Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson takes to the skies with world’s largest airship


 
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, is hoping to change air travel by investing in the world’s largest airship.

Called Airlander, the airship looks “as if a series of cigars have been sewn together.” It has a length of 302ft, which is roughly 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, and is also almost 30ft longer than the Antonov An-225, which was, until now, the longest aircraft ever built.

Airlander can stay in the air for up to 21 days at a time, has low running costs, can carry up to 50 tons in freight and is 70% greener than any cargo plane. The airship does not require a runway, and can land on virtually any surface, be that land, sea or even desert.
 
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The airship was originally developed by US military for surveillance purposes, but was abandoned after defense cuts. It was then sold to British developers who saw a potential to make the airship a cheap and sustainable form of public aviation.

Dickinson, who is a qualified airline pilot, believes Airlander is the future of air travel and told BBC News:

“It’s a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do,” he says.

“The airship has always been with us, it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up.”

“It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole,” he says.

“We’ll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the Internet.”

By flying Airlander around the world twice, Dickinson hopes to raise awareness of the vessel’s potential as the future of sustainable aviation.
 

 
Via BBC News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The 10-year-old who claimed to be a dwarf when police caught him driving steals a car AGAIN
02.21.2014
10:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events

Tags:
Car theft


 
Last week, a 10-year-old boy from Dokka, Norway, made headlines when he stole his parents’ car for a joyride. When the cops and a snowplow driver busted him, the boy said, “...he was a dwarf and that he had forgotten his driver’s licence at home.”

Well guess what? The little dude was caught driving around AGAIN yesterday:

This time he took off in the car of a relative the family was visiting and managed to drive about 30 km (19 miles) before stopping, local police said on Thursday.

When the parents realized what happened, they phoned police who sent out messages over Twitter and traffic radio asking the public for help. The boy eventually stopped and a bystander took his keys away, police said.

I can’t find of photo of this kid and his parents anywhere on the Internet. But I imagine him to look something like this:


 
Via Reuters and Daily Mail

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Edward Snowden action figure


 
An Edward Snowden action for only $99.00 + shipping by That’s My Face.

I dunno, I still like the “My Talking Henry Rollins” doll better.

This package includes Edward Snowden’s custom action figure head mounted on a 12-inch action figure body with a several choices of outfit styles. By selecting Head only in the Outfit selection box above, you can also buy Edward Snowden’s head for $60 only and fit it onto your own 12-inch figurines.

Below, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden action figures just hangin’ out:

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Conservatives turned into modern art


Ron Paul:The Physical Impossibility of Liberty in the Mind of Someone Running for Executive Office, Damien Hirst
 
The Tumblr is called Post-Libertarian and it touts itself to be:

“A critical examination of conceptualist neodeconstructive theory within radical neoliberalism.”

Quite a mouthful. What I think they mean is “Here’s a collection of some amusing modern art détournement featuring some right wing weenies…”
 

Reagan and Thatcher: The Defense Hawks, Edward Hopper
 

Ted Cruz: “Cruz Diptych, Andy Warhol”
 

Ayn Rand: Fountainhead, Marcel Duchamp
 

Chris Christie: The Drowning Governor, Roy Lichtenstein
 
Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Man buried riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle
01.31.2014
12:06 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Funerals


 
84-year old Bill Standley of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, was buried in a plexiglass / wood coffin while “riding” his 1967 Harley-Davidson motorcycle while sporting a helmet, leather jacket and boots. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.

According to Columbus Dispatch:

It was a funeral he started planning 18 years ago, well before he could have known about the lung cancer that killed him on Sunday at age 84.

“This was his dream,” said one of his daughters, Dorothy Brown. “He was a one-of-a-kind.”

Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Kid Congo Powers on life with The Cramps, The Gun Club and Nick Cave on ‘The Pharmacy’


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

Legendary guitarist Kid Congo Powers is this week’s special guest. Kid has played with The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and his own group, The Pink Monkey Birds (touring the US in February, don’t miss them!)

Listen in on the conversation as Kid discusses how Poison Ivy once asked him if he was willing to sacrifice a finger to be in The Cramps… How playing with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds inspired him to quit drinking…. and how he learned to play the blues from Jeffery Lee Pierce.
 

 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.
 
Setlist:

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Shot Down - The Sonics
Bert’s Apple Crumble - The Quik
Rx Intro Part One - Blind Man Can See It - James Brown
Kid Congo Interview Part One
New Kind of Kick - The Cramps
Jaguar Shake - Les Jaguars
Akula Owu Onyeara - The Funkees
I Heard it Through the Grapevine - The Slits
Rx Intro Part 2 - Sliced Tomatoes - Just Brothers
Kid Congo Part Two
Preaching the Blues - The Gun Club
The Brother’s Gonna Work it Out - Willie Hutch
Stand Up and Be Counted - The Equals
Caress - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Kid Congo Interview Part Three
Deanna - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Rx Intro Part - Jumping Jack Flash - Ananda Shankar
Kid Congo Interview Part Four
Bo Bo Boogaloo - Kid Congo + The Pink Monkey Birds
Liberation Conversation - Marlena Shaw
Justine - Don & Dewey
Oh Oh Mojo - Volcanoes
Rx Outro - Big City - Spacemen 3
Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall

 
You can download the entire the show here.
 

“Haunted Head” by Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds. Directed by Rob Parrish.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Drone used in Belgian school to catch cheating students during exams
01.13.2014
10:32 am

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Drones


 
Thomas More school in Mechelen posted this silly video of students taking an exam while their drone overlord watches over them. The drone is supposed to deter cheaters and perhaps catch one or a few tricksters in action.

Honestly, this Orwellian approach seems more distracting than anything. I mean, wouldn’t the buzzing from the drone and the “OMG there’s this annoying flying thing above mah head!” hinder concentration? Kinda dumb if you ask me.
 
Update: Perhaps a hoax?
 

 
Via Metro UK and Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
The truth about Obama’s indiscriminate and bloody drone war

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Earlier this year, investigative journalist Greg Palast wrote an excellent article on the documentary Dirty Wars , which exposed the horrific and illegal use of American drones to kill more than 17,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The article was titled “The Drone Ranger: Obama’s Dirty War” and was written for Vice. Palast opened the piece by explaining how:

Every Tuesday, President Obama personally checks off the names of people he wants killed. George Bush, a bit more squeamish than Obama, never did that; but Mr. Obama felt those decisions were the president’s responsibility: he want[s] to keep his own finger on the trigger,” according to one report.  A tidy, scheduled man, the President only picks his victims once a week, now called “Terror Tuesday.”

Palast relates how amongst the many strikes ordered by Obama, there was one that killed Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, a sixteen-year-old “American kid”.

On October 14, 2011, in Shabwah province, Yemen, Abdul, went out with his cousins and friends for a good old US-style barbecue, when Obama’s drone fired a rocket, blowing the teenager to pieces.  Or I should say “piece.”  All that was left of Abdul was a piece of skull with long curly hair that allowed his relatives to identify this hunk of his head by his US-type haircut.

Obama didn’t order the killings (Abdul’s friends and cousins died too) as a random act of crazy.  No-Drama Obama doesn’t believe in random. Abdul’s problem was that his father was Anwar al-Awlaki.  Obama killed Abdul’s dad as well.  Daddy al-Awlaki, an American imam who voted for George Bush, had gone over to the side of the bad guys, and after leaving the USA, broadcast pro-terrorism radio reports from Arabia.

The thing was, this drone attack occured “two weeks after and hundreds of miles away from the site where rockets killed his father.” Obama’s “minions” then attempted to cover-up what had happened. Palast’s article can be read here.

Palast may have shocked those who think of President Obama as some kind of liberal “good guy”—as distinct from George Bush, apparently—and the use of drones as a necessary tool in the “war against terrorism.” But put it this way, if drones were used against America by a foreign power, as America uses them on Pakistan or Afghanistan, how long would it take Obama and co to declare such indiscriminate slaughter was an act of war?

Heather Linebaugh served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012, where she worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Linebaugh has written an article about the use of drones for the Guardian, titled “I worked the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on.” It’s an “Edward Snowden” moment, and which I recommend you read.

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.

The US and British militaries insist claim that this is an expert program, but it’s curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty information, few or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.

As Linebaugh concludes:

The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.

Read the full article here.

Below Vice podcast featuring Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for “The Nation,” whose work covering America’s special operations [forces] and targeted killings in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia is chronicled in the documentary, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield.
 

 
Via the Guardian

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Freed Pussy Riot still want rid of Putin
12.27.2013
07:41 am

Topics:
Current Events
Politics
Punk

Tags:
Pussy Riot
Vladimir Putin

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Speaking at their first press conference since their release from prison, members of the Punk collective Pussy Riot said they still wanted to “get rid” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina claimed they were now more politically radicalized after their 21-month prison sentence than before, and were determined to campaign for the rights of all other prisoners. According to the Daily Telegraph, the activists told reporters:

“Our attitude to Vladimir Putin has not changed. We’d like to do what we said in our last action - we’d like him to go away…”

Tolokonnikova was referring to the song “Virgin Mary, Get Rid of Putin,” which Pussy Riot had performed at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow prior to their arrest.

Vladimir Putin is a very closed, opaque chekist,” said Ms Tolokonnikova, using the Russian slang for a secret policeman.

“He is very much afraid. He builds walls around him that block out reality.

“Many of the things he said about Pussy Riot were so far from the truth, but it was clear he really believed them. I think he believes that Western countries are a threat, that it’s a big bad world out there where houses walk on chicken legs and there is a global masonic conspiracy. I don’t want to live in this terrifying fairytale.”

Both Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina named former tycoon and political dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky as the politican they would like to see remove Putin from office. Khodorkovsky was also unexpectedly released from prison last week under a Kremlin amnesty.

Mr Khodorkovsky is currently in Berlin, but has ruled out a career in politics. However, he is said to have “expressed determination to work to help other political prisoners, and he and Pussy Riot have exchanged open letters of support following their release.”

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina mentioned Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, as a source of inspiration, in particular his book on Russian prisons gave them the strength to overcome their ordeal in gaol. 

The activists also “extended an olive branch” to the Russian Orthodox Church, saying “they believed its charitable work had an important role to play in their campaign to change Russia’s prison culture from one of violence and punishment to one of rehabilitation.”
 

 

 
Via the Daily Telegraph
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Edward Snowden’s alternative Christmas message: ‘End mass surveillance’
12.25.2013
10:41 am

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Edward Snowden

nedwonsdespeech.jpg
 
Whistleblower Edward Snowden has given an “Alternative Christmas Message” on Britain’s Channel 4 television.

Snowden, who revealed the mass surveillance programs operated by US and other governments, spoke about the dangers of such operations, “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves—an unrecorded, un-analyzed thought.” 

The full transcript runs as follows:

Alternative Christmas Message 2013

Hi, and Merry Christmas. I’m honored to have the chance to speak with you and your family this year.

Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do.

Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book—microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us—are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.

Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves—an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. And remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.

For everyone out there listening, thank you, and Merry Christmas.

 

 
H/T Channel 4 and Slash Gear

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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