Experience Human Flight: Skydiving in Slow Motion
|5:58:35 PM, Sunday, May 01, 2011|
-- Gorgeous video by Chas Mackinnon and Brad Goble of Melbourne-based design studio BETTY WANTS IN. In February 2011, the five times world champions Fred Fugen and Vince Reffett from Soul Flyers were invited to Melbourne to provide advanced 3D coaching to some of Australia's leading Skydive athlete talent, - this is the result.
Welcome To JihadVille
|5:49:34 PM, Sunday, May 01, 2011|
"These days, gamification is so hot that everyone is fascinated by it--even terrorists.
Is there no productivity issue that can't be solved with gamification?
Unlikely, as gamification, the idea of applying game mechanics to non-games, has conquered corporate America, education, and healthcare, and has begun to catch on in the expanding spaces of terrorism and militant Islamism.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, security consultants Jarret Brachman and Alix Levine wrote on what they call the World of Holy Warcraft and argued that jihadist bulletin boards and chat rooms are making use of the same gamification techniques that Foursquare and airlines, among others, use. We took the opportunity to ask Brachman a few questions and to find out whether Anwar al-Awlaki reads Jane McGonigal too.
FAST COMPANY: Why do you both think gamification is such a good way of analyzing why people spend so much time in jihadist bulletin boards or chat rooms?
JARRET BRACHMAN: I think that it's less us thinking it's a good way to view them, and rather them thinking that it's a good way to incentivize partcipation in their own space. We actually stumbled on the gamification concept after briefing a room full of techies about how al-Qaeda and their global supporters are using the Internet. It was this group who were familiar with gamification that helped us to see what had been going on under our noses--we just didn't have a framework in our minds for understanding it, so we did so ancedotally. Gamification allows us to make sense of the introduction of points, status, levels--elements that are being introduced into forums of all kinds--in order to increase and enhance participation. But the difference is that with al-Qaeda, gamification is being used for promoting hatred and encouraging militancy, as opposed to rewarding you for brand loyalty in where you shop or on what airline you fly..."
Colourful Creatures: Amazing 'X-Ray Style' Images of Ocean Dwellers at Night
|5:19:08 PM, Sunday, May 01, 2011|
"This incredible set of photographs reveal capture some of the sea's inhabitants in a way you have never seen before.
The stunning pictures, taken off the coast of Hawaii, were taken in the dead of night with a special flash to give a wonderful display of colours.
Among the 'colour x-ray' style images are pictures of rare squids, jellyfish and shrimp. 0Measuring just a few centimetres in length they can be found living off the coast of Kailua-Kona.
Fine art photographer Joshua Lambus took the picture and believes he has been on more than 400 'blackwater' dives.
The 25-year-old had the idea after becoming frustrated with running charters for divers who just wanted to see turtles, dolphins and whales.
To get the unique images, Joshua waits until nightfall to head out about three miles on a boat. He then cuts the engine and dives into the water..."
Fight Music - Eminem ft. D-12
|5:03:54 PM, Sunday, May 01, 2011|
-- Yeh, it's uncensored. Obviously.
Reagan Tells Soviet Jokes
|11:50:22 PM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
-- Reagan got jokes! Obama should tell terrorist jokes.
The Amputee Rap by Josh Sundquist
|10:38:04 PM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
-- A-M-P-U-T Double EE, the glass is half full yea I still got threeee! This guy is great!
Wild Mandarin Duck on Dark Green Lake, UK by David Slater
|1:32:56 AM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
The Australian Peacock Spider’s Mating Dance
|1:32:38 AM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
-- Australian Peacock Spider is one good looking spider! Also a pretty interesting video, but also one of the worst nature show narrations ever?...
Eiffel Tower by Przemyslaw Stradczuk
|12:55:08 AM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
Home Builder Turns Trash into $10,000 Green Homes
|12:24:44 AM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
"Dan Phillips is one of the most unconventional home builders you'll ever find. In fact, he's more an ecological social messiah than a home builder (see video below). For $10,000, he builds affordable homes for low-income people that are attractive, energy-efficient and save landfills. Most builders purchase building materials -- piles of wood, sheet rock, nails, bricks, and tiles -- that are used in construction and then, when the house is finished, the waste is discarded to the dump. Phillips, 66, salvages those materials, hauling them from the trash or even picking them up on the road, to build or remodel homes for low-income buyers.
He says he's just doing what people have been doing for years -- using whatever they can scrounge up to to build shelter.
"And if you ponder what could be used," says the Huntsville, Tex., resident, "then building materials are everywhere."
Phillips himself has been "everywhere": He worked as an intelligence officer in the Army, then as a dance instructor, an antiques dealer and a puzzle maker. Fourteen years ago he started a new career: Creating affordable homes for low-income families out of trash. He is a self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber. His motivation came from the disparity he saw between landfills overflowing with discarded building materials and a lack of affordable housing. He started Phoenix Commotion, a for-profit company that hopes to solve the world's social problems associated with housing.
Phillips builds homes for as little as $10,000, making them energy-efficient with tight insulation, solar hot water and even a rainwater catchment system. He hires unskilled workers, teaches them marketable construction skills and then helps them find jobs when the project is complete. He keeps the landfills shallow by using truckfuls of leftover building materials such as lumber, tile and granite. Locals even hand off their old fixtures and doors to Phillips when they remodel, which he keeps in a warehouse and distributes free to low-income and needy people and organizations..."
-- Sounds like something I would do! Good man.
The Tornado Took My Hamburger, Fries, and a Drink!
|10:00:55 PM, Friday, April 29, 2011|
-- I know the devastation caused by the recent tornadoes is no laughing matter and by no means am I trying to make light of it, but I had to share this guy. DAMN NATURE, YOU SCARY!!!
Stem Cell Research Ban Overturned By U.S. Appeals Court
|1:47:50 PM, Friday, April 29, 2011|
"WASHINGTON -- A divided federal appeals court has ruled that opponents of taxpayer-funded stem cell research are not likely to succeed in a lawsuit to stop it.
In a 2-1 decision Friday, the panel of the U.S. court of appeals in Washington overturned a judge's order that would have blocked taxpayer funding for stem cell research.
The panel reversed an opinion last August by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who said the research likely violates the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.
The 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so private money has been used to cull batches of the cells. Those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and the Obama administration issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work on them."
-- Finally, science and common sense have won out over religious fanaticism.
China to Launch Carrier in 2011: Taiwan Spy Chief
|10:34:57 PM, Thursday, April 28, 2011|
"Taiwan's spy chief on Monday said China could bring its first aircraft carrier into service before the end of the year, kindling fears in Taipei over Beijing's continued naval build-up.Tsai Teh-sheng, head of the island's National Security Bureau, said the "Varyag" a half-completed Soviet era aircraft carrier Beijing obtained from Ukraine in 1998, is expected to make its maiden voyage before the end of 2011.
The warship has been docked in China's eastern Dalian harbour where it has undergone extensive refurbishing work since 2002.
"Varyag has restored its sailing capability, and is expected to start providing training missions before the end of 2011," Tsai said in response to a parliamentary question by Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang party.
Tsai said the warship will have "certain combat capability" and will serve as a base for an unknown number of China's home-grown fighter jets which are modelled on Russian-made Su-33s.
Taiwan's defence ministry has expressed alarm at China's naval buildup although experts say it may still take time for the People's Liberation Army to operate its first carrier group complete with fighter jets.
"The Chinese communists' acquisition of their first aircraft carrier will threaten not only Taiwan but the stability of Asia," Taiwan's defence ministry spokesman David Lo told AFP..."
First Stars in Universe May Have Spun Like Crazy
|10:21:47 PM, Thursday, April 28, 2011|
"The first stars in the universe may have been extraordinarily fast spinners, whirling at more than a million miles per hour, scientists say.
These stars, which researchers called "spinstars," formed right after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago and were likely massive giants, with eight times or more the mass of our sun, according to a new study. They lived fast and died young, after no more than 30 million years. The nuclear fusion reactions that drove these stars also provided the universe with its first elements heavier than helium.
A 12-billion-year-old globular cluster of stars known as NGC 6522 provided the basis for the proposal of spinstars.
NGC 6522 -- the oldest known globular cluster in our galaxy -- probably witnessed the early phases of the seeding of these heavy elements across the cosmos. However, a study of the light from the cluster's stars, which reveals what elements lie within, yielded contradictory evidence about the nature of the first stars.
Astrophysicist Cristina Chiappini at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam, Germany, and her colleagues re-examined data they had gathered on NGC 6522 using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). They discovered eight old stars with strangely high levels of the rare elements strontium and yttrium..."
Proposed Destruction of Smallpox Virus Creates Controversy
|4:39:05 PM, Thursday, April 28, 2011|
"After ravaging humanity for three millennia, the virus behind smallpox is facing its comeuppance. In May, at a meeting of the World Health Organization, nations will decide if it's finally time to sterilize and incinerate into oblivion the known remaining samples of the virus.
Smallpox is sometimes described as the most devastating disease in human history, and the eradication of the disease — there has not been a naturally acquired case since 1977 — ranks as, arguably, the greatest modern public health achievement. But the path toward a destruction date has been tortuous.
The debate over whether or not to destroy the samples being preserved by the United States and Russia began in the 1980s. It has centered on whether or not we already have enough information to prevent the virus from ever wreaking havoc again.
"If it's destroyed, the statement is made that after this date, any scientists, any lab, any country that has that smallpox virus is guilty of crimes against humanity," said Dr. DA Henderson, former director of the campaign to eradicate the disease and author of the book "Smallpox: Death of a Disease" (Prometheus Books, 2009).
Destruction of the remaining virus also would eliminate the possibility of accidental release. There is precedent for this; in 1978 an accidental release in a British lab resulted in one death.
Others, however, warn that labeling possession of the virus a crime against humanity will in no way deter terrorists, and that without the live smallpox virus, called variola, we won't be able to prepare for the worst.
"It would be very important to have something on the shelf that would help prevent or treat an epidemic, whether a virus was introduced by a terrorist or Mother Nature," said Dennis Hruby, chief scientific officer of the pharmaceutical company SIGA, which is developing a treatment for smallpox. It is possible for humans to catch other closely related pox viruses, and it's also possible that a smallpox-like virus could re-emerge from the remaining pox viruses, Hruby said..."
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