Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Links!

Shut your door. Forward your phone. These will keep you busy for a long while.

Leading off this week is a brilliant article by David Kushner in Wired Magazine titled Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. What Really Happened?. The article is about Pushpinder Singh and Chris McKinstry, and it's a terrific piece of writing.

Here's a remarkable but sad article about the unbelievable rate of painkiller addiction in western Virginia.

The Edwin Garcia link machine rolls on. First, a new treatment for Alzheimer's that dramatically improves symptoms within minutes of treatment. There's also a direct link to the scientific paper the article discusses. Then there's footage of an actual jet crash during a Thunderbirds performance, and seeing the pilot eject (and live) is incredible. Finally, here's a link to photographs of peculiar street sculptures, and most of them are fantastic.

From Garrett Alley, a link to The Diary of Samuel Pepys, a 17th century figure of considerable controversy. You can also look at the Wikipedia entry for Pepys. He left a lengthy and extremely interesting diary, and it's being published as daily blog entries.

Zillah sent me a link to the fascinating story of Jasper Maskelyne, who allegedly was responsible for some of the most outrageous acts of large-scale deception in WWII, using his skill as a stage magician to design apparatus to hide both Alexandria and the Suez Canal. Maskelyne was also a tremendous self-promoter, and there is serious doubt whether many of these events actually happened. There's a website devoted to a series of articles that purports to debunk Maskelyne's claims, and it's an excellent read.

From Joe Kaplan, a link to a photo set on Flickr titled News in the 1910s. There are FIFTEEN Hundreds photos in this set, and here's a description:
This selected set of 1,500 photographs is from a large collection of almost 40,000 glass negatives. The entire collection spans 1900-1920 and richly documents sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, and political activities, with a special emphasis on life in New York City.

Scott Ray sent in a link to a demonstration of a Surface-like interface that utilizes the Wiimote. Incredibly, it took only eight days for the dev team to get to the stage shown in the video.

From Mike, a link to a brilliant and hilarious satire titled Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation With Wish. The wish list of the kid is absolutely classic, and if you're wondering why it reminds you of The Onion, it's because they made the video.

From George Paci, a link to another interesting entry over at Strange Maps--this one, a map of U.S. states, renamed for countries with similar GDP's. California? It's France now. Texas? It's Canada. Take a look.

There's a new program coming to The Smithsonian Channel titled "Timewatch - Bloody Omaha" (an episode of the BBC series "Timewatch"). Gerry Palmer sent me a link to a video that explains how the footage of the D-Day invasion was created for the show. Basically, it was a Volvo station wagon full of equipment, three guys dressed as WWII soldiers, a couple of cameras, and lots and lots of ingenuity. It's incredible, really, what they created, and the video shows the process very well.

From Devon Prescott, a link to a supplemental quiz for the Look Around You Maths video I linked to last week. And Duncan Botwood sent in a link to the Look Around You Music episode, which is hilarious as well.

DQ Fitness Consultant Doug Walsh sent in a link to a story about a 16-year old who built a wooden bicycle. Frame, wheels, gears, everything.

"There Will Be Blood" has been universally acclaimed as a film, and Daniel Day-Lewis is a heavy favorite to win an Oscar for his role. In the Daily Mail, an article about his life paints an interesting and strange picture of his life. He's a brilliant and very odd fellow.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, two interesting links. First, a new book titled Touch the Invisible Sky. Here's what makes this book so cool:
"Touch the Invisible Sky" contains 60 pages of color images of nebulae, stars, galaxies and a few of the telescopes used to capture the pictures. The authors added embossing of lines, bumps and other textures to each image, rendering colors, shapes, and other details in a third dimension. Descriptions that accompany each of the 28 images in the book are supplied in Braille and large-print text, making the information accessible to readers having differing visual abilities.

The second link from Jesse is to an article about something never before observed: old stars capable of a second generation of planet formation. The article is titled Amazing Old Stars Give Birth Again.

From George Paci, a link to a story about an octopus in love--with Mr. Potato Head. Don't take my word for it--go look at the picture.

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