Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Links!

Leading off this week is a link from David Gloier to what must be the most bizarre and intricate prank ever. It's called The Future Shock: A Three Year Cross-Country Adventure To Save The World. I can't even describe it adequately--you just have to read it. It's The Truman Show, sort of, in real life.

I've mentioned Jack Kerouac's fascination with baseball before, as well as a fantasy baseball game of his own design that he played (and documented) for years, but here's a New York Times article that discusses it in more depth.

From my wife, in what must be the greatest headline ever, it's Duck Genitals Locked In Arms Race.

From Dan Quock, a link to some astonishing footage shot by the I-Movix SprintCam, which shoots up to 2500FPS. No, that's not a typo--twenty-five hundred frames per second.

From Sirius, a link to a remarkable moment in history: May 15, 1953, when 23-year-old Stanley Miller published his work on creating amino acids. In a jar. Here's an excerpt:
The experiment was simple. Miller and his advisor at the University of Chicago, Harold Urey, built the apparatus you see at the right to “duplicate a primitive atmosphere of the earth.” They combined ingredients they believed were part of Earth’s primordial soup — circulated water, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen — and zapped the concoction with electricity as a stand-in for lightning flashes.

“During the run the water in the flask became noticeably pink after the first day, and by the end of the week the solution was deep red and turbid,” Miller wrote.

When he took the water out and analyzed it, sure enough, half of the amino acids used to make proteins in living cells appeared, as you can see from the hand-labeled
chromatograph above.

Here's another excellent link from Sirius: Physicists Create Universe Smaller Than A Marble. And one more--a story about the Maleo, a bird who buries its eggs in the sand (they're incubated by the heat), and when the chicks are born, they're fledged and ready to fly. Also in this story is a useful fact: if you're trying to find the equator on a map (and it's not already marked), the horizontal extension of the island of Sulawesi is your guide.

More links from David Gloier, and they're all excellent. First, a link to a time-lapse film of a tanker making a night run through the Houston Ship Channel to Galveston Bay. If you ever wanted to know just how a immense a ship channel can be, this will show you quite well. And here's one more excellent time-lapse film: time lapse video of the night sky as it passes over...the galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed.

From Andrew B, a link to another lost robot experiment, where a robot asks bystanders for directions, but this experiment focuses on the technology of the robot (and it's amazing). Here's another, and it's right up the alley of most of us: Top 10 Technologies That Burnt Early Adopters. I only bought three.

From Tateru Nino, a link to some absolutely ass-kicking sand castles.

From Tim Steffes, a link to a collection of the "most obscure and rare words in the English language." It's the Grandiloquent Dictionary .

If that story about the tree growing in a man's lung wasn't strange enough for you, Geoff Engelstein sent in a link that tops it: fish found in boy's penis.

From Michael Clayton, a link seemingly straight out of Brazil (the movie): world's smallest car built out of children's ride.

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to an article about neutron stars and an amazing possibility: the crust of neutron stars could be 10 billion times stronger than steel.

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