Friday, February 20, 2009

Shared Google Reader Items, 2/20/2009

It's time again to discuss some shared items from Google Reader. Enjoy!

Astronomy:
Technology:
  • I was in love with this G1 Android-controlled robotic blimp the first time I saw it, but I think I've accepted that it isn't worth the $600 or so it'd take to put it together.
  • I. Want. So. Bad.
  • A new company is working on commercial, space-based solar power within a decade. Sweet. There's a cool Asimov story about that in I think it was I, Robot (the collection of short stories that has zero relation to the movie, if for no other reason than that the short stories are entertaining).
  • Ok, bear with me. DARPA's remote-controlled insects are absolutely awesome, and not at all creepy. But I understand that it probably sounds like they're creepy. Here's the thing: Imagine a spy camera, tiny speaker, microphone, and transmitter on these things. Now imagine a rescue crew at the other end of the remote control, searching through rubble for earthquaker survivors or whatnot. Now imagine a cockroach crawling up to someone's ear and whispering, "Stay calm, we're coming for you." Ok, you're right. That's creepy. But it's still freaking awesome.
Politics:
Entertainment:
Atheism:
Art:
Science:
  • Very briefly: One of Einstein's problems with quantum mechanics was that it allowed for entanglement of particles, leading to "spooky action at a distance," where things done to one particle happen to the other one, too. It turns out the human eye may be sensitive enough to detect it. If so, the people detecting it would briefly become entangled with one another. This is leading me to visions of the precogs in Minority Report or perhaps the pilots in Dune. Very strange, very potentially cool.
  • Damn you, YouTube! How can you not have a clip of "Your Komodo Dragon" from The Freshman? Is it because only about six of us actually saw that movie, and nobody bought the DVD to rip it? My comments about this story of a thought-to-be-extinct bird being photographed and then promptly sold as food would now only make sense to the six of us. But seriously, isn't that tragically hilarious, fellow Freshman-viewers?
  • I am absolutely going to have to buy one of these posters to frame and hang.
The Internets:

Jeebus, this post has 26 links in it. As always, leave your comments on these or anything else (but seriously, you could probably keep it to these this time) below.

3 comments:

Jon Harmon said...

Followup: By the phase diagram of water (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/Water_phase_diagram.svg/512px-Water_phase_diagram.svg.png) and the ~10 Pa/250 K conditions on Mars (at the lander site; it's colder other places, and presumably slightly warmer in some places), water should sublimate from ice to vapor. The reason liquid water is interesting is it suggests things are dissolved in the water that change that phase diagram, thus making liquid water *elsewhere* on Mars possible.

To see what I mean, follow along from the line on the left just above "1" in that diagram. As T increases, you should pass directly from the "S" (solid) section to the "V" (vapor) section. Going through "L" (liquid) requires something funky going on.

Charon said...

1. I'm alone in the office this week and we have a full kitchen. I'll take a stab at your creations. But I think I'll substitute jalapenos in half of the batch.
2. Though I love making the reference myself, we did go to Europa in the end: http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0345413989. Twice even: http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/0345438205.
3. The painting movie is awesome.

Jon Harmon said...

1. That's the whole thing. Put in whatever you want!

2. Yeah yeah yeah.

3. Indeed.