Friday, December 16, 2011

Days Alive

According to the Amazing Days Alive Calculator, the 20,000th day of my life will be 1 January 2020.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Map of British Road Deaths

Flowing Data has a post about with a graphic that maps every traffic death in the UK.  I guess it is obvious but it is amazing how much the picture looks like a satellite photo of the UK at night.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Comic: The Medium is the Message

I have a vague feeling I've seen this somewhere before but I do like this comic.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dubai in the Clouds

National Geographic Photo of the Day has a nice photo of skyscrapers in Dubai poking through the clouds.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Blackberry Outage Saved Lives

According to The National (which seems to be a newspaper in the UAE) during the recent three day Blackberry outage the traffic accident rate in Dubai fell by 20%.

The Robot that Walks like a Man

Kottke.org has a post with a video of a walking biped robot.  Like the older Big Dog four legged robot this one walks in a very natural way and can even keep going when jostled.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photo: Clouds Over Greenland

National Geographic has an awesome photo of some clouds over Inglefield Bay in Greenland.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Abandoned Submarines

1800Recycling has a post with photos of abandoned Soviet submarines rusting away in a bay in Russia.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

How Old is Your Globe?

ReplogeGlobes has a list of no longer existant countries and the year they vanished.  You can use this to date the old globe you have in the attic.  I definitely remember the Central African Republic (1960) from some maps in school.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Graphic: World Population Density and Income Level

National Geographic has an article with a graphic that shows both population density and income level across the world.  It is interesting the way that some of the bright spots follow national borders.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Nerdy Day Trips

NerdyDayTrips.com is the sort of site you check before you go somewhere on vacation just in case there is something interesting nearby.  The map starts up centred on the UK but you can move around to where ever you want.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Graphic: Distance to Nearest McDonald's - UK Version

Flowing Data has a post with an image of the UK where the brightness of a point reflects the distance to the nearest McDonald's.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photo: The Earth and Moon

Discovery.com has a post with a picture of the Earth and Moon taken by the Juno space probe which is on its way to Jupiter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photo: Human Stuff on the Moon

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a shot of the Apollo 17 landing site.  You can clearly see the lander, the lunar rover and some tracks on the surface.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Psychology of Eating

Nutrition Action Letter has an interview with Brian Wansink of Cornell University.  He goes through quite a few external cues that can cause overeating.  Interestingly he says that people still respond to these cues even when they know about them.  He has a number of suggestions for ways you can use this information to reduce overeating.  He also explains the origin of those 100 calorie mini-packs of cookies and snacks.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Obit: Peter Twiss - First to Fly Faster than 1000 MPH

The Telegraph has the obituary of Royal Navy Lt Commander Peter Twiss who in 1955 became the first person to fly faster than 1000 miles per hour.  He beat the previous speed record by over 300 mile per hour.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo: Meteor From Above

Astronomy Photo of the Day has a shot of one of the Perseid meteors taken looking downwards from the Space Station.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last Photo of Shuttle from Orbit

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a rather sad photo of the last Space Shuttle reentering the Earth's atmosphere as seen from the International Space Station.

Factoid: Higher Muslims Have to Wait Longer to Break Fast

The Associated Press reports that Muslims who live more than 80 storeys above the ground have to wait an extra two minutes before breaking their fast during Ramadan.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Graphic: Highest to Lowest

Our Amazing Planet has an interesting infographic showing the range of heights on Earth.  I hadn't realised the South Pole was so high up.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

If Everyone Lived in One City

Per Square Mile has a post with an image showing how much space would be required if all the people in the world lived at the same population density as various cities.  For example, if we all lived at the same density as New York City then we would all fit in Texas.  That would leave the entire rest of the world for growing food and theme parks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Photos of Last Shuttle Mission

The Big Picture has a page of photos of the recent (and final) Space Shuttle mission.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Space Walk With Logos

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a photo of an astronaut on a space walk at the end of the Canadarm.  Amusingly the only logo visible in the picture is the Canada wordmark and you can see it three times.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comic Sans Comic

This comic is a bit hard to explain if you don't get it.  The key is that Comic Sans is a font.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lego Robots Solve Rubik's Cube and Suduko

Singularity Hub has a post with some videos of a new super fast Lego robot that solves Rubik's cubes.  There are also videos of humans setting records solving the cubes and as a bonus there is a very cool, and very slow, Lego robot that solves Sudoku puzzles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stars Over Dubai

Astronomy Photo of the Day has a nice nighttime shot of Dubai.

The Great Stork Derby

I came across this quote:
In 1926, a wealthy Toronto lawyer and practical joker by the name of Charles Vance Millar died. In his last will and testament Mr. Millar bequeathed the residue of his estate to the woman in Toronto who could produce the most children in the 10-year period following his death. The race became known as The Great Stork Derby and, in 1936, there were four winning mothers who each had produced nine children. They each received $125,000, which in 2011 dollars had the same buying power as $2,032,050.
 the other day in the Globe and Mail.

I had never heard of this before but it is true according to Snopes and Wikipedia.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Much Do They Make in the UK?

The British Office for National Statistics has a google map showing weekly income by neighbourhood.  It starts out zoomed in on central London but you can zoom back out to see the entire country (well England and Wales anyway - I guess the Scots didn't want to talk about how much money they make).

Friday, July 15, 2011

That File is Hard to Move

Flowing Data has a post about a computer mouse that gives its user tactile feedback.  For example it makes a larger file feel harder to move (ie heavier) than a smaller one.  I think that would probably get annoying after a while but it is still an interesting idea.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Last Vietnam-era Draftee to Retire from US Army

According to Yahoo News, the last person drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War has decided to retire.  Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger was drafted in 1972 but decided to stay in the army.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

An Interesting Headboard

I like the idea behind this headboard.  (Not that I particularly like headboards.)

How Far Can You Go in 15 Minutes

Mapnificent is a site that will show you have far you can travel from your house on foot or by public transit in 15 minutes.  It only works in certain cities (presumably ones where they have the transit information).

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Comic: Who are the Superheroes?

Optipess has a webcomic about accountants and super heroes.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Slow Motion Video of a Cymbal being Struck

Kottke.org has a post with a video of a cymbal being struck.  As he says there is way more movement than I would have expected.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Organise Cables with Bread Bag Closures

Make has an interesting way to label the cables under your desk.  Use those plastic tags that secure the plastic bags that bread comes in.  I might give this a try next time I make a sandwich.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Visualising Letter Frequencies

I'm not sure if this is art or not but this post shows a keyboard where the height of the key reflects the relative frequency of the letter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Photo: Highland Cattle

National Geographic Photo of the Day has a great picture of some Highland Cattle.  For some reason these beasties always remind me of my wife's relatives.

I once encountered a small herd of them (cattle, not relatives) on a road in the Scottish Highlands.  They were standing on the road completely blocking it.  They completely ignored the car but as soon as I got out the all ran away.

Photo: Steampowered Fire Engine

A great photo on Flickr of a steam-powered fire engine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photo: Lightning in Front of Eclipse

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a nice shot of a lightning strike during the recent lunar eclipse.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Space Station With Shuttle

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a great photo of the International Space Station with the Space Shuttle Endeavour docked.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photos and plans of the Hindenburg

This site has plans and photos of the various decks and cabins on the Hindenburg.  The interiors seem like a strange cross between old ocean liners and modern airplanes although the cabins look a bit like those on trains.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Obit: Man Who Flew Through a Mushroom Cloud

The Telegraph has the obituary of Air Marshal Sir Geoffrey Dhenin.  As a young pilot he was given the assignment of flying though the mushroom cloud after a nuclear test.
When the first weapon was detonated, on October 13, Dhenin was already airborne at 30,000ft. As soon as the mushroom cloud developed he turned towards it and placed a wing tip, with a sensor attached, into the cloud to obtain radiation readings. Using special instruments, his observer calculated the probable dose rate. Once assured that the rate “would not be suicidal”, Dhenin turned for the centre of the cloud.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Disney tries to Trademark "Seal Team 6"

I'm not sure if this is a coincidence or not but, according to the Associated Press, the day after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden the Disney corporation tried to trademark the name "Seal Team 6".

Age Your Own Whiskey

American Drink has a post about a kit that lets you "make" or at least finish making your own whiskey. The kit comes with a wooden barrel and some raw whiskey that you put in the barrel for as long as you want.

I would assume this is not available in Canada.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lego in Space

I often blog about Lego and I often blog about space so naturally I couldn't resist this Gizmodo story about Lego in space.

I thought this was interesting:
the sets will be enclosed in a see-through glove box, "so the small pieces don't get lost in the station." Coleman—who actually trained to do this—will build the sets inside that glove box, demonstrating how they work afterwards in front of millions of kids.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gravity Plays the Marimba

Make has a post with a video (actually a Samsung ad) of a huge long marimba that is "played| by a ball rolling along it.  It is sort of like musical falling dominoes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fitness Myths

I had a bit of trouble picking a name for this post.  The actual article in Men's Journal is called "Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie" which isn't entirely true since most of what is in the article is well known.  The Lifehacker post that lead me to the article is called "Use Your Gym Better By Learning Its Secrets" which again isn't really what the article is about.

To me the article, which I thought was well worth reading, is about one man's journey towards fitness.  Along the way he makes many observations some of which lead to the two titles above.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Photo: Freedom 7 Liftoff

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a great shot of Freedom 7 - the rocket carrying the first American astronaut - moments after liftoff.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Table Becomes Picture Frame

Make has a post showing a wall mounted picture that folds down into a table.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Where There is No Doctor

I have heard of the book "Where there is no Doctor" many times before and had always wondered about getting a copy - just in case.  Now the book is available online as a PDF.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Lights Under Italian Clouds

National Geographic Photo of the Day has a nice picture of an Italian valley with clouds lit from below.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Canada's Oldest Hercules Leaves Afghanistan

Several interesting facts in this article from the Ottawa Citizen about the Canadian Air Force's oldest Hercules being moved back to Canada.
The C-130 H Hercules has flown nearly 45,000 hours and nearly 18 million kilometres since it was ordered by the Diefenbaker government.
That's over 5 years in the air and 23 round trips to the moon.

I also thought this was amusing:
Col. Al Meitzinger, Canada's last air wing commander in Kandahar, discovered a few days ago that he had a personal connection to the departing aircraft going back to the time when he was a Grade 5 student. His father, Chief Warrant Officer Dave Meitzinger (ret.), checked his old logs and discovered that he flew the same aircraft (tail number 130819) as a loadmaster from 1977 to 1980.

Wolfram Alpha can help you with crosswords

This may be overkill but if you type a partial word into Wolfram Alpha with underscores instead of some of the letter, you will get a list of possible words.

For example: ch__s_b___er

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama's Cone of Silence

The BBC has an article about the mobile security setup that the US president uses when he travels.
Designed to withstand eavesdropping, phone tapping and computer hacking, Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities - also known as SCIFs - are protected areas where classified conversations can be held.
They can be permanent enclosures within a building, or mobile areas set up when a world leader is on the move, to allow them to view sensitive documents or have secret conversations without any outsiders listening or hacking in.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Video: The Joy of Stats

The Hans Rosling video The Joy of Stats is now online.  It is a bit long, almost an hour, but is a good intro to what Rosling has been saying about how statistics can be used to help people.  He also makes the point that increasingly powerful computers make bigger and bigger volumes of data usable by humans.

A while ago I blogged about a TED talk that Rosling did using animated graphics to show changes in statistics from the third world.  Still worth a look if you don't have time for the Joy of Stats.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Marines Need Their Chocolate Milk

According to this article in Slate, the US Marine Corps requires the companies that run their mess halls to have chocolate milk at all meals.

The US Army on the other hand has the following breakfast requirements:
eggs-made-to-order, three types of bread, three types of meat, six kinds of cereal, no fewer than one potato dish, and at least one pastry

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Intelligence Artist

You may have heard of War Artists who are officially sanctioned artists who accompany troops on missions but the New York Times has an article about an artist who did a similar thing for MI6, the British Secret Service.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lego Tank Filmed by Lego Chase Cars

Gizmodo (which has a horrible new site design) has a post with a cool video of a small Lego tank.  The tank gets extra mobility by using omni wheels.  The video is extra cool because it is filmed by a video camera on another Lego car. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

DIY Pocket Tool

Make has a post about the Switch modular pocket knife.  It comes with a James Bond style case from which you select your attachments.  There are three different sized frames you can use for anywhere between 4 and 13 of the 17 attachments.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Factoid: US Army loses more troops to suicide than in Iraq and Afghanistan

Congress.org reports this astounding fact about US Army losses:
For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Video: View From the Tip of a Sword

This is a bit vertigo inducing but this YouTube video shows what it looks like if you attach a video camera to the end of a sword.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Dakar Rally

I'm not a big sports guy but I enjoyed these photos from this years race on The Big Picture.  The rally is now held in South America but the terrain looks just as rough as in Africa.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video: Tim Ferriss Learns Samurai Horse Archery

A post on Tim Ferriss's (of the 4 Hour Workweek) blog has a video of what was probably meant to be the pilot of a TV show.  Ferriss goes to Japan to learn yabusame which is a type of horse archery.  He only has five days to learn so he has to use various advanced training techniques.

A well done video.  The yabusame stuff is interesting as are Ferriss's techniques.  It would have been interesting to see what other things he would have done if the series had had more episodes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

iPhone Demo Video: WordLens

Lifehacker has a post with an amazing video of an iPhone app called WordLens.  The app, at least in the video, does real time translation of signs from Spanish to English.  The cool part is it preserves the font and colours of the original.

I have seen their free demo app that reverses text and it is very cool but sadly it only impresses geeks.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nickel For Scale

Make has a post with a short video that demonstrates using a nickel (a 5 cent coin) to determine the size of objects in a picture.  In the video they place a nickel on the back of someone's hand to determine the correct size of a ring.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

High Speed Graphiti Tagging

Make has a post showing a neat little attachment you can make for a spray paint can that can make endlessly repeating stencils.  It is a bit of a shame that the demo video appears to use the device for vandalism but you can't really blame the gizmo for that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Economist: Life Begins at 46

The cover story on the Christmas issue of the Economist is titled "Life Begins at 46".  For those of us turning 46 this year this sounds like good news.  Unfortunately, what they mean is that 46 is that age at which people on average are the least happy.  After that their happiness level increases every year.

So I guess they're saying that if I can get through the next year I should be laughing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fire Department Activity Map as Art

Infosthetics.com has a photo of some wall art that is actually a map showing locations of incidents worked by a particular station of the Ulvenhout fire department in the Netherlands. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Koran Written in Sadam Husein's Blood

This is just weird.  According to this article in the Guardian, while he was president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein had blood drawn regularly so that he could have a Koran written in it.  Now of course the Iraqi government don't know what to do with it - they'd like to get rid of anything to do with Saddam but they can't throw away the Muslim holy book.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Space Station in Front of the Eclipse

Astronomy Photo of the Day has a picture of the recent eclipse but this one shows the International Space Station passing in front of the sun at the same time.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Letter Reveals 1916 Christmas Truce

Canada.com has an article about a recently discovered letter that mentions a previously unknown First World War Christmas truce.  The 1914 truce is apparently well documented but this letter mentions one in 1916.  The author of the letter, 23-year-old Private Ronald MacKinnon, was killed at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.