Friday, May 30, 2008

Stay away from her you bitch!

One of the best fight scenes of all time is close to being a reality, with the 1st and 2nd generation mechanical exoskeletons becoming commercially available. Well, maybe half of the fight scene - we still haven't discovered face sucking aliens yet. Or have we?

Yes as we see in the Youtube vid below, you can now purchase these exoskeletons to help move heavy objects (200 pounds or 91kgs) from point a to point b by foot. I can foresee massive application of this device, especially with the current problems around the world like the storm in Myanmar or earthquake in China. There are many remote areas in China accessible only by foot now due to road damage. You could equip your entire force with these and rapidly deploy shitloads (a quantifiable amount I assure you) of water, food and essential supplies to the needy. Brilliant.

They also allude to the fact that in next generations, we may see applications for physically disabled people to regain mobility - how freaking cool is that? I reckon this invention, and further iterations will make a massive impact on our day to day lives. Especially for those in need. Check out the vid of it in action below. Its a bit hokey, and remind's me of cheesy adverts from bad sci-fi movies, but it still rocks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Caminito del Rey

This is fucked up.

This is a path in Spain called the Caminito del Rey, it is a popular haunt of climbers, walkers and mountain bikers. The path is attached to the side of cliff faces and has 200 metre drop in places. Amazing video after the jump.

The walkway has fallen in to disrepair and is very treacherous, there are many holes in the concrete path that leave only a thing metal beam to walk along. Several people have been killed trying to get across this path and this has caused the local council to close the path to the public. That though does not stop countless people making the perilous crossing. The government has a budget to get it repaired at a cost of 7 million Euro’s, the sooner the better I say as there is no way I would go near this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spam - mad bad old school stylez

After having a whinge, er I mean, making my point in a thoughtful manner, about spam in my inbox and spam on my phone, it looks like the bastards have continued the war on a third front - my physical mailbox. Yes this evening while lighting the fire, I wandered out the front door to check the mail and found a letter addressed to the missus. Unmarked, no return address and a laser printed envelope. I thought it was a bill or maybe some junk mail from the local shoe shop.

But alas, it was yet another peice of annoying and unsolicited communication from some fruit in Auckland called Kevin Hay. It was a chain letter, admonishing, nay pleading that we drop everything, sprint to the bank and send him and 4 others a cheque for fuck loads of money. Now, I have no doubt Kevin is not his real name, so for the purposes of this discussion I shall call him Fucktard.

It appeared Fucktard had taken the time and effort to write up some piece of crap chain letter, generated a few names (the ones at the bottom who had supposedly "gotten lucky") and fired it off. Actually, the effort FT has made with this letter isn't that great. Its wonky on the page, there's obvious errors that have been scribbled out, and it has far TOO MUCH CAPITALISATION AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!!!! The sure sign of a diseased mind in my opinion.

But even more amusing is when I decided to have a bleat, er discuss this on the blog, I did a quick Google on der Intertoobs to see if I could find it. And whadda ya know - searching for "chain letter examples", and the first result is the exact same letter. See here at and the first example is the Five Report Chain Letter. That's it! Fucktard got on the internet, did a search for examples, and used the very first one he came to. What a turd. Couldn't even be very original and make it personal.

I suppose this kind of spam is easy to deal with, and the least annoying of all, and it actually has a practical use - tonight it helped start the fire. But this is getting silly - every day we are bombarded with advertising, spam and phone calls telling us to "shut up!" and now I'm getting physical spam? What can you do these days?

Well, I for one am getting even. As we speak, forensics departments are poring over the letter for DNA traces, fingerprints are being lifted and the manufacturer of the paper is being called in for expert opinion. Just picture a scene from CSI okay? Once we have isolated the suspect, my crack squad of attack ninja/green beret's will be helicoptered to the miscreants house, surrounding the house with more fire-power than the entire New Zealand army. That's right - they have TWO guns. All of this will take place with the soundtrack by DevilDriver - big guitars, screaming vocals, lots of drums.
Doors will be broken down, windows smashed and the elite squad will pour into the house with no regard for human life, like an invading American army going into an oil rich country. The cretin will be snapped in the midst of licking the back of another envelope, sending spam regarding boob enlargements, and defacing a picture of the Queen. He'll be dragged off to the waiting helicopter, never to be seen again, never to darken my letterbox with his spam and never to touch a keyboard ever again.

Okay okay - dreams are free.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Telemarketers - get a real job.

The fire was on, Monty Python was on the telly, the wife was out having a wine with the girls, and a cold beer was enjoying the view down the back of my gob. Then the phone rang, breaking my Pythonesque revere, and jolting me back to reality. Ah ha, I thought, twill be the missus, reminding me to wash the cat or feed the dishes. Alighting from my warmed seat, I moved purposefully towards the telephonic speaking device. I lifted the device from its cradle, and spoke into the receiver...

silence for about 5 seconds
"Hello sir my name is and I am ringing you tonight to talk about your holidays which we would like to book for you 2 years..."
"No thanks I'm not interested"
"Shut up! You stupid English person!" - dial tone.

Yep - not content with ringing you up at dinner time, and trying to push their shitty insurance, stupid gotcha holiday deals, tedious seminars and crappy real estate hocum, they are now resorting to abuse. Well, thats gotta be the final straw. And on that particular night it was - because not 5 minutes later I got a call from Stone and Associates trying to sell me insurance. Unfortunately for the poor bloke, I gave him both barrels - the last part of the call being "and so you can just bugger off!".

Now, this job telemarketing. I am aware that there are plenty of people who use it to make a crust while between being a slacker student at school, and becoming a slacker student at Uni. And there's plenty of people who may have no skills (leet or otherwise) other than breathing, speaking English and the owners manual to a DIY Cold Calling device. But as far as I'm concerned they can all fuck off. I don't care what happens to the employment figures if all these people are out of work - I'm pretty sure as a nation we can hack it if there's a mass unemployment of wankers who ring at dinner time to talk about some of the dullest shit on earth.

If I want insurance, I'll look into it. If I want to go on holiday, I'll look into it. If I want pretty much anything, I will look into it when I want to. And at that point they can feel free to bombard me with Internet adverts, spam in my inbox, pamphlets and handouts out the wazoo. But not a second before. And not a minute after either.

New Zealand is lagging here - Australia and the US have all started Do Not Call registers, whereby if your details are on the book, and a telemarketer rings you, you can ping them to the tune of $11,000US or $2000AUS. Canada started to implement this as well, but stopped short, making it a subscriber funded service - which is stupid. You have to pay to stop people you don't know ringing you trying to sell you shit?

The UK and New Zealand have a Marketing Association led initiative which essentially says "give us all your contact details and we promise not to call". Yeah right. Why do I not believe that? We need to catch up here and stop this annoying marketing before someone cracks out the AK and goes postal at the nearest cold calling centre. Well, that probably wont happen as most of them are in Bangalore or Pakistan or wherever, and you just can't travel internationally with an automatic rifle any more.

So what can I do? My options are limited at this point really. Change and unlist my number (check), have a big whinge online about stupid telemarketers (check) and email my local MP to get this bill introduced....who's our MP again? Its pretty uncertain whether any such bill would ever be introduced here - we'd need some pretty strong support. But one thing I do know - the next prick who rings me up will not get a nice "No thanks, I'm not interested." From now on its all cold hangups, or "FUCK OFF!" The gloves, as they say, are off.

Phoenix takes its first pictures.

Here are three pictures from the Phoenix Lander which arrived on Mars today. These are raw images that have not been altered at all so they may not look too spectacular.

Phoenix Lands on Mars.

NASA has successfully landed the first controlled descent craft on Mars since the 1976 Viking landers more than 30 years ago. This is a huge relief to NASA because the last time they tried this method they lost the craft during its descent. That was the Mars Polar Lander. After that disappointment the Phoenix spacecraft emerged from the ashes of Polar Lander and this time everything is going to plan, so far.

NASA received a signal from Phoenix at 2353 GMT that suggests that the craft has successfully made the tricky entry through the Martian atmosphere. The next step for NASA is to open the solar arrays and then take some pictures of the craft itself to ensure that the arrays have deployed correctly.

The primary mission for Phoenix is to test the Martian soil for the signs of water. A tool on board the craft will dig a sample of dirt and do various test on the dirt. This is not to dissimilar to the actions that the Viking probes did in the 70’s, the big difference of course the technology. Now we are better equipped to detect and analyse results should they be found.

Images should be sent soon after all post landing checks are done, hopefully some of those will be released to the public. When they are they we will put some up.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crystal Skull hits nearly all the marks.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened yesterday to much hype and anticipation. I really wanted this film to be as good as Raiders and The Last Crusade, and for the most part it is. There are some spectacular set pieces throughout the film as is the same with the previous Indy instalments. There are some great character moments also, what bugs me slightly are that there are some really absurd elements to the film. I will get to those soon. I have to say that it was great to see Harrison Ford back in the role that would have been shit had Tom Selleck actually been Indiana. Ford takes the character to the next stage considering that he is now in his sixties.

Minor Spoiler alert.
So as I said Indy is back in full swing, bullwhipping his way from stunt to bad guy to supernatural McGuffin. I was unsure when I walked out of the theatre if this was as good as the other Indy films, not that I have had a few days to think about it I have to say, ‘yes it is’. It has all the hallmarks of what makes Indy, Indy. We have the Paramount mountain logo dissolve to a real representation of the logo, we have an adventure sequence to start with. We have an interesting bad guy and Cate Blanchette does a good job as Indy’s nemesis. She is complex, focused and like her predecessors a little bit insane. We have a big huge henchman that Indy has to go toe to toe with and boy does he ever. We have two fights that Indy has to endure. Finally we have an ending that is a bit fantastical, just like Raiders, Doom and Crusade. I have to keep telling myself that the other three movies all had supernatural artefacts as the main quest and this is no different.

The Good Stuff.
Harrison Ford is back as Indiana, this is great.
Harrison Ford is more than capable of handling the stresses of Indiana Jones.
Acknowledgement of Indy’s father and Marcus Brody were a welcome sight.
John Williams score was right in line with the themes of the other films and hit the mark everytime. Queues were right on, we heard Last Crusade Themes and Raiders Themes.
Getting to see the Ark Of the Covenant in the Warehouse was a welcome sight.
The whole first 25 minutes was great fun. Loved it.

The Bad Stuff
Mutt’s jungle escapades were a bit over the top. That includes the bit with the monkey’s and the sword fight. It was a bit to fantastical for my liking, not really real enough for Indiana Jones .
Ray Winstone’s character was a bit wasted, he’s a good actor but he wasn’t really given a lot to work with.
The bit with the snake was a bit silly, we all know that Indy does not like snakes but a snake rope.... come on.
The Crystal Skull looks like a plastic case with screwed up plastic inside. And it does not look very heavy either.
So as you can see the bad stuff is not ingrained throughout the film and does not make it a bad film experience, I was able to put it aside and enjoy the rest of the movie for what it was, a good solid Indiana Jones flick. When I left the movies I had it at a 6.5 out of 10, but now I am up to 7.5, maybe an 8.