Battle For The Net

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If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

A Rare 1940 Lone Ranger Collectable – This Is One Serious Acquisition

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Some of the really neat things about early-to-mid 20th century radio and television programs came in the forms of promotional items related to the shows and their characters. The Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring immortalized in the 1983 film classic, The Christmas Story, quickly comes to mind. At times sponsors went all in with merchandise and contests as illustrated with the famous Ralston Rocket Clubhouse in this earlier post. For collectors today, these promotional items are precious gems to be searched out and acquired.

Hake’s Americana and Collectables is perhaps the best source for finding a lot of these treasures. Currently Hake’s has a very rare item available in a post auction sale. It’s a 1940 Lone Ranger prototype secret compartment ring designed by Orin Armstrong of the Robbins Co. which specialized in premium rings. Originally intended as a premium offering from sponsors of the program, an inconvenient design flaw kept it from mass production. The one currently listed at Hake’s is only the fourth ever seen by the auction house.

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake's)

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake’s)

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver.

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver. (Photo and description via Hake’s)

THE LONE RANGER RARE PROTOTYPE SECRET COMPARTMENT RING-ranger

Mounted on the underside of the removable secret compartment is a matching glossy real photo of The Lone Ranger in mask and hat with tiny text on his bandana consisting of a copyright symbol and ‘1939 The Lone Ranger, Inc.’ (Photo and description via Hake’s)

The listing says that the miniature glossy photos of The Lone Ranger and Silver inside the top ‘are an added attraction to the secret compartment feature.’ For today’s collectors they just might be the deal maker. Seasoned collectors might not be too surprised by the price of this scarce find, but it could come as a shock to others. It’ll cost $1,725.00 to add this to your treasured belongings. Hake’s previous sales have been between $2300 and $3200.00, so this price is actually a deal. You can find the entire listing here.

Salvador Dali – The Dream Designer (Spellbound, 1945)

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Who better to design a dream sequence for a 1945 Hitchcock psycho-thriller than Salvador Dali? Eyes, curtains, scissors, playing cards (some of them blank), a man with no face, a man falling off of a building, a man hiding behind a chimney and dropping a wheel, and wings – psychoanalytic cues all and fab fodder for Dali’s surrealistic vision.

Still From the Dali Dream Sequence - Spellbound, 1945

Still From the Dali Dream Sequence – Spellbound, 1945 (via Unkee E. on flickr)

Below is a video of the scene featuring Gregory Peck as Dr. Anthony Edwardes/John Ballantyne, Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Peterson, and Michael Chekhov as Dr. Brulov. Dr. Peterson and Dr. Brulov are attempting to assist Ballantyne in recovering his lost memory by interpreting a dream that haunts him.

Spellbound is a film that could well be termed an endorsement on the healing virtues of psychoanalysis. While some aspects of the methods seem outdated for today, Hitchcock’s use of this makes for an abosrbing story. If you would like to watch the film in its entirety you can find it on YouTube here.

In Which A Changeling Dinosaur Saves The Day – Rare 1928 Short Animation

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The Land of Wooden Soldiers (1928) Kinex Studios
Distributed by: Kodak Cinegraph
Cartoon Characters: Chip the Wooden Man, Two Dinosaurs, Soldiers.
Directed By John Burton.
Animated By John Burton.
Originally Released c. 1928

h/t Nora Falchero

‘Now I Am Become Death…’ – 69 Years Ago Today, The Dawn Of The Atomic Age

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The test site, named the White Sands Proving Ground, was built in the Jornada del Muerto (route of the dead man) desert. The good news for today is — we haven’t blown ourselves to kingdom-come just yet.

The Trinity Test, July 16, 1945:

At 05:29:21 (plus or minus 2 seconds) local time (Mountain War Time), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 20 kilotons of TNT (84 TJ). It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet (3.0 m) deep and 1,100 feet (340 m) wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as “being as hot as an oven” at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. The shock wave was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12.1 km) in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Now we are all sons of bitches. Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.  – wikipedia

To Look A Demon In The Eye: Nuclear Tests and Rapatronic Imaging

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For the early nuclear weapons scientists, being able to observe the rapidly changing matter in nuclear explosions was vital to their understanding of the phenomena and the effects. Several aspects of the blast (e.g. the blinding light, the speed of the nuclear reaction in the bomb, and the need to be miles away from the detonation) made it very difficult to capture the initial stages on film.

In 1947 the Atomic Energy Commission contracted innovative photographic engineer Harold ‘Doc’ Edgerton and two colleagues, Kenneth Germeshausen and Herbert Grier – their mission, improve imaging results.

By 1950 EG&G, Inc. had invented a device capable of capturing images from the fleeting instant directly following a nuclear explosion. Enter the rapatronic (for Rapid Action Electronic) shutter – a shutter with no moving parts that could be opened and closed by turning a magnetic field on and off.

Magneto-optic shutter, for micro-second photography (e.g. Rapatronic camera); 1952

Magneto-optic shutter, for micro-second photography (i.e. Rapatronic camera), 1952 – Photograph via Edgerton Digital Collections (cc)

The single-use rapatronic cameras were able to snap a photo one millisecond after detonation – at times even less – from about seven miles away. The duration of the exposure was as little as two microseconds.

The resulting images were eerie and fascinating.

This is an image of a 'shot cab' - the housing at the top of the tower that contains the explosive device.

This is an image of a ‘shot cab’ – the housing at the top of the tower that contains the explosive device. (Photo via Edgerton Digital Collections)

This is a rapatronic image of a at the moment of atomic bomb explosion. The cab appears to be fluorescing with X-Ray energy making it transparent. (Taken at Eniwetok, ca. 1952)

This is a rapatronic image of a ‘shot cab’ at the moment of an atomic bomb explosion. The cab appears to be fluorescing with X-Ray energy making it transparent. Blogger James Vaughn at ATOMIC-ANNIHILATION made this comment: …the most prominent feature is in the middle-upper (left) which looks like a giant friggin’ eye! Is that the ‘device’ caught in some weird moment of percolating itself into and out of existence before it becomes an … atomic explosion?  (Photo via Edgerton Digital Collections, taken at Eniwetok, c. 1952)

The explosion of  Boltzmann (30 K) during Operation Plumbbomb.

The detonation of Boltzmann (12 kt)) during Operation Plumbbob – 28 May 1957. In this rapatronic image the spikes below the fireball are the shot tower support cables vaporizing as they absorb thermal radiation – known as the ‘rope trick’ effect. (Photo via sonicbomb)

Operation Plumbbomb's Priscilla Detonation Image

The detonation of Priscilla (37 kt) during Operation Plumbbob – 24 June 1957. Instead of being housed in a shot cab, the Priscilla device was held 700 feet aloft by a balloon with steel cable mooring. This rapatronic image captures the burst of explosive and thermal energy equivalent to 37.000 tons of TNT. The ‘rope trick’ spikes are prominent and dramatic. The spots are fragments of the bomb casing ‘splashing’ against the inside of the expanding shock front. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of How (14kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper - 5 June 1952.

The detonation of How (14 kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper – 5 June 1952. This rapatronic image captures the expanding plasma ball in all its monstrous majesty. The heat generated through the ‘rope trick’ effect caused the desert floor to turn to glass. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of How (14kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper - 5 June 1952. In another millionth of a second after the previous rapatronic image, a planet of fire exists,  silhouetting and dwarfing the Joshua Trees.

The detonation of How (14 kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper – 5 June 1952. A millisecond after the previous image, another rapatronic captures a different picture of the detonation. A globe of fire emerges. The Joshua trees silhouetted at the base of the rapidly expanding explosion will quickly be engulfed by the shock and heat waves and incinerated. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of Mohawk (360 kt) during Operation Redwing - 3 July 1956.

The detonation of Mohawk (360 kt) during Operation Redwing – 3 July 1956. The thermonuclear Mohawk was a more powerful device than the above three combined. This rapatronic image captures the burst of explosive and thermal energy equivalent to 360.000 tons of TNT. The cloud rose to 65,000ft/~20km. The plasma colossus resembles some sort of strange living organism. (Photo via AtomCentral)

The Mohawk detonation heavily contaminated the island (of Eberiru /Ruby) and strong radiation was detected on the north end of the (Enewetak) atoll, strong enough to fog the film of photographs taken by aircraft in the area. Recovery operations were delayed for several days as a result of the high radiation levels.  – sonicbomb

With the assistance of EG&G’s rapatronic shutter the scientists studying the Mohawk blast were able to clearly see the embryonic demon that was unleashed that day. The experiments continued on with the discharge of devices even more powerful. The scientists had become like wizards, charmed by their own sorcery.

When Music Is So Bad It’s Thought To Be Good: The Case Of The Shaggs

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The Shaggs - Philosophy Of The World LP Cover (Reissue 1980)

The Shaggs – Philosophy Of The World LP Cover (Reissue 1980) (via Bradley Loos)

The Shaggs / Philosophy Of The World
LABEL: Rounder / Red Rooster
COUNTRY: USA
DATE: originally released 1969, this is a 1980 reissue

Not sure if this was tongue-in-cheek, but Zappa rated The Shaggs the #3 best band in history in a Norwegian newspaper (April 1988). It’s said that Kurt Cobain liked them as well. While the girls never had the interest in making a band, they did so at the insistence of their demanding father – their father had been told in a palm reading by his mother that his daughters would form a popular musical group. When dads felt the time was right, he took the girls out of school, gave them instruments, and this happened.

Music critic and musician, Cub Coda, wrote this about The Shaggs first album release, Philosophy Of The World:

The guilelessness that permeates these performances is simply amazing, making a virtue out of artlessness. There’s an innocence to these songs and their performances that’s both charming and unsettling. Hacked-at drumbeats, whacked-around chords, songs that seem to have little or no meter to them (“My Pal Foot Foot,” “Who Are Parents,” “That Little Sports Car,” “I’m So Happy When You’re Near” are must-hears) being played on out-of-tune, pawn-shop-quality guitars all converge, creating dissonance and beauty, chaos and tranquility, causing any listener coming to this music to rearrange any pre-existing notions about the relationships between talent, originality, and ability. There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one. – ALLMUSIC

Reportedly, during the recording sessions the band would occasionally stop playing, claiming one of them had made a mistake and that they needed to start over, leaving the sound engineers to wonder how the girls could tell when a mistake had been made. – wikipedia

Since 1980 there has been spurts of rediscovery for The Shaggs – a reissue of their first album on vinyl, a reissue on CD, reviews from The Wall Street Journal, The Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker, a Shaggs tribute album, a stage musical, and a BBC4 Radio documentary.

Like ‘em or hate ‘em, they sure make for some lively conversation around the interwebs. So, prepare yourself, this is The Shaggs performing their positive parent message Who Are Parents?: