Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
I'm not colorblind, I'm just "green-weak." At least that's what I tell everyone. I wrote about my color vision problems way back in 2007, explaining my Deuteranomaly, a condition affecting roughly 5 out of every 100 men. There are other forms of colorblindness, but this one is mine. In short, it means that things that other people see as green, I don't -- I see them as brown, or beige, or some other neutral tone. Over the weekend I bought a bunch of glass bottles to put hard cider in. I did not know... READ ON
Earlier this month, Matt Melis released a 45-minute video showing a Space Shuttle launch with professional commentary on what you're seeing in each shot. (It's actually three launches spliced together.) If you're wondering what happens during a Space Shuttle launch, this is extremely educational -- and completely mesmerizing (particularly with the sound off) due to the slow-motion photography. It's beautiful, educational, and kinda geeky. Here's what Melis wrote, explaining the video:
Photographic... READ ON
On the heels of Google's Zeitgeist 2010, Twitter has revealed its 2010 Year in Review. I'm curious: are they going to change this if something really big happens in the next two weeks? Well anyway, the Twitter insights are roughly as banal as the Google lists, with vast quantities of Justin Bieber-related topics, although political and social events do make it onto the lists. There are a few real gems in there. For example, on the Most Powerful Tweets List:
@BPGlobalPR- BP Public Relations... READ ON
A speedrun is the act of playing a video game (usually the entire thing from start to finish) as fast as possible. In some cases a speedrun may use glitches in the game or other shortcuts to get through it quickly -- an example of a shortcut that people of a Certain Age may remember is the warp tubes in Super Mario Brothers. On the other hand, Glitching is actually a whole gaming subculture, in which gamers do stuff like run through walls in order to reach unexpected parts of the map. Who knew?
So... READ ON
I wrote about James Burke's classic science show Connections way back in May, 2008. As I wrote then: "Connections was a documentary series produced for the BBC in 1978. It sought to explain human history through an "alternative view of change" in which multiple aspects of history, including technology, religion, and finance combine to bring about social change. This mode of analysis moves beyond conventional linear narrative, and as a result embraces complexity. Each episode is an essay connecting... READ ON
Each year since 2001, Google releases its Zeitgeist summary, showing various lists of top search terms. By examining these lists, we can figure out something about the year -- or at least about the people who use Google to search during that year. For example, this year (so far), here are the "Fastest Rising" search terms:
3. justin bieber
4. nicki minaj
7. katy perry
Personally, I don't even know what #4, 5,... READ ON
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome opened in 1982. Its signature feature is its Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof that is literally inflated by the air inside the stadium. The stadium is pumped full of air to keep the roof up. This requires people to enter and exit the dome via airlocks, to maintain positive pressure within the playing field area.
Over the weekend, the roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow -- and the dramatic collapse was caught on video (see below). But this is the fifth time... READ ON
In the seventh "Symphony of Science" installment by John Boswell, Carl Sagan sings: "Science is more than a body of knowledge: it's a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs." That's the theme of the song/video, which features Sagan, Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman, Phil Plait, and James... READ ON
Since 2002, the film Minority Report has inspired computer geeks the world over. At the time, touch interfaces were relatively rare, and where they did exist, they were typically limited to one finger at a time. In the film, Tom Cruise's character famously interacts with his computer by standing in front of a projected screen and basically waving his hands at it, manipulating objects without even touching them. In the film, computers had lept past mere touch, and moved to gestures, performed in the air.... READ ON
3-2-1 Contact was an educational TV show that aired from 1980 to 1988. Produced by the Children's Television Workshop, it aired on PBS in the US, and I used to love the heck out of it -- it featured science as well as my favorite crimefighters, "the Bloodhound Gang," who used science to solve crimes. I had no idea that, so many years later, I could easily sing along with the theme song. Can you?
This brings back lots of memories. The shots of the frog, the cat, and the baby?... READ ON
The ZIP in ZIP Code stands for Zone Improvement Plan.