Friday, July 31, 2015

Unentombed 1: Invaded

"They're through the wall, sir."

Colonel Jeremy Thompson glanced at the technician and nodded an acknowledgement. "The base is overrun," he said, making it official. "Activate the dark assets and begin withdrawal. Let AirCon know that they'll have to keep the Scales off of us until we're clear."

"Yes, sir."

Colonel Thompson was a tall, lean man with a bald head and a heavy beak of a nose. He was a competent, reliable commander, though he knew that his skills lay more in organization and administration than strategy or inspiration. He had a well-established record of carrying out his orders -- and, more importantly, making sure that his teams carried out their orders -- without taking shortcuts, making mistakes, or unexpectedly changing plans. So he stood, watching the monitors as the Scales moved in.

They were larger than human beings, averaging somewhere around seven feet tall, humanoid aside from their short tails and scaled skin. They had six fingers and six toes, slightly webbed, and their skulls were flatter and wider, giving the impression that they were wearing helmets even when they weren't. Nobody was sure where they'd come from or why they were intent on making war; all attempts at communication had failed. The prevailing opinion from SciCom was that either they perceived the human colonies as intruding on their territory, or they'd discovered that the planets humanity had colonized were suitable for their race too, and decided to take them over. Or maybe they were after new technologies. Theirs seemed to be about even with humanity's, a little ahead in some areas, a little behind in others.

"We're ready, sir," said the tech. "The last of the squad commanders just checked in, and AirCon is two miles out."

"Good. Pull the squads off the walls and get them to the evac areas. I want the internal turrets covering their retreat while AirCon does their work. On my mark... Now."

The tech spoke hurriedly into his comm, then stood and made for the door with his three assistants. Colonel Thompson followed, and the two guards at the door followed him. There were three routes from the command center to the designated evacuation areas, and they followed the shortest one. From his last glance at the monitors, Thompson knew that the Scales hadn't entered the building yet; they were inside the outer wall, but they would still have to get past the turrets. So far, the plan was working: the Scales would capture the base, the human forces would withdraw with minimal casualties... and then Command would learn whether the dark assets could do what they hoped they would.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Music: Ode To Joy

...Because I have nothing else for this morning, so why not. Also? Muppets.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Photoshop Speedpainting: "Burp"

Okay, until a few days ago I had no idea that speedpainting videos were a thing. And I'm desperately curious about how long, overall, this project took. Still: a really awesome video of art in the process of creation. Plus: monster!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Elder Gods and Related Items

Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific discusses the physics behind the peculiar architecture of the sunken city of R'Lyeh. (Use the Download box in the top right corner to get to the complete paper.)

The U.S. Government Inflicted Horrible Atrocities On Cthulhu's Followers looks at the aftermath of Federal efforts to suppress the Aeonists and their strange, destructive religion.

Hugh Hancock and Why Geeks Love Lovecraftian Magic

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unconvincing Apologetics 1

This is continuing, if it continues at all, from this conversation with Steve from the UK over on Bruce Gerencser's blog.

Here's the initial assertion:
Given that most atheists are intelligent beings, you will have an eye on the times in which we live. So how do you square the fact that Revelation – a scholarly accepted dateable document ( contains prophecy written more than 1900 years ago that is coming true before our eyes today? Just Google Verichip and then read Revelation where it says man can neither buy nor sell lest he receive the mark in his right hand or forehead. As an atheist, how do you explain that degree of accuracy in an -allegedly ‘uninspired’ text?
My response:
As far as the Book of Revelation goes… well, let me take a moment to consider how the Book of Revelation is relevant to present-day events.

“John to manifold churches which are in western Europe and North and South America, which lands are currently unknown to you: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;”

And here, again, in Revelation 1:10-11
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in the United States; unto the United Kingdom, and unto Mexico, and unto Canada, and unto Brazil, and unto Argentina, and unto Puerto Rico, and unto all the readers of Bruce Gerencser’s blog.”

Look, at the risk of running this particular point into the ground… even if Verichip was really a thing[1], to tie it to Revelation you have to start with the highly dubious assumption that the Book of Revelation was A) secretly intended as a message for modern Christians, rather than the people to whom it was explicitly addressed, and B) a prediction of far-future events, rather than a coded message to Christians living in areas hostile to Christianity.

Yes, I remember a goodly number of Christians freaking out about Verichip, and about various other signs that we were clearly living in the End Times — Right now! The world could end tomorrow! Or even TODAY!!! — forty years ago, and I know it’s been going on for centuries longer than that. And every bit of it was supported by comparison to scripture. So what I’m looking at is a text that just about anybody seems to be able to fit to the events of their time, which doesn’t say all that much for its degree of accuracy. Flexibility, maybe, but not accuracy.

[1] “VeriChip… was the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved human-implantable microchip. It was marketed by PositiveID, a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions, and it received United States FDA approval in 2004. Its manufacture and marketing were discontinued in 2010.” From Wikipedia; emphasis mine.
Steve from the UK replied:
Michael, if the cashless society arrives and Denmark is already well on the way, will you accept your identification/goods payment chip in your right hand or forehead if that time comes?
I answered:
Who cares? Why should I be even vaguely concerned about that?

You posited that Verichip was the “mark of the beast” written about in the book of Revelation, and cited this as proof of the supernatural accuracy of the Bible. I pointed out that verichip is a discontinued product, and Revelation was most likely never intended as a chronicle of future — or even modern — history, making that an exceedingly weak example of accuracy. You then respond that Denmark — Denmark! — is well on the way to becoming a cashless society, as if that were some clear indicator of the impeccable accuracy of the Bible.[1] Even if we had somehow established that the Book of Revelation was in any way relevant to the economic activities of modern Denmark and/or any modern nation (and we haven’t), moving to a cashless society is still a far cry from implementing anything like the “mark of the beast”, so it’s still a weak and highly dubious example of The Accuracy Of Biblical Prophecy(tm).

But that does bring me to another point: even if Revelation is a prophecy in the sense that you think it’s a prophecy, it’s self-defeating. At least here in America, the Mark of the Beast would be impossible to implement. Why? Because any time something that might even sort of vaguely resemble something like the “mark of the beast” comes along, huge numbers of Christians start freaking out about it. The prophecy is inherently self-defeating; the very existence of such a prophecy prevents it from coming true.

So, if the cashless society arrives, will I accept my identification/goods payment chip in my right hand or forehead? No, I’ll pay with a credit card like everybody else. Sheesh.

[1] Actually, now that I look again, that might be possible. Revelation 13:16-17 does say, “And he causeth all in Denmark, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Spooky.
So that's where we're at. The short answer to the original question is that I don't see the Book of Revelation coming true before our eyes; all I see is strained connections based on vague resemblances between modern events and an ancient bit of extremely complex visual metaphor. And frankly, I'm having a hard time taking that seriously.

Kros: Hallowed Ground

So, there's a Kickstarter campaign for Kros: Hallowed Ground.
Kros: Hallowed Ground began over 10 years ago as a tale of horror set during the Battle of Gettysburg. A dream project for us both, it waited silently, like a vampire in the shadows... The story was written, some pages were drawn--atmospheric, dark murky landscapes, the dimly lit surgeon's tent, a figure swirling from the smoke of battle...

It's time to hear the wolf's howl; to watch the undead descend like buzzards to the feast. It's time to unleash the vampires...

All wars are horror stories.

Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863. The blood soaked battlefields of the Civil War draw Vampires who descend to feed on the wounded and dying as Blood calls to Blood. One man, a Vampire Hunter named Kros, stands against them, waging a battle at night as fearful and horrific as the battles fought during the day.

KROS: HALLOWED GROUND is a 128 page horror graphic novel by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. Kros is a dream project and Kros' story is one we have been wanting to tell for a long time.
This is a new project by a pair of extremely well-established comic book professionals, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. If you enjoy vampires and other horror stories, check it out -- and if you're so inclined, support it!