Yearly archives: 2005

Stalingrad, Manchester

A building site near the Mancunian Way was used to film re-enactments of the fighting in Stalingrad in the Second World War.

Jez, who has already spent three years making the series for the History Channel, said: “We have filmed in Stalingrad itself, but we were delighted to be given the opportunity to re-create battle scenes here.

“The remains of old factory buildings and rubble provided the right backdrop for a very authentic setting.”

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C'mon Barbie let's go Guantanamo

Once upon a time, at a Beer Fest long, long ago, I raised over £100 to drive a nail through the CD of Barbie Girl (does anyone have pictures?) A recent survey of 11 year olds has revealed a similar attitude to the doll itself, with many of them being tortured and dismembered.

“The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a ‘cool’ activity in contrast to other forms of play with the doll,” said Dr Agnes Nairn, who headed the study.

“The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving.”

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Don't worry, be happy

Feeling good is the key to success, according to research published today.

“There was strong evidence that happiness leads people to be more sociable and more generous, more productive at work, to make more money, and to have stronger immune systems,” said Prof Lyubomirsky.

Meanwhile, experimental studies showed that an instant injection of high-spirits could generate success. “Inducing a happy effect leads people to make more money in a computer simulation.”

But there is a caveat: your happiness boosters should not be dangerous, like driving fast, or counter-productive, like eating lots of chocolate.

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9 Songs

I’ve watched a small number of porn films. The ones that tried to have a story were the worst- those involved should have spent some money on acting lessons rather than silicone and gym memberships.

So 9 Songs isn’t really porn. It has actual actors and a story that isn’t ludicrous.

There are other reasons the film isn’t porn. Sex isn’t the only thing that’s going on. The scenes aren’t sharply lit and the actors don’t contort so the camera can see all the details.

All in all it’s the sort of thing I’ve felt should have been made for a long time. It’s a love story that isn’t coy about what goes on in the bedroom. There could be a market for this sort of thing, but I don’t see much of it being done that doesn’t veer quickly into the cliches of porn. In the mean time, if you want intelligent stories with a healthy amount of realistic sex (even if it is between anthropomorphic animals) I recommend trying Omaha the Cat Dancer.

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Atomic Rockets

A lot of information on the viability of various classic SF spaceship designs and weapons.

For the benefit of the Space Cadets audience-

Currently, science knows of precious few methods of simulating gravity on a spacecraft. These boil down to: using acceleration by thrusting the ship, spinning the ship (or sections of the ship) to utilize “centrifugal force”, or placing a large mass under the ship (generally by landing on a planet). Centrifugal force is the method of choice for obvious reasons.

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Ginger Snaps Unleashed

You really need to have seen Ginger Snaps to know what’s going on in this film. The earlier tale is referenced regularly throughout but without enough explanation.

That said, Unleashed still functions well as a different take on the werewolf genre. Brigitte is hiding out in a small town, reading up on blood infections and injecting Monkshood to keep her lupine infection at bay. After overdosing she ends up in a rehab centre populated, and run, by a collection of freaks.

Brigitte has problems. Without, and eventually despite, the Monkshood she is beginning to turn. And she’s being tracked by an amorous male werewolf. Eventually, with the help of the scary little girl known as Ghost, she escapes. But that isn’t to be the end of her problems.

In the midst of selfish addicts and a porter who can supply anything for sexual favours, the increasingly lupine Brigitte remains the most human character. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that even if she can sescape the madhouse and her would be mate she’s still damned.

The prosthetic effects are very good, making the animatronic werewolf a disappointment when it turns up. There could have been a better explanation of what had gone before and the jump cuts to mauled bodies- real and imaginary- were overplayed.

Overall it’s nicely gruesome, but you should watch Ginger Snaps first to fully appreciate this.

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Matchbox loses its magic

Not strictly modelling, but an interesting commentary. The Beyond Branding blog assesses the state of toy cars and laments the recent products of Matchbox.

When Matchbox became part of Mattel a few years ago, it had already been suffering. Through most of the 1990s, cheap Red Chinese production saw to ill-defined dies and cars that were barely recognizable. The features that were used to make it a leader—opening doors, suspension and detailing—were being deleted, model after model. But for most of this decade, Matchbox alienated kids further by designing cars that didn’t exist in real life—great for a few designers inside Mattel, those who were nostalgic for the fictional Superfast cars that the brand used to have in the 1970s, and the accounts’ department, which didn’t have to fork out a licensing fee.

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'shock and awe' in the fourth millennium BC

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a city destroyed in a massive battle 5500 years ago.

The Mesopotamian settlement lies in Hamoukar, on the northernmost tip of Syria, 8 kilometres from the Iraqi border. In 3500 BC the 13-hectare development was subjected to a devastating attack, its edifices crumbling beneath a crushing hail of bullet-shaped projectiles.

The evidence of the destruction was uncovered in October and November 2005 by an expedition coordinated by the University of Chicago, US, and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

During earlier excavations, archaeologists found buildings that had been destroyed or severely damaged by fire. The latest expedition revealed 1200 oval clay “bullets” measuring 2.5 centimetres in diameter and 4 centimetres in length. It also unearthed 120 heavier projectiles measuring 5 centimetres by 10 centimetres.

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Stealing energy from passing traffic

If I lived on a busy through road I’d definitely want one of these outside my house. A metal ramp is moved by vehicles passing over it and generates electricity. Tests have shown that they can generate between 5 and 50kW depending on the weight of the vehicle passing over them.

We discussed this and, strictly, it’s reducing the efficiency of the cars by stealing kinetic energy generated by their engines. However the generation of that energy is producing pollution in the neighbourhood, so the drivers should pay a little back. The best locations would obviously be roads that are already due to have speed bumps installed, making the traffic calming pay for itself.

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North West Locations

For home owning Spinneyhead readers- make a bit of money and get to see your house on screen.

North West Locations is the Premier online Film, TV, Commercials and Stills image library in the North of England. Our aim is to find the right location for your shoot and offer a tailor made service to ensure a smooth running process at each and every stage of production. The Library is designed to be user friendly and easy to search by location A – Z, region, town or city, location ID or by using our key word search for specific features you may require. Over the forthcoming months we are visiting potential locations across the region and working to ensure that the library has a diverse range of unique and interesting locations just waiting to be filmed.

North West Locations are actively seeking new locations for the library and would highly recommend those with a business or residential property interested in hiring it out to either contact us for more information or register your property now. We are interested in hearing from industrial, commercial or residential property agents, councils, hospital trusts, universities, churches, schools, historic houses and estates managers with locations to be included in the library.

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A couple of Parkour, or Free Running, videos. I think there was a Free Running club at one of Manchester’s universities for a while. I remember seeing some guys practicing on the (former) bowling green in front of UMIST students union a while back.

Google video clip (8 mins+) Goes a little insane just before the guy starts his run.

via The Cedar Room

French Parkour documentary with English subtitles.

via Visible Pieces of my Soul

Sound and vision

Kristin Hersh’s new band have released an EP free on the internet.

With “Free Music” 50FootWave is seeking new earballs. We thought it’d be interesting to ask for your energy & enthusiasm rather than your money and see what happens. To that end, please share this music in any and every way you see fit. Burn CDs, post the mp3s, seed Torrents — whatever’s comfortable for you.

It’s an experiment. Who knows how it will go? Wheee!

via WarrenEllis

The Dildo Song.

via CinemaMinima

The BBC Open News Archive.

also via CinemaMinima

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