Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Links!

I'm officially announcing today that you've all been given the month of December off, so enjoy your last workday of the year.

First off, you desperately need to see this video. It shows men in wingsuits, and the only way I can describe them is to say that it makes you look like a giant flying squirrel. So these guys basically jump off cliffs and glide along at absolutely insane speeds. It's breathtaking. Thanks to Jonathan Arnold for sending me the link. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, here's another video that's just as crazy.

John Rodriguez sent me a link to a website called Strange Maps, and it's exactly what you think it would be--a collection of unusual and obscure maps. And it's excellent.

Here's something you need to see for yourself--the Temples of Damanhur. Located thirty miles from Turin, there are nine ornate temples build a hundred feet underground. Actually "ornate" doesn't even begin to describe their elaborate, intricate beauty.

Who is responsible for these marvels? A fifty-seven year old former insurance broker.

The article tells an amazing story, and believe me, you want to see these pictures. Thanks to several of you who sent me the link.

Sirius sent me a link to a fantastic website called Curious Expeditions, and there's a video of a trip to a luminescent cave (known as a "blue cave") in Croatia. The water has a stunning blue hue, and it's a spectacular video. The website is full of interesting stories as well.

From Geoff Engelstein, a link to an article about phantom limb pain and how a mirror can help relieve pain. Here's an excerpt:
Viewing the reflected image of an intact limb in a mirror can fool the mind into thinking that a lost leg or foot still exists, dramatically relieving phantom limb pain, researchers reported on Wednesday.

Here's a second link from Geoff, this one to a spectacular eight-minute animated film that "illustrates unseen molecular mechanisms and the ones they trigger, specifically how white blood cells sense and respond to their surroundings and external stimuli." This is not your father's filmstrip from the 1950s, either--it's nothing short of incredible.

There's a fascinating article over at MSNBC about heroism and what motivates people to perform heroic acts, often without any chance of recognition. It's an excellent read.

From Steven Kreuch, a link to the "World's 10 Most Famous Uncracked Ciphers." Each of the ten are amazing mysteries in their own right.

From Cibby Pulikkaseril, a link to a fan-created map of the Star Wars galaxy. The detail is absolutely meticulous and staggering.

Here's an interesting product announcement from Eizo: a 24-inch LCD monitor designed specifically for colorblind users. It uses "uses different color schemes and shapes to help colorblind users distinguish between different colors," and it's shipping in December.

From the BBC, an article about a new kind of scanner that can do a full-body scan in less than a minute, and with astonishing detail. It's a 256-slice CT machine known as the Brilliance CT,, and it also reduces radiation exposure by 80%. The pictures included with the article are stunning.

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