Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Links!

From Randy Graham, a link to a fascinating article about a monument I'd never even heard of before, and it's not just a monument, it's also a mystery: American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions For The Post-Apocalypse.

Eduardo Gabriellof sent in a link to a story that is so fantastically strange I'm just going to give you an excerpt:
It is the ultimate in Cold War legends: that at the dawn of the Space Age, in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, the Soviet Union had two space programmes, one a public programme, the other a ‘black’ one, in which far more daring and sometimes downright suicidal missions were attempted. It was assumed that Russia’s Black Ops, if they existed at all, would remain secret forever.

The ‘Lost Cosmonauts’ debate has been reawakened thanks to a new investigation into the efforts of two ingenious, radio-mad young Italian brothers who, starting in 1957, hacked into both Russia’s and NASA’s space programmes – so effect­ively that the Russians, it seems, may have wanted them dead.

From Mark Kinkade, a link to a feature at Edge online about the making of the Playstation.

From Michael Hughes, a link to a video about the use of dogs to protect sheep in Africa--in this case, protecting both the sheep from cheetahs and the cheetahs from angry farmers.

DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh recently went to Korea, and one of the things he did while he was there was take in a Korean professional baseball game. He wrote up an excellent description of what it was like, and there's video as well (Doug's note: it really picks up after the 3:00 mark).
_FLADAM_ sent in a link to a website that, in addition to having one of the best website names ever, features a huge assortment of strange and interesting articles. It's Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival.

Jesse Leimkuehler sent in a link to a statement issued by NASA about the Kepler telescope. It's awesome, and here's an excerpt that helps you understand why:
The Kepler telescope's focus has been successfully optimized. This involved moving the primary mirror of the telescope toward the focal plane array, the area where light is focused, by 40 microns (1.6 thousandths of an inch) and tilting it by 0.0072 degrees.

40 microns. Freaking unbelievable.

From Skip Key, a link to a story about about the launch of this rocket:
Steve Eves broke two world records Saturday, when his 1/10th scale model of the historic rocket—built in his garage near Akron, Ohio—lifted off from a field on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The 36-ft.-tall rocket was the largest amateur rocket ever launched and recovered successfully—and at 1648 pounds, also the heaviest. Eves' single-stage behemoth was powered by nine motors—eight 13,000 Newton-second N-Class motors and a 77,000 Newton-second P-Class motor. (Five Newton-seconds is equivalent to about a pound of thrust.) All told, the array generated enough force to chuck a Volkswagen more than a half-mile—and sent the Saturn V more than 4440 feet straight up. It was arguably the most audacious display of raw power ever generated by an amateur rocket.

From the Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a link to a remarkable video where a paper notebook becomes something else entirely. Plus here's a link to a skateboarding video that combines amazing tricks with Jackass, sort of.

From Sirius, a link to an article that, if true, would be nothing short of incredible. A paleontologist is claiming that pockets of dinosaurs survived for up to half a million years beyond the end of the Cretaceous period. Also, a link to photos from the World Sand Sculpture Festival 2009, and if you've never seen photos from this event before, they're always amazing. Lastly, it's another great series of photographs from The Big Picture: this time, it's Human Landscapes From Above.
From Andrew B, a link to what must be the top vacation spot in the universe for ghosts: the most haunted-looking house I've ever seen. Also, a link to what must be the earliest variant of Twitter (sort of).

Finally, from the New York Times, a story about the "hobbits" (you remember them), and here's an excerpt:
Six years after their discovery, the extinct little people nicknamed hobbits who once occupied the Indonesian island of Flores remain mystifying anomalies in human evolution, out of place in time and geography, their ancestry unknown. Recent research has only widened their challenge to conventional thinking about the origins, transformations and migrations of the early human family.

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