The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

Acid Burn, Angelina Jolie and Ada Lovelace

Garann writes a tribute to Hackers‘ Acid Burn for Ada Lovelace Day: “There are real women who did hard, under-appreciated work who instilled in me a belief that computer science was noble and beautiful and that I could be a part of it. They came later, though. I found them only because of an absurd […]

Decay: The Large Hadron Collider’s Zombie Attack!

Scientists make a feature film about radiation zombies and film it at CERN. It’s educational and you can watch it here. Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Nefertiti the Spider

Nefertiti the astronaut spider has died. She had lived aboard the International Space Station for three months. PBS has an obituary.  (Thanks, Andrew!) Like this:Like Loading…

Part Human, All Sasquatch

MSN/MSNBC is reporting on bigfoot mitochondrial DNA and here at The Gutter, we really don’t care that there is no evidence shared yet: “For her study, Ketchum obtained three “whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatchsamples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown […]

The Dangerous Dead in Notts

The discovery of a skeleton found with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, dating from 550-700AD and buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Notts, is detailed in a new report.”More at The Telegraph. (via Disinformation) Like this:Like Loading…

Hunting the Hell Portal with L. Ron Hubbard

“It was the dawn of World War II when [Jack] Parsons, who’d also co-founded the missile manufacturing firm Aerojet around the same time as [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory]’s inception, took to the Ordo Templi Orientis….But soon enough the young explosives guru was running with another OTO buck, a young writer named L. Ron. Hubbard. ” […]

All of Omni

Read Omni Magazine at the Internet Archive. (via io9) Like this:Like Loading…

The Gothic Imagination

BBC Radio 4 presents dramatizations of Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as extras including discussions of the difficulty of performing Frankenstein’s Creature, Vitalism, and who Stoker might’ve based his Count on. Click through to The Gothic Imagination. (via @booksadventures) Like this:Like Loading…

Vampires of New England

The Smithsonian Magazine investigates the vampires and vampire panics of 18th and 19th Century New England.  “In Manchester, hundreds of people flocked to a 1793 heart-burning ceremony at a blacksmith’s forge: ‘Timothy Mead officiated at the altar in the sacrifice to the Demon Vampire who it was believed was still sucking the blood of the […]

Reading Proto-Elamite

“[T]he Reflectance Transformation Imaging System, which uses a combination of 76 separate photographic lights and computer processing to capture every groove and notch on the surface of the clay tablets.” Dr. Jacob Dahl, director of the Ancient World Research Cluster, and a team of researchers capture images of proto-Elamite to help translate the world’s oldest […]

Kitty Cam Project

Kitties with their own cameras. Find out what they’re doing out there. Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Sally Ride

Astronaut and physicist Sally Ride has died. Dr. Ride was the first American woman in space and flew aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. Boston.com has an overview of Ride’s life.  NASA has an obituary and footage of Ride talking about her experience in space.  “Ride left NASA in August 1987 to join the faculty at […]

Protein Patterns

Knit your own favorite amino acids according to these charts of all 20 at ChemKnits! Like this:Like Loading…

“The Shy, Elusive Rape Particle”

“One of the unlovely things that has been happening in Anglophone SF/F … is the resurrection of unapologetic – nay, triumphant – misogyny beyond the already low bar in the genre. The churners of both grittygrotty ‘epic’ fantasy and post/cyberpunk dystopias are trying to pass rape-rife pornkitsch as daring works that swim against the tide […]

Mayan Scriptorium

A panoramic view of a recently excavated room in the Mayan city of  Xúltun. (Thanks, Mike!) Like this:Like Loading…

Haitian Zombis: Clinical Findings

In 1997, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published an article, “Clinical findings in three cases of zombification” by Roland Littlewood and Chavannes Douyon.  Mo Costandi at NeuroPhilosophy provides cultural context and discusses anthropologist Wade Davis’ work on the ethnobiology of the Haitian zombie.  And Patrick D. Hahn writes about a Clairvius Narcisse, provides […]

“Jeez, I can write a better story than that!”

At a panel discussion, Octavia Butler reveals how she became a writer, watching a movie and thinking, “Jeez, I can write a better story than that!”  Butler is interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2000. And a clip of her from a television documentary on science fiction. Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Ken Russell

Filmmaker Ken Russell has died at the age of 84. The extremely prolific Russell’s films include:  Tommy; The Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain; Women in Love; The Music Lovers;  The Devils; Altered States; Crimes of Passion; and Lair of the White Worm.  The Guardian has an obituary and Mubi has a collection of articles […]

Underneath The Ice

Take a look at the OB TUBE (observation tube) at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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    A gallery of sweet geeky art from Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge. “My origins are not supernatural, nor have they been enhanced by radioactive spiders. I am simply a Native American artist and writer whose creative mantra in best summed up with a word from my tribe’s own language as: ‘taʔčaʔx̣ʷéʔtəŋ,’ which means ‘get into trouble.'”

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