Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crayon Physics

Crayon Physics Deluxe from Petri Purho on Vimeo.

I've played the Demo Version of this little game for months, waiting for the Delux Version to be released. What you do in it is try to roll a little ball to bump it into a star. The graphics are styled to look like a crayon drawing, and you move the little rock by drawing shapes on the screen that get the ball rolling, and provide a path for the ball to move along.

It sounds simple, but some of the little puzzles are quite maddening to try to figure out. It takes a bit of physics intuition, and to touch of Rube Goldberg imagination, to solve them. If you don't want to spring for the Delux Version, the Demo version will still provide entertainment.

Here's the website for it: Crayon Physics Delux. Below is an example of the type of silliness you can find yourself doing with it....

Crayon Physics - That Darn Pole, featuring Wall-E from Jimmy Gunawan on Vimeo.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Well, it's supposed to glow in the dark

I kid you not, pictured to the left is a Cold War era, nuclear powered, Atomic Lighthouse. A website called English Russia has a post about them, with many more pictures and an interesting comment thread.

Large portions of the Russian northern coastline are above the Arctic Circle and navigable. It is also uninhabited and inhospitable. The Soviets decided to build automated lighthouses as an aid to shipping. Because of the problems getting power to them, they decided to power them via nuclear energy.

They used radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG, RITEG) to provide the power. Theses devices, which have been used to power space probes, generate electricity from the decay of radioactive materials. The Wikipedia article say that about 1,000 of these RTG power sources were used in Russia. The United States also used, and still uses, them for power at remote radar stations.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union these lighthouses were poorly maintained. Frighteningly, some are even lost due to poor record keeping (and we think our government workers are lazy and incompetent). They pose an environmental hazard. Two woodcutters died after sleeping near one, and several others have been reportedly looted. Not a comforting thought.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not exactly the Taj Mahal

I got this from Strange Maps. It is the Buenos Aires suburb of Ciudad Evita named after Evita Peron. The Strange Maps website say it was founded in 1947 by Argentinian President Peron by Presidential Decree in 1947. Other sources have it being a project of something called the Eva Peron Foundation. Likely, it was a mix of the two.

Naming a city after a living person is a common enough thing in a Thugocracy, but according to Strange Maps it is supposedly laid out to be a portrait of her. The other sources I've found don't make that claim. I think the likeness is a bit of the stretch. Perhaps one can see the bun, but the lower part of the face just isn't there.

Regardless, I suggest nobody pass this idea on to Michelle. I don't want to risk my street becomming part of her nostril.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lindsay's Robo-Face

How odd. Not Lindsay Lohan, although I'm sure she's odd too. Truth be told, to me she is just some celebrity that flits about in my peripheral vision. I have some vague notion that she blunders from one embarrassment to another in front of paparazzi and gossip columnists, but this post isn't about her.

Instead I'm quite struck by the fact that somebody viewed piles of her pictures, realized her expression was always the same, and then carefully cropped and sized the photos to assemble the above animated gif. It is quite remarkable. I wonder if we all look so monotonously consistent?

Sadly, I had this picture sitting on my computer for some time, and I can't remember where I got it, so I can't credit the source.