Interesting things I've bookmarked (old posts, page 31)

Enigma machines

The Enigma machines made their debut in short-lived peace, just following the first Great War. Enclosed in foldable wooden boxes, the devices featured series of protruding knobs and keys, resembling a cross between an antique typewriter and a laptop computer. These were among the first ciphers, boxes capable of coding and decoding staggeringly complex communications. German electrical engineer Arthur Scherbius invented the Enigma machines in 1918, believing the banking industry would find them useful. He would find, however, the devices were too far ahead of their time.

Enigma machines

Avalanches album finished

Modular founder and curator of this year's VIVID Live programme, Steven 'Pav' Pavlovic, has told TMN that the long-awaited second album from The Avalanches is finished... almost. Pavlovic was characteristically forthright when asked about the record, stating that the only thing remaining is "some tweaking to the production elements" and that a lead track from the album will, most likely, be heard this year, with the album itself out early next year. Since the November 2000 release of The Avalanches debut album Since I Left You, speculation has been rife over when, or if, a follow up record will see the light of day. The debut was a worldwide success, with universal critical acclaim and UK sales of over 200,000 units. Indie barometer Pitchfork ranked the record #10 in its albums of the decade

Shelling Out - The Origins of Money

From the very start, England's 17th century colonies in America had a problem -- a shortage of coins [D94, T01] The British idea was to grow large amounts of tobacco, cut timber for the ships of their global navy and merchant marine, and so forth, sending in return the supplies they felt were needed to keep the Americans working. In effect, early colonists were supposed to both work for the company and shop at the company store. The investors and the Crown much preferred this to paying in coin what the farmers might ask, letting the farmers themselves buy the supplies -- and, heaven forbid, keep some of the profit as well.

NASA to Abandon Mars Spirit Rover

NASA said on Tuesday that it was abandoning efforts to get back in touch with Spirit, one of the two rovers on Mars. Spirit, which has been stuck in a sand trap for two years, fell silent last year as winter arrived and its solar panels could no longer generate enough electricity. Engineers had hoped that the rover would revive when spring returned, but they never heard from it again.Now, as the Martian days grow shorter, Spirit's managers decided that it was not worth the time and money to continue.

Visible Paleo-Earth

The goal of the Visible Paleo-Earth (VPE) project is to visualize in true-colors the evolution of Earth surface from paleo-climates to today. We are using paleogeography and paleoclimate reconstructions combined with NASA satellite imagery to generate our best interpretation of the global visual appearance of Earth in the last 750 million years, as seem from space.We are using the information of NASA Blue Marble - Next Generation to recreate the color of our images. The "blue marble" image (right) is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer of our planet.

Neuromancer may finally become a movie

William Gibson's visionary 1984 novel "Neuromancer," which presaged much of the wired world we now take for granted and coined the term "cyberspace," may finally be coming to the screen.Slashfilm reports that sales rights were secured at the Cannes Film Festival, currently underway in France, and filming will begin in 2012 in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo and London. Visual-effects work already has begun.Vincenzo Natali will direct the film. The Detroit native's previous films include the scientifically creepy "Splice" and intensely paranoid "Cube," both of which seem well in line with "Neuromancer.

Neuromancer may finally become a movie

The Chinese nuclear tests 1964 - 1996

Thus began a most remarkable unveiling of the Chinese nuclear weapons program, a deliberate disclosure of its nuclear crown jewels to a central player in the American nuclear intelligence community. Chinese officials knew exactly who Stillman was. It is clear they chose to show him, firsthand, the achievements of their nuclear world. They wanted Stillman to take the information home, to tell the American government, the scientific community, and the citizenry at large all about China's technical capabilities. Why would the Chinese government do that? Nuclear weapons design information is supposed to be a deep, dark secret.