Few tales of corporate schadenfreude are more crushingly hilarious than that of Microsoft’s ill-fated motion control peripheral; Kinect.

It’s been ten years since the reveal of the Kinect system, and three years since it was discontinued entirely. But where did this monumental page in technological flops and embarrassing hindsight actually begin, and why did it fail so quickly afterwards?

Part 1: Just Because It’s New, Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

Cast your mind back to the murky dark age of 2006. Microsoft’s Alex Kipman scouts a brand new piece of cutting-edge technology at the Game Developers Conference and is inspired to combine it with Microsoft’s very own Xbox gaming system.


End of Rome

The need for experienced soldiers did not die out with the Roman Empire. As imperial authority waned across the territories, wars became increasingly frequent in the resulting power vacuum left by Roman absence. By the late imperial era, when Emperor Theodosius I divided the vast and unwieldy empire into two halves along the Danube river, Rome was already in its death throes. The armies, especially in the case of the Western Roman Empire, were stretched to their absolute breaking point. This made the hiring of mercenaries an outright necessity, in order to bolster their numbers and maintain what little cohesion…

What does North Carolina circa 2006 and the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt have in common?

Both have played host to mercenaries, doing largely the same thing, millennia apart. Warfare has been a constant in our society ever since our shift from hunter-gatherers into sedimentary civilization. As long as two people have existed, someone has wanted someone else dead.

Ancient Egypt

Mercenaries played an important role in ancient warfare. Populations of the time period were far less dense than they are today. A single kingdom, even one as powerful as Egypt, just lacked the manpower to go on the offensive. …

With more news of Disney’s live-action Mulan coming out over the last few months, I think it’d be a great time to go over the original animated film’s principle antagonists; the Huns.

A Legacy of Annihilation

The word “Hun” conjures up a very few specific images. A fearsome warrior, a destroyer of anything in their path. Burning, sacking, looting, nothing short of a harbinger of the end times. During the Boxer Rebellion in 1901, the German forces deployed to China called themselves Huns to emulate that terrifying image from long ago, and the nickname stuck along afterwards. …

Its 1941, Europe has fallen under the brutish boot heel of Nazi tyranny. People are disappearing off the streets, Wehrmacht armies patrol the countryside, Kriegmarine ships terrorize the Atlantic and prevent the Allies from building up the strength to fight back.

In the frigid seas near Norway, the Germans had a ship the likes of which the world had never seen. Twice the length of any Allied battleship, triple the firepower, every bit as fast. Armor too thick for anything in the British fleet to pierce, at least on their own. …

Since its inception in 1783, the United States had been a primarily agricultural society. Large sectors of the economy were based heavily in the raising, harvesting and sale of a number of crops to parties both within and outside the country. Cotton, tobacco and wheat were chief among them, with other more perishable crops relegated to commerce within the United States’ borders. The south provided perfect soil for the production of these crops, and slave labor provided a free workforce with which to work the land. With no wages to pay, the land owners would increase their profit margins considerably…

Max Brebner

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