khaosworks: (Tardis)
102:44:29 Armstrong (on-board): I got a good spot (garbled).

102:44:31 Aldrin: 160 feet, 6 1/2 down.

102:44:33 Aldrin: 5 1/2 down, 9 forward. You're looking good.

102:44:40 Aldrin: 120 feet.

102:44:45 Aldrin: 100 feet, 3 1/2 down, 9 forward. Five percent (fuel remaining). Quantity light.

102:44:54 Aldrin: Okay. 75 feet. And it's looking good. Down a half, 6 forward.

102:45:02 Duke: 60 seconds (of fuel left before the 'Bingo' call).

102:45:08 Aldrin: 60 feet, down 2 1/2. (Pause) 2 forward. 2 forward. That's good.

102:45:17 Aldrin: 40 feet, down 2 1/2. Picking up some dust.

102:45:21 Aldrin: 30 feet, 2 1/2 down. (Garbled) shadow.

102:45:25 Aldrin: 4 forward. 4 forward. Drifting to the right a little. 20 feet, down a half.

102:45:31 Duke: 30 seconds (until the 'Bingo' call).

102:45:32 Aldrin: Drifting forward just a little bit; that's good. (Garbled) (Pause)

102:45:40 Aldrin: Contact Light.

102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown

102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.

102:45:45 Aldrin: ACA out of Detent.

102:45:46 Armstrong: Out of Detent. Auto.

102:45:57 Duke: We copy you down, Eagle.

102:45:58 Armstrong (on-board): Engine arm is off. (Pause) Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

We did that once back then - why can't we do that again?
khaosworks: (Uncle Sam)
200 days until Bush is out of office.

Now that's an Independence Day to get behind.
khaosworks: (Rocket)
By way of the Paleo-Future blog.

"What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years", by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr., a piece in the Ladies' Home Journal of December, 1900. It's an interesting read just to see how many things he did get right, like wireless telephones, home delivery of meals, broadcast television, colour photography, and even MRI technology.
khaosworks: (Default)
[x-posted to Vox]

Watching: The Wire, Season 3. Can't say enough good things about this series, and I'm just sorry I didn't get into it sooner. By moving to HBO, David Simon has managed to do things with this show that he never got to do with Homicide: Life On The Street, and as good as that latter show was, in some ways this is even better. It's not a typical cop show, and while good and evil certainly play their way around in the streets, it's more about the system that traps everyone who's in it. "Play or be played," says one of the characters in the first season, and no matter which side of the fence you're on, the Street or the Law, the Docks or City Hall, ultimately it's about how one is inevitably compromised by the organization you're in, from pawn to King. Middle management's pain is that you're low enough to have to listen to what people are saying, but not high enough that you can do whatever the fuck you want. By Season 3, things have settled into a familiar rhythm between the cops and the drug dealers, but the new focus is on the politics of the city, and it's turning out to be just as fierce as the street, even if it's words that are being thrown around rather than bullets. Going straight, or going legit, doesn't mean that one leaves the game — it's just trading one set of rules for another. Superb and compelling all the way, this is a show that is made to be watched on DVD.

Reading: The First World War by Hew Strachan. Trying to educate myself a bit more on this slice of history. I know much about World War II and how everyone says that World War I set the stage for it, and I know a bit about the US involvement in World War I and vaguely the standard world history line about how it started, with shifting alliances and treaty obligations pushing the nations of Europe into a collision course. Time to get to know the details.

Listening: Rhythms Del Mundo - Cuba. A Buena Vista Social Club-esque mix created for Artist Project Earth and its Natural Disaster Relief and Climate Change Awareness programmes, i.e. the 2004 tsunami and global warming. Truth be told, I just picked it up because I've been in a Latin-y kind of mood lately, and the stuff they have here isn't bad, ranging from Coldplay to a Cuban version of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and of course the obvious inclusion of "Fragilidad" by Sting; you can't really escape the man if you pick up a charity album.
khaosworks: (Robert E. Lee)
It's true! Check out this poster from 1940. Even back then, they knew the horrible truth that has been hidden from you.

Learn to protect yourself NOW )

More historical health posters at the National Institute of Health.

Particular favourites (of course I stampeded straight for the VD section. You know me so well.):

* She may be... a bag of TROUBLE - With a face like that, I'd start with Black Death rather than gonorrhea.
* SHE MAY LOOK CLEAN - BUT - I think she taught me in eighth grade.
* JUKE JOINT SNIPER - I can't decide if this is a health poster or a pulp fiction cover, maybe right next to SHE-DEVIL OF HOBOKEN. And, y'know... Lady Looks Like A Dude. I'm just saying.
* "A sailor doesn't have to prove he's a man!" - Of course not, sweetie. That's what shipmates are for.
* SMOKING SPOILS YOUR LOOKS - Actually, Brooke, in this case I don't think smoking is precisely the problem...
* FIGHT TUBERCULOSIS WITH MODERN WEAPONS - Together with "'Stamp' Out Tuberculosis: Buy Christmas Seals", I have to say that what I imagined was better than the actual poster.
khaosworks: (Robert E. Lee)
Warning: this link has large, worksafe pictures. They show an incredibly well-preserved Rolex watch ordered and received by a British POW in 1943, with documentation detailing how he eventually settled accounts after the war. I love the fact that all the letters from Rolex are signed by Rolex co-founder Hans Wildorf himself, and his exhortation that "you must not even think of settlement during the war."

The watch cost 250 Swiss francs, which Rolex pegged at £24 13s 9d when they eventually invoiced the POW in 1946. Translated into today's prices, that's £633 (which is actually pretty reasonable for a Rolex).

Remarkable piece of history. If this watch could talk...
khaosworks: (Mouse)
For those of you who've not — but for some masochistic reason wish to — read my Master's thesis, Messing with the Mouse: Copyright, Parody and the Countercultural Wars in Walt Disney v. The Air Pirates, it's now publicly available, typos and all, on the UGA Electronic Theses and Dissertations Database.

The abstract:
In 1971, Disney sued a group of underground comic artists calling themselves the Air Pirates, who published two comics portraying Walt Disney characters in sex and drug-related situations. The resulting case lasted 8 years and ended in a settlement where both sides claimed victory. This thesis uses the case to examine the development of the law of copyright and parody as a defense and demonstrate that the court tends to rule against the parodist if the work is offensive or obscene, although these are irrelevant concerns. It also examines the case itself and the cultural and personal forces motivating the parody.
Here's the link to the 2.3 MB PDF file.
khaosworks: (Chilling)
I didn't manage to cover as much ground as I wanted to in London post-con, but here are some pictures, complete with historical commentary.

Oh, have a good St. Valentine's. Massacre someone.
khaosworks: (Fort)
And you thought the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes were made up. Stalin. Stan Lee. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors )
khaosworks: (Groucho)
My Daily Show Indecision 2004 DVDs arrived in the post today, along with another package, a thick, scholarly tome of nearly a thousand pages published in 1975 which traces and analyses the history and anatomy of a literary phenomenon that stretches across all of Western culture, from the ancient Greeks to the modern day, a genre that continues to capture an indelible hold on our imaginations, from the time we hit puberty (and perhaps before that) and long into adulthood. It is a long, grand tradition that frankly, hasn't received all that much scholarship, and as far as I know, this is the only book to deal with it at such length.

It's title? "Rationale of the Dirty Joke: An Analysis of Sexual Humor" by G. Legman.

I'll be in my bunk.
khaosworks: (Spider)
Rosa Louise Parks, 1913-2005 )

"All I was doing was trying to get home from work."
khaosworks: (Robert E. Lee)
60 years ago... )
"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." - Harry S. Truman

Day of days

Jun. 7th, 2004 12:28 am
khaosworks: (Default)
60 years ago, the largest single invasion force in human history was launched against the Normandy Coast. Operation Overlord, in the end, involved more than 5,000 ships, 12,000 aircraft and over a million soldiers. It was not just a matter of hurling as much as they could against the German fortifications - it was a matter of guile as well. The Germans knew that the invasion was coming - the only question was where, and when. The Allies' Operation Fortitude had, for months, cultivated the impression that a task force was going to land along the Calais coast, the narrowest part of the English Channel between England and France. The deception used faked plans to be dropped into enemy hands, decoy vehicles whose silhouettes could be seen from the French coast, and the word that General George S. Patton would be leading this military force. The brilliant but erratic Patton was himself in disgrace with the Allied Command. However, the Germans respected skill, and assumed that the Allies would as well. To the Germans, leaving Patton out of a leadership role in an European invasion was almost unthinkable. The Allies were all too happy to take advantage of that misconception, and the name of Patton being attached to this phantom force therefore lent the fiction that much more plausibility.

The invasion was actually launched in the late night of June 5 and early morning of June 6. This was to secure strategic points inland, so that the left and right flanks of the main invasion force would be secured when they finally hit the beaches. The British sent in their 6th Airborne Division, silently moving in using gliders, to capture a bridge that spanned the river Orne, near Caen. Code-named Pegasus, the glider troops carried out their orders - three words that soldiers really want to hear: "Hold until relieved." Reinforcements through the day helped to bolster their efforts, and eventually the strains of the 6th Commandos' bagpipes were a welcome sound.

Also in the early hours of June 6, the American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were deployed by parachute around Vierville and Saint-Mère-Église. The transports carrying them in encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire - due to this and also the difficulty of navigating in the dark, the American paratroopers were scattered across a wide area. To their credit, the 101st and 82nd Airborne adjusted by forming ad hoc units of their own from whichever friendlies they could find, but many continued to fight for days behind enemy lines trying to make it back to their units.

When the main force hit the beaches, they encountered varying levels of enemy resistance. The Normandy Coast had been divided into different beachheads - Sword and Gold beaches were British responsibilities; Juno was given to the Canadians, and Omaha and Utah were handed to the Americans. As is well known by most people, the heaviest resistance was encountered at Omaha Beach, where the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions (V Corps) bore the brunt of the well-trained German 352nd Division, losing some 4,000 men before the day was out. In contrast, only 197 casualties out of 23,000 were reported at Utah, the smallest figures of any of the beachheads.

The beachheads were supposed to have been linked by the first day. This did not happen, but neither did they succumb to the inevitable German counterattacks. Working from the left flank to the right, by June 13, Utah was finally linked, forming a continuous Allied line that stretched nearly ten miles inland. Slowly and painfully, the infantry marched towards Cherbourg, through the bocages - hedgerows - that both hindered movement and provided ideal defensive positions for the Germans. However, air superiority and the destruction of the French railway lines were hindering the strength of the response, and Cherbourg surrendered on 26th June. At the same time, the British tank corps were moving in on the Caen peninsular, and by July 28th, Patton's US Third Army, now called in that the deception was no longer needed, bulldozed its way into the northwest of France. The liberation of Paris was at hand.

Operation Overlord did not go to plan - that was to be expected. As the old axiom goes, no plan ever survives contact with the enemy. The million men of Overlord were well-trained, well-drilled, and their officers able to improvise and learn as they went along, and that in the end was what told the day. Where Overlord was an unqualified success was as a symbol of international cooperation. It delivered a message to Nazi Germany that it now stood alone. With Italy gone, and the Japanese never having been able to assist with the European war; with the Russians pressing in from the East and the other countries moving in from the West, it became clear that it was only a matter of time. The Germans would continue to resist, of course, and that took its toll on the Allied armies, but as 1944 faded into 1945, the resistance became more desperate as the clock continued to mark the dying days of the Third Reich.
khaosworks: (Robert E. Lee)
60 years ago... )

"I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking." - General Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 6, 1944.
khaosworks: (Kirk)

Let's State The Really Obvious For A Change

By Mr. Terence Chua, who really should be reading about the Hatfield-McCoy feud right now

I'm sure it's nothing you've never heard before, and I'm probably going to look like a total goof for not thinking about this in detail earlier.

Some vaguely connected ramblings follow. )

December 2011

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