Iceland's elections are publicly funded, with funds awarded based on polls of the electorate; the Pirates have consistently polled higher than any other party, and the incumbent coalition (whose parties are polling in the single digits) has been scrambling to avoid a general election after the Panama Papers revealed that he had secret offshore accounts that benefited from his bailout of Iceland's planet-destroying banks. Read the rest
After storming out of an interview where he was questioned about his ownership of an offshore company implicated in the Icelandic banking scandal, Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has said he will not resign (he did apologize for doing a bad job on the interview). Read the rest
Simon writes, "With just 3 days to run, this Kickstarter to make 'Beep Beep Yarr!' a fantastic, pirate-themed programming book for kids needs your support to graduate." Read the rest
Protonmail is a Swiss pro-privacy email provider that offers end-to-end encyption to its customers. When the Swiss government proposed the Nachrichtendienstgesetzt -- a bill to create a "mini NSA" with the power to effect warrantless mass surveillance, including hacking residents' computers -- the company called on its users and supporters to petition the government for a referendum on the law. Read the rest
For several months in 1986-87, Network 21 was a pirate television station in the UK that broadcasted coverage of avant-garde art and fringe culture for 30 minutes every Friday evening. The fantastic content included the likes of: Warhol films, a post-punk fashion show by the BodyMap label (above), interviews with Sonic Youth (video below), Derek Jarman, and Genesis P-Orridge, a William S. Burroughs reading, and concert footage by the likes of Diamanda Galas and Einstürzende Neubauten. Sigue Sigue Sputnik's album "Flaunt It" included an advertisement for the station.
Raided more than once, Network 21's goal was to see the UK government use a "similar approach to TV as has been afforded to radio, for the BBC and ITV to release their monopoly on frequencies and make some available to the community."
More background here: Network 21 (Wikipedia)
"Hello, you're watching Dish Network's Pirate TV Channel."
Apparently only viewers with unauthorized access to Dish Network would see the "Pirate TV" channel that consisted of this message, looping forever.
Below, a version from around 2009: "Hello, you're watching Dish Network. Did you know you're a satellite pirate?"
Mark CK researched doctor's journals and writings from the 17th and 18th centuries while working on a book about pirate surgeons and reports back with a guide to writing in the style of the day, which involves a lot of bad Latin, irregular spelling, and extra letters used as emphasis. Read the rest
The Littlest Pirate King is David B and Pierre Mac Orlan's 2008 kids' comic about a living child who is adopted by the damned pirate crew of the Flying Dutchman, who sink to the bottom of the sea every day at dawn, and rise every night at dusk to murder and terrorize and try as best as they can to smash their cursed ship to smithereens and end their eternal damnation.
At first, the crew spares the baby so that they can raise him to adolescence before murdering him and making his ghost into their cabin-boy, but they quickly become sentimentally attached to him, and can't bear to kill him. In the end, they send him back to the land of the living -- a strange place he fears and loathes -- and leave him howling and abandoned on shore, begging them to kill him and make him undead like his friends.
So, it's a little grim.
But it's also gorgeous. The seas of Littlest Pirate King are filled with monsters and huge fish and wrecks and strangeness of all sorts. Each page is more gorgeous than the last, and the fantasy sequences in which the dead pirates parody the land of the living for their boy are perfect in their monstrosity. (just page through the image-search for some previews)
If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. Read the rest
$110 gets you a set of Beyond Bedding's Treasure Cove Pirate bedding -- comforter, shams, and a collection of appliques. It's markketed as "Children's Bedding," but a) it comes in queen size, and b) grownups make better pirates than kids do. As IO9's Annalee Newitz says, "Basically you can turn every object in your immediate vicinity into something aaaaaaarrrguably more awesome."
A reader of Scott Lynch's fantasy novels upbraided him for daring to have a black, middle-aged woman running a pirate crew, calling it a "politically correct cliche" and went on to say "Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world (sic)." Lynch's response was appropriately scathing, and rather wonderful.
Read the rest
You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.
Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights.
Meet Richard Nolan: quartermaster of the Whydah, captain of the Anne, former coworker of Blackbeard—in general, pirate. He is also—at least through Labor Day—my friend Butch Roy.
Butch is an actor, a founder of the Twin Cities Improv Festival, and the executive director of Huge Theater here in Minneapolis. This summer, he took on a new role, playing pirate Richard Nolan in the Science Museum of Minnesota's Real Pirates exhibit.
When I first heard about Real Pirates I wasn't terribly excited. It sounded like the sort of kiddie-friendly, fact-lite thing that I tend to avoid on museum trips. I mean, for god's sake, there were actors running around going, "Arrgh," at people. But then I got a chance to talk to Butch about what, exactly, he was doing in the exhibit—and what it took to prepare for the role.
Butch and his cohorts aren't just playing pirates—they're playing real, documented people. What's more, all the actors had to build their characters from the ground up, using original historical sources and doing a lot of extra research on their own. They had to learn the skills of a pirate and the skills associated with their specific role on the ship. Butch, at least in theory, now knows how to load and fire an 18th century cannon. His fellow actor Michael Ritchie, who plays ship's surgeon James Ferguson, is up-to-date on all the latest medical research and techniques, circa 1717. The sheer volume of historical information Butch has picked up is absolutely fascinating. Read the rest
Back when I worked at mental_floss magazine, I wrote up a short article on the life of Cheng I Sao, a 19th-century Chinese woman who rose from prostitution to became one of the most successful pirates of all time, commanding a fleet of thousands.
It's a great tale, though I'd almost forgotten about it until writer Natalie Kim twittered at me recently to tell me about a project that mental_floss story had inspired. Working with artist Robin Ha, Kim has turned the story of Cheng I Sao (also known as Cheng Shih) into a short comic in Secret Identities Volume 2, an upcoming anthology of Asian-American superhero stories. Here's what Kim wrote about why the story of Cheng I Sao/Cheng Shih was interesting to her:
To summarize, Ching Shih was an actual woman who lived in the 19th century and worked as a prostitute. Eventually she married a pirate and when he died, she took over and was one of the most successful pirates of her time. (To add to her badassery, after her husband died she married her adopted step son!) The British tried to get rid of her but she proved elusive and ended up living a very long and prosperous life.
The story struck me as so unusual because most stories about Asian women are how they had been physically abused but remained ultra loyal to an elusive man and their reward is that they sprout into a beautiful blossom flower.