Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Links!

I hope your work is already done for the day, because as the Rolling Stones would say, it's all over now.

First off, from The Onion, a link to an article titled New Features in Madden '08. Here are just a few excerpts:
The release of the new Madden videogame has become an event in its own right. Onion Sports lists everything players can get excited about in '08, not counting roster changes:
--1,028 new fumble animations, one of which can be seen on every third play
--When sacked for a loss of more than seven yards while playing the Wii version, television falls on you
--"Actually Have Fun While Playing Mode," where all of the bullshit features created in the past five years are switched off so you can actually have fun while playing

What I really like about the gaming articles they write is that, clearly, they're gamers (that "Actually Have Fun While Playing Mode" is a classic). See the rest here.

Victor Godinez (who writes some excellent articles for the Dallas Morning News) sends in a link to a story about a bizarre oddity: the world's oldest woman lives in the same county as the world's tallest woman.

That's not a typo. It's not "country"--it's county. A county of 44,000 people, in Indiana. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation (which is probably totally wrong) and figured the odds of that happening at roughly 90 billion to 1. Take a look at the story here.

Researchers at MIT have invented a new microscope that can create 3-D images of moving cells in real-time. See it here.

From Jay Roe, a link to a story about the invention of a paper battery. Read about it here.

Jeremy Fischer sent in a link to an excellent animated short titled "A Gentlemen's Duel." Very funny, and you can see it here.

From Randy Graham, a link to a story about the ultimate solution to a Rubik's cube, no matter the starting position--any position can be solved in 26 moves. What's particularly interesting about this story is the potential to use the same analytical process for other combinatorial problems, and you can read about it here.

Here's a link from Sirius to a story about fossilized trees found in Hungary.
Hungarian scientists said on Tuesday they have discovered a group of fossilized swamp cypress trees preserved from 8 million years ago which could provide clues about the climate of pre-historic times.

Instead of petrifying -- turning to stone -- the wood of 16 Taxodium trees was preserved in an open-cast coal mine allowing geologists to study samples as if they were sections cut from a piece of living wood.

See the full story here.

A second link from Sirius, and it's fascinating. Squirrels in California yank tails--of rattlesnakes. It sounds like a story from The Onion, but in this case, it's real, and it's a remarkable story, which you can read here.

And here's the unprecedented triple link from Sirirus, to a story about what in astronomy is referred to as the "Wow" mystery. Here's an excerpt:
Exactly 30 years ago today, astronomer Jerry Ehman was looking over a printout of radio data from Ohio State University's Big Ear Radio Observatory when he saw a string of code so remarkable that he had to circle it and scribble "Wow!" in the margin. The printout recorded an anomalous signal so strong that it had to come from an extraordinary source.

Was it a burst of human-made interference? Or an alien broadcast from the stars? No one knows. The source of the "Wow" signal has never been heard from again - even though astronomers have looked for it dozens of times.

Read about it here.

Here are those additional Titanic links that I mentioned last week (all from Jesse Leimkuehler):
--a story about a visit to the graveyard in Halifax is here.
--a story about the "Death Ship" that recovered the bodies is here.
--a more general story on maritime cemetaries in Novia Scotia is here.

From Paul Costello of Groovalicious Games comes one of the strangest links I've seen--a prison in the Phillipines where the inmates are doing mass dance routines. Watching hundreds of inmates in orange jumpsuits perform Thriller is like watching a Mel Brooks version of 1984. It's darkly funny and quite depressing at the same time, and you can see it here.

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