Anti-tank dogs, also known as dog mines, were starving dogs with explosives harnessed to their back, trained to seek food under enemy tanks and armoured vehicles. By doing so, a small wooden lever would be tipped, detonating the explosives.
The dogs were employed by the Soviet Union during World War II, to be used against German tanks. Unfortunately, in battle the dogs were as likely to run beneath a friendly tank as they were to attack the enemy. This was due of the fact that the dogs were trained to follow and seek food underneath Soviet tanks, making the dogs less comfortable running towards a German tank. Also, the dogs were reluctant to run towards an active tank, and as such became a menace to everyone on the battlefield. In 1942, after dogs forced an entire Soviet tank division into retreat, dog mines were withdrawn from use.
I am currently ensconced in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass to the detriment of all else. It started slow and displays all the expectedly “unpredictable” plot loops of a children’s novel. Somewhere in the first 70 pages it switched silently from childishly bland to endlessly engaging. I adore it deeply and find much of my waking thoughts devoted to pondering how my life would be different if I had a fearsome and brilliant polar bear as companion.
I picked the book up because I heard, damn accurately, that it was good AND much to my delight I’ve discovered there is a film adaptation in the works! Just today I learned that it will emerge next week or thereabouts. sweeeeeet! Talk about instant gratification!
Now there is a bitter and widely recognized truth that the book is always better than the film. There are a few cunning plays for exceptions to this rule and I believe Fight Club is one of them because it, like the others, allows us to into the exceptionally gifted imagination of someone else. I had a tingling wait for the large, high definition trailer and it was astoundingly good and seemingly marksman accurate to the book. From the trailer it seems like The Golden Compass is going to be lord of the rings meets steampunk Harry Potter. I think I’ll be waiting in line on opening night.
I would love to present the trailer right here, in this very blog, but someone at apple or the film studios seems to have forgotten (or likely not learned in the first place) how the internet works. It doesn’t appear that I can do that (maybe i can, but it’s nonapparent). Searching for Golden Compass on youtube and clicking on the official trailer gives me a message that this video has been taken down bc it violates terms of service (ie copyright violation).
There’s a simple rule about usability and thus success on the internet that *should* be obvious by now…the internet is unimaginably vast and entertaining. Therefore every time you force large groups of users into making a choice, you will lose a surprisingly high number of them to some of the other fascinations on the internet. Many of the people running the entertainment industry came up in the days when there were three channels on television. To them, it makes sense to force the trailer off youtube with copyright suits so that users will have to visit the official Golden Compass Website ™ in order to watch the trailer. This is unimaginably dumb.
My studies have yielded what I believe is a useful (although incomplete) metaphor: Intellectual property is best viewed as a liquid and copyright is most usefully seen as an old and leaky yet functional faucet through which it can flow. Close the faucet off by tightening copyright and less intellectual property will flow. Sometimes this is both good and useful. Open the faucet and IP will gush forth filling whatever container is presented (the internet in this case).
Fundamentally, what is a trailer? A D V E R T I S I N G !!!
So why would you want fewer people to see that by tightening the faucet? because you grew up in the fifties and you don’t understand the tubes (they definitely aren’t a dump truck).
The internet is about relinqishing control, opening the faucet more widely than ever previously imagined.
….fuck. Now that I’ve written all this, I just found the trailer on youtube. Dammit, it seems that there is an *official* studio funded group called HisDarkMaterials.org given the rights to distribute all footage.
So here’s the official trailer in youtube format. You can watch it here, but paradoxically (almost), I’m going to recommend that you go and watch the hi def trailer on the official website. Like I said, lord of the rings meets steampunk harry potter. the extra resolution is worth it.
I guess most of my misplaced copyright rant is still mostly accurate, just apply it to a broader context or something.
I may have to back off my steampunk claim and replace it with a victorian scifi based stance.