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!


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!


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.


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

World news: NASA Sensors Detect Barking Moonbats

Yesterday, NASA’s LCROSS mission impacted the moon at high speed.

The purpose of the mission was to create a large plume of dust from impacting the bottom of a deep cater near the moon’s south pole so that the plume could be analyzed for signs of water ice. In that particular respect, it went swimmingly, no pun intended.

However, the mission also revealed something totally unexpected–a treasure trove of barking moonbats here on planet earth. The moonbats have set up a Web site in which they claim the LCROSS mission is a part of a conspiracy by a “powerful syndicate of military-industrial criminals” that was “inspired by fanatical terrorist airline hijackers” to bomb the moon. From the Web site:

Of course, there is much more behind this attack than casual scientific curiosity on whether or not there is water on the Moon. First of all, since the long-range accuracy of intercontinental ballistic missiles has never been proven to work, the LCROSS suicide mission serves as a live-fire test exercise for US war strategists with an interest in the precision of orbiting satellite weapons—in other words, the southern hemisphere of the Moon will be turned into a firing range, making this mission one giant leap for the global reach of space warfare. Secondly, LCROSS has been promoted as “the vanguard” for the US military-industrial-entertainment complex’s return to the Moon—according to NASA, finding water is a necessary first step for “building a long-term and sustainable human presence” there. Historically, the purpose of exploration has always been the exploitation of resources and the colonization of territory without regard for ecosystems or indigenous peoples, and clearly the Moon is the next territory coveted by imperialists.

This so-called “NASA experiment” is a hostile act of aggression and a violent intrusion upon our closest and dearest celestial neighbor. Does any love song or poem or fairy tale worth its salt not mention the Moon? Who can take a walk in the Moonlight with a lover and not feel the romance to your very soul? At night, when the Moon rules, we sleep, and we can visit the Moon in our sleep with ease. The Moon is our night light, our blanket, our grandmother, our mother—it is woman, child, domestic life, tides, bodies of water, liquids, circulation, comfort, nurturing, paintings by Remedios Varo, stories by Jules Verne, and so much more.

It’s not entirely clear to me that the authors of this Web site understand what the word “ecosystem” means or why the moon doesn’t have one, but I’m particularly curious about who, exactly, the indigenous peoples in question are.

On the bright side, at least they’re not trying to deny that we ever landed on the moon at all…