Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Links! (Halloween Edition)


Leading off this week is a link from Sirius (who is everywhere this week) to a remarkable story about the broadcast of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. What makes it remarkable is that the nationwide panic attributed to the broadcast may not have really happened.

Another Halloween link, this one via Wired, to a Flickr photoset of vintage Halloween pictures titled Halloween In the Time of Cholera. Collector Steven Martin had this to say to Wired:
The idea being that people back then were probably on a more intimate level with death — and that would have affected the way they celebrated Halloween.

And one more, this one via the indispensable Neatorama, titled Farmer Grows Pumpkins With Human Faces.

Here's something totally fantastic from Jeremy Trim: a link to the original animation footage for Prince of Persia. It's Jordan Mechner's little brother, and you will immediately recognize everything he does. Prepare for an overwhelming memory rush.

Here's another link from Sirius to a fascinating theory: that the publication of scientific research is influenced by the so-called winner's curse. Here's an excerpt (and the winner's curse is a fascinating bit of economic theory in general):
IN ECONOMIC theory the winner’s curse refers to the idea that someone who places the winning bid in an auction may have paid too much. Consider, for example, bids to develop an oil field. Most of the offers are likely to cluster around the true value of the resource, so the highest bidder probably paid too much.

The same thing may be happening in scientific publishing, according to a new analysis. With so many scientific papers chasing so few pages in the most prestigious journals, the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves—to trumpet dramatic or important results that later turn out to be false. This would produce a distorted picture of scientific knowledge, with less dramatic (but more accurate) results either relegated to obscure journals or left unpublished.

Also a link to a story about a devastating new resident off the east coast of Florida--the lionfish. What makes this article so interesting (to me) is how it happened:
When Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, no one gave much thought to the six exotic lionfish that spilt into Biscayne Bay as the storm smashed their Miami waterfront aquarium.
Sixteen years later, thousands of the fish are wreaking havoc off America's east coast, leading a potentially catastrophic marine invasion.

One more from Sirius, and it's a link to a story about the world's most technologically advanced planetarium.

The longest insect in the world? a stick bug from Borneo, and it's over a foot long.

From Glen Haag, a link to the unfathomably awesome plasma rocket engine. Here's an excerpt:
Short for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, VASIMR is a new high-power plasma-based space propulsion technology, initially studied by NASA and now being developed privately by Ad Astra. A VASIMR engine could maneuver payloads in space far more efficiently and with much less propellant than today’s chemical rockets.

From Chuck Alessi, a link to holophonic sound recordings. Wear headphones, and you will be absolutely astonished.

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link of pure genius: AC/DC, in an Excel Spreadsheet. Here's an excerpt on why it happened:
The video is the fine work of Phil Clandillon and Steve Milbourne, who work at a division of Sony/BMG in London. They call this "the world's first music video in Excel format."

"Basically, it's come about because we recognized that a lot of people have fairly restrictive internet and security policies at work," said Clandillon inan interview with "What we really liked was that we could actually subvert the corporate firewalls by including AC/DC's music in an Excel spreadsheet, because that's allowed through every corporate firewall there is."

Next is one more reason why you really want to work at Google: a zip line.

From DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh, a link to a story about a runaway, but boy, is this one different. Here's an excerpt:
He hasn't looked at a map yet to see how far into the mountains he hiked or which rivers and creeks he followed away from his home — or back to civilization 12 days later.

...Authorities described him as not a typical disgruntled teenage runaway, but a boy who had dreams of surviving in the wilderness.

From CNN, a story about five infamous female spies.

From Ty Sleck, a website that is very timely, given the recent release of Fallout 3: Survive the Apocalypse.

From George Paci, a link to images of a Buddhist temple--built from beer bottles.

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