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  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:02 pm on February 26, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: (212) 297-6400, , 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station, , , , , , director marketing, Gannett, , , , , New York Subways Advertising Co, , physicist, Sci-fi Channel, Scientific American, sparse search results, Steven Spielberg, Television advertisement, , , War of the Worlds   

    “If You Paid Attention, You’d be Worried Too” or Finit Finis Finish Omnious Omnium Shmomnious 

    The very special 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station has some very strange advertisements posted in the decrepit old clock boxes. You know, the ones overhead, the ones to which nobody pays attention too because the clocks are usually way off?

    For some reason I thought that the ads that I’ve seen for a long time were cigarette ads. But recently I looked at them a little bit more carefully and realized that something was odd. The ads show a sunset over the forest and a flock of birds in the air. The caption says “Omnium Finis Imminet”. Huh. Hello conspiracy theories.

    Well, my crappy knowledge of Latin tells me that “omnium” means “all”, “finis” means “end” and “imminet” since it sounds just like “imminent” means “is coming”.

    Apparently graffiti with this nice apocalyptic message has been popping up in other places. On the other hand, this is not graffiti, is it? At the very best this is a well executed hack.

    Come Monday (well, if the end of the world is not going to happen before then) I am totally giving a call to Gannett Transit (formerly New York Subways Advertising Co) at (212) 297-6400 to figure out what’s up with this.

    Update.
    I called Gannett Transit just to be kicked to voicemail, but it looks like the ad is legit. I’ve seen a whole bunch in West 4th Station and comments are rolling in about TV spots too. As commenters pinted out this is probably a “guessing game” ad for the new War of the Worlds movie or some stupid Sci-fi Channel movie or series. Well, at least nobody seems to be paying attention to the ads. None of the people I asked were able to recall what it was about.

    Well, at least it seems that my humble blog ranks high in the very sparse search results for “omnium finis imminet”, “omnium finis imminent” and the other creative ways to spell this slogan, so hopefully I’ll gain some readers along the way.

    Now, if this were an ad for Darren Aronofsky’s Flicker, that would be way cool. But I am not even sure that he is filming it at all.

    Another update
    Wow, it looks like New York Times fact checkers are in hot water as the reporters totally pulled this out of their butts (or read on this in my blog as it was the top result on Google for a while) :

    “The advertisements portray a flock of birds against an angry red sky, with a single phrase: Omnium Finis Imminet, Latin for The End of All Things Is Near. The advertisements, for Steven Spielberg’s movie version of H. G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds,” cost about $50,000. The film is to open in July.”

    They did post a correction later on. Here’s the full ad from a recent Scientific American that my wife brought me today.

    Note the Photoshop lens flare and the horrible font. Looks like their art director is about as competent as their marketing director. The letter “T” is probably made to look like the Orange County Choppers dagger logo to capitalize on the popularity of that show.

    He heh, the show seems to have a stupid “X-Files” marries “Millennium” premise. The end of the world is approaching, and investigators are a physicist instead of Scully and a nun instead of Mulder. That’s some sexy and original stuff. Just get a bad 80s rock ballad for a theme song and all the geeks mourning Star Trek will flock to see this.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:38 am on July 25, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Collider, , Filkers, , , information network, Les Horribles Cernettes, On, patient CERN secretary, physicist, , Silvano de Gennaro, Tim Berners-Lee, , Web Everybody   

    Band On The Web 

    Everybody knows that Dr Fun was the first cartoon on the World Wide Web. What do you mean you didn’t know? Ignorant mumble mumble. But a lesser known fact is that Les Horribles Cernettes was the first band on the Web.

    According to this site:
    “The Cernettes began when a patient CERN secretary was made to wait and wait and wait for the return of her permanently-on-shift physicist boyfriend. In an attempt to garner his attention, she asked physicist Silvano de Gennaro to write a song about her life, and got a few girlfriends to back her up. Then she stepped onstage in 1992 during CERN’s annual Hardronic music festival, and sang “You only love your collider” to the whole CERN population.”


    “But the Cernettes’ real claim to fame is being the first band on the Web. In 1992, Tim Berners-Lee asked Silvano for photos of “the CERN girls” to publish on a new information network he’d invented. The image you see below is the first photo ever featured in a Web browser.”

    “Collider” is pretty good, but “Liquid Nitrogen” is even better!

    “You poured liquid nitrogen down my spine
    as you told me you didn’t love me any more
    and run off with the girl next door
    …”

    Pure genius. They are all so damn talented. Too bad they didn’t record any more songs. Their stuff is some of the best coding music that I have. I wonder if I’d like some more conventional Doo Wop music…

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:11 am on July 15, 2002 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Logic Named Joe, astronomer, brilliant technologist, Call Time Police, Carson, chemist, Cleve, Deadline, , , freelance writer, Garfields administration, good engineer, great sci-fi writer, Hiroshima, , Logic, Logics Company, , Murray Leinster, Nagasaki, Norfolk, physicist, , researcher, , submarine researcher, submarine researcher and inventor, The only thing, , , War Department, , Will Jenkins, William Fitzgerald Jenkins,   

    Best Sci-fi You Haven’t Read Part III or Call Time Police – We’ve Got a Time Traveler 


    William Fitzgerald Jenkins, better known under his pen name Murray Leinster, was born in Norfolk, Virginia on June 16, 1896 (or so they tell us). I have many reasons not to believe this. He earned his living entirely through freelance writing, except when he worked as a researcher in the War Department during WWI and WWII. In his early literary career he wrote various junk, including “cautionary tails of the perils that could await a young woman, who, in all innocence, failed to insure that she was properly chaperoned at all times” (I am still trying to locate those). In 1919 he witnessed a clock being reset on a building across the street, and rapidly rotating hour and minute arms of that clock gave him an idea. He wrote a story about time travel called “The Runaway Skyscraper”. Since then he wrote mostly science fiction. Good science fiction too, for instance he won a Hugo for one of his stories (becoming the only person who wrote before 20s to win a Hugo).

    As I mentioned, he served in two World Wars as a researcher. I bet that most of his work was classified, but I’ve seen mentions that it had something to do with submarines. Crypto, nuclear propulsion – your guess is as good as mine. Seems pretty strange that a freelance writer would also turn out a brilliant technologist, because he was definitely a good engineer : he got two patents for “Front Projection System” (frigging Delphion is charging for access these days, so I can’t really look up what they are) which he later sold to Fairchild Camera.

    How does a “cautionary tail” writer becomes a great sci-fi writer, submarine researcher and inventor? I think that he was replaced by a time traveler. He wasn’t alone, he had friends too.

    Here is an excerpt from and introduction Will Jenkins wrote for an anthology “Great Stories of Science Fiction” that he edited:

    “During the late lamented World War Two, the FBI had occasion to check on me. They decided that I wasn’t subversive, and made due note of the fact. As a consequence, one day I had a telephone call. A voice said pleasantly that it was the FBI calling, and they’d like to talk to me. I searched my conscience hurriedly, and then asked where I should come to talk. The voice said graciously that he’d come to see me. He did. In a hurry. With a companion.

    One was a large man with a patient expression, and the other was quite young and looked rather shy. They produced credentials and proved who they were, and I obligingly proved who I was, and then one of them said, “Tell me, have you ever read the Cleve Cartmill story, ‘Deadline’?”

    I said I had. The larger FBI man asked interestedly, “What did you think of it?”

    “A pretty good story,” I said, “and the science is authentic. Quite accurate.”

    Then there was a pause. A rather long pause. Then he sighed, and reluctantly inquired, “Well, what we want to know is: could it be a leak?”

    At this point my hair stood up on end and its separate strands tended to crack like whiplashes. Because “Deadline,” by Cleve Cartmill, was a story about an atomic bomb, and this was a year before Hiroshima. The bomb in the story was made of uranium-235, it was to explode when a critical mass was attained, and there were other details. The story described most minutely the temperature of an atom-bomb explosion, the deadly radiation, the lingering aftereffects, the shock-wave, the heat-effect, and all the rest of the phenomena that a year later were observed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But I was being asked about it before Hiroshima, and the Manhattan Project was perhaps the most completely hush-hush of all the hush-hush performances of the war.

    My copy of this book is of course signed :)

    But that is nothing, nothing I tell you, compared to what Will Jenkins himself wrote. You see, he wrote a story called “A Logic Named Joe” in the year 1946. Here is an excerpt

    “I’m a maintenance man for the Logics Company. My job is servicing Logics, and I admit modestly that I am pretty good. I was servicing televisions before that guy Carson invented his trick circuit that will select any of ‘steenteen million other circuits—in theory there ain’t no limit—and before the Logics Company hooked it into the Tank-and-Integrator set-up they were usin ’em as business-machine service. They added a vision-screen for speed—an they found out they’d made Logics. They were surprised an pleased. They’re still findin out what Logics will do, but everybody’s got ’em.

    You know the Logics set-up. You got a Logic in your house. It looks like a vision-receiver used to, only it’s got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get. It’s hooked in to the Tank, which has the Carson Circuit all fixed up with relays. Say you punch “Station SNAFU” on your Logic. Relays in the Tank take over an’ whatever vision-program SNAFU is telecastin comes on your Logic’s screen. Or you punch “Sally Hancock’s Phone” an the screen blinks an sputters an’ you’re hooked up with the Logic in her house an’ if somebody answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today’s race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin’ Garfields administration or what is PDQand R sellin for today, that comes on the screen too. The relays in the Tank do it. The Tank is a big buildin foil of all the facts in creation an’ all the recorded telecasts that ever was made—an it’s hooked in with all the other Tanks all over the country—an everything you wanna know or see or hear, you punch for it an you get it. Very convenient. Also it does math for you, an’ keeps books, an acts as consultin’ chemist, physicist, astronomer an’ tea-leaf reader, with a “Advice to the Lovelorn” thrown in. The only thing it won’t do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, “Oh, you think so, do you?” in that peculiar kinda voice. Logics don’t work good on women. Only on things that make sense.

    Logics are all right, though. They changed civilization, the highbrows tell us.All on accounta the Carson Circuit. “

    Holy Crap! How did the time police miss this guy??
    By the way, notice some military humor there. Do you know what SNAFU means?

    If you would like to read some of Murray Leinster’s stories, a good place to start is “First Contacts: The Essential Murray Leinster”

     
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