Emanuel Derman speculates
what would happen if the Federal Reserve and the TSA switched roles.
If a bank failed at 9 a.m. one morning and shut its doors, the TSA would announce that all banks henceforth begin their business day at 10 a.m.
And, if a terrorist managed to get on board a plane between Stockholm and Washington, the Fed would increase the number of flights between the cities.
(Via Marginal Revolution) Read the rest
Applying Earth science to science-fiction scenarios might not be easy (or particularly necessary) but it sure is fun. Here, fans take the cutting-open-a-furry-beast-and-using-its-carcass-as-an-emergency-blanket scene from The Empire Strikes Back and attempt to deduce how long Luke Skywalker could have actually survived on the sweet, sweet warmth provided by Tauntaun entrails.
In a normal environment, a carcass gets cold in 8 to 36 hours losing an average rate of 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. However, the ice world of Hoth is not an average environment. The Star Wars database lists that Hoth reaches nightly temperatures of -60 F. In a frigid, sub-zero environment, body heat can be lost almost 32 times faster. This means a Tauntaun's body heat could drop almost 51.2 F every hour.
The initial estimate is probably off, as it looks like the author is using human body temperatures to figure how warm the Tauntaun would be when it died and how fast it would lose heat, but some of those issues get hashed out in the comments.
Wolf Gnards blog: How Long Could Luke Survive in a Tauntaun?
Previously:Life-sized walking Tauntaun costume - Boing Boing
Tauntaun groom's cake - Boing Boing
Homemade AT-AT loft bed - Boing Boing Read the rest
(Courtesy of Wired: "TSA Special Agent John Enright, left, speaks to Steven Frischling outside the blogger's home in Niantic, Connecticut, after returning Frischling's laptop Wednesday." Photo: Thomas Cain/Wired.com)
(Update post here, Dec. 31, 2009.)
On Friday, December 25, following the incident in which a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a US-bound flight, the TSA issued an urgent, non-classified security directive to thousands of contacts around the world—airlines, airports, and so on. On Saturday, December 26, airlines and airports around the world further circulated that emailed document and began implementing the procedures described. On Sunday December 27, two bloggers published the content of the TSA directive online (some portions had already been showing up on airline websites). And on Tuesday, December 29, Special Agents from the TSA's Office of Inspection showed up at the homes of bloggers Steven Frischling and Christopher Elliott, and interrogated each on where they obtained the document. Both bloggers received civil subpoenas.
Snip from Wired piece by Kim Zetter:
"They came to the door and immediately were asking, 'Who gave you this document?, Why did you publish the document?' and 'I don't think you know how much trouble you're in.' It was very much a hardball tactic," [Frischling] says.
Read the rest
(...) The agents then said they wanted to take an image of his hard drive. Frischling said they had to go to WalMart to buy a hard drive, but when they returned were unable to get it to work. Frischling said the keyboard on his laptop was no longer working after they tried to copy his files.
Muzorama from Muzorama Team on Vimeo.
This fun video by illustrator Jean-Philippe Masson (aka Muzo) was produced in just 6 weeks. Its sense of absurdity reminds me of Betty Boop cartoons. Read the rest
The flamingo tongue snail Cyphoma gibbosum
appears to have a shell decorated with bright spots (top of image)
. Amazingly though, the spots aren't actually part of the shell, but rather the animal's flesh! When the animal retracts into its stark white shell, so do the spots (bottom of image)
. The Cyphoma gibbosum
is the star of the latest CreatureCast
video from Dr. Casey Dunn's laboratory at Brown University. RISD animator Chris Vamos
, who was also a student in Dr. Dunn's invertebrate zoology course, created the video. Watch it after the jump! Read the rest
How can people often guess someone's gender by their handwriting? Is handwriting ability hard-wired, or is it something we learn?
AbeBooks has a fantastic virtual Weird Book Room. I was thrilled to discover that I only have three of the books on the page: Mannix's The History of Torture (highly recommended!)
, The How And Why Wonder Book of Guns (useful!)
, and the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book (a gift!)
. Oh, how I love thee, Abe. Abe Weird Book Room (Thanks, Vann Hall!) Read the rest
1934 photo of a baby in a wooden and wire cage
hanging out of a window a few stories up. It looks secure. Read the rest
According to the YouTube description for this video, a guy threw his bicycle at a pair of purse-snatching thieves who were speeding away on a scooter, causing them to crash and become quite upset. Read the rest
Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com collected the data for this handsome infographic designed by Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo. It shows your odds of becoming an airborne victim of terrorism. Maybe the new TSA rules will decrease the odds of being a terrorism victim from 1 in 10,408,947 to 1 in 10,408,948. Let's hope so!
The True Odds of Airborne Terror Chart Read the rest
ReflectionOf.Me posted a graph that shows how much HP printer ink costs compared to human blood, vodka, crude oil and other precious liquids.
Read the rest
I read Lamebook sometimes, but I've never seen anything there that made me snort tea out my nose. Until now. It begins in the magical kingdom of Facebook, with a "What Lord of the Rings Character are You?" quiz ...
Fair warning: There is some NSFW language and liberal doses of the stupid, preteen usage of the word "gay".
Lamebook: FroDOH! Read the rest
President Obama is taking steps to modify rules around the secrecy of government documents
, and the length of time for which documents may remain secret. Secrecy experts like Steven Aftergood
are cautiously optimistic, but not yet convinced this is good news. Read the rest
: a voice of reason, as usual.
Terrorism is rare, far rarer than many people think. It's rare because very few people want to commit acts of terrorism, and executing a terrorist plot is much harder than television makes it appear.
Is aviation security mostly for show? (CNN guest editorial) Read the rest
The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don't think this way: They are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.