Friday, November 27, 2009

Plot Drawings has plot diagrams for the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Jurassic Park. The diagrams show the location and groupings of the various characters as the stories progress.

I'm not sure how useful something like this would be if you were writing a story rather than studying one but the idea is certainly interesting.

Flash Game: Totem Destroyer 2

Totem Destroyer 2 is another cool flash game. In this one instead of building up a pile of things you start with a pile of things with an idol at the top. You goal is to blow up the items in the pile so as to lower the idol to the ground. (Actually not the ground but to the special dark coloured blocks.)

Some of the levels need a bit of luck but on the whole a fun game.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obit: Richard Sonnenfeldt, chief interpreter at Nuremberg

The Economist has the obituary of Richard Sonnenfeldt, the chief interpreter at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

I thought this section was particularly interesting:
When he asked Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, whether he was ever tempted to enrich himself from the inmates, Hoess replied: “What kind of man do you think I am?”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Prize awarded in Space Elevator Contest

The Washington Post reports that a design team from Seattle has won a prize in NASA's first space elevator contest.
The contest requires that the machines climb 2,953 feet up a cable slung beneath a helicopter hovering nearly a mile high.

SF Gate also has an article on the contest and says the prize was $900,000.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Attractive Quarterbacks are Better Quarterbacks

The Ottawa Citizen has an article (as does the National Post) about a new study that shows that the facial attractiveness of NFL quarterbacks is directly correlated to their ability on the playing field.
A new study shows that the facial attractiveness of NFL quarterbacks — as rated by panels of female students who have no idea they're pro athletes — mirrors their athletic ability on the field, regardless of other attributes such as age or ethnicity. Other studies have demonstrated similar patterns with professional hockey and soccer players.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Steel Velcro

The New Scientist reports that German engineers have built what is essentially steel Velcro. The strips can support 35 tonnes parallel to the join or 7 tonnes perpendicular.
via Make

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Massive Crater on Phobos

Astronomy Picture of the day has a photo of the Stickney Crater on the Martian moon Phobos. The crater is huge - it takes up one whole end of the not-very-round moon.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ponoko - Make Stuff from a Picture

Have you every drawn something on a napkin and decided you would really like the real object but had no idea how to make it? Check out the intro video on this page at Ponoko. If you send them a digital photo of the napkin they will make the object for you.

They can also make an object from a more conventional CAD file.

Note that I haven't actually used this service I just like the idea of it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Washington Post has an interesting article about the events that lead to the opening of the Berlin Wall. The article says it was a bureaucratic misunderstanding started by a bumbled press conference.