the latest Stephen King novel Under The Dome is really worth reading. It's the story of a small town called Chester's Mill that finds itself under a "dome" of transparent, yet impermeable material. In the cut-off society that rapidly develops into a near dictatorship, all hell breaks loose.

While most of his King's past efforts in the oughties ranged from so-so (Duma Key, Lisey's Story, the final Dark Tower books) to downright horrible (Cell), this one really really has a lot going for it and is really suspenseful, like older classic King.

Apparently this is a rewrite from a story idea he had already worked on in the 1970s, which might explain the better pace of the novel. The only gripe I have with this is the ending-- King randomly kills of big parts of his cast, and for most characters we never even learn their eventual fate.

Check out one of the numerous viral fake sites for Chester's Mill, the town under the Dome, below.

Welcome to Chester's Mill

24 ends

Well, I guess we all saw this coming: Fox officially announced that there will be no 9th season of 24 . There's talk about a 2h movie, but I wonder-- why bother? The big fun of 24 is the real-time 24 hour time span and it's probably not gonna work in a movie. Even though I wouldn't mind see Jack Bauer kick ass on the big screen. Neeaow! '24' to end this season; film version in the works

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Moscow subway

Morning commute: a Russian commando cleaning his rifle while riding on the Moscow subway. More on English Russia.

English Russia » Photos made in Moscow subway

The Pacific battle map

For their miniseries The Pacific, HBO has put up an interactive flash map recounting the battles and events pictures in the series. Neat if you want to learn more about the action and the three main characters.

HBO: The Pacific: Battle Map


Well, not my desktop actually but it's a cool looking idea in both versions, especially with the Vigo painting from Ghostbusters. Wallpaper downloadable.

Blame It On The Voices: Desktop arrangement of the day

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nunavut buildings

I don't remember where I took these pictures from, but these are houses in the towns of Iqaluit and Igloolik in Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory. Due to the extremely low temperatures and freezing winds, these are not build from regular building material but from resilient plastic if I recall correctly. Check out the link for a portrait of the typical Nunavut community Gjoa Haven, population 1000.

Gjoa Haven, Nunavut: A Community Profile

Steve McQueen

Who's the coolest cat in town? Yes, you're right, it's Steve McQueen, the "king of cool". Life Magazines's photographer John Dominis hung out three weeks with the then 33-year-old actor in 1963 and produced a load of great shots of McQueen hanging out, driving fast cars, shooting target practice with his wife at the beach, etc. The good life!

Steve McQueen: 20 Never-Seen Photos - Photo Gallery, 20 Pictures - LIFE

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Futuristic bikes

Some of the designs shown at the Taipeh Cycle Show seem more appropriate to explore Mars than to use for your daily commute: especially futuristic is the Infinity design by German Stephan Henrich that doesn't run on wheels, but on a rubber-coated chain that spans the whole interior of the bike.

Fahrrad-Design: Shoppen, Falten, Retten - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Auto

Adele Blanc-Sec

Les Adventures Extraordinaires de Adele Blanc-Sec is the new movie by Luc Besson, director of such classics as The Fifth Element and Leon the Professional. Check out the trailer, set in a 19th century Paris and showing the steampunkish, Lara Croftesque adventures of the heroine. Promising!

Topless Robot - Mme. Adele Blanc-Sec Est Tres Belle, Bien, Fromage

Filming of Iron Sky begins

We have covered the production course of moon nazi flick Iron Sky several times before, so we're happy about the news that principal shooting is just about beginning!

UPDATE: More photos from the first shoots are on their Flickr page.

Moon Nazi Invasion Begins – First Shots Fired! « Beyond the Iron Sky

Civil war photographs

Here are some more photos from the Civil War-- a really interesting window into a time 150 years past. Also check out the previous Civil War photographs from Life magazine.

Original Civil War photographs

GTA and coke

Long and crazy article in The Observer in which Tom Bissell describes his addiction to video games, mainly Grand Theft Auto IV.

Once upon a time I wrote in the morning, jogged in the late afternoon and spent most of my evenings reading. Once upon a time I wrote off as unproductive those days in which I had managed to put down "only" a thousand words. [...] These days I have read from start to finish exactly two works of fiction – excepting those I was also reviewing – in the last year. These days I play video games in the morning, play video games in the afternoon and spend my evenings playing video games.

Video games: the addiction | From the Observer | The Observer

Google China uncensored

Google has finally uncensored its search pages in China by redirecting all visitors to to their unfiltered Hong Kong site. This move came after repeated hacking attempts that Google attributed to China.

Read the whole article on Wired for the full scoop-- it's interesting that while Google received a lot of bashing when starting to censor themselves in China in 2006, now other people are criticizing Google for moving out, claiming to "abandon the Chinese people" with even more censored search engines. ..the hell?

Google Uncensors China Search Engine | Epicenter |

RMS Olympic

Did you know that the Titanic had two sister ships of the same size, called Britannic and Olympic? While the former was sunk by a mine in 1916, the latter served a long career from 1911 to 1935, being used as a passenger ship and troop ship in the First World War.

RMS Olympic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

How to hide an airplane factory

During World War II the Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from a Japanese air attack. They covered it with camouflage netting and trompe l’oeil to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air.

Think or Thwim » How To Hide An Airplane Factory

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taman Shud case

In what is commonly referenced to as the Taman Shud case, a dead man was found in the morning of December 1st, 1948 in Somerton Beach (Australia). Mysteries surround his death; there was no trace of poison or other cause of death, no records of the man could be found, so identification has not been made to this date. Also, all his clothes labels were removed, and when police found a suitcase thought to belong to the man, they found inside a scrap of paper with the words "Taman Shud" on it.

This piece of paper was removed from a rare edition of the book The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. After recovering the book, police found an as yet uncracked code, pictured above. All attempts at solving this have been futile, and it is unknown if it's just ramblings of a madman or an extremely sophisticated encryption.

The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain |

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Pacific

Produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman for HBO: the new 10-part miniseries The Pacific. At a rumored 150 million dollars budget, this looks like a really epic show, comparable in scope and style to Band of Brothers (which was created by the same creative team). The trailer on the HBO web site linked below is much better than the short one in the video.

HBO: Series: Watch The Pacific videos including episode recaps, previews & clips on

Flight over Mars

British 3D animation expert Adrian Lark has created this virtual flight over the Candor Chasma canyon on Mars. The virtual camera flies 300 feet above the martian terrain and was created from NASA's image data using Mars Explorer and was captured in realtime.

The Presurfer: Virtual Flight Over Mars

Friday, March 19, 2010

Expo '70

Now that the Shanghai Expo is coming up, let's look back at the previously mentioned Osaka Expo 1970. That was a kind of exciting future represented there!

EXPO 2005 photo essays - weekly report from the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan

Predators trailer

OK, sure: first official trailer for the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators movie for this year's SXSW festival.

The Daily What: Movie Trailer of the Day

The scale of the universe

Neat animation: this demonstrates the size of the universe in a freely zoomable scale. Kind of like a Powers of Ten in animation. Actually I like even more the wrong version which randomly mixes up all the elements. Where else can you find the Crab Nebula next to a quail egg and the Eiffel tower? - The Scale of the Universe

Reflection of mineral

Reflection of Mineral is a crazy small house in Tokyo, covering just 44 square meters, designed by Yasuhiro Yamashita. Really neat though and it has a covered area for a car. I like! Modern Compact House in Tokyo

How Google street view works

Kind of cute: official Google Japan animated stop-motion video about how Google Street View works.

YouTube - ストリートビューのプライバシーについて

New top level domains

Is this a good move, or will this only confuse the hell out of everybody? Canon has announced that it is planning to buy the .canon domain if and when it becomes available in 2011. This might become possible because ICANN (the corporation that assigns domain names) is planning to loosen the conventions on top level domains (TLD), which currently are quite severely limited to country domains and a few like .com, .net, .gov etc.

Canon First in Line for Its Own Top-Level Domain, .canon | Epicenter |


This is probably one of the most expensive toys in the world, even though the word "toy" doesn't really do it justice: the Superplexus is a spherical 3D labyrinth, similar to those board labyrinths that are operated by wheels and that are available in different sizes. You have to steer a small steel ball through it by operating the 3 different axis without dropping the ball-- and I guess it might take a while to finish this one. Pictured above is the 24" version, they built one of double size too.

Superplexus Circles

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shanghai expo 2010

Having visited both the 2000 Expo in Hanover and the 2005 Expo in Aichi, I really feel like going to Shanghai upon seeing these pictures of the half-finished pavilions for the 2010 Expo. Hope I can make it happen this year! One thing that's for sure is that the Shanghai Expo will be the biggest Expo ever, and therefore the biggest event ever held in human history. The projected visitor figure of 70 million will surpass the 64 million visitors of the 1970 Osaka Expo, so far the biggest ever. Also, it is unlikely that any other country (except maybe India) will ever host a bigger Expo.

Shanghai prepares for Expo 2010 - The Big Picture -