Wednesday Walk Around the Web – 11/26/2014


Welcome to the Wednesday Walk Around the Web, where we weave & wind through weblinks weekly. Hopefully you will find the links on offer amusing, interesting, or, occasionally, profound. Do you have a link you want to see featured in next week’s Wednesday Walk? Email Glenn!

In Ferguson this week, murderer Darren Wilson wasn’t indicted; a grand jury decided, with the guidance of a prosecutor who sounded more like a defense attorney, that gunning down a child in cold blood isn’t anything that the fine people of Missouri need to bother holding a trial about. It wasn’t determined that he’s not guilty, it was determined that black people don’t have access to the justice system. (A bit of background: out of 162 thousand federal cases in 2010, grand juries refused to indict eleven times. (Let’s visualize that.) A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor tells it to, it’s been famously said.) Wilson got married the other day and is still on vacation while more tear gas flies at a community in mourning; white supremacy is a grand thing. Now I’ll try to find some fun links and pretend that the world isn’t horrifying.

One exception: Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. Now, some outrage hiatus.

  • Our sun is a mass of…yes, incandescent gas. It burns at the center of the solar system, and it’s wonderful.
  • Also, if you’re groping for a way to visualize the things orbiting around that massive self-ignited fireball, try tasty fruits!
  • From the macro to the micro, zoom into a microchip.
  • 10 Science Fiction Tropes We Will Never Get Tired Of is actually a decent list. At least it doesn’t have “You Are the Chosen One,” which has gotten quite tired indeed.
  • Hermit crabs trade shells, so they can grow into larger ones, by lining up in order of height. How wonderfully orderly of them.
  • Sometimes you have moments of transcendence. Sometimes they involve trashbag donuts.
  • What do various religions have to say about aliens? I’m not so sure about some of this — “Judaism is not for the Klingons, unless the Klingons wish to live on Earth” seems like too much of a blanket statement, and my impression is that people of most faiths would adapt about as well as anyone else. They’d all want more converts, though the Klingons might be put off by the fact that, unlike the honorable warrior race, a lot of humans haven’t slayed their gods (with some notable exceptions).
  • Sometimes you just won’t fit into the guidelines set out for you by society or, like, the man. Try to be as carefree about it as this golden retriever.
  • Steve Wille welcomes us to the age of the cruelty-free turkey trot.
  • If you have lots of spare holiday cards banging around, try trolling by mail!
  • This Week in Online Archives: a thousand years of learning and science from the Islamic world.
  • Graphine aerogel is so light that a sizable chunk of it can balance on a blade of grass or the petals of a flower.
  • This is actually an interesting breakdown of the assassination of US President James Garfield. But the highlight is clearly the part where the reader discovers that a president’s doctors, after groping around inside his bullet wound with their bare grubby hands because most people weren’t hip to the germ theory of medicine, shoved whiskey, opium, and beef bouillon up his pooper.
  • An unlikely (anecdotal) trick for helping young and/or small drowning victims: the centrifuge method.
  • This Week in LEGO: how much for the particle accelerator set?

It’s a short Walk this week. To compensate, here’s a picture of a duckling: