Magic Alex

Wikipedia on the Beatles’ electronic “wizard”:

Mardas was ultimately given the job of designing the Beatles’ new recording studio in the basement at Apple headquarters in Savile Row, after boasting of his plans to create the world’s first 72-track tape machine. He gave the Beatles regular reports of his progress, but when they required their new studio in January 1969, during the Get Back project that became Let It Be, they discovered not a state-of-the-art facility, but a poorly planned, unusable, cramped set of rooms, with no 72-track tape deck, no soundproofing, no talkback (intercom) system, and not even a patch bay to run the wiring between the control room and the studio. The only new piece of sound equipment present was a crude mixing console Mardas had built, that was consigned to the scrapheap after one session.

One of Mardas’s more outrageous plans was to replace the acoustic baffles (sound insulators, used to prevent leakage) around Ringo Starr’s drums with an invisible sonic force field. That didn’t happen. George Harrison’s suspicions of Mardas’s competence were raised when he saw him wandering around in a white coat, with a clipboard, muttering as he placed tiny loudspeakers around the studio — one for each track. When “Magic Alex” failed to deliver, the Beatles had to wait until George Martin came to the rescue, working around the studio’s technical problems, and borrowing a pair of four-track recorders from EMI, to continue the project. Long time Beatle engineer Geoff Emerick was given the task of building and setting up a new studio with new equipment.

Mardas was fired from Apple by Allen Klein in 1969, and every British patent he applied for on Apple’s behalf was turned down on the grounds that he had invented nothing new, but had only built modified versions of products already under patent. It was later revealed that Mardas’s main electronic experience had been as a TV repairman. In The Beatles Anthology, Harrison considered the possibility that “Alex just read the latest version of Science Weekly, and used its ideas.”

The 20 Worst Foods in America

From Men’s Health:

To further enlighten you on the prevalence of preposterous portions, we spent months analyzing menus, nutrition labels, and ingredient lists to identify the food industry’s worst offenders. Our primary criterion? Sheer caloric impact. After all, it’s the top cause of weight gain and the health problems that accompany it. (As you read, keep in mind that 2,500 calories a day is a reasonable intake for the average guy.) We also factored in other key nutritional data, such as excessive carbohydrates and fat, added sugars, trans fats, and sodium. The result is our first annual list of the worst foods in America.

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite Twilight Zone episode?

I’m partial to “The Eye of the Beholder” which was the episode that starts out with a woman whose entire face is bandaged from undergoing facial reconstruction surgery to make her look “normal”. When the bandages are removed it appears that the surgery has worked since her face is beautiful but the doctors and nurses cry out that there has been no change at all and the cameras cut away to reveal that the medical staff are some type of pig people. They end up bringing in another “normal” person to take the woman away to a colony of disgusting unswineful creatures.

My other favorite is “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” where aliens experiment on a normal American neighborhood by turning off the electricity to create paranoia and fear. It ends with the neighborhood rioting against each other.

Ok Cynics. What’s your favorite Twilight Zone episode? (It’s not fair! There was time now! It’s not fair!)

Gays Cause Earthquakes

or Shlomo hates homos:

The recent earthquake that was felt across Israel was the result of the “homosexual activity practiced in the country”, Knesset Member Shlomo Benizri said Wednesday.

During a special Knesset session on Israel’s preparedness for the possibility of another earthquake hitting the region, the Shas member said “the Gemara refers to earthquakes as disasters, but you are searching only for the practical solutions how to prevent and repair.

“But I no of another way to prevent earthquakes; the Gemara mentions a number of causes of earthquakes, one of which is homosexuality, which the Knesset legitimizes,” Benizri said.

An earthquake registering 5.3 on the Richter Scale was felt by residents across Israel at 12:36 pm Friday. The trembling lasted for 19 seconds and shook structures in many major towns and cities.

(via Religious Freaks)

Spy Satellite Blast, Caught on Tape

From Danger Room:

From a Pentagon press briefing, detailing the Navy’s hit on a dying spy satellite. The shoot-down footage starts about about 1:07 in…

Gen. James Cartwright says it looks like the military’s stated goal, of busting up the satellite’s tank full of toxic hydrazine, was reached. “We’ve got a fireball. Given that there’s no fuel, that would indicate that there’s a hydrazine fire. We have a vapor cloud that formed. That again would be likely to be the hydrazine. We also have some spectral analysis from airborne platforms that indicate the presence of hydrazine after the intercept.” But the military won’t know for sure, for another 24-48 hours…

The debris is already starting to reenter the atmosphere. But “nothing larger than a football,” according to Gen. Cartwright. And nothing that’s hit the Earth. Again, it’ll take a day or two to get a complete picture of the results.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


What was the next blow that this church received? The
discovery of America. The Holy Ghost who inspired men to write the
Bible did not know of the existence of this continent, never
dreamed of the Western Hemisphere. The Bible left out half the
world. The Holy Ghost did not know that the earth is round. He did
not dream that the earth is round. He believed it was flat,
although he made it himself. At that time heaven was just beyond
the clouds. It was there the gods lived, there the angels were, and
it was against that heaven that Jacob’s ladder leaned when the
angels went up and down. It was to that heaven that Christ ascended
after his resurrection. It was up there that the New Jerusalem was,
with its streets of gold, and under this earth was perdition. There
was where the devils lived; where a pit was dug for all
unbelievers, for men who had brains. I say that for this reason:
Just in proportion that you have brains, your chances for eternal
joy are lessened, according to this religion.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Orthodoxy”(1884)