You gotta fight!
For your right!
Sure, it's a bit of a senseless celebrity smörgåsbord, but personally I find refreshing the celebration of a distant long-gone era, when rappers cared only about having a good time —even if they acted like hooligans— instead of promoting the latest god-damned smartphone with every new video they release.
Or maybe I just miss the 90s... or big-ass stereos... or my youth :)
As any fan of Frank Herbert's Dune series should now —and in case you forgot, you can always invoke the Wiki-djinns— the indigenous inhabitants of the planet Arrakis lived in communal dwellings called sietchs; giant cavernous abodes where the Fremen tribes could be safe from the inclement conditions of the desert.
And lo and behold! there's an architecture firm intending to build just that kind of place, albeit with a suave five-starred twist:
Florida-based practice Oppenheim Architecture + Design have released these images of their proposals for 47 desert lodges at a resort in Wadi Rum, Jordan.
The lodges will be carved directly into the sandstone cliff face and the building elements will be made from rammed earth and cement mixed with local red sand.
The project merges silently with its wondrous setting, exploiting and enhancing the natural beauty of the desert to establish accommodations that are uniquely elemental and luxurious.
I'm ambivalent to this kind of project. Naturally it's aesthetically breath-taking, but —like many others commenting on the Dezeen page— I'm somewhat skeptical about its 'ecological' merits (what about all the water and services that it will require? the waste produced by the guests? will the rooms need A/C?)
More than that, I can't help to find highly ironic how in ancient times, the only people who bothered to live in the desert were ascetic hermits. And now they will be replaced by jet-set members of the Forbes list. Will the Dead Sea scrolls be replaced by the Dead Sea iPad?
Hope they don't end up invoking the wrath of Shai Hulud with their exploits...
The news in 2011 are getting so bizarre, God knows what's in store for us next year...
The red-caped avenger, long mythologized as the embodiment of American strength and values, shocks readers in the comic's 900th issue by telling a White House official that he's changing allegiance.
"Which is why I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my US citizenship," he says. "'Truth, justice and the American way' -- it's not enough anymore."
The super spat -- sparked in the comic by Superman's disillusionment at reactions to his support for democracy protesters in Iran -- has spilled far beyond the pages and speech bubbles.
Republican potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee weighed in over the weekend, saying Superman's threat is no laughing matter.
"It is a comic book, but you know it's disturbing that Superman who has always been an American icon is now saying, 'I'm not going to be an American citizen,'" Huckabee said in a Fox News television interview.
"It's part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans."
Conservative media personality Bill O'Reilly raised the issue on Fox television's The O'Reilly Factor, slamming the "unbelievably dumb" plot.
"You don't tug on Superman's cape," O'Reilly warned.
And among the flood of newspaper editorials and blog entries, the teaparty.org blog saw nothing less than the hand of President Barack Obama.
"Superman now says he denounces his citizenship of America and is only a citizen of the World. This is very socialistic of Superman wanting a Socialistic world with people like Obama at the helm of this movement," thundered the blog.
Back in 2009, there was a bit of a news hysteria over rumors that Sarah Palin was going bald. Proof that Life is always imitating Art.
London designer Dominic Wilcox created this stylus that straps over his nose for using his touch-screen phone in the bath
Mac Tonnies would have gotten a kick out of this techno-proboscis. At any rate, 'tis really a sign of the times, that is.
Ricky Garduno, a very creative artist who is part of the Dumm Comics collective, managed to brilliantly capture my own sentiment on this issue in today's strip.
(click for larger image)
If you're fans of dark corrosive humor, then you should definitely check the rest of his work —but preferably not during work hours ;)
A first look at the sets, props and costumes that will appear on the film. My geeky spirits soared when I spotted Sir Ian McKellen sitting at Bag End :)
If you're still craving for more —and who isn't??— you might also want to check this article at The Daily Mail. Of particular interest is the mention that The Hobbit will shoot at 48 frames per second; a groundbreaking departure from the traditional 24fps with which all films have been shot during the last century or so, and that will add the bonus of allowing viewers to watch a 3D film for more than 2 hours —without strain to their eyes.
Last week Mexican president Felipe Calderón made a trip to the US, to have his 5th reunion with president Barack Obama. This meeting could be considered an astounding failure, for Calderón went to the White House with one specific purpose: to receive the head of US ambassador Carlos Pascual on a silver platter.
Relationships between the diplomat and the president have turn incredibly sour ever since the Cablegate scandal unleashed by Wikileaks broke last year, when it was found Pascual had written several memos expressing his lack of confidence in the way the Mexican government has conducted the War on Drugs, initiated by Calderón since the beginning of his term in 2006. Specifically, Pascual mentioned to his superiors in Washington how the Mexican Army had shown certain amount of reluctance to action when provided with special US intel on the whereabouts of the druglord Arturo Bertrán Leyva; on account of this, the embassy decided to deliver the intel to the Mexican Navy, which promptly prepared an operation that ultimately ended in the execution of Beltrán Leyva in 2009.
Thus, Pascual revealed the constant infighting and lack of coordination that have plagued the government's effort to fight the cartels, coupled with the perennial corruption that permeates every aspect of the Mexican judicial system. This did not seat well with Calderón, who has maintained a PR campaign to ensure the citizens and foreign investors that things are under cotrol, and that the government has the upper hand in this war.
Unfortunately for the Latin American leader, the White House had no intention to grant him his wish, for it would establish and unfavorable precedent in US diplomatic relations: Pascual would have become the most prominent diplomat to have lost his career over the Wikileaks scandal, and you just can't have foreign dignitaries to start requesting the replacement of ambassadors because they are doing their jobs --i.e. spying on their hosts-- can you?
It is nevertheless most unfortunate that Calderón's staff didn't inform him about a little report conducted by CBS News on the very day he met Obama. The news was about a Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent named John Dodson, who claimed that he received orders from his superiors to allow the trafficking of weapons across the US-Mexico border.
Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico. ATF named the case "Fast and Furious."
So the Justice Department was conducting a little experiment here, allowing the traffic of around 2000 weapons —and without bothering to inform the Mexican authorities, their so-called "allies". Weapons they knew would be used to commit violent crimes against Mexican civilians. Innocent people would die due to those guns.
And they went ahead with it.
Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets... the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence. One e-mail noted, "958 killed in March 2010 ... most violent month since 2005." The same e-mail notes: "Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone," including "numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles."
Just what kind of heartless personality do you need to have in order to conceive such a Machiavellian scheme?
Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over. Their answer, according to Dodson, was, "If you're going to make an omelette, you've got to break some eggs."
If you're going to make an omelette, you've got to break some eggs...
Because that's ALL those innocent deaths amount to these bastards: eggs to be broken, pawns to be sacrificed in their shitty geopolitical board. Lives to be toyed with.
Another reason for Calderón's visit that I failed to mention, was the recent assassination of Jaime Zapata, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent, who along with his partner was ambushed by Los Zetas near San Luis Potosí on Feb 15 (the other agent survived).
Subsequent investigations into the death of this US agent later managed to track the murdering weapon: it had been sold in Dallas, Texas.
A more cynic person would judge Zapata's death as poetic justice. But I don't see it that way; to me his death is a tragedy, like all the other deaths that have occurred in the past years in Mexico.
They are even more tragic, because they could have been prevented. Yet they are permitted by detached government officials on both sides of the border, who seem to forget that the numbers in their briefing documents and estimation reports are more than numbers: they are human lives.
I for one, I'm eager for a change in the menu.
Now this is an interesting change in developments: Australia has decided to ban the upcoming ultra-violent video game Mortal Kombat —of 'FINISH HIM!' fame— because at the moment their classification system doesn't go beyond 18+. But on the the hand, the risqué Wii game We Dare will find no objections in getting to the retail stores:
[Via Brisbane Times]: The decision to ban Mortal Kombat while giving the risqué We Dare a PG rating has revealed some interesting details about the federal government's morality on censorship. Judging by the decisions, it appears that games promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping are acceptable for children while hardcore simulated on-screen violence is strictly off-limits.
As a seasoned gamer myself, I kind of applaud Australia's decision —not the banning part mind you, censorship is always stupid— of acknowledging the hypocrisy of the modern society, which finds human anatomy and sexuality far more objectionable than filling young kids with images of gore and violence —a fact I have to deal with constantly every time I find my 8-year-old nephew sneakingly playing Assassins Creed II on my 360 console, and whenever he and his 6-year-old sister candidly admit that their parents have already let them watch movies like Gladiator *face-palm*
[Via Educating Humanity]
Let the record show that I'm not endorsing the following video as either authentic or a hoax; just that I find it very interesting, and if fake then it would require a fairly advanced expertise in CGI graphics:
Certainly there are some red flags with the clip --the usual "shaking camera" and stepping out of the car just ready to film the object in the sky-- but nevertheless the effect of showing the UFO hiding behind the cloud formation would not be an easy one.
BTW I don't speak Portuguese, but if you speak Spanish you can kind of discern some phrases, and these guys were saying A LOT of cuss words ;)
H/T to Badeye.
[UPDATE 02/03/11] Over at Phantoms and Monsters there's an analysis of this video, and a very fleeting flaw in one frame between second 38 & 39 (took myself at least 5 attempts to spot it) seems to indicate that this clip is in fact a hoax.
Oh well... at least it sparked a very interesting thread of comments ;)