April 29, 2008
'There is no such thing as polywater because if there were, there would also be an animal which didn't need to eat food. It would just drink water and excrete polywater' - Richard Feynman
If you were doing research in the 60s, You might've heard of Polywater, A form of water that exhibited wide variety of interesting characteristics and existed under identical conditions to that of normal water. Eventually debunked, none the less is a fascinating story. Naturally one draws parallels to Vonnegut's ice nine, but did you know there actually is an ice nine? In fact, there's twelve to sixteen types of ice, depending on your opinion. More recently, computer simulations have indicated water may structure itself into icosahedra, which, incredibly, is the platonic solid (described over 2000 years ago!) representing the element water! And if you don't know what an icosahedron is, I bet you've used one before. One of the most ubiquitous, and arguably most important, substances in our lives, our understanding of water is far from complete.
The F117A Swan Song, the Fall of the Belgrade Embassy...and China Rising China Matters blog offers a fascinating take on "the role that the Belgrade bombing seems to play as the creation myth of the birth of the 21st Chinese strategic military doctrine, founded on the assumption that the U.S. will unscrupulously use its military, diplomatic, and propaganda advantages not only to contain China but even to attack it when need, desire, and circumstances permit."
Best Beatles cover ever.
Bemoaning the state of music today? Might you try a little bit of NaNuchKa, a Brooklyn-Based, Isreali-born rock trio well outside of the fray. Start things out light with Red, before moving on to some experimentalism with Oh Yeah, Says Who. And if you really want an emotional punch, try Mediterranean, "a song about Isreal." Enjoy!
In the late '90s, pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart had a little too much time on his hands and a surfeit of stamps. So, for his own entertainment, the then-unemployed thirtysomething launched a letter-writing campaign to some of the most powerful and infamous figures in the country, posing as a curious 10-year-old named Billy.
Albert Hofmann, the inventor/discoverer of LSD, has died at the age of 102. Wiki. The Albert Hofmann Foundation. Erowid entry on LSD. Hofmann's often-cited essay, "LSD, My Problem Child." Late in his life, he questioned his own invention. A conversation with Dr. Hoffman. [more inside]
In 1963 Willard Scott pulled on a pair of striped yellow pants, put a food tray on his head, and became one of the world's most recognizable clowns. [more inside]
Charles Darwin's blog "Well there I was minding my own business in the Cafe of the Natural History Museum…"
The Ultimate Act of Sports(wo)manship "It kept everything in perspective and the fact that we're never bigger than the game. ... It was such a lesson that we learned—that it's not all about winning. And we forget that, because as coaches, we're always trying to get to the top. We forget that. But I will never, ever forget this moment. It's changed me, and I'm sure it's changed my players." [via SportsFilter]
Next time you thump an animal on the highway, don't just drive on like nothing happened. Stop, get out of your car, and measure the carcass for entry into the Roadkill Record Book Club. [more inside]
Twenty-five years ago today, after a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers, Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia held a press conference. (SLYT/NSFW)
Remember the FAIL boat (also prev)? Now Mazda's in the midst of trying to efficiently dispose of approximately $100 million worth of factory-new automobiles.
We've seen a number of Rube Goldberg machines in advertising before, but here's the first one I've seen that actually uses the controlled chaos of one to describe what their product actually does. Or doesn't, really. If you've ever worked in a print shop, you've probably seen something like this happen. Usually once or twice a day.
The blood substitute PolyHeme has been previously discussed on MetaFilter, but new evidence shows that PolyHeme actually raises the chances of death by nearly 30%. PolyHeme was notable mostly for the reaction to its clinical trials, which, controversially, did not require patient consent.
The dramatic collapse of a Danish wind turbine was captured on video. Someone thoughtfully made a slow motion version. Apparently, there were two such collapses within a week.
Kennan Ward Nature-Wildlife Photography -- “Being a nature-wildlife photographer is a demanding job … but all the hardship is forgotten when I make eye-to-eye contact with a wild animal, or experience the moment when a window in the clouds opens up, highlighting a landscape … I feel honored to be able to bring the inspiring beauty of nature to others.” [more inside]
Jim Abernathy will take you out on a boat into the open Atlantic, to some spot he knows is frequented by great hammerhead and tiger sharks. He'll then chum the water and send you overboard -- all for a reasonable fee. (Diving equipment rental is extra, as is Nitrox.) Some folks are sympathetic to his enterprise. Others are not. But so far, only one person has died.