A Flight Suit Resembling Iron Man’s Is in the Works

Inventor Richard Browning has bold thinking in abundance. With the company he started, Gravity Industries, he’s developed a jet-engine suit like Iron Man’s to re-imagine manned flight.

British entrepreneur invents, builds and files patent for Iron Man-like flight suit by Gravity Industries

This 3.5-minute YouTube video captures the highlights of the development during a year. It closely resembles Tony Stark’s faltering design process in Iron Man—except this time it’s real. And while Gravity’s suit isn’t streamlined nor capable of long-distance flight at this point, there seems to be a modicum of potential. Staggering!

Found via File 770.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade – A Fan Film par Excellence

More fan projects from the Star Wars universe! This short, unofficial, non-profit Han Solo fan film really nails the mood and attitude:

Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade – A Star Wars Fan Film by Jamie Costa

The story is by Nathaniel Nauert, and the screenplay is by Nauert plus Jared Bell and Keith Allen. Allen also directed the short.

The production did a fantastic job with propping, lighting, sounds, music, and effects. Nice work!

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Cold

Keira Knightley performing “how not to dress in the snow,” from King Arthur via IMDb
Keira Knightley as “how not to dress in the snow,” from King Arthur via IMDb

It’s cold outside, at least hereabouts where we are, which always sends my thoughts to the depiction of cold weather and the people who have to cope with it in the media I enjoy. The experience of serious cold weather is one that’s hard to convey to someone who hasn’t lived with it, so perhaps it’s no surprise that there while some books, movies, and tv shows get it right, others really don’t.

If you want to get it right in your stories, here are a few things to know about the effects of cold and how to deal with them in pre-modern settings:

Exposed skin is bad. Very bad. Especially skin with lots of blood vessels close to the surface like heads, necks, ears, noses, cheeks, hands, and feet. That’s how you lose heat, and if you lose too much heat, you can start losing body parts, too. If you find yourself out in the cold unexpectedly, the first thing you should do is cover up as much skin as you can.

John Snow realizing he knows nothing about dressing for the cold, from Game of Thrones via IMDb
John Snow realizing he knows nothing about dressing for the cold, from Game of Thrones via IMDb

Layers are good. Layering clothing creates air pockets, which is what keeps heat in. Metal provides poor insulation. Leather and cloth are better. Any cloth will do, but wool is particularly good. Fur is excellent, but if you’re wearing fur for warmth (rather than as a fashion statement), you want the fur on the inside where it can trap air more effectively, not the outside catching snow. For body parts that you can’t cover with clothing, such as your face, a layer of hair or grease will help, but not nearly as much as proper clothing.

Frostbite is VERY bad. Frostbite is not “Ah, it’s a little chilly, I think I’ll stick my hands in my pockets to warm them up.” Frostbite is when ice crystals form inside your body and kill your cells. It is treatable if caught in time, but it’s serious. This is how people lose fingers, toes, even limbs to the cold. Less serious than frostbite is frostnip, when the body pulls blood away from exposed skin. Frostnip is treatable just by warming up, but do not rub! Rubbing frostnipped or frostbitten skin can cause damage to tissues made fragile by the cold.

Dangerous cold doesn’t always feel cold. The experience of frostbite and frostnip doesn’t necessarily feel cold. The affected area may actually feel hot or just numb. This is the result of nerve cells shutting down or dying. In extreme cases, some people suffering hypothermia will start taking off their clothes because they feel overheated, even though they are literally dying of cold. Alcohol increases blood flow to the skin and extremities which makes you feel warmer (and can be useful when you’ve come in out of the cold into warmer surroundings), but can be dangerous when you’re still exposed to cold temperatures.

People are mammals. That means, in addition to some other fun features, we make our own heat. That heat comes from the same place the rest of our energy comes from: food. Cold makes you hungry. Eating keeps you warm.

Cold makes you go. Your body responds to cold by pulling blood away from the extremities into the core. Your kidneys respond to all that blood rushing around by going into overdrive trying to purge excess fluid from your system, leading to a full bladder.

These are all things to remember as you write about characters braving the harsh winter weather. I’ll leave the last word, though, to Magnar of Finn:

History for Writers is a weekly feature which looks at how history can be a fiction writer’s most useful tool. From worldbuilding to dialogue, history helps you write. Check out the introduction to History for Writers here.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

It’s six months till (yet another) Spider-Man reboot drops. The first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming has been out for a few weeks, and it’s looking cool:

FIRST OFFICIAL Trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming via Jimmy Kimmel Live

Very MCU! There’s one thing that I very much hope: that Tony Stark will only be making a cameo. I’m so, so thoroughly done with that character already. Instead, I’d love to see other faces get more attention now, kthxbye.

So, I’m still not entirely sure whether I want to see it, because Spidey’s never been that interesting to me and there’s the possibility of Stark overload. I guess it’ll depend on how movie-deprived I’m feeling come July.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Folk-ish Steampunk Music: Abney Park

Steampunk is something I only dabble with from time to time, not a steady favorite. That’s why I wasn’t expecting much when I saw someone recommend a steampunk band called Abney Park, but I nevertheless checked out the video the person linked to. Then I listened to another song. And another. Then life intervened. A couple of days later I noticed myself humming something I didn’t immediately recognize. Eventually I figured out it was “Tribal Nomad,” one of the Abney Park videos I’d seen:

Tribal Nomad | Official Video | Abney Park | Steampunk Post-Apocalyptic Music by abneypark

If it sticks so efficiently, I figured there has to be something to it and poked around more. I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of their visuals, but the combination of folk plus industrial instruments has really grown on me. Also, Abney Park isn’t stuck with one style but has great variety. For example, “The Clone Factories” has more techno / trance overtones:

The Clone Factories | Abney Park | Wasteland by abneypark

They also have a version of a popular Russian folk song “Katyusha”:

Katyusha – Song from Abney Park’s new album, The Circus At The End Of The World by abneypark

No wonder it seems like Abney Park’s got it down: they’ve been around since 1997 and have almost two dozen albums under their belt. Nice going.

I will definitely adding Abney Park to my playlists!

Found via Nörttitytöt. Thanks for the rec, Mikko!

In Making Stuff occasional feature, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.

2 weeks to Rogue One—Check out This R1 Trailers Supercut

The peeps at GameSpot Universe went through Rogue One trailers and combined them into this supercut:

Trailer Supercut: All Rogue One Clips In Chronological Order by GameSpot Universe

Their goal was to put the clips in chronological order, by which I’m guessing the order they will appear in the movie. Looks like a reasonable guess to me!

Two weeks—can’t wait!

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

The Expanse Season 2 Trailers

Trailers for the second season of The Expanse are out!

THE EXPANSE | Season 2 Trailer | Syfy

THE EXPANSE | Season 2 Trailer #2 | Syfy

I saw the first season well after it had broadcasted. It’s clear that it merely scraped the surface of the story, but I liked it enough to want more. The writing managed quite well to avoid infodumps while giving us enough to understand any given situation. Most of the cast was new to me, but I enjoyed their performances. Detective Miller was the most boring character of all; I liked the crew of the Rocinante, though, especially Nagata and Burton.

Season 2 will be out February 8, 2017.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Arrival—Establishing Common Ground

A new Arrival screen ad is out! (Published today, in fact!) In an atypical move, the trailer (if you can call it that) starts with several completely unrelated clips of people in an experimental situation:

Arrival (2016) – “Common Ground” – Paramount Pictures by Paramount Pictures

…except that, of course, the clips aren’t unrelated. They show two strangers with no shared language trying to figure out what they have in common. It’s quite clever; see for yourself.

Two weeks to go till opening night!

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Doctor Strange Trailers

It’s now just over a week until Doctor Strange opens. (Gosh, November is so close!) There are a bunch of trailers on the InterTubes, for instance the official ones by Marvel:

Marvel’s Doctor Strange Teaser Trailer by Marvel Entertainment

Doctor Strange Official Trailer 2 by Marvel Entertainment

The tv spot from the end of September, however, is my favorite:

Doctor Strange TV Spot by Marvel Entertainment

Kaecilius: “Mister…?”

Strange: “Doctor.”

Kaecilius: “Mister Doctor.”

Strange: “It’s Strange.”

Kaecilius: “Maybe. Who am I to judge?”

Harf! 🙂

I have to say I know next to nothing about Doctor Strange. The character was referred to from time to time in the translated X-Men I read in my youth in Finland, but “odd name” and “magic user of some sort” was pretty much what I got out of them.

The cast is something to look forward to. I loved Chiwetel Ejiofor in Serenity and The Martian, and Benedict Cumberbatch should be marvelous (I’d listen to him pretty much just reading a phone book). Mads Mikkelsen looks like the quintessential bad guy. Perhaps too much so; I fear I might find his character too corny, but we’ll see.

Tilda Swinton I’m conflicted over. I’ve enjoyed her past performances. Her character in this movie, The Ancient One, has been gender-swapped, which is really cool. However, apparently the role is whitewashed. I guess we’ll see.

I also know nothing of the director Scott Derrickson; again, we’ll see. It’s been such a slow latter half of the year, movie-wise, that I’m looking forward to Doctor Strange even if I’m not sure whether it’s exactly my cup of tea.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.