Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
--The message displayed on screen by computers infected with Elk Cloner, one of the first computer viruses. Created in the early 1980's by a high school student, this program spread on Apple computers through floppy disks, and little could be done about it because anti-virus software hadn't been developed yet.Elk Cloner: The program with a personality It will get on all your disks It will infiltrate your chips Yes it's Cloner! It will stick to you like glue It will modify ram too Send in the Cloner!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
An illustration from the Florentine Codex showing how the Aztecs harvested spirulina off lakes by skimming the surface with ropes (right) and then drying the algae into square cakes which would be eaten as a nourishing condiment (left).
I've had juice drinks containing spirulina as an additive, but I didn't know it could be eaten straight.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
This creature is one of the strangest crustaceans in the sea. For one thing, its eyes contain twelve different color receptors (humans have three). For another, this shrimp can snap its claws with force equivalent to a pistol shot, creating a brief burst of light and heat. With an overzealous strike, a mantis shrimp can even break its own aquarium.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
A chorus of 4000 voices was recorded with a phonograph, over 100 yards away, on yellow paraffin cylinder. The recording was made by Col. George Gouraud, foreign sales agent for Thomas Edison, at the Crystal Palace, London, England on, June 29, 1888. The musical composition is "Israel in Egypt" by George Frideric Handel, conducted by August Manns.The recording is beautifully spooky, with the choir's ethereal voices blending into mechanical scratches and thumps from the recording medium.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
19th century engraving of Prodryas persephone, a fossil butterflyA version of this image appears in a book with the delightfully Victorian title Frail Children of the Air. Ironic, then, that this "child of the air" has become anything but frail in death, having been pressed and preserved in stone. On the original fossil, one can even see ghostly hints of veins, scales, and patterns on its wings.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Though intended to represent medieval beliefs (following a common misconception), the flat world depicted here is actually more akin to that of Homeric or Old Testament cosmology. In the Middle Ages, the prevailing cosmological model was geocentric (with a round Earth surrounded by celestial spheres), as laid out in Dante's Paradiso.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
jitterbugging McKinley Abe break Newtonian inferringBack in the prehistory of the Internet, numerous messages like the one quoted here, long strings of apparently random words, were posted to Usenet with the subject line "Markovian parallax denigrate".
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sportswriting rococo invocate tousle shadflowerSome were signed "Susan Lindauer"; while this name may have been as randomly selected as the words themselves, it happens to be the name of an American journalist suspected of working as a spy for the Iraqi government.
Debby Stirling pathogenesis escritoire adventitious novo
ITT most chairperson Dwight Hertzog differentIf the Markovian messages were indeed signals rather than noise (e.g., nonsense created by an experimental random generator), they could be the Internet equivalent of numbers stations on shortwave radio, through which spies send coded strings of numbers or NATO alphabet letters which look random to those who don't have the key.
pinpoint dunk McKinley pendant firelight Uranus
episodic medicine ditty craggy flogging variacThe world may never know.
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The only common denominator is that the posting host has been set to Jan Isleys machine in Atlanta - probably as revenge for his legitimate cancelling activities.This does strike me as more plausible than the messages being a form of covert communication.)
The name of the perp that springs to mind is Bob Allisat... It may not be, but it has the same level of content and interest as the blank verse he spams across Usenet :) He also has a long running (and on Bobs side) bitter feud with Jan & Atlanta in general.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Changing reconstructions of Kimberella, a Precambrian fossil invertebrate, which was first interpreted as a jellyfish and later as a snail-like mollusk.More recently, another fossil creature has undergone a more dramatic reinterpretation: Nectocaris, originally interpreted as a sort of crustacean-eel chimera and, thanks to the discovery of numerous new specimens, now identified as the earliest known squid.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Some of these forms resemble Ernst Haeckel's drawings of the marine protozoa called radiolaria:
They also look like less-chaotic versions of another beautiful 3D fractal, the Mandelbulb.