Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Arcana and sundry

Fans of science -- and fans of SF, who significantly overlap with the aforementioned group -- are a curious bunch. Whatever our primary area(s) of study, both find enjoy a broad range of other interests. Hence ...

Internet years vs. dog years
An Internet year is pretty much the inverse of a dog year. And so, lots of companies that not long ago bestrode the Internet like giants are, well ... reduced to wee status. From PC World, see "From Netscape to Napster: Whatever happened to yesterday's giants?"

Did you ever try one of those clunky, expensive, 3-D TVs? The kind dependent upon clunky, expensive, per-viewer goggles? Probably not. Did you buy one? Almost certainly not.  From IEEE Spectrum, see "3-D TV is Officially Dead (For Now) and This is Why it Failed."

Are you detecting a Luddite strain in me? I don't think so! But if Luddites are of interest, consider, from Digital Arts Magazine, "Luddite magazine questions our relationship with tech." 
The first issue features the story of a midwife reflecting on the fact that parents spend much of the "golden hour" after their babies' birth taking photographs of their children and putting the photos online. Another story is a first-person confessional piece about a hipster Viiking [sic] lookalike who turned to weightlifting as a way to rebel against life's "modern rubbish." 
Time for ... another list. If OBE companies were a trip down memory lane, wait till you check out Universe Today's "A History of Curious Artifacts Sent Into Space." The penny on Mars -- really -- isn't even the most surprising of the bunch.

An elementary identity crisis?
As a proud Illini (a graduate of the University of Illinois, if that wasn't obvious), I was fascinated to discover that element 61, promethium, was first known as ... Illinium. See, courtesy of my alma mater, "Place on the Table: The story of illinium reveals the highs and lows of scientific discovery."

And we wouldn't want to exclude curiosities in the social sciences, would we? Of course not! So check out the Washington Post's "The United States of question marks, in one map." (The most popular question about Illinois: why does it have a silent "s" in its name.)

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