Note: The older the entry, the unlikelier outside links are to work.

Aug. 26: Space images
By: Jani | Archives

I realized my inbox was starting to get crowded with increasing amounts of pictures related to space, so it was high time to clear them out. First, a fascinating satellite image of the US blackout a few weeks back. Then, a series of pictures of a space shuttle exploding (no, not the Challenger or Columbia, even if someone tries to tell you so). And finally, a whole site dedicated to space-related pictures, from Hubble-shots to non-exploding space shuttles. You can even order your favorite pictures.

Last Saturday I followed my own advice and took a peek upwards towards Mars. It's been cloudy ever since, so I'm glad I did. I even got to look at Mars through a telescope, but apparently the weather wasn't ideal, so it turned out that it was much more impressive just to see a clearly red, bright dot in the nightsky with your own eyes. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend you try to catch a glimpse of it some evening.

Aug. 21: Internet piracy
By: Jani | Archives

I've come up with an ingenious way to illustrate my entries: just put the header of my post in Google's image search and rip off the picture that seems most appealing. It's especially suitable for today's topic.
I don't really have that much new to say about internet piracy. I still figure it's best to enjoy it while it lasts, it can't do so for very long anymore. Like they say, best things in life come for free...
What actually made me think about this issue again was the fact that, for the first time, I pirated written text. So far, I've been content with downloading some music files and video clips, but now I downloaded a whole book. Of course it's nowhere near as useful as the other stuff (it's not much fun reading a few hundred pages on a screen, and it's even less fun printing it all out on single-sided A4's), but in this particular case I was pretty happy I didn't go and buy the book like I had thought about doing, since it didn't turn out to be too good. On the other hand, if it had been an extremely good book I probably would have bought it as an addition to my book collection. Hey, some people like CD's, some DVD's, I like books. It seems like publishers and producers of all kind are in peril. Until they start suing everyone. No wait, they did that already.

Aug. 13: Mars revisited
By: Jani | Archives

It's been six years since the last man-made object landed on Mars, although there have been several attempts at it in the meantime, all of which have failed, some for ludricous reasons (remember that metric/newtonian confusion?) Now there's a good chance that at the beginning of next year we'll have at least one, maybe even three, new machines exploring mars on the ground. The reason for this surge in interest is that Mars is at its closest for tens of thousands of years, making the trip a cakewalk. And it also makes Mars the second brightest object (after the moon) in the sky at the end of August. That should be worth a peek upwards sometime in the coming weeks. For more information on Mars than can be humanly absorbed, check out NASA's Mars Page.

If real-life space exploration isn't your thing while fictional is (I can't imagine anyone who could be interested in one but not the other), you'll get a kick out of this website that compares starship dimensions from various series. Want to know how Millennium Falcon compares to a Klingon Bird of Prey? This is the place to be.

Aug. 8: Flash mobs
By: Jani | Archives

Flash mobs: I just read about this phenomenon today and thought it was pretty fun. If you know already what they are, you can skip this entry. Otherwise, you might want to read what Wired magazine wrote about them a month ago. Once you know the basics, you're ready to dwelve into the intricate world of getting involved (read from bottom up to make sense of it all). If you live in a bigger city I recommend you participate. Or better, organize one in Helsinki and let me know.

For those of you who are too lazy to click on links (like I'm too lazy to organize anything), here's a quick explanation: flash mobs are large groups of people that gather at a certain specified time and place (details of which are passed around in emails, SMS messages and whatnot) to do something stupid for a very short time, and then disperse. Examples: asking a Macy's carpet salesman about a particular carpet to buy for use as a "love rug". Perhaps not too strange, but when there are tens of people asking the question things get a little absurd. Or people that start applauding in a Virgin megastore. Or dancing in circles on a crosswalk. Heh. Harmless anarchy for the internet age.

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