Angels from Another Pin
(Small and powerful, but without the Communist dictator)

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29 March 2002 ::   ...and that's why I thought strawberries and rocketry were meant to go together!
The best real estate on the Moon is Malapert Mountain, where the Sun shines ninety percent of the time and the entire disc of the Earth is always in full view. Permanently-shadowed craters containing ice are nearby, providing both raw materials to mine and locations for ultracold IR telescopes. The Farside face of the mountain is perfect for radio telescopy. Let's go!

From the I Am Not Making This Up file: The world's top road safety expert was run down by a bus while attending a conference on how to cut down road deaths in America. This is the textbook definition of irony.

Remind me never to tick off any representatives in the Kentucky State House. I put before you this abstract of a bill which went before the Kentucky Legislature, HR256: Encourage the purchase of a submarine to patrol the waters of the Commonwealth and search and destroy all casino riverboats.

Long the site of pilgrimages and great world events, Canterbury Cathedral is 1400 years old.

All historical events should have names this cool: The Wreck of the White Ship.

28 March 2002 ::   Give it up, y'all, for the Papal Posse and his Homey Roman Empire!
The Villa of the Papyri, a mansion in Herculaneum which belonged to the father-in-law of Julius Caesar, is quite possibly the most important archaeological site in the entire world. I am not exaggerating. Archaeologists have already found papyri containing half the lost works of Epicurus, as well as works by the philosopher who taught Virgil and Horace and 30 lost dialogues of Aristotle, works by Archimedes and Euclid, and lost works of Sappho, Virgil, Terence, Seneca, and others. The site is currently a mud pit with no ongoing excavation due to a lack of funding. I find this disgraceful.

John Cleese grouches about television.

27 March 2002 ::   It's a submarine full of sea monsters!
Even Lovecraft was left puzzled by the mysterious standing stones of Massachusetts.

Marvel at La Gallerie Du Schlock Grande. The giant fish gives me flashbacks to the Sam and Max: Freelance Police computer game.

Glenn Juskiewicz
26 March 2002 ::   When I have the minute, you can tell me everything you know
A sample of the gunpowder used by Guy Fawkes was found in storage at the British Library.

AOL Time Warner is no longer using AOL email for their corporate messaging as AOL email is too buggy to be used as an enterprise product. Two percent of emails were getting completely lost, causing meetings to be missed, advertising campaigns to be hampered, and expenditures for FedEx shipping to increase. AOL: Living Down to our Reputation.

25 March 2002 ::   I'm leaving the Rescue Rangers...and joining the Super Friends
Where in the world are you?

Okay. The Republicans spend eight years holding up Clinton's nominations for the federal bench, creating a lot of unfilled positions in the judiciary as Reagan-appointed judges retired but weren't replaced. So now the Republicans are complaining that there are unfilled holes in the federal bench and that the Democrats are slowing things down (read that as "the Democrats aren't rubberstamping Bush's nominees"). Am I the only one who finds this a wee bit disingenuous?

22 March 2002 ::   And turning to the 3D map, we see an unmistakable cone of ignorance
An authentic fire-breathing liberal has an idea to free the country from the corporate media using inexpensive local newspapers.

In case yesterday didn't burn you out on geology and paleontology, here's some more history of the Earth.

One day you may need to know how to repair a dishwasher. And it would certainly be good to know that liquid dishwashing detergent may clog dishwashers. I read this damning intictment (Senator, we must act on this, now!) of liquid detergent in about ten places; this was the shortest and most authoritative location for it.

21 March 2002 ::   With the power to kill a yak 200 yards away...with mind bullets!
John J.W. Rogers of the University of North Carolina has discovered the ancient supercontinent Columbia, which pre-dated the supercontinents Rodinia ("homeland") and the more familiar Pangea ("all earth"). This news set me off to find info on plate tectonics, which I will share with you below.

On the one hand, I'm weird because I like plate tectonics. On the other hand, I knew what Rodinia was without looking it up.

View the past and future of continental drift at the the brilliant Paleomap Project.

To help you visualize the changes caused by plate tectonics, view this animation of the past 150 million years of plate tectonics, created with maps made by the ultra-cool Plate Tectonic Reconstruction Service.

I am astounded by the detail and beauty of Northern Arizona University's globes of ancient Earth. If you look at nothing else I linked to today, look at these.

NAU also makes available these wonderfully detailed maps of the plate tectonics of the North Atlantic, showing in all its images North America with the states and provinces delineated. Watch as North America forms around the ancient rocks of the Canadian shield. Look for the formation of what I suspect is the proto-Mississippi River in the early Jurassic.

The same kind fellow who produced the globes of Earth and the plates of the North Atlantic, geology professor Dr. Ron Blakey, has created 41 slides of a hypthetical continental breakup and reformation and fascinating maps of the Southwest United States, 1.7 billion years ago to the present.

20 March 2002 ::   I have 360 joules worth of "bite me" slung over my shoulder and I say otherwise
Today is Matt Smith's birthday. It is also the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere (Vernal Equinox at 2:16 PM EST). Coincidence? I think not!

Asteroid 2002 EM7 missed the Earth by a very short distance, coming out of the Sun like the Red Baron to surprise astronomers. The asteroid passed just outside the orbit of the Moon on March 8.

19 March 2002 ::   It seems to be a swirling vortex of pure evil coming out of your floor
Sing, O goddess, of archaeologist Theodore Spyropoulos, who claims to have found the palace of King Menelaus of Sparta, the location from which Helen was kidnapped by Paris of Troy. Professor Spyropoulos is, in other words, stating he has found the site of the start of the Trojan War.

For your further wonder and amazement, I put before you two more maps of galaxies in space. The maps show the clustering of galaxies in space, and compliment the more theoretical movies I linked to yesterday; these maps use real data, and are a snapshot of the Universe as we see it today. To get a good idea of how the galaxies are laid out, open the movie of this redshift survey rotating around two axes. The movie gives a much better feel for the placement of the galaxies than does the map alone.

18 March 2002 ::   If you do that, you either get a robot that talks or a Cuisinart
If you have a reasonably fast connection to the Internet, I suggest looking at the University of Washington's simulations of galactic formation and collision. Especially cool are the 700 kb animation of the formation of a small group of galaxies from an immense gas cloud over the course of billions of years and the galaxy harassment movie.

MIT has been awarded a five-year, $50 million dollar grant to create nanotechnology for the battlefield. The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies will be working on an invisibility suit, a powered exoskeleton, and devices for medical and hand-to-hand combat use. News accounts of the announcement are here and here. Welcome to the Future, population: you!

15 March 2002 ::   Demon possession is their micromanagement tool. Kinda like PC Anywhere for the soul.

"I later had an expert in dead languages examine the text," the minister said. "It turned out to be a stream of obscenities written in a 2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect!"

14 March 2002 ::   You want a stargate. Stardrives are so last century
Diet Coke, elephants, and William Shatner: How to be a scriptwriter in Hollywood.

Pooh! Stuff! Enough of this trifling! The time is short, and much remains to be done before you are fit to proclaim the Gospel of Three Dimensions to your blind benighted countrymen in Flatland.

13 March 2002 ::   The questions may change--but, by God, the answers stay the same!
Current Tokyo street style is thousand-dollar used Mickey Mouse sweatshirts and artificial scarcity. Warning: The author of this article is a snob ("even though he gets his shirts and sneakers from Hermès and his pants from Comme des Garçons, he wears them with all the aplomb of a man who shops at Sears") and thinks anyone under the age of thirty is still a child. It is nonetheless an interesting read about the "nerdy...pursuit of cool" and the world of Japanese fashion. The entire article reads like a William Gibson short story.

12 March 2002 ::   You're all nuts, and none of you get to go to Mars.
Fun-time activity: Build a scale model of the Solar System. Some good numbers you can use in order to get a sense of the size of the Solar System: Set the Sun to a diameter of 109.24 inches (9' 1.24"). This makes the Earth 1" in diameter and almost 1000 feet from the Sun. The Moon is a little over a quarter of an inch across, and circles about two and a half feet from the Earth. There is another page that gives detailed info for lots of other bodies in the Solar System like the Moon.

11 March 2002 ::   We're living in the 21st century, and people still wage war to impress invisible superheroes who live in outer space!
Angels from Another Pin has been getting a lot of hits on the search terms "Cybersitter hack" and "Cybersitter kill." Well, you want these fine folks, not me. Just to make sure Google links Peacefire higher up on their search lists, I'll link that a couple more times: "Cybersitter hack" "Cybersitter kill." Of course, linking to this will almost certainly get AfAP blacklisted by Cybersitter...

Matt Smith mentioned the Cluetrain Mainfesto to me on Friday. I had heard of it, but never bothered to track it down because of its vaguely insulting title. After reading a bit of their stuff, I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with John Dvorak--it sounds like a bunch of dreamer-techie Unix-suspendered gunk dressed up as a Philosophy 101 essay. I'm unable to drink the Kool-Aid on this one.

8 March 2002 ::   A simple oath of fealty can prevent such occurrences in the future --Joe Foering
The Universe isn't green; it's beige. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Alcubierre warp drive may not be physically possible. Not to worry, though; generation ships are still feasible.

Life at the Department of Justice: singalongs, cooking oil anointings, and an inexplicable fear of calico cats.

7 March 2002 ::   If this site goes into BASIC, please type "RUN" at the "]" prompt
Perhaps the best car review ever: "Surplus horsepower, of course, is a useful commodity, especially when it comes to motivating a vehicle that weighs the same as a Nissan Sentra and a Subaru Impreza and a medium-size Carrier air conditioner"

Remember the weirdo religious mayor in Florida who put up Satan-proof totems around her town? Someone stole them.

6 March 2002 ::   I'd punch you in the face, but I don't want to get any stupid on my hands
Languages change, and it is silly to attempt to fight it.

Infrared pictures of animals are cool. Especially nifty are the pictures of the frilled lizard, with its feet and tail cooled by a walk through its water dish, and the otter, with its extremely effective coat of insulating fur and its ghostly glowing eyes.

5 March 2002 ::   I'm hoping to achieve full sentience in time for my next evaluation
Face the cuddly technological nightmare: Teddy Borg!

Matt Smith
I suspect that many among us need to know how to be a fantastically rich British children's author. This is knowledge which will save us in times of crisis. I can't reach my rifle before that leopard devours me... But wait! I learned how to be a wealthy children's auth--OW OW OWIE OW!

4 March 2002 ::   Rashomonster: Who can say who destroyed Tokyo?
Make your own gauss rifle!

Jon Acheson
If you know anything about gaming at all (and even if you don't), you will appreciate the Knights of the Dinner Table animations.

Mike Ryan
Matt Pyson
1 March 2002 ::   With a ghostly fwip fwip fwip and a spray of blood, the corduroy ninja claims another victim.
I'll just lumber away from that hungry Tyrannosaur.

(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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