Welcome to a new edition of THAT’S METAL!, the second one of 2015. I’ve let more than six weeks go by since the year’s first installment, but I’m looking on the bright side — at least I got another one finished before the Ides of March.
As always, the focus of this series is on images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have 10 items for you today.
“Tattoo, skin implant and body piercing fans from around the world have gathered in Caracas for a four-day event celebrating extreme body modification at the Venezuela Tattoo Expo. Visitors to the show displayed extreme piercings, tattoos, skin and teeth implants and even dye injected into eye-balls.” That was the lead in a photo display at The Telegraph (UK) about the expo in Caracas last month.
First up in the photo gallery, not surprisingly, was Maria Jose Cristerna from Mexico, aka “Vampire Woman“. She holds the Guinness World Record for being the woman with the most body mods.
Those of you with keen memories may remember that I wrote about her once before in a THAT’S METAL! post (here), almost exactly two years ago. At that time (and maybe today as well) her day job was practicing law, which is kind of inspirational. Here are two more photos from the Venezuela Tattoo Expo:
“Red Skull” – photo by Ariana Cubillos (AP)
“Kala Kaiwi” – photo by Jorge Silva (Reuters)
More photos from the Expo can be seen here.
While we’re on the subject of fangs, let’s look at some that aren’t the result of modification (unless you count evolutionary modification). The above image (which you can enlarge by clicking on it) is a microphotograph of limpet teeth. They are made of what has been proclaimed to be nature’s strongest natural material:
“Spider silk is famous for its amazing toughness, and until recently a tensile strength of 1.3 gigapascals (GPa) was enough to earn it the title of strongest natural material. However, researchers report online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface that the record books need to be updated to properly recognize the incredible strength of the limpet teeth. Marine snails known as limpets (Patella vulgata) spend most of their lives scraping a set of small teeth along rocks in shallow ocean waters, looking for food. The constant grinding would be enough to quickly reduce most natural materials to nubs, but the limpets’ teeth boast a tensile strength of between 3 and 6.5 GPa…”
Here’s additional info from an article in The Washington Post:
“The teeth also bested several man-made materials, including Kevlar, a synthetic fiber used to make bulletproof vests and puncture-proof tires. The amount of weight it can withstand, Barber told the BBC, can be compared to a strand of spaghetti used to hold up more than 3,300 pounds, the weight of an adult female hippopotamus.
“Their secret is in the size of their fibers, which are 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. The ultra-thin filaments avoid the holes and defects that plague larger strands — including man-made carbon fibers — meaning any structure they compose is also flawless, regardless of how big it gets.”
(via TYWKIWDBI, again)
Aw hell, let’s stay with fangs for one more item.
What you’re looking at now, thanks to a tip from Utmu (who seems to delight in sending me images of disgusting things found in nature) is Hypsugo dolichodon, a newly recognized species of bat discovered in the rain forests of Vietnam and Lao PDR.
I spent about 10 minutes trying to find out how big this bat is, because I think I would sleep somewhat better at night if I knew it was no bigger than an Oreo cookie. Unfortunately, I failed to find any resources that described its size. I’ll just have to hope that they don’t engage in transoceanic migration.
On second thought, Oreo-cookie-sized would be too big.
Do you think we’ve had enough fangs for one post? Nah, I don’t think so either. So let’s have one more example from the horror show that is nature.
The image above is a photo of a monstrosity known as the frilled shark. That particular specimen was caught off the coast of Japan in 2007 and is pictured swimming in a tank where it was deposited after capture; it died not long after.
The frilled shark was in the news again last month because another specimen was caught in a fishing trawler’s net off the coast of Australia. Here’s what that one looked like:
Disgusting — 300 teeth aligned in over 25 rows in this thing’s mouth.
One of the reasons such captures make the news is because these creatures are rarely seen by human eyes. Here’s a bit more info from the article at NPR where I lifted the first photo above:
“Normally, we wouldn’t call something a living fossil. But the name seems tailor-made for the frilled shark, whose roots are traced to 80 million years ago. Its prehistoric origins are obvious in its primitive body; nearly all of the rare animal’s closest relatives are long extinct.
“In the most recent of those 80 million years, the frilled shark has been scaring the bejeezus out of humans who pull it out of the water to find an animal with rows of needle-like teeth in a gaping mouth at the front of its head.”
Okay, enough with the fangs. Let’s move in the opposite direction — disgusting things that kill without using any teeth at all.
This is the hackled orb weaver, a spider that has no fangs at all. Instead of killing its prey with venom, it squeezes them to death in a binding of silk. I really can’t improve on the prose in the io9 article that Utmu sent me (yeah, him again):
“[O]nce the orb weaver has its victim surrounded in silk, it keeps going. More and more it wraps. Tighter and tighter it wraps. A single moth gets 460 feet of silk put into its death. How does it finally die? Well, after the spider has broken the insects’ legs and wings to prevent any chance of escape, it concentrates on the head — eventually it wraps its prey so tight that the insects’ own eyes get forced down into its head, killing it.
“That’s right, this spider wraps things so tightly that it kills them with their own inward-exploding-eyeballs.
Yeah right, sleep well. Like that’s gonna fucking happen.
Enough with the horrors of nature. How about some gaming fun? Something light-hearted and innocent, something with unicorns and rainbows?
Naw, fuck that, that ain’t metal. Let’s look instead at the trailer for a forthcoming PC game called HATRED. Even though I don’t play video games, this one looks like it’s metal to the core.
So is this trailer. From the words, to the soundtrack, to the scenes of utter homicidal mayhem, this thing is so over-the-top and so politically incorrect that it makes me smile every time I see it. It really doesn’t give a fuck.
(Thanks to Stian for the tip.)
In another installment of this series about 15 months ago I wrote about a Danish writer and artist named Lars Andersen who had become interested in historic archery techniques and had mastered them in a way that allowed him to achieve eye-popping speed and accuracy. At different points over the last month various admirers of this series linked me to a new video displaying Andersen’s amazing archery skills.
And really, “amazing” is an understatement, especially when you realize that Andersen is now 50 years old and took up archery only 10 years ago. On the YouTube page for the video you’re about to see, Andersen included a lot of information and interesting observations — go here to read what he wrote. Prepare to have your mind boggled — and as stunning as this is from start to finish, the most amazing feat is saved for last.
At the top of broadcast TV antennas there are lightbulbs. Sometimes they need changing. Someone has to do it — someone whose cojones are so large that you wonder how they ever sit down.
In this video, tower climber Kevin Schmidt scales to the top of an inactive, 1500-foot-tall analog broadcast tower near Salem, South Dakota, to change the lights. Thanks to drone-mounted Go-Pro technology (in this case operated by Prairie Aerial), we get a birds-eye view of this breathtaking, stomach-turning sight.
If you’re prone to bouts of vertigo, you may want to skip this. If not, consider watching it at 1080 HD in full-screen mode.
(Thanks to Derek for linking to this video on FB, which is how I found it.)
Fat Man and its detonation over Nagasaki
“A man named Doom helped create the first atomic bomb and we spoke to him”. That’s the headline on an article that appeared at The Verge on January 12, 2015. My colleague Andy Synn sent me the link. It turns out that the headline is completely accurate.
In a nutshell, Lewis G. Doom was the name of an engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project in 1944 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He spent most of his time working on Fat Man, which was the nickname of the weapon dropped on Nagasaki. He also accompanied test flights of the Enola Gay as well as other B-29 aircraft that did test drops of prototypes of the bombs.
Mr. Doom (unfortunately, he did not have a Ph.D.) is still alive, now 92 years old. His surname at the time of his birth was Garth, but after his father died when he was still a child, his mother remarried to a man of Dutch ancestry whose last name was Doom. Really.
On January 5, 2015, NASA released the largest, most high-resolution image ever taken of the Andromeda Galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor. It was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, it consists of 1.5 billion pixels, and it requires 4.3 GB of disk space to save it. A dude named Dave Achuk made a video that strikingly demonstrates not only the level of detail that the image reveals, but also how ridiculously small our own place in the cosmos truly is.
The photo at the beginning and end of the video, which shows the Milky Way and Andromeda over Mt. Lassen, was taken by Cory Poole. The music is an excerpt from a song named “The Last Stand” by a band named Koda.
And that’s a wrap for the edition of THAT’S METAL! As always, enjoy the rest of your fucking day.