Archive for July 9th, 2011
Most memorable, gore-filled death scenes are messy and chaotic, but not those in the movies of Dario Argento. The Italian director composes his cultivated carnage with precision, grace, and order. Filled with lush colors and geometric shapes, the kills are so stunningly orchestrated that they have an almost abstract quality. He is a Rothko in a horror scene full of Pollacks—and this sequence is his masterpiece. The scene comes early on in a movie set in a German ballet academy infested with witches. The look, the director once said with typical provocation, was inspired by Snow White.
SOME OF THIS IS VERY HORRIBLE INDEED
The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday upheld one conviction but threw out another in a case involving a Gainesville man who used the moniker “catchmekiller” in YouTube videos and falsely claimed to have killed 16 people.
The court upheld Andrew Scott Haley’s conviction for making false statements, rejecting his claims that the state law is unconstitutional. It threw out his conviction for tampering with evidence, saying the evidence failed to prove the Hall County roofer tried to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution of another individual.
When convicted in May 2010 of carrying out the hoax, Haley was sentenced to three years in custody for each count and was allowed to complete the term after finishing two years in a work-release program.
George Reiger’s Disney fairy tale took a dark turn this week. The Upper Saucon Township man, famed for the head-to-toe Disney tattoos he planned to have removed after meeting his dream girl, was charged with two felonies after a domestic dispute in a Walt Disney World hotel room Tuesday morning.
In an arrest affidavit, the Orange County, Fla., sheriff’s office said Reiger, 57, and an unidentified woman he referred to as his fiancée had an argument that turned physical.
The woman told deputies that Reiger grabbed her, pushed her onto a bed and got on top of her, holding his hand over her mouth. He also blocked the door when she tried to leave and damaged her laptop computer, clothes and other belongings, the affidavit says. Reiger told deputies he held the woman down on the bed as he tried to get her to talk to him.
Reiger, who could not be reached for comment, was charged with felonious false imprisonment and criminal mischief and misdemeanor battery. He posted bond and was ordered to have no contact with the victim, records show.
As the space shuttle Atlantis orbits Earth in the final mission of NASA’s 30-year reusable spacecraft legacy, at least one former astronaut — and six-time shuttle voyager — is lashing out at the space agency for what he deems as failures in the overall vision of the shuttle program.
“The shuttle did not turn out like we planned,” Dr. Story Musgrave told The Huffington Post. “It was going to [fly] 66 times a year and it ended up with about five times a year. It was going to cost $10 million a flight, and two months ago, an independent study showed that it cost $1.2 billion a flight. It was massively fragile, difficult to operate and exceedingly dangerous.”
Musgrave is a surgeon, mathematician, chemist, biophysicist, physiologist, computer scientist, artist and author of important scientific papers in the areas of aerospace medicine, physiology and clinical surgery.
Walt Disney World in Florida is a mecca for tourists now, but back in the early 1960s, it was just swampland. Walt had his choice of many locations, so why did he choose the Orlando area? An article at mental_floss has the answer. But even after he decided on the site, buying the land and building on it had their own problems.
Although he had solved the problem of where to build, a new dilemma cropped up: Walt knew if he was making queries about buying land under his own name, the insanely cheap swampland price of $180 an acre would immediately skyrocket. To avoid price gouging, he created a number of fake companies and purchased the land under their names instead. It only worked for a little while – the Orlando Sentinel caught whiff of the scheme and published a story reporting that Walt was the man behind the purchase of thousands of acres of land in Orange and Osceola counties. He was right about the money – in some cases, prices went up to $80,000 an acre.
Somewhere, something weird is going to go down this week at a Wal-Mart. And next week. And the next.
Maybe a man dressed in a cow suit, crawling on all fours, will steal 26 gallons of milk from a Wal-Mart and hand them out Robin Hood-style to patrons in a parking lot, as allegedly occurred in Stafford, Va. in April.
Perhaps a glazed-eyed 20-year-old will take a truck filled with 338 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from a Wal-Mart before police find him drowsy and in possession of a bag of marijuana, as authorities say took place in Ocala, Fla., in March.
Or perchance a rapper named Mr. Ghetto will shoot an unauthorized, sexually suggestive music video paean to picking up women in the aisles of a Wal-Mart, full of ladies shaking their hindquarters in ways hindquarters typically don’t shake, as happened in New Orleans in May.
“The same women that are going to be at the club are going to be at Wal-Mart,” Mr. Ghetto, aka Robert Mayes, says of his video, which has been viewed more than three million times on YouTube. “Only at Wal-Mart, you don’t have to spend $20 on drinks to talk to them.”
There’s no reason to believe that zany stuff happens per capita at Wal-Mart more than at other retail locations. Rather, it’s the sheer ubiquity of the big-box titan—with some 3,750 U.S. stores visited by customers 140 million times a week—and its role as the de facto town square in many corners of the country, that keeps the company’s public-relations representatives busy.
“Wal-Mart has become a microcosm of American life. So it is not uncommon to see our share of the things that happen in every town across the country,” says David Tovar, a company spokesman.
Earlier this week I posted a modified version of this photo, captioned to say “I Fucking Love Science!” by a poster at I Can Has Cheezburger.
Now, thanks to the Life magazine archives, I can tell you a little about what’s really going on in that shot. The photo was taken by Wallace Kirkland in 1954. The original caption that went with the photo read:
Mrs. Jane Dill, four months pregnant, reacts to the news that she is carrying a baby girl, Northbrook, Illinois, 1954. She had just taken a test, administered by the unidentified man in the lab coat, by placing a wafer soaked in a secret formula on her tongue.”
I’ve never heard anything about prenatal gender screening happening this way. And a quick search didn’t turn up much, either. Do any of you know anything about this test? What was it looking for? How accurate was it?
On the evening of Tuesday, July 5, a comet flew into the sun. Such comets are not unusual, and they’re called “sungrazers” since they come so close to the star that it is believed they evaporate and disappear. However, no one has actually seen the end of that journey, since the comets are best seen in cameras from SOHO (SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory) that block out the bright disk of the sun itself.
But this was different. For the first time ever, SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) captured a 20-minute movie of the comet streaking directly in front of the sun. It’s not immediately obvious, but if you watch the movie closely, you’ll see a line of light appear in the right and move across to the left.
At its most basic, the movie has scientists excited since it’s a “first,” but additional analysis of the data may hold more clues about the fate of the comet. Most likely, given the intense heat and radiation, the comet simply evaporated away completely.
Here’s the latest: The company reportedly is working on a new iPad, due out later this year, that will have a higher-resolution screen.
Dubbed the “iPad HD” by a blog called This Is My Next, which is run by former editors from the respected tech site Engadget, the new iPad is said to be a “pro” device that could be used for high-end video editing and photography.
“Think MacBook and MacBook Pro,” writes Joshua Topolsky, referring to Apple’s lines of laptops.
The iPad HD, which would have a screen with twice the resolution of the current model, will be introduced in September alongside new software that will cater do these higher-end applications, the blog says, citing unnamed sources.
Ars Technica, another tech site, says the rumor makes sense given the fact that Apple has been releasing high-resolution versions of tablet content.
“Apple started including pixel-doubled artwork in versions of iBooks for iPad some time ago. It recently added yet more 2048 x 1536 pixel artwork in iOS 5 betas for newer features like Twitter and Newsstand. So it seems a pretty safe bet that a future iPad will definitely use this resolution,” that site writes.