Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SpaceX Falcon 9 landing!

This is a fantastic clip of a very important achievement - the first time a rocket has boosted a payload into space and vertically landed the first stage. Why is that a big deal? Because we are now, as a species, entirely reliant on access to space - half our technology wouldn't work if we could get access at least to low Earth orbit. And it has to be affordable - we're no longer in a "money is no object" Cold War race to space - we're dependent on space for our day to day lives.
So the privatization of the space industry is vital and reusable rocket technologies are obviously an inevitable part of the sustainability of space access as a business.
Depending on how much of a nerd you are you may be aware that several private companies have been experimenting with vertical landings for years. Several successful tests have been made with vertical liftoff/landing but this one is different.
This rocket was not a low altitude test - it put 11 satellites into orbit AND landed (the first stage) vertically - it didn't just go straight up and down - it boosted the second stage to around 5000 kph, turned around and landed safely - wow!
Now this video was a live feed from Space X and it's actually quite moving! The emotion is contagious! This was an incredible achievement!
If you're VERY nerdy you'll enjoy the whole 45 minutes - if you're just Nerd-curious you'll want to watch from lift-off at around 22:00 to landing at around 33:00 - the actual mission was to launch the satellites which happens later in the film but the really big news was the landing of that first stage - VERY EXCITING! (and they end with a Star Wars pun - beautiful!)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Coloured Stone - Black Boy

Who remembers this beautiful song (and film clip) from 1984? This is my absolute favourite piece of music from Australia - impossible to listen to it just once and it still brings a tear. Like Nina Simone's version of "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free", "Black Boy" deals with such heartbreaking issues in the most positive, uplifting, empowering way - truly a great piece of art.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jaguar XJ13

A look at the incredible Jaguar XJ13 from 1966. The ultimate "could-have-been" supercar. Only one was ever made (though there are loads of replicas around now) and it never got to race. But this is a great clip of the real one - listen to that 5L V12 - glorious!

Monday, December 14, 2015

(un?)Restoring Star Wars

 For my generation Star Wars was the biggest thing in the galaxy - department stores were entirely filled with Star Wars merchandise - not just the toy section - the clothes, bedclothes, toiletries, stationary, sports equipment, furniture - Star Wars was everywhere!
And we watched Star Wars at the cinema, on TV, and over and over again on VHS. We'd record it from TV and wear out the tape by the time it was repeated on one of the other four channels!
Now I wont talk about the "other" three movies here because I simply didn't like them - sure I was disappointed they weren't better - but we still had the original movies to watch - until we didn't!
While George Lucas was and is perfectly entitled to make movies about whatever he wants which we can like or dislike - changing the original movies we grew up with and preventing the sale of the un-modified versions was a very strange decision.
Partly because it was pointless - partly because they are a part of pop culture history - and partly because it was so clumsily and poorly done from a technical and artistic point of view!
The corny CGI effects didn't blend at all with the live action footage and the extra aliens and droids detracted from the realism of the scenes filmed in Tunisia and Death Valley particularly - it looks like "Song Of The South" or "Mary Poppins"!
Adding dialog by different voice artists by placing shadows over actors mouths?! Adding a Muppett looking Sarlacc - even adding Gungans into Return Of The Jedi! "Weesa free!".
And the extra scene with Jabba the Hutt is just bizarre - Han Solo repeats, word for word, the conversation he just had with Greedo while a cheesy CGI Jabba slithers agilely around...No. Just no.
So some years ago I downloaded some reasonable quality versions of the original films (I assume they're from good quality VHS copies? I don't know.)
But Petr Harmy has gone a good many steps further to produce a "Despecialised Edition" - this is a triumph of the human will and the power of SciFi fandom! Read the article here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

1952 Ferrari 212 "barchetta"

One of the most beautiful early Ferraris - one of the most beautiful machines ever built in my opinion - a 1952 212 Export "barchetta" by Touring. This car competed in the Targa Florio in 1952 and 53 and sold this year (2015) for EU 6,720,000 (around 10 million AUD).

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boyd Rivers & Ruth May Rivers

This is a great clip of the brilliant Boyd Rivers and Ruth May Rivers, filmed by Alan Lomax in 1978 - check out all their other songs too including Boyd's brilliant version of "You Got To Take Sick And Die" - what a voice!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Climb Dance

This is one of the great motorsport films. Directed by Jean Louis Mourey it depicts Ari Vatanen driving a four wheel drive, all wheel steering Peugeot 405 up Pike's Peak in 1988 before it was paved. Very, very fast! When the sun gets in his eyes he drives one handed. Great film. The original version of "Climb Dance" had Randy Weston's "African Village/Bedford Stuyvesant" playing over the first minute of the film -  I believe Peugeot didn't have permission to use it in this remastered version which is a shame - but the extra definition makes it well worth watching. (As usual - go full screen and full volume!)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Techmoan looks at the smallest Discman

I love Techmoan's channel - and here he looks at the smallest and strangest Sony Discman from 1988.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

1964 Ferrari GTO

The Ferrari GTO is the most valuable car in the world and while it is not the most beautiful Ferrari in my opinion (though I do prefer the Series II body this car has) - listen to this 3L V12 go! This is footage shot for this film where Derek Hill talks about this particular car. This clip however is just the sound of the car! Make sure you put it on full screen, HD, and turn the volume UP!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Peacock Spiders

 When people think of Australian spiders they usually think of our most dangerous ones but we also have amazing little things like these!