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What is beauty?

I don’t often post links here without a fair amount of commentary, but this one really doesn’t need anything added. I stole this one from a friend’s LJ post.

Watch “evolution” (revised the link again)

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Why Hydrogen Won’t Save Us

For a long time now, I’ve been fairly annoyed with the media and political hyperbole surrounding the future use of hydrogen. Most of the attention I’ve seen seems to revolve around the (admittedly worthy) advances in the devices (fuel cells, mostly) that help us convert hydrogen into energy for use in cars, consumer devices, etc. That’s great as far as it goes, but it’s not the whole story.

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When Bands Go Bad

I’ve been meaning for a while to post about a dilemma I’ve had.

It’s sad when a good band gets sucked into the dark side by a video director with a “vision”. Anyone can make a crappy video, but it’s especially painful to me when it’s a successful band that should know better. Even worse when it’s a song I actually enjoy.

Given that narrowed definition, I’ve been debating which of two videos I’ve seen truly qualifies as the worst video ever… the one that does the most damage to a song I really like.

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Un-Pimp Your Auto

The locals are quite aware that my brain has been pretty thoroughly eaten lately with my planned new car purchase. If everything is going the way it should, there’s one of these on a boat on its way to me as we speak. Amy and I are both pretty serious Volkswagen fans.

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Amazing Machines

After my rant yesterday, I got curious and found a website (archived copy on archive.org) that has some basic information on the SSMEs, or space shuttle main engines.

These things really are fascinating. Be sure to click on the “SSME Incredible Facts” link down at the bottom. You know you’re talking about a big engine when its fuel pump produces over 70 thousand HP. They make the comparison that this is the equivalent power of 28 locomotives. Each engine produces the thrust equivalent (in vacuum) of just over 12 million HP, and the shuttle has three of them. If I ran the calculations correctly, each solid rocket booster produces the equivalent of over 75 million HP.

Geof, I just looked up the thrust numbers for the F-1. It looks like though the total thrust produced by all 5 of them used on Saturn V stage I is greater than the the total thrust of the two SRBs, the SRB appears to win hands-down on per-engine thrust. Is the SRB perhaps the most powerful single engine ever constructed?

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Is Your Property Too Attractive?

This is truly frightening. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today (link defunct) that a city can seize private property for private economic development.

From the article:

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.

Wow. Five justices really believe that? That, in effect, says not “They can take the land in this narrow instance,” but “We don’t want to touch this issue. Don’t bother us again.” That truly surprises me. I’ve been hearing about cases like this for a couple of years now. I always assumed that if a case was heard by the Supreme Court, they would side with the property owners. I guess I was wrong.

Side note… I admit that I have not studied the rulings of the 9 justices in detail, but I have the distinct impression that I’m siding with the ones that I would normally disagree with on this one. O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas shared the dissenting opinion.

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TiVo Inks Deal with Comcast

Woohoo! TiVo has signed a deal with Comcast (archived copy on archive.org) to provide a customized version of its software to run on their DVR boxes. Maybe this will be the thing to keep them alive.

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Power Ballad Timeline

Don’t ask how I found this, because I don’t remember. I lost concentration with all the laughing.

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Election Trivia

Now that the election is, for all practical purposes, over, I thought I’d throw in a useless yet amusing observation about the media reports.

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Mozilla/Firefox plugins

Slashdot does has useful information occasionally. Today, they led me to an article over at Wired (archived copy on archive.org) that has links to some pretty cool Mozilla (including Firefox) plugins.

My favorites so far are Googlebar and ieview. I’ll probably also end up trying BugMeNot (link defunct) before I’m done.