frankenrifle in mali

The above screencap from a BBC report on the conflict in Mali was made by @ByronDoerfer and sent to ↑C. J. Chivers, who gave a ↑first diagnosis: This gentleman, reportedly a Chadian soldier in Mali, is holding what appears to be a well-worn ↑AKM variant with a host of after-market add-ons, creating a cosmetic hybrid between the globally established Kalashnikov operating system and the modern Western military obsession with rails, sights, tactical grips and collapsing stocks. [italics emphasis mine]     […] I haven’t had time to review the kit of Chadian soldiers generally. So I can’t say whether this … Continue reading

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weapons not concealed

The ↑Kroger gun stunt sparks 2nd Amendment debate, NBC reported yesterday: Charlottesville police say the man who showed up at a Kroger grocery store with a loaded gun wanted to make a point. On Sunday, an unidentified 22-year-old man carried a loaded AR-15 into the Kroger store on Emmet Street and Hydraulic Road, sparking not only a scare for customers and employees but also a 2nd Amendment debate.     Charlottesville police drew their guns on the man after witnesses reported he brought a gun into the store. They restrained the man to ask him questions, but released him after … Continue reading

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science as servant

A 1946 advertisement for the ↑Bendix Corporation, scanned and put online by Paul Malon—↑click for larger versions, in order to be able to read all of the small text, too. The slogan ‘Creative engineering makes science your obedient servant’ not only perfectly sums up the immediate post-war era stance of absolute belief in technological feasibility, but also unmistakingly voices where science’s proper place in society should be. I maintain that the understanding of said era is quintessential for understanding our contemporary world: In present day society, the term ‘science’ has great potency. Not only is ‘science’ more or less equivalent … Continue reading

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what is said?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #49 We are in an officers’ mess. Two senior members of the flight personnel are having a conversation while playing pool. What is said in this conversation?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be … Continue reading

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Favorite what is this?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #46 What is the tiny shiny artefact displayed by the hands? From which movie does the screencap stem, and what role in the plot of that movie does the artefact play?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your … Continue reading

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space aircraft carriers

Conceptual art for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s airborne aircraft carrier, the ‘↑Helicarrier,’ as seen in ‘↑The Avengers‘ (Whedon 2012). ↑Christopher Weuve, among other things a naval analyst and science fiction geek, ↑talked with Michael Peck of Foreign Policy about the dialectics between naval warfare and space warfare as depicted in science fiction. When Peck asked, “Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?” Weuve answered: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensman novels from the … Continue reading

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more nuclear follies

  This is a kind of a follow-up to Japanese artist ↵Isao Hashimoto’s chilly time-lapse map depicting the 2053 nuclear explosions having taken place between 1945 and 1998. I again embedded it above because it’s quite a testament. When I watched these horrific quarter of an hour for the first time at a certain point I thought: They are speaking with each other. There are segments in the animation when suddenly the frequency of nuclear blasts e.g. in the USA speedens up. After a short pause the answer comes as a rapid succession of nuclear fireworks within the Soviet Union. … Continue reading

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fun times ahead

According to Kaspersky ↵Stuxnet has ↑an heir. Here are two snippets from Wired’s report on it—mind the rhetorics: “It’s pretty fantastic and incredible in complexity,” said Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab. […]     “It took us half-a-year to analyze Stuxnet,” he said. “This is 20-times more complicated. It will take us 10 years to fully understand everything.” To my cyberpunk-infested mind this sounds as if some mysterious AI has written the thing, maybe even ↵Colossus himself … And if ↑this is true as well, there for sure are fun times ahead. … Continue reading

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sentry gun redux

Some things won’t lose their fascination—especially when a certain morbidness is involved, as it seems. Just the day before yesterday boingboing’s ↑Mark Frauenfelder pointed to Bob Rudolph’s ↑project sentry gun, an open-source sentry gun controller. Well, seven years ago ↵on xirdalium I reported Aaron Rasmussen’s ‘quintessential sentry gun.’ As far as I can see all his websites meanwhile have vanished—I only found the 2006 article ↑Sentry gun sees, computes and shoots at BU [Boston University] Today, which gives an idea towards where Aaron may have headed, plus refound his original document [lavishly illustrated] ↓How we built the quintessential sentry gun … Continue reading

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what is embarrassing?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #18 Why are the two gentlemen looking a bit off-balance, what is embarrassing in the scene depicted?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution … Continue reading

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