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Annotated Links of Interest: November 13th 2008

Links of interest for November 11th 2008 through November 13th 2008:

  • New York Times: Fake New York Times Declares Iraq War Over! Here’s Who Did It [Gawker] – “The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?”” The Yes Men. Clever parody; very clever indeed …  the cover.
  • Big fuss brews over LittleBigPlanet [The Age] – “LittleBigPlanet is fast firming as one of the biggest game launches this year because players can create and share their own worlds, but Sony’s heavy-handed moderation has many gamers crying foul. A key selling point of the PlayStation 3 game, which was launched in Australia just days ago and has received an average rating of 95 per cent from reviewers, is that people can share their own levels over the PlayStation Network. Some have spent days crafting their ideal custom worlds, including tributes to classic games and characters such as Final Fantasy, Pac-Man, Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog, God Of War, Super Mario Bros and Indiana Jones. Over the past few days, many have found their levels summarily blocked by Sony and LittleBigPlanet’s developers, Media Molecule, because they allegedly breach someone else’s intellectual property.” (Copyright vs creativity in an entirely corporately-owned toy world with brilliant design tools … what could go wrong? :P)
  • Interview @MarsPhoenix – Universe – “For over a year, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed an entirely new kind of public involvement in science.”
  • Cloverfield: Mapped [Google Maps] – Blow by blow map of the action in Cloverfield. As you might suspect, the action doesn’t quite make sense if you look at it on a New York map!
  • China issues first definition of Internet addiction [China Daily] – Chinese doctors define what they call “internet addiction”: “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”

Links for June 27th 2008

Interesting links for June 21st 2008 through June 27th 2008:

Links for June 2nd 2008

Interesting links for June 2nd 2008:

  • It Really Looks Like Ice on Mars [Universe Today] – The Phoenix Lander on Mars may have uncovered ice. As anyone with a passing interesting in Mars science fiction will know, actually finding water/ice on Mars is the single either makes or breaks the possibility of terraforming Mars! 🙂
  • ABC Earth [ABC Online] – “The ABC Earth content layer (to be viewed using the Google Earth 4.3 application) is a trial that consists of video, images and content developed by the ABC. The layer includes National News and video …” (Fun way of engaging with news!)
  • Facebook ban for PM’s staff [Australian IT] – “Staffers working in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office and on his household staff have been asked to remove their Facebook profiles.” (A move sure to reinforce the image of Australia’s PM as something of a control junkie!)
  • Town forces Google to scrap street images [The Age] – “The small, private community of North Oaks in Minnesota enforces its trespassing ordinance, and Google Maps is no exception. The mapping service’s Street View feature allows users to see what a certain address or intersection looks like …”

Marshine on Phobos!


Following on from my previous post about Mars and the wonderful work of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) project, I just had to post the image above which is of “Marshine” (sunlight reflected off of the surface of Mars) on Phobos, one of Mars’ moons.  You can see more of Phobos at it’s HiRISE page, but just take a minute to look at that amazing image.  For me, at least, it really captures the imagination and a sense of wonder about our wider universe! [Via]


Over the last month or so I’ve been slowly re-reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic Mars trilogy; I’m a little way into the second book (Green Mars), but my head is still full of the magnificent world-building that Robinson manages in the first installment, Red Mars. Also, oddly enough, I’ve been fascinated by the way that the way that the plotting in Red Mars – which uses flash-forwards, flashbacks and other jumps – is similar to the way the TV series Lost works. There are parallels, too, between the First Hundred (the first human colonists on Mars) and the survivors of Oceanic 815 (in Lost) in terms of the way their lives are ruled by the geographic isolation and unexpected challenges of territories unknown.

More to the point, with the vivid descriptions of Mars conjured by Robinson freshly in mind, I was really struck by a report which highlighted the fact that the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) has managed to capture images of an avalanche taking place on the surface of Mars!

Mars Avalanche

These images really do capture the imagination. Although Mars is often considered close to a dead planet, burnt out and inactive, looking at these amazing photos really does remind me that our closest planetary neighbour holds many mysteries and far from satisfying my desire to know more, these images tantalise the imagination, and make me wonder what other stories the dusty red planet has to tell. [Via io9]