Wednesday, January 31, 2007


For your reading pleasure.

First off, from Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to a story about the real-life inspiration for the Mona Lisa:
An expert on the "Mona Lisa" says he has ascertained with certainty that the symbol of feminine mystique died on July 15, 1542, and was buried at the convent in central Florence where she spent her final days.

It's a remarkable bit of detective work, with all kinds of interesting possibilities, and you can read about it here.

George Paci sent in a link to an incredibly cool device called the RepRap. Here's an excerpt from the website:
RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is a practical self-copying 3D printer.

RepRap will make plastic, ceramic, or metal parts, and is itself made from plastic parts, so it will be able to make copies of itself.

... This process is called fused deposition modeling; machines that do this are called 3D printers, rapid prototypers, or fabbers. They are very useful. Unfortunately they are also very expensive - $20,000 US or more - and existing models don't self-replicate. The RepRap build cost will be less than $400 US for the bought-in materials, all of which have been selected to be as widely available everywhere in the world as possible. Also, the RepRap software will work on all computer platforms for free. Complete open-source instructions and plans are published on this website for zero cost and available to everyone so, if you want to make one yourself, you can.

I've been told that the idea is not revolutionary, but the potential price makes it accessible to exponentially more people. Read about it here.

Here's another link from JL, to an interview with a pad technician for NASA who was on duty during the January 27, 1967 disaster. It's a gripping interview and you can read it here.

From Michael O'Reilly, a link to one of the greatest headlines ever (about someone going on a ceramic gnome-breaking spree in Australia): Gnome, gnome on derange.

Lastly, Lee Abraham sent in a link to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian trying to play Madhouse (an Anthrax song) in Guitar Hero (hint: he's not good). NSFW (language), but Ian is remarkably good natured about the whole thing. The video is here.

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