Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Links!

In sympathy with the northern U.S. and the Great White North, this is the Frozen Solid Edition of Friday Links.

Leading off this week, a link from Randy to a fantastic article in The New Yorker titled Atomic John. Here's the opening, and it's an outstanding read:
The single, blinding release of pure energy over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, marked a startling and permanent break with our prior understandings of the visible world. Yet for more than sixty years the technology behind the explosion has remained a state secret. The United States government has never divulged the engineering specifications of the first atomic bombs, not even after other countries have produced generations of ever more powerful nuclear weapons. In the decades since the Second World War, dozens of historians have attempted to divine the precise mechanics of the Hiroshima bomb, nicknamed Little Boy, and of the bomb that fell three days later on Nagasaki, known as Fat Man. The most prominent is Richard Rhodes, who won a Pulitzer Prize, in 1988, for his dazzling and meticulous book “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” But the most accurate account of the bomb’s inner workings—an unnervingly detailed reconstruction, based on old photographs and documents—has been written by a sixty-one-year-old truck driver from Waukesha, Wisconsin, named John Coster-Mullen, who was once a commercial photographer, and has never received a college degree.

From Vahur Teller, and continuing our fascination with hyperinflation, the news that Zimbabwe has introduced a $50 billion note. That's $2 American, in case you're wondering, and Zimbabwe's inflation rate is now estimated at 231 million percent.

From Future Nobel Prize Winner Brian Pilnick, a link to the paper written by by the Tartan Racing Team, of which he was a member. TRT was created to win the DARPA Urban Challenge, and seeing the details of their efforts is tremendously interesting. Read it here.

Here's an outstanding link from Stephen Micinski to a video on obsession. The story is told by MythBusters Co-Host Adam Savage, and it is fantastically entertaining.

From Sirius, a link to an astounding discovery, and here's an excerpt:
U.S. scientists have found a way to levitate the very smallest objects using the strange forces of quantum mechanics, and said on Wednesday they might use it to help make tiny nanotechnology machines.

Next, and myth of the "three-second memory" for fish has been debunked. They can actually remember sounds for up to five months. And here's a link to video of something I'd never even heard of before: a a venomous mammal.

From Ben Younkins, a link to an article about the "Steagles," the 1943 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, when the two teams combined due to roster depletion caused by WWII.

From Shane Courtrille, a link to 51 Things You Aren't Allowed To See On Google Maps, and some of them (the Bahrain item, in particular) are fascinating.

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link to a video about how bacon is made. Next, an outstanding satirical video titled Infomania: Target Women-Jewelry. Oh, and the host of this video is a real jewel (Yes! Successful deployment of the worst pun in the history of the world)--she should wind up on The Daily Show. And a link to a real estate collapse nightmare: Developer's Disaster Causes Modern Ghost Town.

Via Neatorama, a link to a relational chart of heavy metal band names. Also, and this is totally awesome, a link to a site where you can convert your photos into tilt-shift versions. Oh, and I never thought I'd be using these words, but here's a video about a slingshot expert that you must see.

From Francis Cermak, a link to a bizarre story: the discovery of a series of stones arranged in a circle at the bottom of Lake Michigan that may represent an ancient civilization.

From Sean, a link to images from Varinis Trompe Loeil, which I can only describe as "geometric art" (and that's totally inadequate--you need to see the pictures). And one more from Sean, to an article about how Porsche pulled off a stunning financial "hack" through Volkswagen shares.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to a historical correction: it wasn't Galileo who made the first telescope-aided drawing of the moon, it was Englishman Thomas Harriot.

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