The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'mad scientists'
Ever wonder what the science is that justifies Japan's "scientific whaling" programme? Well, wonder no more:
Scientists have analysed 43 research papers produced by Japan over 18 years, finding most were useless or esoteric.
The scientific research included injecting minke whale sperm into cows eggs, and attempts to produce test-tube whale babies, News Limited newspapers report.
When he wasn't purging perceived enemies or trying to build a pure Communist society, Stalin was trying to breed a race of unstoppable half-man, half-ape Stakhanovites and super-soldiers to bring about Soviet world domination and bring the five-year-plan back on track:
According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."
Mr Ivanov's ideas were music to the ears of Soviet planners and in 1926 he was dispatched to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his first experiment in impregnating chimpanzees. Meanwhile, a centre for the experiments was set up in Georgia - Stalin's birthplace - for the apes to be raised.
Mr Ivanov's experiments, unsurprisingly from what we now know, were a total failure. He returned to the Soviet Union, only to see experiments in Georgia to use monkey sperm in human volunteers similarly fail.
A final attempt to persuade a Cuban heiress to lend some of her monkeys for further experiments reached American ears, with the New York Times reporting on the story, and she dropped the idea amid the uproar.It makes one wonder where they got the human "volunteers". I'm guessing from the gulags.
Also, was this the only instance of a totalitarian state attempting to selectively breed a new citizenry to better suit its needs? I wonder whether, say, North Korea or someone has tried anything like that, using people from different ethnicities and races, lured or kidnapped from across the world, to breed the model citizen.
(via bOING bOING)
A while ago, I picked up the box set of The Prisoner, and have been gradually making my way through the episodes I hadn't seen, one at a time.
I recently watched the episode titled "The Girl Who Was Death", which features a mad scientist who thinks he's Napoleon. As I watched it, I found myself thinking about the old cliché of delusionally insane people thinking that they're Napoleon. It seems to pop up a lot in films, TV and other media of a certain age (Looney Tunes cartoons, for example), tapering off around the 1960s (though still making the occasional appearance, in things like Highlander sequels); and there even was a famous pop song referencing it. Nowadays, one doesn't hear about nuthouses full of Napoleons; more modern sufferers of delusions are apparently more likely to think they're Jesus; either that (I once heard) or superheroes or ninjas or such.
I imagine that this has to do with the historical figure of Napoleon having cast a much longer shadow earlier in this century than he does now. When Napoleon loomed large in the public consciousness, a padded cell probably looked a lot like Saint Helena. It wouldn't surprise me if the I-think-I'm-Napoleon cliché was an old Vaudeville device or similar, dating back well before World War 2 (which somewhat demoted the French emperor's standing in the league of scourges of Europe), and the mass-media-saturated post-war world (whose brighter, more vivid archetypes undoubtedly displaced 18th-century history books from the public consciousness).
The ever-shifting landscape of public image affects how we see things. For one, the villain in The Girl Who Was Death reminded me of none other than Xeni Jardin.
From the Onion, this update on actor and professional Australian Paul Hogan's dynamic career:
Continuing nine years of such efforts, Australian actor Paul Hogan pitched a Crocodile Dundee Saturday-morning cartoon to Fox Family Channel executives Tuesday. "In Crocodile Dundee & His Outback Gang, Dundee would travel the world in a hot-air balloon, having adventures with his outback pals Kenny Koala and J. Wellington Wallaby," Hogan told the executives.
Also, corpse reanimation technology is still 10 years away, according to mad scientists from Stanford and MIT.
Real-life mad scientists: The parents of an autistic boy are suing the estate of a neuropsychiatrist, claiming that he attempted to erase their son's brain with drugs and hypnosis. Dr. Donald Dudley, who died in October, allegedly intended to "train an army of killers"; his unorthodox techniques included telling a chronic fatigue patient to train in martial arts and the use of guns for his cause (presumably a form of occupational therapy?); he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and sometimes claimed to be from another planet and one of the 100 secret rulers of the earth. (from Psychoceramics)