Finland's Varusteleka sells a multipurpose "Jerven Fjellduken" tarpaulin that you're meant to wear, sleep under, and sleep in. It makes you look like a well-camouflaged Nordic Nazgul.
Jerven bag, those are almost words of power among hunters, outdoorsmen and soldiers the world over. Jerven has been making the Fjellduken since 1982, besides the obvious hunting trips and hikes the Fjellduken has seen action in Afghanistan in the hands of Norwegian and Danish special forces.
You won't find any hi-fi bullshit in your Jerven bag, the technical bits start and end at the zippers, that's it. All of Jervens products are made and developed by the very same people who use them. The unique design and materials make the Jerven bag an incredibly versatile and high performing piece of equipment. This is not your standard modern trinket, which relies on never ending lists of one after another more trivial properties and features to impress people, this is simple perfection at its best!
Jerven Fjellduken Extreme multi-purpose tarp / sleeping bag
(via Making Light)
The algorithmic overlords of Alibaba are sending me astonishing stuff via their "suggested crapgadgets you might be interested in" hourly email. Wireless car key duplicators and GPS jammers came first. But today they have truly outdone themselves, suggesting that I might be interested in a "small attack UAV". Yes, you heard right.
This actually does claim to be the real deal. From the page: "ball tripod head freely rotates to guide the UAV attacking targets. Engine uses mechanical and electronic three grades insurance with high security. The UAV is mainly used in the mountains, hills and complex terrain conditions; does effective short-range real-time attack to the fixed ground target or slowly move targets, such as artillery hole, command post, communication station, radar station, oil truck, oil depot and other small and temporary goals."
They state a production capability of ten pieces per month.
I am tempted to ask for a price quote, if only to nudge the Alibaba Algorithm into sending me even more offers from the cloak and dagger side of the Crapgadget Universe....
SKY-02 small attack UAV
Two days after a group of Somali islamist militants vowed to execute Kenyan hostages, and tweeted a video of a captive pleading for the Kenyan government to help free them, the Al-Shabaab Twitter account @HSMPress was suspended. A Google cache is visible here. Warning: includes gruesome photos. The group took a French intelligence officer hostage, then apparently murdered him after an unsuccessful attempted raid by the French military which the US assisted). An @HSMPress press release about that killing is available on Twitlonger.
The Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Twitter account has been around since 2011, promoting the group's vision of strict sharia law in Somalia, 140 characters at a time. The US State Department was reportedly looking in to shutting it down ages ago. Wonder what took them so long?
For its part, Al Shabaab blames its "Christian enemies" for suspending its Twitter account. And they do sound rather miffed about being blocked on the popular social networking platform.
Read the rest
The German Herald reports that men serving in the elite Wachbataillon unit of the German army are developing breasts on their left pectorals. A doctor who is treating the men says that their trademark close-order drill is at fault, as it has the men repeatedly, violently slamming their guns into the left side of their chest, stimulating mammary growth.
The condition - called one sided gynecomastia - has been diagnosed in 74 per cent of battalion members who presented to army medics with concerns over the growths.
Director of plastic surgery at the military hospital in Berlin, Professor Bjorn Krapohl, confirmed: "There is a very significant link between the activity in the Guard Battalion and the development of the breast on the left side.
"They need to change the way they drill. The constant slamming of the rifles against the left hand side of the chest is clearly a significant factor," he added.
Bra-Gade of Guards
(via The Mary Sue)
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Laura Poitras
, who is my colleague on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation
, has a powerful short-form documentary film out today, via the New York Times
' "op doc" series
"Death of a Prisoner: The Tragic Return Home of a Guantánamo Bay Detainee" follows a journey to Yemen, to return the body of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif to his family. In 2012, he "died in solitary confinement at Guantánamo at age 36, after nearly 11 years of imprisonment there, despite never having been charged with a crime."
Read the rest
A photograph that shows the Hiroshima atomic bomb cloud split into two sections, one over the other, has been released by the curator of a peace museum in Japan
. It was discovered on Monday among a collection of some 1,000 archival items related to the bombing, all of which are now in the possession of Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima city.
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"Zero Dark Thirty," director Kathryn Bigelow's truthy-but-not-a-documentary-but-maybe-it-kinda-is thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, opened in New York and Los Angeles this week. I watched a screener last night. I thought it kind of sucked. There's a lot of buzz about what a great work of art ZDT is. I don't get it. In reviews of ZDT, fawning critics reflexively note that she directed Oscar-winning "Hurt Locker." Guys, she directed "Point Break," too.
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Etsy seller Dee Forrest has an unexpected hit with this $40 crocheted knight's helmet with a clever movable visor. The item is waitlisted for a very, very long time. Get in line now, you might have it by next winter!
Knight's Helmet, Adult, approximately 20 weeks before shipping, please read entire listing before ordering
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Snip from a report by USA Today's Gregg Zoroya
: "According to Pentagon data, there were 17 confirmed or suspected suicides this year among commandos or support personnel through Dec. 2, compared with nine suicides each of the past two years. That's a suicide rate among these troops of about 25 per 100,000, comparable to a record rate this year in the Army and higher than a demographically adjusted civilian suicide rate." — Xeni
Camille Chidiac, one of the owners of "the Pentagon's top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan" is being sued for stealing company secrets related to waterproofing Iphones, and the lawsuit's filings include documents alleging that Chiciac boasted of running a smear campaign against USA Today:
The online smear campaign began early in 2012 and included fake Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and fan club sites. Chidiac, according to the lawsuit, said he could mount such attacks and the paper "would never know it was him."
The smears ended in late April after Pentagon officials were alerted to it. Chidiac acknowledged his role in creating the websites in May but said he had done so as a private citizen. He promised to sell his stake in the company but has not done so, said Gar Smith, a Leonie spokesman.
Jason Fandrich, an attorney for Chidiac, called the accusations in the lawsuit frivolous and without merit.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Lawsuit: Propaganda firm owner boasted of online smears
In a landmark ruling for human rights in the war on terror, the European court of human rights this week found that CIA agents tortured German citizen, Khaled el-Masri
. The agents sodomized, shackled, and beat him, as Macedonian state police observed.
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Jessica Chastain as CIA agent “Maya” in Zero Dark Thirty. Photo: Sony/Columbia Pictures
• Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian on the new Kathryn Bigelow film about the capture and assassination of Osama Bin Laden: "With its release imminent, [Zero Dark Thirty] is now garnering a pile of top awards and virtually uniform rave reviews. What makes this so remarkable is that, by most accounts, the film glorifies torture by claiming - falsely - that waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation tactics were crucial, even indispensable in finding bin Laden."
• Spencer Ackerman in Wired News: "Bigelow is being presented as a torture apologist, and it’s a bum rap. David Edelstein of New York says her movie borders on the “morally reprehensible” for presenting “a case for the efficacy of torture.” The New York Times’ Frank Bruni suspects that Dick Cheney will give the film two thumbs up. Bruni is probably right, since defenders of torture have been known to latch onto any evidence they suspect will vindicate them as American heroes. But that’s not Zero Dark Thirty."
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The unfortunately named "Sham II" is a homemade Syrian rebel tank whose main gun is directed with an off-brand video-game thumbstick/gamepad controller. Targetting is via webcam and cheap flat-panel display.
The Sham II, an updated version of a previously made Sham I light infantry by Syrian fighters from the al Ansar Brigade, cost approximately $10,000 (not including the gun), according to one rebel fighter whose brother had designed and built it. The vehicle is reportedly covered with steel plating approximately 2.5 centimeters thick. However, the Sham II is admittedly underprepared to defend against rocket-propelled grenades or tank fire. Rebels claimed the Sham II would soon be ushered into a combat role by members of al Ansar's Saad Benmoaz battalion near Aleppo.
Syrian rebels debut homemade fighting vehicle [Threat Matrix]
The "Mine Kafon" is Massoud Hassani's artificial tumbleweed, made from lightweight materials like bamboo. It is designed to be blown across uncleared minefields, detonating forgotten mines. It was Hassani's grad design project for Design Academy Eindhoven. It continuously broadcasts its location, captured via GPS, plotting out safe, mine-free paths through the fields.
Bad Apple is a sculpture and print by Goin and Mighty Jaxx, depicting Snow White cradling a hand-grenade, with a kerchief covering her face, bandit style. The trademark Disney signature logo appears across the kerchief.
(via Super Punch)