Hail and hell to all you lovely readers out there, and profuse apologies for letting a full three months go by without preparing one of these THAT’S METAL! posts. I have felt your pain and frustration through the ether, and the guilt and self-loathing that have accumulated in my head are almost too much to bear. Fortunately, there has been whiskey to comfort me in my time of need, which may also have something to do with why three months have passed without a THAT’S METAL! post. I think that’s what they call a “vicious circle”.
Anyway, in case you’ve forgotten in the mists of time what these posts are about, I collect images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have 10 items for you today.
I have my friend MaxR (Metal Bandcamp) to thank for this first item, which consists of a series of photographs taken by Tomoya Matsuura that he has entitled “Withered Plant“. Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, he photographed tiny plants in death, capturing their decay in exquisitely fine detail. One of them is above, and a few others are after the jump.
As I recall Max pointing out, many of these would make fine cover art for black metal or doom albums. You know, in case Satan is too busy to pose for more portraits.
More photos can be found here.
While on the subject of photographs that would make nice cover art for black metal or doom albums, gaze upon the gorgeous photo above by Nicolas Brousse (who hails from Malmö, Sweden), which depicts the inside of a cave beneath a glacier in southeastern Iceland called Breiðamerkurjökull. A few more photos are below, and more can be viewed at Mr. Brousse’s gallery at Behance.net (here).
Now let’s move from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is a photo of a microscopic, water-dwelling flatworm called Macrostomum hystrix. It’s a hermaphrodite with both male and female reproductive organs. It can self-reproduce by using a needle-like penis to inject sperm into its own head.
I don’t think I need to say anything else. More info on the recent discovery of this creature’s unique abilities, as originally reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, can be found here. (The tip on this one, so to speak, came from Phro… of course.)
I received a multitude of suggestions for inclusion of this next item, and for obvious reasons: The title of the article from The Independent that spread around the metal community reads as follows: “Death metal music attracts sharks, documentary crew finds out“.
What the article reports is a discovery by a film crew for The Discovery Channel who decided to submerge a military-grade underwater speaker to see if they could attract a 16-foot great white shark nicknamed “Joan of Shark”. What they played was not exactly death metal — it was Darkest Hour — but it still worked. Though the crew didn’t succeed in drawing “Joan of Shark” within camera range, they did lure in a couple of other huge great whites.
The video explains the theory behind the attraction of heavy metal to sharks. As the rest of us know, it has its attractions to nerds, too.
Let’s stay on the subject of hair-raising fish for one more item. This next video, taken by a fisherman named Ed Cupp, is creepy as shit. The subject of the video is a headless bowfin, gutted and partially de-scaled.
I don’t know about you, but if it were me, I’d have stopped removing the scales long before Mr. Cupp did because there’s no fucking way I would eat this thing.
I believe it’s now time to explore once again a few of the ways in which people can be metal without making music. So we’ll start with someone who makes art using metal.
Her name is Miya Ando, and she is an American-based artist born of Russian and Japanese parents who is a descendent of Japanese swordmakers-turned-monks. She has many talents, creating such things as paintings using lacquer on aluminum plates (above) and kimonos made of steel and anodized aluminum (below). The photos below are followed by an interesting video about her from the David Lynch Foundation.
Guillaume Néry is a French free diver and a frequent world record holder based on the depths he has reached without breathing. Below I’ve embedded two videos that feature him.
The first one, entitled Narcose, was written and directed by Julie Gautier, and was a “Staff Pick” at Vimeo. It’s beautiful — and I caught myself repeatedly holding my breath as I watched it. For those who aren’t watching in private, it includes nudity at the end. The video (in which Néry reaches a depth of 125m), is described by the filmmaker as follows:
“Deep water freediving exposes its practitioners to a form of narcosis, which induces several symptoms, among which a feeling of euphoria and levity that earned this phenomenon its nickname of “raptures of the deep”. The short film relates the interior journey of Guillaume Néry, the apnea world champion, during one of his deep water dives. It draws its inspiration from his physical experience and the narrative of his hallucinations.”
The second video, also filmed by Julie Gautier, shows Néry’s descent into Dean’s Blue Hole, an inland flooded cave in the Bahamas, and at 662 feet, the deepest “blue hole” on the planet.
For more information:
One more video of people being metal. There are tons of compilations like this one available on the web, and I usually don’t bother with them. But I happened to see this one shared on Facebook by a friend, and decided, what the hell.
I’m glad I gave it a chance. It’s a cool sequence of events posted in December 2014 in which people really do pull off amazing feats of physical skill, most of which have no point at all of course, other than the being awesome.
And for the inevitable cynics out there, I suppose some of this could have been digitally manipulated, but most of it looks real to me. I think I only peed my pants twice.
This next item seems too good to be true, and it probably is… but it’s a very metal idea.
It’s a report about a hand-held mini-spectrometer called SCiO that can tell you the molecular content of just about anything you can see — assuming you can get close enough to let the device read it. Here’s the full explanation that appears at Inhabit.com:
SCiO is a new gadget that instantly measures the molecular fingerprint of just about anything you see, and it fits in your pocket. Want to know the alcohol content of that beer you’re about to slurp down or how many grams of sugar are in your apple? This mini spectrometer will tell you. Equipped with some of the capabilities of large, heavy laboratory spectrometers, but built around the kind of optics used in cell phone cameras, the SCiO measures the light reflected off any given object, breaks down its spectrum, and then sends that information to the cloud. Consumer Physics‘ unique algorithms immediately interpret the resulting data and the results show up on your cell phone within 5 seconds on a 3G connection. Designed to empower you with knowledge of your environment, medicine, food, and a near-infinite number of things, the SCiO will also allow you to participate in building the world’s first database of matter.
The potential capabilities of this thing are endless — many more of them are discussed in the linked article and at the manufacturer’s site (here), along with an explanation of the technology.
The device is now up for pre-order for $249, with shipping projected in December 2015. I’m tempted… but I think I’ll wait for reviews based on actual consumer usage. (Thanks to BadWolf for the tip about the SCiO.)
Time to wrap up this installment of THAT’S METAL! And to do that I’m embedding two more videos. Yes, I realize that technically makes this installment eleven items long instead of ten, but the first one is so short that I’m rounding down.
The first video is a selfie of a dude riding his motorcycle across the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. I think when you see it, you’ll understand why I made it part of this series. (via Sploid)
The second one is a promotional video by a company called MidAmerican Energy, which is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Their web site says they provide service to 746,000 electric customers and 726,000 natural gas customers in a 10,600-square mile area in Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and they’re a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Although their site further reports that about 42 percent of the energy they generate is fueled by coal (not good), 37 percent comes from wind power (better).
Now, on to the point of this video. The company’s web site reports:
In May 2013, MidAmerican Energy announced the Wind VIII project to build up to 1,050 megawatts of new wind generation at project sites in Grundy, Madison, Marshall, O’Brien and Webster counties in Iowa. The company followed that with the October 2014 announcement to add 161 megawatts of wind generation at project sites in Adams and O’Brien counties. When both projects are complete, MidAmerican Energy will have approximately 3,500 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa – enough to power the equivalent of more than 1 million average Iowa households.
What you’re about to see is a time-lapse video showing the construction of one of those giant wind turbines, and I thought it was metal on several levels.
And that will wrap up this installment of THAT’S METAL! I hope I don’t wait another three months to do the next one. As always, enjoy the rest of your fucking day.