This and that

I've got a plethora of links saved up once again; haven't had time to post much lately. Also, not much time right now. But briefly:

  • The 17-year-cicadas are coming. National Geographic provides an FAQ, including info on why cicadas are sometimes called "locusts" and discussion of cicada recipes. The U. Michigan Museum of Zoology provides a map of Brood X. If you're looking for an alien life-cycle design, look no further: there are twelve "broods," each of which consists of three different species that sing at different times of day.
  • Some Harvard researchers are doing experiments with acupuncture that indicate that it increases blood flow in the brain.
  • My word of the day a couple days ago: inanition, "the quality or state of being empty." I saw it in a story in Asimov's. Story Word?
  • The June issue of Reason magazine will have personalized covers featuring, for each subscriber, a satellite photo of the subscriber's neighborhood, with their house circled.
  • Not for the squeamish: thorax cake, a cake that looks like the organs and ribs of a human thoracic cavity.
  • I'm kinda interested in visiting the Mars Center at NASA Ames. 3D visualization, the CMU Interactive Rover Yard, a "trikebot" programmed by local high school students, etc.
  • Cringely notes that Microsoft wins even when it loses anti-trust battles; each time it files an appeal, it gets to continue raking in profits, and it makes more money by wrongdoing-followed-by-a-fine than by avoiding the wrongdoing in the first place. I suspect the article was intended as an April Fool's piece, but it sounds pretty plausible to me.
  • People who liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may be interested to know that there's real-life research being done on how to forget—specifically on how to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The Museum of Hoaxes has a nice list of Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time. I was pleased that they included my two favorites: the Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers (#9) and Internet Spring Cleaning (#40). I was also tickled by one I hadn't heard of before: the 1977 Guardian hoax featuring the island nation of San Serriffe (comprising the islands of Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, and led by General Pica).
  • I'm surprised not to see more attention given to SitePoint Tech Times's scoop (published April 1) letting everyone know that the <html> tag will be deprecated in XHTML 2.0, 'cause it's too confusing to beginners. It will be replaced, says the article, by a new <webpage> tag. This item is so straight-faced that a co-worker of mine insisted it was serious and not a joke; but since I don't see any mention of it in the current draft XHTML 2 spec, and I haven't heard anyone else mention it either, I'm assuming it's a joke 'til I see evidence to the contrary.
  • Excellent page on vehicle to autonomous biped robot conversion for the Mini Cooper r50. Which is to say, this former Mini Cooper engineer took a bunch of Mini Cooper parts and built a giant humanoid robot out of them, and taught it to do things like stop out-of-control cars. There are several videos of the robot in action, notably the excellent Car Stopping video. Which was what made quite clear that the whole page is a hoax (or more specifically, part of an ad campaign for the Mini Cooper). But very much worth watching anyway; really well done.
  • Yet another Flash-based face builder, this one with art that looks sort of like police-sketch art. It seems to be mostly oriented toward male faces, though, or at least male hairstyles.

'kay, enough for now.

One Response to “This and that”

  1. Jay Lake

    > My word of the day a couple days ago:
    > inanition, “the quality or state of being
    > empty.” [] Story Word?

    Yer on.


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