Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Attack of the Gigantic Polar Bees From Saturn

Okay, it probably isn't bees, but something is forming a colossal almost-perfect hexagon on Saturn's North Pole big enough for four Earths to fit inside. Follow the link to NASA's site for some cool animated pics.

I for one welcome our new interplanetary honeycomb-building overlords!

Technorati tags: ,

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Step 1. Build unworkable device
Step 2. ???
Step 3. Profit!

The Museum of Unworkable Devices is a large collection of galleries of perpetual motion devices representing innumerable wasted careers, money-grubbing hucksters and shattered dreams. The only thing perpetual is the notion that there really is such a thing as a free lunch, or at the very least free appetizers.

One of the classic methods tried again and again by mechanical inventors in their search for free energy is what's called an Overbalanced Wheel. In this first illustration, the weights on the right side of the wheel are farther out from the center, creating greater torque, which, the theory goes, makes the right side of the wheel heavier than the left and thus keeping it spinning forever.

I like this second one even more, though, because of its ingenius simplicity. Obviously, since 9 is greater than 6, the side with the 9s is heavier, causing it to forever spin clockwise!

Both of these devices work equally well in producing free energy.

Aha! Inventors, look no further! The secret of perpetual motion has at long last been solved! All that's left to decide is... Welch's or Smuckers?

Technorati tags: ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This note's for you

Kudos to Lee for letting me know that all the cool kids are into Dark Roasted Blend, where I found the World's Weirdest Music Scores.

Who invented musical notation, and drugs were they on at the time?

Technorati tags: ,

Fear. Fear and surprise.

Law & Order/The Shield/Homicide/Cagney & Lacey-junkies all know the routine, but here is a good breakdown on the hows and whys of a standard police interrogation. At least what appears to be a standard police interrogation of Bruce Willis.

Yes, The Comfy Chair was how they got all the heretics to confess back in the day...

On the other end of the Furniture-As-Torture-Device Spectrum, the Interrogation Chair was just one of a multitude of hideous methods (along with surprise, fear, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope) concocted for that full-on party now known as the Spanish Inquisition.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Drums and 'bels

History of the "Amen Break", possibly the world's most important 6-second drum loop, which turns out to be from the b-side of a chart-topping 1969 hit from the now almost forgotten R&B group called The Winstons.

Switzerland's Top Secret Drum Corps.

Comedian Rob Paravonian rants about how much it sucks to play Pachelbel's Canon in D on a cello as a kid, and why he still hasn't gotten over it.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

For those who aren't happy unless they know someone else is miserable, there's good news in the form of the Global Trouble Alert Map, which aggregates in real-time over 50 types of misfortune and disaster ranging in relative scariness from minor earthquakes to forest fires to plague outbreaks. There are USA-only maps, Europe-only, and Hungary maps (which is where the website originates). Clicking on the icons gives a zoomed-in Google Maps view along with newswire info on the incident. Fascinating. (via Metafilter)

Technorati tags: ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What the...?

Duclod Man Uncovered. Sarah Aswell uncovers (but does not name) the author of bizarre letters. "As early as 1992, students at Grinnell College, a small liberal arts school in Iowa, began receiving strange, anonymous letters in the mail. The letters contained homemade greeting cards with crudely drawn pictures—men crawling on the ground, toilets and trash cans, twin closet doors—and jokes that didn’t make any sense." (via Metafilter)
Creepy and disturbing, and a good bit of internet detective work. This guy (the Duclod guy, not the author of the article) sounds like a future Ted Kaczynski. Some of the commenters at Metafilter may have dug up some more dirt on our boy, such as an old online resume and photo.
Technorati tags: ,

Water Optional

Sharks sightings in Australia are not all that uncommon. Unless, you know, they're a couple hundred yards long and in living in a field. Additional cool Google Earth finds are yours for the viewing at Google Sightseeing.

I guess this would be a good time to mention that you ought to get the latest version of Google Earth. It's free, easy to use, and a great way to lose a couple of hours while exploring around.

Technorati tags:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

For those who sat through the SAT this Sat.

Saturday, March 10th was a day many high school students took that most dreaded of exams, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT. For those who dare, here are a few SAT-related links:

The Eats, Shoots & Leaves Punctuation Quiz (via The Presurfer)

An SAT-type Math Quiz

The story of Colin Fahey, who at the ripe age of 33, re-took the SAT in 2003 with the intention of getting a perfect score -- of zero. Turns out it's harder than you might think. Yes, it is a bit slow-going at the outset, but it really picks up about halfway through the article. Hmm, I see he re-re-took the test again in 2005. In both instances, while failing to fail completely, he does manage to have a lot of fun in the process.

Is it true that students who take the SAT are awarded 200 points just for spelling their names correctly?

Technorati tags: , ,

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mr. Zimmerman Can Moo! Can You?

Dylan Hears A Who is a six-song album of Dr. Seuss prose sung in vintage Bob Dylan style. (via Boing Boing)

Technorati tags: , ,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

LA Face With The Oakland Booty

You may have heard the Jonathan Coulton folky version of "Baby Got Back", but some genius has taken the next step and mashed up the original Sir Mix-A-Lot video with JC's vocals. Sweet! (via Boing Boing)

Update: 4/14/10
Apparently the original video I embedded was pulled and made unavailable. Let's see how long this one lasts...

Technorati tags: , , ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

What is it going to take to get you into this post today?

You want to read this for free? Hmmm, we've never gone that low before. I'm gonna have to go talk to my sales manager about this and see what we can do for you. Just wait right here, okay? The classic Keep You Waiting /Wear You Down Ploy, the Low-Ball Lie and others in the Top Ten Retail Ripoff Techniques.

Technorati tags: ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Let's see... there's that really big one... and... that other one way up in the corner there... annnd... Disneyland! Disneyland's a state, right? No?!

Pop quiz, hotshot.

Name all 50 (US) states in less than 10 minutes. I spent the last 2 minutes trying to come up with the last four. I ended up missing one (I'd tell you which one but that would kind of be giving you help when you try it, so...)

Whether you are feeling great because you got all fifty, or whether your head hangs in abject shame because you couldn't get past your home state (you did at least get your home state... right?), this guy would probably kick your butt at this game, since he can say all 50 states in 17 seconds. Wonder how fast he can type... One criticism: though he claims he is going from memory, he should have covered his eyes so it doesn't look so much like he's reading a list.

Same schtick here. A bit slower on the recite, but much cuter doing it. Extra points for not peeking.

I saw this in a TV commercial the other day, though since I can't remember what they were selling, I guess the commercial didn't succeed :-/ Regardless, this baby probably knows more US presidents than you.

Technorati tags: , ,