Shifting between motion and stasis, he shows a man on a horse, a scarecrow, a dog, another dog seen closer, then even closer as it faces the still camera in the last shot. Superimposed over this still photo is the orange red blast of an atomic bomb and its mushroom cloud—the first appearance of color in the film. The photo catches fire, and the image of the dog is slowly devoured by flames. As the photo turns into ashes, a prayer from the Shiite text Nahjulbalagha appears alongside it in English: “Dear Lord, give us rain from tame, obedient clouds and not from dense and fiery clouds which summon death. Amen.” In "The Roads of Kiarostami", his latest short film (.pdf), Iranian maestro Abbas Kiarostami begins with his landscape photographs and ends with apocalypse. more inside
Hitler's bomb. Adolf Hitler had the atom bomb first but it was too primitive and ungainly for aerial deployment, says a new book by German historian Rainer Karlsch. The book indicates that Nazi scientists carried out tests of what would now be called a dirty nuclear device in the waning days of World War II. US historian Mark Walker, an expert on the Third Reich's atomic weapons program, supports Karlsch's claims: "I consider the arguments very convincing". More inside.