Jul 172016

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos has been remarkably influential over the decades. It is thus not surprising that if you do a Google image search for “Cthulhu” you will find a *vast* array of depictions of the terrifying Great Old One, along with various other of Lovecrafts creations. But here’s the thing: most of them fail.

There are two reasons why there have been, so far, no real efforts at making a faithful adaptation of a Cthulhu story into a  big-budget movie, despite their popularity. Firstly: Lovecraft almost never described the appearance of his monsters in great detail. When he did, like the “Deep Ones” in “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” the monsters are fairly mundane… fish-people, essentially.  The biggies like Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth are described vaguely at best. Secondly: the monsters often don’t even put in a visible appearance; or those few characters who see them promptly go insane at the sight.

And that’s what stomps on most of the artistic depictions of Mythos Monsters: no matter how skilled and talented an artist is, painting or sculpting a vision of Cthulhu that drives the viewer insane is pretty much impossible (not to mention unwise). Critters from the Mythos are some of the best examples of things that work great in your head, but not so great visually.

So, if you GIS Cthulhu, you’ll find a myriad of sketches, paintings, sculpltures, CG renders. A lot of them are exquisitely rendered and detailed with great clarity… and are just not terrifying. “Winged Squid Guy” just doesn’t really come off as a particularly spooky vision.

But there are a few exceptions. The image I posted yesterday from “The Cthulhu Wars” with Cthulhu getting nuked is all kinds of awesome, but it’s still not *quite* there with the terrifyingness. I think what you really need to do to make a truly effective depiction of Cthulhu is to render it so that you *can’t* see Cthulhu with any clarity. The creepiness comes not from clarity but from obscuration. Here, this one is good:

“Awakening” by Russian artist Alexander Andreev. Cthulhu paying a visit to St. Petersburg; nothing good is going to happen to that town. I assume that TU-160 is going to unload a thermonuclear “howdy” onto the visitor.

And this one I think *really* nails the right way to depict a Lovecraft monster:

Here, rather than seeing Cthulhu clearly, it is depicted vaguely. If you look at the image full-rez, it’s pretty clearly a fairly quickly Photoshopped image; the artist, Bulgarian Andrey Nazarov, took a photo of a road in his native country he found on Google and added the Cthulhu figure. Since this in the Internet, enough people actually *believed* this to be an actual photo that even Snopes had to get involved. Particularly amusing/distressing are the claims that this photo was shot during a tornado outbreak… in Oklahoma. The mountains of Oklahoma. That’s madness.

The distinctly Lovecraftian movie “The Mist” was at its most effective when the monsters remained shrouded in the obscuring mist. The bugs flying around attacking people inside the grocery store? Yeah, that was bad, but it was comprehensible. The things outside just yoinking people away? Bleah!

In short… you *can’t* do cosmic horror justice. And the more detail you show, the further you get from it.

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Jul 142016

News out of France:

Nice, France, truck attack kills 80, Hollande says

In short: someone driving a military-grade high-capacity high-powered assault truck drove through about a *mile* (report also says two kilometers) of a Bastille Day parade in the French city of Nice, killing around 80 and injuring Odin knows how many. The driver is reported to have also fired out of the window, making this less likely that this was just some schmuck who got likkered up and drove like an idiot. The police have apparently shot and killed the driver and have found explosives in the truck.

No motive given yet, but somehow I think I have a sneaking suspicion it just might be one of those Surt worshippers.

 Posted by at 7:54 pm
Jul 132016

MGTOW is something I’d not heard of until a week ago: Men Going Their Own Way. Depending on who you ask, the MGTOW movement is either:

  1. Straight men who are tired of the BS so often involved with Certain Things, and have decided to have no social interactions with women
  2. Losers who can’t possibly get a date, and are coming up with rationalizations.

I suspect thsere’s some of both. But if you want to jack up the percentage of #1, this is how you do it:

Nottinghamshire police to count wolf-whistling in street as a hate crime

Catcalling, wolf whistles and “unwanted physical approaches ” are to be considered “hate crimes.”


Misogyny hate crime is classed under the new policy as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman, and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman”.

Examples of such incidents may include unwanted or uninvited sexual advances, physical or verbal assault, unwanted or uninvited physical or verbal contact or engagement, and use of mobile phones to send unwanted or uninvited messages or take photographs without consent.

Ho. Lee. Crap.

Basically, among things that might be reasonably suspected of being inappropriate such as taking photos of people and assault, they are criminalizing a guy simply *talking* to a woman. Because a guy might want to do that.

It’s places like this that will lead to the creation of truly effective Marylin Monrobots and the extinction of the human race. Or, perhaps rather more likely, the population crash of the indigenous population and their replacement by colonists from different lands and cultures. Which, frankly, might well be partially the intent. You don’t actually think wolf whistles will be illegal under sharia law, do you?

 Posted by at 5:33 pm
Jul 102016

The mysterious syndrome impairing astronauts’ sight

Short form: zero gravity over a span of weeks or months shifts fluids up into astronauts heads, applying pressure to the back of eyeballs, trashing their vision. One astronaut went from 20/20 to 20/100. It’s not yet clear if this is temporary or permanent, but it’s moderately disastrous for long duration spaceflight such as trips to Mars.

There is, of course, a simple solution: artificial gravity. Centrifugal force will do the job. But the question is, what level of gravity is needed? If you go to 3/8 of a G, Mars gravity, will you be just fine forever, or will it just take longer? Can we get by on 1/6 G, Lunar gravity? 1/10 of  G? 1/20? 1/100?

These are questions that *cannot* be answered on the ISS. We need a real space station, one that either has different rotation rates over a span or years, or multiple levels with different G-levels. This would obviously be a better setup then pure zero-g fr a “space hotel.” It’s not even remotely certain that all space tourists will be able to well tolerate or even want zero-g non-stop for the duration of their stay; a rotating station, especially one attached to a zero-g module via a rotary bearing airlock, would provide both environments within just a moments travel.

Best solution: develop some good zero-g, vacuum-capable 3D printers that can work with aluminum and steel and titanium, and send to the ISS along with a modified woodchipper. Feed the ISS into the chipper then the printer a module at a time, turning it into a properly designed station, one with inflatable modules and artificial gravity.

 Posted by at 11:28 am
Jul 092016

This video by Chris Ray Gun is definitely worth a watch. He’s damn funny, and makes *full* use of all the colorful metaphors that our Germanic/Anglo Saxon heritage has gifted us… so if you watch this at work TURN IT UP.

I know a lot of people, including a good fraction of the readers of this blog, take issue with Bill Nye for his constant harping on global warming. Well, even assuming he’s dead wrong (and I don’t), he’s still a tireless advocate for science. A generation ago we had Carl Sagan who would not shut the hell up about nuclear winter, yet the brought a love of science to millions. But for every Nye or Sagan or Tyson, there will be many more in the public sphere working to denigrate science. Such as here, where Nye was on the Nightly Show, outnumbered three to one by left wingers who couldn’t care less about science, and are clearly actively opposed to it because it takes a tiny pittance of money away from their shallow useless pursuits.



 Posted by at 2:22 pm
Jul 072016

Past couple of days have seen some bad PR for police, what with the extremely dubious shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile in Minnesota. This has been a joyous time for the causehead movementarians, of course, now they have something to protest again. But then this happens:

Multiple officers killed at Dallas protest over police killings

As of right now, eleven police officers have been shot; four have died. The Dallas PD says that there were at least two shooters, using rifles from behind cover, ambushing cops sniper-style. Reportedly two suspects in custody.

So, time for uninformed rampant speculation about the shooters! As always… Republican white supremacist Christian fundamentalists has got to be first on everyone’s list, right?

 Posted by at 10:56 pm
Jul 062016

While FBI Director Comey recommended no charges against Hillary, he did her no favors with the rest of his presentation. In fact, he laid out a pretty good case for why she *should* have been charged. Why wasn’t she? One of life’s great mysteries, I suppose.


Compare and contrast what she said *didn’t* happen with what he said *did.*

So, she gets off scot-free, at least from a criminal law sense. But if Trump and his people have *any* sense (I’ll leave my own opinion on that a blank spot for now), they’ll get all kinds of mileage out of this in the coming months.

Yeesh. I just feel sullied and unusual whenever I realize that Donald Trump is the least awful option this election season. In contrast, this trailer I stumbled across for a video game called “Scorn” almost seems like a normal sort of election campaign ad.

Giger-esque body horror? Meh. I’ve seen Hillary Clinton evade a proper prosecution.

 Posted by at 11:21 pm