It’s time to venture forth from the cozy, hermetic confines of our metallic island and see what the outside world has to offer. We do this timidly and with trepidation, because the outside world often seems like an unpleasant place, full of selfish, disgusting, cruel, and stupid creatures known as human beings. This generally seem to be the condition of human beings when they are not making or listening to metal.
However, for your entertainment, we are willing to risk exposure to these ugly creatures in order to find images, videos, and news items that are metal even though they are not music.
Item One is the photo above. Sometimes, when you’re livin’ right, you’re in the right place at the right time and the shit just jumps into your mouth and all you’ve got to do is be alert enough to open wide and savor life’s unexpected delicacies. That’s what that lucky American alligator up there is about to do. On the other hand, you get those days when you’re moving with the current, free and easy, you think you’re on the right course, you decide to make a big leap ahead — and you land right in the toothsome jaws of some big fuckin’ catastrophe, like that Florida gar. Ain’t life great?
That photo (taken by Marina Scarr) is metal. So are dozens of others that have been submitted in the 2012 edition of The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. All of the thousands of submissions can be found here, but I came across a site that has collected 45 of the best ones. Seven more of my favorites are right after the jump.
The next item is both scary and funny as shit. The guy taking this video could have been the gar on this day, but instead he just got an experience he’ll probably never forget. He kept his cool, too. I can guarantee that the words I’d have been uttering (at the pitch of a screaming little girl) could not have been used in a news report on CNN.
Here’s another video, which is definitely fuckin’ metal. The hero of this story is Steve St. Bernard, a bus operator on the B44 line in Brooklyn, New York. He was returning to his home on Coney Island after the end of his work day and noticed people running toward a building where an autistic 7-year-old girl was swaying from side to side on a window ledge, three stories above the ground. The girl lost her balance and fell. She also could have been the gar this day.
This kinda looks like someone throwing the horns, doesn’t it? Well, it turns out that this is an ingenious Japanese-made alternative to plastic surgery for people who aren’t happy with the shape of their noses. The retailer advertises it as follows: “After slipping this clip gently into your nostrils, the supports on either side will help balance and push up the bones and contours of your nose, so it has an overall sharper, straighter shape, less round and more graceful.”
Uh-huh. But hey, if you think that’s fucked up, check this out. This is for people who think their noses are too flat.
But that’s not all! Check out the Pupeko: “Just pop the colorful Pupeko gently into your mouth, clench your jaw and breath in and out. This will then start training and tightening your cheek and jaw muscles, helping to offset the signs of aging and bringing a fresher, youthful look back again to your cheeks!”
Sheeeeeeeiiiiiitt. The only thing that was even close to metal about this item was the shape of that first nose clip (which I saw thanks to The Presurfer), but I kinda got carried away.
Much of the world is currently caught up in the spectacle of the Olympics. Apparently, the athletic achievements aren’t enough to hold the attention of TV viewers, because the broadcast networks lard up their telecasts with “human interest” stories, most of which I find gaggy, because, after all, I AM a badass metal blogger. But the story of 25-year-old Oscar Pistorius is pretty fuckin’metal.
He’s a member of the South African team and will be running in both the 400 metres and 4x400m relay in London. He had both of his legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He runs on carbon-fibre prosthetics. Later this summer, he will be defending his titles in three track events at the Paralympic Games. Here’s a video of Pistorius in action:
Time for science!
Did you know that after the advent of wood on Earth about 400 million years ago, it took fungi about 50 millions years to evolve in a way that would allow the fungi to decompose wood? Until then, dead wood just piled up, and never decayed. Think about that: Roughly 50 million years’ worth of dead wood accumulating throughout the massive forests of the Devonian and Carboniferous Periods.
Did you know that oxygen makes up only about 21% of the air we breathe? Did you know that from the Carboniferous Period through the Cretaceous Period (which ended about 65 million years ago), oxygen levels in the air were about 50% higher — which contributed to the rampant growth of global forests?
Did you know that much of the world’s coal beds came from the Carboniferous and follow-on periods that had elevated oxygen levels? Did you know that most of the coal was originally deposited as charcoal — which implies that global-scale firestorms were a common occurrence during the Carboniferous Period? Wood that wasn’t decaying + highly elevated oxygen levels = big fuckin’ firestorms.
Did you know that the the Cretaceous Period ends at something called the K-T boundary, which is marked in the geologic record by a layer of material (which includes iridium) buried deep in the Earth that marks the mass extinction of much animal and plant life on Earth, including the dinosaurs? Many (though not all) scientists believe that this extinction event was triggered by a cataclysmic meteor impact on the Yucatan Peninsula of modern-day Mexico (leaving behind the Chicxulub crater). Certainly contributing to the mass extinction (if not the principle cause) was a stupendous increase in volcanic activity.
Did you know that the K-T boundary layer also includes a large amount of soot, and that recent scientific projections estimate that 25% of the entire biomass of Earth burned after the Chicxulub meteor strike? Fucktons of non-decaying dead wood + highly elevated oxygen levels + ginormous meteor strike = REALLY BIG fuckin’ firestorms.
Now you know. (More details are available at TYWKIWDBI, though I haven’t tried to verify everything you can find there.)
I’m gonna wrap up this installment of THAT’S METAL! with Lichtenberg figures. Named for Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who first observed them in the 1700s, they are branching, tree-like or fern-like patterns that are created by high voltage discharges along the surface, or inside, electrical insulators. Particle accelerators can be used to fire electrons into blocks of acrylic plastic, causing electrical breakdown and the formation of internal Lichtenberg figures, which look like this:
You can buy this, or other pieces of Lichtenberg sculpture, at this location — which also contains a wealth of additional info about Lichtenberg figures.
Lichtenberg figures are also created in nature. And what natural phenomenon generates high voltage electrical discharges? You got it — lightening. This, for example, is the outcome of a lightening strike on a flagpole on the green of a golf course:
You can probably guess where I’m going with this.
Here are Lichtenberg figures created in human beings who have survived lightening strikes. The patterns are thought to be caused by the rupture of small capillaries under the skin due to the passage of the lightning current or the shock wave from the lightning discharge as it flashes over the skin. To quote a comment I saw on a Reddit thread about this phenomenon, “Getting tattooed by Zeus!?”
(Credit to TYWKIWDBI for leading me into this subject.)
The K-T boundary is like a Mastodon song waiting to happen.
I totally thought that nose stretcher was a sex toy.
Although it could probably double as one.
One can’t help but think that Oscar Pastorius has some advantage over the regular guys… with those Powerbock-like prosthetics. In any case, it’s pretty cool that he’s participating in this year’s Summer Olympics.
One had a vague idea of most of item six; but somehow, that the dead-tree-eating evolution of fungi would have happened after the evolution of trees never occurred to one. (>_> )
If I remember correctly, the IOC had previously stated that his running blades do provide an unfair advantage and therefore he wasn’t able to compete in the 2008 Olympics. I think the problem the IOC had with these before was the way they absorb shock or something; they allow him to run harder (and in theory, faster) than someone without them.
He’s not the first handicapped person to compete in the Olympics; in 2008, there was a one legged female swimmer that swam at least one event. Didn’t come close to a podium worthy performance, but she did finish the race and was going on to also compete in the Paralympics later in the year. I’m sure there have been others, both for winter and summer games.