Saturday, March 22, 2008

Balada Conducatorolui

From the film Latcho Drom, which features Gypsy musicians from all along the route of ancient migration. More film cuts here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Image of the Day

Patent drawings from S.S. Adams' Joy Buzzer ("Joke Buzzer"), 1931. Click to englarge. Or stock up here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ice "bergs" on Lake Michigan

From NOAA, enormous county-sized chunks of ice broke off the shoreline and are afloat in Lake Michigan. Click the above link for more photos. via

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nazis vs. Aqua Regia - an Interesting Little Story

From the Nobel Foundation:

There are many rumors of what happened to the Nobel medals of three Nobel Laureates in Physics during World War II: the medals of the Germans Max von Laue (1914) and James Franck (1925), and of the Dane Niels Bohr (1922). Professor Bohr's Institute of Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen had been a refuge for German Jewish physists since 1933. Max von Laue and James Franck had deposited their medals there to keep them from being confiscated by the German authorities. After the occupation of Denmark in April 1940, the medals were Bohr's first concern, according to the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy (also of Jewish origin and a 1943 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry), who worked at the institute.
Enter Aqua Regia, discovered in 800 by Arab Alchemist Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan, a nasty concoction of nitric & sulfuric acids, revered by the alchemists for its ability to dissolve gold. de Hevesy had an idea for von Laue's medal:

"I suggested that we should bury the medal, but Bohr did not like this idea as the medal might be unearthed. I decided to dissolve it. While the invading forces marched in the streets of Copenhagen, I was busy dissolving Laue's and also James Franck's medals. After the war, the gold was recovered and the Nobel Foundation generously presented Laue and Frank with new Nobel medals." de Hevesy wrote to von Laue after the war that the task of dissolving the medals had not been easy, as gold is "exceedingly unreactive and difficult to dissolve." The Nazis occupied Bohr's institute and searched it very carefully but they did not find anything. The medals quietly waited out the war in a solution of aqua regia.
Vibrant hues, but be careful, it ain't Kool-aid.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Watch it on Youtube. In 14 parts (I know that sounds like a pain, but its really not so bad).

Start here. Then go here to find the rest of the 14 parts.

This movie is the source of the famous "We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" line. But beyond that, its actually a great movie.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Image of the Day

found here

Food Court Musical

From Improv Anywhere. You must watch it all the way through. Here's the background:

For our latest mission, 16 agents staged a spontaneous musical in the food court of a Los Angeles shopping mall. We used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the mall’s PA system. We filmed the mission with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report below.

This is my favorite yet from these guys. Bravo, Bravissimo!