SUICIDE BOMBER kills 22 during Ariana Grande concert

Confirmed ISIS attack

[Before you reblog, check the OP for an updated version]

  • 22 CONFIRMED DEATHS, including children, around 120 injured


  • Attacker was UK-born Lybian Salman Abedi
  • Father was well-known in the local mosque, they lived in a good area, he studied busines and management at Salford University
  • Known to police
  • Traveled to Lybia and Syria before attack
  • Didn’t act alone, bomb was likely crafted by a skilled bomb-maker
  • THREE suspects have been arrested tied to the attack, Salman’s brother included
  • Was reported chanting Qu’ran verses on the street several weeks earlier

“For almost 25 years, virtually every bomb constructed by the Provisional IRA and the groups that splintered off it has contained Semtex from a Libyan shipment unloaded at an Irish pier in 1986.”

-Tom Harnden, The Telegraph

Semtex is a commercially manufactured, military-grade, plastic explosive containing RDX and PETN. It was invented in the late 1950s by Stanislav Brebera, a chemist working for Synthesia, a industrial chemical manufacturer in the former Czechoslovakia.

Plastic explosives are highly versatile weapons to guerrilla fighters because of their stability and difficulty to detect. Semtex can be easily transported, stored, divided, and deployed without risk of accidental detonation by changes in temperature, pressure, moisture, or other environmental conditions. Semtex must be triggered by a detonating device so it won’t explode if exposed to open flame, intense light, electrical, magnetic or other forms of radiation. It’s waterproof. It’s very malleable, almost like putty, making it idea for hidden and improvised bombs. In addition to its stability, Semtex is far more powerful than fertilizer-based explosives, i.e., to achieve the same blast yield of a 1lb slab of Semtex might require fifty or a hundred pounds of fertilizer-based explosive packed into barrels or other large containers which would be difficult to transport or conceal, and might leak material or prematurely detonate if not handled with extreme care.

With Semtex you can shake it, bake it, bop it, pull it, twist it, pop it in your pocket and take it for a walk into a bank or police station and leave it concealed. There it will patiently wait for its primary detonator to be triggered remotely, most commonly by radio frequency transmissions which the RDX and PETN explosive material themselves are unaffected by. Most of us have seen the hero in a show scrambling to remove detonators on charges so we almost intuitively know it can be easily disarmed and even recovered for reuse, but which is not to say steps cannot be taken to prevent the detonators from being removed once the charges are planted.

In response to international agreements (resulting from the Pan Am Bombing) the manufacture of Semtex began voluntarily adding chemicals to Semtex in 1991 to aid in its detection. However, by that time tonnes of Semtex-H originally sold to Lybia was already in the hands of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

After the tragedy of the Omagh Bombing (in which Lybian Semtex may have been used) there
was a renewed call for peace leading to the Good Friday Agreement. However, after a few years the Real IRA (a splinter organization of the PIRA which had carried out the Omagh Bombing), became dissatisfied with British commitment to the peace process and the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive government. They began a renewed military campaign in Northern Ireland, and the English mainland. This campaign would reveal publicly that the Real IRA was still in possession of significant amounts of Semtex (originally provided to that organization by the defection of Provisional IRA quartermaster Michael McKevitt in 1997).

March 4th, 2001 [GIF/PICTURED]: Acting on a warning sent to a London hospital by Real IRA, police were attempting to disarm a car bomb outside the BBC’s main news centre when it exploded. Although Semtex was not publicly confirmed as the explosive in this bombing, a little over 1lb of unexplored Real IRA Semtex would be recovered by police after a failed improvised-rocket attack on the Strabane RUC station a couple months later in the same campaign.

After the commitment of Sinn Féin and the IRA to seek their goals through ‘exclusively peaceful means’ and the decommissioning of arms in 2005, as well as the death of Muammar Gaddafi and his regime in 2011, it seems unlikely Semtex will be used by dissidents in any future large-scale bombings. Furthermore, sympathizers in the United States and revolutionary allies such as the Basque separatist group ETA in Spain have also supplied the IRA with the slightly more effective plastic explosive C-4). Semtex also has an approximate shelf-life of 10 years, meaning old stocks are now very ripe.

However, small amounts of Semtex have been used by radical groups like Continuity IRA in
improvised devices and rocket attacks. And, as recently as September 2015 caches of up to a pound of Semtex have been discovered or seized (although the combat effectiveness of
those materials is now questionable).

-Based on exerts from The Wicklow Connection: A Timeline of Semtex Proliferation During The Troubles by Daniel O'Handley

Italian air convoy shipping goods and supplies from Italy to the Lybian Front over the Mediterranean Sea. Notice the low cruising altitude to avoid radar detection.

On names: Athene

Let’s check out some excellent epithets of Pallas Athene. Lots of names connecting her to places, a few generic appellations shared with other deities, etc. But most really are illuminating. For example, note that the goddess is a leader in peace and war, is very perceptive and quick of mind, a great protectress - but is noted more for quickness of mind and practicality, than for introspection and deep knowledge. Basically, it looks like her presence is more likely to be felt on a military base or in a city hall than in a library.

Adamatos thea - untamed
Agoraia - of the market place
Anemotis - of the winds
Ageleia - who leads and protects people like a herd of cattle or she who takes the spoils
Aglauros - connected with the heroine Aglauros
Aithyia - diver, or a figurative reference to ships?
Alea - connected with the hero Aleus. Possibly also of refuge
Alalkomeneis - protectress, or also of Alalkomenai
Alkidemos - defender of the people
Alkimakhe - defender in battle
Alkis - strong, brave
Amboulia - of counsel
Apatouria - deciever
Areia - warlike
Akraia - She on high
Amaria - of day?
Arkhegetis - foundress, leader
Assesia - of Assesus
Atrytone - unflinching
Axiopoinos - who metes out just punishment
Aiantis - connected with the hero Aiax, or with the attic phile Aiantis
Agestratos- leader of hosts
Boarmia, Boudeia - yoker of oxen
Bia - might
Boulaia - of the boule (council)
Damasippos - horse tamer
Deino - terrible
Epipyrgitis - of/upon the tower
Ergane - of craft
Eryma - defender
Erysiptolis - defender of the city
Euresitekhnos - inventor of the crafts
Glaukopis - bright-eyed, owl-eyed
Gorgopis - gorgon-faced, grim
Gorgolopha - gorgon-crested
Gorgophone - killer of the gorgon
Gigantoleteira - destroyer of giants
Iasonia - connected with the hero Jason, or healer
Ilia - of Ilios
Ismenia - of the Ismenos river
Itonia - of Itonus, or connected with the hero Itonios
Hephaistia - connected with Hephaistos
Hippia - of horses
Hippolaitis - of Hippola
Hellotia - of the fertile marsh, or connected with the heroine Hellotis
Homaria - of the gathering
Homolois - well, one of the gates of Thebes was called that, and there was a Homoloia festival in Boeotia. Also, Homole mountain in Thessaly, and a legendary priestess called Homolois. Might also mean “of concord”. Nice range of options.
Hygieia - of good health
Kalliergos - of beautiful crafts
Keleutheia - of the roads
Khalinitis - bridler
Khalkioikos - of the bronze dwelling
Khryseopelex - gold-helmeted
Khrysolonkhos - of the golden spear
Kleidouchos - keeper of the keys
Koryphasia - of the head, or of the promontory called Koryphasion
Koryphagenes - born from the head
Kyparissia - of Kyparissiae, or of the cypress
Kydonia - of Kydonia on Crete
Kynthia - of the Kynthus mountain on Delos
Kolokasia - of the edible tubers, probably
Kissaia - of ivy
Koresia - of the lake Koresia, which might just mean maiden lake
Ktesia - protectress of the household
Kranaia - of the top of the hill, probably
Laossoos - rallier of the people
Lemnia - of Lemnos
Lindia - of Lindos
Leitis - distributor of war booty
Larisaia - of Larisus
Magarsia - of Magarsos
Medeousa Athenon - protectress and queen of Athens
Mekhanitis - contriver of plans
Meter - mother. (Yes, there was such a cult in Elis. Apparently, there is nothing weird about asking a virgin goddess for children)
Moria - of the sacred olive tree
Nike - victory
Nikephoros - bringer of victory, who holds victory in her hands
Nedousia - of Nedon
Narkaia - connected with the hero Narkaios
Obrimopatre - of a mighty father
Oleria - of Oleris
Ophtalmitis - of eyes
Optiletis - sightful
Oxyderkes - of sharp eyesight
Pareia - of parian marble (in reference to a statue )
Paionia - healer
Pandrosos - connected with the heroine Pandrosos
Pankrates - almighty
Persepolis - sacker of cities
Potnia Egrekydoimos - mistress who raises the din of war
Phalaritis - who wears cheekpieces
Phobesistrate - who is feared by hosts
Phratria - of the phratry
Phronesis - of moral responsibility
Polyboulos, Polymetis - of many counsels
Polioukhos, Poliatis - protector of the polis
Polemedokos - sustainer of war
Promakhos - first in battle, who fights in front
Pronoia - of foresight
Proxima - near one
Panakhaia - of all Akhaia
Parthenos - virgin
Pallas - maybe a reference to her friend she killed accidentally, maybe a giant she killed (not accidentally) , maybe one who brandishes (pallein) her spear or aegis
Pronaia - before the temple
Pylaimakhos - fighter at the gates
Polias - of the city
Pylaitis - of the gates
Sais, Saitis - of Sais. Neith, a Kemetic goddess, is that city’s proper patron, but hey, Interpretatio Graeca, what can you do *grumble grumble *
Salpinx - war trumpet
Soteira - saviour
Sounia - of Sounion
Skiras - of Skiron
Skillyntia - of Skillos
Sthenias - mighty
Stoikheia - marshaler of ranks
Telkhinia - connected with the Telkhines, probably
Tritogeneia - born near the Lybian lake Tritonis or river Triton, or possibly from the head
Zosteria - of the girdle
Xenia - of (hospitality to) strangers

It cannot be stressed enough that Pausanias is invaluable, as well as the Homeric hymns, Kallimachos, Euripides, Aristophanes, etc. We are so very lucky to have their works, aren’t we?

asparkoflight  asked:

So, I have a question about pathfinder's bestiary, specifically about the Gorgon and Medusa. Mytho-historically, the Medusa was an individual Gorgon, and the only mortal of the three. However, in PF's bestiary, the Medusa is the catchall species of snake-haired, scaled persons, and the Gorgon is a weird pertification-breathing, metallic bull from I don't even know where. I understand that these conventions was inherited from D&D, but was there any consideration to 'fixing' this?

For anyone who doesn’t already know, beside from being the guy that scripts what monsters go into the Pathfinder RPG’s hardcover bestiaries, I used to be the editor in charge of the monster ecologies series for Dragon magazine and was the editor-in-chief of Dragon: Monster Ecologies. Monsters are the reason I got into RPGs and I’ve spent a significant portion of my career and off-hours researching monsters, cryptids, aliens, and the collections (both scholarly and fantastical) that detail them. So I like to think I know a thing or two about monsters, particularly those that have appeared in RPGs.

So, gorgons…

Like the OP says, the two monsters above are both technically gorgons… right? From Greek mythology we know that the name “gorgon“ collectively refers to the monstrous sisters Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa (the trio being a particularly monstrous vision of the triple-deity theme running through so many mythologies). Beyond even this, though, numerous films, games, and other works of fiction have referenced the gorgons for their fearful nature and ability to petrify those who look upon them. Snakes, at the very least in Medusa’s case, typically also enter into the mix.

So then who’s this guy?

The first edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual would tell you it’s a gorgon. A few pages later, it will also tell you that a different race of snake-hair petrifiers are called medusas. So now we have two very different looking creatures with the ability to petrify who both draw inspiration from the Greek myth of Perseus and Medusa. Did the Monster Manual just get it wrong?

Possibly. No scholar’s looking to 1977’s collection of threats for D&D as a gospel source on world myth. That said, the creators of Dungeons & Dragons were no slouches when it came to drawing upon historical and mythological sources when populating their fantasy game. In a pre-internet world, Gygax’s personal interests in myth and medievalism didn’t take him to his home computer. Rather, it was likely led him to his personal and public library.

Were Gygax’s sources just flawed? Likely not. Rather, the creator of the fantasy RPG genre was probably looking at more primary sources than we—mired in an internet full of niche articles (like this one)—typically do. (Don’t let this suggest that the creators of D&D were entirely high-minded historians, though. They were just as nerdy as today’s game designers and certainly weren’t against adding creatures from whole-cloth imagination and their favorite pulp adventures into their new game—ask me about the displacer beast some time.)

So what sources might result in Medusa and her sisters being simultaneously presented in something like their classical form, while only pages earlier being spun off as weird bull monsters.

One possibility is that the Monster Manual conflated the classic gorgon with the Khalkotauroi—fire-breathing bronze bulls that also hail from Greek myth. They’re cool, dangerous monsters, but they’ve got a name that’s not terribly recognizable and is kind of a mouthful. It’s possible the Khalkotauroi were renamed “gorgons” in an edit that prioritized accessibility over mythological sanctity, and so lent their bovine shapes and metal skin to the creature that would be the gorgon, but the story’s likely more complicated than that.

There’s another significant mythological ungulate known for being able end a life from fifty paces: the catoblepas. Mythological accounts of the creature claim that its breath or gaze could either kill or petrify a person—both appealing powers for tormenting heroes. So could the gorgon be a renamed version of the catoblepas? Well, the catoblepas appears in the first edition Monster Manual, so probably not… or maybe.

The truth of the matter likely involves all of the above, along with Gygax’s likely familiarity with Edward Topsell 1607 zoological text, The Historie of Foure Footed Beasts. In his work, Topsell presents a zoological exploration of the world—a world he was hardly an authority on. Rather than basing his work on his personal observations, Topsell cited diverse zoological accounts, including the Swiss Historiae Animalium and Pliny’s somewhat dated Natural History from circa 77–79 C.E.—“therefore we will follow the authority of Pliny and Atheneus” (Topsell 1607, pp 263). Among such mundane creatures as dogs and weasels, the author included numerous facts he had on good authority from writers like Pliny—who included imaginary beings like cynocephalus and monopods in his Natural History. Among Topsell’s work are such facts as elephants having the coldest blood in the world and bearing an intense hatred for dragons (1607, pp 198). Topsell also includes whole creatures entirely on his predecessor’s recommendations.

One such inclusion was the “strange Lybian Beast” or the “Gorgon.” Topsell describes the creature as such:

“It is a feareful and terrible beast to beholdd, it hath high and thicke eie lids, eies not very great, but much like an Oxe or Bugils, but all fiery-bloudy, which neyther looke directly forwarde, nor yet upwards, but continuallye downe to the earth, and therefore are called in Greeke Catobleponta. From the crowne of their head downe to their nose they have a long hanging mane, which maketh them to looke fearefully. It eateth deadly and poysonfull hearbs, and if at any time he see a Bull or other creature whereof he is afraid, he presently causeth his mane to stand upright, and being so lifted up, opening his lips, and gaping wide, sendeth forth of his throat a certaine sharpe and horrible breath, which infecteth and poysoneth the air above his head, so that all living creatures which draw in the breath of that aire are greevously afflicted thereby, loosing both voyce and sight, they fall into leathall and deadly convulsions.” (1607, pp 262)

Here we finally find the gorgon presented as an ox- or bull-like beast with breath that kills. But Topsell’s book isn’t just known for its detailed descriptions, it’s famed for its lavish inclusion of dozens of woodcut images. Even the mundane woodcuts are still fascinating, investing creatures like rhinoceroses and baboons with fantastical aspects, whether they be in poses no natural creature would strike or possess radically embellished features. Which of course implies that even the entirely fictional creatures—like the lamia, manticore, and sphinx—receive illustrations. The gorgon, though, bears the highest honor in the book, with its depiction of a mop-topped scale-bull occupying the collection’s front cover. From this piece it’s easy to infer how the scaled, gas-mouthed bull of the Monster Manual took shape.

How can we be sure that Gygax knew anything about Topsell’s book, though? Flip through the rest of The Historie of Foure Footed Beasts and you’ll find numerous other connections to the pages of Dungeons & Dragons bestiaries. While several classical myth stock creatures make appearances, there are a couple of peculiarities. Lamia, the tragic Libyan queen of Greek myth, for example, appears not as an individual but as an entire species of amalgam woman-lion creatures, just like in the Monster Manual. There’s also a creature listed as “Wilde Beast in the New found World called SU,” which, with its monkey-like limbs and prominent tail, parallels the su-monster from 1976’s Eldritch Wizardry. These, along with the appearances of other obscure D&D creatures, like the crocotta, suggest if not a familiarity with Topsell’s work, at least Gygax’s knowledge of other medieval bestiaries.

But any historic evidence of bull-gorgons aside, the ship is certainly sailed on the name “gorgon” as it pertains to Pathfinder RPG monsters. Even without the aforementioned sources, deference to Mr. Gygax’s work alone would be more than enough to keep the gorgon the creature it is. The Pathfinder RPG owes its existence to a 40-year-old tradition of gaming, ripe with entirely unique peculiarities and nostalgia. Even if the gorgon’s name were a decades-old typo, it would be a typo that’s been propagated across games, bestiaries, articles, and adventures, to say nothing of the memories of gamers all over the world. That momentum—that pedigree—alone has a value that neither I, nor any game-maker at Paizo, would casually part with.

Fantastic question. Thanks so much for asking!


Work Cited

Topsell, Edward. The History of Four-Footed Beasts. London: Printed by William Iaggard, 1607.

Other Reading

References to Libya in the Histories of Herodotus

Strange Science Goof Gallery: Mammals

Topsell on the Gorgon

Wikipedia: Edward Topsell

Topsell’s The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents Woodcuts

Sometimes my colleagues surprise me. Today, while I was waiting for the elevator, I have met a Lybian colleague who I had never met before who spoke to me straight away in Italian so fluently although I had said no word at all so he could't guess my nationality from the accent. Interesting people... lol

Verdi, la tortuga marina, siguió las corrientes de agua con el mejor olor a comida hasta que llegó a la costa. Allí sacó su cabecita del agua y respiró profundamente intentando captar todos los aromas: tomates, aceite de oliva, calabacines, patatas… Así se dio cuenta de que estaba en Grecia y no dudó en quedarse unos meses por allí viajando de isla en isla.


Verdi, the sea tortoise, followed the water currents with the best food smell until she reached the coast. There she took her little head out of the water and she breathed deeply trying to get all the aromas: tomatoes, olive il, zucchini, potatoes… This way she noticed she was in Greece and she did not hesitate to stay there for a few months travelling from island to island. 


Lybian Sea, Paleochora, Crete, Greece