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Editor's Choice: The Best of the Athenæum

prof_booty's picks

awiggins' picks


Termination Shock

termination (58k image)

According to this NASA press release from a few weeks back, Voyager is approaching or has passed through "termination shock" which is at the edge of the solar system. Termination Shock also happens to be the name of my new band.

prof_booty on 11.20.03 @ 11:54 AM EST [Link] [Remarks (1)]

Nauru Nauru

The Nauru Solution
from The Australian

"Nauru needs sensible financial management, not aid, to emerge from a mess
of its own making, suggests Helen Hughes"

Not your average left wing "we-need-to-help-these-poor-opressed-people" tirade.
prof_booty on 12.02.03 @ 10:41 AM EST [Post a Remark]

Stuff That Doesn't Suck

SomethingAwful's Photoshop Phriday strikes again. This week's theme: medieval tapestries with modern themes.

rafuzo on 12.05.03 @ 10:49 AM EST [Link] [Remarks (2)]

Stuff That Doesn't Suck

Your Moment of Zen
from Goffstown (NH) News

Goffllama (85k image)

"Crunchy the Llama makes library visit."

Maybe Mike Barnicle was right about New Hampshire

Fraud & Conspiracy Fraud & Conspiracy

Feds Work Over Homeless Guy In Radiation Scare
from Washington Post

On Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, the searchers got their first and only radiation "spike," at a rented storage facility near downtown. The finding sent a jolt of tension through the nation's security apparatus; the White House was notified. The experts rechecked the reading with a more precise machine that told them that inside the cinderblock storage unit was radium, a radioactive material used in medical equipment and on watch dials.

As a rare snow fell on the city that early morning, FBI agents secured the industrial neighborhood around the site, and a small army of agents and scientists converged on the business. Soon the renter of the storage closet in question, a homeless man, happened on the odd scene, and asked officers not to cut his padlock. He supplied the key.

The scientists sent in a robot to snag a duffel bag in which the man had been storing a cigar-sized radium pellet -- which is used to treat uterine cancer -- since he found the shiny stainless steel object three years before. Not knowing what it was, he had wrapped it in his pillow, but officials said he has not exhibited any signs of ill health yet. The man, whose name could not be learned, was released. Five tense hours after their radiation detectors had spiked, officials knew there was no security crisis in the storage unit.

Reminds me of the first scene in Snow Crash. How pissed was the homeless guy when his lucky charm turned out to be a radioactive uterus rock? Anyway, the article details what actions the Department of Vaterland Homeland Security are taking to secure us against dirty homeless guys bombs.

Criminally Absurd

Violent video games are training children to kill
By Bill France, Herald Net

In the baseless argument that video games cause violence in children, Bill Grace, children's advocate, and amateur kiddy porn fluffer, pushes the limits of reality with his argument that "If a parent wanted their children to develop attitudes like Gary Ridgway, the confessed killer of at least 48 women, these games might provide a good training ground." You must be joking. Does he actually believe this tripe?

Throughout the "article" he keeps inferring that somehow video games are responsible for the behavior of those like Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. Stating "The video game scripts could be culled from Gary Ridgway's confession." So are you trying to tell me that the violent games of the early 80s where responsible for Ridgeway's crimes? Such games as the ultra gory classics, Donky Kong, and Pac-Man. I have not been following the case to closely, but I am pretty sure that not one of those 48 women was killed by a barrel while climbing to the top of a tower. That is the sort of thing that has a tendency to stand out from a new report. In truth, Ridgeway never touched a game controller. In this, fairly thorough, analysis of Ridgeway, his interests and hobbies are listed as "hunting, fishing, working in the yard, chopping wood and getting away with his wife in their RV. He scavenged for junk to sell at garage sales." Nothing about video games.
awiggins on 11.26.03 @ 08:01 PM EST [Remarks (1)]

Stuff That Doesn't Suck

Evidence of Ancient Roman Geeks Unearthed

d20 (37k image)

Lot Description: A ROMAN GLASS GAMING DIE, Circa 2nd Century A.D.
Deep blue-green in color, the large twenty-sided die incised with a distinct symbol on each of its faces
2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm.) wide

Lot Notes: Several polyhedra in various materials with similar symbols are known from the Roman period. Modern scholarship has not yet established the game for which these dice were used.

For the geek who has it all, this fabulous piece of role playing history can be had for between $4000 and $6000 at Christie's.

awiggins on 11.30.03 @ 06:35 PM EST [Link] [Post a Remark]

Stuff That Doesn't Suck

The Picture of Everything
by Howard Hallis

cpr3big (52k image)

This is one of the coolest things I have seen, ever. This fellow, Howard Hallis, made this drawing of, well, everything. It is HUGE. It measures 76.5 by 176 inches and has thousands of pop culture references. The above image represents approximately 1/200th of the full drawing. I think you could peruse this for hours and still not have seen it all. Some of my favorites:

  • Kool-Aid Man
  • JR "Bob" Dobbs
  • Escher on an Etch-A-Sketch
  • The Restraunt at the End of the Universe
  • The Beastie Boys Space Ship
  • Red Dwarf
Simply Amazing. I looked for Strong Bad but could not find him. How about you?

awiggins on 12.11.03 @ 01:26 PM EST [Link] [Remarks (2)]

Arcanum Arcanum

Pickled Dragon Mystery
Cross reference "Fraud & Conspiracy"
from The Sydney Morning Herald

dragininajar (30k image)

A pickled "dragon" that looks as if it might once have flown around Harry Potter's Hogwarts has been found in a garage in Oxfordshire, England.

The baby dragon, in a sealed jar, was discovered with a metal tin containing paperwork in old-fashioned German of the 1890s.

Allistair Mitchell, who was asked to investigate the dragon by a friend, David Hart, who discovered it in his garage, speculates that German scientists may have attempted to use the dragon to hoax their English counterparts at the end of the 19th century, when rivalry between the countries was intense.

"At the time, scientists were the equivalent of today's pop stars. It would have been a great propaganda coup for the Germans if it had come off," Mr Mitchell said.

"I've shown the photos to someone from Oxford University and he thought it was amazing. Obviously he could not say if it was real and wanted to do a biopsy."

The documents suggest that the Natural History Museum turned the dragon away, possibly because they suspected it was a trick, and sent it to be destroyed. But it appears a porter intercepted the jar and took it home. The papers suggest the porter may have been Frederick Hart - David Hart's grandfather.

Mr Mitchell said: "The dragon is flawless, from the tiny teeth to the umbilical cord. It could be made from indiarubber, because Germany was the world's leading manufacturer of it at the time, or it could be made of wax. It has to be fake. No one has ever proved scientifically that dragons exist. But everyone who sees it immediately asks, 'Is it real?"'

Some scientists believe that dragons, though the product of imagination, were inspired by the extraordinary creatures that once roamed the Earth.

As J.K.Rowling's alter ego Hermione Granger once suggested, legends have a basis in fact.

awiggins on 01.30.04 @ 10:24 AM EST [Link] [Remarks (9)]

Stuff That Does't Suck Stuff That Doesn't Suck

Build a Camp Stove From Pepsi & Guinness Cans
by Scott Henderson, PCTHiker

Camp Stove (19k image)

This little stove is amazing; it's made from pepsi and guinness cans, using things that can be found around most households. It takes about an afternoon to make (plus some time waiting for the epoxy to set), weighs only a few grams, and is sufficient for most backpacking trips. I made my first one a few years ago, and I've been handing them out as gifts ever since. The stove is powerful enough to boil a quart of water in a reasonable amount of time, it's MUCH quieter than other camping stoves, if you lose it you're not out $80.00, and you can get the fuel for it (denatured alcohol) at most hardware or paint stores. Mine fits nicely inside of the mug I use for cooking and eating, with room to spare. I usually stuff a spare pair of socks in with it to keep it from rattling around. The site provides detailed instructions and photographs, as well as a message board with feedback and suggestions from other stove builders.
Finally, a creative use for my new Dremel. Now I just need some Guinness cans. If I bought some Guinness, would anyone help me drink it?

awiggins on 02.05.04 @ 11:01 AM EST [Link] [Remarks (3)]

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