For when you’re blasting The Smiths so loud you know you won’t be able to hear the zombies break through your window, you’ll always have a couple shots handy so you can put one right between their lifeless eyes before they eat you brain, and not have to miss a single note of Girlfriend In A Coma. GI Headphones have cool bullet holders, $69.95 at Skullcandy (via).
Right now, the Minneapolis bridge accident is all over the news, where an entire span on an interstate bridge (in use, but under repair) collapsed into the Mississippi river, complete with burning truck and school bus clinging to one section of concrete slab (and like a Police Squad movie, Homeland Security is all over that action). Sadly, three are dead. But just last wednesday there was an even crazier firey accident, where just outside of Dallas, Texas (acetylene facility) Southwest Industrial Gas caught on fire. And blew up, like a lot. Firefighters couldn’t even get close because the high-pressure gas canisters flew fast and far when they’d ignite. The best video is this raw helicopter footage (also embedded after the jump) and taciturnal has this stunning aftermath photoset on Flickr (above via). The video is remarkably beautiful and mesmerizing…
I first saw it on Engadget, but the NY Post has more about what might be the first-ever (known) NASA space program sabotage by a worker. So awful — cut wires. Also, an aside: weird that the Post has a more complete story than anyone else. Snip:
The space program got another black eye yesterday when NASA revealed that someone sabotaged a computer meant to blast off into space aboard the shuttle Endeavour.
The damaged device, which was slated to be installed in the International Space Station, would have posed little danger had it not been detected.
But the act of sabotage is now the subject of an investigation by the feds.
“It is unusual to hear anyone intentionally damaging a piece of hardware that’s destined for space,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel told The Post. “It’s not something that happens very often.”
NASA would only say yesterday that the damage was discovered by the subcontractor that manufactures the computerized measuring device and reported to officials a week and a half ago.
The agency could not speculate on why the instrument was damaged and could not say if one or more people were involved.
Sources said the saboteurs cut important wires inside the housing of the computer.
Google (verb) — number of horns on a unicorn.
Calculator responds. Heh. (via)
I totally looked at the picture of these faith-based Samson and Goliath dolls about to hit the shelves at Wal-Mart and thought I was looking at a new Chi Chi movie (NSFW link) or new Rome versions of Over The Rainbow Billy. But no — they’re
doing it for the children. Snip from BBC:
Instead of Spiderman or Bratz dolls, children in the US could soon be clutching a talking Jesus toy, a bearded Moses or a muscle-bound figure of Goliath.
From the middle of August, Wal-Mart, the biggest toy retailer in the US, will for the first time stock a full line of faith-based toys.
The Bible-based action figures will initially be given two feet of shelf space in 425 of the company’s 3,300 stores nationwide.
There, the Tales of Glory dolls will take on what their makers are calling “the battle for the toy box” with some of the nation’s most popular action figures.
Oh yes, this is a gratuitous, cat-dressed-as-Hello-Kitty post. Except this isn’t just a simple repost of the Gizmodo Cat Humiliation System. That post links to Gizmodo Japan, which has more lovely photos of cats in hats. This, my dear dear readers, takes you straight to the product page, with an entire gallery — and a VIDEO. WATCH THE VIDEO. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself in your whole life, I promise.
The article is just so damn nerdy all on its own: in the NYT, a few choice paragraphs about UCSB linguist prof Mary Bucholtz, who is attempting to define nerdiness (specifically through language) and has concluded that it’s a “racially tinged” behavior. What’s funny is that I can practically hear the writer’s overwhite voice pronouncing nerdcore in the piece. They should really watch Too White and Nerdy and check their notes. Boo-ya:
While the word “nerd” has been used since the 1950s, its origin remains elusive. Nerds, however, are easy to find everywhere. Being a nerd has become a widely accepted and even proud identity, and nerds have carved out a comfortable niche in popular culture; “nerdcore” rappers, who wear pocket protectors and write paeans to computer routing devices, are in vogue, and TV networks continue to run shows with titles like “Beauty and the Geek.” As a linguist, Bucholtz understands nerdiness first and foremost as a way of using language. In a 2001 paper, “The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness,” and other works, including a book in progress, Bucholtz notes that the “hegemonic” “cool white” kids use a limited amount of African-American vernacular English; they may say “blood” in lieu of “friend,” or drop the “g” in “playing.” But the nerds she has interviewed, mostly white kids, punctiliously adhere to Standard English. They often favor Greco-Latinate words over Germanic ones (“it’s my observation” instead of “I think”), a preference that lends an air of scientific detachment. They’re aware they speak distinctively, and they use language as a badge of membership in their cliques. One nerd girl Bucholtz observed performed a typically nerdy feat when asked to discuss “blood” as a slang term; she replied: “B-L-O-O-D. The word is blood,” evoking the format of a spelling bee. She went on, “That’s the stuff which is inside of your veins,” humorously using a literal definition. Nerds are not simply victims of the prevailing social codes about what’s appropriate and what’s cool; they actively shape their own identities and put those codes in question.
I made an attempt in this photo to create darkroom-like lighting. I used just one 100-watt bare bulb positioned where the safelight normally hung, and of course I placed the camera on a tripod. Remember, we didn’t have auto-focus cameras then, so the solution was to place something where the subject was to be in the photo, (here, me!) go to the camera and focus on it, screw the self-timer in, rush back into position, look composed, and wait for the shutter to click. What I did was rest a yardstick on my chair leaning on the enlarger about where my head would be, and focused on it. To look authentic, I should have had a negative image showing in the easel. I thought about it at the time actually. Fussy, fussy!
For some reason I must have reversed this image, because the uniforms I wore at work buttoned on the opposite side. Although the darkroom was at the doctor’s office where I worked, I did my darkroom work after office hours. I was his “right arm” and he kept me hopping all day long. But I stayed after work in the evenings or on Saturday afternoons if I wasn’t needed on a home call after Saturday morning office hours.
I stumbled across this Flickr photoset called Mom’s World a day ago, and have since returned more than once. Joey Harrison has lovingly compiled pages of photos and accompanying text all about his mother, who just happened to be an incredibly beautiful woman, a photographer and is just… amazing in every way. The images start in 1935 and seem to be concentrated around 1950; it’s tough not to fall for this beautiful girl. Set says, “Before I came along, and with diminishing returns thereafter, my mom pursued photography passionately and studiously. She created a large body of work centered around her life with my father and her own family.”
A shape-shifting, robotic bird that can sweep through the skies without a peep has all the right stuff for ground surveillance and even spying on its real-life inspiration — the common swift.
Engineering students presented their design of the so-called RoboSwift at an annual Design Synthesis symposium at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. The robotic bird measures 20 inches (51 centimeters) from wingtip to wingtip and weighs less than three ounces (80 grams).
The team expects to build the micro airplane in the coming months and fly it in January 2008. They hope to enter three RoboSwifts in the First American-Asian Micro Air Vehicle competition in India in March 2008.
RoboSwift’s design is revealed in a new video.
Everything about this story is so amazingly sad to me; one of my personal heroes (and secret loves) is Jack Parsons. Last week there was a rocket test accident at Southern California’s Scaled Composites, who was doing private work for Virgin Galactic (SpaceShip Two for VG; SpaceShip One was funded by Paul Allen). Two people died instantly and four were injured; in an awful development, another rocket science nerd has died. Snip:
Authorities on Friday identified three workers who were killed in an explosion on the edge of Kern County’s Mojave airport during the test of a component for a pioneering private spaceship.
The men, all employees of Scaled Composites, were identified as Eric Dean Blackwell, 38, of Randsburg; Charles Glen May, 45, of Mojave; and Todd Ivens, 33, of Tehachapi. All three died of multiple blunt-force injuries suffered in the explosion, said John Van Rensselaer, a Kern County supervising deputy coroner.
Three other men were also badly injured in Thursday’s blast at a private test site run by Scaled Composites, which was founded by high-profile aviation entrepreneur Burt Rutan.
Rutan said it was the first injury during a test in the company’s 25-year history. The men remain in critical but stable condition and are expected to survive.
Link (with video).