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Wednesday Open Thread

After receiving permission from the farm owner, these men, attached to an airbase at Norfolk, England, invade a turkey pen to choose their annual turkey day repast. The turkeys were given to the men for their Thanksgiving dinners. 6 November 1943

After receiving permission from the farm owner, these men, attached to an airbase at Norfolk, England, invade a turkey pen to choose their annual turkey day repast. The turkeys were given to the men for their Thanksgiving dinners. 6 November 1943

Revealed: The Lost Chapter of Interstellar

absolute zero

For those who’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar he has written a graphic novel on the Lazarus missions… the missions preceding the film and Cooper’s mission. From Wired.com:

Before Cooper left his daughter to find humanity a new home in space, there were the Lazarus missions. Led by Dr. Mann, this was NASA’s first attempt to locate a hospitable exoplanet. So what happened to Mann on the other side of the wormhole? We teamed Christopher Nolan with award-winning comic-book artist Sean Gordon Murphy to tell Mann’s story.

The comic is at the link.

From the Netherworld Back to the Netherlands

Nobody messes with this Dutch mama:

A mother defied official warnings to travel to the Syrian city of Raqqa to rescue her daughter from the clutches of Islamic State terrorists.

The woman, from Maastricht, named only as Monique was told that it was too dangerous to attempt the journey to free her daughter Aicha, 19.

“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This is what I think is right,” she told family and friends

After an appeal for help from her daughter, a Dutch convert to Islam, for help last month, the mother was told by police not to try and rescue her because it was too dangerous.

She was also warned that the “provision of assistance” to jihadists, such as her daughter, could be a criminal offence.

Ignoring the warnings, Monique travelled from Turkey to Raqqa, the self styled capital of Islamic State, wearing a burka after arranging via Facebook a rescue rendezvous with he daughter.

Now she needs to spiritually rescue her and that’s a tougher task.

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The sun’s going down in the wrong direction …

The Walking Thread: Consumed (S5, E6)

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The very best episodes of The Walking Dead manage to achieve a perfect balance of tension and character development, and “Consumed” succeeds at this better than any episode since “Clear”, the high-water mark of Season 3. Fan favorites and all-around badasses Daryl and Carol have split off from the main group and hit the road in pursuit of the people that kidnapped Beth. Their journey, which starts out like a buddy road trip movie and ends like a buddy cop movie (within the context of the Zombie Apocalypse of course), takes them to zombie-infested downtown Atlanta, where they have a number of unpleasant encounters with both Walker and human alike. Along the way they do their best to help each other through the emotional issues they’re dealing with (emotional fallout from the events of previous seasons), while trying not to acknowledge the romantic tension that has been building between them for most of the show’s run.

To zero in on Beth’s location, they must play detective while fighting their way through several Walker hordes – previous episodes have showed that Atlanta is heavily infested, and the sound of gunshots inevitably draws large numbers of them. There are two Walker set-pieces that are particularly memorable, one involving a group of campers that have turned undead, and we see them wriggling and growling in their tents and sleeping bags, and the other finds Daryl and Carol trapped in an ambulance dangling precariously over an overpass while Walkers swarm on the back of the vehicle. I won’t spoil how this scene ends, except to say that it’s one of the more inventive and darkly comic scenes in the show’s history. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have two encounters with a survivor from the previous episode “Slabtown”; in the first one he gets the drop on them, but in the second the tables are satisfyingly turned.

The two leads, Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Melissa McBride (Carol) are both excellent here. Their characters have come a long way in the last five seasons, and it shows. Daryl started off as basically a young white trash punk cowed into submission by his older brother but has grown into a mature man, with a patience to match his toughness. And Carol, who started out as a meek battered wife, has lost everything and done some terrible things but found an inner strength that she never knew she had before. Both characters have inner demons, and sins they need to atone for, and throughout this episode they both do their best to help each other work through them. The show has hinted in the past that there was a romantic attraction developing between them, but in “Consumed” we see this evolve into a deep-seated friendship. They are more like comrades-in-arms than love interests at this point, which is much more interesting to watch. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, and we’ll have to wait for next week to see Beth’s eventual rescue, but it’s been a great ride getting there.

*Nerd alert! The show contains several references to other sci-fi shows that viewers may not pick up on. The ambulance contains a Virgin Mary statue just like the ones that contained the smuggled drugs in Lost, and Daryl smokes Morley cigarettes, the fictional brand that the Cigarette Smoking Man smoked in The X-Files. Where would we be without the internet to point these things out for us?

Tuesday Open Thread

Esther Williams

Esther Williams

From the Trailer Park: Marco Polo -- A Netlfix Original Series


I read an abridged version of The Travels of Marco Polo as a kid and I was mesmerized. The ability to bring things like that to television in high quality productions — a second golden age of television…. assuming they don’t go too far and give this the “Spartacus” treatment (curse you Starz!).

Coming to Netflix December 12.

And my favorite Netflix Original — Lilyhammer — Season 3 trailer (NSFW). Funny, irreverent, just enough reality to learn something about Norway, transnational crime, etc. and Little Steven Van Zandt in full Mafioso mode.

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Ain’t no Brinks truck following no hearse …

Recession Redux?

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Buckle your seatbelts. If David Cameron is musing aloud, the reality must be worse — much worse. From The Telegraph:

“The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too.

“Emerging market economies, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali [trade talks in 2013], global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty.”

The British economy was the fastest-growing in the G7, with “record numbers of new businesses, the largest ever annual fall in unemployment, and employment up 1.75 million in four years”, Mr Cameron said.

“But the reality is, in our interconnected world, wider problems in the global economy pose a real risk to our recovery at home,” he added.

Mr Cameron said retreating from the world or imposing extra tax and borrowing would only repeat past mistakes. He claimed the G20 communique negotiated at the summit endorsed Britain’s determination to use monetary policy to support growth and would not waver on his policy of paying down government debt.

Monday Open Thread

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving