Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Links!

First off, from Ben Ormand, a link to a story in New York Magazine about D.B. Cooper, who may have finally been unmasked after all these years.

D.B. Cooper, in case you're wondering, was the architect of the only unsolved skyjacking in history. In 1971, he hijacked a Northwest Orient Airlines flight, released all the passengers when the plane landed in Seattle, obtained $200,000 and parachutes in ransom, then jumped out of the plane as it flew over southwest Washington, never to be found.

It was both an amazing and brilliant heist, and while the Feds publicly maintained that Cooper had died while trying to land in the dense forest, many people were hoping he survived.

Apparently, he did.

That's all I'm telling you, so you'll have to go here to read the full article, and it's a great read.

Shane Courtrille sent me a link to a carefully written and moving description of a Shinto funeral. I know, that that's well outside the realm of the regular link, but it's very, very interesting, and you can read it here.

Sirius sends in a link to an article about--believe it or not--the neurology of Alice in Wonderland. It compiles the "curious neurological symptoms" that appear in the book, and you can read it here.

Eric Lundquist (among others) sent in a link to a video of the last lecture of Randy Pausch, a professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie-Mellon University. Pausch has terminal pancreatic cancer, and his courage in the face of death is well beyond remarkable. See the video of his lecture here.

Here's an article about a master falconer who researches the flying abilities of falcons--by skydiving with them. It's a fantastically odd idea, but he's discovered some remarkable information, and here's a short summary: falcons are complete badasses. There are some mind-blowing anecdotes, and you can find them here.

Randy sent in a link to an article about the death of the deputy mayor of Delhi--by monkeys. What I find particularly interesting about this story is that the city's strategy for relieving its Rhesus macaques problem was to import bigger monkeys to chase the smaller ones away. It sounds like something out of a Ron Gilbert game. Read the story here.

Another link from Sirius, this one to an article titled "10 Most Bizarre Scientific Papers." My favorite: "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide." See them all here.

David Gloier sent in a link to "Eurobad '74: An Exhibition of Europe's Worst Interiors." It's cringe-inducing, and don't miss the horse. See it here.

The hat-trick for Sirius, and it's an article about scientists using muon detectors to scan Mayan mounds in Belize. Here's a brief description of how it works:
When cosmic rays hit Earth's atmosphere, they spark showers of muons and neutrinos that interact only weakly with intervening matter. The neutrinos are almost unaffected as they pass through our planet, but different densities of matter deflect the muons to different degrees. Thus, it's possible to build muon detectors to determine what those subatomic particles have passed through.

Read about it here.

Jeremy Fischer sent me a link to "Portal: the Flash Version," which you can play here. This is not a Valve project, but it's a fun time-waster at work, and if you like it and haven't gotten The Orange Box yet to play the real thing, leave work immediately.

Finally, from Dan Quock, a link to several articles about a town in Austria that's named--well, it rhymes with "ducking." The Wikipedia entry is here, and the Snopes page is here. This is probably NSFW, depending on how your employer feels about city names.

Site Meter