“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
— H.L. Mencken.
I find this absolutely fascinating. It’s probably what evolution really looks like — conceptually speaking — rather than a slow accretion of fit details. A messy, scattered series of missed connections and quasi-random tangents that very slowly over time takes on the appropriate shape. Addictive.
What the…? Thanks to a large grant from Ben & Jerry the ice cream guys, researchers at Penn. State have created a refrigerator that keeps food cool using sound waves rather than compressed freon. “Thermoacoustic refrigeration,” as its known, is super eco-friendly. Not to mention really cool. Check it out.
Here’s a public toilet in Switzerland that is made entirely of one-way glass — it looks like a mirror from outside, but when you’re inside it seems to be made of glass. I imagine the world is divided into two types of people: those that could poo under such circumstances, and those who couldn’t.
This (quicktime) is an animated representation of one day in the life of the U.S. air traffic control system — little blue dots for every plane that flies over the course of the day. _Damn_ that’s a lot of planes. Check it out.
This is a rather mind-blowing article in Salon (worth watching the obligatory ad for) about traffic control experiments and challenges in China and Europe. Apparently, contrary to conventional wisdom and American practice, the safest and most urban-healthy practice is to have fewer rules, fewer signs, less structure — and to mix pedestrian and automobile use in the same areas. Fascinating.
Check this out. I’ve always thought I’d love a dog with some border collie in it, what with them being so smart, but damn — I didn’t know they could converse!