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Things 98: Weakest Link Puppets, GPS Doom, Visual Metaphors

Video
I really like The Weakest Link Puppets Special. There’s something about the way these worlds collide that just keeps me smiling as I watch – childish responses to adult questions, adult responses to childish questions, and a wonderful willingness of all concerned to make what’s ultimately one of the simplest illusions going really work. If you want to see the rest of the episode, YouTube will show you the way.
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGlBDdsxeUQ

Link
A New Scientist article on how a surprising amount of our technological world is reliant on GPS.

Puzzle
After last week’s question on old-stuff-on-the-internet, I was looking back at my old Geocities site (now living on my own domain after Geocities shut down) and came upon my old Alternative Newsletters. I like to think of these as precursors to the Things email, but they’re really completely different, so I probably shouldn’t.

Anyway, one of them had the following quiz, which I thought I’d adapt for Things:

1) Is the answer to this question yes?
2) Is the answer to this question no?
3) Is the answer to question 4 maybe?
4) Are most of the answers yes in this quiz?
5) Have you stopped worrying about logical yes/no question traps?
6) If you answered maybe to questions 1-5, ask yourself another question in place of this one: If you cyclically rotate ‘maybe’, ‘no’ and ‘yes’ forwards through the alphabet, then answer questions 3 and 5 again, does this change whether or not you have to answer this question?
7) Answer this question last: What is the answer to question 8?
8) Is the answer to this different in comparison with the answer to the last question?

You don’t need answers, you know how many you got right.
Scoring:
0-2 questions correct: congratulations, you could be sane.
3-5 questions correct: bonus question! Did you get more than 3 correct? Answer, mark, and re-score.
6-8 questions correct: you do not need my congratulations, getting this many correct is its own reward (and punishment)
9+ questions correct: See Me.

Picture
A periodic table (actually not really periodic) of metaphors:
(click for big)

Last Week’s Question
Last Week I asked “What is the oldest evidence of your own activity on the internet you can still provide a live link to now”.

For me personally, it’s this review on Amazon dated 24th September 2001. I was active in a few other places before that, but they’re all dead now. Let this serve as a reminder to back up any data you hold dear.

Richard beats this by a long distance, with his usenet post dated 4th February 1992. Nearly 20 years ago! That’s a long time in the world of the internet.

By the way, the natural conclusion of this little game would be to try to find a link to the oldest thing on the internet. I’d have no idea where to begin, but let me know if you do.

Categories
Old

Things 3: Overheard, Glasses, Illusion

(Originally sent in December 2007)

This week’s film – one line review
The Golden Compass takes very naturally to film and clearly has a lot of talent poured into it; unfortunately the script itself contains the worst screen writing I’ve heard since Eragon.

Next week’s film
I’m going to see Hitman because for some reason I can’t get enough of films about human weapons that end up fighting their creators.
Imdb rating: 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 14%!

Hitman Trailer

Prognosis: Judging by the Rotten Tomatoes rating, this may well breach the so-bad-it’s-good barrier.

A Puzzle
Why do you always find things in the last place you look?

Answers to previous puzzles
Answer to puzzle from Things 1: A number less than 103. I won’t tell you what it is because it’s too good a puzzle to spoil.
Answer to puzzle from Things 2: 1.

A Quote
Digby, circa 1992: “I had one, right, and then I had another one – funny how they come in ones…”

A Link
Actually, it’s just more quotes.
http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/pages/mostpopular.html

A video
My favourite viral. I think I’ve worked out how most of it was done.

A picture
An example of the most powerful optical illusion I know.

Categories
Old

Things 2: Acoustic standing waves, Aurora Sounds, Mammatus Clouds

(Originally sent in November 2007)

This week’s film, one line review
Unfortunately the story in Sleuth (2007) was changed from the original, so it was a bad story badly told.

I also saw the anime film “5 centimeters per second“, which was insanely beautiful.

Next week’s film
I’m going to see The Golden Compass some time next week. It’s too soon for ratings to appear on imdb or rotten tomatoes, although I am keen to see it just to boycott this boycott:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

Golden Compass Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vMmf8YALbc

Prognosis: The weakest of an otherwise amazing trilogy, it’s worth going to see this just to make sure the rest get made.

A Puzzle
If you forget to turn off your away notifier in Outlook and then send an email to someone that also has an away notifier on, does this cause an infinite loop? And if not, why not? Do you get an away notifier if you email yourself?

A Quote
LaPlace: “An intelligence that, at a given instant, could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings that make it up, if moreover it were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, would encompass in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atoms. For such an intelligence nothing would be uncertain, and the future, like the past, would be open to its eyes.”

A Link
The Golden Compass was called Northern Lights when it was first published.

These days there is not much left in the realm of human experience that science cannot explain, and I find myself extremely fascinated by the few things that are left.

Here’s an interesting link that relates to both of these things:
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=923

Perhaps needless to say, there’s a lot of other interesting stuff there.

A video
Continuing the audio science theme, here’s a beautiful demonstration of acoustic standing waves:

A picture
Mammatus clouds are extremely rare. They also look extremely photoshopped. See below and judge for yourself.

There’s lots more over at Dark Roasted Blend.

Categories
Old

Things 1: Chintz, Time Travel, Human Tetris

(Originally sent in November 2007)

I like the culture of sharing interesting things by email, but my obsessive nature makes me want to formalise the process. So here is the first edition of what may become a weekly thing. [My obsessive nature later drove me to create this blog in order to document historic ‘Things’ emails; these will now be republished here on Tuesdays – metatim, 25/03/10]

This week’s film – one line review:
American Gangster was an amazing story very well put together, that just fell a little short of being a true classic.

Next week’s film:
Sleuth (2007)
Imdb rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating (summary of critics’ reviews): 33%

Sleuth Trailer:

[I originally linked to wherever I had found a trailer – now I’m posting on a blog I’m embedding whichever seems like the most canonical YouTube video – metatim, 25,03/10]

Prognosis: Looks like a bad version of a good story.

A Puzzle:
The following words all share a certain property:
Almost, Biopsy, Chintz

Can you find a number with that property?

A Quote:
From when I was about 14:

Me: “Wow! I feel like I’m going faster than I really am!”
My sister: “You are!”

A Link:
Cat and Girl is a very intelligent comic about hipsters, literature, life and science. Here’s one of my favourite ones:
http://www.catandgirl.com/view.php?loc=131
[archive has been recombobulated, here’s the new link – metatim, 25/03/10]
http://catandgirl.com/?p=1255

A video:
From the great tradition of Ridiculous Japanese Game Shows:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=84_QL1kEmH4

[original video removed – here’s an alternative – metatim, 25/03/10]


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll2kajMH2u0
[replacement video removed – here’s another alternative – metatim, 22/11/12]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hCzjku-Wfs
[replacement video removed – here’s another alternative – metatim, 06/12/13]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zxXXg46zi8

[Keeping up with takedowns clearly futile, so try searching like this – metatim, 02/08/15]

A picture: