Police move in and surround the building. Minor scuffles break out as power tools are heard coming to life. A protester knocks an elderly woman to the ground when he drags away a ladder from the site.
A bulldozer is blocked on it's way to the chapel. Police remove protesters and place them on a bus. A man who had climbed the bulldozer suffers some sort of seizure and has to be carefully removed by the police.
The bulldozer is escorted to the chapel, where it proceeds to demolish the building. A mix of cheers and screams can be heard as it does so.
Reminds me of the good old days of the Союз воинствующих безбожников in the Soviet Union.
Originally posted over at Church of Death
Posted at 16:10
There were so many people talking about Prometheus [imdb] recently, that I nearly started avoiding everyone and everything, just so I didn't come across any spoilers. I decided I had to go and watch it, and here are a few of my impressions...
A very enjoyable film but it lacks any of the deep intelligence or artistry that I had originally hoped for. I enjoyed parts of the story, and felt it was a good spin on the original Alien idea, up until the very last scene anyway. More on that later.
The film already seems a tad dated. Characters interact with devices like they are using touch screen mobile phones. As real technology advances, that will look as old as the clunky buttons and monochrome CRT displays in the original Alien movie. I wish movie makers would stop using current paradigms for UI and instead had a little vision, much like what Arthur C. Clarke had for 2001'. The 3D effects for the "alien playback" holograms are dated too. They seem to be modelled after xbox connect experiments, or that famous Radiohead video on Google code.
The acting was generally poor and unconvincing, but perhaps that was due to the characters they were playing, which were hollow and unbelievable; disappointingly hackneyed and cliched. Once again, a space expedition years in development and trillions of dollars in expense, ends up with unprofessional jerks and slime-balls in the crew. No one expects a genuine representation of how a manned space exploration of an alien world would really happen, not in a two hour movie anyway, but there are limits to what "shortcuts" viewers will put up with.
The "abortion" scene was the most ridiculous part of the film. Even those lacking the most basic of insight into human anatomy will find it hard to believe that a woman who has her stomach muscles sliced in two, will be able to get up and walk immediately afterwards, with nothing but a few epidermal staples holding everything in place. The same woman continues on to do all kinds of crazy maneuvers including battling giant space aliens. I look forward these future advances in staple technology. Actually this scene does have a contender for worst moment in the film. The decision by three crew members to fly the Prometheus ship into the Alien ship, simply because a deranged woman shouting over the radio told them to do so. Even if one of them believed her, why did they all choose to die? Ha ha, one way to get them out of the story I guess. Dumb.
There is a really dodgy thing going on with religion in this film too, and I don't just mean the obvious "humans are designed" aspect. I mean there's a fairly daring attempt to portray the "Space Jockey/Engineer" aliens as evil space-Muslims! Let's look at the evidence: The crucifix makes significant appearances in this film. It's used by the "good guy" protagonist woman like a protection amulet, or even a weapon at times. Her possession of it describes a power play between her and the android character. She tells us that she's unable to have children but then gets magically pregnant, as if it were a "immaculate conception". She utters a very deliberate "Jesus Christ" expletive in front of one of the Engineer aliens. A Christmas tree is one of the first things we see on the Prometheus ship, setting the biblical scenario for the story. Ok, so that just means Scott is a bit of a Jesus freak, but what about this then: The "Space Jockey" aliens are flying to earth, to "convert" humans into something else. Flying their "crescent shaped" ships, which carry (as one character actually described) "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Whatever about that theory, there's that "the film is already dated" thing again, with the mention of WMDs.
The ending is lame. A crappy voice over and a ship flying into the clouds. Mary, mother of Xenochrist, with her untrusty sidekick "head-of-android-Joe", go in search of even more answers. It's so set up for a sequel, I expected to see a "to be continued" appear on screen. And then we come to the final, final scene. As if playing to the brain dead "but where's the god damn alien" brigade, Scott gives us some kind of familiar looking chest buster "Alien" thing. Only this is more sleek looking, with pointy bits, and no Giger penis-mouth. This scene was a let down, because it means that rather than this film being a fresh spin on the core "Alien" ideas, it's now some kind of genuine prequel, and attempts to preserve canon. Yuck.
Summary: Prometheus is one of those crypto-shallow Hollywood films that makes certain people think they are above those that dislike it, because only they are intelligent enough to "get it". I did like this film though, and it's certainly higher up the ladder than some Michael Bay crap. It has some interesting ideas and it's a lot of fun, but it's just a regular sci-fi feature, lacking the vision and impact of the original Alien film. Far too sanitised as well, it needed more penis. 6.5/10
Other noteworthy aspects: Jizztastic space suits.
Prometheus will probably be worth watching again when it get's a home-video release, as there is surely 20+ minutes of extra footage cut from the theatrical version.
Posted at 19:55
I recently took the plunge and rooted my Android mobile phone [google+], and then installed CyanogenMod7 onto it. The version for my phone is the third release candidate and it does one or two "issues" but my phone always had problems, I think it's hardware related.
I was upgrading from a branded Froyo 2.2 version of Android, so it was always going to be an improvement in performance and features, but the CyanogenMod specific stuff is great. One of the features I use most is demonstrated in the image above. You can change the "Render" effect of the display to a couple of presets. I find the red to be the best as it's really great on the eyes when using my phone in total darkness.
Since installing CyanogenMod my phone is noticeably quicker, and the battery does seem to last longer. Most importantly though, all that bloat-ware crap is gone! I should really blog more about my experiences with Android. I do have a post about finding a decent news app for Android devices, which I drafted a few months ago. Maybe I'll get around to publishing that at some point soon.
Posted at 14:54
my name is Sara Firth from Russia Today TV.
Hope you're okay in there?
And hope it's of some comfort that there's ? of support for you outside.
I know that you must be inundated with ? requests ..."
Posted at 19:49
I came across this video while randomly entering vimeo URLs. Nice performance, interesting story.
"Aunt Kit at 92, Playing DEEP PURPLE" by Todd Murray
Aunt Kitty has lived in the small town of Montandon, Pennsylvania her whole life. She dressed like a movie star, and played piano like a professional, but only she and her family and her church ever got to hear her...til now. Her style of playing is called "Stride Piano". She was born April, 1920.
Posted at 20:37
America is currently spending tens of millions of dollars on developing a bomb that is capable of penetrating and destroying Iranian nuclear facilities deep within the country's mountain ranges [wsj.com]. A nuclear strike would of course be more than enough to do the job, but even unscrupulous America would be incapable of delivering such a ironic plan as to use nuclear warfare to stop a hypothesised nuclear war, so they set Boeing the task of developing a large conventional bomb to do the task. Now a new radical new idea has sprung forth from the crazy minds of US' military R&D*: they plan to turn Kim Kardashian's buttocks into a Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
The military scientists believe that due to the size and consistency of the celebrities rear (denser than Plutonium), a drop from above the stratosphere would result in a 50 megaton explosion and an impact creator 2 miles in diameter. Tests are currently being run to see if there is a risk of nuclear fallout being released from the Kardashian device. They say there is a small chance of a toxic release on the way down.
Iranian president gave a chilling reply to the news of Americas developement of this new biological weapon. Aparently goading the United States' into war, he is on the record as saying: "Do it! Drop dat ass".
*Rear-search and Development
Posted at 22:40
The Chinese successfully launched their Shenzhou-9 rocket into space yesterday, carrying a crew of three. It included China's first female taikonaut, 劉洋 (Liu Yang)[wiki]. I mentioned on Google+ that I was following the launch on a couple of web streams [#].
In all of the NASA official and personal blogs that I follow, there was not one mention of the launch or the significance of the first Chinese woman to fly into space. There wasn't even one loosely veiled "God Speed" indirectly sent to the crew before hand. This is especially disheartening considering the rocket launched on June 16th, the same day the first woman, Валенти́н Терешко́ва (Valentina Tereshkova), flew into space 39 years ago [wiki]. Терешко́ва was of course, not an American. Perhaps it was naive of me to forget that NASA is still a covert tangent of the American military, and as such, would deliberately ignore the achievements of "enemy" states, the lack of commentary within the social media of personnel, and even non-American astronauts, still surprised me however.
In comparison, the recent "SpaceX" launch was rammed down our throats from all angles- all hail, "the first commericial rocket in space". The notion that it was "the first" is of course is bullshit, but the triumphing the commercial aspect of it, completely galls me. For all the bad that's said of the Chinese government, the launch still signifies a progressive future for a state funded non-private space program in the world. That's not to imply that I'm totally against private ventures into space, however.
In the Irish media, I flicked around TV stations, looking for mention of the launch. I turned my attention to TV3 as they had been so keen on covering the launch of the North Korean Unha-3 rocket [Riemann's Cut]. They actually gave the North Korean launch failure full priority and made it the headline news on their evening news program, so I was expecting great things from them. Surprise, surprise... not one word of it on their evening news segment. If it had blown up though...
In other news: Coincidently or deliberately, the U.S.' Airforce landed their X-37B unmanned Orbital Test Vehicle yesterday [msnbc], somewhat under the cover of the Chinese launch. The vehicle had been in orbit for over a year but it's mission is being kept confidential. The Chinese believe it to be device used for spying, or a weapon. To be fair, when the US' announced the Space Shuttle program, the Soviet Union also assumed it purpose to be a weapon. They couldn't understand why America would produce such an expensive and dangerous way to launch things into space, unless they planned to leave them up there. We shall have to wait and see what comes to pass.
Posted at 22:51
There I was, doing a little Googling, when I came across a certain Mr. Marc Lépine[wiki]. Marc is famous for killing 14 people in a Canadian university in 1989. What piqued my interest was his choice of weapon: a Sturm, Ruger Mini 14[wiki]. I am familiar with this firearm, as it is the very same weapon used by Anders Breivik during his notorious Utøya massacre.
Thinking I was onto to something (as opposed to just being "on something") I searched around for other incidents involving the rifle. I found a few less famous incidents, such as the killing of two FBI agents in 1986[wiki], but nothing of similar magnitude of the two already mentioned.
I then investigated any similarities between the two characters. Both described themselves as being "anti-feminist". Indeed, the reason behind Lépine's killings was directly because of his hatred of feminism, stating in his suicide letter that feminists had ruined his life. Breivik on the other-hand, blames feminism for the ruination of traditional European culture and society.
Finally, I delved into culture and community surrounding the Mini 14. I read many reports and reviews, from owners and users of the gun. Most seem to suggest that the gun is a bit of a junker, lacking in build quality and accuracy. Breivik's own thoughts on the weapon:
I have now sent an application for a Ruger Mini 14 semi-automatic rifle (5.56). It is the most “army like” rifle allowed in Norway, although it is considered a “poor man’s” AR-15.[pastebin]There is a mention of the gun in "Cradle to the Grave", a song by 2PAC:
I'm bustin' on these mother fuckers ballin'I also came across something known as the "Mini 14 Law", a somewhat obscure term:
Listen you can hear my mini 14 callin'.[youtube]
The Mini 14 Law states that: Whoever, in the course of making a pro gun-control point, mentions the Ruger Mini 14, has proved he/she is fundamentally ignorant and the discussion is over.[dictionaryslang]The "Mini 14 Law" definition also makes use of an alledged quote by controversial anti-gun lobbiest, Wendy Cukier:
Every day women are being killed by deadly weapons such as the Ruger Mini 14...Even though it may seem like it, I didn't intend this blog post to come across as an anti-gun blog post. It must be pointed out that the Sturm, Ruger Mini 14 has been in production for 40 years and there must be thousands of legally held units all across the Americas alone, owned and operated without incident. And before you make up your mind about the gun, I feel it only right to inform you of another group of people who regularly made use of the weapon... The A-Team![myateamvan.com]
Posted at 13:42
Blogger (and perhaps other Google services?) recently rolled out a new CAPTCHA system, involving segments of photographs alongside the more familiar bock of "wonky" text. The photographs are of walls and signs, and other such places where numbers and letters appear in real life, and it is your duty to figure out what the hell is in them. The idea of having humans doing the work of digitising analogue material via a CAPTCHA isn't new of course, but it's interesting that the Google system knows there is text there but still relies on a human to decipher it, or to double check it perhaps.
The photograph isn't part of the human verification process so you can actually write what you want for it. With the one above, I wrote "RobotClitoris" and my comment was published, so it's definitely not part of the test... unless of course, it actually is a robot clitoris? :-O
Posted at 14:26
Taken from an interesting Youtube video discussing how silent film footage of Adolf Hitler was digitally processed to aid with lip reading of what was being spoken. One wonders what Hitler would think of modern film. What would he think of Downfall or Inglourious Basterds. I'm sure he'd be a big fan of Brüno.
Posted at 01:12
Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain (born 28 March 1926, Liria Palace, Madrid) is the current head of the House of Alba and the third woman to carry the title in her own right. [wiki] The top picture was taken at her marriage, last year, to Alfonso Díez Carabantes, at the grand old age of 85. [telegraph.co.uk]
The good Duchess, is indicative of the (not necessarily modern) appeal of repelling the ravages of age on the body. Thanks to the marvels of relatively modern face-butchery, there are many people of Doña's vintage that all resemble what you see above. Cut and stretched, and pumped full of filler; the prejudice against age, in full effect.
The thing about plastic surgery is, even if it's effective in reducing the apparent age of an individual, it never makes one look like their younger selves. It's always a younger someone else, a younger alien entity. Or in the case of the Duchess, a younger extra-terrestrial.
Doña María is her pre-alien days.
Posted at 20:47
I hear people saying Syria is a keystone to the whole of the Middle-East. If the West can crack it, it can crack Iran. In a continuation of my 2012 themed posts, I look to the prophacies contained within the Bible. A search for Syria returns the following:
725 BC - "Prophecy of Demascus" - Isaiah 17 - Standard English Version[#]
1 An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
3 The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the LORD of hosts.A heap of ruins, eh? Children of Israel, eh? The Bible, eh?
Posted at 20:46
Last night, I dreamt of the spiral that appeared over northern Norway in 2009 [dailymail.co.uk]. I can't recall what the dream was about, but the spiral was there in the sky. At least, I thought that's what I was dreaming about, but it turns out I was actually observing another "spiral" incident that happened over Israel last night [jpost.com]. Spiral appears 35 seconds into video.
Like in 2009, it was just the Russian's testing another missile of there's, a Topol RS-12M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) [chinadaily.com]. Ah yes, just an intercontinental missile test, for the peaceful times we are living in.
Posted at 13:05
After the recent "Houla massacre" in Syria, the BBC used an 2003 image of dead bodies in Iraq and labeled it as victims of government military strikes in Syria [presstv.ir]. This is unusual. Not because the BBC did it, but because it's so rare that they are ever called out on it. If you were to give the BBC credit, you would have to say that they did it deliberately because otherwise it is just another example of lazy and sensationalist journalism, where they grab the first thing at hand and deliver it as "fact". I thought the BBC would at least Google Image search or TinEye every image first.
The BBC's reporting on Syria was once again called into doubt recently when a news report aired with a logo from the "Halo" video game was shown instead of the official UN logo [cinemablend.com]. The UN logo is perhaps one of the most famous logos in the world, so it is truly bizarre how this could have happened. With this level of inept journalism, how can you believe anything the BBC says. In fact, when it comes to Syria, how can you believe what anyone is saying.
Syria has been one big mine of misinformation and disinformation from the beginning. It's no different than any other time when the "West" wants to topple a government. You will be familiar with all the tactics used. Reports using "unverified" shakey footage, of the ground or other incidental scenery, with the sounds of explosions and gun fire. It could be anywhere, and from anytime. "Unverified" is just legal-speak for bullshit. The other favourite phrase: "could not be independently verified". Here's a suggestion: if you're not sure it's true, don't present it as true.
Another piece of footage, put forward as Syrian government shelling, has been acknowledged as footage of a NATO bombing run over Lybia [storyful.com]. There is an unending stream of misidentified and false propaganda springing up about Syria. It is clear that it will only end when Assad is removed from office. Right or wrong, it's clear that this will be how it plays out.
I think it's time for Russia and China give up on finding a peaceful solution to the problem (as well as whatever other reasons they might have had). NATO said they have no plans to get involved with Syria, but I think they should. I think NATO should carpet bomb the whole country, and I do mean carpet bomb. Leave nothing behind. A complete fucking holocaust from the sky. Then we can watch BBC reporters digging in the dirt for "unverified" footage of worms bickering over layers of sediment.
Finally, the title of this post are not my own words, but the words of self-described "media assassin" John C. Dvorak, speaking on No Agenda Show episode 403. Full disclosure, the audio has been edited down to keep it's context from a longer speech about the BBC. The sentiment is unchanged. The unedited quote is: "They [BBC] are a fucked up organisation". The video footage is from an unrelated appearance on TWiT.
Posted at 14:02
Эдуард Хиль (Eduard Khil), a recently deceased (June 4th) Russian singer, who enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the last few years because of the interest surrounding a video on Youtube, where he mimes his version of a popular Soviet song, "Я очень рад.." ("I Am Glad..."). Fondly known as Mr. Trololo.
Everyone loved Mr. Trololo, even if that love was sometimes in a mocking fashion. When the Trololo video first sprung up on the internet, people didn't really know what to make of it. It seemed so bizarre and surreal. A vintage video of a robot looking man entering the frame and continuing to mime a song without lyrics. It was this dream like quality, and similarity to the sound of the internet meme "trolling", that captured peoples imaginations.
Perhaps one should read between the lines of what Mikhail Ostrovsky said in that Russian article; perhaps there was indeed political sub-text to the omission of lyrics. That would seem odd however, because unlike their American counterparts at the time, the USSR did not always share in this same hyper-fear of "all things from the other side" (not to be mistaken with Soviet paranoia, however). It was often the Communist notion of Internationalism that the West found most frightening.
A still from Limonádový Joe (1964), a well loved socialist Czechoslovakian comedy Western'
Without the full lyric sheet at hand, it's hard to decifer why lyrics about American cowboys would prove so contravercial, since the USSR had no problem making films based on the "Wild West". They also loved importing American Westerns for public consumption. It's true that there were sometimes a political slant to these socialist Red Westerns, the Indians were often the "good guys", for instance (I know, what an absolute evil thought), but no different than a Red-Scare flick from Hollywood.
But what of politics, the man is dead and it was the music that he was known for, so lets hear the song one more time. Take it away, immortal robot Eduard Khil!
One wonders what will happen when Boxxy dies...
Posted at 12:09
God Save the Queen...
The Queen' paid us a visit around this time last year. Admittedly, having a crown on everything in Cork did look good. Perhaps we should have kept it... for purely aesthetic purposes... of course.
[ Queen Elizabeth II ] [ thediamondjubilee.org ] [ Cork images via ]
Posted at 18:45