Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mirage of a City

A rare mirage of a city appeared off the shore of Penglai City, Shandong Provice, China:

Thousands of tourists and local residents witnessed a mirage of high clarity lasting for four hours off the shore of Penglai City in east China’s Shandong Province on Sunday.

Mists rising on the shore created an image of a city, with modern high-rise buildings, broad city streets and bustling cars as well as crowds of people all clearly visible.

Experts said that many mirages have been recorded in Penglai, on the tip of Shandong Peninsula, throughout history, which made it known as a dwelling place of the gods.

They explained that a mirage is formed when moisture in the air becomes warmer than the temperature of sea water, which refracts rays of sunlight to create reflections of the landscape in the sky.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Video of popped water balloon at 4000 frames per second

Mark Frauenfelder: It sure is fun to watch this water balloon get popped with an X-Acto knife. The water stay in the shape of the balloon like it's made from clear Jello. Link (via WFMU's Beware of the Blog)

DIY $100 "Furo" Japanese Hot Tub.

From the website:

The brochure on the nightstand explained that it is called a furo. Furo is the Japanese word for a single-person hot tub.

The term "low tech" doesn’t begin to cover the simplicity and functionality of the design. No bubbles, no jets, no electricity, nothing to break, just deep hot water up to your neck. Asians have known for thousands of years the benefits of sitting alone immersed in hot water. And, as I have since learned, the favorite place for Japanese college students to study is in the furo.

Basically, it is just a plywood box with a cool Oriental name. At first glance it seems like you may have your knees in your mouth, but this is not the case, due to your natural buoyancy—you feel so good you just don’t care. I’m tall for a short person, over 5′ 10", and I fit very comfortably. You get the same benefits of a hot tub, but none of the contamination consequences, plus you get to be alone and not feel completely antisocial. Try to remember, did you ever take a tub all alone and not feel self-conscious and wasteful? I did it once and felt as if I were driving a Winnebago to the grocery store.

Link (via Unique Daily)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Watch and rate people's sketching processes

Mark Frauenfelder: Mai'Nada's Comics is sort of like a Hot or Not for sketches. The neat thing is that you can see the way the artists drew their sketches, line-by-line. You can try your own hand at it by using the drawing application on the site.

Ice chunk that fell on Oakland

David Pescovitz: On Saturday morning, a chunk of ice estimated to weigh more than 200 pounds fell in an Oakland, California park, leaving a hole 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Nobody knows where it came from. Apparently, it was clean and clear, making it unlikely to be waste from an airplane bathroom. The odd thing is that ice chunks like this one have been falling with increasing frequency around the world. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater climatologist David Travis suggests that the ice could have dropped from the underside of an airplane hull. Travis's colleague, Madrid scientist Jesus Martinez-Frias, posits a scarier theory. From Inside Bay Area:
Martinez-Frias speculates it is a natural phenomenon caused by global warming. According to his studies, every time such an incident occurs, it is precipitated by an unusual atmosphere in which higher altitudes are turbulent and cold. The cold helps create the ice. The turbulence helps keep it together in the sky.

As global warming continues to heat the earth, his theory goes, upper atmospheric temperatures become cooler, opening more opportunities for the ice to form.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hell on Wheels: Japanese Bullet Train Billed as World's Fastest

As trains in the United States remain firmly planted in the horse-and-buggy era, the rest of the world leaps ahead, and here's the fastest wheeled train yet, the phallic-looking 224mph Fastech 360Z. The working prototype of the next-generation bullet train was unveiled to the press in Japan by the East Japan Railway. A company spokesman said the six-car land rocket was capable of traveling at 310mph.

The company qualifies its "world's fastest" claim with the term "wheeled" because there are maglev trains that are faster, including Central Japan Railway's JR-Maglev MLX01, a prototype that's reached a speed of 361mph.

Japan unveils the fastest train in the world []

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Honda adding Google Earth to cars (in Japan)

Leftlane News reports that Honda will soon add Google Earth to cars using its ‘internavi Premium Club’ navigation service in Japan. Google Earth will interface with the existing navigation service, adding high-resolution satellite images of cities to current traffic information downloaded via the car's wireless internet connection. As you may recall, Volkswagen also recently showed off its own Google Earth-enhanced navigation service, although it looks like Honda may actually beat them to the market. No word if/when it'll make it to North America market though.