Video Goes Viral, Kim Jong Un is Pissed!

https://i0.wp.com/media3.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_30/579296/140723-kim-jong-un-video-mn-835_f0a62be658cd09bb2ea7bde45d25c135.jpgA new video was recently posted online that shows North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un breaking out the dance moves, getting pranked, and engaging in some serious fight scenes. The video has gone absolutely viral and has everybody laughing – except for Kim Jong Un himself. In fact, the “Great Leader’s” outrage was such that North Korea made  a public statement denouncing the video and demanding it be taken down.

According to the English-language Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, the video was made by a Chinese man bearing the surname Zhang who reportedly studied at a university in South Korea. The paper goes on to cite a source in China saying North Korea felt the clip “seriously compromises Kim’s dignity and authority” and asked China to stop the spread of the video, but that “Beijing was unable to oblige.”

https://i0.wp.com/www.financetwitter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Funny-Hilarious-Video-Kim-Jong-un-Dancing.jpgThe reaction is predictable, and the request certainly betrays the North Korean regime’s internet-phobic tendencies, not to mention their ignorance of how the internet actually works. For starters, once something is posted on the internet, it becomes part of the digital ether and can never be destroyed. In addition, drawing attention to an internet phenomenon only makes it stronger! By condemning it, Kim Jong Un’s people just ensured it’s viral nature!

The video consists of the Dear Leader’s head being spliced onto a variety of bodies that see him getting down on a ball field, getting karate-kicked by Obama (who also has his head spliced onto various heads), skipping through a field with Osama Bin Laden, and doing some serious kung fu fighting. And it all takes place to a Chinese pop hit by the Chopstick Brothers, who have made viral videos of their own in the past.

Needless to say, it’s really quite funny. And it’s only made more so by the fact that the man-child leading the world’s most backward and ridiculous regime finds its so infuriating. So be sure to watch it, enjoy it, and contribute to its circulation!


Source:
 cnet.com

Nukemap 3D: Bringing Nuclear War to your Home!

nukemap3Ever wonder what it would look like if a thermonuclear device hit your hometown? Yeah, me neither! But let’s pretend for a moment that this is something you’ve actually considered… sicko! There’s an online browser-based program for that! It’s called Nukemap3D, and uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a set of graphics that show the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice.

All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. The creator was Dr. Alex Wellerstein, an Associate Historian at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland, who specializes in the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear secrecy.

nukemap3-1Interestingly enough, Wellerstein’s inspiration for developing Nukemap 3D came from his experience of trying to teach about the history of nuclear weapons to undergraduates. As people who had completely missed the Cold War, these students naturally didn’t think about the prospect of nuclear war much, and had little to no cultural association with them.

Events like Hiroshima and the Cuban Missile Crisis were essentially ancient history to them. For him and his wife, who teaches high school, it was always a challenge to get students to relate to these issues from the past and seeing how they related to the present. Specifically, he wanted his students to address the larger issue of how one controls a dangerous technology that others find desirable.

nukemap3-2And given how inundated young people are today with technology, he believed an online browser that allowed children to visualize the effects of a nuclear attack seemed just like the thing. The concept originally grew out of his own research to determine the size of the Hiroshima bomb versus the first hydrogen bomb versus a modern nuclear weapon.

After producing a web page with the relevant info in 2012, he began receiving millions of hits and felt the need to expand on it. One of the things he felt was missing was info on additional effects of nuclear blasts, such as radioactive debris that comes down as fallout, contamination that can extend for hundreds of kilometers in all directions, and how this can spread with prevailing winds.

NuclearDetonationsIn addition to being a pedagogical tool which can help students appreciate what life was like during the Cold War, Wellerstein also hopes his site could help combat misinformation about modern nukes. All too often, people assume that small devices – like those being developed by North Korea – could only cause small-scale damage, unaware of the collateral damage and long-term effects.

Another use of the program is in helping to combat ideas of “instant apocalypse” and other misconceptions about nuclear war. As we move farther and farther away from an age in which nuclear holocaust was a distinct possibility, people find themselves turning to movies and pop culture for their information on what nuclear war looks like. In these scenarios, the end result is always apocalyptic, and by and large, this is not the case.

nuclear1In a war where nuclear confrontation is likely, civilization does not simply come to an end and mutants do not begin roaming the Earth. In reality, it will mean mass destruction within a certain area and tens of thousands of deaths. This would be followed by mass evacuations of the surrounding areas, the creation of field hospitals and refugee camps, and an ongoing state of emergency.

In short, a nuclear exchange would not means the instantaneous end of civilization as we know it. Instead, it would lead to an extended period of panic, emergency measures, the presence of NGOs, humanitarian aid workers, and lots and lots of people in uniform. And the effects would be felt long after the radiation cleared and the ruins were rebuilt, and the memory would be slow to fade.

Hiroshima, after the blast
Hiroshima, after the blast

Basically, Wellerstein created Nukemap 3D in the hope of finding a middle ground between under exaggeration and over exaggeration, seeking to combat the effects of misinformation on both fronts. In a nuclear war, no one is left unaffected; but at the same time, civilization doesn’t just come to an abrupt end. As anyone who survived the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can attest, life does go on after a nuclear attack.

 

The effects are felt for a very long time, and the scars run very deep. And as those who actually witnessed what a nuclear blast looks like (or lived in fear of one) grow old and pass on, people need to be educated on what it entails. And a graphic representation, one that utilizes the world’s most popular form of media, is perhaps the most effective way of doing that.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Nukemap 3D and see exactly what your hometown would look like if it were hit by a nuclear device. It’s quite… eye-opening!

Source: gizmag.com

 

North Korea’s Video Game Propaganda

nkvideogamesIt’s no secret that North Korea uses all means at its disposal to indoctrinate its citizens to share the same world view. Intrinsic to this is the idea that the West is evil, South Koreans are their pawns, and that the north is bastion of “proletarian freedom” that must triumph over them all. Even if it does find itself cornered, embargoed, run by loons, and wasting most of its GDP on displays of nuclear might.

And on tool which is coming to light is the use of cartoonish-style violent video games. Unlike the military parades and the cult of the leader, these are by comparison a bit crude. Actually, they are very crude, and will no doubt remind most westerns of their Nintendo or Sega gaming system, with a few exceptions where flash media games are concerned. But overall, the point is clear: when it comes to video games, North Korea is seriously behind the times!

uriminzokki-posterFor starters, there is Uriminzokkiri, a web portal that pushes North Korean propaganda from the country’s central news agency. It’s based in China, but is apparently controlled from the North Korean capitol of Pyongyang. So basically, the government was forced to outsource its web-based needs to a neighboring country that is ostensibly allied and far more advanced. A tell-tale sign for sure!

In any case, on Uriminzokkiri, there are a handful of flash games you can play on your computer. Some examples include “Treasure Key”, where the player navigates a crudely animated maze and is forced to deal with enemies such as George W. Bush (rendered as a rat) and Japanese politicians who are his monkeys. The ultimate goal is to collect all the keys and in so doing, unify Korea.

Then there is “Hang A Traitor”, where players attempt to hang a noose around the moving icon of South Korean conservative politician Lee Hoi-chang. That is rivaled by “Beating Up Rat LMB”, where players get to beat up the image of the current South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, apparently to death!  And that’s all topped off with games like “Fly Swatting” and “Hitting South Korean Politicians”, where players simply swat of hit (whack-a-mole style) images of South Korean politicians and George W. Bush.

twominuteshateI’m put in mind of the Two Minutes of Hate. Anybody else getting that vibe? What’s more, I’m wondering how often they choose to update these games. Are North Korea’s authorities aware that Dubya hasn’t been president for four blessed years? And of course, there’s the pathos I feel for all those souls who are forced to live in this kind of environment, where hate is fostered and the means used to do so are so very crude, ugly and transparent.

I look forward to the day when the last Stalinist regime on Earth joins its brethren on the ash heap of history and the people are permitted a look at how their southern cousins live. I also hope they have an easier transition that some of their Eastern European counterparts. But then again, after all they’ve endured, any change is likely to be painful!

Source: kotaku.com

Iran Launches Monkey Into Space (Apparently)

iran_rocketIn spite of years being under a trade embargo, Iran claims to be making some rather interesting breakthroughs. In addition to drones, long range missiles and stealth aircraft, they now claim to have sent a primate into space. According to the state news network, the successful flight involved a relatively small rocket that went straight up and down, and is a “prelude to sending humans.” Oh, and the monkey arrived safe and sound.

Whereas some defense analysts in the US and other nations worry that this was a demonstration of potential military might, others see it in different terms. For example, Jonathan McDowell – a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launches and space activity – claims that the exercise was merely a step towards Iran’s stated goal of developing rockets that could send human astronauts into space, a goal Tehran has repeated publicly for more than a year.

Alive, but not comfortable!
Alive, but not comfortable!

“It doesn’t demonstrate any militarily significant technology,” he said. “This is a tiny old rocket, and what’s on top is useful only for doing astronaut stuff.” Charles P. Vick, an expert on Iranian rockets at GlobalSecurity.org, went farther, stating that the report may have been a fabrication, seeing as how Iran tried and failed to perform the same launch operation back in 2011.
Naturally, there was also the propaganda value of the feet. James E. Oberg, a former NASA engineer and author of a dozen books on human spaceflight, claim that “to a large degree, it’s a fig leaf.” Apparently, such peaceful flights could take global attention off the nation’s military feats and ambitions, comparable to what North Korea does with much of its research and development programs.

In any case, the reportedly successful launch of the Kavoshgar-class rocket – which went by the name of Pishgam (trans: Pioneer) –  came amidst announcements by Iranian sources that stated they were developing a space capsule meant to hold human astronauts. “It’s based on Chinese technology,” Mr. Vick said, adding that Iran had nearly completed a large new launching pad big enough for powerful rockets that could loft warheads, satellites or people into space.

In short, we can expect little in the way of clarity and plenty in the way of worrying from western analysts over this latest development. And of course, as usual, the monkey always get forgotten in the mix! One thing that was not reported on was the brave little astronauts name. After all we’ve put them through for the sake of advances space travel, don’t the space monkeys deserve the same kind credit as human astronauts? Hell, even Russia put Laika on a commemorative stamp!

laika-stampSee? Guess you got to die if you’re an animal and want some recognition around here! Rest in peace Laika! Click on the links below to read more:

Source: The New York Times.com, Universtoday.com

Red Dawn Relaunch

Oh boy, I thought as when I heard about this preview. Another reboot of a cult-classic huh? As I’m sure I’ve said a million times before, why doesn’t Hollywood just admit that they are out of ideas. Sure, this relaunch of the movie about a possible Soviet Invasion will star Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and sure they are taking a slightly more realistic take by making at least one of the “Wolverines” an actual combat veteran (as opposed to say, a bunch of teenagers and Patrick Swayze).

However, beyond that, there doesn’t appear to be anything new or remotely realistic about this movie. For one, the plot has been updated so that small town America is invaded by Cuba and North Korea. Really? Two tottering Soviet-era dictatorships that can’t even feeds their own people and are on the brink of collapse manage to circumvent America’s coastal defenses and occupy the United States? Really? This movie sounds like Cold War propaganda, sans the actual Cold War!

At first, I thought I saw some meager potential here. But that was before I read the actual description of the plot. After that, I felt like grabbing the producers and execs who thought this was a good idea and giving them a good shake. “This is why you can’t reboot Cold War Era ideas in the post-Cold War world!” I’d say. The first movie made sense in that it resonated with Americans who were hearing about Russia’s fortunes in Afghanistan. Red Dawn played to the imagery coming out of that war, where young fighters were running around, their heads wrapped in bandanas, and taking out Russian tanks and helicopters with Stingers and RPGs.

But this? This just seems like another excuse by Hollywood producers to do something that’s been done, throw in some cool new action sequences, and sit back and count their money. If they had any guts, they’d have made it China invading instead of Cuba and North Korea. But then again, you gotta hedge your bets right? Can’t piss off the real threats if you’re currently tied at the hip economically. Better to talk about the marginal countries that are under embargo and no one worries about anymore.

Ah well, at least the trailer looks cool. Might even be a good candidate for download.