Links roundup

September 14, 2009 Comments Off on Links roundup


  • DNATube – Science videos online.  Organised into channels, from structural biology to neuroscience, with contributions from MIT and other scientific institutions.  Very cool!
  • Science is Real – They Might Be Giants takes on public misperceptions about science and the scientific process.  Ironically somewhat preachy, it none-the-less does a credible job of explaining in layman’s terms why science works the way it does.
  • Mortality – The odds of any given person dying in any given year double every eight years.  The graph of these probabilities is difficult to recreate using known factors causing death, which leads actuaries to try to determine the reason human populations follow this trend.  This article posits and dismisses a couple of possible explanations.
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences – Dolphin-safe tuna may sound like a good idea, but when it’s compared to traditional methods of catching tuna, it turns out to be much worse for everything else in the ocean.
  • 20 most popular science web sites – As the title suggests, this is the ranked order (based on search rankings and visitor hits) of the 20 most popular sites devoted to science topics.
  • Amusement park physics – How amusement park rides take advantage of physics to seem more dangerous than they actually are.  How the design of amusement park rides relies on physics.


  • Russian dam accident – Once again, a Russian power generation project is in the news following a catastrophic accident.  Fortunately (if the word can be applied to a disaster of this magnitude), it’s not a nuclear plant this time, but a hydroelectric dam.  The Big Picture has before and after photos of the project itself, as well as images of the rescue effort.
  • Two Mongolias – Aside from the occasional threat to send a student to Outer Mongolia for some perceived misdeed, most of us are probably unfamiliar with the interior of the largest continent.  Here, The Big Picture compares and contrasts the two Mongolias: one, an independent country; the other, a province of China.  The contrasts between the ancient and the modern are fascinating, as statues of Genghis Khan co-occupy the landscape with orbital launch facilities.
  • Nazi memories – The BBC has a fascinating interview with the last survivor of Hitler’s “suicide bunker”.  It’s been 70 years since the start of WWII, and Rochus Misch, 92-yr-old telegraph operator, shares his stories of wartime Germany.


  • Animated text – Animated retellings of Poe’s Telltale Heart and Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea.
  • Mythical Venn diagram – A fascinating image showing the creature combinations responsible for some of mythology’s most enduring creature tales.


  • Magma – is a site devoted to trending videos on different social media networks.  See what’s popular on such diverse sources as TED, the New York Times, and Twitter.  The only downside is it does include geolocked content, so not all videos are available to Canadian viewers (particularly those from Hulu).
  • 100 years of VFX – Visual effects have evolved the ability for directors to tell the stories they want.  This short clip shows the changing technology throughout the development of cinema.
  • Infographics – This amazing collection of graphics, visualisations and diagrams illustrates a wide swath of subjects, from Twitter demographics to a timeline of media scare stories, to trends in Google search requests.
  • Basics of cinematography – Say a student wants to turn in a movie for a project – how do you determine a mark based on the mechanics of the film itself (aside from the content)?  This guide may be a jumping-off point to give some indications as to how much work the students put into their video project.
  • Fallen princesses – While some may find this cynical, I’m impressed by the thoughtful deconstruction of fairy tales as presented in a modern sense.  What really would happen after “happily ever after”?


  • Nerd Venn Diagram – A humourous look at what makes, and what differs between nerds, dweebs, dorks and geeks.
  • Flip Flop Flyball – Because we have, apparently, a couple of baseball fans on staff, I submit the following for your edification.  This collection of fascinating infographics informs and amuses on baseball-related minutia such as which direction the batters face in every major league park, which fans pay the most for seats, and of course, what percentage of Cleveland residents are actually American Indians.  Updated regularly.
  • Spezify – Less a search engine and more a “collection engine”, Spezify takes any search term and finds related Wikipedia articles, YouTube videos, photos, web pages, social networks, news articles, etc.

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