Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Links!

A bizarre compendium, as always, so let's get started. You're not going to finish anything at work today.

As part of crow/superhero week, we have links about both.

From Mike Gilbert, a link to a video about the amazing intelligence of crows. I had no idea.

Sean sent in a superhero link: an essay by Michael Chabon titled Secret Skin. Chabon wrote "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," which is a wonderful, wonderful book. And also from Sean, a classic story by sportswriter Joe Posnanski about his greatest day in sportswriting.

Not a superhero, but close: the crazy "Fusion Man," Yves Rossey, made a successful public demonstration of his jet-powered wing. And it's homemade.

Also in the near-superhero category, wheelchair racer Josh George, who weighs 98 pounds and can bench press 220. When sprinting, he can hit his rims 140 times a minute.

And one more near-superhero: double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who has been linked here before (watching him run with carbon fiber "blades" is one of the most amazing things you'll ever see), won his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is now eligible to compete in the Olympics. His 400 meter best (46.56) is still above the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55, but he could be added to the 1,600 meter relay team.

Several of you sent me this link last Friday: Great Tits Cope Well With Warming. I'm sure they do, but would "good" tits do as well?

Sirius, appropriately following that link, sent in a link to a story at Newsweek about the quest to build the perfect bra. Also from Sirius, a link to a story about a remarkable feature inside Westminster Abbey, and here's an excerpt:
The wraps have come off one of Westminster Abbey's least known treasures, a medieval marble pavement foretelling the end of the world, while conservation experts consider how to preserve the ancient stones for the next 740 years.

Few modern visitors have ever seen it, although since 1268 kings and princes, queens and cardinals have walked across a symbol laden mosaic as intricate as a piece of jewellery.

It is made up of rare marbles and gemstones, including some recycled from monuments 1,000 years older, and pieces of coloured glass, set in complex allegorical patterns into a framework of Purbeck marble cut as intricately as a jigsaw puzzle.

Finally, the hat trick for Sirius this week, and it's a link to a discovery by ex-Monty Python member Terry Jones of a 17th century conspiracy to invade Wales by the French. And a map is what tipped them off.

From Nathan Carpenter, a link to a strange and sad episode in history: the "display" of a Congolese pygmy at the Bronx Zoo. It's an entirely surreal story, with plenty of disgrace to go around.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to an article outlining the mission of the Phoenix Mars Lander.

From Scott Zimmerman, a link to the GEN H-4 one-man helicopter. It weights 155 pounds.

From Jarod, a link to an excellent list over at Esquire: The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master. I think I had forty-two of them--I believe that's an "F."

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link to Kyraben: Japanese Character Lunch Boxes. I know, it's motherhood out of control, but they still look fantastic. Also, a link to a photo essay titled In The Time Of Trees, and it's quite striking.

Crazy rasberry ants: look out. On the plus side, though, at least they eat fire ants.

From Fong, a link to a segment on the Star King, a Korean talent show. It features a five-year old blind girl who plays piano, and she's remarkable.

Site Meter