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16 Sep 21:07

The little-known Soviet mission to rescue a dead space station

by Ars Staff

FANTASTIC article.

The view of Salyut 7 from Soyuz T-13 after undocking and beginning the journey home.

The following story happened in 1985 but subsequently vanished into obscurity. Over the years, many details have been twisted, others created. Even the original storytellers got some things just plain wrong. After extensive research, writer Nickolai Belakovski is able to present, for the first time to an English-speaking audience, the complete story of Soyuz T-13’s mission to save Salyut 7, a fascinating piece of in-space repair history.

It’s getting dark, and Vladimir Dzhanibekov is cold. He has a flashlight, but no gloves. Gloves make it difficult to work, and he needs to work quickly. His hands are freezing, but it doesn’t matter. His crew’s water supplies are limited, and if they don’t fix the station in time to thaw out its water supply, they’ll have to abandon it and go home, but the station is too important to let that happen. Quickly, the sun sets. Working with the flashlight by himself is cumbersome, so Dzhanibekov returns to the ship that brought them to the station to warm up and wait for the station to complete its pass around the night side of the Earth. [1]

He’s trying to rescue Salyut 7, the latest in a series of troubled yet increasingly successful Soviet space stations. Its predecessor, Salyut 6, finally returned the title of longest manned space mission to the Soviets, breaking the 84-day record set by Americans on Skylab in 1974 by 10 days. A later mission extended that record to 185 days. After Salyut 7’s launch into orbit in April 1982, the first mission to the new station further extended that record to 211 days. The station was enjoying a relatively trouble-free start to life. [4]

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16 Sep 17:23

Tesla wins right to sell directly to consumers in Massachusetts

by Cyrus Farivar
Steven Michael

Massachusetts’ highest court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers’ Association against Tesla Motors. The ruling paves the way for direct-to-consumer Tesla sales in the Bay State.

The Supreme Judicial Court decision, which was handed down on Monday and upheld a lower court’s ruling, found that existing car dealers lacked standing. The plaintiffs had claimed that Tesla was in violation of state law that prevents a car manufacturer from also owning a car dealership—so because Tesla could sell directly, it had an unfair advantage. But that law was intended to protect dealerships from abuse by their own brand manufacturers and distributors, not unrelated manufacturers.

"Contrary to the plaintiff’s assertion, however, the type of competitive injury they describe between unaffiliated entities is not within the statute’s area of concern," Justice Margot Botsford wrote in the unanimous decision.

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16 Sep 17:22

Win The Beatles In Mono 14-LP Vinyl Box Set

by Stereogum

For anyone who swears by the original mono versions of the Beatles catalog you are in for a treat. This month will see the release of a vinyl box set containing official remasters of the band’s mono albums, and we have one that you can win. This is the same collection of albums as the Beatles In Mono CD collection that was released in 2009, however extra care has been taken for the move to vinyl. The remasters were designed to be as authentic as possible by not using digital equipment. The new records were cut by engineer Sean Magee in the Abbey Road Studios using the same technology and machines from the 1960s. This set includes a 108-page book featuring new essays about the albums and a detailed mastering history by Kevin Howlett. All together the set would normally run you $375 dollars before shipping. Below you can watch a video about the mastering process and read what albums are included along with our sweepstakes entry instructions.


16 Sep 14:24

These Vintage ‘Game Of Thrones’ Travel Posters Will Have You Packing For Winterfell And King’s Landing

by ryanuproxx

Although I don't know why this post is alternately tagged "Harry Potter" and "Lord of the Rings."

Looking to class up your den or dorm room without sacrificing your nerd credibility? Then I’ve got the Etsy shop for you. The Green Dragon Inn is full of maps and 1920s-style travel posters for locations depicted in Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and more.

The Game of Thrones posters (see below) are particularly stunning. You might be asking yourself, “Of all the locations from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series to use for travel posters, why did The Green Dragon Inn use un-exotic places like Winterfell and The Wall?” And the obvious answer is: “I don’t know, maybe because they look totally badass on posters?”

Check them out:

The Wall


King’s Landing

Filed under: TV Tagged: ART, game of thrones, HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS, POSTERS
16 Sep 11:54

The Directors Of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Out The Punisher As One Of The Movie’s Heroes

by Nathan Birch



Marvel Comics

So, here’s an oddity you may have noticed (but probably didn’t) while watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier — not once, but twice a bright yellow Penske truck plays a major role in the movie. First a truck fitting that description distracts the bad guys, allowing Nick Fury to escape from certain peril, then later in the movie a very similar truck slams into the villainous Agent Sitwell.


Marvel Studios

The mysterious yellow truck in question. 

Well, according to Winter Soldier co-director Joe Russo, that was the same truck both times and it was driven by a certain somebody with a penchant for skull t-shirts…

“The man who drives that truck is very highly trained. He thinks on his own terms. He’s got a plan and a very specific skill set.”

Okay, okay, so it’s pretty obvious Joe’s statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek and, technically, he could have been describing Liam Neeson’s character from Taken, but still, wouldn’t it be amazing if this was all part of Marvel Studios’ elaborate 15-year plan? Every Marvel movie from now on could feature a yellow Penske truck saving the day in some roundabout way, all leading up to Frank Castle finally stepping out from behind the wheel in Avengers 5 in 2027 or whatever. You have a golden opportunity here, Marvel, don’t blow it.

via ComicBook

Filed under: GammaSquad, Movies Tagged: CAPTAIN AMERICA, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Comics, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Movies, Punisher, The Punisher
15 Sep 16:19

Here’s A Glorious Yelp Review For Brooklyn’s Taco Santo

by isaacand

Best Yelp review ever?

Taco Santo

Taco Santo

Last Sunday a man named Ross visited Taco Santo in Brooklyn, New York, a little Mexican place famous for, you guessed it, tacos. At some point during Ross’s meal, an ice cream truck made its way in front of the restaurant. That’s when this happened.

Yelp Review


I don’t know what I’d do if a restaurant left me by myself. I’d like to think I’d act responsibly and not turn the kitchen into an all-you-eat-buffet, but let’s be honest, NOPE. That’s not true at all. I’d dive head first into that vat of bleu cheese and sport the world’s biggest boner.

What?! Like you wouldn’t.

Also, this is the best Yelp review that has ever been written. This is not up for debate.


Filed under: Media, Web Culture Tagged: TACOS, YELP, Yelp review
13 Sep 13:24

First Look at John Wick with Keanu Reeves


Okey doke.

Lionsgate Films has released an official trailer for director Chad Stahelski's upcoming action thriller John Vick (2014), starring Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe, Bridget Moynahan, and Ian McShane. The film is set to open in theaters across the nation on October 24th....

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12 Sep 20:25

Kingdom of Heaven: Ultimate Blu-ray Edition


I've said this before and I'll say it again: Kingdom of Heaven is the ONLY movie I have ever seen where the Director's cut is actually better - and I mean WAY better - than the theatrical version. I'll be picking this up when I sell some blood.

From visionary director Sir Ridley Scott comes a cinematic masterpiece with this 2-Disc Blu-ray Edition that includes all three versions of the film — the Director's Cut, Director's Cut Roadshow Version and Original Theatrical Version — all presented in high definition, plus over nine hours of in-depth special features, including a full-length documentary that takes you on the path from pre-production to release....

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12 Sep 20:23

Alien: 35th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition


No new transfer? Forget this. Might as well just get the Alien boxed set (all four movies $38 on Amazon) instead of this double-dip.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced that it will celebrate the 35th anniversary of acclaimed director Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece Alien with an all-new Blu-ray edition of the film, which will be available for purchase on October 7th....

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12 Sep 15:05

The New Rambo Movie Has Been Given The Mysterious Subtitle: ‘Last Blood’

by heatheruproxx


Getty Image

Nipples, guns, veins

This may be out of the box, but I’ve always kinda felt that the Rambo series lacked a certain . . . refinement. The original Rambo included the phrase: “Don’t push it – or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe!” (You go, girl!) Subsequent Rambos didn’t exactly knock out their GREs, and the latest rumor (according to is that Rambo 5 will be called Rambo: Last Blood.

It might take you a minute, but think about it: 1982’s Rambo was called First Blood. So, following a very arcane chain of logic, it makes sense that the fifth installment would be called Last Blood. Who knows if this Blood will be the last Blood, but given the film’s strong commercial performance  (the 2008 production earned $113.2 million worldwide on a $50 million dollar budget), it’s only fair to expect a masterpiece.

Rambo 5 will be written by our modern day Thomas Hardy, Stallone himself. And while details of the plot remain nebulous, a former press release stated:

“With Rambo 5, Stallone returns in his iconic role. This time he goes up against a Mexican cartel. Stallone describes the new Rambo as his version of ‘No Country for Old Men.’”

I’m very curious to see a Stallone riff on the Coen film, but I imagine more . . . limbs? And lots of . . . blood? Other rumors have surfaced that Last Blood will be based on Huggins’ novel “Hunter” (about a killer beast capable of destroying civilization ITSELF), but the rumors are irrelevant, since no one who goes to see Rambo expects fine-tuned narrative complexity (“I’ll give you a war you won’t believe!”).

Last Blood is also the name of a Rambo-based flash game. You can play it at work right here.

Filed under: Film Drunk, Movies Tagged: 'Last Blood', Mexican cartels, Rambo, RAMBO 5, SYLVESTER STALLONE
12 Sep 14:55

Philips debuts headphones that connect via Apple’s Lightning port

by Megan Geuss

Hmmmmm. I wonder if the digital output (lightning port) supplies bitstreamed raw audio information that a processor in the headphones decodes, or if the audio is decoded on-board the computer and sent to the headphones as pre-processed audio. If it's the former, how does power get to the headphones? Does the lightning port have a power channel as well as data channels? If it's the latter, what processing takes place to transfer 48KHz worth of audio data to the headphones? And is 48KHz so much of an improvement over 44.1KHz that they needed to discard the decades-old headphone standard? I REQUIRE MORE INFORMATION.

On Wednesday, Dutch consumer electronics maker Philips and its subsidiary Woox Innovations announced the new Fidelio M2L headphones, which plug directly into the Lightning port on Apple devices. The headphones are the first third-party audio accessory to use the Lightning port, and they may have even beaten Apple to the punch. Apple talked about Lightning-connected headphones at WWDC in June and bought headphone maker Beats earlier in the summer, leading some to speculate that such an accessory was in the works.

In June, Apple expanded its Made for iPhone (MFi) program for third-party accessory developers to include the possibility of Lighting port headphones. The specification allows those devices to receive 48kHz digital stereo output and send 48kHz digital mono input.

By avoiding the headphone jack on newer iPhones and iPads, Philips says that it can provide “high resolution audio.” UK reviews site Pocket Lint describes the headphones as delivering “24-bit Digital to Analogue Conversion (DAC) and amplification in the headphones themselves.”

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12 Sep 12:17

The Japanese ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Commercials Are The Best In The World

by Ashley Burns

Wacky Japanese!

Just when you think that Guardians of the Galaxy couldn’t get any better than it already is, director James Gunn pointed everyone’s attention this week to these commercials that have been airing in Japan, leading up to this week’s premiere of the summer’s biggest movie. I don’t know what is being said in these commercials, and I don’t really care, because the intros to the three separate character spots for Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Star-Lord are just about the most wonderful things that you’ll see in any movie trailers this year.

Hell, the Rocket ad alone deserves some kind of movie award recognition, because it not only made it seem like this movie was all about a talking raccoon with a machine gun, but it made me want to see that movie. At the very least, I have to go see Guardians for a fourth time now. Thanks, Japan!

Hilarious Japanese trailers for #GuardiansoftheGalaxy. I love these. Opens there this week.

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) September 8, 2014

Guardians Japan


Filed under: Film Drunk, GammaSquad, Movies Tagged: CHRIS PRATT, GROOT, Guardians of the Galaxy, JAMES GUNN, JAPAN, Marvel Studios, ROCKET RACCOON, TRAILERS
11 Sep 23:27

Lana Del Rey – “Ultraviolence (Datsik Remix)”

by Stereogum

I'm not a fan of Lana Del Rey at ALL, but this remix is AWESOME.

Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence wasn’t just a huge improvement over her debut, it’s also one of our favorite albums of the year so far. Now the title track has been given an EDM remix by the popular producer Datsik. It keeps her vocals pretty much intact, but puts them in a very different context. Listen to it below.


11 Sep 23:26

AP Report: Law Enforcement Sent The NFL The Ray Rice Video In April

by isaacand


Roger Goodell


And in one tweet, the whole thing came crashing down for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. He may gotten through the initial onslaught, but he’ll be hard pressed to get through this. Not after he went on CBS news and assured everyone the NFL had no knowledge of the Ray Rice domestic abuse video.

The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”

Bye Roger. Bring on the pineapple in a top hat.

Filed under: Media, Sports Tagged: NFL, RAY RICE, Ray Rice video, roger goodell
11 Sep 23:24

Here’s An Official Look At The New Batmobile From ‘Batman V. Superman’

by Andrew Roberts

We posted the earlier unofficial set photos that revealed the new batmobile from Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Feelings were mixed and some were partial to the hulking tumbler from Christoper Nolan’s Dark Knight series, forcing Zack Snyder to release this official photo (larger here) of Batman’s ride.

What do you think? It looks like it mixes the best of the sleek classic style from the older movies with the militarized tough from the Nolan films. It’s hard to say without seeing it in action, but I think I’m still in the former camp. Like some of you said in the comments, it was really cool to see Batman tool around in a freaking tank.

This official picture is a lot nicer than those set pics though. I’ll give Snyder that.

(Via Zack Snyder)

Filed under: GammaSquad, Movies Tagged: Batman, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, DC COMICS, Official Pics, ZACK SNYDER
11 Sep 22:15

The Kinks to Release Retrospective Comp With Liner Notes by David Bowie, Reissue Muswell Hillbillies

by Jeremy Gordon

Reissues from Zeppelin and The Kinks, and a comp from Bowie. 2014 is the year the archives burst open.

The Kinks to Release Retrospective Comp With Liner Notes by David Bowie, Reissue Muswell Hillbillies

The Kinks have announced a series of archival releases in honor of the 50th anniversary of their first singles. David Bowie will write the liner notes for the two-disc retrospective The Essential Kinks, out via Legacy on October 14.

"I've never heard a Kinks song that I didn't like," Bowie wrote in the liner notes. "Of course, from their noisy and brash beginnings, the Kinks have come to stand for some of the most enduring and heart-clutching pop of all time. They are in the gut of every British song-writer who followed them and are indisputably a cornerstone of everything pop and rock. I love ‘em. The world loves ‘em." Check out the tracklist for the compilation here.

Legacy will also release an expanded, remastered reissue of 1971's Muswell Hillbillies on November 10. It appends nine bonus tracks to the original album, along with a DVD of TV appearances from 1972 that were never released in North America. You can check out the tracklist here. It will be followed by a double LP vinyl reissue later this year. 

On September 9, Legacy Recordings digitally released remastered versions of 16 Kinks albums. That batch included every studio album from Muswell Hillbillies to 1984's Word of Mouth, along with the 1976 greatest hits album Celluloid Heroes, the live album One for the Road from 1980, Ray Davies' 1985 solo album Return to Waterloo, and the 1986 two-disc compilation album Come Dancing With the Kinks/The Best of the Kinks 1977-86.

Earlier this year, the Kinks discussed the possibility of reuniting.

Watch the Kinks perform "Muswell Hillbilly" in 1972:

10 Sep 21:42

First Look at The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)


Uh, I usually discount this remade-from-1970's-slasher stuff as trash, but this actually looks like a decent horror flick.
*From the producers of American Horror Story.

MGM's Orion Pictures has released the first official trailer for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's film The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), starring Addison Timlin, Gary Cole, Spencer Treat Clark, Ed Lauter, and Veronica Cartwright. The film is set to open in select theaters across the United States in October....

Read full article at
10 Sep 18:49

This Slow-Motion Look At The Streets Of New York Is Some Mighty Fine Eye Porn

by Cajun Boy

Now that is really, really pretty.

Kudos to filmmaker Tim Sessler — with the internet and the proliferation of digital photography, I didn’t think it possible that I’d see another short film capturing life on the streets of New York that actually impressed the hell out of me. I thought I’d seen them all. I was wrong. This is simply splendid. I particularly enjoyed the slow-motion shot of the hand ball guy hitting the ball. Enjoy.

(Via Kottke)

Filed under: Web Culture Tagged: NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY, short films, tim sessler
10 Sep 13:33

You’ll Want To March Straight Into King’s Landing After Hearing Tywin Lannister’s World Cup Of Rugby Speech

by isaacand

YEAAAHHHHRRRRRGGGHHH RUGBY! What a speech! I need to learn what rugby is and how it is played!

If you’re going to pump up the 2015 World Cup of Rugby in England, then hell yes, you better use a Game of Thrones character, hell yes, you better use Charles Dance, a.k.a Tywin Lannister. The man who always pays his debts stars in this promotional video ahead of next year’s festivities. In a room full of rugby players, Lannister screams, “we are going to raise the roof on every stadium for the northeast to the southwest.”

Those are the kind of words that kingdom’s are founded on. Those are the kinds of words that make me want to grab a crossbow and shoot the very first person I see on a toilet. Or something like that. And I just realized we have to wait seven months for Season 5. I’m not going to make it you guys.


Filed under: Sports, TV Tagged: 2015 Rugby World Cup, CHARLES DANCE, game of thrones, TYWIN LANNISTER
09 Sep 21:45

New David Bowie Songs Featured On Greatest Hits Comp Nothing Has Changed

by Stereogum

Fascinating. I'm interested in this because I actually already have a Bowie compilation - 2002's Best of Bowie - but I've never been satisfied with the sound quality. I wonder if this will be remixed/remastered at all, or if this is just a ported-over cash grab.

David Bowie has announced the release of a greatest hits compilation called Nothing Has Changed, named after Heathen album opener “Sunday.” The set is being released in honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Bowie recording and will span from his first single, “Liza Jane,” all the way through new songs that will be put out specifically for this collection. The two new songs (“Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)” and “Tis A Pity She’s A Whore”) are going to be released as a limited edition 10″ and digital download. The compilation will also feature the previously unreleased Toy outtake “Let Me Sleep Beside You,” the CD debut of formerly download-only “Your Turn To Drive,” and a 2001 rerecording of 1971 rarity “Shadow Man.” Artwork for the collection will be unveiled in the coming weeks, but that’s some teaser art above. The greatest hits album will be available as a 3CD deluxe edition, a 2CD standard edition, a double vinyl, and as a digital download. You can view more details, along with a tracklist, here.


09 Sep 21:29

iPod classic is dead, and the 30-pin connector along with it

by Casey Johnston


This is the story of a click wheel.
Jacqui Cheng

When returned after the event announcing Apple's new iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch, one of its longest-standing members was gone: the iPod classic. Along with it goes the 30-pin dock connector, marking a complete transition to the Lightning connector for Apple's entire mobile device fleet in exactly two years.

The iPod classic was part of Apple's lineup starting in October 23, 2001. The product hadn't been updated since the 6th generation version was released in 2009; over the last five years, it has existed as a single solitary $249 160GB model.

Now that Apple is able to offer iPhones in 128GB solid-state storage options, the iPod classic would have felt particularly redundant as a product. It was also the last existing product not to use the Lightning connector that Apple introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012.

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09 Sep 20:31

NFL is about to lose its fight to save TV blackout rules

by Jon Brodkin

The 40-year-old federal rules that support the National Football League's TV blackout policy could finally be eliminated this month. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today scheduled a vote for September 30 on "a proposal to get rid of the FCC’s blackout rule once and for all," he wrote today.

"There is no better example of an FCC rule that has outlived its usefulness and deserves to be eliminated than our sports blackout rule," Wheeler wrote. "In 1975, the Commission enacted rules barring cable from airing a game that has been blacked out on the local television station because it was not sold out—strengthening the NFL’s blackout policy. Today, the rules make no sense at all."

Pro football doesn't need the government's help to boost ticket sales, "and we at the FCC shouldn’t be complicit in preventing sports fans from watching their favorite teams on TV," he continued.

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09 Sep 20:25

1994 For The Win: The 20 Greatest Things To Happen In Pop Culture 20 Years Ago

by Josh Kurp

Oh my god, this whole list. This whole list.

pulp fiction 1994

Miramax Films

The thing you associate the most with any given year says a lot about where you were during that time. Some people might recall 1993 as the year they got married or had a baby or graduated college; others connect it with Jurassic Park because they were six years old at the time and OMG LOOK AT THAT T-RED. It’s tricky circling only ONE thing in 1994, though, because SO many great things happened in pop culture then. Here are 20 of the best movies, albums, and TV shows to either come out or premiere 20 years ago.

1. Illmatic by Nas

illmatic nas


Release Date: April 19th
What Else Was Happening That Month? April 1994 was a great month for music, and also the worst. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, the last consensus ROCK STAR, shot and killed himself on April 5th; a public vigil was held five days later. Meanwhile, the Offspring released the multi-platinum Smash on April 8th (it’s still the highest selling indie album of all-time), while the otherwise unrelated Hole and Superchunk released their career masterpieces in Live Through This and Foolish around the same time.

2. Ready to Die by the Notorious B.I.G.

ready to die

Bad Boy

Release Date: September 13th
What Else Was Happening That Month? September 13th is no November 9, 1993, when both Midnight Marauders and Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) dropped, but it’s a sneaky good day for music. Biggie is obviously the highlight, but Built to Spill’s There’s Nothing Wrong with Love and They Might Be Giants’ John Henry also came out that day. Elsewhere in the month, you have a classic release from Sugar (File Under: Easy Listening), Kylie Minogue’s titular debut, Thug Life: Volume 1, and R.E.M.’s Monster. Also, Under the Table and Dreaming, which is a big deal for Starburns.

3. The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails



Release Date: March 8th
What Else Was Happening That Month? There’s not a more quintessentially 1990s day than March 8th, when The Downward Spiral AND Soundgarden’s Superunknown taught an entire generation of angst-heads to f*ck like an animal.

4. The Blue Album by Weezer

weezer blue album


Release Date: May 10th
What Else Was Happening That Month? There was a little something for everyone this May. Swamp Ophelia by Indigo Girls for lesbians and mothers; Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star by Sonic Youth for scene kids in New York; Ill Communication by Beastie Boys for bratty rap fans; Diary by Sunny Real Estate for self-loathing white people; The Very Best of Kenny G for those in need of an ironic Christmas present; and Seal II for fans of the greatest song of all-time, “Kiss From a Rose.”

5. Dookie by Green Day

dookie green day


Release Date: February 1st
What Else Was Happening That Month? While the Fugees where Blunted on Reality, the Reality Bites soundtrack spun the bottle. (It also includes one of the few U2 songs that doesn’t make me want to bash my head with a sack of potatoes, “All I Want Is You.”) Jawbreaker also got their 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, but whatever, that has nothing to do with Juliana Hatfield.

6. MTV Unplugged In New York by Nirvana

nirvana mtv


Release Date: November 1st
What Else Was Happening That Month? The first day of November 1994 was a who’s who of big names in the music industry. Nirvana’s Unplugged is the best of the bunch, but other releases included the Black Crowes’ controversial Amorica, an Aerosmith compilation, Willie Nelson’s inessential Healing Hands of Time, Tom Petty’s beautiful solo album Wildflowers, Megadeth’s followup to their mainstream breakthrough Youthanasia, AND Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas. I take it back: that album is more of a must-own than Nirvana’s because it includes “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Sorry, Kurt.

7. Resurrection by Common



Release Date: October 25th
What Else Was Happening That Month? Resurrection is Common at his best, but the same compliment can’t be paid to Madonna, whose Bedtime Stories, which also came out that October, is one of the worst albums in her lengthy discography. If you’re looking for something that’s actually worth listening to from this month, check out Suede’s Dog Man Star or the Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot.

8. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement

crooked rain pavement


Release Date: February 14th
What Else Was Happening That Month? See the Dookie entry.

9. Dummy by Portishead

portishead dummy

Go! Beat

Release Date: August 22nd
What Else Was Happening That Month? Well, I turned seven years old, but for some reason, my parents didn’t preorder 6 Feet Deep by Gravediggaz, Come by Prince, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Definitely Maybe by Oasis, or the Natural Born Killers soundtrack for me. I may have gotten Boyz II Men’s II, though, which is kind of creepy in retrospect.

10. Bee Thousand by Guided by Voices



Release Date: June 20th
What Else Was Happening That Month? Aaliyah made an instant impression with her debut Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, while Da Brat taught the world how to get Funkdafied. John Mellencamp also put out something called Dance Naked, but no.

Filed under: Movies, Music, TV Tagged: 1994, common, E.R., ed wood, Friends, GREEN DAY, guided by voices, nas, PAVEMENT, PORTISHEAD, PULP FICTION, SPACE GHOST, THE CRITIC, THE LION KING, THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G., WEEZER
09 Sep 13:19

A Charity Makes Children Superheroes With Prosthetic Wolverine Claws

by danuproxx

E-nabling The Future is a charity dedicated to 3D-printing and donating prosthetic hands for children who can’t afford them. The story behind the charity is great in of itself and will warm all but the coldest and blackest of hearts. And the neat idea one volunteer had will take care of the rest.

Essentially, he had the idea to make the kids superheroes by giving them Wolverine claws. It’s actually a much simpler design than it sounds; the hands don’t pop the claws, they’re simply one solid piece that can be attached and removed by using Velcro. He even built the hand using the traditional colors of the Wolverine… well, the Wolverines, as he’s a UM fan, but it worked out well. And no, they’re not sharp; keep in mind the goal of the charity, here.

It’s a nice touch not least because as anybody who’s worked with kids can tell you, it’s the little things that make it for them. A prosthetic hand will feel a lot cooler to a kid when you can make an argument for being the best there is at what they do with it.

Want to pitch in? Here’s the volunteer page. There’s nothing quite like being a massive nerd and ensuring a child has a better life at the same time.

Filed under: GammaSquad Tagged: CHARITY, children's charities, COOL, e-nabling the future, Marvel, Prosthetics, WOLVERINE
09 Sep 11:48

Robert Plant: lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar

by Stuart Berman

BRILLIANT first single off this record. I'm interested to hear more.

Among the pantheon of grizzled rock ‘n’ roll survivors, Robert Plant doesn’t enjoy the same iconoclastic reputation as, say, Neil Young or Tom Waits, even though his three-decade-plus journey as a solo artist has been every bit as unpredictable and tangential. And perhaps the reason for that is, in Plant’s case, the refusal to rest on his laurels has made him not more confrontational an artist but more congenial. From the synth-smoothed pop of his 1980s albums to the deep-seated obsession with late-’60s psych-folk that flourished on 2002’s Dreamland to his dust-up with bluegrass belle Allison Krauss on 2007’s Grammy-winning Raising Sand, Plant has seemed almost embarrassed by the proto-metal bombast and legacy of lechery (not to mention the orgasmic, cathedral-shattering shrieks) that defined his ’70s tenure in Led Zeppelin. In recent years, he’s come to resemble the golden god who’s fallen down to earth, using his enduring star power to humbly pay cover-song reverence to the unsung heroes (Townes Van Zandt, the Incredible String Band, Arthur Lee) he feels should be just as famous as he is, while educating himself on everything from Malian music to Bristol-school beat science. So while the recent round of Led Zeppelin reissues has been answered by a new album from Robert Plant’s old band, it’s not the one that made him famous.

For his first studio album in four years (and Nonesuch debut), Plant is backed by the Sensational Space Shifters, a retooled version of the Strange Sensation band that supported him from 2001-2007. It’s an odd assemblage of U.K. rock lifers that includes a pair of Portishead associates (keyboardist Justin Baggot and bassist Billy Fuller, currently a member of Geoff Barrow’s Beak>), Jah Wobble/Brian Eno collaborator Justin Adams, and the guitarist from Britpop also-rans Cast (Liam “Skin” Tyson). However, while only Plant’s name appears on the cover of lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, the album is a collaborative, often improvised effort that’s defined as much by Adams’ production work with Tuareg blues rockers Tinariwen and Gambian musician Juldeh Camara—who’s since joined the Space Shifters ranks—as by the whims of the group’s goldilocked frontman.

So for those who worried Plant was settling into a roots-rock comfort zone post-Raising Sand—a theory reinforced by a move to Austin and reports he would only reunite with Jimmy Page on acoustic material—Lullaby reasserts his sense of globe-trotting adventure while retaining the low-key elegance of his post-millennial output. While the song rarely remains the same for Plant, the methodology does: Really, what he’s doing here stays true to the original spirit of Led Zeppelin—i.e., retrofitting Depression-era folk and blues for contemporary audiences—in a 21st-century globalized, WiFi-accelerated context, bringing together sounds archaic and modern, rustic and exotic, visceral and vaporous. But after years spent reinterpreting the work of others, Lullaby sees Plant stepping up with his first batch of original songs in nearly a decade, answering his band’s derring-do with some of the most bravely confessional writing of his career.

Recorded in the wake of a failed relationship with folk singer Patty Griffin—Plant’s foil in his Cajun-spiced Band of Joy revival from 2011—and a retreat from his temporary home in Texas back to the Black Country, Lullaby doesn’t readily announce itself as a break-up album. It begins with a radical reworking of the 1940s standard "Little Maggie" that essentially serves as a warm-up demonstration of the Space Shifters’ pancultural panache, keying on the percussive fingerpicking of the Stanley Brothers version and translating it into stuttering breakbeats, fuzz-covered synth pulses, and the disorienting drone of Camara’s ritti, a one-stringed West African instrument that produces a high-pitched squeal halfway between a violin and clarinet. And with Plant adopting an unobtrusive, airy vocal presence amid the dizzying whirr, it’s easy to initially overlook the cover’s true function: to thematically foreshadow the Plant-penned tales of lost love and suitcase-packed new beginnings that follow.

Ironically, for an album recorded on Plant’s home turf, Lullaby feels more aesthetically informed by his travels away from it, with the Space Shifters’ free-ranging, continent-hopping sound resembling a whirlwind highlight reel from which Plant coaxes moments of quiet reflection. There are coy nods to his past: "Pocketful of Golden" shares its opening line with Zeppelin’s totemic "Thank You", though its heady sway more closely resembles Plant’s 1983 hit "In the Mood" given a bellydancer spin. And "Poor Howard" joins his equally impoverished buddy Tom in Plant’s canon of winsome countrified shuffles (and revives the "pretty little girl with a red dress" archetype of Dreamland’s "Red Dress" in the process). "Turn It Up", meanwhile, is the Space Shifters’ chance to get the Led out, its bluesy churn resembling a swamp-covered "Four Sticks" in its heaviest moments, but Plant cheekily uses the moment to address the plight of a veteran artist who still gets the majority of his airplay from records he made 40 years ago: “I’m stuck inside the radio/ Turn it on, and let me out!”

Inevitably, with such a free-ranging mandate, there are times where the Space Shifters’ melting pot yields an indistinct gruel: "Embrace Another Fall" is Lullaby’s most epically scaled track—loading up on ominous orchestral textures, a ritualistic drum rumble, arena-rockin’ guitar fireworks, and a grafted-on passage of an ancient Welsh folk song, "Marwnad yr Ehedydd", courtesy of guest vocalist Julie Murphy—but winds up sounding like some late-’90s chillout-comp castaway. Similarly, the closing "Arbaden", another reworking of "Little Maggie" to bookend the opener, ends the album on an unsatisfying, incomplete note, with Plant seemingly unsure of how the song’s melody fits into its percussive, synth-tweaked groove, only for the track to fade out inconsequentially before everyone can get on the same page.

But Lullaby boasts several striking moments delivered free of winks or wanks, with the Space Shifters providing subtle illumination to Plant’s darkest hour on the plaintive, quietly devastating piano ballad "A Stolen Kiss", and a crystalline Byrds/Velvets jangle to the melancholic "House of Love", both of which candidly address his split from Griffin. And while they may not be fuelled by the same sense of longing and regret, the highlands-bound hymn "Rainbow" and the shimmering, paisley-patterned pop of "Somebody There" present golden opportunities to savor Plant’s ageless, eminently graceful voice—especially given that such opportunities appear to be running out. As he recently told The Independent, lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar could very well spell the end of his “musical wanderlust,” claiming the album represents the purest synthesis of his myriad explorations over the years. And if not all of Lullaby’s fusion experiments succeed, there’s enough inspired alchemy here to earn Plant the right to bring it on home.

08 Sep 19:40

Rocket And Groot Re-Imagined As Calvin And Hobbes Is Pretty Much Perfect

by Kris Maske

Artist Mike S. Miller has taken pop culture’s fascination with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket and Groot to it’s next logical place by merging the pair with the eternally beloved Calvin and Hobbes. It’s almost too good a fit. I want a Sunday comic strip and Saturday morning cartoon in the works, like yesterday.

Find out more how you can order prints of the below variations on his Facebook page.

Mike S. Miller Art Facebook via Geek Tyrant

Filed under: GammaSquad, Web Culture Tagged: ART, CALVIN AND HOBBES, GROOT, Guardians of the Galaxy, ROCKET RACCOON
08 Sep 19:19

John Oliver Celebrates Back-To-School Season By Laying Into Student Loans And For-Profit Colleges

by dguproxx

Immaculately landscaped college campuses around the country are buzzing with the sounds of teenagers shuffling toward classrooms after a full night of binge-drinking in wildly unsanitary conditions (“The ball hit the floor. Dip it in that gross lukewarm water before throwing it into someone’s beer”), which means two things:

  • Back to school season is upon us.
  • The timing is perfect for John Oliver, fresh off a two week hiatus, to lay into the student loan industry and predatory for-profit colleges.

And lay into them he does, devoting his latest extended chunk to all the ways our nation’s education-seeking youth has been screwed, is being screwed, and will continue to be screwed. (He also manages to work in the audiotape of LBJ telling the Haggar Clothing Company that he needs more room in his pants due to discomfort in his balls and “bunghole.” This will never not be funny.) The majority of the segment focuses on for-profit colleges, for reasons that make perfect sense once he gets going, but this was probably my favorite line of the whole bit:

“Student debt is like HPV. If you go to college, you’re almost certainly going to get it. And if you do, it will follow you for the rest of your life.”

So have fun at school, kids!

Filed under: TV Tagged: HBO, JOHN OLIVER, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, student debt
07 Sep 22:33

This Volcanic Eruption Is So Powerful, It Even Causes Nearby Clouds To Scurry Away In Fear

by michelleuproxx


Just when you thought you’d seen it all in terms of epic volcanic eruptions, a piece of footage like this surfaces to leave you in total awe. See how the booming explosion of Mount Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea literally sends clouds scurrying away and delivers a shock wave to an offshore boat. Wowzers.

Via Sploid

Filed under: News, Upcoming, Web Culture Tagged: mother nature, Papua New Guinea, volcanic eruption, volcanoes
05 Sep 20:47

Meme Watch: Unnecessary Explosions Added To GIFs Make Everything More Rad

by ludditeandroid

Oh, how I laughed and laughed.

The magnificent GIF above is part of an outstanding new trend of adding unnecessary explosions to popular GIFs. Man, just when we think a GIF is as perfectly timed and funny as it can be, somebody comes along and turns it into an awesome ’80s action movie. Internet, you son of a bitch.

You may have seen these vastly improved GIFs on Reddit’s top posts last night or spotted them during one of eleven thousand times these GIFs have been posted on Tumblr in the past day with the caption “directed by Michael Bay”. Because he likes explosions, you see. Jokes.

We’ve collected our favorite GIFs from this hopefully long-lasting and prolific meme. All pictures via this amazing Reddit thread and this Imgur thread, and there are a few more available at those links if you’d like to see more explosive comedy.

Filed under: Web Culture Tagged: .lol, gifs, INTERNET: SERIOUS BUSINESS, meme watch, MEMES, rad, REDDIT, UNNECESSARY EXPLOSIONS
05 Sep 20:44

Remembering Freddie Mercury’s Greatest Live Performances

by johnnysugar

This is a great list, but let's be honest - you don't need ANYTHING other than Live at Wembley 1896. It's one of - if not THE - greatest live album(s) ever recorded. Ever.

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Freddie Mercury’s status as one of the greatest singers in rock history is unquestioned. His immense vocal range and frantic energy made him unlike anyone else. The Queen frontman tragically died from complications of AIDS in 1991, but today would have been his 68th birthday. To celebrate, we’re looking back on some of the greatest performances from one of the greatest showmen the world will ever see.

Keep Yourself Alive – Munich 1978
“Keep Yourself Alive” was the fast-moving, rollicking hit that introduced the world to Queen way back in 1973. This performance was five years later, when Queen had gone on to become one of the biggest bands in the world. They had lost none of their edge, however, as the band — and Freddie in particular — sound particularly hungry. Even with all the money and fame they had accumulated at this point, they were still playing like they had something to prove.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” – Wembley Stadium 1986
When two of the surviving members of Queen toured with Paul Rodgers in 2005, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the one song Rodgers didn’t even attempt to sing, instead deferring to video footage of one of Freddie’s old performances. You can see why Rodgers made that choice; quite simply, this song belongs to Freddie Mercury, and this performance of it, from a two-night stand at Wembley Stadium in 1986, is one of the best renditions of it you’ll find.

“Somebody To Love” – Montreal 1981
The release of the Rock Montreal concert film in 2007 was truly a revelation. The 1981 gig captures Queen at the absolute top of their game, and this seven-minute version of “Somebody To Love” is one of the best examples of that. It’s a ridiculously complex song to sing, with all sorts of key changes, and yet Freddie plows through it like it’s nothing. Chances are, if you tried to sing this at your high school talent show, you found it a lot more difficult.

Filed under: Music Tagged: freddie mercury, live aid, QUEEN