Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from February 27th, 2009

Another Action Jackson Forerunner

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

It’s videos like these that leave me seriously conflicted ’bout the fact I remember so little of the Seventies. Sort of love how snowmobiles were the height of vehicular technology back then—along with glass-domed helicopters, of course.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

The Original Action Jackson (er, Jaxon)

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

A big slab of my research for Now the Hell Will Start took place in the bowels of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I spent way too many hours jacked into the library’s microfilm machine, flipping through wartime copies of the Chicago Defender. As you might expect, a lot of what caught […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Monkeys Strikes Back

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

I was watching a rerun of Six Feet Under last night, and caught a throwaway factoid that had slipped from my mind: Chimps are more closely related to us than they are to gorillas. My first thought upon hearing this, of course, was, “Well, where does that leave the poor monkeys on the primate scale?” […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Limits of Hectoring

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

My occasional Hulu habit has brought me in contact with a series of anti-reckless driving ads aimed at teens. They’re actually kinda clever—a game-show host magically appears in a careening car, offering the most fabulous prize of all (continued life). All the commercial’s protagonist has to do is tell his dumb-dumb pals to slow down—a […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

“Barely Worth Dismissing”

February 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Apologies for today’s lighter-than-usual posting. I’m mobile, working on the Now the Hell Will Start movie and enjoying Assamese tea at a Cobble Hill joint. Rest assured, the esoterica will recommence in full tomorrow. In the interim, please enjoy one of Microkhan’s guilty pleasures: Hilariously negative movie reviews. There just aren’t many harsher thumbs downs […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Volcanoes of the Deep

February 26th, 2009 · No Comments

NW Rota-1, located near the Mariana Islands, is arguably the most active undersea volcano ever witnessed by man. The video above was taken during a 2006 mission to the Pacific’s depths; a University of Texas at Dallas professor will soon return to the scene of the violent eruption, aboard his trusty Shinaki 6500 submarine. Hope […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Nigerian Dupe, Technological Laggard

February 25th, 2009 · No Comments

The most troubling part about this story is not that Nigerian e-scammers were likely able to wheedle a few pounds out of Jack Straw’s pals and constituents (who really should have known better, given the con artists’ straight-out-of-Lagos grammar and syntax). No, what’ll keep me up tonight is that fact that Britain’s former Foreign Secretary, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Seven Thousand, Four Hundred

February 25th, 2009 · No Comments

That’s how many children have gone missing in Delhi since 2006, and have yet to be found. For comparison’s sake, a Department of Justice study (PDF) found that about 2,500 American kids who went missing in 1999 had not been located by the turn of the millennium. The population of the United States at that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Lipstick of Dictatorship

February 25th, 2009 · No Comments

The happy gentleman to the right is José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president for the past 30 years. During that time, he has allegedly managed to skim $4 billion from the nation’s oil revenues—quite a despicable feat, given that Angola remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with 70 percent of the population living on […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Ares’s Laboratory

February 24th, 2009 · 1 Comment

If you ever find yourself at the intersections of Skull Valley and Stark roads in western Utah, take a long peek out the car window. See that barren nothingness that extends as far as the eye can see? That’s paradise for budding Air Force jocks: The Utah Test & Training Range, where the munitions of […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Consequences of Patronage

February 24th, 2009 · No Comments

Given my curious fascination with Sri Lanka and its long-running ethnic conflict, I thought it wise to provide some context. The island nation’s 34-year civil war is pretty baffling, and the partisan journalism on both sides doesn’t make it easy to parse the details. That’s why I heartily recommend Sri Lanka: History and the Roots […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Fighting Bulbuls of Assam

February 24th, 2009 · No Comments

Every year ’round this time, the denizens of Assam throw a harvest shindig called Bhogali Bihu. Folks eat too much, dance around bonfires, and bang on dhols all night. Less predictably, they also watch drunken songbirds beat the tar out of one another. Fighting bulbuls attract thousands of onlookers during Bhogali Bihu, and countless rupees […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Sound of One Browser Refreshing

February 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

The perfect end-of-day time waster: A Zen koan generator. Keep refreshing ’til you get one that applies. It took me three spins to reach “Gutei’s Finger,” which is equal parts cruel and wise. I, for one, would certainly swap a digit for eternal bliss.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

“Gambling, Golf, and Gangsters”

February 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

An excellent New York Times piece on the murder of Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey is today’s must-read, at least if you (like me) are something of a journalism geek. The article’s one flaw is an all-too-brief namecheck of The Arizona Project, a multi-paper investigation into the 1976 assassination (via car bomb) of Arizona Republic […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Allure of the Fuzz

February 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

It doesn’t take a fancy head-shrinking degree to guess why some folks like to imitate cops. But we’ll let an expert break it down for you nonetheless. “The ordinary person who impersonates a police officer is likely to feel powerless in some way in their life,” says Dr. Phillip Resnick, director of forensic psychiatry at […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Legendary Rats with Wings

February 23rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

The handsome squab pictured at right is none other than Burma Queen, a charter member of the Army Pigeons Hall of Fame (PDF). Back in 1944, this brave pigeon helped save an entire battalion of Allied troops, by racing 320 miles with a key SOS message. She was only five months old at the time—not […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Perks of Having a Huge Noggin

February 20th, 2009 · No Comments

I’ve previously delved into how physical anomalies can sometimes be a boon to athletes; check out this recent post on Muttiah Muralitharan, the great Tamil cricketeer, whose crooked arm has made him an especially devious bowler. Bree Schaaf’s peculiarity, by contrast, doesn’t necessarily make her a better bobsledder. But it’s nonetheless played a role in […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Bhutan’s Only Airport

February 20th, 2009 · No Comments

I’ve been fascinated by Bhutan ever since reading this 1999 New York Times piece, in which Peter de Jonge bears witness to the nation’s first day of television. The article includes one of the most immortal lines in all of magazine-dom: History strongly suggests that few people will choose to spend eight hours a day […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

We Don’t Serve Your Kind ‘Round Here

February 20th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Urban theorist Mike Davis is usually credited with coining the phrase “bum proofing,” back in his 1990 classic City of Quartz. The target of Davis’s ire back then was a redesigned bus bench, turned cylindrical so as to discourage sleeping. Countless seating areas have since been retrofitted to prevent the incursions of bums; the most […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Avenging a Shark Attack

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

The Australian Navy is hunting for the shark that recently mauled one of its more experienced divers. How will the Aussies know when they’ve found the real culprit, rather than just another shark? It ain’t easy.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Analyzer’s Sad End

February 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Back in my days as a cub reporter, I worked the hacker beat for U.S. News & World Report. My first story was about a crack of the Pentagon dubbed Solar Sunrise. It was perpetrated by a trio of young geeks: Two California juveniles and their online mentor, Ehud “Analyzer” Tenenbaum of Israel. The crime […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Dear Leader is Strictly Business

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Really wish I had the funds for an early March trip to The Hague, as this event (PDF) looks damn nigh unmissable. It’s certainly not the longest business seminar I’ve ever seen, which I guess says a lot about the state of the North Korean economy. Poor Evert Jacobsen, for example, only gets 15 minutes […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Yet Another Mammoth Fear

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Life was apparently no picnic for the Pleistocene epoch’s woolly mammoths. For starters, they had to be super-wary of where they clomped—one careless step and the tar pits would snag you for all eternity (as well as the eventual edification of schoolchildren). And there were always plenty of saber-toothed tigers lurking about, waiting to snatch […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs

February 18th, 2009 · No Comments

I tend to distrust state-run news organizations, so color me skeptical upon reading this “doth protest too much” story from Russia’s RIA Novosti. It seems there have been some rumors floating about that crewmen on a Russian frigate came down with scurvy while patrolling the waters off Somalia. The official denial goes: “Reports of technical […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Swallowed by the Mighty Sea

February 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

If all had gone as planned, the S.S. American Star would now be a floating hotel in Thailand. But while being towed to its new home 15 years ago, the decommissioned luxury liner ran aground in the Canary Islands. The ship was left there to rot, slowly cracking apart and slipping beneath the waves. It […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

You Know You Have Too Much Money When…

February 17th, 2009 · No Comments

…you employ a full-time personal shopper. I wonder if she earned overtime while watching Bonds inject exotic fish paralyzers into his kiester. Sure hope so.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

The Other Mr. Magic

February 17th, 2009 · No Comments

No, I’m not talking about the DJ who Nas shouts out in “Halftime”. The object of this post’s praise is Turkish “artistic billiards” champion Semih Sayginer, aka “Mr. Magic”, aka “the Turkish Prince”. This guy’s such a supreme wiz that none other than Eric J. Yow proclaims him a personal hero. Eric Freakin’ Yow, I […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Bambi Tally

February 17th, 2009 · No Comments

A storm’s a-brewing over Nevada’s plan to slay a whole bunch of cougars. This is being done in the name of protecting the state’s deer, who we’re told now number 108,000 (down from 240,000 a decade ago). How did Nevada come up with such an accurate census of deer? A helpful guide to counting ruminant […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Mysteries of Chimp Strength

February 17th, 2009 · No Comments

A tragedy in Stamford brings an old mystery to the fore: Why are chimpanzees so fantastically strong, at least compared to their human brethren? The rule of thumb states that chimps are five-to-seven times stronger, pound-for-pound, than members of our species (with whom chimps share 99 percent of their DNA). That’s a bit puzzling, since […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Borg Me Up

February 16th, 2009 · No Comments

While hunting about for photos of WWII-era Army prison camps, I stumbled upon the vintage snapshot at right, taken from the archives of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. It’s dated circa 1950, which surprised me a bit—I didn’t realize that prosthetic arms were that Robotech-y over a half-century ago. Turns out, however, that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags: