‘Rasputin Was My Neighbor’ And Other True Tales Of Time Travel

Robert Krulwich: There are people who live long enough to create a link — a one-generation link — to figures from what feels like a distant past, and their presence among us shrinks history. When “Long Ago” suddenly becomes “So I said to him …,” long ago jumps closer.

There are many examples of people who shrink history this way. The blogger Jason Kottke has been collecting examples. He calls them “human wormholes,” because these people help us leap across space/time. Here are my favorites.’ (via NPR)

31 Rick Santorum Quotes That Prove He Would Be A Destructive President

1992 Rick Santorum Photo By Ted Van Pelt "...For instance:

— ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.”

“(Same-sex marriage) is an issue just like 9-11. We didn’t decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?”

[via Addicting Info (thanks, jill)]

The Death of the Cyberflâneur

English: Flâneur

Evgeny Morozov: “The other day, while I was rummaging through a stack of oldish articles on the future of the Internet, an obscure little essay from 1998 — published, of all places, on a Web site called Ceramics Today — caught my eye. Celebrating the rise of the “cyberflâneur,” it painted a bright digital future, brimming with playfulness, intrigue and serendipity, that awaited this mysterious online type. This vision of tomorrow seemed all but inevitable at a time when “what the city and the street were to the Flâneur, the Internet and the Superhighway have become to the Cyberflâneur.”

Intrigued, I set out to discover what happened to the cyberflâneur. While I quickly found other contemporaneous commentators who believed that flânerie would flourish online, the sad state of today’s Internet suggests that they couldn’t have been more wrong. Cyberflâneurs are few and far between, while the very practice of cyberflânerie seems at odds with the world of social media. What went wrong? And should we worry?” (via NYTimes.com)

Mission to Land on a Comet

‘Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet– and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkoand land a probe on it, two firsts.

Rosetta’s goal is to learn the primordial story a comet tells as it gloriously falls to pieces.

Comets are primitive leftovers from our solar system’s ‘construction’ about 4.5 billion years ago. Because they spend much of their time in the deep freeze of the outer solar system, comets are well preserved—a gold mine for astronomers who want to know what conditions were like back “in the beginning.” ‘ (via NASA Science)

Vermont Inmates Hide Image Of Pig On Police Decals

“It took Vermont officials four years to notice a little creative editing by one or more inmates. Look at this police decal:

Look at the cow underneath the tree. Embedded within the cow’s spots is an image of a pig, which as the Burlington Free Press reminds us is the ’60s-era epithet used by protesters to refer to police.

Reuters reports that it was likely put there by inmates. The state, Reuters adds, “contracts with correctional facilities employing prisoners to make some print products, including the cruiser decals.” One or more inmates somehow accessed the computer program holding the image and rejiggered it. The quality assurance department failed to notice it and as far as the state police know, the modified decal was used on as many as 30 Vermont State Police cruisers.” (via NPR).

Close Your Eyes and Pull the Trigger

Self-guided bullet could hit laser-marked targets from a mile away: “A group of researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have built a prototype of a small-caliber bullet capable of steering itself towards a laser-marked target located approximately 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) away. The dart-like design has passed the initial testing stage… The four-inch (10 cm) long projectile is to be used with smoothbore arms, meaning ones with non-rifled barrels. Rifling involves cutting helical grooves in the barrel to give the bullet a spin that, thanks to the gyroscopic effect, improves its aerodynamic stability and accuracy. In a self-guided projectile, however, such spinning movement would prevent the bullet from reliably turning towards the target when in flight. For this reason, the group of researchers lead by Red Jones and Brian Kast decided to use a dart-like design that includes tiny fins to allow the projectile to fly straight, without a spin.” (via Gizmag).