Suzuki Swift GTI Group A Assemble Thyself! Some Stop-Motion Win Right Here

3:53:15 PM, Monday, February 14, 2011
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Fireworks Fail: Massive Explosion A Bit Too Close for Comfort

10:49:58 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Black Holes Put New Spin on Light

10:46:50 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Light curls up into corkscrew patterns when it passes near black holes, offering a powerful new way to probe the distorted space around them.

In an ordinary light beam observed far from its source, successive peaks of light waves form essentially flat wave fronts. Not so for light with so-called orbital angular momentum, which has long been produced in the lab. Its peaks spiral around to form a corkscrew pattern.

According to general relativity, spinning black holes drag the fabric of the surrounding space around with them. Fabrizio Tamburini of the University of Padua in Italy, and colleagues, calculated how light rays emitted by matter spiralling into a black hole are distorted by this effect, called frame dragging. They calculated that it transforms ordinary light into the corkscrew type that possesses orbital angular momentum.

In future, telescopes could be equipped with detectors to measure this light, says Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Physicists have measured frame dragging around black holes before by observing the rotation of discs of matter around them. But hydrodynamical processes also affect this rotation, muddying the frame dragging signal. "The new results will allow stricter tests of general relativity thanks to their higher precision," says Bojowald.

Such light could also be used to measure a black hole's spin more accurately, he adds. Currently, astronomers infer the spin by measuring the distance between the black hole and the nearest matter around it, a technique that requires high-resolution observations. Using twisted light would require less spatial resolution and therefore "should make it possible to measure the spin of black holes farther away", Bojowald says.”

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Phantom of the Floppera: Computer Floppy Drives Play Bach’s Toccata & Fugue

9:58:21 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

-- This makes me miss hearing that A Drive do its thing every time the computer booted up. It was like a free diagnostics device, you could always tell if something was wrong based on what noise that thing made, or didn’t. Read the user’s comments for the clip if you’re wondering what technical process is required to make these now vintage beauties play music.

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The People of Detroit Want a RoboCop Statue

8:43:41 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“What do you think Detroit is best known for? Cars? Motown music? Or RoboCop? A growing grassroots movement is insisting the latter, as support grows for erecting a statue in honor of the 80's cult movie icon.

Supporters have reportedly taken to Facebook and Twitter to drum up support for the potential landmark, but have received little support in return. According to reports, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is against the idea. And little wonder: the futuristic vision of Detroit, where the RoboCop movies are set, is hardly complimentary, depicting a crime-ridden metropolis run by corrupt officials and a privatized security force.

As The Detroit News points out, a similar initiative to honor Motown's greatest in Detroit with another statue never materialized, although the effort is not without precedent: just one state over, a statue of the Fonz from Happy Days was erected in 2008, much to everyone's "ayyyy!"

So... do you think Detroit should get a RoboCop statue?”

-- I think people should get what they want!!! Follow the links for the poll.

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Living Bridges in India Have Grown for 500 Years

7:53:54 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Some of the smartest, most sustainable engineering feats were discovered hundreds of years ago, and many have gone unacknowledged. For evidence, take the bridge growers of northeastern India. Planning 10-15 years in advance, they build what may be the most sustainable foot bridges in the world -- by literally growing them out of living tree roots. These bridges are extremely sturdy, reach up to 100 feet long, and many are at least 500 years old.

Requiring the harvesting of only a few betel nut trees to create, each root bridge is sturdy, efficient, and, well, alive. A tribe in the hilly Khasi and Jaintia region of India -- one of the wettest places on Earth -- evidently came up with the concept some hundreds of years ago. Atlas Obscura explains:

The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, long ago noticed this tree and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area's many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges.

In order to make a rubber tree's roots grow in the right direction--say, over a river--the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems. The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.

Sure, "enough time" isn't exactly expedient by today's standards -- each root bridge takes between 10-15 years to grow strong enough to be put into use. But strong they are -- evidently up to 50 people can cross the heftier bridges at once, and many bridges are over 100 feet long. And they only become stronger with time, as the roots continue to grow. Some of the bridges still in use in the region are estimated to be 500 years old.

An interesting side note nestled in this story is that the villagers who use them wanted at one point to tear them down to trade them for steel ones, for the sake of modernization -- but once a nearby resort owner stumbled upon them and recognized their potential value, the locals were easily persuaded from trading in (and untold materials and emissions were prevent from being wasted). The old bridges were still fully functional, after all -- in fact, the Khasis are still growing more bridges today. Chalk up another win for innovative sustainable design, however ancient it may be.”

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Algeria Shuts Down Internet and Facebook as Protest Mounts

7:33:18 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Internet providers were shut down and Facebook accounts deleted across Algeria on Saturday as thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations.

Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka's repressive regime.

Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

"The government doesn't want us forming crowds through the internet," said Rachid Salem, of Co-ordination for Democratic Change in Algeria.

"Security forces are armed to the teeth out on the street, and they're also doing everything to crush our uprising on the internet. Journalists, and especially those with cameras, are being taken away by the police." President Hosni Mubarak had tried to shut down internet service providers during 18 days of protest before stepping down as Egyptian leader on Friday.

Mostafa Boshashi, head of the Algerian League for Human Rights, said: "Algerians want their voices to be heard too. They want democratic change."At the moment people are being prevented from travelling to demonstrations. The entrances to cities like Algeria have been blocked."

At least five people were killed in similar protests in Algeria in January, when the Interior Ministry said 1000 people were arrested…”

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Merci mon Dieu by J. Sudor

1:19:37 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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And Now, a Music Video From Tahrir Square

1:12:11 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

-- “Singer Amir Eid has placed an anthem for them on YouTube, filmed in part at epicenter Tahrir Square. Its refrain sums up the mood: “I’m Not Turning Around.”

In the video for “Sout Al Horeya,” Eid walks through the crowd singing, and the camera captures smiling, peaceful, determined demonstrators singing his lyrics and holding up signs displaying the message. “We’re dreaming our dreams and tomorrow is coming and it’s ahead of us,” he sings with the crowd, “in every street in my country, freedom, we lift our heads to the sky, and the most important thing is our rights.”

Video footage from Tahrir Square and across Egypt went viral practically as soon as the #Jan25 protests started. Musicians like UK rapper Master Mimz have released anti-Mubarak songs in solidarity as well. Even Wyclef Jean joined in today. But until “Sout Al Horeya,” posted yesterday, it’s been hard to find music videos filmed at Tahrir Square itself, showcasing songs by Egyptian artists channeling the spirit of the still-incomplete revolt…”

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X-Men: First Class - Official Trailer

12:57:45 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Astronomy Picture of the Day: Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka

5:51:57 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, are the bright bluish stars from east to west (left to right) along the diagonal in this gorgeous cosmic vista. Otherwise known as the Belt of Orion, these three blue supergiant stars are hotter and much more massive than the Sun. They lie about 1,500 light-years away, born of Orion's well-studied interstellar clouds. In fact, clouds of gas and dust adrift in this region have intriguing and some surprisingly familiar shapes, including the dark Horsehead Nebula and Flame Nebula near Alnitak at the lower left. The famous Orion Nebula itself lies off the bottom of this colorful star field. Recorded last December with a modified digital SLR camera and small telescope, the well-planned, two frame mosaic spans about 4 degrees on the sky."

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Bolivia: Deadliest Journeys

5:41:49 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2011

-- I was watching these while procrastinating during the finals last semester...haha This is one of the craziest features the series! Some of those cables across the valley are 20+ years old and have actually stretched quite a bit over the years. Some span 1500ft+ and are 700ft above the ground.

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Little Kenworth Semi Cruisin' the Streets

11:58:38 PM, Friday, February 11, 2011

-- I'd drive this thing everywhere! hahaha

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Gorkha Soldier Saves Girl from Rape and Takes on 40 Train Robbers with Only a Khukuri

10:17:19 PM, Thursday, February 10, 2011

“Bishnu Shrestha, who had just retired from the Indian army where he served as a Gorkha soldier, held off a horde of robbers that tried to rob a train in India. From the article onRepublica:“The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha– who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting–was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.

“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.

“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others…“Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier; taking on the dacoits in the train was my duty as a human being,” said the Indian army nayak.

Essentially, one man took on 40 armed thieves with only a khukuri…”

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Annie Get Your Gun - Anything You Can Do

7:57:16 PM, Thursday, February 10, 2011

-- Classic! Embedding disabled by request, please click image to watch!

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