an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘Misc’

Project Thor

In operations and projects, wild card on May 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Project Thor is an idea for a weapons system that launches kinetic projectiles from Earth’s orbit to damage targets on the ground. Jerry Pournelle originated the concept while working in operations research at Boeing in the 1950s before becoming a science-fiction writer.

The most described system is “an orbiting tungsten telephone pole with small fins and a computer in the back for guidance”. The weapon can be down-scaled, an orbiting “crowbar” rather than a pole.The system described in the 2003 United States Air Force (USAF) report was that of 20-foot-long (6.1 m), 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m) tungsten rods, that are satellite controlled, and have global strike capability, with impact speeds of Mach 10.

via Kinetic Bombardment

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Out-of-Place Artifact

In science & nature, wild card on April 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

Out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is a term coined by American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson for an object of historical, archaeological, or paleontological interest found in a very unusual or seemingly impossible context that could challenge conventional historical chronology.

The term “out-of-place artifact” is rarely used by mainstream historians or scientists. Its use is largely confined to cryptozoologists, proponents of ancient astronaut theories, Young Earth creationists, and paranormal enthusiasts. The term is used to describe a wide variety of objects, from anomalies studied by mainstream science to pseudoarchaeology far outside the mainstream, to objects that have been shown to be hoaxes or to have mundane explanations.

via Out-of-place artifact

Cross of Lorraine

In history, wild card on February 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

The Cross of Lorraine (French: Croix de Lorraine) is originally a heraldic cross. The two-barred cross consists of a vertical line crossed by two smaller horizontal bars. In the ancient version, both bars were of the same length. In 20th century use it is “graded” with the upper bar being the shortest. The Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top.

via Cross of Lorraine

Ivan Bilibin

In art, history on February 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876 – 1942) was a 20th-century illustrator and stage designer who took part in the Mir iskusstva and contributed to the Ballets Russes. Throughout his career, he was inspired by Slavic folklore.Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his illustrations of Russian fairy tales.

via Ivan Bilibin

Andres Serrano

In art, wild card on February 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

Andres Serrano (born August 15, 1950 in New York City) is an American photographer and artist who has become notorious through his photos of corpses and his use of feces and bodily fluids in his work, notably his controversial work “Piss Christ“, a red-tinged photograph of a crucifix submerged in a glass container of what was purported to be the artist’s own urine.

via Andres Serrano

Superdollar

In technology & innovatons, wild card on January 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

A superdollar (also known as a superbill or supernote) is a very high quality counterfeit United States one hundred-dollar bill, alleged by the U.S. Government to have been made by an unknown organization or government. Various groups have been suspected of creating such notes, and international opinion on the origin of the notes varies. The U.S. Government believes that these notes are most likely being produced in North Korea. Other possible sources include Iran or criminal gangs operating out of China. The name derives from the fact that the quality of the notes exceeds that of the originals. Some have estimated that 1 in 10,000 bills is a counterfeit of the quality ascribed to supernotes.

via Superdollar

Operation Gladio

In operations and projects on January 19, 2012 at 7:34 am

Operation Gladio is the codename for a clandestine NATOstay-behind” operation in Italy after World War II. Its purpose was to continue anti-communist actions in the event of a shift to a Communist party led government. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, “Operation Gladio” is used as an informal name for all stay-behind organizations, sometimes called “Super NATO”. The name Gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a type of Roman shortsword.

via Operation Gladio

Mary’s Room

In people, science & nature on December 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

Mary’s room (also known as Mary the super-scientist) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article “Epiphenomenal Qualia” (1982) and extended in “What Mary Didn’t Know” (1986). The argument is intended to motivate what is often called the “Knowledge Argument” against physicalism — the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical. The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume — There’s Something About Mary (2004) — which includes replies from such philosophers as Daniel Dennett, David Lewis, and Paul Churchland.

via Mary’s room

Bennett Buggy

In history, words & phrases on December 31, 2011 at 7:24 am

A Bennett buggy was a term used in Canada during the Great Depression to describe a car which had its engine and windows taken out and was pulled by a horse. In the United States, such vehicles were known as Hoover wagons, and named after then-President Herbert Hoover.

via Bennett Buggy

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

In history, places on December 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three; the oldest victim was 48, the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls. Read the rest of this entry »