Friday LinksSome Friday links, because I know you're not working.
Allen Varney has written an excellent article about Starforce for The Escapist and you can read it here. The Escapist should just have a special issue titled "Best of Allen Varney" at some point.
Chris Meyer sent in an amazing link to pictures of the largest piece of moving machinery in the world. It's the giant bucket wheel excavator, built in 1978 by Krupp. You will not believe the size of this beast (300 meters and 45,500 tons), and you can see the pictures here.
Sirius sent in a link to a story about the skeletons of two infants discovered under the shoulder blade--of a mammoth. You can read about it here.
David Gloier sent in a link to a fairly bizarre story about Hitler's home movies--or rather, the technology being used to read his lips in those movies. Read about it here.
Here's an article about a high-school student who created created nuclear fusion in his parent's garage. Seriously. Included are two hall of fame moments from his mother:
--"Originally, he wanted to build a hyperbaric chamber," she said, adding that she promptly said no. But, when he came asking about the nuclear fusion machine, she relented.
--"I thought he was going to be a cook," Natalice Olson said, "because he liked to mix things."
Read the full article here.
Here's an intriguing article from New Scientist about Modafinil, which sounds like a dream come true for me. It's a drug that lets you stay up for long stretches without any seeming side effects, and here's an excerpt:
Yves is talking about modafinil, a stimulant that since its launch seven years ago has acquired a near-mythical reputation for wiring you awake without the jitters, euphoria and eventual crash that come after caffeine or amphetamines.
...Perhaps the most remarkable thing about modafinil is that users don't seem to have to pay back any "sleep debt". Normally, if you stayed awake for 48 hours straight you would have to sleep for about 16 hours to catch up. Modafinil somehow allows you to catch up with only 8 hours or so. Well before Cephalon took an interest in the drug, French researchers discovered this effect in cats back in the early 1990s (Brain Research, vol 591, p 319), and it has since been found to apply to humans too.
The full article is here. That would certainly be a productivity enhancer.
Finally, here's a remarkable article at the New York Times about a very unique kind of synaesthesia:
Lexical-gustatories involuntarily “taste” words when they hear them, or even try to recall them.
There's also some interesting information about synaesthesia in general, and you can read it