Linky-Links: Geek, Science, and Technology Edition

My browser has a ridiculous number of windows open yet again, so here we go with another List of Linky-Links. This episode features some neat science and technology links, polyamory (of course), and some lovely eye candy thrown in for good measure. The eye candy is all the way at the bottom, I’m afraid.

There’s even a bit about hacking your own brain. Well, hacking toys to read your mind, anyway. Well, hacking toys to read your EEG, more like.

Ready? Then off to it!

Technology

First up, we have this article about what happens when you combine a car with a Segway. The result is a bit goofy, but I’d totally drive the black one.

Next up, courtesy of figmentj, a VERY cool new technology for making permanent brain electrodes that dissolve onto the surface of the brain. Conventional implants are stiff, brittle, and prone to damage when the brain moves around, which it does by a surprisingly large amount.

And while we’re talking brains, here’s a quick reference guide for hacking toy EEG devices to do all sorts of other cool stuff, like interfacing with a computer. I love living in the future! I still want Google implanted in my brain.

Speaking of brain hacking, the Scientific American Web site asks, When will we be able to build a brain like ours? Given the complexity of the brain, and how much we still have to learn about it, plus the complexity involved in modeling it, I’d venture to say the answer is “not yet. Not never, but not yet.” We are to doing that what the Wright Brothers were to building a Stealth bomber, I reckon.

From the Department of What The Fuck, someone has modified an old Apple //e computer to be a Twitter feed reader. It doesn’t actually access the Twitter Web site directly–just writing a TCP/IP stack for an Apple II would be a horrifying undertaking–but instead it does something even weirder. It pulls data from another computer through the joystick port.


Society

Someone recently emailed me from my transhumanist Web page (or maybe it was my grammar page, I don’t recall) with this link to Less Wrong, a blog about rationality and skepticism. It’s an interesting read. joreth, zensidhe, datan0de, emanix, seinneann-ceoil, peristaltor, I think you guys might like this place, if you don’t know about it already. I particularly like this quote about the value of introspection: “The road to harm is paved with ignorance. Using your capability to understand yourself and what you’re doing is a matter of responsibility to others, too. It makes you better able to be a better friend.”

From Mashable comes this neat little infographic, Online Dating Is Bigger Than Porn. Really. Once again, I’m in the wrong damn business.

Someone on the Polyfamilies email list posted the link to this graphic showing the trustworthiness of different beard styles. OMG funny. Work-safe too. A rare combination in my world.


Polyamory

Polyamory’s been all over the news lately, and not in a good way. The Religious Right is beginning to take notice of us, in sometimes bizarre and always negative ways.

From the “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality” Web site, which might better be described as “We’re A Bunch of Closeted Self-Loathers,” we learn that the Gay Task Force (they have one of those?) is making polyamory part of the Gay Agenda. Funny–last time I looked, a lot of GLBTQ folks didn’t like us poly folks, ’cause we mess up the “Gays are just like normal folks” message.

The “Amerika.org” folks, who still use Russian-looking letters in their logo and are still fighting the Cold War, produced this gem called All The Broken People. They aren’t quite sure what “polyamory” is, but they’re damn sure they don’t much like it.


Just For Fun

Understanding general relativity well enough to explain it to someone else is hard. Understanding general relativity well enough to explain it entirely in words of four letters or less is amazing.

The Internet is a neat toy, and sometimes people do bizarre things with it. One very cool Internet toy is the World Of Text. It’s a scrollable Web page that goes on to infinity in all directions (click and drag to scroll), where you can click and start typing anywhere you like. Everything you type is recorded and other folks on the site see it. Pretty cool!

Read the EULA before you buy: GameStation recently added a clause to the EULA claiming ownership of ther customers’ immortal souls…and almost nobody noticed.

Eye Candy

The explosion of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland shut down air travel across Europe and also made for some amazing pictures. This page of gorgeous high-resolution photos (which takes a while to load) is just absolutely spectacular. A small sample:

Volcanic ash plumes tend to be filled with very dramatic lightning, because the ash itself is electrically charged.

Linky-Links: Careless Women, Architecture, and More

Once again I have 40-something tabs open in my browser and my computer is s lowing to a crawl, so you all know what that means! Time for another dump of Linky-Links into my LiveJournal, for your viewing pleasure.

First up, we have some scans from the 1938 Dating Guide for Single Women. And a treasure trove of useful advice it is, for some value of “useful.”

Careless women never appeal to gentlemen. Remember that, ladies. As a completely unrelated side note, I am not a gentleman.


Next up: One of the most beautiful, and most expensive, properties in New York City, the Brooklyn Tower Clock Penthouse, a three-floor, $25 million condo in what used to be an old clock tower.


On the subject of sexual informatics (which will be a whole new wing of my Xeromag site once I get it moved to the new server) is this brilliant flowchart of Medieval sexual morality, which sad to say I did not create, but wish I had.


In the surrealist humor department, we have Sleep-Talkin’ Man, home of the midnight sleep-talking ramblings of a particularly…eccentric individual. “You’ve got to save the curtains! Save the curtains… They hold so many secrets.”


And finally, a blog post about Light Art Performance Photography, in which one opens the shutter on a camera, and then uses LEDs or lighted batons or whatever to paint with light on the canvas of a nighttime scene. The results are quite lovely, and quite labor-intensive.

New Music: Gorillaz

seinneann-ceoil spent the last ten days or so here in Portland, where it is cold and wet, rather than in Orlando, where it is sunny and warm, and I think we had a good time in spite of the rain and the slop.

She’s very passionate about music, and listens to a lot of music I’ve never heard of. One of the bands she introduced me to while she was out here is called Gorillaz, and one of their songs has been stuck in my head ever since.

They have a YouTube channel and several videos up on YouTube. Unfortunately, they don’t permit embedding of their videos, which I for one think is a profoundly stupid misstep on their part.

I could rant at length about why it’s profoundly stupid for a band to disallow embedding their videos, and how putting a link in a blog will probably result in lower exposure, and how the business model for Internet videos is more about exposure to a new audience than it is about advertising revenue, and about how the ads are embedded in the video so advertising revenue is only minimally impacted by embedding anyway, or even about how it doesn’t matter to Google one way or the other because Google’s already won the online ad revenue game and is just allowing the Great Unwashed Masses to fight over the table scraps it’s too lazy to pick up off the floor, but I’m feeling kind of melancholy today and I just don’t feel like it.

Instead, I’ll talk about what I like about the band and the video.

I really, really like their music. A lot. It’s an interesting mix of different vocal styles, the music is kinda funky and kinda dancey, and the emotional tone of the song that’s been stuck in my head all morning matches my mood pitch-perfect right now.

The song is Feel Good Inc. and the video that accompanies it is an animation of a narow slice of a post-apocalyptic world that reminds me a great deal of Nelvana, the animation studio that did Rock and Rule and the animated bits of Pink Floyd The Wall.

I’d love to show you the video, but, like I said, embedding is disabled. The best I can offer is a link, which I highly encourage you all to check out. Gorillaz: Feel Good Inc.

Aaaand continuing the theme of “long overdue updates”…

…two more updates to two of my long-neglected side projects.

First, I’ve updated and tweaked the software on HackerSluts, which is my server-side RSS aggregator for sex blogs. Or, at least, sex blogs I know about. It’s kind of my own combination of Feedburner and Technorati but for sex and kink.

I’ve also made some user interface changes over at Weekly Sex Tip, which is a site I update with a new sex tip once per week. Err, exactly as the name suggests. The tweaks to the skin now allow you to choose a category and browse sex tips only in that category.

Whew! I almost feel accomplished.

Brilliance! Pure brilliance!

The thing about the Internet is that no matter how long you surf and how many sites you visit, there’s always something really awesome and cool that you just haven’t stumbled across yet.

There’s also a phenomenal amount of teh dumb, to be sure. In that way, the Internet is, as the saying goes, like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea — massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.

But still. There’s a lot of really cool stuff out there. Like PartiallyClips, a clip-art Webcomic that devoured my entire afternoon recently. I ended up reading every single one of them.

Some of my personal favorites:

A few more, with a special bonus comic for datan0de

Linky-Links: Miscellany of the Day

Once again, I find my browser with about 40 open windows, so once again, it’s time for another dump of Cool Stuff On The Web into the unsuspecting lap of you, my reader.

Today’s roundup is all kinds of interesting and fun stuff with no discernible theme. I’l try to categorize them as much as possible, but fair warning…this batch is all over the place.

Onward to the links!

Art

Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man

This might be called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Photoshop!” Liu Bolin does the hard way what would be easy in Photoshop; he painstakingly paints himself, then photographs himself from a carefully calculated vantage point so as to vanish into the background. There are other Web galleries of his work as well, and he recently appeared in a real-life art gallery called the Vanguard Gallery, whose Web site seems broken at the moment.

The Underground City on Governors Island

Governor’s Island is a small island off the coast of New York City which formerly housed a military base and a small town. In the 1950s, the government transplanted all the town’s inhabitants and buried the entire town. Now it’s being excavated, and the pictures are amazing. (Edit: Apparently, this place is a hoax.)

Building a Terminator

Or, “what some people with far too much time on their hands do with their action figures.”

How-to images for designing a Big Daddy costume from the video game “Bioshock”

Flipping amazing. When I grow up, I want to be half as talented as this guy. I’d never heard of the game Bioshock, and this costume was enough to make me want to play it. Neat feature: the gigantic drill arm actually spins!

Science

New Scientist: How to Cure Diseases Before they Even Start

The advent of antibiotics wrote a new chapter on human health, but effective antiviral drugs are thin on the ground and tend to be extremely specific, often working only against one variant of one virus. A group of researchers is now working on a new class of broad-spectrum antivirals which, if they work, will do for viral disease like what antibiotics have done for bacterial infections.

HPV linked to lung cancer?

A study has found that a significant number of lung cancer tumors express genetic material from the human papilloma virus, the virus responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer.

This does not necessarily prove that HPV causes lung cancer–it’s possible that cancerous cells are more susceptible to HPV infection–but it’s certainly an interesting correlation. If HPV does in fact lead to lung cancer, this will make immunization against HPV even more valuable, especially in men, who are not often immunized now.

Canadian Startup Proposes Nuclear Fusion at Bargain Basement Price

Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of energy–cheap, clean, safe, and virtually unlimited. Conventional approaches to nuclear fusion as a power source rely on fantastically complex inertial or magnetic confinement of hot hydrogen plasma. This approach, which is simpler and cheap, proposes using a sphere of molten metal as a kind of “anvil” to both contain and compress hydrogen to generate fusion power.

Single molecule pictured for the first time

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule. What else is there to say? This is cool fucking shit, yo.

Can dogs see colors?

Turns out the answer is “yes;” dogs aren’t colorblind the way we’ve often thought they were. However, they do not see the range of colors human beings do; their color vision seems to be limited to shades of blue, yellow, and gray.

Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens

I’ve written about this briefly before, I think. The technology is getting closer, and when it’s here, it’s gonna be a game-changer.

Humor

Why the Cops Won’t Patrol Brice Street

A motorcycle, two patrol officers, and an insane attack squirrel from the darkest depths of Hell. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself.

Instructions for Baby

Timeless warnings for new parents everywhere.

High Weirdness

Wearable Robotic Eyeball

I…don’t know what to think. Apparently, it’s linked to the wearer’s iPhone and is part of a video game, I guess. Japanese culture is weird.

Cat rides the daily bus for four years

And apparently doesn’t have to pay a fare. Neat trick, that. Click the link and go “Aww….”

A French Revelation, or The Burning Bush

So according to Jacques Chirac, in early 2003 President Bush told him that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.

Sex Degrees of Separation Calculator

I didn’t file this one under “science” because a number of the assumptions that the calculator uses strike me as somewhat implausible, or at least poorly supported, but it’s a fun toy anyway. Put in your number of sexual partners and your age, and it tries to figure out how many people are in your extended sexual network. These things scale pretty quick, even if the assumptions the calculator uses are a bit liberal.

A History of Orgies

Kind of a fun article, even if it does end on the socially mandated “the orgy just does not seem such a good idea any more” note.

>Disabled Kids Walk With Jesus, Lefty Journos With Satan

An…interesting bit of artwork, supposedly inspired by a vision from God, in which we learn that the US Constitution was written by Jesus himself, the Founding Fathers were all devout Christians, and TV journalists are the tools of Satan. I wonder if I can buy it on black velvet?

Movie Mashups

Movie posters for one movie, done in the style of a different movie, funnier than you might think.

The Cost of Sexual Weirdness

My Human Sex Map project inspired someone to write about the social cost of expressing the variability and range of the human sexual experience.

And finally… Warning: If the Help Desk Thinks Your Question is Stupid, We Will Set You on Fire

Link of the Day: Legacy

This link goes to a very short (only a few paragraphs long) story written by kennric as part of a project he’s doing to write 52 original short stories in 52 weeks, one story per week for a year.

This story is number 17 in the project, and it’s called Legacy. It’s a meditation on transhumanism and uploading and what it means to be a copy, and it’s quite beautiful. aclaro, figmentj, datan0de, femetal…I think you guys in particular will enjoy it. Thanks to zaiah for the link.

Warning: Reading this story made me cry.

List o’ Linky-Links, Christian Fundamentalist Edition

My browser has 32 open windows, so you all know what that means: time for another list of Linky-Links, where we see who fed it and who ate it all across the Whacky Wide Web!

This episode seems to have a special theme: those whacky Christian fundamentalists, up to their silly hijinks in their classic laugh-a-minute way that we all know and love.

So without further ado, on to the links!

First up, we have this breaking news from Muckflash: Christian Group to Produce Clean Pornography.

The group, recently incorporated as the Southern Coalition for Progressive and Pure Change (an obscure sub-branch of the International Congress of Church and Ministries), will pay for the production of 5 films which they say will act as a “stepping stone away from iniquity” as viewers use the films as an intermediate step as they “switch paths from the sexually impure world of the devil to the white shining path of the Lord.”

“We’re envisioning a kind of ‘nicotine patch’ for the tortured souls that struggle in this world to find a Christian voice in the midst of a popular culture that has lost the Word of God in a heathen cacophony of selfish desire,” said Reverend Dr. Stanley Lovett, Founder and Executive Director of SCPPC.

Let’s not forget the subtext of racism and good old-fashioned slave-era stereotypes about blacks, which tend to follow conservative Christianity like flies following a charnel wagon:

Dr. Lovett was willing to give a general description of the the first film, however. According to Lovett, Jodie and the Great Black Whale will feature an 18 year old missionary in Jamaica who is swayed by native temptors into working as an exotic dancer.

And just in time, too, because over at the God and Science site, we learn that pornography leads to sex with robots, and sex with robots leads to the extinction of the human race.

The data underlying the “radical” predictions laid out in this page come from scientific studies that have examined the pervasiveness and effects of pornography upon men and women. In particular, recent data show widespread acceptance of pornography among today’s young adults as “an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality.”1 For males the acceptance rate is 67% compared to 37% for their fathers. Among young adult women the acceptance rate is 49% compared to 20% among their mothers. So, the rate of acceptance of pornography has doubled in just one generation. When those young adults raise their own children, the acceptance rate will probably be greater than 80% for both males and females. The step between watching pornography through technology and engaging in sex acts through an attractive technological object is not that far, especially when the object acts as if it were a real human being.

I don’t know what’s more silly about this article–the notion that human beings don’t actually sex out to have babies and certainly won’t go out of their way to have one if there’s a convenient, non-baby-making alternative, or the even more insulting notion that human relationships are a dismal, unhappy affair, filled with complication and weighed down by erratic, moody women, and that anyone who could skip the whole sordid mess by having sex with robots would never want human companionship.

The Religious Right truly is the village idiot of American culture. These guys never cease to blow my mind with their bizarre misunderstanding of basic human emotion. They really, truly do not get it, on a level that borders on autistic.

Oh, and anti-intellectualism. Mustn’t forget anti-intellectualism. Over on the NY Times Stanley Fish blog comes this astonishing condemnation of intellectual enquiry, Does Curiosity Kill More than the Cat?

Most conservative Christians seem content to keep anti-intellectualism as the subtext of their basic world view. Not so for Stanley, who puts it right out there:

In short, curiosity — sometimes called research, sometimes called unfettered inquiry, sometimes called progress, sometimes called academic freedom — is their God. The question, posed by thinkers from Aquinas to Augustine to Newman to Griffiths, is whether this is the God — the God, ultimately, of self — we want to worship.

And finally, PZ Myers posted this little gem, which neatly sums it all up: