Taking a brief time-out from packing (which is exacerbating my cold; my fault, for letting everything get so dusty) to post a few extremely miscellaneous links that've accumulated over the past few weeks, in no obvious order:
- The Gravity and Chaos Club of Western Washington University ("Using gravity to create chaos since 2003!") dropped 4000 bouncy balls 70 feet and filmed the results. The site is slashdotted, and the videos aren't as cool as you might expect, but I do like the large slow-motion one (listed at the end), especially 'cause if your QuickTime player allows it, you can play the movie backwards.
- Nifty stylized California maps by county to more accurately give a feel for how the voting in the recent recall election went. "Measuring the map pixel by pixel, Arnold Schwarzenegger is clearly the leading candidate across almost all of California’s land mass, while Cruz Bustamante trails far behind. Now, how closely does this relative measure of surface area match the actual votes cast for each candidate?" Reminds me of stuff by Edward Tufte.
- Jay provides a pointer to a goat tower.
- Also via Jay: Historic Tale Construction Kit, a.k.a. make your own Bayeux Tapestry. (Requires Flash.)
- Brief movie of Mo Kin, a 3-year-old North Korean xylophonist, playing a complicated tune. At first I thought she was clearly having a great time, but the voiceover's insistence that her facial expression makes her performance perfect made me wonder if perhaps she'd been told that performers ought to smile. But anyway, she does look like she's having a great time, and I'm probably reading too much into the voiceover.
- Excellent article at Game Girl Advance from earlier this year: "Genderplay: Successes and Failures in Character Designs for Videogames." I really ought to read GGA more often—I don't play the games, but I do like the articles I've read there.
- Nick M. points to a fascinating letter to the American soldiers in Iraq from a Vietnam vet. I don't know if the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam are as strong as he suggests, but I thought there was some real power in the writing.
- Gannet points to a nifty make your own snowflake Flash toy. I found the interface nonintuitive, though: you have to click at a series of points with the scissors, rather than dragging to show where you're cutting.
- John S. points to a lovely science paper that I've seen before but don't think I've linked to: "Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass." Abstract: "The exponential dependence of resistivity on temperature in germanium is found to be a great big lie. My careful theoretical modeling and painstaking experimentation reveal 1) that my equipment is crap, as are all the available texts on the subject and 2) that this whole exercise was a complete waste of my time."
- Useful and informative 50 State Survey of Same-Sex "Marriage" Legislation and Case Law.
- I'm apparently trendy, perhaps for the first time ever: "While men have traditionally preferred short styles many men are now coloring their hair and sporting facial hair." (Hair Fashion Trends 2004)
- nj points to Arcadia. It's a set of four extremely simple very low-res games that look like something from the Atari 2600, but there's a twist: you have to play all four of them at the same time. It's a cool game concept, but kind of silly; after a certain point, it's very much the same thing over and over. In an extended fit of avoidance behavior a while back, I played it for half an hour or so; by the time I reached somewhere around 10 trillion (!) points, I'd gotten to "level 14—wizard in training"; by 30 trillion points (the point scale seems to accelerate, so getting to 30 trillion from 10 trillion didn't take as long as getting to 10 trillion in the first place) I was still at level 14, so I gave up. Which meant that I stopped clicking at all—and got another 5 trillion points over the next half-hour or so as my extra lives drained away. I ended up 56th on the high score list for the month, so some people clearly have more patience and/or skill than I do.
- Austrian money art: Change 50 Euros to dollars, paying a small fee to do so. Now change the dollars back to Euros, paying a fee again. Repeat until out of money. A series of photos of the transactions, with captions.
- Kam is visiting Prague; here's a link to info about the Jewish Museum there. Unfortunately, the official site's English page has been destroyed by hackers, but you can still view the photo gallery. A lot of "Jewish artifacts from all over Europe" (as one page about the museum describes it) ended up in Prague; during WWII, the Nazis created a "Central Jewish Museum" there, which Hitler intended to call the "Exotic Museum of an Extinct Race."
- On a slightly lighter note, Kam has expressed amusement at the phrase "marauding Swedes" (they attacked Prague in 1648), so I figured I'd provide a link to a Google search for the phrase.
- On a much lighter note, I'll end with this extremely tiny hamster. There is some disagreement over whether it's ultra-cute or not, but I say it is, and it's my journal, so there.
There's lots more, but that'll do for now. Back to packing!