Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Links!

Stop looking at the stock market and start looking at these links--it's better for your blood pressure.

It's the best week of animal videos ever. First, from Neatorama, it's penguin escape hungry whales. And how did this penguin escape? He just jumped into the boat of the people making the video! Next, from Sirius, it's top ten amazing animal videos. In particular, I recommend "Pet Hippo Lives in a House" (it's a wild hippo, and believe me, you need to watch this), "Polar Bears Playing With Dogs" (WTF?), and (if you haven't already seen it) "Battle at Kruger."

Here's a real treasure trove, and you could spend years looking through it all: the LIFE photo archive.

From Jarod, a link to a totally ingenious YouTube game that draws inspiration from the classic series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books: it's The Time Machine.

From Garrett Alley, and it's totally ingenious, it's Bike Hero. [note: this has now been revealed as Activision viral marketing bullshit. Still cool to watch.]

Here's a link to a remarkable photo essay: Earth from above.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to a new aurora found on Saturn, and the picture is just staggering.

From Simon van Alphen, a link to videos of Forevertron, and if you've never heard of it, go here for background. Also, a link to I Know Where Bruce Lee Lives, billed as the "utimate Bruce Lee remixer" (and quite fun).

From Scott Ray, the best link I've seen to the story that astronomers have captured an optical image of a planet orbiting a star like our own. What makes this link so good is the personal nature of the story, and the enthusiasm.

From the Edwin Garcia Links machine, a link to a mind-blowing series of pictures: hydraulic excavator used to climb column. Also, a link to a series of beautiful photographs of underground wonders. Then there's a link to HD images from the 1966 Lunar orbiter. Here's a fascinating excerpt about how the pictures were originally taken:
While these probes were not as sophisticated as the HD cameras of the Selene spacecraft developed by the Japanese space agency, the NASA orbiters had a clever imaging system that achieved similar results four decades ago. It included a dual lens camera—one 610 millimeter narrow angle for high resolution and an 80 millimeter wide angle for medium resolution—, a film processor, and a scanner. Both lenses were aligned to expose the same part of the 70 millimeter film roll, so the high resolution image area was centered with the medium resolution area.

This was more complicated that it sounds: Since the spaceship was cruising above the lunar surface, they had to compensate for that motion. Using an electro-optical sensor to measure the distance while a small motor shifted the film so the second exposure exactly matched the first one. After that, the film was processed, scanned, and the information send back to Earth, where it was stored in analog tapes.

One last link from the EGLM: wallpaper that is actually a coloring book. This may be the greatest idea in the history of mankind.

From Andrew B, a link to a remarkable bit of storytelling: I played Oblivion blacked-out drunk. Not encouraging the drinking, obviously, but it's quite a funny story.

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