Gore’s Presidency: A Retrospective

Let’s keep this presidential train rolling with some juicy fan fiction.  Five writers for New York Magazine take turns wrapping 2-year ribbons around the maypole, imagining what it would’ve been like if Gore had won in 2000 and 2004.

Two of the contributors weren’t great. Glenn Beck (yes, that Glenn Beck) fails at humor/imagination/writing while Walter Kirn’s kumbaya years are pretty unbelievable. It’s a fun read though, assuming you’ve got the time and interest.

A particularly solid passage from Kevin Baker:

Well, tough titty, the president thought as he strode to the helicopter. Some people were going to have to get used to the idea that life in the new millennium wasn’t about tearing the tops off mountains just so you could grub some more lung polish. Besides, hadn’t he given the locals the Robert C. Byrd Clean Coal Research Institute as part of his omnibus energy package? Clean coal—riiight.

Meanwhile, his relocation had become the biggest jobs program West Virginia had ever seen. It was the logical choice, once Flight 93 had demolished the White House. All they’d had to do was spruce up the Bunker under the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, built there for Congress back in the Cold War days. The Secret Service loved it. Everything you could ask, all behind twenty-ton blast doors: dormitories, cafeterias, a state-of-the-art communications system, even a weight room. Everything, that is, except for the Congress. Capitol Hill was untouched; no need for them to come. He had the run of the place, and could call in anyone he wanted, whenever he wanted. Amtrak was running twenty trains a day in from D.C., and the town had doubled in size from all the media crews alone. He and Tipper took the presidential suite upstairs in the Greenbrier. They stuck Hadassah and Joe Leave-Me-Alone down in the Bunker itself, where he could keep an eye on them.

Coulda been a mistake, the president thought, frowning. Maybe that’s when he started to go all squirrelly on me—

He paused on the top step of the chopper, sucking in the sweet Allegheny air. God, it was intoxicating! Air like that, well, it gave a man an appetite. He smiled as he thought of Tipper, left back in the presidential bedroom just now in a state of flattering befuddlement.

Gave him other appetites as well, as the press had begun to notice. He looked over at the trim stomach of his body double. Would that guy have to start eating more, too? Maybe growing a beard would help …

[New York Magazine via the Browser]

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January 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Thars Gold in them Watches

Bill Hammack is one of my favorite explainers.  Keep it up, Engineer Guy.

[via Make Magazine]

January 12, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Sundog Puppy

[via the Daily What]

January 2, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Identify this Celestial Body

Embiggen.

Phil Plait @ Discovery Magazine explains:

The Sun’s surface puts out light at all wavelengths, but the surface isn’t solid. It’s a gas, and it tapers off with height. Normally, a thin gas in space emits light at very specific colors as electrons jump from one energy level to another in the individual atoms. But compressed gas in the thicker, denser part of the Sun mashes together all those energies, spreading them out, so it emits white light (that layer of the Sun is called the photosphere). Above that layer, where the gas is thinner (in a layer called the chromosphere), the hydrogen does emit light at specific colors. One of these, Hα, is in the red part of the spectrum, and in fact hot, thin hydrogen emits very strongly in Hα.

By plopping a filter in front of a telescope, you can block a lot of the light from the photosphere but let light from the chromosphere through. That’s what Alan Friedman did — he used a filter that let through a very narrow range of colors centered on Hα — to get this stunning picture. Well that, plus quite a bit of image processing! But everything you’re seeing there is real, and is happening on the Sun.

Bonus:

[via Kottke]

November 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Meet the Intersection of the Future

The Diverging Diamond Interchange:

[via Core77]

[image via GOOD]

November 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Sundog

[via Scott Beale @ Laughing Squid]

October 31, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Physical Peer to Physical Peer

It’s called Dead Drops.

Hey guy, what the hell are you doing?

Oh.

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. I am ‘injecting’ USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your files and date. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project.

[via Becky Stern @ Make Magazine]

October 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. 1 comment.

Not So Boring Drill

Speaking of Minecraft, here’s some real mining craft, crafting mines.

Wikipedia fills us in on the Gotthard Base Tunnel:

After 64 percent of Swiss voters accepted the AlpTransit project in a 1992 referendum, construction of the tunnel began in 1996. Boring operations in the east tunnel were completed on 15 October 2010 in a cut-through ceremony broadcast live on Swiss TV. When it opens for traffic in late 2017, the tunnel will cut the 3.5-hour travel time from Zürich to Milan by an hour and from Zürich to Lugano to 1 hour 40 minutes.

The drill is much less epic when it’s spotless and removed from its natural setting.

(Also, this is only a scale model.)

[via Kottke]

[images via the Guardian and Wikimedia Commons]

October 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Pineberries

Pineberries. Look like strawberries, taste like pineapples. Do want.

Still looking for:

Snozzberries

Elderberries

[originally via John Farrier @ Neatoroma, but the link went and died]

[image via Wikimedia Commons]

October 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Perfect Periodic Table

“Nothing is perfect, not even the best of periodic tables, but this website comes so close.”

Play around with this for a few minutes. I really can’t imagine a better periodic table than this.

[The nearly perfect ptable via the quite correct folks @ Fuck Yeah Chemistry]

October 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

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