Here's a rare complete photographic catalog of Uzay, the Turkish bootleg Star Wars figurines, which are delightfully shonky and off-model.
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No line of unlicensed Star Wars figures is as sought after as the Turkish line known as Uzay. Produced sometime in the latter part of the 1980s, the primary charm of the Uzay figures lies in their blister card art; not only are the card images incredibly cheesy, at their best they border on the psychadelic. To some collectors, a figure like the Imperial Gunner, the blister card of which shows the figure standing beside a cleverly-photographed calculator, is just too goofy to resist. And don't get me started on the Chewbacca blister. Do you think they really have gourds on Kashyyyk?
Trying to complete a set of Uzay carded figures is a daunting task; it might even be impossible. For one thing, the figures are exceedingly rare. Although certain figures, such as the AT-AT Driver and Stormtrooper, have turned up on the collector's market with some degree of frequency, others, among them the mysterious Head Man figure, are thought to be one-of-a-kind pieces....and their owners are often not easily persuaded to sell. Additionally, the packages of these figures are quite fragile; their bubbles, for instance, are made from a very weak and brittle plastic, which often breaks given the slightest abuse. In short, if you're a collector who wants to start collecting Uzay figures, you'd better be prepared to 1) spend a lot of money, and 2) accept lesser-condition pieces when the situation necessitates it.
Bill Lin snapped this picture of a ice-sculpture AT-AT in Bend, OR, made with chisel and chainsaw. This is just a little thumbnail, click through to see the full image at Kotaku. AT-ATs make surprisingly good fanac fodder.
Right At Home On Hoth
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Hey, Austinites, Bruce Sterling's giving away his books
at the ATX, the Austin Hackerspace, on Saturday from 5-7PM. Read the rest
Laika the dog is seriously styling in this AT-AT costume, created by Katie Mello.
(via Super Punch)
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Tommervik, an artist who uses deviantART, paints beautiful cubist works, including some inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek.
TOMMERVIK on deviantART
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Photo: REUTERS/Tatyana Bondarenko
Vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Adam Martynyuk, on the right, throttles deputy Oleg Lyashko during a session in the chamber of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. According to reports, Lyashko had just asked Martynyuk to let him make a speech, which Martinyuk refused to do on procedural grounds. Lyashko then apparently called his interlocutor a Pharisee, at which point it was on.
Martynyuk's impassive, heartbeat-at-60 professionalism is to be admired. Vulcan nerve pinch and
ninja movie pressure point manueover? Just imagine the world of hurt Lyashko would have been in if Martynyuk had three
Here's video, courtesy of Ukranian TV! Read the rest
A Skywalker Ranch staffer created "The Empire Strikes Bike," a Star Wars-themed, heavily modded classic cruiser bike with loads of Star Wars tchochkes affixed to it in funny and delightful ways:
Literally created in a residential garage, the frame, wheels, and crank were acquired directly from an official Skywalker Ranch staff bike. From there it was a matter of accessorizing the bare-bones frame and wheels with pieces found on eBay to give it an Empire spin: fenders, chain guard and skirt guards came from various 1940s cruisers, including a J.C. Higgins Colorflow and Monark cruiser; the springer forks were pulled from a 1960s Sears Spaceliner; the tank combined a '60s Roadmaster body with a Hasbro AT-AT head rigged to "fire" its reciprocating chin guns with lights and sound; Master Replicas FX lightsabers were gutted and re-worked to become the headlight (Luke's) and taillight (Vader's) with lights and sound activated by switches on the lightsaber handgrips; the luggage rack was a modified 1982 Kenner Rebel Transport toy, now with swing-back rear to stow gear; a Hasbro Titanium Series Slave I worked nicely as a fender ornament; finally, the chrome Vader handlebar topper was lopped off a giant PEZ dispenser, having the added bonus of built-in light-up eyes, music and dialog from the films. Chrome tail, leather streamers, and torpedo pedals were added for flai
Building the Empire Strikes Bike
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"Wookiee the Chew" is James Hance's inspired Winnie-the-Pooh/Star Wars mashup, a series of prints depicting the silly old wookiee and his pal Chrisolo Robin, "in a world where AT-AT's lose their tails and bobaberries are ripe for the picking, join the adventures of the biped of very little brain." It's for sale as a kid's book ("The House at Chew Corner") and a series of prints.
Wookiee the Chew
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At Innovation News Daily, science journalist Jeremy Hsu explores what it would take to make Mike Koehler's AT-AT For America dream a reality.
Making a modern-day robotic walker is not impossible, said Heiko Hoffman, a robotics expert at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., but it easily could cost $100 million or more.
"[The cost] would likely be much higher for a seriously armored vehicle," Hoffman said of the cost. "If we just build an AT-AT that looks cool, it could be much cheaper."
The AT-AT walker lumbers along like a mechanical elephant, lifting just one foot at a time. That "statically stable" walking style works for a heavy vehicle, because the center of mass always sits above a "triangle" created by keeping three feet on the ground, Hoffman said.
But building a huge 50-foot-tall walker is challenging because structural strength does not increase on par with sheer mass, Hoffman explained. A vehicle 10 times the size of a smaller model might have a supporting beam 10 times larger, but it would have to support a mass 1,000 times greater.
The AT-AT walker also must deal with huge stress on its leg joints, which makes running virtually impossible.
Innovation News Daily: Could America Really Build a "Star Wars" AT-AT Walker? Read the rest
Mike Koehler dreams of restoring America to greatness. He plans to do this by galvanizing a community of "nerds, makers, geeks, motorheads, sportos, dudes, steampunks, Jedis, halfwits, greasers and geniuses" to build a full-scale, functional Imperial AT-AT Walker. He calls the project AT-AT for America. I think that this plan is at least as good as the one where we gave all that money to those banks who destroyed the planet's economy and then they gave it to their senior execs as performance bonuses.
We were once a country that made things: giantmetal cars, Hoover Dams, non-AutoTuned popular music.
The Dream: An AT-AT for America
But now we are stuck in an economy in limbo, surrounded by our Internets, our hipsters and our arguing politicians.
Nerds, I have a great idea to make America great again. We can show our brain power, our manufacturing prowess, our organizational skills and our geek-fueled eye for detail.
That idea: an AT-AT for America.
Now I have an idea, but no money and a total lack of mechanical aptitude.
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This morning, I got an email from a BoingBoing reader, who is one of the many people worried about the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan. In one sentence, he managed to get right to heart of a big problem lurking behind the headlines today: "The extent of my knowledge on nuclear power plants is pretty much limited to what I've seen on The Simpsons".
For the vast majority of people, nuclear power is a black box technology. Radioactive stuff goes in. Electricity (and nuclear waste) comes out. Somewhere in there, we're aware that explosions and meltdowns can happen. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that set of information is enough to get by on. But, then, an emergency like this happens and, suddenly, keeping up-to-date on the news feels like you've walked in on the middle of a movie. Nobody pauses to catch you up on all the stuff you missed.
As I write this, it's still not clear how bad, or how big, the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant will be. I don't know enough to speculate on that. I'm not sure anyone does. But I can give you a clearer picture of what's inside the black box. That way, whatever happens at Fukushima, you'll understand why it's happening, and what it means. Read the rest
Tax.com's David Cay Johnston exposes the truth behind Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's claim that unionized state workers get their pensions "subsidized" by the state, a claim that has been blindly repeated in the press from the AP to Politifact. This is a carefully argued, well-documented essay from a source that is hardly partisan for labor, and bears close reading.
The fact is that all of the money going into these plans belongs to the workers because it is part of the compensation of the state workers. The fact is that the state workers negotiate their total compensation, which they then divvy up between cash wages, paid vacations, health insurance and, yes, pensions. Since the Wisconsin government workers collectively bargained for their compensation, all of the compensation they have bargained for is part of their pay and thus only the workers contribute to the pension plan. This is an indisputable fact...
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Among the reports that failed to scrutinize Gov. Walker' s assertions about state workers' contributions and thus got it wrong is one by A.G. Sulzberger, the presumed future publisher of The New York Times, who is now a national correspondent. He wrote that the Governor "would raise the amount government workers pay into their pension to 5.8 percent of their pay, from less than 1 percent now."
Wrong. The workers currently pay 100 percent from their compensation package, but a portion of it is deducted from their paychecks and a portion of it goes directly to the pension plan.
One correct way to describe this is that the governor "wants to further reduce the cash wages that state workers currently take home in their paychecks." Most state workers already divert 5 percent of their cash wages to the pension plan, an official state website shows.