December 21st, 2006

Link dam … bursting!:

  • Geograph – map of the British Isles overlaid with photos from that area. Here’s my square. And up North.
  • Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo. I can’t remember whether I put this on my Amazon wish list (hint) or not – I’ll have to wait until Xmas to find out.
  • Old, interesting piece about wage slaves in MMO’s
  • If, like Robotperson, you awaited the rotating crystal skull that heralded the start of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World with a mixture of apprehension and excitement, you will be delighted to know that the purpose of the Antikythera Mechanism has finally been figured out

    Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates back to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict eclipses and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon … No other civilisation is believed to have created anything as complex for another 1,000 years

  • New Scientist’s Flickr photostream. Hmmm, respect slightly diminished. Sometimes it’s better that your heroes remain faceless.
  • Excellent Richard Dawkins public Q&A at The Independent

    You fail to make any distinction between organised religion (which can be dangerous) and an individual’s ‘belief in God’ (which harms no one). Why do you seem incapable of separating the two? GARY HOWE, By e-mail

    Of course I am capable of separating the two. But whether beliefs are dangerous or harmless is not the only interesting basis for separating them. There is also the little matter of whether they are true. Scientists care about such things.

  • Hungry near the Tate Modern? Head to El Vergel for tasty, cheap South American eats. Mmmm, mmmm – empanadas!
  • Enviro-Hummer
  • asks Why do we need a moonbase?. As a big fan of science you’d expect Robotperson to be excited about this, but the pointlessness, and waste of money (unless you’re part of the military-industrial complex) apall me.

    What’s it for? Good luck answering that question. There is scientific research to be done on the moon, but this could be accomplished by automatic probes or occasional astronaut visits at a minute fraction of the cost of a permanent, crewed facility … In deadpan style, the New York Times story on the NASA announcement declared, “The lunar base is part of a larger effort to develop an international exploration strategy, one that explains why and how humans are returning to the moon and what they plan to do when they get there.” Oh–so we’ll build the moon base first, and then try to figure out why we built it.

  • Reasons for getting a Wii #31: Mac app turns your Wiimote into a lightsabre.
  • On the other hand… The case against the Wii
  • Musicovery – internet radio tuned to your mood. A bit of tinkering quickly leaves me thinking it’s not especially good, but cute idea.
  • Historical interlude: Richard Francis Burton

    Burton was also accused of having murdered a man on his trip to Mecca. The story was that on the journey he had accidentally revealed himself as a European and killed the man (in some versions a boy) to keep his secret. While Burton often denied this, he was also given to baiting gullible listeners … When asked by a priest about the same incident Burton is said to have replied “Sir, I’m proud to say I have committed every sin in the Decalogue.”

  • Quadruple bypass burger. Aye caramba!
  • Imagining the tenth dimension. Surprisingly comprehensible explanation of the space in which string theory operates
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark edition. US kids spend 7 years of their childhood making a shot-for-shot version of the original Indy adventure.
  • And finally, a no-longer premature xmas card to you all. Happy Christmas everyone.

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