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Espionage

  • The MSX2 was a home computer that pre-dated Nintendo’s Entertainment System (NES). Just like the NES, the MSX2 had a top-slot cartridge port. It was a pretty cool design, and other home computers that came before (and after) it featured a similar top-slot design. Here’s a MSX2 computer fabricated by Phillips:

    The MSX was originally release in 1983, however this specific model produced by Phillips was released in 1986.

    Japan (as is normally the case) was ahead of the curve, as they believed a home computer could be at the center of every home. Oddly enough, they were right.

    One of the smash-hit titles that was released for the MSX2 was Metal Gear (メタルギア) in 1987 by Konami. Metal Gear was a legendary action-adventure stealth and espionage video game title. The game, and the franchise that followed, was so successful that successors and sequels continue to be produced to this day. Here’s the original Metal Gear artwork:

    Special Force Group: Fox Hound — heck yeah, so sick.

    This had a legendary musical score (check out a sample here). The original score is credited to composer Motoaki Furukawa. He was a key member of Konami’s in-house band (that’s right, Konami has an in-house band), Konami Kukeiha Club. The band has been in operation since the 1980’s.

    Mondo, a purveyor of extraordinarily fine goods, t-shirts, media, sci-fi paraphernalia and god-knows-what-else — is dropping a 10″ original soundtrack pressing of Metal Gear replete with new artwork and camouflage colored vinyl:

    This premiere physical release of the soundtrack is cut at 45RPM, and features all new original artwork by Paul Mann that pays tribute to the 80’s action films that inspired the game, and is pressed on heavyweight Camouflage colored vinyl.

    If you are a fan of chiptunes, looking for an edge-up on your next DJ set, or simply just a Metal Gear superfan, this record is an absolute must-have. You can pick up this super-dope limited release at Mondo, here.

  • The people of China are vacationing more than ever before. A while back I came across a story where Chinese tourists swarmed a tiny village in Austria. Who could blame them, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are breathtaking places to visit.

    In 2018, there were 2.9 million Chinese travelers to the United States. Each year, that number has been in decline. But China’s boom isn’t slowing down. In 2010, we knew it was just warming up. As travelers from the People’s Republic of China ebbs and flows, there’s been some espionage lurking underneath.

    This story centers around a Chinese tourist, Qingshan Li. He was visiting the US under a tourist visa in San Diego, California. Li was allegedly caught attempting to purchase military munitions under suspicious circumstances. Justin Rohrlich at Quartz reports:

    One of the items Li was allegedly after, a Harris Falcon III AN/PRC 152A radio, is designated as a defense article on the United States Munitions List, and subject to international arms trafficking regulations. This means the Falcon III, which provides US troops in the field with National Security Agency-certified encrypted communications, cannot leave the country without a special license issued by the State Department.

    Li had agreed to pay AB a total of 50,000 renminbi, or roughly $7,200, for the radio. He knew AB was already under investigation for export-related crimes and believed AB “was attempting to get rid of the radio in light of AB’s entanglement with law enforcement,” according to court filings.

    What’s old is now new again. This isn’t the first, nor the last time we’ll be seeing foreign actors participating in freelance espionage while vacationing abroad. Popular tourism spots such as Tallinn, Estonia’s capital used to be hotbeds for KGB activity during the Cold War.

    While the he largest immediate threat to the US is cyber-security and Russia’s election interferences — we can expect to see more of this tried-and-true method of “freelancing spying” from other countries, not just China.

  • Haven’t heard about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie, Tenet? Here’s the gist:

    Tenet has a pretty well-put together cast. Many are Nolan alums from Dunkirk, The Prestige, Inception and The Dark Knight. It has all the hallmarks of a classic Nolan success, but interesting enough, Tenet is missing his favorite composer, Hans Zimmer.

    For this film, Christopher Nolan opted for Ludwig Göransson, a Swedish composer who’s résumé includes some action-packed heavy hitters such as Venom, Creed, Death Wish and the knockout Marvel hit, Black Panther. Ludwig is a righteous choice, but not an obvious one. The trailer reveals an industrial tone and has a memorable cacophonous percussion. In fact, the escalating beats, and echoey hits has me jonesing for a classic progressive house bass drop.

    If we can expect anything, it is that Nolan will present us with something delicious. Resolution or not, the mysterious plot of this movie awaits us.