Angels from Another Pin
(Neoplasm pleonasm)

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Beat him out of recognizable shape!

--Hong Kong movie subtitle

29 February 2004

I actually got a legitimate hit from someone searching on Google using the hacker language tools.

I guess it's really true that anything can happen on Leap Day. How very, very strange.

537 7h3 G00G|_3 h0m3p4g3, m3554g3s, 4[\]d bu770[\]4 70 d15pl4y 1n y0uR s3|_3c73d |_4ngu4age v14 0ur Pr3f3r3nc3s p4g3. y3w c4n g37 d3 f0|_|_0w1ng |_4ngu4g3s muh n1zz3|_:
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When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a skull.
27 February 2004

The home belonging to Noel's sister Holly and her husband Joe really is as strange and nifty as the Baltimore Sun makes it out to be. I've seen it.   permanent link
Noel Tominack


Two new dinosaurs have been discovered in Antarctica.   permanent link
Alyce Wilson

We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

--James Nichols

25 February 2004

Beyond the Big Crunch and the heat death we have the Big Rip, in which the Universe is torn apart by phantom energy.

[A] recent analysis by Dr. Caldwell and his Dartmouth colleague Dr. Michael Doran of the supernova measurements to date, combined with other cosmological data, suggest that w [the ratio between the pressure and density of dark energy] could lie anywhere from minus 0.8 to minus 1.25, leaving open the possibility of phantom energy. The cosmological constant would give a value of minus 1.0, and anything higher would be a sign of quintessence...

This version of doomsday would start slowly. Then, billions of years from now, as phantom energy increased its push and the cosmic expansion accelerated, more and more galaxies would start to disappear from the sky as their speeds reached the speed of light.

But things would not stop there. Some billions of years from now, depending on the exact value of w, the phantom force from the phantom energy will be enough to overcome gravity and break up clusters of galaxies. That will happen about a billion years before the Big Rip itself.

After that the apocalypse speeds up. About 900 million years later, about 60 million years before the end, our own Milky Way galaxy will be torn apart. Three months before the rip, the solar system will fly apart. The Earth will explode when there is half an hour left on the cosmic clock.

The last item on Dr. Caldwell's doomsday agenda is the dissolution of atoms, 10-19, a tenth of a billionth of a billionth of a second before the Big Rip ends everything.

"After the rip is like before the Big Bang," Dr. Caldwell said. "General relativity says: "The end. Time can't evolve."

The cosmos probably still has a lot of life in it, according to recent calculations by Dr. Krauss. Based on the current age of the universe, some 14 billion years, and other data, w cannot be less than about minus 1.2, he said, putting the Big Rip about 55 billion years in the future.

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Has your house been taken over by tiny villains? Use this very small war robot to severely inconvenience them!   permanent link
Matt Smith

I'm a tenth-level vice president.

--Al Gore, Futurama

18 February 2004

I want to buy this former Blue Angels F/A-18A on eBay, as well as the aircraft carrier that was on sale a few weeks ago, and start the Kilgannongrad National Air Force.

There are news articles about this here and here.   permanent link
Susan Monroe


The U.S. Department of Defense is offering a million dollars to the winner of the DARPA Grand Challenge, in which teams will attempt to race from California to Nevada. The catch? They have to build autonomous offroad vehicles.

The goal is to help jump-start the further development of military robots. This is utterly, completely brilliant. I love it.   permanent link

Did angular momentum declare war on me and I didn't get the memo?

--Betty Ragan

17 February 2004

A Miracle of Science has been updated. That is all. Return to work, citizen.   permanent link


In honor of triskaidekaphobes everywhere: The thirteenth day of the month falls on a Friday more often than it falls on any other day of the week.   permanent link


The world is, slowly but surely, becoming a parody of itself. It's now possible to play SimCity inside The Sims.   permanent link

Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.

--Babylon 5

14 February 2004

A relatively small device to create hydrogen from ethanol has been designed, allowing for the wider use of hydrogen fuel cells. What I think we really need, of course, is a small device to convert hydrogen into helium.   permanent link
Jessica Gothie


Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have announced the discovery of the largest diamond known. It's the core of a burned-out white dwarf star 2500 miles in diameter.

The huge cosmic gem (technically known as BPM 37093) is actually a crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.

For more than four decades, astronomers have thought that the interiors of white dwarfs crystallized, but obtaining direct evidence became possible only recently...

The white dwarf studied by Metcalfe, Montgomery, and Antonio Kanaan (UFSC Brazil), is not only radiant but also harmonious. It rings like a gigantic gong, undergoing constant pulsations.

"By measuring those pulsations, we were able to study the hidden interior of the white dwarf, just like seismograph measurements of earthquakes allow geologists to study the interior of the Earth. We figured out that the carbon interior of this white dwarf has solidified to form the galaxy's largest diamond," says Metcalfe.

A jeweller contacted for the Harvard press release said a diamond that large is unpriceable, as it would crash the world diamond market.   permanent link

All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us...they can’t get away this time.

--Lt Gen Lewis B. Puller, USMC

13 February 2004

Jessica takes issue with the characterization of her area of Pennsylvania as "counties you didn't even know existed and which appear to be populated only by birds." Ivy counters that she knows from experience that this is incorrect; there are also deer in their myriads. Jessica wrote a reply to the author, which included the statement:

As a side note, the 'tangible sense of desolation' is one of the area's more popular exports -- we ship it out along with our more capable young people who leave to find work in assorted big cities.
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Jessica Gothie


By a road in the town of Prittlewell in Britain, undisturbed for 1400 years, was a tomb chamber of an ancient king that was so pristine some of the grave offerings were still hanging on their hooks on the walls. The Museum of London has a webpage where one can see images of the items, including an unusual folding stool.   permanent link

And then Jesus gave unto me an 1-800 number for the followers of Jesus Christ to call, so they too can be closer to the Lord by giving of themselves to me, the servant of our Lord. Then with that money, I can do GREAT things for the Lord and our Lord Jesus Christ, like buy myself speed boats, hookers, and houses as big, AS BIG as the Lord Himself. Can I get an Amen?

--David Warmington

12 February 2004

A Miracle of Science: volcanoes, volcanoes, volcanoes!   permanent link


VeriSign is considering reinstituting their Internet-breaking Site Finder.

Site Finder, which was launched in September, redirected people who type nonexistent or inactive Internet addresses to a search page created by VeriSign. The page offered links to similarly named Web sites as well as advertisements from companies that paid VeriSign to be listed on the page. The directory competed with similar search services from America Online and Microsoft.

Many of the technology experts, companies and nonprofit groups that oversee the Internet's infrastructure complained that Site Finder caused Internet services to malfunction, including filters that block spam e-mail and Internet browsers designed for non-English speakers.

VeriSign shut the service down in October after the group that runs the Internet's addressing system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), threatened the company with fines and legal action

The problem, critics have said, is that given VeriSign's role as the operator of the dot-com and dot-net registries, the Site Finder service causes repercussions throughout the Internet. VeriSign tells computers, wireless phones and other products that use the Internet where they can find dot-com and dot-net addresses -- and when an address does not exist. Redirecting incorrect Web site queries would force technologists to reconfigure hundreds of programs and devices to be compatible with Site Finder.

As an analogy, imagine that VeriSign has the exclusive right to maintain all the road signs on the American highway system - and now they're claiming they're allowed to put up signs for exits that don't exist, even though this will cause truckers to run into bridge abutments.   permanent link


Relativity in words of four letters or less. Sheer poetry.

This was linked from Angels once before, Jessica Gothie reports.   permanent link
Craig Powell

Outer space shows are for children and stupid people!

--Space Ghost Coast to Coast

10 February 2004

Speaking of fossils, one of my pet peeves is that writers of televised science fiction know of only one way of dating fossils, carbon dating. Just in case one of those losers who write for TV are looking for a detailed chart of fossil dating techniques, one can be found here.   permanent link


Menace from beyond time! (Or a nifty picture of a fossilized giant spider. Your call.)   permanent link

I underestimated his intelligence, but he underestimated the power of organic crystallography.

--Doctor Who

9 February 2004

Some stuff you just can't make up. Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev won a Grammy.   permanent link


A Miracle of Science: the ego deliquesced.   permanent link


The Big Dig project in Boston (which was begun by the ancient Atlanteans who settled Massachusetts in the Hyborean Age and was finished about seven minutes ago) turned up plenty of interesting archaeological information about the city.

Commerce was the lifeblood of Boston's economy, although not all of it was within the law. A brass weight from around 1720 was labeled with a number higher than the actual weight.

Another find was more intriguing. William Maycock, his son-in-law, and others in his circle are known to have been patriots who may have circumvented English trade regulations. During the course of the dig at Mill Pond an Irish half-penny dated 1783 was discovered. This coin is significant because there were no half-pennies made in 1783; therefore the coin must have been counterfeit. The finding raises the possibility of a colonial plan to sabotage the British economy or may simply reflect the ingenuity of a few early counterfeiters.

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This parody of the Mars Rover drill spinning up to test a rock is great. (Warning: large Quicktime movie.)   permanent link

The worst part about being God's newly-ordained Angel of Death is that the police never believe your story.

5 February 2004

A mysterious stranger approaches in A Miracle of Science! Oh, and there's some science and some plot, too.   permanent link


This is pretty neat: photos of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge ("Galloping Gertie") after its 1940 collapse.   permanent link

I'll bet your EEG looks like a sine wave. Where did you get this 60 Hertz ground hum you call brain activity?


4 February 2004

This bit of map geekery made me giggle like a five-year-old. Be certain to read the comments.   permanent link


I just remembered that we're coming up on the tenth anniversary of the first major spam event, the Canter and Siegel green card USENET spam of April 12, 1994. (This wasn't the first spam, that honor belonging to a 1978 DEC email.)

I am probably the only person on Earth geeky enough to dig up three links about this.   permanent link

I'm afraid I'm going to have to reduce you to amino acids now.

--Geoffrey Depew

3 February 2004

Scientists have created a new state of matter called a fermionic condensate, which they hope may lead to new superconductive materials.   permanent link
Jessica Gothie


We'll see who's the King of Mars!   permanent link
Mike Ryan


A fake preserved baby dragon which turned up in England may be a relic of the rivalry between German and English scientists in the late 19th century.   permanent link
Jessica Gothie

I will do this using CAPITALISM!

--Ryan North

2 February 2004

A Miracle of Science is neither a source of viruses nor a source of revelation. Do not delete; do not worship.   permanent link


The sport of Ice Tetris was invented in Russia.   permanent link


A resident of Lincolnshire in England has discovered that the bit of broken glass from the foundations of her farmhouse is a witch bottle from around 1830.

Witch bottles, often made from stoneware, were most common in the 1600's, at the height of the witchcraft scares.

The Navenby example, however, has been dated at 1830, a time when such beliefs were thought to have been dying out.

"This late date is really incredible," said Mr Daubney. "Such traditions do tend to linger in more rural areas like Lincolnshire and Norfolk but this is very rare."

He added: "It could be either that the people who made this really believed in witches or it could be a kind of harmless tradition, a little like throwing salt over your shoulder.

"But the care with which this has put together, with a leather strap to hold it, could suggest the former."

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(The Side of the Angels)

A Miracle of Science

Other Pins:
Project Apollo

Glenn's LiveJournal

Alyce Wilson's Portfolio



G. Webber

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Biomechanoid

Radioactive Fanboys

Occasional Fish

House of the Whispering Woods


Maximum Verbosity


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