Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Internet Delorean

For over a year now, I've been lamenting the fact that the social site Friendster is gone.  With all my friends already in Facebook, what really upset me is that I've lost my blog site which I started in 2005. Of course, I backed it up like the cautious person that I am.  It just so happened that my computer and the hard drive were both stolen.

Well, what do you know, apparently my husband had the answer all along. One night he nonchalantly blurted out: "Why don't you use the wayback machine?" Boink! Had he been keeping that one from me all along?!

If you haven't heard about it too, then send me the address to the rock you live under. Then we can have tea and crumpets together, and watch The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show which inspired  the name Wayback Machine. Basically, this website provides an archive of webpages across time. It is in no way comprehensive, so, what's the uses for mooses here?  That's my expression for "why should you explore it?" Here are the very few reasons I came up with:
  1. Just for the simple Back to the Future experience.  Here's star wars in 1997, when Jarjar Binks did not yet exist, and now.
  2. Visit a site you miss which is no longer there, like Remember that site? It is now 
  3. Reminisce the good old days when Google was still in beta in 1996 and the humble beginnings of Amazon.
  4. See what happened in the world 10 years ago, say, on valentine's day. CNN can show you that breaking news here. (Apparently, scientists say a cloned cat was born! And it made it to CNN's front page!)
  5. If you're a pack rat, this one's for you - Find a manual for an obsolete product from the manufacturer’s old website!
  6. If you want to be depressed, compare stock and house prices between now and the yesteryears.
  7. Reminisce on the glory days of your favorite NFL team. Ravens vs. Giants in the 2001 SuperBowl headlined that year.
  8. Find an old photo of your sister in her high school's defunct website and blackmail share a laugh with her. (I'm still on the lookout for this one.)
  9. Like me, dig up your old blog and see how pathetic and remove all notions that you were too cool for school back then. Speaking of the old blog, I've added select posts in this blog for posterity. Just check the entries from 2005 until 2009. It's amazing how much I've evolved too. I took myself way too seriously then, and I have a sicker better sense of humor now!
Curious yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Check out the Wayback Machine and let me know if you come across some cool old websites from the past!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mercury rising

Mercury craters - credit to
How's this for interesting? The craters on Mercury have been named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors.

Now I can tell my daughter that if she wants to see Dr. Seuss, Faulkner and Warhol keep each other company, all she needs to do is look for elusive Mercury's next appearance in the sky! Oh, what I would do to be a fly on the wall and hear their conversations. With these rock stars (see what I did there?) on board, Mercury won't even need to orbit the sun! Or, will they be too hot to handle? Then cue in Mendelssohn for some background music! Me <--- mind blown.

“The MESSENGER team is delighted that these geologically important features on Mercury now have official names,” says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “As these names appear regularly in the scientific literature and on maps of the innermost planet, the scientific community and the public will have many occasions to remember the brilliant individuals from many cultures whose contributions to the arts have enriched the lives of all.”
From redOrbit 

Seriously, though, it's the scientific community's great hat's off to these brilliant artists. As Walt Whitman said: "In the beauty of of poems are the tuft and final applause of science." Now I leave you with Freddie Mercury rocking it out. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tesla for the win!

Mark your calendars folks, July 10 is Tesla day. This Tesla tribute at the Oatmeal says all about Tesla's awesomeness. If you're a true geek, forget all the things you learned about Edison and his light bulb, and know the greatest geek who ever lived. And if you're still in grad school, you'll be able to relate to Tesla's milk and cracker diet, and perhaps his odd way of talking to pigeons too. Now, go out there and invent something.

UPDATE: It seems like I was on to something with this post.  Forbes (no less!) publised a rebuttal on The Oatmeal's piece, which of course garnered a response. Ahhh, science loves their geeks. The tension is electrifying!

Monday, May 7, 2012

94 elements

"We live in a finite world."

I recently found out about this project called "94 elements", a filmmaking project about the 94 naturally occurring elements available in this world, nearly all of which we use. This new project aims to define the elements in story-telling short films, while also exploring our lives through the elements.  The initial films already made for the project shows how much of a delicate balance is required for us to maintain  our natural resources. The deposits of Indium, used in manufacturing TVs, for example, could be used up in 10 years.

The film Oxygen spoke to me the most. It is an element that we seldom think of, but it's the very reason why we live. This film shows how Bob, a patient with breathing dificulties, relies on Oxygen supplementation to ease the workload on his heart. After watching the film, yes, I would plant a tree for Bob.

Oxygen is a simple human story, 7 minute long, so tender and so real - because it is. Here's what the filmmaker, Marc Isaacs, had to say about Bob:
"Myself and Guy King, the researcher, were invited onto a ward dealing with severe respiratory conditions in a London hospital and the first person we were introduced to was Bob. The hospital staff clearly liked him and I immediately understood why. Despite his desperate medical condition, he was extremely optimistic, remarkably kind and not without a sense of humor.
After a little consideration, I decided to shoot the film with Bob over one long night. I decided just to be there and experience something of his situation without any tricks, complicated structural considerations or big narrative ideas.
David Katznelson (cinematographer) myself and Guy stayed at Bob's flat all night, sleeping in the room next door so we could shoot him waking up. As we packed our kit in the morning, Bob couldn't thank us enough for taking an interest in him and his life."

How can you help? You can help by funding the projects, pitch your own film, or just by spreading the word (and the videos) to increase global awareness. Just think about how many Facebook friends you have, who you can tap to help save the world.