Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Links!

We're loaded this week.

Leading off, from Michael O'Reilly, a link to one of the greatest April Fool's jokes in history, and here's an excerpt:
Perhaps the most successful of all time in Toronto came in 1977, two years after the federal government chose April 1st as the day the gradually introduced metric system officially transformed our roads and weather forecasts.

Temperatures were already being given in Celsius and cars featuring kilometres as well as miles on their speedometers began turning up on city streets.

And it was because of that unique timing that our sister radio station, CFTR - now known as
680 News, but then the city's biggest rock station - pulled off one of the best media pranks in Toronto history.

The station announced that in addition to all the other changes, the government had hidden the fact that we were also converting all our clocks to metric time. That was followed with a huge explanation of the mathematical machinations behind the new scheme, including that an hour would now be 100 minutes and the 24 hour day would be cut to 10.

Some examples stated 4:15pm would now be 8:24am, while midnight would be observed at 7:05am on the dot.

That's complete genius, and there's much more (including audio) here.

From Geoff Engelstein, a story about the discovery of a new dinosaur with feathers. Old hat, you say? Not this time, and here's why:
So far, all feathered dinosaurs are theropods, a group of two-legged and (mostly) carnivorous animals that included Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, and indeed, modern birds. The theropods belong one of the two major groups of dinosaurs, the Saurischia. Tianyulong, however, is a clear member of the other dinosaur lineage, the Ornithischia, which include the various armoured, horned, spiked and duck-billed species. This is the first time that anyone has discovered an ornithischian with feather-like structures all over its body.

More specifically, Tianyulong is a
heterodontosaur, a group of small plant-eaters that are the most primitive of the ornithischians. Its position in the dinosaur family tree raises big questions about the origins of feathers. If its filaments are related to the proto-feathers of the theropods (which is possible but not certain), they either evolved independently or were derived from filaments that covered the very earliest of dinosaurs.

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link to the largest model in the world. It's Miniatur Wunderland, and incredibly, it covers 11,840 square. The video is mind-blowing. Also, it's 12 houses--made from shipping containers. Next is Urban wilderness beach hike in South Florida, a travelogue of a 37-mile hike, and the pictures are wonderful.

From Matt Shields, links to stunning photos of Detroit: ruins, industrial ruins, and even more ruins. There's something entirely fascinating about architecture, abandonment, and decay.

From Allen Varney, a link to a tribute (of sorts) to Silk and Steel, a fantasy novel which features some staggeringly bad writing. And if that excerpt wasn't enough, here's more. Also, here's a terrific link to a photo gallery dedicated to the stunning beauty--of slime molds.

From Andrew B, a link to a journey to the Kawah Ijen Volcano in Indonesia. Why is the volcano notable? Because the lake inside the volcano has the same pH as battery acid.

From Sean, a link to a story about a boy who was rescued--by Spiderman. Then there's a 24-foot tall baby robot spitting fire.

From John D'Angelo, a link to pictures of the International Space Station--taken from the ground!

From David Gloier, a link to a story about the discovery of the tunnels allegedly built by the Knights of Malta, although the truth may be quite pedestrian compared to the legend.

If you thought those imaginary football player names last week were funny, you'll love the Unusual Puritan Names List (thanks Sirius). Also, a link to a video demonstrating the wobblestone principle (from Wikipedia: a wobblestone is a semi-ellipsoidal top which will spin on its axis in a preferred direction. But, if spun in the opposite direction, it becomes unstable, "rattles", stops and reverses its spin to the preferred direction).

From Mike Gilbert, a link to an amazing story about a 1988 Atlantis Space Shuttle Flight that suffered damage to more than 700 heat tiles, but somehow landed safely.

From Skip Key, another space link, and it's excellent: the restoration of images taken by the lunar orbiter in the mid-1960s.

From Steve West, a link to a fascinating article titled The Rebellion of the Ant Slaves, and it is a great read. Plus, as Steve says, "Ant Slave Rebellion" would be an EPIC name for a Rock Band Group.

From Mr. Fritz, a link to an entirely new fishing technique: it's RC Helicopter Fishing.

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