Sunday, 6 January 2013

Saturday 5 January

No, it is not Saturday today, it is Sunday.
I only had to format this and push the publish button – and I didn’t do it!!
Ooops. I still have today’s collection to collect let alone format and publish!

Welcome Home: 1919
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Welcome Home: 1919
“U.S. Army – return of soldiers to Washington, D.C.”
Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
“When the guns talk,” goes a proverb, “the muses fall silent.” Nonsense. War stimulates creativity and a desire for cultural reassurance. The Great War was the great exception... more

Great opening sequence: the Prisoner
via Boing Boing by Jason Weisberger

Oh, just one of the best shows EVER.

Molecules with silly names
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Meet moronic acid.
It’s special.
Found in mistletoe and the Chinese sumac, this chemical could be one of the reasons those plants have long been associated with herbal medicine. Scientists studying the anti-viral properties of moronic acid have found it to be effective against HIV and herpes. The HIV work is particularly important, because moronic acid seems to target a different receptor on the virus than other drugs – which means it could be effective against HIV strains that have developed a resistance to existing medication. It’ll still be a while before this research translates into a commercial product (if it does at all). But moronic acid is, at least, doing well enough to have made it into Phase II clinical trials – which means that smaller studies on humans have shown that it's generally safe. The Phase II trials, usually done with groups of 100 to 300 people, will help scientists understand whether it’s as effective in the human body as it seems to be in the lab.
Looking for more molecules with silly names?
Chemist Paul May has a whole list of these things – many of them hilariously immature.
List includes arsole, cummingtonite, and fucitol.
Via the Daily Molecule and Deb Blum

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Scientists once mocked the pretentious, omniscient claims of philosophical positivists. Now scientism is guilty of the same folly... more

The Arduino: a $25 gadget that will teach you and your kids a lot about programming and electronics
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

You have probably heard the word “Arduino” before, but you might not know what it means. The simple answer is that an Arduino is a small circuit board that costs about $20 - $30 and can be used to add interactivity to projects.
Say for instance, you’d like to create a gadget that warns you when your car gets too close to the back wall when you are driving it into the garage. You can attach a $10 proximity sensor, a $1 buzzer, and a $.01 LED to the Arduino and mount it to the back wall of the garage. Next, write a small program that tells the buzzer and LED to activate when the sensor detects that the car is getting too close to the wall.
Arduinos are easy to program – in fact they were made for artists and designers, not engineers (although plenty of engineers use and love Arduino).
In this short video MAKE magazine’s Matt Richardson provides an excellent introduction to the Arduino and shows a number of cool things you can do with it.
If you have kids that show an interest in making things, I highly recommend that you buy an Arduino (Maplins £24.99) and the book, Getting Started with Arduino*, by Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi.
*Boing Boing, as always, links to There are many sources for the book in the UK avoiding but you will need to search as there are three different editions and also complete kits (which seem to be more expensive than the thing and the book separately).

The weather forecast…in Elvish
via Pages & Proofs by Richard Davies
A New Zealand TV weatherman does the weather in Elfish.
Really, you’d think New Zealand was connected to a major fantasy movie or something!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Pleasure is the beach, a new sweater, a pineapple Popsicle. Joy is dropping Ecstasy, falling in love, having children. Zadie Smith parses the distinction... more

Saturday Video Matinee 001
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Welcome to Boing Boing’s Saturday Video Matinee!
This week we present six videos to entertain and educate:
  • Never lose at Tic-Tac-Toe again
  • Aliens of the underwater world
  • Popeye babysits a tiny terror
  • The miniature moons of Mars
  • A crazy juggler catches a flaming bowling ball on his face, and,
  • an amazing optical illusion you can do at home.

How monoculture farming changes biodiversity
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

This image, taken by artist David Liittschwager shows the plants and animals collected in a square meter of South African public park over the course of 24 hours.

This image, from National Public Radio, illustrates the plants and animals found over the course of two nights and three days in an Iowa cornfield.
Robert Krulwich has a fascinating piece about the ways food systems affect ecological systems[WARNING: Serious time suck!]
How efficient is too efficient?
Via On Earth [a blog which is worth reading in its own right if you have any interest in conservation of our planet]

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