Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Links

Lots of reading to distract you today, so let's get started.

Here's some follow-up to my urgent plea for bikini-banning legislation for U.S. citizens. It's a map of obesity in the nation from 1984 to 2004, and it's remarkable to see the gigantic (pun) increase in obesity in the last twenty years. See it here.

I've mentioned Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) several times in the past, but Mark Lahren spotted something I'd totally missed. In 1987, Bird wrote Family Dog, which appeared on Amazing Stories. He also provided the voice for a character (which you'll recognize as almost the same voice he used for Edna Mode in The Incredibles).

In another twist, Tim Burton was the character designer.

Why am I telling you all this? Because all three Family Dog shorts are on You Tube, and you can watch them here.

Here's a fascinating article from the BBC about recent hominid fossil finds and how they might reshape evolutionary theory:
Previously, the hominid Homo habilis was thought to have evolved into the more advanced Homo erectus, which evolved into us.

Now, habilis and erectus are thought to be sister species that overlapped in time.

The new fossil evidence reveals an overlap of about 500,000 years during which Homo habilis and Homo erectus must have co-existed in the Turkana basin area, the region of East Africa where the fossils were unearthed.

Read the full article here.

Here's an amazing link from Sirius about the middle finger of Galileo. The entire story is amazing, and here's an excerpt:
It is a remarkable bit of irony, that finger. Venerated, kept in reliquary, subjected to the same treatment as a Saint. But this finger belonged to no Saint. It is the long bony finger of an enemy of the church, a heretic. A man so dangerous to the religious institution he was made a prisoner in his own home. It sits in a small glass egg atop an inscribed marble base in the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, or the History of Science Museum in Florence, Italy.

Read all about it here.

Jessie Leimkuehler sent in interesting links about the Titanic, all originating from Encyclopedia Titanica. Specifically, descriptions of unidentified bodies (which is quite poignant, actually) here, and a full manifest of passengers (1496, here). I'll have more Titanic links for you next week as well.

Here's an article from Engadget about the Enryu T-53 service robot being used to clean up after the earthquake in Niigata. Excellent pictures, and you can see them

Sirius doubles up this week with two interesting links. The first is a story about how vultures are beginning to attack people in Europe. Why it's happening makes for excellent reading, and it's here. The second is an article about levitation, and how physicists at the University of St. Andrews have reversed the Casimir force to create a levitation effect. It's remarkable, and it's here.

The Amiga 500 is still probably my favorite gaming machine ever, and Frank Regan sent in a link to a story over at Ars Technica about the history of the Amiga, which you can read here.

Manchester United recently signed a new player. He's nine. Take a look here.

This is off the beaten path, but golf instructional guru Dave Pelz wrote an article about the differences between Tour players and everyone else. What's interesting is that they actually objectively measured the differences this time, and the results are very interesting. Read it here.

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