31 August 2015

Artichoke flower time-lapse


Offered without comment.  Context at The Telegraph's gallery of MTV Video Music Awards pix.

Chinese military tactics

Cropped for size from the original at imgur.  Probably destined for Bad Newspaper.

This man would consider building a wall on the U.S.-Canadian border

When presidential aspirants try to mindlessly out-Trump Trump, it can lead them into ridiculous positions:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is putting a new twist on the topic of securing the border, a staple among the GOP candidates running for president, by pointing north.

Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday that building a wall along the country's northern border with Canada is a legitimate issue that merits further review...

Walker said some people in New Hampshire have asked the campaign about the topic.

"They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at," Walker said.
More details at the StarTribune.  I do hope this is the last post I write about Scott Walker.

There are many kinds of buried treasure

There has been a lot of media attention to the possible discovery of a Nazi gold train, but this more prosaic discovery also generated a lot of wealth for the finders:
A cache of Atari game cartridges, including copies of one of the worst video games ever made, have sold for more then $100,000 (£64,828) after being discovered in a landfill site in the desert.

The discovery of the games 200 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico last year confirmed an urban legend that Atari had dumped hundreds of games more than 30 years ago due to poor sales.

Over the last several months 881 of the games found have been sold on the internet to collectors, includng museums, in 14 countries. The highest price paid was for a copy of ET The Extra-Terrestrial that went for $1,535
More information at The Telegraph.  Stories like this never fail to remind me that when I was young (the 1950s), my family used to take its trash to the local landfill.  While there I would scramble around looking for discarded comic books.  There must be an incredible number of comics and other collectible ephemera still in near-pristine condition in that anaerobic environment (which undoubtedly now has a subdivision of homes on top of it).

29 August 2015

Abdul and his daughter

The photos above were posted on Twitter by Gissur Simonarson. They depict Abdul, a single father with two children, and his daughter Reem, who is four.  They are Palestinian Syrians from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.  He is selling pens in an effort to support his family.

The photographer was swamped with offers to help the family, so he set up an Indiegogo account for them, which has now raised over $100,000 in 2 days.

Discussed at the Uplifting News subreddit.

Gissur Simonarson's twitter feed is here.  Warning: contains graphic images of war, including battlefield casualties and bloodied and dead children.

Refugee family at Hungarian-Serbian border

One of the "best photos of the week" at the Washington Post

Photo credit Csaba Segesvari/AFP/Getty Images [cropped for size].

28 August 2015

"Traverse board" for navigating at sea

The rounded top of the board bore a painted 32-point compass pattern. Each point featured a line of eight holes radiating from the center of a circle. The lower, square portion of the board had horizontal lines of holes under columns that represented the speed of the ship in knots.

During each standard four-hour watch, the crew measured the ship’s speed and direction eight times, every half hour, and recorded them using pegs: direction under the appropriate compass point on the rounded top; speed along the bottom. After each watch, the navigator collected the data, logged it, plotted it on a chart, cleared the board, and then began the process again.
The boards were widely used throughout Europe and Scandinavia from the late 15th century until the mid-19th century.
More information at Hakai Magazine.

Photo credit: Gjalt Kemp Scheepsantiek/ships-antiques.com

A tinfoil-wrapped house for those worried about mind control

A more prosaic explanation is offered at Nothing To Do With Arbroath.


More examples at The Telegraph's gallery of mistranslated Chinese phrases.

"So volatile that a mosquito landing on it will make it explode"

 This is why you won't find any nitrogen triiodide sitting around in the woods of northern Minnesota.

Popularity: Sanders 2016 = Obama 2008

Discussed in a thread at the Data Is Beautiful subreddit.

It's not the Spanish Armanda...

Can you guess what the unusual formations are in this nanosatellite photo? (The area being imaged is the Myeongnyang Strait - if that helps...)

Which brings us to the subject of "nanosatellites" -
On Nov. 26, 2013, Planet Labs, a private start-up company of San Francisco, CA, announced that it successfully launched its most recent nanosatellites, Dove 3 and Dove 4, into orbit on a Dnepr vehicle (launch on Nov. 21, 2013 from the Yasny Cosmodrome, Russia), completing a series of four prototype nanosatellites in 2013. Those proved successful, enabling the company to quickly follow up with the production of a 28-member network. The launch of Planet Labs' "Flock 1" fleet of 28 nanosatellites in December/January, which will be the largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites ever launched...

Their "Dove" nanosatellites are meant to be low-cost and rapidly deployable, and capable of taking pictures of Earth that provide a spatial resolution of 3-5 m. — On March 17, 2014, Planet Labs announced that it has confirmed launches for more than 100 satellites over the next 12 months. This full constellation of nanosatellites will allow Planet Labs to image the entire Earth every day
It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept that technology and data processing have progressed to the point that it is now possible to image the entire planet Earth every day at a resolution of a couple meters.

The answer to the initial question, btw, is at the link.

27 August 2015


Via Bad Newspaper, where there is always something funny.

Have you purchased Starkist tuna?

If so, you may be eligible to participate in one of those class-action lawsuits where the claimants get a pittance and the attorneys get rich:
If you’re a resident of the United States and bought at least one five-ounce can of any of these tunas from Starkist between February 19, 2009 and October 31, 2014, you’re eligible to file a claim...

As often happens with class actions for small items, they’re assuming that you haven’t saved your last five years’ worth of grocery receipts. They’re asking consumers to say on penalty of perjury when they file a claim that they have, indeed, purchased tuna during the period covered by the suit.  
More details and a link to the website for submitting a claim at Consumerist.
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