Friday Links!A couple of quick notes, then on to the links.
First, Mike Harris let me know that an anagram of "Shreveport, Louisiana" is "Harris: A Piteous Novel." Indeed.
Next, Mike Chuck explained that "cowplop lotto" doesn't involve throwing a "cow pie." What happens is that a cow gets fed, then gets put inside an area that is marked off as a grid. Then, Mike says, "Anticipation builds while ticket holders watch and wait for the bovine to rock a deuce on their ticket's grid."
That's even worse than I thought.
The first link today is from Rob, who sends in Important Days In History Of Universe. Here's an excerpt:
3. March 12, 1610: Day Galileo revealed all his secrets
March 12, 1610, marks the date that Galileo Galilei published his famous book, The Starry Messenger, in which he recounted the discoveries he'd made with his newly built telescope. (He hadn't built the first one, but he did significantly improve on the original.)
mong the book's most notable revelations: The discovery of Jupiter's four largest satellites, which provided evidence that not all objects in the heavens orbited the Earth. Because of this, Galileo's book later proved to be one of Newton's best friends.
Galileo's data allowed Newton to confirm that Kepler's laws of planetary motion also applied to the moons orbiting Jupiter, thus demonstrating that the force that produced these orbits was the same force that kept the planets orbiting the Sun and the Moon orbiting the Earth. In other words, it put Newton's Universal Law of Gravity on firm empirical footing.
Next, from Joe Craig, a link to the Do-Nothing Machine, and here's a description:
The machine has over 700 working parts that rotate, twist, oscillate and reciprocate—all for no purpose except movement. It is the brainstorm of Lawrence Wahlstrom, a landscape artist, who calls it a flying-saucer detector. The machine not only accomplishes nothing, it is never completed—it has been under construction seven years. Each year Wahlstrom adds 50 or more moving parts to it so it can do nothing more efficiently!
Well, that's my writing career in a nutshell.
Also at that website is a link to a story about "hobo nickels," which is a totally fascinating subject in itself. There's a Wikipedia entry as well as the website for the The Original Hobo Nickel Society, which has some absolutely stunning photos.
Vahur Teller sent in a link to a darkly funny and clever Finnish film--about Santa. Monty Python meets A Clockwork Orange under the mistletoe, sort of.
From Edwin Garcia, and this is definitely Not Safe For Work, a link to the "music video" Everyday Normal Guy. It's by comedian Jon Lajoie, and it's hilarious. I must have burst out laughing a dozen times, at least.
From Sirius, a link to The Edge Annual Question — 2008, which is always an excellent, interesting read. This year's question is as follows:
When thinking changes your mind, that's philosophy.
When God changes your mind, that's faith.
When facts change your mind, that's science.
WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY?
Science is based on evidence.
What happens when the data change?
How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?"
Sirius also sent in a link to The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007. Yes, it's slanted to the left, but it's very witty as well.
From Steven Davis, a link to Robert J. Lang Origami, including a detailed description of the "crease pattern" (which an integral part of what is considered "modern" origami).
From Edwin, a link to a story about the shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese lute, basically). Shamisen Hero, anyone? Don't miss the video of "shamisen rock"--it's very cool.