The Today Show, 1994: Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric struggle to understand and explain the Internet and "that little mark with the 'a' and the ring around it." (Thanks, Rick Pescovitz!)
[F]or happiness-project purposes, Tolstoy is particularly fascinating -- both because he wrote so extensively about happiness and because he made and broke so many resolutions himself. Spectacularly... Tolstoy wrote these rules when he was eighteen years old:10 "Rules of Life" from Tolstoy
Get up early (five o'clock)
Go to bed early (nine to ten o'clock)
Eat little and avoid sweets
Try to do everything by yourself
Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for evry minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
Keep away from women
Kill desire by work
Be good, but try to let no one know it
Always live less expensively than you might
Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer
Help Tor fight the internet connectivity blackout in Egypt. "Your donation will go to providing satellite internet devices, other related equipment, to help with network access costs, and general support for Egyptians and people working with Egypt during this crisis and beyond. This fundraising drive is organized by the Tor Project. Money raised will be used by the Tor Project for work in areas where the Internet has been jacked." (avaaz.org via Jacob Appelbaum)
They just sent out their latest ThingM newsletter showcasing a few cool projects that use BlinkMs: a robotic drum kit, cabinet handles that light up when you touch them, and books that blink.
What a wonderful way to remember Diana! ... Miniature tiara and white "English Rose." Extraordinary blue eyes and shy smile foreshadow the beautiful Princess admired by millions.If you find it slightly odd, that may be because it is not an accurate depiction of the infant Diana Spencer, but rather an idealized pedomorphic adult.
A report released by Human Rights Watch documents how Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government effectively condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officers who are accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted. HRW describes torture as "an endemic problem in Egypt." According to HRW, ending police abuse—and the cycle of impunity for those crimes—is a driving element behind the massive popular demonstrations in Egypt this past week. Snip from introduction:
'Work on Him Until He Confesses': Impunity for Torture in Egypt," documents how President Hosni Mubarak's government implicitly condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officials accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted, leaving victims without a remedy.
"Egyptians deserve a clean break from the incredibly entrenched practice of torture," said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. "The Egyptian government's foul record on this issue is a huge part of what is still bringing crowds onto the streets today."
The case of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man beaten to death by two undercover police officers on an Alexandria street in June, dominated headlines and set off demonstrations across the country. The local prosecutor initially closed an investigation and ordered Said's burial, but escalating public protests prompted the Public Prosecutor to reopen the investigation and refer it to court. "We Are All Khaled Said" is the name of the Facebook group that helped initiate the mass demonstrations on January 25, 2011.
[ Warning: disturbing content. The report contains graphic descriptions of torture. ]
Report (95 pages): "Work on Him Until He Confesses": Impunity for Torture in Egypt.The report is offered in in English and Arabic, English version of PDF here.
Ghostworks sez, "A behind the scenes look at 'Night of the Little Dead' - a short film directed by Ezekiel Zabrowski and Frank Ippolito starring Adam Savage, Penn Jillette, Bill Moseley, Aye Jaye, Erica Taylor, Gary Morgan, Martin Klebba, & James Hurley."
"Night Of The Little Dead" Behind the Scenes Trailer (Thanks, GhostWorks, via Submitterator)
This chart was assembled from data on the incomparable Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia , maintained and curated by the astronomer Jean Schneider. It depicts the 520 exoplanets detected between 1992 and 2010, divided up by detection technique. The accompanying data sheet includes a few notes and caveats about the assumptions I used to generate the chart. There's also an interactive version available.
Finding 520 planets in less than 20 years is an impressive testament to the skill of modern-day planet-hunters. And the rapid, recent acceleration of detections suggests that the next 20 years will see several thousands of additional planets added to our catalog. But given that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone, shouldn't we actually be finding more planets?
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Shinya Kimura's scratch built motorcycles are beautiful, and this short video profile, directed by Henrik Hansen and shot byAdam Richards, is very well made (it was was one of 5 films nominated for a 2010 Vimeo Award). I got the same feeling from watching this as I did from the short video about House Industries.
It was interesting hear Kimura say that he has never flown in a plane before! (UPDATE: He actually said he has never piloted a plane before. Thanks for the clarification, commenters!)
The folks at Hollaback! came up with a novel solution for combatting public sexual harassment of women: just grab your phone, take a picture of the chump, and upload it to their site with a description of what he did and how it felt.
This public-shaming-2.0 may not be preventing a lot of jackassity quite yet, but it already has enormous healing and empowerment value to women made to feel victimized for daring to be born female. Since the original 2005 launch in NYC, local sites have sprouted worldwide, including ten new ones starting today from Buenos Aires to Houston to Prague to Mumbai, and there are even iPhone and Droid apps to expedite the Holla-ing-back.
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Lightning dances in Shinmoedake's volcanic plume, the eruption having already led Japanese authorities to call on those living nearby to evacuate. Seen from Kirishima city, the light shows last only for a few moments, but the ash and rocks fall relentlessly between the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima. One of Kirishima's many calderas, Shinmoedake is 4,662 feet tall. Photo: Minami-Nippon Shimbun
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Although it's fallen off of the headlines lately, piracy continues to be a big problem, with an annual economic impact estimated at $10 billion. Fighting pirates after they've already attacked is only so effective. And trying to track them down and bring them to justice before a raid is next to impossible. The best solution is to just keep boats and pirates away from one another. But how? Applied mathematician James Hansen* has an idea. With the Naval Research Laboratory he's put together a computer model of pirate behavior.
The project combines data on wind, waves and currents with intelligence gathered by informants, surveillance and other means on pirate habits: how far their small skiffs can travel; their assault tactics; the timing of forays.
Running the model yields maps that show the highest-risk areas. Adding real-time information on ship traffic can identify possible pirate targets.
"It's sort of like tornado warnings," Hansen said. Everyone may know the probability of tornadoes spikes during the spring in Oklahoma. But what residents want to know is whether a twister is likely headed their way today.
The pirate model may be able to provide ship captains and security forces with that level of alert, by combining statistical odds with on-the-ground observations. Weather is clearly important to pirates, who can't operate in rough seas, Hansen pointed out. "These guys are running around in tiny ships."
Followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, rejoice!
(Via Mara Grunbaum)
*Not that James Hansen. A different one.
These petri dishes are growing bacteria harvested from the belly buttons of scientists, journalists, and bloggers at the 2011 ScienceOnline Conference. It's all part of Belly Button Biodiversity, a project of researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Their goal: Introduce humans to the wildlife that's growing on us and in us. Their next sampling event—aka, your chance to see what's growing in your belly button—is February 12, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
As unrest continues to grow in Egypt, so, too, does the number of people who are missing and unaccounted for. Samer Karam and Dara Mouracade have put together a shared spreadsheet with information about missing people and when/where they were last seen (as well as links to their online profiles and accounts). If anyone has any information about these folks please reach out to Samer or Dara and help update the list, or help pass it on so that it hopefully ends up in the hands of someone who does have info.
Ben Cosgrove of LIFE Magazine says,
Today, January 31, is the 50th anniversary of Ham the Astrochimp's 1961 space flight -- the first time any hominid went into space -- and this morning we published a gallery of rare and never-seen photos featuring Ham before and after his landmark achievement.The gallery is here, and contains previously unpublished photographs of the astrochimps and their handlers, and rare LIFE pictures of Ham and his "simian cohorts."
The flight was a huge coup for NASA at the very beginning of the Space Race, and Ham became something of a celebrity after his successful flight. The attached photo by LIFE's Ralph Morse, of Ham grinning widely while being carried by handlers after the flight, is perhaps the most famous picture taken of the brave chimp.
About an hour ago, six reporters with Al Jazeera were arrested in Cairo. This follows a crackdown on the news network's operations by the Egyptian government. Al Jazeera correspondent Dan Nolan live-tweeted the group's arrest, above.
Update: Reports are now circulating that they've been released, following a request from the US State Department Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Their equipment, however, was seized and so far not returned: "We're okay, they held us for 3 hours, we've been released, took cameras, laptops and phones," tweeted Nolan.
As Jeremy Scahill just noted, times are changing: "Under Bush, the US bombed Al Jazeera's offices. Today the Obama administration calls on Egypt to free its detained journalists."
(Maybe soon, Americans will even be able to get AJE from US cable providers.)
"Science—knowledge—only adds to the excitement, the mystery, and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts."
That's one of the first comments the late, great physicist Richard Feynman makes in a wide-ranging interview from the 1981 television documentary, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. I recommend you watch it, if you have the time. The title comes from Feynman's description of the visceral thrill that accompanies discovery, a thrill that intensifies in direct proportion with the discovery's profundity and certitude.
I was reminded of Feynman's documentary and quote one day in 2009, during a hike on a telescope-studded Chilean mountaintop with the astronomer Debra Fischer. Fischer is a planet-hunter, one of a handful of individuals around the globe who have discovered dozens of alien worlds, and who are bent on finding more planets like our own. She was using a telescope there to search for terrestrial planets around Alpha Centauri, the nearest neighboring stellar system to our own Sun.
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Last fall, everybody was talking about Gliese 581g—a newly discovered exoplanet, far from our own solar system, which seemed like it might be capable of supporting Life As We Know It. Media madness ensued. But, amid all the haters and hypers, I found "G Is For Goldilocks", an article written for Seed Magazine by science journalist Lee Billings.
Billings' article went beyond the headlines, describing how far-flung exoplanets are found, to begin with, and explaining the impact red dwarf stars—like Gliese 581—might have on the formation of the planets that orbit them.
It was a great, and enlightening, read. Just the kind of science journalism I like. Now, for the next two weeks, Lee will bring that style and substance to BoingBoing, blogging about exoplanets and the search for life in the Universe. In particular, he'll be filling you in on the inside scoop about newly released data from NASA's Kepler mission—an exoplanet-spotting spacecraft, looking for more places that could be "just right" for Life.
This should be an exciting two weeks. Welcome, Lee!