I knew it! I knew it! Those NASA people, they are damned sneaky, I tell ya.
Canada has eliminated the penny. I figured one day we might do the same, but I'm not sure how happy I'll be. I can't help but think that'll turn the nickle into the "new penny." In other words, devaluing the currency by 5%. I think. Like I said, I'm not good with math.
Rick K. gets a golden-eared no-prize for bringing us another example of why hi-fi audio is the wackiest of all man's hobbies. If I'm paying that much for something, I better be able to live in it.
Also making the rounds: an obnoxious drunk getting pretty damned epic with Bohemian Rhapsody. It looks like they picked him up, drove somewhere for most of an hour, and then just let him rip in the parking lot. There's a reason I play thundering music when I get that toasty. I can't hold that kind of pitch.
Today's "shopped or not" entry is all about UFO love. The first part absolutely looks 'shopped to me. The zoom and shake just do not appear natural, more like something you'd get if you used a "zoom and shake" feature on a CGI editor. The rest of it just looks like a balloon. And you'd be surprised how common it is to see balloons of all sort in the sky. When I was flying my mini-chopper regularly I'd usually see one or two every time I flew.
The "Route 29 Batman" is just your garden variety eccentric. Because crazy people are poor, and rich people are eccentric. Bah. His money, his choices. And, since he's visiting children's hospitals, I even support whatever tax write-offs he may make. I do wonder if DC/Marvel might come after him, but the rules for non-profit use of things can be different. Heck, with his money, he may have actually licensed it all. That's what I'd do.
Good to know a college is a college. My junior-and-above-level classes were enough like these I cringed more than a few times, and hell all I got was an arts-and-crafts degree. Oh, and those nightmares? The ones where you're sitting for a final in a class you thought you'd dropped in the first week? They'll still be with you, twenty-five years after you graduate. Sleep well!
Via B. Justin Shier (READ HIS BOOKS!)
Sometimes the lede says it all: A vicar claims a potato got stuck up his bottom after he fell on to the vegetable while hanging curtains in the nude. What in the world is up with these people? Remember, folks, it's the 21st century. A dildo is just one website order away!
Remember that story about Zimmerman having no evidence of injury on police security videos? Oh, you had to have seen it, it's been the top story on Google news all day. Except, if you check just now, it's not. It's disappeared completely. Now, isn't that a strange thing? And yes, even to me it very much looks like ABC was messing with the video to ensure that a worrying wound-like mark on Zimmerman's head is hidden behind some graphics.
I mean, I expect them to pull these sorts of stunts for Obama, that's politics for God's sake. I don't pretend to know what actually happened on that terrible night, but I am now officially putting all the MSM's reporting on a mental shelf labeled, "FICTION."
Why, no wonder I never engaged in any office romances when I was single. It never occurred to me I'd need to mark the chairs they were sitting on first. And when I say "mark," I'm not talking about the thing you do with a pen or a sticky note. Of course, the guy works in IT, natch.
A NASA solar probe has captured images of tornadoes on the sun. The thing's made of gas and has well-known convection currents. Why wouldn't it have tornadoes? Then again, the surface of the sun is a seriously weird place. Still, at least we don't have to worry about an LTD up on blocks in the front yard.
The founder of online giant Amazon broke off a few million bucks recently and figured out where Apollo 11's first stage ended up. It's not known what condition they're in, especially after sitting under about three miles of ocean for forty years. Unlike the Shuttle's SRBs, this thing followed a ballistic trajectory and hit the water hard. There may not be all that much left.
Scientists have discovered a solar system that simply shouldn't exist. As with most unpredicted items, not only does it stubbornly insist on existing, it has done so for most of the history of the universe. The mind boggles...
We did not get the cold and wet stuff this year, but PINK blossoms was an awesome exchange!
Pro tip: no matter how tightly you've locked your FB profile, if you say something genuinely weird, it will get out. See? You people just thought I could be weird and inappropriate. Yeah, I know, a few are probably fake. Oh, and for the record, mine have never smelled like cheddar cheese, ever.
It seems Lucy's kind wasn't the only sort of hominid wandering around in Africa 3.5 million years ago. True, a fragmentary foot fossil isn't all that much to go on, but it can be enough to tell if they're looking at a different species. Considering we have quite a few A. afarensis fossils and (presumably) just this one of a different type, it may have been quite rare indeed.
DHS has "discovered" what we already noted around here about a month ago: a hajji-sized nuke won't be big enough to take DC out completely. The bit about the fallout is a new item, though. Still, not enough to change our personal, notional, outcome: on a garden variety week day, Ellen's likely screwed, I'll probably make it, and Olivia would be fine. Weekends when we're not downtown would not be directly disrupted, but having this go off when we're in the Natural History museum would be... bad.
The Washington Post's fourth annual "Peep Show" winners have been announced. I would've made the winning entry with more burnination and homeless people, but I'm not what you'd call sympathetic when it comes to hipsters who need to move the hell on and get a freaking...
But I digress...
A mysterious human leg that washed up on a Florida beach in December has been identified as belonging to a missing, and presumed dead, local woman. Exactly where the rest of her, and her companion, is is still a mystery. Bonus: the lady's brother checked on her apartment in January only to find a tree with presents still wrapped under it.
A Taiwanese woman has committed suicide while actively chatting on Facebook. Lighting up a charcoal grill inside your room with the windows shut will let you do that, it seems. I don't try to keep Ellen away from Facebook for fear of this sort of thing. As long as she can tap on it using her
external heart ... phone or her true love... computer, she's fine.
An examination a year after the Fukushima reactor complex melted down after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami has found radiation levels are still lethal. Even better, the water levels are a fraction of what they were believed to be. It's so nasty it kills unshielded industrial endoscopes in less than a day. I have no idea how they're going to clean it all up, but I do wish them luck.
They've definitely found something in Siberia. You'd think people would know it's Bad News to go digging weird bits of metal out of the snow by now, but maybe The Thing never got all that far into Siberia. Me, I think it looks like a bulkhead of some sort.
Ten years (more or less) ago a starry-eyed student dragged us all out to watch her dance teacher perform. Did I tell you my teacher spotted me? She also came out after her routine to say hello to the 4 students *out of 20 somthing* that showed up. Sat down next to me and asked why I did not get up and dance. "So my little bambina, how come you did not get up to dance with me?"
It's been three years since the deadliest accident in Metro's history. I was wondering why there was no big, splashy story detailing what had gone wrong. I'm not wondering any more. It's actually pretty breathtaking, to see a story that so baldly lays out what has been discovered, and what it means. Little surprise it's not the Post that's leading the way.
After that accident I started to consciously avoid the first and last rail cars, even though they are usually the least-crowded. I was thinking by now it'd be safe to use them. After reading just the first part of this story, I'm now pretty sure it's not safe to ride anywhere on that system.
Scientists have announced promising research on a "one ring to rule them all" anti-cancer drug. I've seen a lot of promising mouse cancer cures not pan out into human cancer cures. Here's to hoping this one manages to make it through human trials.
Because it's my website, that's why: a brief look at how the F-1 drivers stay cool in the insane heat and humidity of Malaysia. Being a Southerner means I'm more than casual student of keeping cool, to the point I still occasionally amaze myself by owning a car without air conditioning. I can't imagine driving the Spider for two hours with the top down in high summer wearing all the gear they wear, let alone doing it at maximum speed. Salut!
It's nice to know my side's not the only one who can cough up the ball. Although, of course, if your primary news sources are mainstream or otherwise unrelated to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, you'd be hard pressed to tell. So, which is worse, a candidate's assistant doing something dumb with an Etch-a-Sketch, or the President of the United States offering concessions to a rival in return for "some space?" It'll be interesting to watch the MSM cover his butt on this one. It always is interesting watching rail yard workers clean up a train wreck.
Good news: someone has visited the bottom of Challenger Deep, only the second time in history. Bad news: he came back. Actually, that's not really fair. I've always liked Cameron's movies despite his reputation as a brass-plated butt-head. Congratulations to him and can't wait to see the movie!
Looks like another video of "bigfoot" has surfaced. Bonus: includes "de-shake-ified" version using a really nifty technique to show us it's still not a particularly clear video. Or, you know, a particularly well done fake.
I'd heard of Juliane Koepecke before. Someone who survives an airplane crash the way she did will justifiably be at least a little famous. However, I'd never heard her story in her own words until now. Harrowing doesn't do it justice.
This newly discovered species, known as titanoboa (yes, the words "titan" and "boa" are in there), which lived 65 million years ago, is about to have its close-up. The New York City appearance is promoting an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in D.C. opening on March 30, which ties in to a TV special on the Smithsonian Channel called, what else, "Titanoboa: Monster Snake." The two-hour program airs April 1.
But wait there's more!
New York commuters arriving at Grand Central Station were greeted by a monstrous sight: a 48-foot-long, 2,500-pound titanoboa snake.
Yes there is a display of this gargantuan snake! I have a feeling my mother will be closing her eyes when she has to walk past that one.
Check out the rest of the article on the snake here.
An archeological dig has revealed what could be one of the earliest examples of Christianity taking over from paganism. The grave is pagan, the cross definitely is not, and the sixteen year old girl found in Cambridge may provide important and rare clues as to what life was like in the depths of the dark ages.
A wind farm developer has funded a new scan of ancient Scottish tombs. And when I say "ancient," I'm not talking "gee-wasn't-Bobby-Bruce-cool" old, I'm talking five hundred years before the pyramids old. Around the same time that Stonehenge was getting set up, if I'm getting the timing correct. The article doesn't make it clear if this was out of the goodness of the business's heart, or part of a requirement to enable an expansion.
We somehow missed the "viral picture" of a motorcycle cop's feet sticking out of the back of a BMW convertible, but it turns out the story behind it, and the aftermath, are much more interesting. All those people who complain about privacy violations because of the ubiquity of cameras need to think hard about this case. If this had happened 25 years ago, that cop would've gotten away with it.
The notorious oil tanker Exxon Valdez is heading for a scrap heap in India. Apparently it not only didn't sink, it was repaired and returned to service, changing hands and names a bunch of times afterward. The ship is not particularly old for its type, but apparently the 89 wreck, combined with damage sustained in a 2010 collision, has made it worth more as parts than as a ship.
The ESA has successfully launched its heaviest payload to-date. The Edoardo Amaldi is effectively a giant supply robot heading toward the ISS. It's the third in a series of launches intended to help keep the station operational.
Rick gets the coveted "face-palm" no-prize for bringing us news that a middle school teacher turned his class into an opposition research team for the Obama campaign. But it was ok, since they only had to look up where they were supposed to send their findings, not actually send them. That makes it completely acceptable. And right here in Fairfax county, too!
So, how many of these "20 iconic tech sounds" do you remember? The Windows Serenade was downright startling. Each one immediately yanked me back to different dark days in my sysadmin life. And I'm not too sure how many of these will fade outright. One of Olivia's shows uses the modem song as part of its studio logo.
Beware! Beware, I tell you! Beware the snails of war! I was wondering when the dawn of cybernetics was actually going to break. Not wondering any more.
Now that the Mercury probe Messenger has been orbiting that world for about a year, nifty discoveries are finally getting published. In a nutshell: the core is too big, the crust is really weird, and something bizarre is going on inside the planet that makes craters inflate like balloons. Probing planets is fun!
Being a hot pilot isn't exclusive to fighter jocks. Somebody's gotta deliver the mail, ya know? And the Air Force screwing something up by retiring the right plane at the wrong time for a dumb reason? Sha, ya don't say...
One of the supposed joys of traveling is eating weird stuff, because North American food is legendarily plain. Turns out, to someone not from around here, our food isn't as plain as we're lead to believe. I'd long known that Europeans think free refills and giant portions are weird. I didn't know about the Chinese and cheese. Maybe that person was from a specific part of China with no knowledge of that stringy, gooey wonderfulness?
Good to see he's still around!
Exhibit number 34,567, "The Dumb Sh- Things Guys Do": trying to jump over a rail fence from a moving car. I'm pretty sure he destroyed his junk and literally tore himself a new one. Ah, well. He probably removed himself from the gene pool, so we at least have that.
Now men get to have fun too: Walgreens is now carrying a fake vah jay-jay for purchase on its website. I'm not completely sure how it works, but I am completely sure I don't want to know. Best Fark comment: "$78 may seem high for fake p- but it's cheaper than all the real p- i'm not getting."
Elon Musk, president of SpaceX, thinks he can haul the cost of, well, hauling to Mars down to $500,000 per launch. And he's not talking about hauling another glorified golf cart, he's talking about people. Ambitious? Well of course. But, considering what SpaceX has accomplished so far, I wouldn't discount them out of hand.
It seems at least one author has suddenly noticed there's a group of people who think Jesus never existed. I've known about "mysticists" for about twenty-five years, I'm sure they've been around quite a bit longer. Still, it's nice to see the lines of evidence to the contrary gathered in a single source. No, it won't make much difference to the True Believers, but very little ever does.
The Ducks have their own blog!
Conversations that only happen in my house: "Ellen, your turtle knocked over her lamp."
Mike J. gets a nice, fresh, watermelon-shaped no-prize for bringing us the latest green call for one world government. Glenn, who's followed these things longer and more carefully than I have, just started laughing, so I'm figuring this'll likely give the hardcore greens the vapors for a few days and then fade away. Nice to see SciAm limping around, though.
People who think ghost towns are the exclusive domain of the Old West will be happy to know they're actually all over the damned place. Yes, most of them are the direct result of the 2008 real estate bust, but not all of them. The Chernobyl site in particular has been used as a setting in more than one video game I've played.
A new custom software application is allowing archeologists to use satellite imagery to survey massive areas for signs of ancient human habitation. It's really quite surprising how much can be seen from space, and how little of it has been explored. Unfortunately the most promising sites seem to all be in Syria, which as we all know is not the most welcoming of places to do science at the moment. It's hoped that the improving situation in Iraq will allow further testing of this technology in that region.
Everyone's (well, my) favorite movie maniac is set to visit Challenger Deep in a submarine of his own design. This'll be the first time a person has been down that far since 1960, and will smash the record they set for time on the bottom. He's finally providing details of the craft, as well as a few pictures.
A new CD released by the British Library claims to provide the sound of Shakespeare's works in the accents they were originally spoken in. The article includes a few samples. This isn't the first time I've read that Elizabethan accents were more like American ones than what's now found in the UK. What's not completely clear to me, then or now, is how they figured that out.
Enjoy your day!
Who says a supersonic airplane is always pretty? An MIT/Stanford team think the solution to sonic booms is to use a biplane. Yes, a biplane. Apparently this isn't even a particularly new idea. I'll believe it when I see it flying.
Using what I presume to be the world's smallest MRI machine scientists have figured out which part of a Japanese honey bee's brain is used to cook predatory wasps to death. Yep, when a certain sort of wasp invades a hive of this sort of bee, they form a "bee ball" around it, cooking it until it keels over. This is the only sort of honeybee that's known to do this, so naturally they're going to be killing a whole bunch of wasps trying to figure out what makes it tick. I hate wasps, so I'm OK with this!
Well, AROUND ten years ago, I discovered The Power of Chocolate. It has remained an incredibly valuable tool in my marital arsenal ever since.
A new study of marine sediments is revealing a surprising model for the atmosphere of the early Earth. Exactly how a planet much larger and closer to the Sun than a moon of Saturn can still end up with an atmosphere very similar to said moon's is, of course, a mystery. Ain't science grand?
Ever wonder what modern super heroes would dress like if they lived in the 19th century? Well, ok, neither did I but someone who draws better than me did. Funny. There's something they all have in common with their modern counterparts, I just can't quite put my finger on it...
Remember that environmental disaster in the US involving Asian carp? The Chinese have an answer for that. We are the fiercest hunters the world has ever known. Don't combat invasive species with ludicrous schemes. Combat them by developing tasty recipes, and creating a market for their hides. Let the predator do the rest.
For a good look at how far out there turntables can get, check this out. The author does include a comparatively affordable option... the turntable at the bottom of the list can be had for a little more than $2k. Hey, I said comparatively, after all. But I will concede the designs are nifty. How they all make a living selling these things I never will know.
It seems the advent of e-readers has been a real shot in the arm for authors of erotica aimed at chicks. Ellen tends to keep her "bodice-rippers" at home, probably for the reasons cited in the article. If it helps you read what you want, why not?
It's said if you take enough pictures you'll eventually catch the weirdest things on film. Ever thought just how many pictures Google takes every day? What's with the people parking passenger jets in their back yard, anyway?
Ellen's devil-fish, aka "The Oscar" made its first miscalculated escape attempt. Arrogance does not overrule the laws of physics, but that never stopped the fish from trying. I think that's why they got along so well.
Giant and colossal squid have long been famous for their gigantic eyes. Now scientists have figured out why they got so big. Structures evolve for a reason. Just because naked apes with delusions of grandeur can't figure those reasons out doesn't mean they don't exist. This, more than anything else, is why I know "social justice" is a pile o' steamin' crap.
Wanna know why Formula 1 is so awesome? Because without their need for long-range, high-definition video to be strapped to extremely small, extremely fast, extremely light things video like this probably wouldn't be possible. I'd known for awhile that the NASA guys had put cameras on the shuttle. I just didn't know they put on so many. With microphones!
Man, what I would give to go back in time and stash a few dozen of these on a Saturn V.
Russia has announced intentions to land a man on the moon by 2030. As with our own space agency's plans, that and a fiver will get you a cup of something at Starbucks. Oh, stop it. I can't be more specific than that, one of our regular readers has OCD and a Starbucks addiction. I don't need to give him more opportunities to go Starbucks-nerdy than he already gets.
Not completely sure if I believe this or not, but it would seem the Pope doesn't smell like a little old man. Your tithes at work, etc.
That'll be Mrs. Plumb, on the deck, with a chainsaw. Desperate depression leads to desperate measures, but I thought women were the ones who wanted to go quietly in full makeup wearing a nice dress. I guess there're exceptions for everything.
This was what Olivia and I did a few weeks back when we attended the DC car show. It was a lot of fun. The girl who drove us around is featured VERY briefly, right at 0:42.
The folks over at DARPA are at it again, this time trying to figure out if it's possible to build a system that'll take a picture of a soldier standing anywhere on the Earth, from space, and send it to his iPhone in less than 90 minutes. I'll give them this, when they say "think big" they're not kidding. I would imagine the satellites would be straightforward enough. It's the launchers that I figure might be the expensive link in the chain.
By using a combination of advanced imaging and computer models, scientists have discovered the world's sharpest teeth. The choppers possessed by Conodonts, eel-like proto-vertebrates which lived 500 million years ago, had tips 2 microns across and despite their small size had biting power to rival much larger modern creatures. They also chewed left-to-right. Nature's weird.
Hey, it beats the alternate title... penguins really can fly. I'm hoping the FAA will be cool with this. Yet another thing Osama did was suck every last bit of a sense of humor from everyone associated with air travel. Ah, well, it certainly looks like everyone was fine with it. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
The folks at Top Gear have found the world's most awesome simulator ride. Reading the comments, though, seems to indicate the same experience can be had at Dubai for about 1/10th the price. Of course, you have to drag your butt all the way to Dubai, so maybe it evens out.
Reason I don't ever want to be a farmer #28: mysterious explosions on hog farms have scientists stumped. No, the hogs themselves aren't going "bang," that would actually be better than what's actually happening. Four words: foam covered manure pit.
Dreamworks Animation has announced an upcoming movie who's main character dreams of racing in the Indy 500. Indycar has been struggling ever since Tony took his ball and went home back in the 90s. The reunion of the two leagues has helped, but it's not clear by how much. Hopefully the movie won't stink!
An advertising company has come up with an innovative way to raise awareness of the homeless as well as giving them an opportunity to make a few bucks. Will the reaction be a) appreciation, b) applause, or c) complaints of exploitation and dehumanization? Hey, this is the mainstream media we're talking about here. What a third party perceives as undignified is always far more important than what two people voluntarily agree to do for each other.
A new archeological exhibit in Manhattan is giving people a fresh look at ancient, enigmatic nomads from the steppes of Asia. Teeny-tiny men riding teeny-tiny horses, very fast. Bonus: the burial mounds are called "kurgans," and no I don't think that's a co-eenky-dink.
Color me unsurprised: Liberals are the most intolerant online. As someone who's almost certainly sitting in the ignore box of one of my very most liberal friends, I can definitely attest to this. You'd think with such powerfully held beliefs they'd be less fragile, but that just isn't the case. Always remember you cannot possibly disagree with liberal policies because you think they're wrong. The only obvious explanation is you're either evil or stupid. Taken in that light, I guess it makes a bit more sense.
So, if all of us Americans are fatties who need to lay off the sammiches, how do we explain this? Of course, it's still in America, just the 1890s instead of the 2010s. They all look pretty short, too. And check out those corsets... I think the fainting couches must've been just off camera. (SFW)
It's one thing to helplessly watch a car drift down a driveway after it slips out of park. It's quite another when a 737 does the same thing. Seems like it may have even been under power when it got away from them, so grabbing a strut and screaming "NO!!!!" wouldn't have done much good. Bah. They're union. They'll be back to work tomorrow.
New photos released by NASA are showing the Apollo 11 landing site in unprecedented detail. Well, unprecedented since the astronauts left for home, at any rate. You'd think this would put a fork in those "fake moon landing" people. I'm not holding my breath on that one, though.
A giant mural by none other than Leonardo DaVinci, long thought to have been destroyed centuries ago during a renovation, may have been found. More detail is here. Italy literally has masterpieces hiding other masterpieces. Embarrassment of riches, indeed.
A pair of preteen girls in China committed suicide in part as an attempt at time travel. At least, that's what the article says. Since they're citing a Chinese-language story, who knows? It might be that they were running late or something.
Top Gear's latest season, along with Richard Hammond's new (and apparently well-regarded) series will premiere on BBC America April 16. Maybe by then Fios will have the dratted channel in HD. People've only been asking for it for a few YEARS. Ah, well. It'll still be funny!
Mike J. gets a no-prize that'll really screw up a fireworks display for bringing us a few videos of the IDF taking some of Hajji's toys away from him. No gore or bodies (that I could see anyway), just good ol' fashioned 'asplosions. If it ruins a terrorist's day, I'm all for it.
Leave it to the Aussies to think this up: a bodysuit for race horses is turning heads down under. It looks kinda goofy to me, but if it helps prevent injuries I'm all for it. Brave are the people who convince the horse to put it on, I'd wager.
A Georgia woman spent a harrowing few hours stuck when she fell down a garbage chute. Seems she was trying to grab her cellphone, which she'd accidentally dropped. Ellen would've freaking flown down something like that if her baby were actually at risk. No, not the one going to school today, the one that hooks to a charger and rings when people call it.
The propeller heads at DARPA are at it again, this time fielding a new combat laser system. This time the spec includes the magic words "solid state." All previous super-high-power systems were not only gigantic contraptions, they used heavy, expensive, caustic, and poisonous chemicals to turn the light on. Going solid state makes it smaller, cheaper, and more reliable. No word if it'll be quick/powerful enough to knock down mortars. That'd be a nice get.
CVN-65, better known as the USS Enterprise, has started its final deployment. She'll return to Norfolk for de-activation in the fall. As the article notes, her age and "one-of-a-kind-ness" makes her an enormous (and enormously expensive) PITA to keep operational. She's lasted fully twice as long as intended, so they've definitely got their money's worth. Unfortunately conventional wisdom says the deactivation procedures for nuclear ships means there's not going to be much left when they're done. Kind of a shame, really, that would be one heckuva museum ship.
Make sure you check out the rest of Tommy's YouTube channel. I laughed my ass off at a lot of them!
Pacific Princess, the iconic "star" of the 70s TV series Love Boat, is heading for the scrap yard. This was definitely one of those, "what? It's still around?" moments for me. Yeah, I occasionally watched the show. Whaddaya want? I was only 12.
By using advanced medical imaging technology scientists have finally figured out how a mysterious stranger died. Not a big deal, right? Well, turns out this particular stranger died not quite two thousand years ago and his body got tossed into a bog in Britain. Or Britannia, as it was known back then. Romans, gotta love 'em.
Usually it works the other way around: airline flight forced to return to gate due to a disruptive flight attendant. They're union, so it may be harder to get rid of the person than you'd at first think. Me, I think the phrase, "alcohol involved" will pop up eventually as the story unfolds. Nothing else makes much sense.
Using a new technique with an electron microscope, scientists have determined the extinct dinosaur Microraptor probably had black, iridescent feathers. It also had long, ornamental tail feathers which may have impaired flight. It's thought the strange four-winged dinosaur may have developed these features more for display than for function.
There's the rockets we use during our annual Thanksgiving festivities, and there's the rockets that can go all the way to 120,000 feet. Hey, it's his money, why not build giant rockets with it?
For proof that we've come one helluva long way from Mario Brothers, witness Kara is Self Aware, a short film intended to be a demonstration of the new capabilities the latest motion capture technologies can bring to video games. And, of course, the power of the consoles themselves, which it should be pointed out will be replaced soon enough by the next generation.
It's also a really nifty story, one that should be fleshed out (as it were), if it's not already being finished.
To what I'm sure is the consternation of breast cancer groups and little girls all over the world, it turns out the color pink doesn't actually exist. Science: coming up with b-s answers to questions we didn't realize needed asking just to frak with our day for 450 years.
We ruminated on the mind of a 15 year-old. Nina's since gone on to much bigger and better things.
Scientists are expecting a revolution in microscopy with the development of a technique which completely does away with lenses. No more stains, no more special mounts, with a resolution limited only by the wavelength of energy used to create the image. It's a good thing!
By taking the waves of seismic data and speeding them up into the range of human hearing, scientists have put a new spin on the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Play the clips as they're shown on the article, not as their numbered. The titled as first seems to have the volume turned way too far down, and if you play them in title order the 2nd one will be unpleasant if you have headphones on.
So I've been told.
The Disco Volante re-visit is now available for viewing. Supposedly it's for sale, but no price was mentioned. I'm thinking the kind of people who can afford it are the kind of people who don't need to ask.
One of the first things people notice when they sit in one of our Alfas are the four leaf clovers. The Milano in particular has several of them prominently displayed. "Why is an Irish symbol in an Italian car?" is the typical question. Here, in a short slide show, is the answer. Bonus: avoids the Ben Stein-like droning hours-long history of the marque you'd get if you asked me instead. But, if you're wondering...
While a weird atmospheric inversion may have made the iceberg Titanic hit invisible, it seems the moon is the reason it was there at all. The finding would seem to vindicate Captain Smith, changing him from a reckless speed freak to a seasoned captain who was faced with a completely unexpected situation. Not that it much matters at this distance.
While far from a perfect cloaking device, Mercedes' latest publicity stunt is still fun to look at. The views when it's stationary, and at a distance, are pretty impressive. However, I can't help but think conventional camouflage would achieve the same effect at a far lower, electricity-free, price. Who knows where this'll be in ten years?
East Coast readers take note: NASA's doing some weather rocket experiments who's results should be visible from North Carolina to New Jersey. They're launching from the East Shore of Virginia, so I'm thinking the rockets themselves won't be visible, but the clouds they create probably will.
The Spielberg science fiction drama Terra Nova has been canceled. Can't say I'm all that surprised. Ellen said it best one night, "I signed up to watch a show about dinosaurs. Where are the damned dinosaurs?" I know it's possible for TV to do good Sci Fi, even for extended periods. Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Firefly, Babylon 5, and heck even ST:TNG. They're just common enough to show it can be done. I just wish they'd figure out that Sci-fi is more than Desperate Housewives with laser guns a little more often.
Jeff gets a no-prize that'll help him welcome our new robot overlords for bringing us this look at a record-setting robotic cheetah. I think I'd be more comfortable with it if they'd just put a head on it. At any rate, right now they're sort of cheating by using external power but a free-running version is supposed to be in the wings.
Every time I think something will finally knock the CD off its audio gold-standard throne, someone comes along and sets me straight. Again. In a nutshell: the human ear imposes real, well-researched, concrete limits on what can and cannot be heard. These limits were known when the CD standard was designed, and said standard more than encompassed them. All later "improvements" can't do any better because the ear hasn't changed. That's the first part of the article. The second part is a (probably vain) attempt to hammer down all the usual fanboy arguments against these simple facts.
This was all done to death thirty years ago when the price of CD players descended to a level most audiophiles could afford, not coincidentally right around the time I got into the audiophile hobby. Being the impressionable youngster I was I took all of that science very seriously, bought the cheapest CD player seen up to that point ($189 Emerson single-disk in 1985), and never looked back. I dabbled a bit with SACD but set it aside when I realized I'd never see those disks in the bargain bin and I'm one of those old codgers who refuses to pay $20 for what used to cost $8.
With success comes means, and I now have the means to have a comparatively high-zoot hi-fi rig. What surprises me most is I can now hear the difference between a good engineer and a bad one. Some of my disks, a few of which I've owned for more than twenty-five years, sound genuinely marvelous. Others grate with clearly audible artifacts, compressed sound, and poor spectrum balance. But these represent choices, good and bad, of the people who made the music, not the people who made the playback gear. As the article notes, the only real improvements we'll hear are those created by careful engineers skilled in their craft.
And that's the bottom line.
It turns out being "ginger" has its advantages. Watching a friend's very red-headed boy bounce impressively off the walls and floor as he grows up makes me think they're onto something there.
It's nice to know the cute chopper robots who'll eventually rule the planet aren't infallible. I guess all that netting and safety equipment is there for a reason.
For proof of just how whacky Italian auto sports can get, witness a re-engined Fiat X1/9 doing a hill climb in Naples. It's got some ludicrous motorcycle drivetrain installed in it, that's why the shift changes pop by so quickly. They also (finally) seem to have taken spectator safety at least a little into account, because I don't seem to see quite as many of them standing at the apex of the corners. Makes a nifty noise, I'll give it that.
China's taken that whole Barbara Walters thing and put a whole new spin on it by having their local version interview condemned criminals just before they're executed. Oh, they make sure not to upset Westerners too much by only interviewing murderers and rapists, and they don't actually show any of the executions. Meh. If it helps pass the time and maybe prevents one or two other Chinese from going at each other, I don't have a problem with this particular aspect of it. The whole death penalty thing is another matter entirely*.
* By faith and inclination I think it's a waste of time and resources. Much better for them to attempt enlightenment at the bottom of a dark pit with the occasional loaf of bread and lump of cheese thrown at them. Feel free to disagree, most folks do.
Leave it to the Japanese to turn my current hobby up to 11. The clip is undated (as far as I could figure out), but that's a slightly older-tech chopper there, with mechanical balance controls. Which is to say, the pilot is even better than you think he is. I still wouldn't let him land one that size on my head.
Another day, another finding that tosses a wrench into dark matter theory. For a long time I thought this was all a fudge to keep current cosmological theories afloat. Then I read a few more books and thought there's definitely something to it. I don't think it's fiction any more, but I'm coming around to the idea that current theories really don't know what the hell is going on with the universe actually out there.
An iconic design house is revisiting one of its own iconic designs. Go for the pretty pictures, stay for the Google-ish translation of the text. The gist is true, though. It seems the 8C was released with significant... features... in its rear suspension that make it more than a little challenging to drive quickly.
New scientific research is suggesting a mirage may have been responsible for Titanic striking that iceberg. This "superior mirage" may also have prevented the nearby Californian from correctly identifying the stricken liner and coming to her rescue.
If you all do not remember, Teddy used to jump through a hoop.
We still miss that cat.
One of the very first Saturn Follies was published. Take the introduction to heart. It was amusing to occasionally see people who didn't.
So, will your next game console be a Gen-X device from the big three, or will it be something else? Making a platform completely open tends to attract developers. Microsoft's architecture is such that any Xbox game can be ported to the PC with little or no modifications, something that literally saved PC gaming a few years ago. So, it has potential, and a library of popular titles ready for the taking. Remains to be seen if it goes anywhere.
Ellen created her own (as I recall original) take on "how to bathe a cat." Remember, folks, she's a professional!
Ever wonder what head exploding with candy would actually sound like? I just need to make sure Ron and I have recorders handy when our respective spouses see this. And, natch, you're welcome. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Steve U. gets a no-prize shaped like a music box for bringing us a fine example of useful robotics. Tiny helicopters, a synthesizer, and an electric guitar. What's not to love?
The famous wild parrots of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill have spread their wings to the suburbs.
About a hundred of the green birds have been spotted on the slopes of San Bruno Mountain in Brisbane, a city about 10 miles south of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
I need to move to California.
The parrots have taken such a liking to resident Joe Sulley, he said they occasionally perch on him during visits to his back deck.
"Parrots on my head? It's fabulous," he said.
Yes... a parrot on the head is indeed fabulous!
Agreed: "I think we should require every employer to buy every employee a gun. Otherwise, you’re being denied the right to bear arms."
Damion gets the coveted Junk Yard No-prize for bringing us an alternative way to pull an engine. I'm pretty sure this is a salvage yard. Otherwise it's just a bunch of guys hooning about with an old, defenseless Jetta. I'm OK with that.
I'll see your giant, extinct flee and raise you an enormous, very much alive, stick insect. It lives on a solitary island in the South Pacific, and I am completely fine with that. Fortunately, Ellen doesn't want one.
The body, wrapped in white cloth with a white sign bearing Colvin's name, has been buried because the rebels did not have electricity to keep her body refrigerated. It had started to decay, a rebel in the film footage explains.Seriously? You are in a war zone. You get blown up and your family expects you to be sent back intact? Be grateful she was at least buried and not left out for animals.
It seems our close cousins have an affection for porn as well: Bonobo females will "advertise" their homosexual encounters, especially when they're with higher-status females, or the high status males are around. You can take the ape out of the jungle...
Those kooky Asians are at it again, this time turning Hitler into a cartoon. All those folks who say Americans are arrogant, ignorant, and insensitive to other cultures are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. I'm all for making fun of Hitler, because it would've driven him mad in real life and I just like to think about that sort of torture. On the other hand, turning him into a toy or a cartoon with no conception of the reality of the man strikes me as dangerous. If we treated nuclear weapons as toys we would likely stop thinking of them as terrible. Hitler may be dead, but his ideas are very much alive and they are still a malignant threat to the world perhaps even more than Teller's deadly toys.
If this gets a bunch of ignorant Thai twits to learn about one of the most evil men in history, I guess it actually will serve a purpose. It also helps put paid to the idea that all brown people are virtuous victims to evil round-eyed white men forever and ever, which is a nice bonus. Unfortunately it comes uncomfortably close to painting a cartoon face on the Auschwitz gate.
I'm thinking it can be turned into a teaching opportunity for Israel and Thailand, but only if that opportunity is seized. I'm hoping the Israeli ambassador is deft enough to do some grabbing.
Mike J. gets a no-prize that can grow or shrink to the edges of possibility for bringing us this nifty comparison scale for things smaller than an atom to things bigger than a galaxy. I think we may have linked it before, but it's neat and it's our website so have fun with it all over again. I did.
A fortunate need for maintenance on a dam is allowing scientists a new look at "the oldest fossil forest". The 384 million year-old field of stumps is located a few hours' drive from my in-laws house on (what I think is) the other side of the Catskills range. New discoveries are already helping scientists re-think how the rise of forests altered the planet's ecology.
And in the, "surprised it's taken this long" file, we have a Twilight-inspired engagement photo session. Let's see, they're a) (presumably) paying their taxes, b) staying out of trouble, and c) not on my lawn. It's official, they can do whatever they want.
Using a re-engineered protein found in the infamous "flesh eating bacteria," scientists have created a new "ultimate" super glue. Reading the article, it sounds more like "super-velcro" to me, since the substance only sticks to itself. Anything making it less likely for me to glue my own fingers together is fine by me.