June 06, 2012
Missed yesterday's Transit of Venus? Watch it online until the next one in 2117
From Alessondra Springmann's PCWorld story: "My favorite video [above] was taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft dedicated to observing the sun. You can watch Venus passing in front of the sun and its giant coronal loops, where plasma moves along the sun's magnetic field lines."
"While Venus appears to be quite close to the sun, the second planet is about 0.72 times as far from the sun as Earth is, about 67 million miles compared to Earth's 93 million miles from the sun."
Note added at 6:54 a.m. June 7: reader Alan Fick sent me a link to the video which appears up top, replacing the 22-second-long version I originally posted.
Best ever knife block — Maarten Baas
Contact him (firstname.lastname@example.org), tell him I sent you, and maybe — maybe — he'll make another one just for you.
Airtime — bookofjoeTV's portal to (sur)reality?
Unveiled yesterday in New York.
Fair warning: There goes your privacy.
"A fool-proof [heh, they haven't seen me operate it] cardboard T-shirt folding aid."
$21.95 (T-shirt not included).
Thoughts When a Car Alarm Goes Off
[via GraphJam and Joe Peach]
"When Defending Earth Cost 25 Cents" — American Classic Arcade Museum
Long June 3 New York Times story by Ethan Gilsdorf short: "Spend a few hours here [Laconia, New Hampshire] inside the American Classic Arcade Museum, perhaps the world's largest public collection of classic arcade games, and you'll lose track of not only the time of day but also the era. Red lights overhead create a perpetual Martian dusk. Eighties pop hits leak from hidden speakers as if some nostalgia-inducing gas. And though all of the more than 300 games are from 1988 or earlier, this is no collection of relics behind glass.'
More excerpts from the article follow.
Above and below, photos of the museum.
A group of die-hard players converged here for the 14th Annual International Classic Video Game Tournament to celebrate a time when successful gaming meant entering initials on a high-score screen. The tournament, which attracted some 130 contestants, is a flashback to the days of Toto, leg warmers and "Pac-Man Fever."
"As far as I'm concerned, if you're into classic games, this is as big as it gets," said Robert Macaulay, 40, who journeyed here from Adelaide, Australia, for his third year of competition. "We don’t even have arcades like this at home."
Or anywhere. The games that once invaded malls and bars in 1970s and '80s have evaporated into pixel dust. Computers, home consoles, and the Internet largely killed arcades, once a booming business. Younger gamers who have never set foot inside of a classic arcade may not appreciate the role these hulking machines played in the history of digital entertainment.
While the Wii and online gaming have reclaimed some of gaming's social dimension, arcade games were always a public performance. Players had distinctive postures, often throwing their bodies into the act of punching buttons and yanking on joysticks. The rivalrous gesture of placing a quarter on the machine to declare, "I got next" — a hangover from the pinball era — has all but disappeared.
"Once the games played out, people just junked them. No one thought to preserve them," said Gary Vincent, the president and founder of the museum and a 31-year employee of Funspot, the arcade complex housing his exhibits. "We are trying to save the history of competitive game play."
That heritage is in jeopardy. In an era before hard drives these games ran on memory chips that are now three or four decades old. Spare parts are rare, and most technicians specializing in such repair have retired.
"The greatest pleasure I get is finding an old relic of a game in an old barn and bringing it back to life and letting people play it," Mr. Vincent said. He found one of the two dozen machines selected for this year’s tournament, Buggy Challenge, in a Connecticut warehouse. "It had mouse nests in it."
The pioneering games are all here, including Computer Space (1971), perhaps the first coin-operated video game; Pong (1972); and Space Invaders (1978). Visitors will find familiar names like Asteroids and Centipede as well as rows of obscure titles like Gun Fight, Bosconian, Qix, Dragon's Lair and Tapper. Another 150 games in storage could be added to the collection, though space and money for an expansion are scarce.
Pin Up! Face Supporter Mask
From the website:
Keep your skin tight, young, and fresh while you sleep, courtesy of this Pin Up! Face Supporter, a special red tape designed to fight the signs of aging.
The tape wraps around your face like a mask, forming a pattern that will draw pressure to your scalp.
The tape is also lined with germanium and binchoutan (white charcoal) dots that help retain heat in your skin, warding off the sagging that age and gravity rain down upon your cheeks.
"... rain down upon your cheeks."
I couldn't have put it better.