International Space Dominance: 7 Nations Launching the Next Space Race

North Korea is about to launch its first satellite. Iran launched theirs last month. India's space agency recently got the green light to send people into space, and China's announced plans to build a space station. Getting to space is no longer for a few, technically apt nations. Here's a look at seven countries that have their sights on orbit and the capabilities to get there.

May the Force be with You

The dream of every child — having the ability to use an old Jedi mind trick on his or her parents in order to skip those Brussels sprouts — has become closer to reality. A toy manufacturer will soon be selling an interesting device called the Force Trainer which allows the wearers of its EEG sensor to control the floating position of a ping-pong ball within a plastic tube: the more the wearer concentrates, the higher the ball floats.


Ever wonder what the 200,000+ flights a day in North American airspace look like? Artist Aaron Koblin has overlayed the FAA's flight tracking data for Aug 12, 2008 with a Google Map. The results are fascinating. Lighter lines on the map represent lower altitudes. Peep this video for more.

Bonus: Election 2008, mapified.

The Impossible Quiz

This online quiz from addictinggames.com is not, as advertised, impossible, but it will frustrate and entertain the user from start to infinite end. The answers to the seemingly easy questions are clever, witty, and sometimes make you shrug your shoulders in complete bewilderment and 'skip' to the next question. Here are a few tips from me to you - pay attention to detail and guard your 'lives' because you never know what the next question will bring!

The Holographic Universe

Holograms are fascinating things. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose, but smaller. If it is cut in half again, each half (now a quarter of the original) will still contain the entire image.

Yo-Yo Ma: The Remix

Yo-Yo Ma is no stranger to musical improvisation, so it was great to read that he had recently allowed anyone to remix and play around with one of his tracks from his newest album. Check out the results on this site from Wired magazine, and you might be inspired to create your own musical bricolage...


I love bad movies. Occasionally, I also like to see a good movie, and this podcast has some very interesting things to say about both kinds. Hosted by Matty Robinson and Adam Kempenaar (a former Iowa City resident like myself), the reviews are insightful, especially because the pairs conversations often flush out the subtleties of a film that may not be otherwise apparent. Its best when they disagree; listen to their respective takes on The Fountain a bizarre little film, I grant you to get the flavor.

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide

If you're anything like me (meaning you live for Thanksgiving, and have been known to read cookbooks cover to cover in one sitting) you have probably been searching for Thanksgiving recipes to add to your menu for a while now. This site from Epicurious is a great place to look for new and exciting dishes, vegetarian options, or recipes for those classic comfort foods that keep people coming back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths (come on, we all know it happens).