Archive for March, 2014

Watch this video of teenagers reacting to Nirvana…  One thing worth pointing out is the fact that even though they were all born after Cobain’s death, the reactions to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were pretty similar to when my friends and I were that age when the song came out in 1991.

h/t Mark Yarm

Ever wondered what your favorite bands might look like as Legos? Now’s your chance.

In terms of the look/accuracy of the figures, my personal favorites are Daft Punk, Tupac, Joy Division, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin.

  • The Hunt for MH370: Courtney Love is all over this story, offering her own analysis of satellite imagery as to the possible location of the plane. Internet hilarity predictably ensues.
  • Photographing Chernobyl: Interesting read and amazing photographs of the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster by Gerd Ludwig, who has made multiple reporting trips there over the past two decades. You can also support Ludwig’s upcoming photo book by donating via his Kickstarter page.

Fascinating reads in Global Post and the Washington Post about the history and location of one of the CIA’s infamous black sites in Poland during the early years of GWOT.

Check out other reporting about black sites from the New Yorker, the Daily Beast, and the New York Review of Books.

There’s a fascinating and chilling writeup in Rolling Stone about the online sleuths who were hunting Luka Magnotta for uploading a video of himself killing kittens, BEFORE he went on to kill a Chinese college student. They figured out his identity and location and went to police and animal welfare officials with their evidence, only to be told they wouldn’t mobilize because his victims were cats. The article points out the correlation between animal abuse and serial killers. Perhaps most infuriating of all was Magnotta’s motivation for pretty much everything he did in his adult life: a desire to be famous, or infamous. Read the entire thing here.

  • The Big Kahuna: This guy may well have pulled off the greatest surfing trick of all time.
  • The New Pravda: Buzzfeed has an excellent look at the propaganda editorial standards and management practices at Russia Today.
    On a related note, see this Twitter flame war between former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and RT staffers over the network’s coverage of the events in Ukraine.
  • Your Next Vacation Spot: I’ve added Navagio to my bucket list based on the photos at this Huffington Post article alone. I still hate myself for the fact that I lived in Italy for four years and never went to Greece in all that time.
  • It Was Twenty Years Ago Today: One of my favorite albums of all time, NIN’s The Downward Spiral, turned 20 last week! They grow up so fast… One more year and TDS will be able to drink legally.
  • Game of Bieber: It turns out the two most insufferable people in popular culture have a lot in common… E! compares Justin Bieber to Joffrey.
    On a related note [SPOILER ALERT], somebody at Buzzfeed compiled the 14 most brutal deaths on Game of Thrones as animated 8-bit GIFs. Take a wild guess which is number one.

The Malaysia Airlines 370 story keeps getting stranger… The latest in the New York Times:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has shifted to include anyone on board with a navigation or aircraft background in response to evidence that the plane was deliberately diverted from its route and, after communication was lost, navigated by someone with deep experience at the controls.

“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board,” Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia said at a news conference on Saturday.

This new phase of the investigation has brought new scrutiny to the lives of two people who certainly had those skills: the pilot and first officer, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, both Malaysian citizens — although neither has been declared a suspect in the plane’s disappearance. Investigators are also apparently searching the passenger list for anyone else with similar skills who might have rerouted the plane, willfully or under coercion.

During 9/11 and the immediate aftermath, U.S. intelligence was able to piece together fairly quickly who the hijackers were and establish their ties to al Qaeda, based on passenger manifests and phone calls from the hijacked planes. In this case, there have been no communications from the hijacked plane, so intelligence officials and presumably the media only have the passenger manifests to work with. If there is any conclusive proof that a passenger or crew member had means and motive to do something like this, it should turn up fairly quickly due to the considerable investigative resources being put into this by multiple governments and news organizations.

There is a long and infamous history of airplane hijackings around the world, with many of the most famous cases happening during the 1960s and 1970s. The tactical appeal of airplane hijackings can be summed up in two reasons: 1) mobility to go wherever the hijackers want, and 2) inaccessability and inescapability. Nobody will be able to storm a plane or try to get off it while it’s in the air – with exceptions to Steven Seagal and D.B. Cooper. The conventional wisdom of airplane hijackings – that the hijackers are taking hostages to achieve a rational political objective with an outcome that would ensure their own survival – was turned on its head by the events of 9/11.

If it was a hijacking, the deviation from the norm from hijackings of the past as of this writing is the lack of anybody claiming responsibility or making some type of political demand or other in exchange for the safety of the hostages. Assuming the Central Asia flight path theory is correct, that might help narrow the nationality or political agenda of possible suspects.

One scenario that I had considered a possibility – but has seemingly been ruled out at this point – is something akin to the Payne Stewart crash: that the aircraft lost cabin pressurization and kept flying off course until it ran out of fuel and crashed in the water somewhere.