Nov 012015

Dead Comet Flyby


Welcome to another edition of “THAT’S METAL!”… one installment away from the glorious 100th edition of this series. Which doesn’t mean that this edition isn’t glorious, too, because it is.

I have to begin with the obligatory and all-too-frequent apology for allowing so much time to pass in between episodes of this series. At this rate, No. 100 will arrive around New Year’s Day.  Of 2017.

Anyway, I have nine items for you today, all of them things I think are metal even though they’re not music. Since Samhain was last night, I couldn’t resist including a few items appropriate to that most metal of festivities.


Our first item, which was recommended to me by several people, is pictured above. It’s an image of asteroid 2015 TB145, generated using radar data collected by the National Science Foundation’s 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

NASA posted it on their web site the day before Halloween because, duh, it looks like a skull AND because it flew by our planet “at just under 1.3 lunar distances, or about 302,000 miles (486,000 kilometers), on Halloween (Oct. 31) at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT, 17:00 UTC).” NASA refers to the object as a “dead comet”.

One of my friends thought that Dead Comet Flyby would be a great name for a band. And hell yes, wouldn’t it?

For more info, and to see a .gif generated from six radar images of the object, go HERE.





Scott Kelly


Since I’m on the subject of space, allow me to introduce American astronaut Scott Kelly. He’s halfway through a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. He’s been doing some interesting writing about his experiences at this location, and he has also been taking some jaw-dropping photos from his orbiting perch high above the rest of us. Here are a few of them. More can be seen via that link in the preceding sentence.

(Thanks to Phro for the tip on this item.)

Scott Kelly-view from the ISS cupola
View from the cupola aboard the International Space Station about 250 miles over the Bahamas


Scott Kelly-moonlight over Italy
Moonlight over Italy with a flash of lightning below


Scott Kelly-Hurricane Joaquin
Hurricane Joaquin approaching the Bahamas


Scott Kelly-Australia earth art
“Australia Earth art”


Scott Kelly-2





Okay, let’s return to Halloween-themed items. What you’re about to see are photos of the make-up artistry of Stephanie Fernendez, a 19-year-old woman from Shreveport, Louisiana. She is self-taught, and to make matters even more amazing, she applied her talents in all these photos to her own face and body. I have no experience at this kind of thing, but it would seem to me that doing this to yourself would be even more challenging that doing it to someone else.

But even more impressive is her eye for color and the imagination displayed in her creations. After the photos (more of which you can find here and here), you’ll see a speeded-up video of Stephanie at work, showing the intricacy of her creativity and the the immense patience and concentration that must be required to produce these results.

Stephanie Fernendez-1


Stephanie Fernendez-2


Stephanie Fernendez-3


Stephanie Fernendez-4








These are clips from 250 horror movies compiled in a 5-minute video. The creator (whose YouTube channel is here) did an excellent job not just in selecting the clips but in the way he juxtaposed them in the video. The music is “Crypt” by Power Glove.

The video probably justifies a NSFW warning.








howler monkey


Okay, enough with Halloween. Let’s turn to the animal kingdom for the next two items. The first one is derived from a recent feature at The New York Times online, the subject of which is howler monkeys.

The video below (which accompanied the article) is metal for obvious reasons; this dude could front a death metal band by just doing what comes naturally. However, the focus of the article may be somewhat dismaying to metal frontmen. It reports on the results of research published last week in the journal Complete Biology:

No offense to tenors, but outside of opera, a high male voice is seldom, if ever, considered seductive. Scientific research has shown that women find deep male voices attractive, and the same is true in other species, like howler monkeys.

But evolution is often stingy in its gifts, and researchers investigating male competition to reproduce have discovered an intriguing trade-off in some species of howler monkeys: the deeper the call, the smaller the testicles.

Jacob Dunn of Cambridge University, one of the leaders of the research, said that species evolved either to make lower-frequency sounds, or have larger testicles, but none had both a very low sound and very large testicles.

Ours is not to wonder why institutions of higher learning are sponsoring research projects of this nature. Ours instead is to wonder about the size of Craig Pillard’s testicles.

More details here (about the howler monkey study, not Craig Pillard’s testicles).

(Thanks to Austin and Grant for tipping me to the article.)








Hickory Horned Devil


Goliath spider


I can’t explain it, but I have a tendency to include in most of these compilations at least one item about actual creatures that either horrify or nauseate me, or both. And today I’m grossed out by the Hickory Horned Devil and the Goliath birdeater spider.

According to this article,

The Hickory Horned Devil (Citheronia regalis) is the largest caterpillar in North America. It will eventually burrow into the ground to metamorphose into a regal moth, which has a 6-inch wingspan, but is much less bulky than its caterpillar form. The caterpillar molts four times to become this big (up to six inches long), and is bright green only in its final phase.

Here’s a video of one of these caterpillars discovered in Alabama.

(via Neatorama)






Goliath spider-2

Okay, now let’s turn to the Goliath spider. This article from last week reported as follows:

Harvard Entomologist Piotr Naskrecki recently posted on his blog about an encounter in Guyana’s rainforest with a South American Goliath birdeater, a spider so large it’s the size of a small dog or puppy. According to Naskreski, “Their leg span approaches 30 cm (nearly a foot) and they weigh up to 170 g.”

As Naskrecki describes his encounter with the spider, it truly comes across as the stuff of nightmares. “The spider would start rubbing its hind legs against the hairy abdomen. ‘Oh, how cute!’, I thought when I first saw this adorable behavior, until a cloud of urticating hair hit my eyeballs, and made me itch and cry for several days.” The entomologist goes into further detail saying the spider was “capable of puncturing a mouse’s skull, and would try to jab me with the pointy implements,” and that it produced a large hissing sound.

Thankfully, I have no video of this encounter to share with you.

(I would thank MaxR for tipping me to the article, but I don’t feel thankful.)

Goliath spider







Sam Reynolds-photo by Wolisphoto
photo by Bartek Wolinski


Having purged myself, at least temporarily, of my perverse attraction to real-world creatures that give me the creeps, I’ll turn now to two items about lunatic humans.

The first of these people is Sam Reynolds. He is a British professional bike freerider. I had never seen the term “bike freerider” before encountering the videos I’ve embedded below. I now understand the term, though I’ll be damned if I understand the death wish that must be the inspiration for what a guy like Sam Reynolds does. Mind you, I can’t help but be tremendously impressed by his skill and his nerve.

These videos record Mr. Reynolds’ final run at the 2015 Red Bull Rampage outside Zion National Park in Utah, where he won “best tricks”, finished 9th, and secured a spot in the event for next year. I sure am glad I haven’t come across videos for the 8 dudes who finished ahead of him.

The first video was filmed from a helmet cam that Reynolds wore for his trip, the other was shot by people on more stable footing. The first one put my stomach in my throat.









Robbie Maddison


To wrap up this edition of THAT’S METAL!, I’m staying with dudes who make off-label use of bikes. This one abuses a ski jump, too. And also rides on water.

His name is Robbie “Maddo” Maddison. He’s an Australian motorbike stunt rider from New South Wales. He’s pulled off a long list of amazing stunts, but I’m only including videos of two of them below. In the first one he rides down a ski jump. In the second one he surfs a monster wave off the coast of Tahiti, on his bike.

If you want to read the whole story about the wave-surfing, check out this article and interview at Rolling Stone.

And that’s it for now. As always, enjoy the rest of your fucking day.



  18 Responses to ““THAT’S METAL!” — BUT IT’S NOT MUSIC (NO. 99)”

  1. I broke my arm on a snowboard jump once and swore off ever going in the park ever again. Meanwhile, these guys are descending canyons and surfing on motorbikes.

    • Crazy people.
      As a kid I decided to ski down the landing slope of a ski jumping hill. Once up there, it turned out to be a terribly long and steep hill! I decided to just let my skis make the ride on their own, and one of them actually gained so much speed that it broke when it hit a three.
      Even if that was a completely stupid thing to do, I think I made the right decision not being on top of those slippery pieces of fiberglass as they raced down hill.

  2. Fantastic photos by Kelly, I would LOVE even just 60 seconds of looking at the Earth from the space station.
    The second photo by Fernendez is the greatest fucking thing ever today, awesome awesome awesome 🙂
    The 250 horror movies in 5 minutes was great, except that now I want to re-watch all of those movies!
    That howler monkey is badass! 🙂 That reminds of the way our oldest dog, a pit bull names Darwin, howls at the sound of sirens outside. He has this really gorgeous, deep, raspy roar that I would love to capture in a bottle.
    Good grief, that Goliath spider is terrifying!!
    Reynold’s has a deathwish, that’s for sure! Amazing talent 🙂
    I’m amazed the bike in the Maddison jump didn’t shatter on landing!
    Great edition! 😀

  3. Stephanie Fernandez looks terrifying in that second photo. The funny thing about that 5-min horror movie mash up is how hilarious some of the special effects look, more hilarity than horror 🙂

    Checking out Sam Raynolds view all I think is how the fuck does he know where to go! Also, the first thing that came to mind when seeing the Pipe Dream video is “how’s the serenity out here? Nothing like serenity… and the sound of a 2-stroke engine” (a little movie reference for those from down under)

  4. That comet is no “dead comet”, It’s a Death Comet, and now it knows where we live.
    That Red Bull Rampage looks completely lethal. It made me dizzy.
    I’ve seen snowmobiles work as water scooters, but a motor bike? How cool is that?

  5. Fucking spiders! Worst part of the internet is that you never know when you might scroll your way to a spider.
    Arachnophobia is stupid, and so is sleep.

    • Worst part of nature is that you never know when you cross an invisible string that automatically ties you to a little bug that doesn’t just fly away, but rather that loves to hide in small holes.

      • Go ahead guys. Just stoke the fires of my own arachnophobia until they consume all my peace. Thanks so much.

        I remember when I moved to the Seattle area from Texas that I was amazed and overjoyed at how few insects of any kind they have up here. Until I realized that it’s the world headquarters of the Spider Nation.

        • The spiders are not insects / But in a war they will side with the insects.
          Traitors! Traitors! Spider traitors! / They’ll betray us and they’ll make us!

          Human slaves! In an insect nation!

        • When I was a kid, the National Aquarium in Baltimore had a goliath bird eating spider there. I remember the ass end of that thing was bigger than a baseball. It was fascinating.

        • I used to live up in northern norway, where all you have to worry about are bears and lynx’ and big things like that.
          Moved down to the west coast a few years ago and HOLY SHIT they have big spiders. and alot of spiders. and they only come out at night when you cant see them! ( They mostly come at night… Mostly.)

          First time i walked into one of those fuckers, my neighbor called and asked if someone had died. I explained that it was just a very manly warrior scream he had heard 😛

          • I am familiar with the very manly warrior scream. I’m most proud of the one uttered when I sat down in a big wooden chair on my outdoor deck, only to discover that about a million crawling baby spiders were embedded in a big net of webbing on the back of it.

  6. So THATS where they record all the Neurosis records!! Makes sense. 😛

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