Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Links!

Close your door so that your co-workers don't hear you shouting in glee. Well, not glee, maybe, but something better than being bored to death at work on Friday morning.

One note before starting with the links. In my post on King Leopold's Ghost, I mentioned that the population of the Congo was decimated, then said it was estimated that up to half of the population had been killed. Brian Witte emailed this note:
You referred to the 'systematic decimation' of the Congo. 'Decimation' refers to the Roman practice of killing 1 in every 10 people of an occupied area as retaliation for attacks against occupying legions. Awful as that is, a 50% mortality rate is well in excess of a decimation.

Then he added the zinger:
Amusingly, the dictionary agrees that I am a pedant.

Now, on with the links!

Leading off this week, Don Barree sent in a link to a NY Times article titled Tests Confirm T-Rex Kinship With Birds. The confirmation this time, though, is on the genetic level. Here's an excerpt:
In fact, the scientists said, T. rex shared more of its genetic makeup with ostriches and chickens than with living reptiles, like alligators. On this basis, the research team has redrawn the family tree of major vertebrate groups, assigning the dinosaur a new place in evolutionary relationships.

Next, it's a story sent in by Nate Carpenter that can't help but spawn (that's a pun) some legendary headlines. Curious? Try Penis Theft Panic Hits City. Next: penis surveillance security cameras.

Steven Kreuch sent in a story about the Large Hadron Collider and the doomsday fears of Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho, who believe the LHC might generate a black hole that could swallow the universe. Wagner also filed suit in 1999 to stop operation of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which has been remarkably humanity-ending-free.

From the New York Times, an article about Stern Pinball, the last of its kind.

From Sirius, a link to a story about scientists producing natural gas from ice-like gas hydrates. Also from Sirius, a link to a story about Santo Daime, a religion with origins in the Amazonian rainforest that is now growing in popularity in Britain. Oh, and there are hallucinogenics. Finally, it's The Geyser Riders, and it's all about the "sand hogs." Here's an excerpt:
Today hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers ride the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan everyday, but it was not so long ago that such a thing was still a dream. Tunneling through the Manhattan Schist (I think everyone can agree that Manhattan sometimes feels like a big pile of schist…) was a tough job. It was dark, dirty and extremely dangerous. It was the job of a very special group of men: the sandhogs.

From Jessie Leimkuehler, an article about a clean room. A very clean room.
Astronauts will travel to the Hubble Space Telescope this summer, installing new instruments and other components during Servicing Mission 4. But before these components are cleared for launch, they go through one final checkup in the world’s largest clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

...all these features afford the Goddard clean room a Class-10,000 rating. That means any cubic foot of air in the clean room has no more than 10,000 particles floating around in it larger than 0.5 microns.

How small it that? A micron is one-millionth of a meter, and typical “outside” air has millions of such particles. (A human hair is between 20 and 200 microns wide.) If an inch ballooned to the size of the Empire State Building, a 0.5-micron bit of dust would still be smaller than a penny on the sidewalk.

Also from Jessie, two links about the mishaps on the recent Russian Soyuz spacecraft landing. The first details some of what happened as well as the risks involved, while the second is about the ongoing investigation.

From John D'Angelo, a link to When Galaxies Collide, and the pictures are amazing.

Michael Stedman sent me a link to a phenomenal John Coltrane video.

From Dan Quock, a link to Dancin' the Boogie, and boy, their feet are moving.

From the Edwin Garcia links machine, some real gems this week. The first is a Portuguese barn barn full of vintage cars. Next is an article titled Moondust and Duct Tape, and it's an article about how Apollo 17 astronauts repaired the fender on their moonbuggy--with duct tape. While on the moon. Then, in an entirely improbable coincidence, there's antother moondust link--this one, to scientists growing plants in moondust.

From Simon, a link to Pachelbel Hell, which is of particular interest if you ever played Pachelbel's Canon in D on a cello.

Bill Abner put a White Stripes video in a post on The Nut And The Feisty Weasel, and I started poking around YouTube and found an outstanding series of videos from a guest performance on "Jools Holland." Here are two, and you can type in "White Stripes Live Jools Holland" on YouTube to find several more.
My Doorbell (this is absolutely killer)
Effect And Cause

From Andrew Martin, a link to Rare Book Room, "an educational site intended to allow the visitor to examine and read some of the great books of the world."

Keith Schleicher sent in a very funny link about Superman titled super-child-neglect. You'll never look at the Man of Steel the same way again.

From Nate Carpenter, a link to a beautiful display--of poetry. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.

Yes, that was the same Nate Carpenter that sent in a link to the Penis Theft Panic story. That has to be some kind of record for conceptual distance between links.

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