Top Secret is a relatively unknown comedy film made in 1984. It stars Val Kilmer in his first feature role. In my humble opinion it is one of the funniest movies I have ever watched. The film was made by the ZAZ trio, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. These fellows made Airplane and the Naked Gun series.
The humour in Top Secret is very much the same as in those other movies. Cornball jokes, misinterpretation amongst characters and cockamamie situations. But there is one scene in Top Secret that should go down as one of the greatest humour sequences in film. The “Cow Scene.”
I missed this one. Sounds like a bombastic blockbusting blast of blood and mayhem. Short plot blurb, polar icecaps melt and the world is just ocean, due to some aberration, there are no fish for the sharks to eat, they must feed on surface dwellers. Basically Waterworld meets Jaws.
Trolltunga (“Troll tongue”) is a rock formation situated about 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) above sea level in Ullensvang Municipality in Vestland county, Norway. The cliff juts horizontally out from the mountain, about 700 metres (2,300 ft) above the north side of the lake Ringedalsvatnet.
Popularity of the hike to Trolltunga and rock formation itself has exploded in recent years. The increased popularity has turned Trolltunga into a national icon and a major tourist attraction for the region. Until 2010, fewer than 800 people hiked to Trolltunga each year. In 2016 more than 80,000 people hiked the 27-kilometre (17 mi) round-trip from the village of Skjeggedal, making it one of Norway’s most popular hikes.
This is a very challenging hike, at least 10 hours on rough terrain. There are no shelters on the hike route and no places to buy supplies. However, there is a plan to build a lodge roughly…
Early predictions show “over 88 percent of the world’s population” lives in the potential landing zone.
Future Publishing / Getty
A used Chinese rocket booster is set to fall out of orbit and crash into Earth sometime in the next few days. The nonprofit Aerospace Corporation’s debris tracking experts predict that the rocket—a 10-story, 23-ton core stage of a Long March 5B mission launched July 24 to deliver the Wentian lab module to the country’s Tiangong space station—will careen to Earth on July 31 at 3:52 a.m. Eastern Time, plus or minus 22 hours.
While the chance of the rocket hitting a populated community is slim, it’s still possible. “Due to the uncontrolled nature of its descent, there is a non-zero probability of the surviving debris landing in a populated area—over 88 percent of the world’s population lives under the reentry’s potential debris footprint,” the Aerospace Corporation said in a statement. About 60 to 80 percent of the booster’s mass will burn up in the atmosphere, but that still leaves a hefty, fiery object ready to slam into the ground.
This is the third time that a Long March 5B booster has fallen back to Earth uncontrollably and raised alarms. In May 2020, a booster crashed into an uninhabited plot of land on the African West Coast.
The second Chinese booster incident, in May 2021, was more infamous. For several days, the space community had a harder time predicting and assessing where it would land. The world waited with bated breath for several hours until it was finally confirmed the booster landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives. NASA, among others, expressed severe irritation with the Chinese handling of the booster. (NASA did not respond to requests from The Daily Beast for immediate comment.)
China’s response over its uncontrolled boosters in the past has always ranged from complete silence to accusing the U.S. and others of scaremongering folks (which they’ve done again in response to this latest instance). Most core stages, reports Gizmodo, aren’t supposed to reach orbit, and their trajectories are instead designed to guide them back to landing in the ocean or a very remote location on land. China, however, has consistently elected to send its Long March 5B core booster into orbit and let it tumble back to Earth willy-nilly.
Debris trackers around the world will have a better sense in the next few days of where the booster may land Sunday, but it will still be tough to predict an exact location ahead of time. Sunday morning will be a tense time for a large swath of the world.
There is a better chance of that rocket landing on my head than me winning the lottery.
The above photo appears to be of a European city, but no, it’s Pennsylvania, USA.
The Cathedral of Learning, a Pittsburgh landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Standing at 535 feet (163 m), the 42-story Late Gothic Revival Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere and the second tallest university building (fourth tallest educationally-purposed building) in the world. It is also the second tallest gothic-styled building in the world. The Cathedral of Learning was commissioned in 1921 and ground was broken in 1926. The first class was held in the building in 1931 and its exterior finished in October 1934, prior to its formal dedication in June 1937.
Colloquially referred to as “Cathy” by Pitt students, the Cathedral of Learning is a steel frame structure overlaid with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. It functions as a primary classroom and administrative center of the university, and is home to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and many of its departments, as well as the University Honors College. It served as home of the university’s College of General Studies until its relocation to Posvar Hall in 2014. It houses many specialty spaces, including a studio theater, food court, study lounges, offices, computer and language labs, 30 Nationality Rooms, and a 1⁄2-acre (2,000 m2), 4-story-high, vaulted, gothic study and event hall. The building contains noted examples of stained glass, stone, wood, and iron work and is often used by the university in photographs, postcards, and other advertisements.
Commons room on the main floor
The basement and floors up to (and including) floor 40 are used for educational purposes, although most floors above 36 house the building’s mechanical equipment. These floors include theaters, computer laboratories, language laboratories, classrooms, and departmental offices. The basement contains a black box theater and the ground floor contains computer labs, language labs, classrooms, and the Cathedral Café food court. The “lobby”, comprising the first through third floors, contains a massive gothic “Commons Room” that is used as a general study area and for special events and is ringed by three floors of classrooms, including, on the first and third floors, the 30 Nationality Rooms designed by members of the Pittsburgh community in the styles of different nations and ethnic groups. Twenty-eight of these serve as functional classrooms while more conventional classrooms are located on the second floor and elsewhere throughout the building. The first floor also serves as the home to the offices of the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, and other administration offices, as well as the Nationality Rooms Gift Shop. The fourth floor, which used to be home to the main stacks of the university’s library, is now occupied by the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success. The fifth floor originally housed the main borrowing, reference, and reading rooms of the university library, and now houses the Department of English. The Pitt Humanities Center is housed on the sixth floor. Additionally, the University Honors College is located on the 35th and 36th floors.
The Cathedral of Learning houses the Department of Philosophy, considered one of the top five in the United States, and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, consistently ranked at the top of the field. Other departments in the Cathedral include English, Religious Studies, Statistics, Theatre Arts, and the School of Social Work which maintains the highest classrooms in the building located on the 23rd floor. Floors 37–40 are closed to the general public, as they contain electrical wiring for the building, as well as the Babcock Room, a large conference room on the 40th floor used for meetings, seminars, and special events and which provides a panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh and the rest of the university. The 40th floor balcony also houses a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons. A view from the top is available via a webcam. Golden lights, dubbed “victory lights,” surround the outside of the highest floors and are lit following Pitt football wins and other notable victories, giving the upper part of the Cathedral an amber glow.