Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Links!

If you didn't already call in sick for the NCAA Tournament, then have an in-office sick day and start reading.

Of all the links I've ever put up on Friday, this may qualify as the best. David Alpern sent me a link to a documentary about North Korea. There are twelve episodes, but they're only 3-4 minutes long each, and each one is utterly fascinating. It's one of the very few Western documentaries in existence that look at the surreal madness that is North Korea. Episode one begins the series, and episode three is the first footage from North Korea.

From Chris Meyer, a link to a fascinating article about how the resurgence of nuclear power may be stifled--by the industrial capacity a samurai sword maker. Here's an excerpt:
March 13 (Bloomberg) -- From a windswept corner of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, Japan Steel Works Ltd. controls the fate of the global nuclear-energy renaissance.

There stands the only plant in the world, a survivor of Allied bombing in World War II, capable of producing the central part of a nuclear reactor's containment vessel in a single piece, reducing the risk of a radiation leak.

Utilities that won't need the equipment for years are making $100 million down payments now on components Japan Steel makes from 600-ton ingots. Each year the Tokyo-based company can turn out just four of the steel forgings that contain the radioactivity in a nuclear reactor. Even after it doubles capacity in the next two years, there won't be enough production to meet building plans.

Japan Steel Works Ltd. also makes--you guessed it--samurai swords.

From Scott Zimmerman, a link to hair analysis as a forensic tool, but with a twist--now, it can be used to tell where you're from, which is totally remarkable.

Here's a story from Daily Tech about a cooling fan that is solid-state and moves 35 times more air than conventional coolers.

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link to a video about Direct Note Access, an amazing piece of technology that does this: "for the first time in audio recording history you can identify and edit individual notes within polyphonic audio material. The unique access that Melodyne affords to pitch, timing, note lengths and other parameters of melodic notes will now also be afforded to individual notes within chords." Second, a link to a photo study of Miami, and the images are rich and beautiful. Finally, a link to a news story about a women who recently had butt implants, and the news anchors do everything but fall off their chairs. After seeing the video, so did I.

From Pete Thistle, a link to an excellent article titled The Muscle Men: Inside the "Rejuvenation Centers" at the heart of the nation's largest illegal steroid and HGH operation.

From Cliff Eyler, a link to an article about the Queenfish, a submarine that mapped the Siberian continental shelf in 1970. Right in the middle of the Cold War.

From Michael Gilbert, the discovery of a mummified dinosaur.

From Leimkuehler, Jesse, a link to an article about environmental testing of Hubble components.

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