We have some reader contributions this week. Without further ado, the links…
- The growing belief that all terrorists are Muslim is simply not true as this article points out. (h/t TBH)
- I’m getting tired of documenting the ways that intelligence agencies are blatantly exceeding their mandate and are clearly going to keep doing so. Therefore, this link to a report by an NSA-led panel that determines that there is no viable alternative to mass data collection on everyone will be the last link of this type for a while. It’s pretty clear that the gorilla is gonna win this one. As a parting shot, I’ll point out that all of my links on this subject have been from foreign sources, especially The Guardian. Pretty much sums it up.
- On a lighter note, here is a fascinating link to some research on how to raise smart kids. I really wish I’d seen this 15 years ago. Or that my parents had read it 45 years ago, for that matter. (h/t to Mrs. Feingarden)
- And to finish with a chuckle, this is without question the best underwater video ever taken by a radio-controlled airplane. Yes, I said underwater and airplane.
It seems like the theme this week is “good news from the world of health” which is very ironic because I’m laid up with a bad back. Life’s sense of humor works that way sometimes. On to the links…
- I’ve heard about the islands that China is building to expand their territorial claims in the South China Sea before, but this article focuses on a Philippine crew who are blockaded and cannot go home any more.
- The discovery of an amazing new batch of antibiotics was announced, the first such discovery in about 40 years and a real game-changer for some doomsayers.
- Researchers at Stanford announced the discovery of a likely cause of Alzheimer’s though they’re not really on the path of a treatment just yet.
- At least one member of a small clinical trial group in Seattle reports amazing success in his battle with MS thanks to a combination of chemotherapy drugs and stem cell therapy.
- For those non-gamers in the crowd, Minecraft is a game that lets you make anything you want out of blocks of raw materials. It’s just like Lego was back before it was shipped with exactly the parts you needed and instructions to follow, it is one of the best games currently available to foster creativity in kids, and it’s probably deserving of its own post. Until I get around to that you’ll just have to content yourself with a story about a person who took their vegetarian views into the game with them.
Welcome to the new year! Let’s see if I can start it off with some quality links.
- A story about a reporter who nearly missed the Great Rose Bowl Prank of 1960. Here are more details about the prank itself, which involved altering 2,232 instruction sheets by hand in the days before automation.
- If you like looking at things in the sky like eclipses and meteors and stuff, here’s a handy guide to all of the main viewing opportunities in 2015.
- I’ve been holding this for a while but the US courts decided that it is not an illegal search if you invite the FBI agents into your hotel room. Because they’re dressed like maintenance staff. The maintenance staff you called to fix the Internet. The Internet that they cut off so you’d call maintenance.
- In related news, the spy folks responded to a Freedom of Information Act request and released a report of all the policy violations they’ve committed in the past dozen years or so. It appears that they didn’t want to upset anyone over the holidays. That must be the reason they released it at noon on Christmas Eve, right?
- In breaking news, they’ve discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen in Egypt. Having had her initial moment of fame roughly 4,500 years ago, she’s in the news again. Hopefully the Kardashians won’t reappear in the far future, but in case they do I’ll just apologize on behalf of western culture now.
- To end things on a light note, take a walk on some clear ice.
It has been a festive holiday week here on planet Feingarden, so festive in fact that I haven’t done very much surfing. As a result, the list of links this week is pretty weak. To make matters worse, I’m making a concerted effort to suppress my cynicism during the holidays so I’m filtering out links about strife, corruption, and basic human indecency. There’s not a lot left, so … mongooses!
- Mongooses + ball pit = genius.
- When you see a headline like “The boat that landed on a roof and saved 59 people” you read the story.
- “Smarter Every Day” shows why spaghetti never breaks cleanly into two pieces. This is of interest to me because I always figured I was doing something wrong.
That’s it. Sorry it’s so short this week but I’m on vacation.
Without the constraint of a “theme” the number of links is huge this week. You can decide for yourself whether that’s good or bad.
- Huffington Post has named “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” as their Show of the Year for 2014. If you haven’t seen John Oliver before then you really should and the link ties in to several of his best episodes. Warning: He’s liberal, he’s profane, he’s sarcastic, and he’s a lot like John Stewart but as Huffington points out he has the advantage of being able to react with more deliberation since his show is weekly. You may not agree with him but he should definitely make you think.
- I found a fun internet clock that converts the current time into a color code and displays the color as the background. The result is kinda hypnotic.
- The folks at AirBnB put together a single-scene ad that is part model train and part Rube Goldberg machine. This really deserves a “making of” video.
- Did you know that the Panama Canal is being expanded? Yep, it sure is, and this week they started installing the gates on the new locks. The new gate is 10 meters wide, 30 meters high, and weighs 3,200 tons. And you thought your screen door was a pain to hang.
- The story is just coming out that a pipeline explosion in Turkey way back in ’08 was actually the result of a hacking attack. The story also includes a map showing why this matters to the US, specifically their 2.7 million total miles of pipelines.
- Having introduced my kids to video games at an early age, and done a few experiments of my own on them, I really found this article about a dad who made his kid learn computer games from the beginning to be pretty neat.
Stuff and more stuff. Not sure why, but I detect a distinct holiday theme this time around.
- The people at NATS, Britain’s air traffic controllers, have a knack for making cool videos and also a sense of humour when it comes to Christmas. Put the two together and you have this video of the European portion of Santa’s journey. (I can’t link directly to the video itself, but it’s currently the top one on their page. The rest of their stuff is pretty cool, too.)
- Some new research shows that bacteria poop might someday be able to help you eat less over the holidays, and not in the ways that “bacteria poop” would make seem obvious.
- The classic movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (as loved by Feingarden as it is hated by Mrs. Feingarden) originally started as a short story by John Hughes titled “Christmas ’59“. Ignore the post-war-era racism and laugh yourself silly.
- How do you top the classic YouTube video of the Christmas lights dancing to “Wizards in Winter”? Let’s see, you could, I dunno, maybe bring in the neighbors? And add a quadcopter? With a camera? Yes, you could do all of that and this would be the result.
The Weekend Almanac pickings this week are as lean as a stripped Thanksgiving turkey carcass.
- An entertaining description of what it was like to be a female sportswriter in 1992. I’m not sure that things have changed much. (Adult content warning.)
- A lot of talk lately about police shootings. Here’s a story about a guy who is trying to document them all and the walls he’s running into. I think the larger question we need to start asking is why the government deserves respect when it doesn’t respect it’s own laws.
- More space news this week with the first flight of the Orion spacecraft. A short flight of two orbits and two trips through the Van Allen radiation belts to test the shielding. All went well.
- It is December now so you can listen to holiday music and watch holiday music videos completely guilt-free. You can also watch the video of oddest duet in the history of Christmas music. The interesting backstory here and here.