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flapjax at midnite (2)

Traffic jams without bottlenecks—experimental evidence for the physical mechanism of the formation of a jam

The mathematical theory behind shockwave traffic jams was developed more than 20 years ago using models that show jams appearing from nowhere on roads carrying their maximum capacity of free-flowing traffic - typically triggered by a single driver slowing down. After that first vehicle brakes, the driver behind must also slow, and a shockwave jam of bunching cars appears, traveling backwards through the traffic. The theory has frequently been modeled in computer simulations, and seems to fit with observations of real traffic, but had never been recreated experimentally until recently (PDF of SCIENCE). The authors also released video of their experiments which has since been posted to YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 24, 2012 - 42 comments

Tampa Red

Hey kids, let's go way back, and spend a little quality time with Tampa Red, shall we? Cause, you know, you can't get that stuff no more, and if you missed him, you missed a good man.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 20, 2009 - 7 comments

Furry sings. The blues.

A little over 30 years ago singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell had her limo driver conduct her to the humble home of bluesman Furry Lewis. Joni was out to cop a little inspiration, which she apparently did, as she subsequently named a song after him. At that point, the name of Furry Lewis was suddenly made known to millions of people who'd never heard of him before. Perhaps a few of those folks even sought out Lewis' recordings. Course, back then there were no CD reissues, no YouTube, no mp3s floating around in the ether. But you can check out Mister Furry Lewis now: no need to have your limousine take you to the ghetto! Oh, but as far as Joni's tune, well, Furry wasn't all that pleased about it.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 30, 2007 - 48 comments

Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground by Blind Willie Johnson

Ry Cooder once said Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground was the most soulful, transcendent piece of American music recorded in the 20th Century. Unearthly and music of the spheres were common descriptions long before both became fact when it was included on a golden record was affixed to the star bound Voyager space probe. My first encounter with Dark Was The Night was while watching, and then listening to the soundtrack album of, Piero Paulo Pasolini’s The Gospel According To St. Matthew--or as it is known in Sicily kickin' Bootsville, Il Vangelo de Matteo--which is, in my humble opinion, the Greatest. Jesus. Movie. Evar. Ironically, coincidentally and serendipitously, it was an apt choice by Pasolini, as the hymn from which Blind Willie Johnson's wordless moan derives is a song about Christ’s passion—his suffering and crucifixion. (Continued with much more within)
posted by y2karl on Sep 15, 2005 - 67 comments

Global warming hits UK birds.

Global warming hits UK birds. The year without young. Have we hit the bottleneck?
posted by lupus_yonderboy on Jul 30, 2004 - 43 comments

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