Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Links!

Another strong set of links for your reading pleasure.

Before we get started, here are two quick gaming notes. One, the PC demo for Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is out, and you can find it in all the usual places. Second, a new version of Mount & Blade has been released, and you can get it here.

First off, from Ken Levine's excellent blog titled, um, "By Ken Levine," here's a link to a real rarity: a lengthy excerpt from the audio recording of John Lennon's guest appearance as a morning DJ on Los Angeles radio station KHJ in 1974. To hear it, go here and look for the "Genius, Beatle, Boss Jock -- John Lennon" post on September 21.

DQ reader and Nicest Guy In The World Ben Ormand originally recommended the blog to me, and it's a great read in general.

Next, from Johan Nilsson, a link to the Wikipedia entry for the SS Great Eastern, an iron sailing steam ship built in 1858. She could carry 4,000 passengers and was absolutely massive for her era, the largest ship ever built at the time (and remained the largest for 40 more years). It's a fascinating read, and it's here.

Jesse Leimkuehler sent in an absolutely fantastic series of articles about the Barrow Whalers. Here's an excerpt:
Welcome to the top of the world, home of the Barrow Whalers, the one and only Arctic high school football team in America. Here, 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle, at the very top of our country's 49th state, a place with no grass, no trees, but plenty of permafrost (snow and ice covers the landscape eight months a year), school superintendent Trent Blankenship controversially brought America's most popular sport to town this year. And no one is quite sure what to think.

There are four articles in all, and they're all excellent reads. The first two are from last season, while the last two are recent updates.
ESPN part one
ESPN part two
ESPN Update
Anchorage Daily News

From Dan Quock, an article from Think or Thwim titled "How to Hide an Airplane Factory." It's the story of how the Army Corps of Engineers managed to make a Lockheed Aircraft Plant in California look like--from the air--a rural area. The pictures (in particular) are remarkable, and you can see them here.

From Rob, a link to an update about the "hobbits" of Indonesia. Based on a study of wrist bones, it now appears that the hobbits were actually ancestors of man, not humans suffering from genetic disorders. Read about it here.

From Francis Cermak, a link to an article by the always-interesting Kieron Gillen about the making of Thief: Deadly Shadows. It's an excellent read, and you can find it here.

From John Harwood (the man who actually sold me the Phillips CD-i I wrote about earlier this week), a link to some excellent MIT pranks. First, a re-invention of an on-campus statue, now with a Spartan helmet and an assault rifle--at Harvard. See it here. Here's also a link to some of the legendary MIT pranks over the years, all of which are outstanding, and you can read about them here.

From Sirius, a link to an article over at MSNBC about an exciting discovery when it comes to recovering DNA from extinct animals. The secret, it seems, is getting the DNA from hair instead of bone or muscle. Here's an excerpt:
Contamination from bacteria DNA generally make up 50 to more than 90 percent of the raw DNA extracted from the bone and muscles of ancient specimens, Gilbert said. In contrast, more than 90 percent of the DNA extracted from hairs taken from woolly mammoth specimens in the new study belonged to the extinct mega-mammals themselves.

"The quality of the DNA was fantastic," Gilbert told LiveScience. "It was way better than we ever imagined. There's both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA in there."

The finding, detailed in the Sept. 28 issue of the journal Science, could simplify DNA extraction in taxonomy, forensics, anthropology, paleontology and other fields. It could also help overcome one of the major hurdles involved in potential attempts to clone extinct animals.

I'm waiting for Mammoth Park, because it's coming. Read about it all here.

Here's a link to an article at MSNBC about the greatest philanthropist you've never heard of: Chuck Feeney. He's given away well over a billion dollars, but he still wears a fifteen dollar watch. Here's an excerpt:
"I had one idea that never changed in my mind — that you should use your wealth to help people. I try to live a normal life, the way I grew up," Feeney said. "I set out to work hard, not to get rich."

It's an inspiring read, and it's here.

The true genius of invention may never be understood, particularly after the introduction of this product: an MP3 player that also has a deep cleaning mode for your face. Too bizarre for words, and it's here.

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