Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Informational Links

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into World War II occurred 69 years ago today. You might not know about the one person who caused it to be so devastating (a two-part story).

NASA announced a new kind of microbe that uses arsenic as a chemical building block instead of phosphorus, previously thought to be one of the essential elements of life. The bacterium throws a wrench into the entire discipline of organic chemistry, and maybe even the definition of life.

The 10 Most Spectacular Ways the World as We Know It Could End. And, as you probably guessed, there are book and movie analogies to help explain each catastrophe.

The US government spends billions of dollars each year on dialysis for those who need it. But even as we spend more money than other countries, American patients are more likely to die from kidney failure or other complications than patients in other countries.

Harry Kislevitz invented the plastic shapes that stuck to just about everything, but his company Colorforms manufactured many other playthings. Toymaker Mel Birnkrant worked for Colorforms for 20 years and tells of toys you may remember, toys that were never mass produced, and toys that flopped (and are now collector’s items). (via Metafilter)

Wikileaks may change history -and not necessarily for the worse. TIME looks at the concept of classified information and why so many mundane documents are labeled as secret. (via Boing Boing)

The Liljenquist family donated 400 Civil War photographs to the Library of Congress for a collection called The Last Full Measure. Then as now, many who did the fighting and dying seem to be too young to shave, much less fight.

7 Works of Art That Are Taking a Beating. Vandalism strikes even the most precious masterpieces.

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