September 2010

  1. Space

    Gliese 581g: An Earth-Like Planet Has Been Discovered that Could Sustain Life

    An Earth-like planet has been discovered just 20 light-years away in the Gliese 581 system following an eleven-year observation, and NASA says that this could be "the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one." Dubbed Gliese 581g because it is the sixth planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581, the planet has a mass of three to four times Earth's, orbits its star in just 37 days, and is "tidally locked" to the star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and it's always light on that side, while one side is always facing away and it's always dark. Sci-fi sounding details aside, the reason Gliese 581g has scientists so excited can be summed up in one word: Water.

    Read on...
  2. Weird

    Unbelievable Gymkhana Driving Video

    Unbelievable 2008 video of Ken Block practicing gymkhana driving. Skip to the 3:00 mark to get to the really good stuff. (via Kottke)

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  3. Geekolinks

    Geekolinks: 9/29

    The goods on Nintendo's 3DS. (IGN) Wikipedia adds BitTorrent-powered video (TorrentFreak) Every Mad magazine cover (Mad Cover Site) Dating site where gamers pay to play with girls opens for business (Mashable) How to shower like a badass (THD) Michael Caine explains the ending to Inception (Blastr) Inside ThinkGeek (Wired) (title pic via Topless Robot)

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  4. Weird

    Germany’s World War I Reparations Finally End This Weekend

    This weekend, Germany will finally finish paying off its reparations from World War I. Following Germany's defeat in the war, the Allied Powers hit it with a steep bill in the form of the Treaty of Versailles, which mandated that it pay £23.6 billion ($393.6 billion in today's dollars). Reparations plunged postwar Germany deeply into debt, and as Wikipedia summarizes, came in the form of "coal, steel, intellectual property (eg. the trademark for Aspirin) and agricultural products" as well as money.

    Resentment over reparations helped propel Hitler into power and sparked anti-Semitic propaganda like this cartoon (via); when Hitler took power, the payment of reparations ceased, although they were reinstated by West Germany in 1953.

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  5. Tech

    An Intricate Study on the Use of Pens

    The above graphic was probably the result of a twenty-three-year-long study involving beakers and multimillion dollar government funding. Or not.

    Doghouse Diaries also has conducted a detailed study on a similar phenomenon. (reddit via The High Definite)

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  6. Entertainment

    Huffington Post Offering Free Bus Service To Jon Stewart’s “Rally To Restore Sanity” in DC

    Last night, Arianna Huffington appeared on The Daily Show and made a rather dramatic offer right off the bat, pledge to provide bus service to anyone interested in attending Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity from the Soho offices of Huffington Post. HuffPost:

    Stewart has described the event as “Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement.” As of Tuesday, a Facebook page dedicated to the rally shows that over 170,000 people have committed to attend. Details of the HuffPost Sanity Bus are still in the works, but you can sign up [at HuffPost] to participate. As soon as we know more, we’ll alert you via email.
    >>>Check out the video of the announcement at Mediaite.

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  7. Space

    Space Footage Shot From Homemade Weather Balloon: Incredibly Awesome

    After eight months of research and testing, photographer Luke Geissbühler and his children attached an HD camera to a weather balloon and sent it off into space from Newburgh, New York, reaching 100,000 feet and recording space before plummeting back down to Earth.

    As stated near the beginning of the video:

    The mission was to attach a HD video camera to a weather balloon and send it up into the upper stratosphere to film the blackness beyond our earth.

    Eventually, the balloon will grow from lack of atmospheric pressure, burst, and being to fall.

    It would have to survive 100 mph winds, temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, speeds of over a 150 mph, and the high risk of a water landing.

    (It did.)

    Read on...
  8. Tech

    How Popular Is the iPhone? [Infographic]

    Someone once observed that infographics have become the Auto-Tune of the design world; that said, when there's dense, graph-heavy information to be conveyed, there's nothing like a well-done infographic to get the point across. This infographic by BillShrink digs up some good data to address the question "How Popular is the iPhone?" In condensed terms, the answer it gives: Not popular in absolute terms (neither are smartphones, of course), but dominant in particular areas like app sales, and it commands a ton of loyalty from its fans. Hit the jump for full sized view.

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  9. Gaming

    3DS Super Street Fighter IV Automatically Fights Other 3DS Street Fighers While In Your Pocket

    The upcoming version of Super Street Fighter IV for the Nintendo 3DS contains a very appropriate feature for the game franchise: It fights other 3DSes in the street.

    Called "tag mode," if a Super Street Fighter IV equipped 3DS passes by another 3DS with the game, the two handhelds will automatically duke it out using both players' in-game collectible figures, earning more figures as the handhelds battle, leaving players to go on with their day while their 3DS is safely tucked away.

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  10. Entertainment

    Star Wars to Be Released In 3-D

    Add another item to the list of things that George Lucas will do to beat one last round of cash out of his "once beloved accidental masterpiece." In a move that we're much more familiar coming out of big studios who wouldn't know artistic motivation if it kicked them in the pants, Lucas will be re-releasing all six Star Wars movies to theaters in 3-D, beginning in 2012 with Episode I: The Phantom Menace.   According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was inspired by Avatar.  (Not The Last Airbender.) 20th Century Fox must be pinching themselves.

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  11. Tech

    Reminder: 40% of AOL’s Revenue Still Comes from Dial-Up Subscriptions

    In light of AOL's headline-making purchase of TechCrunch and its efforts to rebrand as an online media company, an interesting note about the company's business as it currently stands: 40% of AOL's revenue still comes from selling dial-up Internet subscriptions. To whom, we have no idea. WSJ:

    While the company continues to invest in its new strategy, its business hasn't moved much beyond its old one: More than 40% of its revenue still comes from selling dial-up Internet service and related subscription products, the legacy business it has been trying to shed for years. ... Advertisers like the idea of making AOL a go-to place for buzzworthy news and entertainment. But they aren't convinced it will work.

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  12. Tech

    New Twitter Design Based on Golden Ratio

    The Golden Ratio, an irrational mathematical constant that signifies when two quantities are in the ratio "if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one," was the basis for Twitter's new design.

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  13. Entertainment

    This Batman Cover Looks Like It Has A Nasty Word On It

    This is part of what is apparently a cover of one of the upcoming Bruce Wayne: The Return Home books, featuring Batman and Robin jumping off a building, away from an explosion. Also, somebody is shooting lasers at them. Well, one of them looks like it might be a freeze ray. (It's the spiraling secondary ray that gives it away.) Oh, and there are some giant letters that look like they used to spell out the f-word.

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  14. Entertainment

    It’s All Fun and Games Until…

    "It's all fun and games until your ex-girlfriend tells everyone the password to your friends-only LiveJournal account is the first letter in the names of each of the Ring-bearers, listed in the order they held it, including Sauron, Isildur, Smeagol and Tom Bombadil but neither Deagol nor Gandalf." --From Greg Ryan's excellent McSweeney's piece "Events, Over A Life Span, That Precipitate The End Of Fun And Games." (Thanks, Hannah.)

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  15. Gaming

    16-Bit Computer Built in Minecraft

    Following in the footsteps of Dwarf Fortress grandmasters who have built in-game computers in the past, YouTube user TheInternetFTW has constructed the first piece of a 16-bit computer within Minecraft. According to the video description, "That computer will be "Hack" compatible, which is to say that it'll run code meant for the Hack machine described in The Elements of Computer Systems." In the video above, you'll see the first completed building block of the computer: The ALU, or arithmetic logic unit, one of the key components of the CPU (central processing unit.)

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