Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Neodymium Magnets

If you happen to have some liquid nitrogen you can turn a handy dandy hunk of ceramic into a superconductor and do really strange stuff. Check this movie.

Of course if you want to skip the absolute zero superconducting material you can just order really cool, really big magnets from here. The 3 x 1 inch one is one of the most powerful magnets available. From their warning - "two of (these) magnets can easily break your arm if they get out of control."

Shipped by ground only - screws up aircraft navigation equipment. Oh, and the normal shipping staff won't ship 'em - they make the Top Men do it. Only $100 - what a deal!

Previous related Wohba links:
They also sell ferrofluid.
Other fun with liquid nitrogen.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Amazing After Christmas Toys

Dofi-blog (Japanese site) has a variety of amazing java toys. The best of the bunch (World of Sand) involves messing around with (among other things) sand, water, wax, fire, plants, salt, and a little slug. Half the fun is seeing how the different elements react with one another. Top Men guarantee you'll be mesmerized.

Here's some of the games at Dofi-blog...

World of Sand - mentioned above
World of Sand (large) - 960 x 640
Heaven and Hell - rope them into heaven
Omosubi Block Breaker - swing, toss, break
Slug Slayer - salt the slug
Fire vs. Sand - put out the fire
Hell of Sand - uh, all of the above?
Hell of Sand (large) - bigger and...?

Warning: Be prepared to waste an hour or two.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

"...the word became..."


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Santa Update!

Track Santa with Google Earth. Hurry - he's fast!

(Get Google Earth here. Mac users can get a beta here.)

Popular Numbers

What's the most popular number? (Is number one number one? No.) These guys have done extensive research, and this site provides the definitive answer.

Top Men feeel the need to call your attention to the elegant interface of the site. It's all about the gist.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm Dreaming of a 4.9999

Here's a map that reveals your odds of a White Christmas. But what does that mean? Seems to us that the phrase White Christmas is somewhat vague. Top Men at Wohba would like to announce the Wohbawhite Scale providing a standardized metric for use with the phrase White Christmas.
  1. Old, used snow on ground on Christmas Eve. No additional accumulation on Christmas morning.

  2. Fresh snow on ground on Christmas Eve. No additional accumulation on Christmas morning.

  3. Some snow on ground on Christmas Eve. Additional accumulation on Christmas morning.

  4. No snow on ground Christmas Eve. (Ideally starts snowing at bedtime Christmas Eve.) Additional accumulation on Christmas morning.
* Decimals are added to indicate total snow on the ground (in inches) Christmas morning. (Any accumulations of 10 inches or more are simply recorded as .999999)

Example 1:
4 inches of old snow on the ground Christmas morning. 1.4 ww scale.
Example 2:
1.5 inches of snow on ground - 6 inches new snow Christmas morning. 3.75 ww scale.
Example 3:
No snow on ground - 3 inches new snow Christmas morning. 4.3 ww scale.
Example 4:
3.75 inches fresh snow on ground - no new snow Christmas morning. 2.375 ww scale.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Powers of Ten

This movie was made for IBM almost 30 years ago, and it's still amazing.

For a new-millennium, partial (100 to 1,000,000 meters), interactive version - try this Google Maps version.

And for an even more space-age, larger (10 to 10,000,000 meters), more interactive version - use this Google Earth file (with Google Earth application.)

(Note: For the Google Earth file you'll probably have to right-click or control-click the link and choose "Save File". If the file is downloaded and the name ends with .txt - delete the .txt.)

Looks like the location has changed only a little since 1977. Top Men think some kind of Powers of Ten marker or monument would be appropriate. (The closest Geocache is here.)

UPDATE (12/6): Slight correction - Powers of Ten was made for IBM by Charles and Ray Eames. (Thanks Tinselman!)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Anglerfish (Dolores, I Live in Fear)

Been a while since Top Men have brought any amazing creatures to your attention. Wait no longer...

Anglerfish are best known for their camouflage, particularly a dangling lure for attracting their meals. The lure appearance can vary from wormlike, to small fish, or crustacean - and a single fish can have up to ten lures. In deepwater varieties the lure actually contains a bacteria that allows it to glow (think Finding Nemo.) The anglerfish swings the lure out in front of its mouth, waits for a poor chump, and then slams his mouth open and sucks the sucker in. By slam we mean fast - like the fastest bite of any vertebrate.

Powerful jaws, long sharp teeth, and a flexible mouth and stomach actually allow them to catch and digest fish that are double there own size.

More? You asked for it.

Deepwater Anglerfish mating is accomplished when the much smaller male (one tenth the size) attaches himself to his significant other by biting into her flesh. In time his mouth merges right into her skin, and gradually the rest of him degenerates, leaving only a minute, sperm producing, blood-sucking, parasitic, lump-of-a-male. (Insert your own delightful marriage punchline here. Badum-chhhhh!)

And did we mention that they actually kind of walk along the ocean floor - here's the video.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Storm Chasing

Mike Hollingshead has some amazing storm cloud photos here.

And he's been chasing them around the web for years. He explains here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Manual Type Setting

Wait for this to load, and then go ahead... type something. (Don't overlook the clear and layout buttons at the bottom.)

(via Kottke.)

Moon Montage

Top Men at NASA have put together this beautiful montage of four of Saturn's moons. These Cassini shots really show the diversity.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Collision of Vortex Rings

This movie reminds Top Men of a high school science film - only it's just the cool part, and it's missing the goofy narration.

(More movies here - but we gave you the best of the bunch.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Crab Feast

About a thousand years ago, Chinese astronomers witnessed a supernova. The remnants of that explosion - delicate filaments of matter and light - have continued to expand (six light years wide), forming what we now call the Crab Nebula.

And the Hubble has captured the best image ever of this amazing cosmic wonder.

Here is the full res version. (3864 x 3864 pixels)
And here is a smaller version for light-weights. (1280 x 1024 pixels)