Friday, July 5, 2013

Best of the Week #108

Dear readers:

I apologize for my absence over the last couple weeks.  My hope is that you haven’t given up on me, but I can’t say I blame you if you have.  In my defense, I was in beautiful Colorado last week, where I, among other things, backpacked, biked, hiked, and tore up the dance floor at my friend’s wedding!  By the way, I think Get Lucky just barely beats Blurred Lines for the Song of Summer title, but neither holds a candle to the timeless Call Me Maybe.  Agree?  Disagree?           

Either way, let’s start this week’s Best of the Week with a moment of silence for the Wendy’s T-Rex Burger. 

It's so tall, I got two patties in my mouth and one of the top patties hit me in the eye. I like a burger that requires protective eyewear.

In the words of Emeril Lagasse:  Oh yeah, babe!

Also on the subject of taking one’s life into one’s hands (see what I did there?), this short video is incredible. 

What Cezanne did for apples, Rob Whitworth does for city traffic.

I, for one, enjoy chaos of all shapes and sizes, especially roundabout-induced chaos.  But roundabouts in DC are just dangerous:  It’s the only place in DC where I’ve been hit on my bike.  The Logan Circle of Death!    

It’s been a great couple weeks for science.  First, you may remember this guy from your childhood.  It’s Bill Nye the Science Guy! 

He takes on those who would demand that the public schools teach alternative theories of evolution and the origins of the earth — most famously, in a video clip from the site that has been viewed some five million times. In it, he flatly tells adult viewers that “if you want to deny evolution and live in your world — in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe — that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future."

3-D printers!  These things are on the brink of revolutionizing industry, and it makes me very happy to see that folks are already using them for good. 

I'll take a 3-D printed hand over a 3-D printed gun any day of the week!

NASA!  I may or may not have shed a tear when NASA retired the shuttle program, but NASA’s not resting on its laurels.  Instead, they’re doing things like this.

In 2006, Cassini managed to do this in a mosaic that is routinely cited as the most popular picture ever taken by the satellite. It shows Saturn as a translucent orb surrounded by its rings, with Earth - a speck so small you could almost miss it - sitting in the upper-left of the frame. It is visible just inside the planet's faint G-ring.

Dr Porco believes her Ciclops team can improve on the 2006 picture, especially if they use their high resolution camera to picture Earth during the 19 July opportunity.

If you look closely, you can see The Donald's hair!
Let’s hear it for science!  Hooray science! 

Also awesome, though not necessarily related to science, IKEA (yes the Swedish firm implicated in the horsemeat meatballs scandal (apparently they also make furniture)) has partnered with UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) in an attempt to improve shelters at refugee camps. 

Packaged inside iconic Ikea flat-packs come all the parts needed to put together a refugee housing unit, the result of more than two years of research by the , the Swedish retailer's philanthropic arm, in partnership with, part of the U.N. refugee agency. Panels of lightweight plastic snap onto a metal frame held together by wires.

In, Johan Karlsson, who oversaw the project, notes that the lightweight plastic is durable — lasting up to three years, compared with about six months for the canvas tent that has been the standard at refugee camps for decades. And unlike canvas, it also has insulating properties and provides privacy.

Bravo, IKEA and UNHCR! 

In case you needed another reason to go to the zoo, this guy arrived a couple weeks ago.  He’s no red panda, but he’s pretty damn cute! 

Look at that face!

Babies cry.  And they smell.  And they’re kind of funny looking.  But watching them fumble their way through their first everything is magical, and, without question, your BEST OF THE WEEK!

This is what I look like every time it snows.  And I'm from Upstate NY.  Snow never gets old!

Happy weekend, folks!