Angels and “demons”: did aliens really contact saints?

Depictions of UFOs in Christian churches and pictures since the 11th century

Reading time 4 minutes

Did the humans descend from Adam and Eve? Not quite, some of the researchers say. We can see an increasing amount of assertions and so-called “facts” that human beings are under the control of aliens.  Some ufologists state that extraterrestrials allegedly contact some of us. However, the Church’s official representatives do not just reject all these statements but even a theoretical possibility of such kind of “interaction” between a man and “beings from other planets and not just”. Why does the Church with so much vigor try to “retain its monopoly” on the Human Origins?

2014 almost the whole scientific community was curious about an unusual finding. A strange fresco with a supposedly depicted flying saucer was found in a Romanian church. Moreover, the same kind of enigmatic inscription from the Bible was written at the bottom of the image in German: “Israel hoffe auf den herrn” (“O Israel, hope in the Lord”). Apart of a flying saucer, in this story we face 2 more additional mysterious facts:

  1. The fresco dates from the 14th century and there is an original line in German, although Bible was translated by Martin Luther only in 1522.
  2. At that time there lived the ruler of Wallachia Vlad II who was father of Vlad the Impaler also known as Vlad Dracula.
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)

One more similar discovery happened in 2017 in Georgia. There, during the reconstruction of the church, scientists found the mural painting of 12 apostles and Jesus during the crucifixion dating from the 11th century. At the top of the picture one may see 2 unknown flying objects which resemble alien spaceships.

"Crucifixion of Jesus" on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)
“Crucifixion of Jesus” on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)

Two other images of the Jesus’ crucifixion with flying saucers being present are the “Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani dating from the 14th century and a picture “La Tebaide” created  by Paolo Uccello (1396-1475) .

“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)   

So, what do the Church’s officials say about the “extraterrestrial contact” and existence of other civilizations beyond Solar system?

Regardless of being Orthodox and Catholics, Jews or Evangelicals priests are convinced that all the information from so-called witnesses is nothing else as a part of their vivid imaginations, nightmares or even a proof of their sinfulness and connection with the devil.

One of the most logic explanations of such kind of Church servants’ reaction is just a lack of this sort of information in holy scriptures. The Church fears to lose its impact on people, its dominating presence in people’s life in terms of accepting the fact of existence of more developed and powerful forces. It fears to get a lower rank position in people’s world outlook and as a consequence a loss of its respect and authority.

"Baptism of Christ" Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)
“Baptism of Christ” Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)

Anyway, it looks a bit illogical from priests’ side that in view of the absence of information they do preserve only a negative attitude regarding flying saucers as they are depicted in temples near saints and not in a “hostile” way. Why in case of their existence cannot they be helpful to us?

A good example of it is a depiction of Moses receiving commandments from God. It is a world-famous fresco which is placed on one of the walls of the Belgian Cathedral Conti Dotremond.

A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown
A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown

It depends on you whether believe or not in aliens and their possible “visits” to our planet but in no case we have a right to accuse somebody to be inadequate, mentally ill or “linked to the Lucifer” as it sometimes happens. Nevertheless, we should not trust everyone who has seen “them” as too many people create stories for different reasons.

Theatricality in Cinema

What is the relationship between these two arts

Reading time 4 minutes

What makes the languages of theater and cinema so different but at the same time so good complement each other?

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the cinema and theater is that the first one is fragmented. To achieve the desired effect, the director can use many takes – he has a few chances to «replay» the planned. But the viewer has no opportunity to «touch» the action. Film production and the process of consumption of the finished product by the viewer are separated in time.

«Stop! Cut!»

On the contrary, theatrical processes are continuous. The performance implies constant interaction with the viewer, who acts as a «creator». The degree of influence of production depends mainly on the audience involvement, its concentration on what is happening «here and now».

The theater is the art of reflecting (c) Konstantin Stanislavsky

The degree of the conventionality of both cinema and theater is closely connected with communication (mainly non-verbal) between actors and audience. The emotional connection of the viewer is a necessary condition. The theater aims to unite actors and spectators in a single spiritual effort. But both cinema and theater strive to lead us to a state of “secondary belief” – appealing to our personal experiences, associations, and feelings. We empathize with the characters, project the events and behavior of the characters on themselves, interpret meanings, and rethink what we see.

Another important feature is the illusion of reality, and in cinema, it is much higher than in the theater. The director is able to recreate almost any historical epoch, and modern technology makes this task much easier. In the theater, all «special effects» are built-in, and the main mechanisms of influence are the actor’s mimicry and scenery. Spatial restrictions (stage frames) also have an effect.

Cinema should make the viewer forget that he is sitting in the movie (c) Roman Polanski

There are films that are on the verge of theater and cinema. «Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead»(1990, directed by Tom Stoppard) and «Anna Karenina» (2012, directed by Joe Wright) are interpretations of classics in which the artistic possibilities of theater and cinema complement each other.

In the first of them, the techniques of anachronism, demonstrative violation of sequence and visual citation (these resources give the cinema) are combined with the involvement of the heroes-observers in the course of the action: the world for them at some point becomes theater, they move to the stage, in the heart of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» – so there is an external conditionality (theatrical feature).

There are two ways to become an artist. The first is to do what everyone thinks is art. Second: to make everyone think that what you are doing is art (c) Tom Stoppard

In the second – we meet the excessive acting mimicry and live plasticity, striking the splendor of scenery (the illusion of the place) with the effect of «behind the scenes» (in the design of the back of the stage).

Shootings of the film “Anna Karenina” (2012, directed by Joe Wright)

Another interesting example is «The Hateful Eight» (2015). Quentin Tarantino borrows from the theater a method of narrative division into acts: the film consists of chapters, each of which becomes our «guide» in a confusing, dark, and bloody story. Interesting here is the mise-en-scene transferred from theatricality, designed to reflect all the components of the inner life of the heroes, resulting in a struggle between them – both on the moral and ethical as well as physical levels.

«They don’t come here without a good reason»…

The theater has something to offer to the film industry – the possibilities of its language, if used by the director correctly and appropriately, are really able to make a film brighter visually and deeper – in the sense.

Valentino’s collection is not on the catwalk but in the cinema

The fashion Brand collaborated with Luca Guadagnino, a film director

Reading time 3 minutes

This month a short drama “The Staggering Girl” directed by Luca Guadagnino  (also “Call Me By Your Name”, “Suspria”) will be released. It was inspired by Valentino’s couture collections 2018-2019. Julianne Moore is a leading actor, but Valentino’s ensembles come to the forefront of Luca’s favorite cameraman, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. The movie can be easily taken into screenshots and printed, for example, in Vogue.

After attending Valentino’s Couture Spring 2018 fashion show, Guadagnino got the idea of filming something equally amazing with his fellow countryman, Pierpaolo Piccioli. Piccioli, in his own words, dreamed of becoming a filmmaker when he was young, so, the idea of turning the “stream of consciousness” (as he describes the couture collection of spring 2018) into a movie, found the most lively response from the designer.

Guadagnino’s passionate romance with fashion has been known for a long time. For example, director’s favorite actress Tilda Swinton wore Raf Simons twice: for the movie “Io sono l’amore”, and for “A Bigger Splash”. Guadagnino’s hobby resulted in the creation of the Frenesy Film company, which specializes in collaborations with fashion brands. Its portfolio includes short films for Giorgio Armani, Sergio Rossi, Cartier and Salvatore Ferragamo. The latest documentary named “Walking Stories” came out last fall. It was based on designer’s autobiography.

At the same time, “The Staggering girl”, which is formally a short film (37 minutes), Guadagnino designates it as an artistic picture with a plot, and not just an elegant fashion film. The story unfolds around the New York city. The main actress, Francesca Moretti (Julianne Moore), is a writer, daughter of German-Italian artist Sofia Moretti. Francesca goes to Rome to persuade an aging and going blind mother to move in with her, but, once visiting the long-abandoned home, she is immersed in memories. Guadagnino and Piccioli encoded the state of mind of their heroine using the color and style of clothing that she wears.

 Top 3 most eloquent outfits from the movie

BLACK FULL SKIRT DRESS WITH A SLIT UP THE SIDES, COUTURE COLLECTION SPRING 2018

 Francesca, despite her Italian origin, is a true New Yorker: she lives in a Spartan setting and dresses appropriately. Her clothes are exclusively dark, whether it is an oversize black palazzo pants with a turtleneck and an oversize coat or a chic evening satin dress with shoulder-length gloves. Wearing this drees, she appears at her friend’s house party, where she sees a picture on the wall, reminding her of the mother.

LUSH RED OFF-THE-SHOULDER DRESS , COUTURE COLLECTION FALL 2018

Scarlet is the color which Francesca associates with her mother. Young Sophia Moretti is played by Mia Goth, another Guadagnino’s favorite actress. They worked together on “Suspiria”. When Francesca is immersed in childhood memories, she sees her mother as a lady of society. She likes to party or spending time in front of the easel. Her mother wears velvet and sequins or a lush scarlet off-the-shoulder dress – Valentino’s classic. It appears on the catwalk in different variations from year to year.

AZURE CAPE WITH SATIN APPLICATIONS, FALL 2018 COUTURE COLLECTION

A luxurious cape embroidered with satin applications and a gold edging is the brightest item, both in the movie wardrobe and in Valentino’s Couture collection fall 2018. According to Piccioli, Greek myths served as inspiration for the collection, especially, the one about Leda and the swan.

Salvador Dali exhibition through the Curator’s eyes

A win-win combination for the immortal glory

Reading time 4 minutes

On January, 28, the large exhibition “Salvador Dali. Magical art ” opened its doors to the public in Moscow Manege. Everyone, like Elvis Presley, knows him. Thanks to bewitching paintings, mustache sharp as rapiers and a laid-back walk with an anteater. Painter, graphic artist, fashion designer, sculptor, performer and animator, he staged the ballet “Mad Tristan” and painted the ChupaChups logo, without changing himself.

Monsa Ager, the director of the Dali Museum, helped us to understand better the blossoming complexity of the creator.

In search of immortality

I would call Dali a true universal creator: an artist, graphic artist, sculptor, someone who can translate reality into a completely different plane. But first of all, he is a painter. Interested in classicism, the Renaissance, science, mysticism, he was able to achieve a triumph in surrealism, but did not stop there. He worked with well-known fashion houses, painted the covers of magazines and created jewelry.

He was a humble man who understood that creating a shocking image was simply necessary for his art. All his life, a struggle of becoming as good as his brother, followed him. His name was also Salvador (he died nine months before the birth of the future artist). In his autobiography, Salvador Dali wrote that he had been searching for real faith all his life, but never found a suitable one. Science gave more answers, considering that the artist aspired to immortality. And working on his art, he earned the immortality.

Dali’s secret is kept in the ability to reflect the anxieties of people, their dreams and fears in a very realistic way. When you look at the work of Salvador, you always see elements that cause discomfort, it is impossible to look at them calmly. So, the artist provokes the viewer to play a game. He arouses curiosity. At first glance, it seems that everything is clear in the picture, but then we go deeper and deeper into this tricky game, noticing all the new elements, details and symbols. As a result, the artist leads us into this complex maze and leaves us alone with ourselves and our thoughts. And whether you get out of this labyrinth or not, it is up you.

Symbols

Clock is a favorite Dali’s symbol. The artist was fascinated by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The shape of the clock in his work is fluid and unstable. It shows the master’s interest in the contrast between the soft and hard state of the object.

The Persistence of Memory, 1931
The Persistence of Memory, 1931

The perspective plays a very important role in all Dali’s works. It is an indicator of both time and the depth of a person’s subconscious.

Double images are constantly hidden on his canvases. Perhaps most often they appear as a self-portrait of the artist. This is probably a type of narcissism: Dali was constantly ill in childhood, so he was given a lot of attention – family, doctors, relatives – he still had a need for constant care until his death.

The Invisible Man, 1929-1933
The Invisible Man, 1929-1933

A face with an airplane is the image of a just dropped atomic bomb, which instantly explodes in the right corner, right next to a clock twisted into a tube and a human figure. It instantly affects the world, the passage of time and a human life. Other watches are leaning against the head. They flow down, hinting that the idea of the length of time after the appearance of the atomic bomb has changed.

Melancholy Atomic, 1945
Melancholy Atomic, 1945

Tears, a sad blue face and shadows demonstrate the artist’s attempt to find a place for his art in a new world.

Cracked elements such as vases, clocks, columns represent unbearable human pain.

Color and the turn of the head are homage to Diego Velazquez. Dali turned to his works quite often in the last period of the career.

Seated Figure Contemplating a 'Great Tapeworm Masturbator', 1981
Seated Figure Contemplating a ‘Great Tapeworm Masturbator’, 1981

Vertical figures in the background are cypress trees, which the hero of the picture (presumably Salvador Dali himself) reproduces from his childhood memories. He saw them through the window at school.

The male figure on the left – Dali himself, young, twenty-year-old. His whole life is yet to come. Light stripes symbolize good memories from life, dark ones – awareness of the inevitable end.

Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954
Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954

Recognizable features of Gala can also be considered as a certain symbol – inexhaustible love, passion, inspiration and sex. They appear in his works throughout his entire life – sometimes with a naked torso, then with a portrait, sometimes she is only taken apart into elements – but Gala is always recognizable.

 

Theatricality in Cinema

What is the relationship between these two arts

Reading time 6 minutes

What makes the languages of theater and cinema so different but at the same time so well complement each other?

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the cinema and theater is that the first one is fragmented. To achieve the desired effect, a director can use many takes – he has a few chances to «replay» the planned. But the viewer has no opportunity to «touch» the action. A film producing process and viewer’s consuming of a finished product process are separated in time.

«Stop! Cut!»

On the contrary, theatrical processes are continuous. The performance implies constant interaction with the viewer who acts as a «creator». The degree of influence of a play depends mainly on the audience involvement, its concentration on what is happening «here and now».

Theater is the art of reflecting (c) Konstantin Stanislavsky

The degree of the conventionality of both cinema and theater is closely connected with communication (mainly non-verbal) between actors and audience. The emotional involvement of the viewer is a necessary condition. The theater aims to unite actors and spectators in a single spiritual effort. But both cinema and theater strive to lead us to a state of “secondary belief” – appealing to our personal experiences, associations, and feelings. We empathize with characters, project the events and behavior of the characters on themselves, interpret meanings, and rethink what we have seen.

Another important feature is the illusion of reality, and in cinema, it is much stronger than in the theater. A director is able to recreate almost any historical epoch, and what is more, modern technology makes this task much easier. In the theater, all «special effects» are built-in, and the main mechanisms of influence are the actors’ mimicry and scenery. Spatial restrictions (stage frames) also have an effect.

Cinema should make the viewer forget that he is sitting in the movie (c) Roman Polanski

There are films that are on the verge of theater and cinema. «Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead»(1990, directed by Tom Stoppard) and «Anna Karenina» (2012, directed by Joe Wright) are interpretations of classics in which the artistic possibilities of theater and cinema complement each other.

In the first of them, the techniques of anachronism, demonstrative violations of sequence and visual citation (these resources are given by the cinema) are combined with the involvement of the heroes-observers in the course of action: the world for them at some point becomes theater, they move to the stage, in the heart of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» – that is how an external consistency (theatrical feature) occurs.

There are two ways to become an artist. The first is to do what everyone thinks is art. Second: to make everyone think that what you are doing is art (c) Tom Stoppard

In the second one we meet the excessive body language and lively plasticity, striking with the splendor of scenery (the illusion of the site) with the «backstage» effect (in the design of the rear of the stage).

Shootings of the film “Anna Karenina” (2012, directed by Joe Wright)

Another interesting example is «The Hateful Eight» (2015). Quentin Tarantino borrows from the theater a method of narrative division into acts: the film consists of chapters, each of which becomes our «guide» in a confusing, dark, and bloody story. Interesting here are the mise-en-scenes transferred from theatricality, intended to reflect all the components of the inner life of the heroes, resulting in a struggle between them – as on the moral and ethical as on physical levels.

«They don’t come here without a good reason…»

The theater has something to offer to the film industry –its language possibilities if used correctly and appropriately by directors, which are really able to make a film more saturated visually and deeper in meaning.

Wonders of Modern Photo Editors

Now you can change sex, get a tattoo and turn into an anime in one click

Reading time 7 minutes

Once again Snapchat literally blew up social networks with its new filter, which allows you to «change» sex. The girls looked at themselves as a guy, and the guys looked at themselves as a girl. Some users have even created Tinder pages for their alter ego to prank friends.

Илон Маск в «женской» версии от Snapchat
Elon Musk and his «female» version from Snapchat

It is not the first time when Snapchat developers demonstrate to the public interesting things. Take even insta-stories, the format that has been created by Snapchat team. Also masks and photos in dialogs, which disappear after 24 hours. All of that Instagram borrowed from the creators of Snapchat. Although, in a way it was not invented by them either. Some time ago, Snapchat redeemed the Looksery app, which was developed in Ukraine. The team of the same app actually made most of those «masks».

Today Snapchat really sets the bar, but it is not the only app that allows you to experiment with your appearance. There are plenty of them, and they all perform different functions – from changing the sex and age to transformation into the anime.

Meitu — transformation into the anime

Chinese app Meitu was launched way back in 2008, but it became popular only in January 2017. The mask of this photo editor increases eyes, blushes cheeks and changes facial proportions. That is how you become an anime character. The main advantage is that the app processes images in real time, so you can try on the effects before taking a photo or  a video.

Basic editor filters are free – but there are also special filters that require a paid subscription. For free you can try on Bunny ears and pretend to be sick: a face blushes, cheeks grow and virtual snot starts pouring.

Meitu - приложение для любителей японской культуры
Meitu — the app for fans of Japanese culture

FaceApp — aging, fake smile and sex change

The developers of FaceApp one of the first resorted to the use of neural networks in creating photo editors. The app is widely known for the opportunity to try on a believable smile, change the sex and look at yourself in old age. In 2017, the social network was full of collages of four photos, which appeared even on television.

Today FaceApp yields to new masks from Snapchat. New filters process images in real time and make men look like women, and women look like men way more realistic. However, FaceApp can still surprise those who just discovered it, because it alters the appearance quite plausibly. We must not forget that  the developers of Snapchat obviously got inspired by this app. Because several years ago, the developers of FaceApp introduced such filters as «sex change» and «aging».

FaceApp - нейросеть, от которой стареешь
FaceApp — neural network that makes you grow old

InkHunter — the virtual try-on of tattoos

InkHunter does not change the appearance, this application’s function is practical. It is recommended to use it before going to the tattoo parlor. With InkHunter you can try on a tattoo: the desired image will be applied to the specified area of the skin. In order to do this, you only need to draw a special sign on your hand or foot — three stripes in the form of a smiley. So the neural network recognizes it.

The app uses augmented reality technology, so the quality of the displayed tattoo is not high enough. The «tattoo» cannot be properly scaled, expanded or zoomed in to really see how the image would look on the skin. Probably the fact is that after the success of the app in 2016, it is no longer being developed.

Фото с меткой для приложения и снимки с примерами татуировок (динозаврик настоящий)
Photos with a label for the app and pictures with examples of tattoos (a dinosaur is real)

FaceTune — the simplified version of Photoshop

And finally, the most important hit in the insta-photography industry — FaceTune. It was developed by the Israeli team Lightricks. This platform has replaced Photoshop for many users. In the photo editor, you can do face tuning, whiten teeth or remove bags under the eyes. In addition, it looks quite natural.

Even the free version of FaceTune amazes with its list of features. For instance, you can «narrow» the shape of the face and highlight the cheekbones, or paint it  in any color. The app does not apply filters or «masks», but it provides tools: you need to apply the desired effects with a brush and try not to overdo it.

FaceTune - любимое приложение всех insta-блогеров
FaceTune is the favorite app of all insta bloggers

The app simplified the work on improving the appearance so much that the media started discussions. On the one hand, FaceTune is suitable for those who cannot use Photoshop, on the other — it makes it too easy to hide flaws, which makes natural beauty a rarity.

Homemade Mario 2

What was shown at the presentation of Super Mario Maker 2

Reading time 4 minutes

The holiday began a month earlier for fans of Nintendo products and Mario fans. While the rest are waiting for June and E3, Nintendo has pleased its users with an online presentation of a new game in the Super Mario Maker series.

For the first time, Big N decided to show Super Mario Maker 2 during the presentation of Nintendo Direct in February. But since then, the new official information about the game has not appeared. Even small pieces of the puzzle, which were shown in the short first trailer, were enough to interest the fans. Hour and a half trailer analysis – proof of this.

Nevertheless, there were still a lot of questions. For example, how can it work online? Or: how will the search for levels be arranged? Nintendo answered all these and other questions.

WHAT’S NEW?

First, the creators confirmed the topic based on Super Mario 3D World, the design of blocks, objects and opponents, associated with hero. Secondly, they showed a lot of new types of surfaces and environments, and a new opportunity to change the day and night. For example, in SMM2, it will finally be possible to create slopes that were not in the previous game, and also to regulate the water level.

Another significant innovation was the ability to customize the direction and speed of scrolling the screen. For example, now levels can move not only from left to right, but also in other directions. In addition, the requirements for the passage of levels can also be customized, not limited to only “run to the end.”

In addition, the construction can now be done together on one console, this feature was not available in the previous game.

ONLINE

Now the level search system will also work differently. Players will receive a set of filters and tags to simplify the search. However, if you don’t really want to search, you can choose “Endless Challenge” – an automatic selection of endlessly changing levels, which continues until the player plays a certain number of times.

One of the most serious innovations of SMM2 is the ability to play against others or with other players, creating competitive communities.

Super Mario Maker 2 can be played with friends.

On sale Super Mario Maker 2 will appear on June 28. In addition to the publication of the game, a limited annual subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service will be available. Creators will give a stylus as a gift for pre-ordering the game.

In addition, during the presentation Nintendo announced the release of vouchers for the purchase of games at a discount. They can also be used to purchase Super Mario Maker 2 and other company games.

The first Super Mario Maker was released in September 2015 for the Wii U and was praised by critics, fans, and became popular on YouTube and Twitch. The game was a kit of levels, based on the Super Mario games and allowed to create, share and play them.

The most expensive mistakes of space engineers

How one bug in the program and confusion of meters and feet can cost millions of dollars

Reading time 6 minutes

Developers of space projects sometimes make expensive mistakes. Let’s recall the five largest engineering errors of the space era.

Rocket «Mariner 1»
Ракета «Маринер-1»
Rocket «Mariner 1». Ph: NASA

Mariner 1 is the first apparatus of the NASA’s «Mariner» project (automatic interplanetary probes designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury), the launch of which was scheduled on July 22, 1962. The apparatus was supposed to fly to Venus, however, after 293 seconds it deviated from the course, and was destroyed over the Atlantic ocean. According to the official version, the programmer made a mistake while translating the handwritten formula into a computer code: he mistook the index symbol for a regular dash. As a result, the on-Board computer software perceived normal speed jumps as critical, which led to a failure. The accident could not have happened, but the device’s antenna lost contact with the guidance system on the Ground, and the program automatically moved to plan «B». The engineering error cost $18.5 million, which the New York Times called «the most expensive dash in history».

 

Space station «Skylab»
Станция «Скайлэб»
Skylab space station. Ph: NASA

Skylab is the United States orbital station launched in 1873 (the first and only one). It was designed for Earth observation, astrophysical, technological, and biomedical researchs. Before the destruction, it held three space expedition, however, due to increased solar activity, it went off the orbit in 1979. The lowering of the Skylab accelerated, and since the station did not have its own engine, it was not possible to raise it to another orbit. According to the forecasts of the mission control Center, the station was to enter the Earth’s atmosphere on July 11, 1979 and sink for 1300 kilometers in South Cape Town. But the inaccuracy in the calculations by 4% led to the fall of some wreckage of the station in Western Australia. The damage from premature destruction was estimated at $10 million.

Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope. Ph: NASA

Hubble was launched in 1990, but immediately there was a problem in its work: the telescope transmitted a blurred image. After checking, it turned out that edges of the telescope’s main  mirror were too flat, making the telescope «myopic». NASA scientists have developed a program for image processing and, at first glance, the problem was solved. But few months later, other problems were discovered (gyro failures, problems with solar panels and computer malfunctions), and NASA organized three space expeditions to eliminate those defects. One of them brought «glasses» for the telescope — optical correction system COSTAR. Manufacturing and delivering of «glasses» have cost NASA 49.9 million dollars, while since the beginning of telescope’s construction there were spent 6 billion dollars.

Mars Climate Orbiter
Аппарат «Mars Climate Orbiter»
Mars Climate Orbiter. Ph: NASA

Mars Climate Orbiter is an apparatus studying the Martian climate, which was launched by NASA on December 11, 1998. The main objective of the apparatus is to picture the surface of Mars and to study the dynamics of its atmosphere. Nine months later the unit arrives to the planet, turns on braking and begins to move on highly elliptical orbit. According to the calculations of engineers, the device was supposed to change the orbit to circular and to begin research two months later. However, 5 minutes after the start of braking the apparatus passed Mars and never sent any signals. After analyzing the errors, it turned out that the NASA team calculated the parameters of the decisive stage of the flight in the metric system, and the engineers of Lockheed Martin — in the British system (pound-force). As a result, the device crossed the orbit for 53 kilometers lower than required and disintegrated in the atmosphere of Mars; the loss amounted to $193.1 million.

Satellite «NOAA-19»
Спутник «NOAA-19»
Satellite«NOAA-19». Ph: NASA

The accident is not related to the software, but to ordinary sloppiness. In 2003, September 6, during the construction of the satellite, engineers have tried to move it to a horizontal position, but the device collapsed to the floor. The investigation determined that shortly before failure the technician has pulled from the truck 24 screws and has not documented it, but other staff did not check the presence of screws either. As a result, $135 million were spent to repair the satellite.

 

 

Stunning masterpieces of miniature art

Tiny creations of Salavat Fidai, Edward Kazaryan and Hasan Kale

Reading time 4 minutes

Pencils are familiar to everyone from childhood; we draw or write something with them. But Salavat Fidai found another use for this writing instrument.

The artist created this work from the 4th time. The photo is published in the official Instagram account.

Salavat Fidai has long been interested in miniature art, performing reproductions of famous paintings on a variety of surfaces: matchboxes, pumpkin seeds and rice grains.

Some of the reproductions of Salavat went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In 2014, he discovered another material for his little masterpieces – pencil lead. His works became popular, and Salavat Fidai, with the help of his fans, released an illustrated album in 2016. Some parts of this book can be found in the public domain.

Backgammon from black obsidian and gold in rice grain. Edward Kazaryan.

Edward Kazaryan is a famous Soviet microminiature mechanic. He became famous for his ability to work with the smallest details. His works were kept by Stalin, Khrushchev, Queen Elizabeth. Among the miniature masterpieces of Kazaryan you can find a poppy seed, which depicts a scene with Gulliver in the country of Lilliputians, figurines of football players from black obsidian inside a polished human hair, a real violin and a bow inside a needle ear. Some of his works are moving: Charlie Chaplin is twisting a cane. Ten works of the miniaturist are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

There have been tragic incidents in his work. Once, a pigeon pecked up a drying grain of rice, on which the master, by request of the Louvre, painted a copy of Aivazovsky’s painting The Ninth Wave. So three months of hard work and one million dollars were spent – that was the price of the order.

Edward Kazaryan was a professional musician. He played a concert together with the Yerevan Symphony Orchestra with the help of one of his miniature violins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hasan Kale chose food as a canvas for his masterpieces. The artist draws mosques and landscapes on chocolate drops, nuts, sugar and raw pasta.

With such an original bouquet, the miniaturist artist congratulated all the women on his Facebook page.
With such an original bouquet, the miniaturist artist congratulated all the women on his Facebook page.

Hasan Kale is an active user of Facebook and puts his work on public display.

A miniature created using a sugar cube.

Cardboard reality in the big game

Nintendo Switch will get VR support, but that's not what you think

Reading time 5 minutes

Since the announcement of Nintendo Switch in the network there is information that the console will receive support for virtual reality . The idea seemed crazy, but now it is known that VR will appear on the Nintendo console. Well, almost reliably…

Do it yourself!

New information about «VR from Nintendo» appeared like a bolt from the blue. Nintendo of America in his Twitter-account announced a new set of a series of cardboard designers Lego — Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit. The set will give you the opportunity to assemble from cardboard VR-accessories for Nintendo Switch, as well as provide players with related games.

Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)
Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)

The method of implementing Nintendo picked up from Google Cardboard, which is also a cardboard mask with lenses. In this case, the Nintendo Switch is used as the screen, the image of which is divided for each eye, creating the illusion of immersion and volume.

This time there are several options for buying cardboard peripherals: «Starter kit» with glasses and «Blaster» for $39 (~2800 rubles.) with the possibility of separate purchase of other accessories and «Full set», which also contains «Camera», «Elephant», «Bird» and «air pedal» for $79 (~5600 rubles).

If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons
If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons

Not my VR

However, the announcement of the cartons from Nintendo was ambiguous. Many age-old fans of “big N” were not very happy that beyond the designers of Labo, focused on children, VR will not apply.

One of the problems associated with Labo products is the lack of tangible depth of built-in games, and Toy-Con themselves are no more than interactive toys.

But there is still hope for a bright future. For example, some of the previous designers received support in the «serious» games of the company. In particular, it is worth noting the «Motorcycle», which can be used to control the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.

Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe

For the first time rumors about Nintendo’s entry into the virtual reality market appeared with the discovery of the company’s patent, vaguely reminiscent of VR-glasses.

This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.
This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first attempt of «big N» to enter the VR market. Back in 1995, the company released the Virtual Boy console, which is a helmet similar to modern «head displays». The experiment was not successful: after prolonged use, the helmet could cause headaches and pain in the eyes, and the project itself is still considered one of the biggest failures of the company.