snippets

My “blog this” folder was getting a bit full, so here’s a random assortment of stuff that caught my eye. Much of it came from MetaFilter.
scissors icon Dammit! If lemurs can do it, and I am descended from lemur-like primates, why can’t I aestivate?
scissors icon In my place is “a series of entries about living with HIV”. It’s also a stone cold display of courage.
scissors icon This would piss me off too. “Every time one of my Aequorea photos is used in someone else’s story, something bad and wrong happens.”
scissors icon Knock on wood, not for luck but for functionality.

French physicists have figured out how to rap on tabletops to communicate with CD’s, lights or most other nearby electric or electronic devices. The inexpensive new technology has the potential to turn kitchen tables, desks, windows or other rigid surfaces into remote control panels with hundreds of touch-sensitive spots.

Coooooooool.
scissors icon The Last Word. Well, not really, but this Q&A section of New Scientist online is great. Why are the ends of your fingernails white? Are men always taller than their mothers? If your eyes were popped out and put back in the wrong way, would you see upside down? How far does the average mole tunnel in its lifetime? Why do tornadoes have the shape of an inverted cone? Why do old rubber bands go all icky? What percentage of the world’s population is flying on airplanes at any given time?
Caveat lector, though: I think the first answer to this one is bollocks, so other answers may be less than reliable. (Relax, there’s a search function so you can find those questions without links.)
scissors icon Ubuweb’s 365 day project is a collection of outsider audio. This is some of the weirdest stuff you will ever hear.
scissors icon In 1853-4, Commodore Matthew Perry led a mission to, er, convince Japan to open its doors to the rest of the world. Artists on both sides of the encounter did what artists do, and Black Ships and Samurai presents 200 graphical representations, both “looking East” and “looking West”, together with a vivid historical narrative by MIT Prof John W. Dower.
scissors icon First we have “driving while black”, now it’s “taking pictures while brown”. Ian had a bullshit run-in with the Patriot Act, but rather than give in to intimidation he went online to make some real trouble. Good for him.
scissors icon Now this is cool. Creepy, but cool.

The hollow, talking tombstone will include a flat touch screen and will house a computer with a microchip memory or hard disc. It will be powered by electricity from the cemetery’s lighting system.[…] “It’s history from the horse’s mouth.”

My first thought was, why not solar power? My second was, since I want to be cremated rather than buried, why not use this website as a virtual tombstone? I could even add video. I have seen a few websites maintained after the author’s death by their friends or family, and I wonder whether it will become common to leave provision for one’s website in one’s will. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.
scissors icon Sent is an art project built on phonecam pictures. There’s a gallery of public submissions and another for invited artists. The best thing about gadgets is the neat things people do with ’em.
scissors icon 100 years’ worth of War of the Worlds cover art.
scissors icon Galleries of “found photos” from public p2p directories. Betcha can’t stop at one.
scissors icon The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity. As the footnote says, there is genius at work here. No attribution, for reasons you’ll discover if you find the post that led me to it.