February 4th, 2009


Another round of random interesting links

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so things have rather been piling up, and I've forgotten about half of what I had.

Starting out, a blog entirely about bookshelves (Bookshelf). And, related to that, one on staircases (Stair Porn), and one on office furnishings in general (Worlalicious). On Bookshelf, I found this and this to be conceptually interesting ideas, and this had an amusing title on the shelf. This was an interesting application of modern milling technology to traditional wood mouldings, though it looks more like a shop demo than a piece of artwork to me. Nonetheless, a demo that suggests possibilities.

Then, from the PostModern Language Association ("a bold alternative to the staid orthodoxy of [the MLA]") Guidelines for citing scholarly references from alternative sources. Like, you know, if the aliens beam transmissions telepathically into your head, or someone yells an obscenity at you out a truck window in downtown L.A., and you want to cite that. Sadly, the rest of the site is much more limited in content than one would wish.

A rather lengthy article from 1994 about the making of Doom. I found it rather interesting how the technology space has changed from now to then, and in particular how it was at that point remarkable to write a game that wasn't entirely in assembly language.

The standard NASA design for liquid-fueled hydrogen-oxygen rocket engines uses the liquid fuel to cool the nozzle, thereby keeping it from being damaged by the hot exhaust gasses while simultaneously warming up the liquid hydrogen and helping it vaporize. It turns out that if you design a rocket engine that can be throttled back to 10% of its maximum power, the nozzle cooling is sufficient not only to condense water out of the exhaust steam, but to form icicles around the rim while it's running. That link contains a link to a video of it happening in a test run.

These little-kid mittens are cute. And also perhaps a bit disturbing.

You know how sometimes people take an existing building and build a new one around it, keeping the old one intact but recontextualizing it into something new? What if you did it with a novel? Say, Pride and Prejudice? And built a zombie story around it?.

You know how sometimes "recontextualizing" is actually the right word for what you want to say, but it still sounds horribly pretentious? Yeah. I don't have a link for that, so I'll give you Heavy Metal Laundry Tips, instead. Which appears to both be useful advice for people who have black shirts that they want to stay black, and be delightful in its ... argh; I don't seem to have a word. The tone, the construction of all of the hitting of cultural notes both visually and in the writing, and the chord that it plays by hitting those notes. It's like the sort of thing that you'd get from a metal band with a harpsichord.

Speaking of which, I rather like this rock remix of a Bach harpsichord concerto.... And from there I discovered this jazz version of C.P.E. Bach's "Solfeggietto", by Bach to the Future, which I quite like; they also did "Flight of the Bumblebee", which isn't nearly as good, but I guess everyone has to do it (warning; not nearly as good). Oh, and one more Youtube track from them: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. (Gift hint, for those it's relevant to: Yeah, I like that style of music, just a bit.)

So, right, where was I? Last time I went off on a "finding interesting music on YouTube" spree, I ended up discovering Friedrich Gulda (also, his cello concerto), and buying a few CDs -- from which I discovered ArkivMusic.com, which does authorized CD-R reprints of out-of-print CDs from major places like Sony. Which was good when the usual used-music places failed me there. Sadly, Bach to the Future haven't recorded any full CDs yet.

Here, have a nifty-stuff blog called "Dinosaurs and Robots". And I'll get back on track.

This was an interesting application of thermodynamic laws in explaining how to make a heat engine out of a rubber band, by working backwards from the observation that stretching a rubber band caused it to heat up.

An observation that most of the minerals on earth are only present because of life (and thus free oxygen), and looking at this from a perspective of minerals evolving. (Kind of a short overview rather than anything in depth, though.)

A lot of very nifty Japanese puzzle boxes; cjsmith, I thought of you when I saw these.

Japan has glow-in-the-dark mushrooms. They're really quite pretty.

Steampunk photographs of original-series Star Trek characters. It's Scotty as a Victorian-era engineer! Spock as Nicola Tesla (well, not quite). Kirk as ... well, exactly what he would be.

Speaking of such things.... So, you've got a flying car. An actual, working one, I mean. Specifically, you've got a car with an aeroplane engine mounted in the back, and then the back half of an airplane (including the wings) in a form that you can either attach to the back of the car to make a whole airplane out of it with a rear-facing propellor, or fold up so you can tow it behind the car as a trailer. So, what do you do with it? Well, put skis on it and a propellor on the back and make a snowspeeder, obviously! Because just having a car that can fly is not enough!

And that's probably enough for now.