January 05, 2011
Vampire bat in 3-D
Caption for the video above: "This is a surface rendering from a 3-D micro-CT scan of the vampire bat. The micro-CT image had an isotropic resolution of 0.022mm. It is part of a research study led by University of Western Ontario researchers using 3-D imaging to produce detailed scans of the internal anatomy of 26 different bats, representing 11 different evolutionary lineages. The results of the research will appear this week in the journal Nature, entitled 'A Bony Connection Signals Laryngeal Echolocation in Bats.'"
The things they carry — Episode 1: Paul Biba's pencil
The grand panjandrum and majordomo of Teleread this past Monday shared some — what, you didn't think he'd reveal everything, did you? There a reason he's nicknamed Sally Rand Biba... but I digress — of his up-to-now closely held gear secrets.
I was most interested in his take on writing instruments.
He wrote, "What to write with? Pens are dangerous because they can run out of ink — so I think pencils are best. I like Faber-Castell's Perfect Pencil UFO [above and below]. The cap contains a built-in sharpener. You can always tell how much you have left."
From the Faber-Castell website: "Design pencil extender with integrated sharpener makes sharpening quick and easy. Extender made of aluminum with cap in UFO design."
They had me at UFO.
So now you can write like Paul for $45.
Cheap at twice — no, make that three times — the price.
"The Nine Eyes of Google Street View" — by Jon Rafman
Wrote Rob Walker in his "Consumed" column
in last Sunday's New York Times magazine,
"And as the artist Jon Rafman has demonstrated
with his astonishing 'The Nine Eyes of Google Street View' project,
which culls compelling images [above and below]
that the company's roving cameras
have unthinkingly captured,
Street View produces images that are
as unexpectedly beautiful, beguiling or disturbing
as those of any traditional street photographer."
Magnetic Perpetual Calendar
I got this for Christmas and I love it.
If there's anyone harder to successfully shop for than me, I haven't yet met that person.
Nevertheless, Caroline succeeded magnificently.
This clock occupies pride of place on the table at which I spend most of my sitting hours.
I received the Silver/Black iteration (above) and it's perfect — good call #2.
From the Museum of Modern Art website: "This boldly original calendar is designed to be used year after year. Simply move the two magnetic balls to mark the date and month. Made of injection-molded plastic and magnets, it can be wall-mounted or used on a desktop.
A 1998 design by Gideon Dagan.
13"W x 9"H x 2"D.
Bonus: my crack research team unearthed two other versions (above and below), available on the designer's website:
Expert's Expert: Top 10 Places in the World to View the Sunset
The list (best first) that follows is from page 501 of Richard Cohen's new book, "Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life," which has been garnering rave reviews from all over the globe.
1. Oia, a village on Santorini, the shattered volcanic island off Greece
2. Kaunoao Beach, Hawaii
3. Anchorage, Alaska
4. Great Pyramid, Giza, Egypt
5. Grand Canyon, Arizona
6. Natadola Beach, Fiji
7. Paradise Island, Bahamas
8. The Maldives
9. Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro
10. Key West, Florida
I have seen the sunset from Santorini [top], a long, long time ago (1982).
I'll be honest: I don't remember it.
X-5 Internal Wing Glider
It came from an alternate universe.
"The internal Wing Aircraft (IWA) was invented by Robert Carr to capture the energy wasted by conventional wings. When the air passes through the unique wing configuration nearly all of the energy is used and creates the phenomenon that we call "Dynamic Natural Propulsion" (DNP™). The DNP™ effect also works in water by converting buoyancy to thrust."
typeracer — "The global typing competition"
There's fast — and then there's FAST.
[via Sara Gould]
Crafty stainless steel spring hook
Here's Paul Steger's review.
I was introduced to spring hooks by a repair technician at work around 10 years ago. He was using the tool to get into tight spaces on check processing equipment and gave me one as he thought I'd find it handy around the house.
The tool is quite simple. It's an 11-inch stainless steel rod with a 90-degree hook at the end. I found it useful for any task in tight places requiring force to be exerted with precision. I used it for a few years before it died of natural causes and I then found a supplier and bought half a dozen.
I spread the new supply around the house in the kitchen and office as well as my workshop and I was surprised to find my wife using them more than me. She's used them for sewing projects to thread elastic through a waistband, for craft projects to guide the placement of small parts, and for her own forays into light equipment repair.
I find this tool uniquely capable of getting into tight spaces where no other tool can go, making it one of the most versatile tools I own. It is sold in various configurations by numerous suppliers, but the 11" version I was given years ago has proven most useful.
8.5" version: $3.50.