February 9, 2008
Perepiteia. Thane Heins, who named his invention after a Greek word meaning an action that "has the opposite effect to that intended," has perhaps created a...perpetual motion machine. His 20-year obsession has broken up his marriage and lost him custody of his two young daughters. Contraption stumps MIT professor. Is it a hysteresis brake? Or a scam. YOU decide.
The FBI Deputizes Business. "Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to 'shoot to kill' in the event of martial law."
The King of Kong, continued. If you enjoyed "The King of Kong," check out the Onion AV Club's recent, impromptu, and insightful interview with Billy Mitchell. Also featured are responses by filmmakers Ed Cunningham and Seth Gordon.
Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University have compared the recent US subprime mortgage crisis with five downturns in industrialized economies in the past 30 years in their brief paper, Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? (pdf). Their conclusion: “given the severity of most crisis indicators in the run-up to its 2007 financial crisis, the United States should consider itself quite fortunate if its downturn ends up being a relatively short and mild one.” Summarized, with some data and charts, here. Via.
Truck Bearing Kibble is an intricately illustrated web comic clearly inspired by Perry Bible Fellowship (previously), albeit with more pop culture references. I recommend it for fans of both PBF and Cyanide and Happiness. [more inside]
Human artist or ape artist? Six paintings, six chances to show your expertise or just guess correctly. (Previously) Hint inside. [more inside]