mapsontheweb:

The largest contiguous empire the world has ever seen,.

The other day I told Erica about one of Genghis Khan’s incredible campaigns, against the Khwarezmian Empire. 
Khan saw the empire as a valuable trading partner, so he sent a 500-man caravan to trade with them, only, long story short, the Khwarezmians attack the caravan, convinced that the caravan is full of spies (the Mongols have a certain reputation, after all). Then the refuse to pay for the damage.
So Genghis Khan sends three ambassadors to figure all this mess out. The Shah of the Khwarezmians has all three of them shaved, and the Muslim one beheaded! He sends the other two back to give the head to Khan.
Obviously they failed to realize they had twice now gravely insulted the most powerful man in the world at the time. So what does Genghis Khan do? He invades the empire with 200,000 men. From Wikipedia:

The Mongols’ conquest, even by their own standards, was brutal. After the capital Samarkand fell, the capital was moved to Bukhara by the remaining men, while Genghis Khan ordered two of his generals and their forces to completely destroy the remnants of the Khwarezmid Empire, including not only royal buildings, but entire towns, populations, and even vast swaths of farmland. According to legend, Genghis Khan even went so far as to divert a river through the Khwarezmid emperor’s birthplace, erasing it from the map.

So great was Genghis Khan’s anger that he diverted a river to erase the emperor from history, basically. Can you imagine someone diverting a river to wash over your birthplace? Like, how mad does a person have to be to do that?!

mapsontheweb:

The largest contiguous empire the world has ever seen,.

The other day I told Erica about one of Genghis Khan’s incredible campaigns, against the Khwarezmian Empire.

Khan saw the empire as a valuable trading partner, so he sent a 500-man caravan to trade with them, only, long story short, the Khwarezmians attack the caravan, convinced that the caravan is full of spies (the Mongols have a certain reputation, after all). Then the refuse to pay for the damage.

So Genghis Khan sends three ambassadors to figure all this mess out. The Shah of the Khwarezmians has all three of them shaved, and the Muslim one beheaded! He sends the other two back to give the head to Khan.

Obviously they failed to realize they had twice now gravely insulted the most powerful man in the world at the time. So what does Genghis Khan do? He invades the empire with 200,000 men. From Wikipedia:

The Mongols’ conquest, even by their own standards, was brutal. After the capital Samarkand fell, the capital was moved to Bukhara by the remaining men, while Genghis Khan ordered two of his generals and their forces to completely destroy the remnants of the Khwarezmid Empire, including not only royal buildings, but entire towns, populations, and even vast swaths of farmland. According to legend, Genghis Khan even went so far as to divert a river through the Khwarezmid emperor’s birthplace, erasing it from the map.

So great was Genghis Khan’s anger that he diverted a river to erase the emperor from history, basically. Can you imagine someone diverting a river to wash over your birthplace? Like, how mad does a person have to be to do that?!

posted 2 weeks ago

Comments (View)

ecantwell:

Hey, guys.

It’s almost the weekend! And that means you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do. What friends to hang out with at brunch, what hikes to go on, which TV shows to watch on Sunday night. Game of Thrones is over for the season, Mad Men's over for the half-season, there's no more Breaking Bad, and you’re probably through season 2 of Orange is the New Black already. UGH SUNDAY TV WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO.

Well, there’s a show called Halt and Catch Fire on AMC at 10 pm that you’re probably not watching. I say this because if you were watching the ratings would probably be higher. The ratings are not very good.

I know this and can say this objectively because my husband is the co-creator, and we get the ratings every week, and every week we wish more people were tuning in. I think there are probably a handful of reasons for the low ratings, some of which are due to viewers choosing not to watch the show, and some of which are just a matter of timing and exposure. It’s summer, so people are out of town and in and out and DVRing stuff or just missing it. There have been good reviews, but since no one’s seen where the characters end up yet, it’s too easy to judge certain story lines before they’re given a chance to develop. It’s about computers, and there’s a guy who initially appears to be yet another boring alpha mystery dude, and honestly when Chris first told me the premise of the pilot I didn’t think it sounded like something I’d choose to watch if I didn’t know him.

But I’m asking you to give this show a chance. I’ve seen the whole season, and it’s blown me away. Friends of mine who were initially watching just because they knew it was Chris’s show and they thought they ought to watch out of friend duty have told me they were surprised by how invested they’ve become in the characters. The writers—who hail from Mad Men to The Sopranos to Southland—take Gordon and Donna and Joe and Cameron in directions you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the pilot. There are subversively intelligent people, and there are LGBT people, and there are women who wear pants, and there are men who cry, and there are people who try to be someone they’re not. (This scene, gorgeously gif-ed, is actually so very stunningly sad when you watch it in context.)

Rolling Stone (which, by the way, strongly disliked the majority of the first half of the season) called last week’s episode “42 minutes of solid, sometimes surprising, sometimes striking television, growing like that flower in Halt and Catch Fire’s heretofore sterile circuitry. Let it grow.” The Austin Chronicle lists five reasons you should be watching this season. The actors turn in fantastic performances—I have an especial soft spot for Toby Huss, who plays Joe’s boss with a fantastic combination of Texan charisma and subtlety. And, in this coming episode, Lee Pace delivers a particularly brave and lovely performance. 

Maybe you watched the pilot and thought it was okay but haven’t watched anything since. Maybe you’ve recorded the previous episodes on DVR and just haven’t gotten into them yet. Maybe you’re planning to binge it later. Maybe you didn’t DVR it at all—in which case, you can stream episodes for free on AMC’s website (all of them are still available for the next four days!) or purchase episodes on iTunes. Or maybe you don’t really give a shit about catching up, in which case I think you will LOVE this Sunday’s episode, which is one of my favorite episodes of the whole season. (BONUS: a Buffy veteran guest-stars. Start guessing.)

Anyway, if you have been even maybe possibly thinking about watching Halt and Catch Fire, it would be awesome if you tuned in now. I’d love for more people to love this show, and for the characters to get the chance to make you fall in love, and for the season to go out with more viewers than it came in with.

So. What are you doing this Sunday at 10 pm?

I really like Chris. But more than that, I think Chris is a really smart (too smart? Like frustratingly smart?) guy who has made a very interesting TV show.

The episode before last had this moment that cracked me up that was so quick and little but SO HUGE at the same time and I loved it. And this past episode… fuck dude. That was good TV. It brought to mind The Tree of Life and some twisted moment out of Breaking Bad at the same time!

Anyway, what I am saying is that you should watch it because it’s good and interesting television and while it wasn’t eligible for this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had some nominations at next year’s Emmys.

posted 2 weeks ago

Comments (View)
theatlantic:

A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway

The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.
Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.
"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”
Read more. [Image: DARPA]


This is INCREDIBLE! If this is what they can do now, imagine what these will be like in 5 years. 
"More human than human. That’s our motto."

theatlantic:

A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway

The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.

Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.

"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”

Read more. [Image: DARPA]

This is INCREDIBLE! If this is what they can do now, imagine what these will be like in 5 years.

"More human than human. That’s our motto."

posted 2 weeks ago

Comments (View)
beenthinking:

Best part of fishing this morning was seeing Chris in waders.

#oddly hot

The water’s not the only thing that’s fine, my friends

beenthinking:

Best part of fishing this morning was seeing Chris in waders.

#oddly hot

The water’s not the only thing that’s fine, my friends

posted 3 weeks ago

Comments (View)
Dawn on the edge of Detroit

Dawn on the edge of Detroit

posted 3 weeks ago

Comments (View)
Holy crepe, my wife made these!

Holy crepe, my wife made these!

posted 1 month ago

Comments (View)
John Rizzo, a career CIA lawyer who had acheived a degree of infamy for his role in getting Justice Department approval for the CIA’s detention-and-interrogation program, was struck by the hawkish note of Obama’s aides. “They never came out and said they would start killing people because they couldn’t interrogate them, but the implication was unmistakable,” Rizzo said. “Once the interrogation was gone, all that was left was the killing.”

I am reading this incredible book right now called The Way of the Knife, by Mark Mazzetti. It’s about how the CIA and US military have shifted since 9/11, transitioning from a hammer to a scalpel.

As terrifying as our new way of warfare is, it’s a fascinating read. For instance, in the summer of 2001, the CIA had located bin Laden and wanted to take him out, but did not yet have armed drones. They were testing the use of armed drones that summer in order to take him out. I doubt that killing bin Laden at the time could have stopped the Sept 11th attacks, but the timing is just eery.

I keep interrupting Erica to tell her all these insane stories from the book and she kindly lets me drone (pun intended?) on about the CIA’s relationship with Pakistan’s intelligence service, or why the US turned its focus to Yemen in recent years.

Or like the above quote. Essentially, the Obama administration turned toward killing terrorists instead of capturing them to avoid problems that plagued the Bush administration: where to store and interrogate terrorists after you capture them.

The strange thing is that instead of enraging me further over our current policies, it actually helps me to understand how we got here. Like when Rumsfeld took office he wanted to reduce Pentagon bureaucracy, but generals with their own politics stood in his way. And there are swaths of people within the CIA who believe it has drifted too far from its mission of information-gathering and analysis.

It gives me hope. Not because our current policies get rationalized away. The policies and the machinations are still horrifying. But because the people within these machinations are revealed to still be people, and that’s something to hang onto.

posted 1 month ago

Comments (View)

fatmanatee:

You guys, Ann Coulter is an old school WWF villain. It’s her job to wind you up. Don’t take it seriously when she’s rattling about soccer.

The worst thing about Ann Coulter isn’t her offensive statements. It’s the fact that she just says whatever offensive thing she can think of from moment to moment. She doesn’t have any real opinions or positions of her own. She only takes positions that will upset the most number of people, therefore giving her the most attention possible. Ann Coulter herself is nothingness. She is an empty vessel that shit falls out of.

What I mean to say is that when I describe Ann Coulter as a soulless void, I am not trying to insult her, I am just genuinely describing Ann Coulter.

posted 1 month ago

Comments (View)
ecantwell:

nerdshares:

team-joebama:

belindapendragon:

bailarina-raven:

Pedro Pascal as usual on the subway!XD

That’s right Pedro is on Broadway right now…cool to see he rides the iron horse like the rest of us.

so sad he has to wear that ratty undershirt

Can anyone tell what book he’s reading?

I want to guess that he’s reading a Mark Bowden book? That’s what it looks like, right? I just spent way too long trying to figure this out.

The best I could figure:

ecantwell:

nerdshares:

team-joebama:

belindapendragon:

bailarina-raven:

Pedro Pascal as usual on the subway!XD

That’s right Pedro is on Broadway right now…cool to see he rides the iron horse like the rest of us.

so sad he has to wear that ratty undershirt

Can anyone tell what book he’s reading?

I want to guess that he’s reading a Mark Bowden book? That’s what it looks like, right? I just spent way too long trying to figure this out.

The best I could figure:

posted 1 month ago

Comments (View)
My spirit lingers in unfamiliar haunts long after I am gone.

My spirit lingers in unfamiliar haunts long after I am gone.

posted 1 month ago

Comments (View)