I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up!
1986 FBI Miami shootout
Mars Science Laboratory
VY Canis Majoris
Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission
Free Solo Climbing
Downhill Mountain Biking
John Wayne Gacy
Great Train Robbery of 1963
The Enforcement Droid Series 209, or ED-209, is a fictional robot in the RoboCop franchise. The ED-209 serves as a heavily-armed obstacle and foil for the series' titular character, as well as a source of comic relief due to its lack of intelligence and tendency to malfunction. The ED-209 was designed by Craig Davies, who also built the full size models, and animated by Phil Tippett, a veteran stop-motion animator. Davies and Tippett would go on to collaborate on many more projects. As one of the setpieces of the movie, the ED-209’s look and animated sequences were under the close supervision of director Paul Verhoeven, who sometimes acted out the robot's movements himself. Director Paul Verhoeven made it clear very early on that ED-209 should not look “cute.” He wanted the robot to look hard and mean. For this reason, various common robot features were left out. There are no eyes on the ED-209, for instance, since Craig Davies believed they conveyed too much emotion as well as being clichéd. According to RoboCop writer Ed Neumeier, the ED-209 robot was designed to resemble a bipedal Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter. The rear-facing knee joints make ED-209 a so-called chicken walker. Craig Hayes (then Davies) also incorporated his ideas about modern 1980s American design, especially car design, into the robot. He envisioned futuristic designers making the robot look good in order to make it marketable before they made it work well, “just like an American car.” The crew commentary audio track on the Criterion Collection DVD release confirms the obvious commentary on ridiculous corporate design policies, with such features as an obviously over-designed hydraulic system, over-attention paid to cosmetics and the placement of obviously vulnerable features such as the radiator grill on the very front of the robot. ED-209 is primarily featured in the first film, where it appears three times. The 209 series was an attempt to create a series of law enforcement robots, the brain child of the movie’s main villain, OCP Senior President Dick Jones. During a demonstration of the ED-209's offensive capabilities to the OCP board, it malfunctions and brutally kills an OCP executive, Kinney - even though he had complied with the robot’s orders to “surrender” and put down his gun, ED-209 appears incapable of recognising this fact. (Why this demonstration model is loaded with live ammunition on this occasion is unexplained, and could simply be a plot device). Because of this disastrous malfunction, the RoboCop program is given the green light. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
Reflex sights are optical or computing sights that reflect a reticle image (or images) onto a combining glass for superimposition on the target. Reflex sights are most commonly configured as non-magnifying firearm sights (such as the M68 red dot sight), but they are also used to aid targeting on other devices, such as telescopes and point-and-shoot digital cameras. Reflex sights should not be confused with laser sights, which actually project a point of light directly onto a target. Reflex sights use refractive or reflective optical collimators to generate a collimated image of a luminous or reflective reticle. This collimated image is reflected off a dichroic mirror or beam splitter to allow the viewer to see the field of view and a reflection of the projected reticle (e.g. a red dot) simultaneously. If no magnification is utilized, this gives the viewer a theoretically parallax-free image of the reticle, superimposed over the field of view at infinity. A reflex sight with no magnification can be held at any distance from the eye (see eye relief), and at almost any angle, without distorting the image of the target or reticle, and without causing the reticle to "move" relative to the target. But parallax compensation is not perfect, and depending on the sight's design, the range to the target, and the magnitude of angle at which it is looked into, aiming error can be non-trivial due to parallax. Magnified reflex sights suffer from parallax and fixed eye relief just like conventional telescopic sights. Nevertheless, many reflex sights are available with magnification. The U.S. military has widely-deployed the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) telescopic reflex sight, but reflex sights are also readily found in conventional-looking rifle scope configurations, used for such activities as hunting and target shooting. Because reflex sights provide an illuminated reticle, they are often used with both eyes open (the brain will tend to automatically superimpose the illuminated reticle image coming from the dominant eye onto the other eye's unobstructed view), giving the shooter normal depth perception and full field of view. This capability, along with the parallax compensation found in un-magnified devices, makes target acquisition very fast compared to standard telescopic sights and iron sights. Un-magnified reflex sights are particularly suitable for installation on a wide variety of weapons used for close-range engagement, e.g. pistols, submachine guns, and shotguns. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
The Phillie Phanatic (also called the Philly Phanatic), is the official mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball team. He is a fat, furry, green creature that somewhat resembles a bird from the rear view with a cylindrical beak containing a tongue that sticks out. The Phillie Phanatic is one of the most recognizable mascots in American sports. During the winter after the 1977 season, Dennis Lehman, who thought that the team needed a mascot similar to San Diego's Famous Chicken created the Phanatic with help from Harrison/Erickson of New York City (now known as Acme Mascots), which had ties with Jim Henson's Muppets, and the team's marketing and promotions department. Instead of a number on the back of his jersey, he wears a star. The character was named for the fanatical fans of the team. According to current owner and former team vice president Bill Giles, the Phanatic was created to attract more families to the Phillies home, Veterans Stadium. The Phanatic replaced "Philadelphia Phil" and "Philadelphia Phillis", a pair of siblings dressed in 18th-century garb to invoke the city's revolutionary spirit from 1776. The pair were in the team logo from 1976 through 1978, and were part of the team's "Home Run Spectacular" at The Vet from 1971 through 1979. They reappeared with their replacement as the Phillies celebrated their final year at Veterans Stadium in 2003, including opening day and the final game. The Phanatic debuted on April 25, 1978, at The Vet, when the Phils played the Chicago Cubs. He was formally introduced to the public on the locally-produced children's show "Captain Noah and His Magical Ark" by then-Phillies player Tim McCarver, who was doing promotional work for the team. In his book Pouring Six Beers At A Time, Giles wrote of the worst decision of his life when it came to the creation of the Phanatic. The design would cost $5,200 for both the costume and the copyright ownership, or $3,900 just for the costume with Harrison/Erickson retaining the copyright. Giles chose to just buy the costume. Five years later, when Giles and his group of investors bought the team from Ruly Carpenter, the franchise paid $250,000 to Harrison/Erickson for the copyright. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
Arthur John Shawcross was an American serial killer, also known as The Genesee River Killer in Rochester, New York. His IQ was tested to be "low-normal" (between 86 and 92) when he was in the fifth grade. Shawcross was prone to behaviors such as bullying, chronic bed wetting until at least the age of twelve, and physical violence. He dropped out of high school in 1960, and when he was 21 he was drafted by the Army, in April 1967. At this time he divorced his first wife and gave up the rights to their eighteen-month-old son, whom he never saw again. After his tour of duty in Vietnam ended in September 1968, Shawcross was assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as an armorer. His second wife Linda experienced several aspects of his disturbing behavior, especially a penchant for starting fires; an Army psychiatrist told her that Art gained "sexual enjoyment" from the act. In May 1972, Shawcross sexually assaulted and murdered 10-year-old Jack Owen Blake after luring the boy into some woods. Four months later, he raped and killed eight-year-old Karen Ann Hill, who was visiting Watertown with her mother for the Labor Day weekend. Arrested for these crimes, Shawcross confessed to both murders. Under a plea bargain he was to reveal where he laid Jack's body. He plead guilty to killing Hill on a charge of manslaughter and the charges relating to Jack Blake were dropped. He was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. Shawcross served 14½ years in prison before he was released on parole in April 1987. He had difficulty settling down as he was chased out of homes and fired from workplaces as soon as neighbors and employers found out about his criminal record. His parole officer had him relocated to Rochester, New York in late June 1987. In November 1990, Shawcross was tried by Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney Charles J. Siragusa for the 10 murders in Monroe County. Shawcross pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, with testimony from psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis that he suffered from multiple personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and possible child abuse. FBI criminal profiler Robert K. Ressler reviewed the PTSD claim on behalf of the prosecution before the trial. Ressler wrote that "his claim of having witnessed wartime atrocities was patently outrageous and untrue." Shawcross was found guilty of 10 counts of second degree murder, and was sentenced to 250 years to life in prison for the Monroe County killings. In 2006, he was interviewed by Columbia University forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone for the Discovery Channel series Most Evil. In the interview, Arthur Shawcross claimed to have been sexually abused as a child by his mother, and also admitted sexually abusing his younger sister as a child. He also claimed to murder the prostitutes in revenge for supposedly having sex with an HIV-positive prostitute, and to eat the body parts in order to speed up the process of death (he had assumed he was infected). Officials said Shawcross complained of a pain in his leg on the afternoon of November 10, 2008, his date of death. He was taken to the Albany Medical Center, where he went into cardiac arrest and died at 9:50 p.m. Arthur Shawcross was privately cremated and his ashes are in the care of his daughter. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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