By JB Sanders
Alien Landscape on Earth
Because it’s very isolated, the biome of Socotra island (off the coast of Yemen) is unique on Earth. And looks it.
The Nerd-Fu is Strong With This One
So, your typical person looks at a box of crayons, and thinks: “I can make art with these!” This guy? He doesn’t draw an elaborate picture with the crayons. He carves the crayons. Into scifi nerdy sculptures.
Loudest Known Sound
The loudest sound known to have occurred, on Earth mind you, was the eruption/explosion of Krakatoa. How bad was it? People 100 miles away suffered permanent hearing loss.
Plum Island for Sale
If you aren’t aware of Plum Island’s reputation, you’re in for a treat. It’s long been rumored to be the site of the US Government’s biological warfare research, or something even more sinister and oddball. Officially, it’s been the Plum Island Animal Disease Center since 1954. But now it’s for sale, and if isn’t going to be the source of the zombie/plague apocalypse, then it’d be a swell place to survive one of those. It has it’s own power plant, and water treatment facility. Plus tons of other interesting features.
For some background, the Wikipedia view of Plum Island:
Brain Surgery & 3D Printing
For some particularly difficult brain surgery procedures, doctors have started taking very high-resolution scans of the patient, printing a replica of their brain in a semi-solid medium, and testing the procedure ahead of time. They even print the blood vessels in a different color medium. How wild is that?
Postcards from the Great Exhibition
If you’re not familiar with it, the Great Exhibition was the first world’s fair, encompassing 13,000 exhibits under a purpose-built structure called the Crystal Palace. It’s a popular destination for time travelers, since it was easy to blend into the crowd of almost 6 million visitors, and everyone went. The engravings are themselves beautiful examples of High Victorian art.
Cheap and Easy Hydrogen Production
One of the downsides of renewable forms of energy is that if you don’t use it when it’s produced, it’s gone. And there aren’t any good storage solutions, to hold onto that energy for later use. In comes hydrogen. If you can use the renewable energy to extract hydrogen from common sources (like from water), you can store up the volatile gas for later use — either burned directly, or combined with other elements to produce electricity directly. Some scientists have found a way to produce hydrogen far more easily than was previously possible.
Don’t Screw With the Swiss
I think they invented the term “ruthlessly neutral”. Here’s a primer on why it’s never worth it to invade, despite their strategic deposits of chocolate.
Massive Old Prison for Sale
It was built in 1886, and is no longer in use. It has 85 acres, 47 buildings, a baseball diamond, basketball court, and of course, a lot of barbed wire. Need a little vacation place? Or an apocalypse compound? Here you go.
DC Superheroes Like Norman Rockwell Would Do ‘Em
Ever wonder, in an idle moment, what comic books might look like if famous artists had done them instead of the slightly-less-famous-artists who did? Wonder no more!
What Real Space Battles Would Look Like
Ok, this video is more instructional and party-pooper than cool special effects. But take a look at the silliness that is Hollywood space battles.
Largest Medieval City in the World? Angkor
Yes, that Angkor — the one made famous by the largest religious complex in the world (three times the size of the Vatican), Angkor Wat. The city recently discovered surrounding it was over 1000 square kilometers at its peak — it took 700 years before London was that big. How did they discover this massive city? Lasers.
Eye of the Tiger — On Dot Matrix
I’m sure you’ve heard tunes played on dot matrix printers before — the benighted wailing of a lost generation. But this is so awesome, you have to give it gander. That’s right, gander, because you can watch it produce it’s remarkably close rendition.
And on floppy drives, just for comparison:
Make Your Own Cloaking Device
No, really. It’s all about optics, man.
Fighting in Full Plate? Yuch!
So some French medievalists demonstrate how maneuverable those knights in full plate armor really were. Answer? Pretty damned maneuverable. Though I can see why they might not be the stealthiest bunch out there.
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983