Itching to get off-world for some reason? United Launch Alliance has, well, launched Rocketbuilder, a one-stop interactive desktop/mobile tool to select, configure and cost your next ride to orbit - or beyond. [more inside]
Alphabet Blocks for a Geek Baby "Amateur engineer/designer" Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with "things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him" on 4 of the 6 sides. (See them all here) "The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance" which makes them even more awesome. (Of course, your choices for certain letters may vary)
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
New maps show US fossil fuel emissions aren't where we thought they were. The Vulcan Project collects more accurate data at a higher resolution than previous studies. Explanatory video. via [more inside]
He is the world's tallest cast iron statue. He has a long and sometimes troubled history. His enormous bare buttocks have offended local prudes and religious leaders for decades. He was disassembled in 1999 for refurbishing, but now once again, from atop his lofty mountain perch, this pagan colossus reigns over Birmingham, Alabama, the virtual buckle of the Bible Belt. Behold, Vulcan!
Sherlock Holmes: the quotations; the pipes; the author (the public house named after him - the worst in Scotland, judging by the comments); the top ten lists; the vulcan; the city; the monographs; the magazine; the marvelous stories, of course; and more.