The Bot Crossing Point

October 15th, 2014

In the last quarter of 2011, more iPhones were sold than babies were born, John Robb notes:

That’s interesting because that is also the quarter that Siri shipped.

FYI: Apple’s Siri is the first mass market bot that was designed to act like a human.

In hindsight, this apparently minor observation may be considered something more important: a tombstone milestone for humanity.

It’s the quarter when our future replacements on this planet began to outpace us.

Alexis de Tocqueville on the Dark Sides of Democracy

October 14th, 2014

Alexis de Tocqueville saw five potentially dark sides of democracy:

One: Democracy breeds materialism

In the society that de Tocqueville knew from childhood, making money did not seem to be at the forefront of most people’s minds. The poor (who were the overwhelming majority) had almost no chance of acquiring wealth. So while they cared about having enough to eat, money as such was not part of how they thought about themselves or their ambitions: there was simply no chance. On the other hand, the tiny upper stratum of landed aristocrats did not need to make money – and regarded it as shameful to work for money at all, or to be involved in trade or commerce. As a result, for very different reasons, money was not the way to judge a life.

However, the Americans de Tocqueville met all readily believed that through hard work, it was possible to make a fortune and that to do so was wholly admirable and right. There was hence no suspicion whatever of the rich, a certain moral judgement against the poor, and an immense respect for the capacity to make money. It seemed, quite simply, the only achievement that Americans thought worth respecting. For example, in America, observed de Tocqueville, a book that does not make money – because it does not sell well – cannot be good, because the test of all goodness is money. And anything that makes a profit must be admirable in every way. It was a flattened, unnuanced view that made de Tocqueville see the advantages of the relatively more subtle, multi-polar status systems of Europe, where one might (on a good day) be deemed good, but poor; or rich, but vulgar.

Democracy and Capitalism had created a relatively equitable, but also very flat and oppressive way for humans to judge each other.

Two: Democracy breeds envy and shame

Travelling around the United States, de Tocqueville discerned an unexpected ill corroding the souls of the citizens of the new republic. Americans had much, but this affluence did not stop them from wanting ever more and from suffering whenever they saw someone else with assets they lacked. In a chapter of Democracy in America entitled ‘Why the Americans are Often so Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity’, he sketched an enduring analysis of the relationship between dissatisfaction and high expectation, between envy and equality:

‘When all the prerogatives of birth and fortune have been abolished, when every profession is open to everyone, an ambitious man may think it is easy to launch himself on a great career and feel that he has been called to no common destiny. But this is a delusion which experience quickly corrects. When inequality is the general rule in society, the greatest inequalities attract no attention. But when everything is more or less level, the slightest variation is noticed… That is the reason for the strange melancholy often haunting inhabitants of democracies in the midst of abundance and of that disgust with life sometimes gripping them even in calm and easy circumstances. In France, we are worried about increasing rate of suicides. In America, suicide is rare, but I am told that madness is commoner than anywhere else’.

Three: The tyranny of the majority

Typically, we think of democracy as being the opposite of tyranny. It should, in a democracy, no longer be possible for a clique to lord it over everyone else by force; leaders have to govern with the consent of the governed. But de Tocqueville noticed that democracy could easily create its own specialised type of tyranny: that of the majority. The majority group could, in principle, be very severe and hostile to minorities. De Tocqueville wasn’t simply thinking of overt political persecution, but of a less dramatic, but still real, kind of tyranny in which simply being ‘in a minority’ as regards prevailing ideologies starts to seem unacceptable, perverse – even a threat.

Democratic culture, he thought, could easily end up demonising any assertion of difference, and especially of cultural superiority or high mindedness, which could be perceived as offensive to the majority – even though such attitudes might be connected with real merit. In a tyranny of the majority, a society grows ill at ease with outstanding merit or ambition of any kind. It has an aggressively levelling instinct; in which it is regarded as a civic virtue to cut down to size anyone who seems to be getting above themselves.

Four: Democracy turns us against authority

De Tocqueville saw democracy as encouraging strong ideas about equality, to an extent that could grow harmful and dispiriting. He saw that democracy encourages ‘in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which always impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level’.

Five: Democracy undermines freedom of mind

Instinctively, you’d suppose that democracy would encourage citizens to have an open mind. Surely democracy encourages debate and allows disagreements to be resolved by voting, rather than by violence? We think of openness of mind as being the result of living in a place where lots of opinions get an airing.

However, de Tocqueville came to the opposite conclusion: that in few places could one find ‘less independence of mind, and true freedom of discussion, than in America’.

Trusting that the system was fair and just, Americans simply gave up their independence of mind, and put their faith in newspapers and so-called ‘common sense’. The scepticism of Europeans towards public opinion had given way to a naive faith in the wisdom of the crowd.

Income Inequality

October 14th, 2014

Income inequality is low in agrarian, pre-industrial societies, because you need income to achieve income inequality:

The idea is, there is an absolute level of subsistence income for the mass of peasants who are creating value in the traditional society. Above that level is the surplus, or the amount of income which can be expropriated by elites; and below that amount… starvation for the producers in the economy.

Thus, in a very poor society whose average income is close to the absolute survival level, the surplus extracted is pretty small and therefore inequality cannot be very high. But as average income rises, there is potentially more to extract. So the interesting question becomes, did pre-industrial societies at different levels of income have different “extraction levels”? Put another way: did peasant incomes also rise when the average income rose or did the increase simply lead to more elite extraction?

Pre-Industrial Inequality

Incomes may have been more equally distributed in China in 1880 than in England in 1688, but that’s only because the average income was quite low in China. But perhaps more importantly, China in 1880 was closer to its maximum potential inequality than England in 1688 was.

(Hat tip to T. Greer.)


October 14th, 2014

The Russians have been spying on foreign powers — shocking, I know — using software that researchers have dubbed Sandworm:

Although iSight only has a small view of the number of victims targeted in the campaign, the victims include among others, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Ukrainian and European Union governments, energy and telecommunications firms, defense companies, as well as at least one academic in the US who was singled out for his focus on Ukrainian issues. The attackers also targeted attendees of this year’s GlobSec conference, a high-level national security gathering that attracts foreign ministers and other top leaders from Europe and elsewhere each year.

It appears Sandworm is focused on nabbing documents and emails containing intelligence and diplomatic information about Ukraine, Russia and other topics of importance in the region. But it also attempts to steal SSL keys and code-signing certificates, which iSight says the attackers probably use to further their campaign and breach other systems.

The researchers dubbed the operation “Sandworm” because the attackers make multiple references to the science fiction series Dune in their code. [...] It was encoded references to Dune — which appear in URLs for the attackers’ command-and-control servers — that helped tie some of the attacks together. The URLs include base64 strings that when decoded translate to “arrakis02,” “houseatreides94,” and “epsiloneridani0,” among others.

“Some of the references were very obscure so whoever was writing the malware was a big Dune geek,” says John Hultquist, senior manager for iSight’s Cyber Espionage Threat Intelligence team.

“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

Big Med could learn a lot from the Cheesecake Factory

October 14th, 2014

It’s easy to make fun of the casual dining sector, but Big Med could learn a lot from the Cheesecake Factory, Atul Gawande says:

One study examined how long it took several major discoveries, such as the finding that the use of beta-blockers after a heart attack improves survival, to reach even half of Americans. The answer was, on average, more than fifteen years.

Scaling good ideas has been one of our deepest problems in medicine. Regulation has had its place, but it has proved no more likely to produce great medicine than food inspectors are to produce great food. During the era of managed care, insurance-company reviewers did hardly any better. We’ve been stuck. But do we have to be?

Every six months, the Cheesecake Factory puts out a new menu. This means that everyone who works in its restaurants expects to learn something new twice a year. The March, 2012, Cheesecake Factory menu included thirteen new items. The teaching process is now finely honed: from start to finish, rollout takes just seven weeks.

Mesopredator Release

October 13th, 2014

Over the past 100 years, coyotes have taken over America:

They are native to the continent, and for most of their existence these rangy, yellow-eyed canids were largely restricted to the Great Plains and western deserts where they evolved. But after wolves and cougars were exterminated from most of the United States by the 1800s, coyotes took their place. Colonizing some areas at a rate of 720 square miles per year, coyotes now occupy — or “saturate,” as one scientist I spoke with described it — nearly the entire continent. (Long Island is a notable exception.) The animals are now the apex predators of the east. And they’re proving so resourceful that even the last stronghold — the urban core — represents an opportunity to flourish.

Coyotes may be the most driven carnivores to penetrate modern cities in recent years, but they’re hardly the only ones. Raccoons, foxes, and skunks have long been prolific urban residents. And now bobcats, cougars, even grizzly bears — predators that symbolize wilderness, who typically require a lot of space and a stable prey base, and defend their territories — are not just visiting but occupying areas that scientists used to consider impossible for their survival. Dozens of grizzlies now summer within the city limits of Anchorage. The most urban cougar ever, a male named P22, has been canvassing Los Angeles’ Griffith Park for more than two and a half years. Bobcats prowl the Hollywood Hills and saunter near skyscrapers in Dallas. And in New York City, a predator is returning that hasn’t been seen since Henry Hudson’s day — the fisher, a dachshund-sized member of the weasel family with a long, thick tail. This spring, a police officer named Lenart snapped the first NYC photo of one, skulking on a Bronx sidewalk at dawn.

Why are these large weasels flourishing in the east?

“We found support that eastern fishers are experiencing what’s known as mesopredator release,” says Kays. “That means they overlap with fewer predatory species than they used to. There are no cougars; there are no wolves.” Without many big competitors to fear, middle-sized predators, or mesopredators, are free to change their habits: they can hunt in a wider range of places or times. They can also pursue larger prey (for fishers, that means hefty snowshoe hares, porcupines, or deer roadkill) without getting beaten to it or bullied. Scientists suspect that mesopredator release is fueling coyotes’ incredible expansion as well.

Most intriguingly, LaPoint and Kays discovered that the bodies of eastern fishers are actually getting bigger over time. These carnivores seem to be evolving to better catch larger-bodied prey by becoming larger themselves. A big, well nourished fisher is more likely to survive in new, challenging environments. “They’re getting bigger where their populations are expanding,” says LaPoint, which the team documented by comparing hundreds of museum specimens collected from the 19th century to the present. That’s brisk, evolutionarily speaking. “Within a century, more or less,” he says. “It’s pretty crazy.”

The rub is that this “wilderness” species seems to be quickly adapting to our presence. In persecuting North America’s biggest carnivores, we may be encouraging medium-sized ones to spread directly into the areas we now live, and in some cases, actually evolve into bigger, more resourceful predators.

(Hat tip to T. Greer.)

What Liberals Get Wrong About Football

October 13th, 2014

Jonathan Chait describes what liberals get wrong about football:

Over the last generation, the social experience of American youth has rapidly liberalized. The cultural mores of my school life largely resembled those of my parents’, but the socialization awaiting my children has transformed beyond recognition. Rather than allowing kids to “settle their differences” — i.e., allowing the strong and popular to prey upon the weak and vulnerable — authorities aggressively police bullying. Schools are rife with organizations to support gay students, something unimaginable not long ago. Nerdy and cool, once antithetical terms, now frequently describe the same things, like affinity for comic-book characters or technological savvy. American schools have mostly moved beyond a world where football players (and, correspondingly, cheerleaders) embody the singular hierarchical ideal of their gender. This is entirely to the good, a triumph of egalitarianism.

In fact, it is a sign of this advance that American society is now questioning whether football has any role within it at all. But it also marks a point where the advance of social liberalism has swung from the defensive (creating a place of respect and value for those who have long been excluded) to the offensive (suggesting that only a world conforming closely to down-the-line-liberal values is worth living in).

The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued that people naturally gravitate toward competing notions of morality. Some of those, like fairness and caring, are associated with liberalism. Others, like loyalty and respect for authority, are associated with conservatism. Football is obviously not just for conservatives, but it does embody the conservative virtues. The backlash against it is a signpost of a new social system unwilling to consider that the worldview of one’s political adversaries might have any wisdom to offer at all and untroubled by the fear that, perhaps, football exists because it channels a genuine, deep-seated impulse. In this case, that discipline might be a helpful response to impulses of aggression, and not just a false-heroic myth used to legitimize and justify brutality.

Theodore Roosevelt is remembered today for his populist economic sentiments, but the more coherent theme of Roosevelt’s life is a way of thinking about strength, honor, and violence. As a boy, Roosevelt fanatically built up his sickly body and developed an obsession with athletics, danger, and war. This is one of the many things that we love about him — and yet it is an attitude about self-­mastery, aggression, and courage that is completely alien to the way we think of coming of age today. Any good contemporary liberal could reuse, with modest syntactical changes, Roosevelt’s speeches assailing greed or exhorting the rich to accept social obligations. But his beliefs about masculinity could not be repeated without embarrassment. “A coward who will take a blow without returning it is a contemptible creature,” Roosevelt wrote in a 1900 essay, which naturally ended with a rousing football metaphor: “In short, in life, as in a foot-ball game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

That Roosevelt was an imperialist who loved war is hardly incidental to his views on football, and to revive Roosevelt’s blueprint for raising boys on a broad scale would be insane — not even Ted Cruz would advocate it. But it is not entirely devoid of moral value even by contemporary standards. “A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward, and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals,” he wrote, expressing the paternalistic code of honor that his contemporaries saw as the alternative to the law of the jungle. The question is not whether Rooseveltian social thinking should guide our own thinking but whether, in an age heralded by Hanna Rosin as “The End of Men,” any of it should be salvaged.

He also shares some stats about football’s level of danger:

High-school football has a fatality rate of 0.83 per 100,000 participants. This is actually lower than the rates of boys’ basketball (0.92), lacrosse (1.00), boys’ gymnastics (1.00), and water polo (1.3).


Measures vary, but a recent study found the odds of sustaining a concussion during a football practice or game (6.4 times per 10,000 athletic events) runs ahead of sports like girls’ soccer (3.4 times per 10,000), boys’ lacrosse (4), and ice hockey (5.4). In other words, the concussion risk in boys’ football is about twice as high as in girls’ soccer and about one-third higher than in hockey. This is an incrementally higher risk — on the order of driving an older car versus a newer one, as opposed to the elevated risk of, say, taking a job as a drug mule over becoming a librarian.

Alexis de Tocqueville on Native Americans

October 13th, 2014

On Columbus Day it seems apropos to share Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations on American attitudes toward native Americans:

In the midst of this American society, so well policed, so sententious, so charitable, a cold selfishness and complete insensibility prevails when it is a question of the natives of the country. The Americans of the United States do not let their dogs hunt the Indians as do the Spaniards in Mexico, but at the bottom it is the same pitiless feeling which here, as everywhere else, animates the European race. This world here belongs to us, they tell themselves every day: the Indian race is destined for final destruction which one cannot prevent and which it is not desirable to delay. Heaven has not made them to become civilised; it is necessary that they die. Besides I do not want to get mixed up in it. I will not do anything against them: I will limit myself to providing everything that will hasten their ruin. In time I will have their lands and will be innocent of their death. Satisfied with his reasoning, the American goes to church where he hears the minister of the gospel repeat every day that all men are brothers, and that the Eternal Being who has made them all in like image, has given them all the duty to help one another.

When he encountered real, live Indians, he was disappointed:

I was full of recollections of M. de Chateaubriand and of Cooper, and I was expecting to find the natives of America savages, but savages on whose face natured had stamped the marks of some of the proud virtues which liberty brings forth. I expected to find a race of men little different from Europeans, whose bodies had been developed by the strenuous exercise of hunting and war, and who would lose nothing by being seen naked. Judge my amazement at seeing the picture that follows. The Indians whom I saw that evening were small in stature, their limbs, as far as one could tell under their clothes, were thin and not wiry, their skin instead of being red as is generally thought, was dark bronze and such as at first sight seemed very like that of Negroes. Their black hair fell with singular stiffness on their neck and sometimes on their shoulders. Generally their mouths were disproportionately large, and the expression on their faces ignoble and mischievous. There was however a great deal of European in their features, but one would have said that they came from the lowest mob of our great European cities. Their physiognomy told of that profound degradation which only long abuse of the benefits of civilisation can give, but yet they were still savages.

Cats and Dogs

October 13th, 2014

Leopards in India have an interesting diet:

The researchers found that domestic dogs were by far the most common prey, making up 39 percent of the leopards’ diet (in terms of biomass). The remains of domestic cats were found in 15 percent of poop samples and accounted for 12 percent of the mass of leopards’ meals.

By comparison, livestock were a relatively small portion of the leopard diet. Domestic goats, for example, accounted for just 11 percent of the mass of the big cats’ meals, even though they were seven times more abundant than dogs in the study area.

All told, 87 percent of the leopards’ diet was made up of domestic animals, including both livestock and pets; this suggests the leopards, though considered wild, are completely dependent on human-related sources of food. The small portion of the wild animals in the leopards’ diet consisted of mostly rodents, as well as civets, monkeys, mongooses and birds.

Adam Smith’s Surprising Guide to Happiness (But Not Wealth)

October 12th, 2014

Russ Roberts discusses his new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness, with Nick Gillespie of Reason:

Why it’s so much harder to think like a Conservative

October 12th, 2014

Thinking is an unusual and precarious exercise for Conservatives, Roger Scruton explains:

This is not because they are more stupid than their socialist or liberal rivals, although John Stuart Mill famously declared them to be so. It is because they believe that good government is not grounded in abstract ideas but in concrete situations, and that concrete situations are hard to grasp. Abstract ideas like equality and liberty have a spurious transparency, and can be used to derive pleasing theorems in the manner of Jean-Jacques Rousseau or John Rawls. But applying them raises the question: to what or to whom? Which group of people is to be made more equal, and who is to be made more free?

Those are not questions to be answered in the abstract. They are questions of identity: who we are, and why we are entitled to use that very pronoun — “we” — to describe us.

For Conservatives, all disputes over law, liberty and justice are addressed to a historic and existing community. The root of politics, they believe, is attachment — the motive in human beings that binds them to the place, the customs, the history and the people who are theirs. When socialists promise a more equal society they are talking about us; when liberals offer to expand the list of human rights, they mean the rights that we enjoy.

The language of politics is spoken in the first-person plural, and for Conservatives, the duty of the politician is to maintain that first-person plural in being. Without it, law becomes an alien imposition, not ours but theirs, like the laws imposed by a conquering power. Conservatives are not reactionaries. As Edmund Burke said, “we must reform in order to conserve” — or, in more modern idiom: we must adapt. But adaptation means survival, and survival means a maintained identity.

It is very easy to dismiss Conservatism in the name of the universal ideals of the Enlightenment. But governments are elected by a specific people in a specific place, and must meet the people’s needs — including the most important of their needs, which is the need to be bound to their neighbours in a relation of trust. If we cease to maintain a “specific people in a specific place”, then all political principles will be pointless, since there will be no community with an interest in obeying them. That is why, in all the post-war political debates in our country, Conservatives have emphasised the defence of the realm, the maintenance of national borders, and the unity of the nation. It is why they are now entering a period of self-doubt, as the nation disintegrates into its historically established segments, while European regulations dissolve our boundaries.

Conservatism does not fit easily with abstract ideals. And for many of its defenders that is all that Conservatism amounts to — the suspicion of ideals. After all, the socialist ideal of equality has led to the belief that patriotism is racism, and that the attachment to an established way of life is merely unjust discrimination against those who do not share it. The result has been a cantonisation of society in the name of “multiculturalism”. And the liberal ideal of universal human rights has likewise led to a downgrading of attachment, since attachment is a form of discrimination and therefore a way of giving preference to those who already belong.

Abstract ideals, Conservatives argue, are inevitably disruptive, since they undermine the slow, steady work of real politics, which is a work of negotiation and compromise between people whose interests will never coincide.

Seeing politics in that way, however, Conservatives are exposed to the complaint that they have no positive vision, and nothing to offer us, save the status quo — with all its injustices and inequalities, and all its entrenched corruption. It is precisely in facing this charge that the real thinking must be done. In How to Be a Conservative, I offer a response to this ongoing complaint, and in doing so distance Conservatism from what its leftist critics call “neoliberalism”. Conservatism, I argue, is not a matter of defending global capitalism at all costs, or securing the privileges of the few against the many. It is a matter of defending civil society, maintaining autonomous institutions, and defending the citizen against the abuse of power. Its underlying motive is not greed or the lust for power but simply attachment to a way of life.

If we look at the big issues facing us today — the EU, mass immigration, the union, Islamic extremism, the environment — we will surely see that the Conservative view rightly identifies what is now at stake: namely the survival of our way of life. Conservatives are not very good at articulating the point, and left-liberal censorship intimidates those who attempt to do so. But it is a fault in the socialist and liberal ideas that they can be so easily articulated — a proof that they avoid the real, hard philosophical task, which is that of seeing civil society as it is, and recognising that it is easier to destroy good things in the name of an ideal than to maintain them as a reality.

Peter Thiel Converses with Bill Kristol

October 11th, 2014

Bill Kristol has a conversation with Peter Thiel:

Crowley’s children

October 11th, 2014

It turns out all those nutty Christian evangelists who warned that rock and roll was satanic were right, Jules Evans notes:

[Aleister] Crowley appears on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Lennon once said ‘The whole Beatles thing was do what you want, you know?’

A statue of him also appears on the cover of the Doors’ album, Doors 13. The Doors admired Crowley as someone who’d ‘broken through to the other side’, and who was a master of anarchic showmanship. Jim Morrison once said, in very Crowley-ite words: ‘I’m interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that appears to have no meaning.’

Jimmy Page was a huge Crowley fan, and bought his house next to Loch Ness. Crowley’s famous motto, ‘Do What Thou Wilt’, was embossed on the vinyl of Led Zeppelin III.

The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull were into Crowleian magic through the film-maker Kenneth Anger — hence their album His Satanic Majesties and their song Sympathy for the Devil. Jagger also made the soundtrack to Anger’s film, Invocation to my Demon Brother, while Marianne Faithful appeared in Anger’s Lucifer Rising, which starred a future member of the Manson Family.

David Bowie was also a big fan of Crowley — he mentions him in the song ‘Quicksand’, and was very influenced by Crowley’s magic techniques, symbolism, and superman philosophy. Bowie was deep into the occult in the 1970s, particularly during the making of ‘Station to Station’ when he feared he’d invoked an evil demon, and that witches were trying to steal his semen to make a Satanic love-child (no, really).

In the 1980s, of course, various metal bands were explicitly into Crowley, from Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden. More recently, and perhaps more surprisingly, Crowley’s ideas are apparently an influence on rap stars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and that ardent practitioner of sex magick, Ciara.

More broadly, as we’ll examine, pop culture helped to make Crowley’s philosophy of unfettered egotism — do what thou wilt — the ruling philosophy of western society. We are all Crowley’s children.

Great Martian War

October 10th, 2014

The Great Martian War mixes authentic (and inauthentic) World War I footage with SFX War of the Worlds tripods — and a not-at-all-period soundtrack:

The History Channel has a two-hour special planned:

We made the decision from the start not to use WWI archive footage that showed real casualties or troops fighting. Though we strongly believe our show honours the veterans of WWI and seeks to look at the war afresh through a science fiction story we recognised the need to be sensitive to the original archive material and the people in it.

As well as the untreated period archive that illustrates our story we had in some cases to insert realistic computer graphics into that archive. That was a complex process of creating super realistic Alien war machines animating and rendering them then match compositing them into archive that was often hugely distressed and degraded. The modern animated elements then had to be similarly degraded so that they bedded into the period archive. No two pieces of original archive are alike so each shot presented a very complex set of issues for the teams involved.

On top of that we created a number of shots using live action of extras in detailed period costume on a purpose built trench system, (the same one used for the WWI scenes in ‘Downton Abbey’!), and on location. Our Aliens were then composited into this footage and the whole thing retro treated with pops, scratches, grain and distress to sit alongside original war footage, hopefully invisibly.

We also co-opted real archive from the years around the war and re-interpreted it to help illustrate our story. We don’t pretend to bring to our fake documentary the kind of rigour necessary in real documentary. We needed to re-interpret archive to tell our fictional story. So for instance our footage of riots around the Whitehouse is real but took place after WWI… And in a world where Germany, France and Britain fought on the same side against a single Alien invader our uniforms and kit do not always strictly chronologically match the timeline of the real war!

Much of the available ‘real’ archive WWI footage of frontline ‘combat’ was actually reconstructed during and after the war well away from the front line for propaganda and dramatic purpose, but where we had any doubt we avoided that archive and made our own. We did this from scratch, painstakingly constructing our shots with reference to photos and footage from the war and deliberately tried to confine ourselves to angles and camera technology available in 1913- 17. Cameras then were hand cranked at an irregular frame rate locked onto a tripod and rarely mounted in anything moving.

Star Wars Art: Posters

October 10th, 2014

Star Wars Art: Posters includes a couple images that caught my eye:

Star Wars Frazetta-Style Poster

Star Wars Revenge of the Jedi Poster