Some Stuff That’s Nifty 7/24/13

It’s been a few days since the last one, and the internet waits for no woman (or man; the internet’s quite equal opportunity in its impatience).

Fun Pictures

1. So there are these things called “nail houses.”  Apparently if you’ve ever seen Up then you’ll be familiar with the concept.  A construction company buys up a bunch of land for development, but one person acts as a holdout and refuses to sell.  Nail houses are the last buildings standing in the way of new developments.  And apparently they happen a lot in China.

2. Japan has a thriving hospitality industry that revolves around these places called “love hotels.”  They’re kind of seedy, but at the same time, the interior design that goes into the rooms is phenomenally weird.  Also, apparently the rooms can sometimes be bigger than what you get in a respectable Japanese hotel for a cheaper rate.  You just have to be prepared to hear some strange things going on in your neighbors’ rooms.

Gaming

1. I played Persona 3 and Persona 4 a couple years ago.  They’re wonderful little JRPGs that are set in a near future Japan.  The gameplay’s a combination of dungeon crawling and dating simulation, and they are fantastic.  I have to say, my interest is a little piqued by this trailer for the Persona 3 movie, just because I thought the stories for both games were great, but it can be a major grind playing through about a hundred hours just to relive a good story.  Also, don’t be freaked out by the guns; that’s just how the characters summon their fighting demons (otherwise known as Personas).

2. I mentioned Earthbound in my last link round up, and I’m going to do it again here.  This game is really worth checking out if you’re into JRPGs.  This time I found an interview with the guy who was in charge of localizing the game for American release back in 1995.  It’s really interesting, and he gives you a sense of the quirky sort of humor that you’ll find in the game.

Why Was Anyone Recording This?

1. In Russia, someone with a dashboard camera recorded the explosion of a truck carrying a bunch of what look like propane tanks on the highway.  No one was hurt, which is great.  But I still have to ask, why would you just be recording your commute like that?  Does this stuff happen so often in Russia that people just expect it and have begun keeping ongoing documentation of their mundane lives in the hopes of seeing something extraordinary?  And where can I see those videos?

White Board Science

1. Because I’m a sucker for anything that’s explained with a white board, and because advances in medical knowledge should always be celebrated, here’s a video explaining the hypothesis that’s asserted in a recent research study looking at the possibility of a link between an HIV infected person’s gut microbiome and the progression of HIV towards AIDS.  It’s a very new study, and the researchers even say that it needs to be corroborated, but it may lead to some interesting avenues of treatment for HIV infected patients.

Bill Nye

Bill Nye (Photo credit: eschipul)

2. I know everyone thinks I have an obsession with the end of the world by asteroid, but I swear it’s not the case.  This stuff just always catches my eye is all.  Also, this video features the inimitable Bill Nye talking about laser bees.

Scientific Art

1. So there’s this guy who works with a machine that destabilizes electrons.  In his spare time, he uses this machine to create art.  It looks like lightning bolts caught in plastic.  Check out the link for some examples and an explanation of how it works.

Gross Science

1. If you find highly detailed images of insects disturbing, then you probably shouldn’t watch this video.  A German scientist has spent several years developing technology that allowed him to take extremely high resolution images of bugs and plants with an electron microscope and put those images together in motion video.  The results are really nifty.

Plain Old Science

1. Researchers in Norway accidentally created a material that has an absurdly high rate of adsorption.  Yes, with a d.  This stuff is kind of a big deal.

2. Also, a new kind of bacteria has been discovered that looks like it has very promising applications in regards to fighting off anthrax and MRSA.  Any kind of drug based on the bacteria is still several years away from being developed, but this is a really big deal, as MRSA’s an extremely dangerous infection that likes to proliferate in hospitals.

Religion

1. It’s been a while since I mentioned Richard Beck, so I thought I’d include this just so you guys don’t think I’ve lost interest in his blog.  He posted a very good rumination on the meaning of humility, and pointed out that because of the way a lot of English versions of the Bible translate Philippians 2:3 we tend to misunderstand what sanctified humility looks like.  Go read it; you’ll like it.

2. From Rachel Held Evans (she’s back from vacation; yay!) we get this guest post by Christena Cleveland on privilege and how we might make headway towards giving attention to the experiences of people who don’t share our own.

Current Affairs

1. I already wrote all I’m inclined to write about the Trayvon Martin shooting, so I won’t add anything here, but I did come across this article by William Saletan that I think is a useful guide for proceeding with any more conversations about racism in America.

2. Georgia Tech is piloting an online Master’s program for its computer science degree.  I just wish it were a Bachelor’s, because I would seriously consider going for that in my free time (not because I have any desire to be a programmer; I just like affordable, quality education… and I secretly wish I were a programmer).

Movies

1. Timur Bekmambetov should be best known for his insane film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  That movie features the secret history of America’s 16th president as he fought to end slavery because it was secretly a huge cattle market for the vampires who owned all the southern plantations.  The guy who directed that is going to be producing an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz that promises to be more insane than Sharknado.

2. From DrFrood at Froodian Pseudoanalysis, a treatment of Man of Steel 2 that explains exactly why Superman and Batman are going to be fighting.

People are Awesome

1. In Japan, a bunch of commuters combined their strength to tip a railway car enough that a woman who was trapped under the car could escape.

Feminism

1. Via John Scalzi, a nifty anthem for women everywhere who don’t need to present their nerd bona fides all the time.

2. From Bodycrimes, an interesting piece reflecting on the financial cost of going through weight loss and gain.

3. Forgedimagination over at Defeating the Dragons has an ongoing series where she’s reading through a book called Fascinating Womanhood and critiquing the ideology of the writer.  In this post she breaks down why it’s insulting to suggest that women must put their men first in all situations because men are fragile creatures who can’t handle not being the center of attention.

Comics

1. So Comic Con was last week in San Diego.  Lots of cool stuff was going on, but I came across this video and it entertained me because it features a Deadpool cosplayer doing what Deadpool does best when he’s not being an offensive manchild.  Also, the costumes on display in the video are really good.  It’s fun to see people enjoying their hobbies in what looks like a very warm community.

2. And also from Comic Con, a fun video showing off some people showing off their cosplay.  Though I’m not really into the cosplay thing, I do appreciate seeing people who put so much care into their hobby.  Also, seeing folks in motion in their costumes really brings out the amount of care they put into it.  I haven’t been to a con in several years, but cosplay watching is always a fun activity.

Fiction

1. From a blog I recently started following, here’s a flash fiction about (wait for it) the end of the world.  Hey, at least it’s not an asteroid!

And that’s it from my little corner of the internet.

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