Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SPEARHEAD denounces Alien Crab and Dark Lady

"Time wasting science-fiction nerd and tinfoil-hat conspiracy-theory nonsense" is what Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information denounced the latest claims from the "lunatic fringe of Internet trawlers".

The General was describing new claims that have surfaced online concerning the latest Mars Curiosity photos which show a 'Space Crab' or 'Alien Face-Hugger' crawling out of a crevice and another shows a 'Dark Clothed woman' standing on a perch looking out over the sea of sand on the red planet.

The Dark Woman, whom some have even claimed is holding a weapon!

The Director of the SETI research centre Seth Shostak puts these claims down to cases of pareidolia, a form of apophenia, which is when people see patterns in random stimuli like faces in clouds. "Recognising a crab in a landscape filled with wind-weathered rocks is no more surprising - nor more significant - than seeing a winking face in a semi-colon followed by a parenthesis. ;)" he said.

It's coming to get you!!!

Scott C Waring, editor of UFO Sightings Daily, said: "It may be a crab-like animal, or it also may be a plant. "It really doesn't matter. The significance of this is that it shows signs that it is alive." 

"If you stare at my face long enough you'll probably believe I'm some kind of godamn alien freak too" added General Creedon diplomatically in a telephone interview. "We don't have time for this, these nutballs see all sorts of crazy shit in the photos, eggs, squrrels, numbers, pyramids and my personal favourite 'fake sand' - yes you heard me - a claim that someone put fake sand on Mars" before he hung up.

Source: NASA, The Daily Mail

Monday, August 10, 2015

Please switch off your phones

As an officer and a gentleman - both an educated and properly evolved life-form [mostly], I've always been fascinated by the predilection of some of society's lowest common denominators using their mobile phone devices in environments where it's obvious to anyone with half a fucking braincell it's not acceptable, like the cinema, in church or during educational instruction.

Like Benedict Cumberbatch, I've been on film a few times. You screw up you get to do it again until the director is happy but I doubt I'll ever understand how fundamentally annoying it is to be on stage, where no one yells 'cut', in front of hundreds of people delivering Shakespeare's awkwardly written prose from memory and having to contend with some inconsiderate arsehole beaming the metaphorical equivalent of the Death Star's laser into your eye.

Cumberbatch is currently starring in a production of Hamlet at London's Barbican theatre and outside the stage door after Saturday night's show addressed the ongoing crisis surrounding patron's inability to behave like proper human beings at the theatre. In his trademark polite British fashion he asked everyone to share "the shit out of this" short speech - and I'm delighted to do so.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Milley, Richardson and Neller confirmed

General Mark Milley, Lieutenant General Robert Neller and Admiral John Richardson have been confirmed as the chief of staff of the Army, commandant of the Marine Corps, and chief of Naval Operations respectively.

[L to R] Gen Milley, LtGen Neller and Adm Richardson

Gen Milley and Adm Richardson replace General Ray Odierno and Admiral Jonathan Greenert who are retiring. Gen Neller will replace General Joseph Dunford who also has been confirmed as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Of Milley, Neller and Richardson SecDef Ash Carter said: "Each is a proven leader with decades of operational experience. Our nation is stronger for their service, and the president and I will continue to benefit from their extensive expertise and strategic counsel in their new roles."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

SPEARHEAD furious over Hawking's "180" on alien contact

The Commander of SPEARHEAD addressed the UN Security Council on Friday in condemnation of the recent declarations of Russian tech entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Professor Stephen Hawking to fund "Breakthrough" a new $100 million initiative looking for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Hawking revealed his worry that any aliens advanced enough to contact earth would be “looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they could reach” in May 2010 and reported here but now seems to have done an about face at last to some extent. Hawking is still sure that “A civilisation reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” but insists that despite the disastrous consequences: “We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”

Breakthrough Listen
will provide funding explicitly for the search for extraterrestrial life, scanning the million stars closes to Earth and portions of 100 neighbouring galaxies. Breakthrough Message, will host a competition in which anyone can submit ideas for potential interplanetary messages.

Lieutenant General "Stomper" Santorno who has commanded SPEARHEAD since 2012 said the new initiative was "beyond reckless" and measures should be put into place to prevent private citizens from funding "irresponsible space-projects that could invite disaster on a global scale".

Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information delivered a report on his current progress with Operation: First Strike revealed in December 2011. Originally then-Colonel Creedon had outlined the threat posed by Kepler-22b, the first rocky exoplanet to meet key requirements for sustaining life and had formulated a preemptive strike against this new potential enemy.

"There is no longer an immediate perceived threat from Kepler-22b," admitted the General. "Only because of the more imminent potential threat from Kepler 452b which NASA has warned is the most Earth-like alien planet yet discovered," he added.

NASA's Kepler telescope has spotted Kepler-452b 1,400 light-years away, and is the only planet known in its solar system. Researches said it's 60% wider than Earth, which gives it a "better than even" chance of being rocky, and likely possesses a thick atmosphere, lots of water and active volcanoes. "It would feel a lot like home, from the standpoint of the sunshine that you would experience," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

General Creedon reportedly requested $14bn in funding for Operation: First Strike II against Kepler-452b.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Go go Fightin' Joe

Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph F. "Fighting Joe" Dunford Jr. is currently fighting one of first major political battles in the upper house of the United States congress. His aim is to be confirmed by the Senate as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [CJCOS], the highest ranking military position in the U.S. Armed Forces.

During his confirmation hearings Dunford did discuss ISIS and North Korea as threats but suggested a close eye be kept on China. As for the Middle-East, he described Iran as "the most destabilising element" in the region and "clearly a malign influence."

Dunford was explicitly asked what he thought was the primary existential against the United States and the General was quick to unequivocally respond: 

 "Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security." 

Dunford told committee Chairman John McCain that as it had a large nuclear arsenal, was destabilising Ukraine and a threat to NATO nations on its borders, Russia presents a significant challenge to the U.S. and that it would be "reasonable" for the United States to provide sophisticated anti-tank and artillery assistance to the Ukrainian government in response to the situation in eastern Ukraine.

The view that Russia was the greatest threat was in fact one of Mitt Romney's claims during his presidential bid in 2012 and decried by Barack Obama as outdated, but this was obviously before the Crimea annexation. While Dunford is Obama's pick as CJCOS, senior White House officials were quick to point out that General Dunford's opinions are his own and not those of the administration.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

James Horner 1953 - 2015

James Horner [61], one of the most prolific film score composers of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s tragically lost his life yesterday in an aircraft accident.

He was best known as the composer for two of the world's highest grossing films, Titanic and Avatar - both of which earned him Oscar nods, a win in the case of Titanic as well as it's song “My Heart Will Go On”. He would receive another 7 Oscar and three BAFTA nominations as well as winning two Golden Globes, three Saturn Awards and three Satellite Awards throughout his career.

Horner had little issue composing scores for impressive works in the field of motion pictures such as Glory and Braveheart, family favourites like Jumanji and Casper, period epics like Troy and Legends of the Fall, balls-out action movies like Commando and Red Heat, for animated movies including The Land Before Time and An American Tail, comedy such as Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Hocus Pocus, thrillers including Ransom and Patriot Games and even for comic-book heroes The Rocketeer and The Amazing Spider-Man. With over 100 scores under his belt he was one of few composers who catered for everybody and any type of movie.

In an interview in 2010, Horner said that scoring Avatar was the toughest assignment he had taken on and he needed time to get it out of his system, so he had done little of note since but he was collaborating with James Cameron in providing music for the director's Avatar sequels over the course of the next few years.

Horner was one of the first composers whose work I listened to daily. His compositions along with those of John Williams, Danny Elfman and the late Jerry Goldsmith were the four cornerstones of my musical tastes for many years. Among my favourites from Horner are Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [‘82], Aliens [‘86], Willow [‘87], The Rocketeer [‘91], Braveheart [‘94], Apollo 13 [‘94], The Mask of Zorro [‘98] and Enemy at the Gates [‘00].

Horner was often mocked for lifting sequences and musical motifs - as well as almost entire segments from one of his own scores and adapting them to fit the musical scores of other movies he was assigned to. Throughout the years his audience became more accepting of this quirk and when recognised upon listening it can only bring a smile to the face of his true fans.

Many of Horner's detractors were critical of his use of the works of classical music composers such as Orff, Elgar and Wagner and labelled his works as derivative - but if anything he spotlighted the works of the classical greats he admired and cherished the works of, and helped them to be discovered by successive generations. I have no doubt that in the future, composers of scores will even use Horner's own cues in the same way he did, and make it part of their work as a homage and  as they take us on a new musical journey of their making.

Thank you James Horner for over 100 gifts to us over the years and may you rest in peace.