Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Links!

Look, there's just no reason to get anything done at work today, so close out Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Whatever and start reading.

From DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh, a link to a fantastic video of robots inspired by animals. You will be blown away at 1:40.

From David Gloier, a link to a picture of the Phoenix lander with its parachute deployed as it descends to the Martian surface--with the photograph taken by the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter. Also from David, a Wikipedia link--to the strangest Wikipedia links, including articles on Chrismukka and Manhattanhenge. And the hat trick, with an article about a previously undiscovered Amazon tribe.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to a story about the Hubble telescope looking for baryons--and finding them.

From Don Barree, a link to a startling article in the New York Times--Monkeys Think, Moving Artificial Arm As Own. The video linked inside the article is very, very freaky. Also from Don, a NY Times article about Stonehenge and the conclusion that it was a monument to the dead.

It's spring, when a young man's fancy turns--to cheese. That's right, here's a video from the Gloucester Cheese Rolling of 2008. I believe that alcoholic beverages may be consumed in preparation for this event. Thanks to Matt Sbonik for the link.

From Meg McReynolds, an article in Newsweek about Chung Lee, whose amazing Wiimote projects have been linked here several times. It's a staggering leap in profile for Lee, and well-deserved.

From Sirius, a link to an article about a teenager whose high school science project was a method to break down the polymers in plastic bags. Take a look at his brilliantly simple methodology:
The 16-year-old from Waterloo, Ontario, as part of a science fair project, figured out a way to break down the polymers in plastic bags—compounds that can last for over 1,000 years—in about three months. Essentially, Burd hypothesized that since the bags eventually do degrade, it must be possible to isolate and augment the degrading agents.

...Burd combined ground polyethylene plastic bags, sodium chloride, dirt from a landfill (which theoretically contains the microorganisms that ultimately degrade the plastic) and a yeast mixture in shakers for four weeks at a consistent temperature of about 86 degrees. At the end of the month, he took a sample of that mixture and combined it with a new one, with the goal of increasing the overall concentration of microbes. After one more repetition, he put fresh plastic bags in his solution for six weeks. In the end, the plastic degraded nearly 20%. A little more filtering to figure out exactly which microbes were the most effective, and he upped the degradation rate to 32%.

From Juan Font, a link to a story about a girl who is allergic--to water.

From Vahur Teller, a link to Alice, a Carnegie Mellon project. Here are the details:
Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience.

Watch the "learn about the Alice interface" video and you'll how it works--it's very, very cool.

From Scott Zimmerman, a link to a story about electroadhesive robots.

From Jarod, a link to The Crappy Facts of Life, and they're very funny.

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