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Friday, March 25, 2011

"Gone a'Traveling"

For those of you curious about the shortage of blog posts lately, yeah, I've been a little distracted. My project as of late has been one of a family history nature. In short, I've been swimming in the deep waters of genealogy... and finding a great deal of research to be fascinated by. Plus, this weekend (and into the early part of next week), I'll be traveling with my wife. So, while I'm surfacing for a gasp of air, I'll still be away from blogging -- at least for a few more days.

As usual, I'll still remain active on my Facebook page -- even while away. So, feel free to join me there, and when I return, I'll see about getting the blog posts flowing freely once again.

Here's hoping all of you have a blessed weekend! I'll see you when I get back.

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"The Known Universe"



I came across this today while reading another blog, and I thought it worth sharing here as well. It's a video produced by the American Museum of Natural History, titled "The Known Universe". It takes viewers from the Himalayas, through our atmosphere and, into the inky black of known space.

Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas -- maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History.

It makes you wonder. All this vast space, and yet we here on Earth are just a tiny little part of it. What's out there, far beyond our star? What secrets does this vast endless universe of beauty hold?

-Jon

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Monday, March 14, 2011

"Queen Mary Ocean Liner Made Out of Toothpicks"



This guy's creativity fascinates me! Wayne Kusy created a 25-foot model of the 1936 Queen Mary made entirely out of 814,000 toothpicks and 19 gallons of wood glue. It took him 8 years to build. Currently, it can be seen on display at the Sea History Museum in Sadorus, IL.

-Jon

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"10 Amazing 'Above-Water' Shipwrecks"

The world's oceans contain a great many shipwrecks and other nautical artifacts. Most of them rest deep beneath the waves, providing divers with playground of forgotten history to explore. But those deep-water wrecks aren't the only vessels to explore. Some rest forgotten and empty above the waves as well. Here are 10 abandonded ships that can be seen clearly from the safety of dry ground.

-Jon

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"Japan Earthquake: Before And After Photos"

For those that have been following the earthquake/tsunami news out of Japan, here are a few aerial photos that reveal the sheer scale of devastation. Hover over each satellite photo to view the before and after photos. And be warned, it's not pretty.

-Jon

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Friday, March 11, 2011

"6 Alternate Geek Histories that Could Have Been"

Alternate history seeks to explore what the world would be like if certain events in history had played out differently. What if the Confederacy had won the American Civil War? What if JFK was never assassinated? What if NASA failed to land on the moon? That sort of thing.

Shaun Clayton of Topless Robot has pondered the same sort of questions, only from a geek perspective. For example, what if Stephen King died of his injuries after getting hit by a van in 1999? What if Nintendo failed to launch the revolutionary NES game system in 1985? What if Star Trek was revived in 1978 with the proposed television series, "Star Trek: Phase II"? How would geek culture and history have been different if any of these scenarios actually happened?

Take a peek at Topless Robot's "6 Terrifying Alternate Nerd Histories" to find out!

-Jon

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"Earthquake in Japan"

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese people following today's magnitude-8.9 earthquake, its many aftershocks, and the subsequent tsunami.
The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time and was the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. It ranked as the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and was nearly 8,000 times stronger than one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, scientists said.

The quake shook dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coast and tall buildings swayed in Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter...

Minutes later, the earthquake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami along the northeastern coast of Japan near the coastal city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture. The quake was followed for hours by aftershocks. The U.S. Geological Survey said 124 were detected off Japan's main island of Honshu, 111 of them of magnitude 5.0 or greater."
"Powerful quake, tsunami kills hundreds in Japan"

-Jon

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"A Day Made of Glass"

We use glass every day of our lives. And the technology uses for it keep evolving. Here's a fascinating video I came across this morning that envisions possible future uses for glass. I don't know how many of these are practical at this point, but it certainly makes you think. Enjoy.

-Jon

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Monday, March 07, 2011

"Les Miserables 25th Anniversary"



This past weekend, I sat down with Kelli (and a friend) and watched the 25th Anniversary concert performance of "Les Miserables" on PBS. And you know, I'm a little embarrassed to say this: I've never actually seen a full performance of Les Mis -- not until this past weekend. I'm familiar with most of the score, but why I haven't seen a performance of it, I don't really know.

Now that I have, though, I can honestly say... I'm a fan. I really enjoyed it. The set, the lights, the performances -- all very engaging. Well worth the watch.

In fact, I thought I'd steal your attention for a bit, and share some of my favorite moments. The video above is the 25th Anniversary opening segment of Les Mis -- including the "Work Song". The video below features "Red and Black", and as well as the iconic "Do You Hear The People Sing".



When I own a DVD copy of "Les Miserables", It'll probably be this 25th Anniversary performance (originally performed on October 3, 2010 in England). I'm sure there were other great performances as well. This one just struck a cord with me.

Sit back, enjoy the videos... and I dare you not to sing along!

-Jon

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Jon Baas

Blogging Since 2002!
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