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SDCC Week: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One of the most anticipated panels this weekend is definitely going to be for Peter Jackson’s third installment to The Hobbit. 

IGN has posted a video that showcases our favorite cumberdragon, Smaug.

To get you excited, we’re pulling out all the Smaug images from Middle-earth Envisioned. 

The UK’s Royal Mail “Hobbit” stamp. It is a 20p stamp featuring The Hobbit illustration by Peter Malone and was part of the 1998 Presentation Pack #289 entitled Magical Worlds: Fantasy Books for Children.

The Hobbit Board Game is a strategy game by Reiner Knizia featuring the spectacular art of John Howe. Players compete to win as much treasure as they can, while threatened by Smaug the Dragon.

“Smaug” by Anke Eissman.

“A Conversation with Smaug” by Ted Nasmith.

And of course, the voice of Smaug:

So head over to our booth with Walter Foster #1320 and take a look in the book! Pull together your five armies, and get ready for battle:

racepointpublishing

SDCC Week: Comic-Con Signing with Bob Kato Sunday 3 PM, Booth #1320

SDCC Week: Look for us at the Walter Foster Booth!

SDCC Week: Maleficent, Elsa and More! 7 Disney Eye Makeup Designs

If you’re planning on attending any comic-con, you’ll need some awesome eye makeup ideas. And whether you’re cosplaying or just want to add a little oomph to your outfit, we have the perfect designs for anyone who loves disney, onceabc, princesses or villains!

Be sure to check out our other post on alien eye makeup for more ideas!

1. Princess Merida from Disney’s Brave

2. Snow White

3. Princess Anna from Disney’s Frozen

4. Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen

5. The Evil Queen (or Regina for all you onceabc lovers)

6. Ursula from Disney’s The Little Mermaid

7. Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty or maleficentmovie (maybe just don’t go green). This could also make a great Elphaba if you’re going the Wicked route.

These amazing designs come from Kendra Stanton's book 500 Eye Makeup Designs:

SDCC Week: Must Make Cosplay Props

You may have the outfit down, but what about the accessories? These prop ideas from 1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas will put the perfect finishing touches on your outfit!

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Thermal Detonator: Prop from Return of the Jedi
CONTRIBUTOR: Oubliette, USA; FABRICATOR: Oubliette

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Mehrunes’ Razor: Props reconstructed from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
CONTRIBUTOR: William Doran, Punished Props, USA; PHOTO: William Doran

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Nina Sayers’ Crown: Prop from Black Swan
CONTRIBUTOR: Emma Shaw, USA; PHOTO: Droo Photography

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Nix Tire: Prop for Shiva Sister from Final Fantasy
CONTRIBUTOR: Nobody, Bllack & Nobo Cosplay, USA

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Blaster: Original prop design
CONTRIBUTOR: Anthony Day, USA

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Commander Shepard’s gun: Prop from Mass Effect
CONTRIBUTOR: Leah Nelson, Geek Outlet!, USA; PHOTO: BGZ Studios

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The Time Machine: Replica from The Time Machine movie
CONTRIBUTOR: Thomas J. Galvin, III, USA

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Edward Scissorhands: Props from the movie Edward Scissorhands
CONTRIBUTOR/PHOTO: Michael J. Prast, USA

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History of 3-D Movies

Lately, all of the biggest blockbusters seem to be released in 3-D, but is this really a new invention or a fad from the past? Hollywood Myths reveals the past behind 3-D movies and how they may not be as new as you think.

Teenagers watching the latest superhero movie may think that 3-D is an exciting new invention, created to let them watch Green Lanterns and Autobots soar through the air. Their grandparents, on the other hand, may think it’s a resurrected fad from the 1950s. But 3-D imagery is actually older than the movies.

In the nineteenth century, a device called a stereoscope was a common household amusement. It was a slide viewer with two eyeholes, through which two side-by-side images of a cityscape or natural wonder could be seen. The images merged to create an illusion of three dimensions, in a manner similar to the one still used in Viewmaster toys.

In 1915, Edwin S. Porter, who directed the pioneering movie The Great Train Robbery (1903), demonstrated a 3-D projection system at a theater in New York City, using two synchronized projectors that displayed color- coded images. The color-coding system, called anaglyph 3-D, was refined in the 1920s and 1930s in a handful of feature films, newsreels, and even Nazi propaganda films. But it was hard to keep the projectors perfectly synchronized, and the 3-D effect was limited.

In the 1930s, inventor Edwin S. Land of the Polaroid Corporation improved the effect by developing better polarizing filters. The outcome was demonstrated in photography exhibits and in a Chrysler ad at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, but World War II delayed the technology’s imple- mentation in feature films.

Three-dimensional films finally broke out in the early 1950s. Hollywood needed novelties to compete with television, and over the course of the decade it experimented with wide-screen formats such as Cinerama and even olfactory gimmicks like Smell-O-Vision, an air-pump system devel- oped by producer Mike Todd Jr. and his stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor. But it was 3-D that had the most immediate impact, starting with the surprise hit Bwana Devil (1952). A year later, House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, became the most successful 3-D movie yet released. The scene of a carnival barker whacking a paddle ball in the direction of the audience represented the hook that Hollywood needed. Although 3-D technology was embraced by prestige directors such as Alfred Hitchcock (in 1954’s Dial M for Murder) and used in mainstream crowd-pleasers such as the musical Kiss Me, Kate (1953), it was most common in genre films, including Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and a surprising number of Westerns. The image in Life magazine of a movie audience gawking through cardboard glasses was as quintessentially 1950s as hula hoops and poodle skirts. By 1954 the inherent limitations of synchronized projectors had effectively ended the golden age of 3-D.

After the development of a single-projector process, the tech- nology experienced a brief revival among the sensation-cravers of the Woodstock generation. In 1969, the low-budget 3-D skin flick The Stewardesses earned $27 million, the equivalent of more than $140 mil- lion today. Five years later, the potentate of pop art lent his name to Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, a 3-D midnight movie that was noteworthy for the forward-thrusting image of an impaled liver. Mainstream Hollywood re-embraced the technology for sequels such as Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), and Jaws 3-D (1983).

In the new millennium, with larger and cheaper home theaters offer- ing a viable alternative to the multiplex, theater owners have sought new inducements to get consumers to pay for movie tickets (and gas and pop- corn and maybe a babysitter). The promise of a second Star Wars trilogy in the first decade of the 2000s convinced some exhibitors to switch to digi- tal projectors. Then the announcement of the 3-D Avatar, from Titanic hit-maker James Cameron, convinced many to add the converters and sil- ver screens necessary to show digital 3-D films. In 2008, the 3-D Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert paid off handsomely for early investors, and in 2009, Cameron’s record-shattering Avatar sealed the deal for the stragglers, who shelled out as much as $100,000 per audi- torium to convert their theaters.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the pot of gold. Some 3-D movies, such as Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and the remake of Clash of the Titans in 2010, turned out to be conventional two-dimensional films that were retrofitted for 3-D presentation. Audiences balked at paying a surcharge for the darkened, unimpressive imagery in these hybrid films. For movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the per- centage of the American box-office booty that came from 3-D theaters was less than 50. (Overseas, 3-D remained a lucrative novelty.)

Though the autobots sequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which was filmed in 3-D by design, temporarily reversed the trend, it cost $200 mil- lion to produce, a price that few directors could afford. For theater owners who need a new gimmick, maybe it’s time for Smell-O-Vision 2.0.

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Can you paint with all the colors of the sand?

It summertime means beach time and hopefully everyone is getting a chance to spend some time by the water with their toes in the sand. But, have you ever given any thought to what each individual grain of sand looks like? These pictures from A Grain of Sand show the different colors found in sands throughout the world!

Although most beaches take on a single muted color to the naked eye, sand is full of diverse colors when looked at closely. The medley of images presented in this chapter illustrates the range of dramatically different colors in sand grains from around the world.

Sand is not just a bunch of small, round, beige-colored stones. In fact, sand grains come in every color imaginable. The bright pinks, reds, and greens of mineral sand are stunning, very much like gemstones except extremely small. In fact, some of them actu- ally are tiny gemstones. These little bits of quartz, amethyst, olivine, and garnet catch the light and bounce it around like sparkling jewels. 

Sand from Skeleton Beach in Namibia contains rounded and polished pink-and-red garnet and angular black magnetite (magnification 170x). 

A multicolored sand sample from Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica, comprises mineral grains and shell fragments (magnification 110x). 

A miniature hexagonal crystal was found in sand on Zushi Beach, Japan. Crossed polarizing filters create the blue color, which indicates the orientation of the crystal structure (magnification 100x). 

Sand from Coral Dunes, Utah, consists of rounded quartz grains that have undergone several cycles of weathering and erosion, re-formation into sandstone, and further weathering, transport, and abrasion (magnification 70x). 

Grains of sand from New Mexico are made of copper that accumulated downwind of a copper smelter. The grains of copper precipitated from the smoke that belched from unregulated industrial smokestacks (magnification 50x). 

Sand from Plum Island, Rowley, Massachusetts, contains garnet, magnetite, and epidote (magnification 95x). 

Sand from Skeleton Beach in Namibia contains rounded and polished pink-and-red garnet. The black grain is magnetite (magnification 95x). 

Look closely at these colorful bits of sand from Southampton, Bermuda, and you’ll see fragments of tropical coral, shells, and forams (magnification 260x). 

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Gray Elephants, Pink Elephants, and Blue Elephants

"Seeing pink elephants" is a euphemism for a drunken hallucination, but do you know why that is? Jumbo: The Unauthorised Biography of a Victorian Sensation talks all about the famous Victorian elephant’s drinking habit and how Walt Disney’s “Pink Elephants on Parade” perpetuated to this saying.

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‘I am an alcoholic.’ I’ve said it innumerable times at meetings and I hope to say it, sober, many times more. Was Jumbo a fellow alcoholic? I like to fancy he was. It’s one of the things which has given me a sense of intimacy with the great animal.

Jumbo was the only animal in Barnum’s circus (or, before that, the London Zoo) reported to have a love of the bottle. The great pachyderm – about to amaze and charm the children of the new world – had a bout of stage fright and steeled his nerves for disembarkation in New York harbour with an appropriate bottle of port, dextrously transported from trunk to mouth and glugged it down as fast as a yard of ale in a college fraternity drinking game. I used to do something similar in my early days as a university lecturer before taking the lectern.

Jumbo’s habitual boozing was entirely contrary to the wishes of Barnum, who was an evangelistic abstainer and the author of grandiloquent temperance tracts. He must have been the unjolliest of dinner guests, and probably the most garru- lous. It was his proud boast that abstention was the law of his animal kingdom. ‘Pure water,’ he proclaimed, ‘is the natural drink for man and beast. My lions, tigers, and even the great Jumbo himself drink nothing stronger than water.’

It was, of course, so much Barnum humbuggery. Just because alcohol doesn’t cross your lips doesn’t mean that fibs can’t traverse in the opposite direction. Jumbo, we are told, ‘according to several witnesses was in the habit of drinking daily a keg of beer’. On his trip over to New York, he was publicly given plentiful draughts of champagne by revelling fellow passengers, who were amazed by what he could do with a bottle.

Barnum, who could not but witness the drink-fuelled high jinks, sourly observed, without irony, apparently: ‘that animal’s growth has been stunted by beer’. (He was always uneasy that the paying public would, when they actually saw him in the 11-foot and 6-ton flesh, realise that Jumbo was magnitudes smaller than the advertising posters and would cry foul, as an embarrassing number of them had done about his Fejee Mermaid.) But, disapproving though he was, he did not put a stop to Jumbo’s ‘habit’. It kept him docile. And Barnum did not want any more of those musth shenanigans which had so alarmed the English.

The classic overindulgence of the ‘solitary drinker’ seems to have been Jumbo’s style. As is often the case with those who drink alone, one could easily suppose that he lapsed into alcoholism, or that, at the very least, the condition of an elephantine ‘problem drinker’. Solitary drinkers, of course, can drink with other solitary drinkers and still merit the term that identifies them. Matthew Scott had long been in the habit of taking a nightly bottle of whisky into Jumbo’s den at Regent’s Park for the two of them to get the wrinkles of the day out of their necks. They made merry and, Chambers records, ‘as the pair fell under the influence of alcohol Scott would break into song, to which his elephant would provide a very loud trumpeting accompaniment’. Apparently it caused Bartlett sleepless nights. I’m inclined to give credence to the view that Jumbo may well have been sozzled on the night he was killed. Why else would you run a hundred yards into the path of a thundering train, with everyone shouting at you to get off the tracks?

Speaking as an alcoholic, I can vouch for the fact one does not, legless, see pink elephants. DTs (alas, I can also vouch for those as well) are not amusing. It’s toads in my case. But LSD is something else. It’s long been folklore that the Disney operation (even Uncle Walt himself) were into psychedelic drugs. One commentator on the Web notes that the Disney team seem, knowingly, to have confused alcoholic dementia with ‘taking a shitload of acid’. In the LSD mania of the 1960s, trippers loved to watch Disney movies, elevating their highs to stratospheric levels, up there with Telstar. Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll and Disney. Many tabs of acid carried a pink Dumbo insignia. Walt himself was addicted to nothing worse than cigarettes, one is assured.

The ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’ sequence has tradition- ally disturbed moralists in America. The ‘Christian Answers’ website, while approving generally of the film, has severe reservations about the parade. Its spokesman (one for whom the eighteenth amendment was never revoked) lays down the official Prohibition line:

Dumbo and Timothy accidentally get drunk because the clowns dropped a bottle of liquor into a watering bucket; we share the pair’s hallucinations through the song ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’, which may be the first ‘psychedelic’ music video ever made. When my daughter was younger, I skipped that scene entirely; now I let her watch the fancy animation, but mute the sound. The scene even makes me uncomfortable.

It made the high-ups in the Disney office uncomfortable as well. They protested that the sequence had been designed to discourage teenage drinking. It was unconvincing. Any kid with an ounce of spirit would want to dip their trunk into that bucket and ‘see the elephants’. The Dumbo ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, originally had pink elephants. A last- minute instruction from Walt himself, we are told, changed it to dull gray, to kill any overt allusion to the film’s ‘tipsy parade’. It may also be that they wanted to extirpate any suggestion that Dumbo and Tim were rather too buddy. Whatever one’s reaction to the drunk-as-a-skunk-with-a-trunk sequence, pink elephants have become proverbial.

Disney popularised it but he did not invent the pink elephant. It was Jack London, in his ‘alcoholic memoir’, John Barleycorn (1913), who is first recorded as putting it into print. One suspects it was saloon slang long before that. London uses the phrase as part of his acute anatomy of the different kinds of drunk:

There are, broadly speaking, two types of drinkers. There is the man whom we all know, stupid, unimaginative, whose brain is bitten numbly by numb maggots; who walks generously with wide-spread, tentative legs, falls frequently in the gutter, and who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants. He is the type that gives rise to the jokes in the funny papers.

The other type of drinker has imagination, vision. Even when most pleasantly jingled, he walks straight and naturally, never staggers nor falls, and knows just where he is and what he is doing. It is not his body

Elephants’ love of drink has always been proverbially confirmed by the elephants themselves when they can get near the stuff. One of Old Bet’s tricks was, when on show at taverns, to uncork as many bottles of beer as were offered her and glug them down. But are elephants in the wild, who lack access to the amenities of civilisation, teetotal? Legend, and regular tabloid newspaper stories, would have it they are not.

One of the perennial myths about Loxodonta Africana, the tribe of Jumbo, is that they like to get themselves tiddly on the fruit of the marula tree. The mango-like, sugary fruit of the tree is used by natives in the manufacture of a liqueur, Amarula, which I have never tasted (and hope I never will) but am told is palatable. But how do elephants actually get their Amarula hooch? Drinkers, as I have observed, are careful to preserve their ‘stash’. Reputedly elephants get their booze by eating rotting, or rotten windfall on the ground – food which, did it not pack a kick, would be wholly distasteful. It’s further reputed that these highly intelligent beasts, who can put two and two together, are in the habit of rocking the trees, to bring down the fruit, which they then leave on the ground until it’s, so to speak, drinkable.

Alas, an article in the 2006 issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology by the biologist Steve Morris pours cold water on this legend. It doesn’t happen, his research reveals. ‘People just want to believe in drunken elephants,’ he says. It’s true that elephants push over marula trees, but it’s to get the fresh fruit, not to stock their booze cabinet. And if fresh fruit does fall on the ground, it’s so delicious that every animal in the area, not just elephants, rushes to gobble it up. Elephants, testifies another expert, ‘regularly visit and revisit the same marula trees, checking the fruits and the bark for palatability and devour the fruits when they are ripe.’ Ripe, not rotten.

The elephant’s belly and intestines, of course, are as large as any metal ‘still’ and its pipework. Could the necessary fermen- tation of the fruit take place internally alongside the normal processes of digestion? Is the elephant a four-legged walking brewery – the slang-proverbial ‘piss tank’? Unfortunately for this theory the vast amounts of vegetable food the elephant eats pass through its system at astonishing speed. Don’t stand behind one, as the old joke says.

As regards the walking piss-tank thesis, science instructs that there simply isn’t time enough for the necessary internal fermen- tation to happen. Boa constrictors (which take up to a month in digestion, legend has it) perhaps could, although there are no records of boozed-up monsters of the Amazon. The internal fermentation thesis is further disproved by the same spoilsport Dr Morris’s calculation that it would require the fermented juice of some 1,400 marula fruits (around a quarter of a ton), properly prepared, to get an elephant enjoyably drunk. Since drunkenness has a relationship with body mass, the elephant probably has that enviable thing for alcoholics, ‘a good head’.

Despite the efforts of Dr Morris and his ilk, the public wants desperately to believe in the drunken elephant and wilfully insists on doing so. Newspapers regularly run stories of the ‘Trunk and disorderly’ kind. There have probably been several between my writing this and your reading it. The following kind of thing, for example, to choose one of many, turned up by an ‘elephant + drunken’ search. It’s from Metro, 6 November 2012, and is lifted, as many such stories are, from The Hindustan Times:

The trunk and disorderly mammals ransacked a shop, three houses and ruined crops in the eastern village of Dumurkota, India.

Police say the gang of over-the-limit tuskers downed more than 500 litres of moonshine alcohol, managing to drink the place dry in a matter of minutes.

The unruly mob demolished dozens of houses in their desperate hunt for more booze after hoovering up the hard stuff in record time.

Local police officer Asish Samanat said the drunken elephants were more ‘aggressive’ than usual after their mammoth drinking session.

‘Unfortunately these animals live in close proximity to man and they recognised the smell of the drink,’ he explained.

‘They were like any other drunk – aggressive and unreasonable but much, much bigger.’

Police and villagers eventually restored order by herding the elephants over a local river back to their normal migration route.

Officer Samanat added: ‘They’ll have one heck of a hangover.’

The drinks industry has, sensibly enough, exploited the traditional link between its product and the world’s favourite mammal, and Jumbo does for the beer can what he does for the airliner: he makes it cosy and ‘safe’. Carlsberg has a strong- selling line called ‘Elephant Beer’. It’s very potent, I’m told, and tasty. In 2009 the firm proudly described its tipple in press releases for the fiftieth anniversary of the beer’s arrival in the drinking holes of the world:

Elephant Beer was launched in a time where Danish design, architecture and crafts achieved great interna- tional success. Carlsberg has a long tradition of producing promotional posters reflected by the changing times, and as a result poster artist Kjeld Nielsen was asked to develop an icon that could be used in advertising. He came up with a small blue elephant that almost looked like some- thing out of a children’s book. To the international audience this may seem somewhat misleading, consid- ering that the beer definitely is not intended for children. But to fully grasp the geniality of Nielsen’s design, one needs to understand the Danish sense of humour and subtle irony. The blue elephant soon became a much- loved symbol and was used extensively for more than a decade. Today the Elephant Beer’s mascot is even consid- ered a design icon by many artists and graphic designers. Kjeld Nielsen’s work is regarded as some of the most original promotional materials in Carlsberg’s history. On the occasion of the 50-year anniversary new enamel signs with Nielsen’s blue elephant have been produced.

Tom Waits, the singer (composer of the immortal ditty, ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking’) appeared sloshed on Danish TV in 1976, knocking back bottles of Elephant Beer, to which he is, apparently, partial. Waits composed a song specially for the occasion: ‘Elephant Beer Blues’. He followed it up with an album.

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Read more about the Victorian sensation in Jumbo

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"I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye."

Recently, Doctor Who’s farewell scene to Rose Tyler was voted number one in the SFX poll for greatest scifi scene ever. Today marks 8 years since it happend. So here is everything you need to know about Rose from The Who’s Who of Doctor Who by Blogtor Who himself.

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In her own timeline, Rose actually met the Tenth Doctor before she began her travels with the Ninth. She was approached very early on New Year’s Day 2005 by a stranger who predicted, “I bet you’re going to have a really great year”—this was the Tenth Doctor during his last visit to Earth before he regenerated.

A few months later she was working at Henrik’s in London when she encountered some Autons in the basement. Thankfully the Ninth Doctor was on hand to grab her hand and tell her to run. He left her almost immediately, only to return to her flat the next day, where she lived with her mother Jackie Tyler.

After helping the Doctor fight off the Nestene Consciousness, Rose turned down his offer to leave with him in the TARDIS. It was only when he revealed that the ship could also travel in time that she agreed.

Initially, their relationship was slightly sparky, with Rose a little annoyed that Time Lord technology was used on her brain to help her understand alien languages without her knowing, but she quickly came to trust the Doctor.

On returning home to pick up some clothes, Rose discovered that she had been away from Earth for a year instead of the few days the Doctor had promised. This caused no end of disharmony with her boyfriend Mickey, who had been accused of her murder, She had other things on her mind when London became the focal point of an alien ship crash-landing in the Thames. The Doctor had come to admire Rose’s bravery as they waited in 10 Downing Street, unsure whether they would live or die, but he couldn’t promise Jackie that Rose would be safe. Even knowing this, Rose wanted to continue her travels with the Time Lord.

Shortly after, Rose met a solitary Dalek in Utah, 2012 which played on her trusting nature. The Dalek used her background time radiation to restore itself to full power, but disgusted at the impurity, begged Rose to order it to destroy itself. The Doctor sardonically referred to Adam Mitchell—whom Rose met in Utah—as her “boyfriend,” but neither she nor the Time Lord were impressed with his behavior on Satellite Five.

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The Doctor took Rose back to see her parents’ wedding, but when they went to the day in 1987 that her father died in a road accident, Rose (“a selfish stupid ape,” according to the Doctor) intervened to save him. This caused a wound in Time, and eventually the Doctor’s disappearance. Rose told her father who she was, and he chose to sacrifice his life to set Time straight again. She then traveled further back in time to World War II where she met Captain Jack Harkness and subsequently reunited with Mickey.

After rescuing Rose from a Dalek saucer, the Doctor knew he was going to be captured by the mutated Rose home in the TARDIS. However, she refused to accept his loss, and found a way to look into the heart of the TARDIS. With these newfound powers, she destroyed the Dalek fleet and Emperor, and also resuscitated Captain Jack who had been exterminated. Knowing she could not cope with the energies involved, the Time Lord gave up his life in order to save her and regenerated into the Tenth Doctor in front of her in the TARDIS.

At first, Rose was confused and dubious about the new man but she returned home to look after the Doctor in his post-regenerative state. Within days, the two were firm friends again and, indeed, a new spark seemed to exist between them that wasn’t present before.

The Doctor treated Rose to adventures in the future on New Earth, where she met Lady Cassandra again, the past where she encountered Queen Victoria, and then back to present day London. Also there were the Doctor’s former companions Sarah Jane Smith and K9. Rose’s relationship with Sarah was difficult at first as they tried to out-do one another, but they became good friends while defeating the Krillitane.

After briefly returning home, Rose and the Doctor traveled back in time to London 1953 where her face was removed by the Wire. From there, the pair traveled into space and into the future where a dark force lived deep within a planet orbiting a black hole. Here Rose received a warning from the Beast in the planet that she would “die in battle.” The prophecy was to come true, in a fashion, as she would be counted among the dead after the Battle of Canary Wharf. That battle, caused by Cybermen from the parallel universe encountering Daleks who had existed in the Void between the worlds, saw the Doctor and Rose separated. Rose was trapped in the parallel world, with the Time Lord only able to send a message through the last of the breaches between the two worlds. The pair said their goodbyes at Bad Wolf Bay.

However, Rose was to prove that her love for the Doctor could break the boundaries of universes and, after near misses in London and on monitors, she finally connected with the Time Lord after breaking through to the correct universe (after meeting Donna Noble in a universe created by the Trickster’s Brigade) to warn him about an impending disaster. Their reunion was short-lived but when she returned to her own time and space, after teaming up with friends to help the Doctor, she was accompanied by an alternate, human, version of the Doctor, who was able to express himself where his true Gallifreyan version could not. Rose briefly teamed up with the Tenth Doctor again in an adventure which saw her Doctor meet more than one version of himself in the 50th anniversary special. [edit: this of course, was the Moment in an incarnation of Rose]

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Get this book for 35% off with the code STARS14 on qbookshop.com.

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World UFO Day

No, seriously, you guys. Check it out. In March, we held our very own alien month, but this is awesome. In celebration: Get 35% off our alien books when you use the code UFO14 at checkout here until July 7.

Here are some of the books you can get to celebrate:

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Also, we have this from UFO Investigator’s Manual by Nigel Watson:

The Condon Committee

After a wave of UFO sightings and Congressional UFO hearings in April 1966, th Air Force agreed to have their Blue Book files re-examined and to conduct a multidisciplinary study of the UFO subject to determine if a major problem existed. After considering several universities, the University of Colorado was selected to carry out the work in November 1966.

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Ella Louise Fortune was driving along Highway 54 on 16 October 1957, when she saw this UFO hovering over Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. - Fortean Picture Library

Under the scientific direction and leadership of Professor Edward U. Condon, the committee originally received help and support from the NICAP and APRO civilian UFO groups. This changed when a memorandum by Robert Low, the committee’s coordinator, dated 9 August 1966, was discovered that contained these damning words: ‘The trick would be, I think, to describe a project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study, but to the scientific community would present the image of a group of non-believers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer.’

When Condon learnt on 7 February 1968 that two of his team members, Dr. David Saunders and Norman Levine, had leaked this memo, he promptly fired them. Saunders went on to co-write a book UFOs? Yes! Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong: The Inside Story bu an Ex-Member of the Official Study Group. As its title indicates, this criticized the workings of the committee. Its main argument was that there was a government conspiracy to keep the truth from the public, and the committee was unwilling to consider that UFOs could be extraterrestrial vehicles.

Despite the controversy, the committee submitted a 1,400-page typewritten report to the Air Force in November 1968, entitled The Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, often referred to as the Conton Report.

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Three classic flying saucers photographed over Italy on 26 September 1960. Probably a fake. -Fortrean Picture Library

Section I of the report pulled no punches: ‘Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.

'It has been argued that this lack of contribution to science is due to the fact that very little scientific study of the subject is that those scientists who are most directly concerned, astronomers, atmospheric physicists, chemists, and psychologists, having had ample opportunity to look into the matter, have individually decided that UFO phenomena do not offer a fruitful field in which to look for major scientific discoveries.'

Since UFOs did not, therefore, represent any national security threat in the form of foreign or extraterrestrial vehicles, and did not merit further scientific investigation, the Air Force used the report’s findings as an excuse to close down Project Blue Book and, at least in public, wash their hands of ufology altogether. Their recommendation to any UFO witness is to contact their local law enforcement agency. 

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Captain Hugo F. Niotti, who served in the Argentinean Air Force (AAF), was driving from Yacanto towards Cordoba, Argentina, when he snapped this picture of a UFO on 3 July 1960. - Fortean Picture Library

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