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My occasional collection of interesting and inspiring articles from various places on the web. For this time we have a wide ranging mix of subjects:

For SF gamers, a beautiful display of our Solar system and nearby stars from Exosolar and a more humous look at our place in the galaxy.

Interesting things from our modern world: The Essentials of the World's New Tallest Building, Burj Dubai. What a place for a superbattle.

From the new to the old, Opacity, charting urban ruins, abandoned places can provide a fascinating backdrop for many urban adventures.

An interesting look at some of Israel's women soldiers.

Back in the 19th Century, some Europeans kept 'Human Zoos'. Another creepy piece from our past.

A good resource for Modern Shamanism, Wildspeak including an impressive list of totem animals and their symbolism.

Cross-posted from my gaming journal
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Spiegel Online has an article on Touring the Horrible, various site in Germany where terrible things happened or that symbolize such. Naturally the majority are Nazi oriented but some tie to the Cold War and one to just a serial killer. Some good building blocks for modern occult or superhero games there.

In Russia, there are the Stone Trees of Yakutsk also called the Lena Pillars. These would make an excellent border for some nation, tied up, perhaps, with a legend of how the Earth itself raised up these pillars to guard the nation from invaders.
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I had heard about this when it released, it was all over the Unknown Armies mailing list, but only recently saw it (thank you Netflix). Amazingly, The Lost Room is a SciFi original production and one of the best high weirdness pieces I have even seen.

Minor spoilers ahead )
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China admits harvesting organs from death row prisoners and they have an organ legging problem too! Wow. Now where is the ARM . . .
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Again, as a supporter of the RPG Bloggers' Network time to share interesting things from other gaming sites (and a few other sites as well):

6d6 Fireball has a free adventure, The Sanctum of the Fiery Ladder for download (and hopefully community feedback). So if you are in need of a 3.x adventure, this one looks very promising.

Tales of the Rambling Bumblers expands on the Super Simple Combat Maneuver idea. Still pondering on how to adapt this best to my game.

A resource for odd, bizarre and unique places anicent and modern: Atlas Obscura. It even has an article on the Tree that Owns Itself here in my current hometown, Athens, GA.

Planetary Nebula, such distant beauty.

Click to visit A Gross of Goblins!

Oh dear, it seems like a goblin from a Gross of Goblins has found its way here, be careful or one might follow you home too.

(Crossposted from the Sea of Stars Design Journal)
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Ending up with a lot of interesting links to share, figured that I had better do so before they got lost.

Using trees to build structures, proves to be a more interesting technical challenge than you would think.

Medieval records of British soldiers who served in the Hundred Years War go online. Such fascinating resources are becoming available in the digital age.

Italian Concept Cars Past and Present,the top one is very cyberpunk and the lower one need to show up in a Heroes Inc game (if I ever run 1960s superheroes again).

Abandoned Places Blog, mostly modern cities that have been abandoned, quite interesting and eerie. Good fodder for modern games.
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Been a fairly quiet week but very hot, no day in the last week has failed to reach the 90s (30s for my centigrade using friends) and with high humidity too. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

The University of Edinburgh has recreated the Lituus, a horn last used in the 18th C.. Technology is doing such fun things with history these days. A video presentation where you can hear the lituus in action.

Crazy flesh eating robots! OK, not as exciting as that sounds, very primitive robots that are powered by capturing pests and digesting them for energy. Still, rather interesting.
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Been a bit lax about these of late. But there you go.

First off, a WordPress Blog for my Sea of Stars RPG Project. Since, I am told, a little self promotion never hurts.

The biggest hole in the world! The Mirny Diamond Mine these shots give a better impression of the scale. The Udachnaya Pipe is similar and Wikipedia Commons has some beautiful shots from inside.

Comrade Couture: Revisiting Communist Germany's Fashion Scene, a look at the underground fashion scene in East Germany.

Graffiti from Pompeii, people are people it seems.
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From around the web!

PLAN B!, a tale of love, revenge and supervillany (warning: lots of cursing in the dialog).

Hypercities, a project by the MacArthur foundation that allows you to layer historical maps to see how cities developed. (Which I learned about from this article which show some of the thing you can do with it and discusses other similar projects.)

And in a similar theme, find out what lurks beneath the waters of NYC's harbor, quite fascinating.

Short but interesting Spiegel interview with Michael Palin (the former member of Monty Python). Best line: "Generally speaking, comedy thrives in times of despair."
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2D Goggles, dangerous experiments in comics. A steampunk comic starring Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace!

Mapping the Catacombs under Rome using computer scanners. Wish they were planning on scanning the entire catacomb system.

Changing the Times, an alternate history webzine.

Teller (of Penn and Teller) looks at Magic and the Brain, quite amazing and awesome. Be sure to watch the embedded videos.
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Was visiting wikipedia, as one is wont to do, and found this article about the AIR-2 Genie, an air-to-air missile packing a 1.5 kiloton nuclear warhead. Designed to "break up" massed formations of Soviet bombers back in the early days of the Cold War. Fascinating
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Artist Hubert Czerepok looks at the Nazi/flying saucer connection in his artistic display at Peenemünde (where the V-2 rockets were built). Amusing stuff.
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From the BBC: James May, from Top Gear, and an Ekranoplan! The Caspian Sea Monster! And May gets to drive one. More information on ekranoplans.

A new way to view flickr images: Tag Galaxy. Go and give it a try, Dragoncon is a great search seed.

Ancient yeast reborn in modern beer, says it all really.
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Piracy is alive and well in the modern world. This is the African branch, the South China Sea is full of pirates as well. It is becoming quite a major problem.

Retro-Futurismus, a site dedicated to the futures of Europe's past. Only this page is in English but most of it is easy enough to follow as art is the primary medium. I found this site from this set of images commissioned for US Steel Internation back in the 1960 and made by Syd Mead, the conceptual artist who define the look of Blade Runner.
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The only physical remnants of Hitler's grand vision for a new Berlin as the capital of Europe are underneath the city.

The tattooed people of Rescue Ink help animals of all types.

Cosmic Motors from Another Galaxy!, amazing concept vehicles and designs.

Wind turbines small enough for household use, I would like to see more alt-energy projects like this. Now if we can only get them down in cost.
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UGO did a list of the Top 50 Hottest Sci-Fi Girls. It is an odd list but interesting it that it include lots of very, very obscure movies.

Like word clouds? I do. Make your own at Wordie.

RPG Life is trying to set up a social networking site for gamers. I am there as 'Knight of Roses'.
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H.P. Lovecraft writes Chocolate Descriptions, such as "White Chocolate Truffle: What black arts could have stripped this chocolate of its natural hue? The horror of the unearthly, corpselike pallor of this truffle's complexion is only offset by its fiendish deliciousness."

"Second Brother on the Right", one of the guardians of the Olympic torch, becomes a sex symbol in China.

Gaming:
WereDragon Magazine, a new online gaming resource which I hope to be writing for. More information on that as I know.

Amagi Games, a great source for free support material, ideas and even entire RPGs!

One of the Holiday Adventure ideas I sent into Johnn Four's Roleplaying Tips got published.
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A piece from Sp!ked on the closing of all those Starbuck's shops and the Schadenfreude of the anti-globalists, interesting reading as it really shows that Sp!ked comes out of the Marxist tradition.

Dateline 1947 . . . Orson Wells' The BAT-MAN premiers. It almost happened, with Marlena Dietrich as Catwoman and Basil Rathbone as the Joker. I want that DVD from an alternate universe . . . (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo for the heads up.)
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While the other forms of punk seem to be fading (though there is an interesting history of cyberpunk here), steampunk with its Victorian look and clockwork mad science is becoming increasingly popular. Not that I object.

The Sound of Steampunk featuring a discussion of the Steampunk aesthetic in music with links to several groups including Abney Park, go and listen to their Airship Pirates track right now!

For the visual side of things, there is the Brass Goggles site with links to all sorts of steampunkish things.
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A copy of the full original negatives for Fritz Lang's Metropolis, not seen in 80 years, found in a Buenos Aires museum. The original story was much longer and more complex than the version that is widely know.

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, a short webcast series by Joss Whedon starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day!

Pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings (and other things too).

Think your job is bad? Look over the worst jobs in history.

The Oracle opens upon the heart of the Vortex, revealing . . .

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