Things of note for the week ending Friday November 28th, 2014.
Let’s do this.
1. Spider-Man Gecko Gloves
Many lizards such as geckosâ€”not to mention thousands of insectsâ€”have the remarkable ability to climb up vertical surfaces with ease. The process has fascinated scientists for years, but a simple physics principle has kept bigger animals like people out of the wall-scaling game. The square cube law basically says that as objects, like animals, increase in size, their volumes grow at a much faster rate than their surface areaâ€”specifically, if you square a creature’s surface area, you must cube its volume so that its body can support its own weight. This is why ants can carry more than elephants in proportion to their own weight and why small animals like geckos can more easily support themselves with small patches of adhesion.
A clearer understanding of the efficiency of a gecko’s pads gave scientists hope that a more intentionally designed replica could support human weight. However, these gecko-gloves would still have to overcome the issue of evenly distributing a hanging human’s weight so that no one pad was strained to the breaking point, setting off a chain reaction that could collapse the entire system.
Well, the smart scientists only went and solved it.
So yeah, Spider-Man gloves with Gecko-inspired technology. Amazing.
Fun fact: I used to have a gecko named Steve. Great pet, but the locusts I had to feed him were super noisy.
2. Leonard Bernstein’s tribute to JFK
I came across this article (on the always excellent Brain Pickings) earlier this week and it is wonderful.
“This must be the mission of every man of goodwill: to insist, unflaggingly, at risk of becoming a repetitive bore, but to insist on the achievement of a world in which the mind will have triumphed over violence”
The whole thing is worth a read.
So do so.
3. Batman vs Vader
Time for a bit of silly, yet really quite excellent, fan-fiction.
What strikes me about these fan-made videos is the level of production value that goes into them. In this particular case, not only does it look fantastic but the story is well told too. I don’t know the team behind this effort but they should be applauded.
4. Get rid of Google Birthdays
A recent update to Google Calendar has meant that millions of people all over the world now have their Google contacts’ birthdays appearing in their calendars. This might be useful to some but is really quite irritating for others.
Fortunately, there’s a way to get rid of them. Surprise surprise, Google doesn’t exactly make it easy (as in: it’s not an obvious solution) however I managed it in five minutes, you might want to do it too.
As a bonus calendar-based hack: if you still haven’t subscribed to my UK Cinema Release Calendar, there’s no time like the present!
Â 5. Three Twitter things
- You can now target ads based upon what apps users have installed on their phone, via ‘App Graph‘.
- Twitter is experimenting with inline Twitter analytics.
- Coupons or ‘Twitter Offers’ are now a thing [in the US]
Finally, a note from the author.
Five things on Friday #100, that’s not bad is it, as blogging habits go? I had a big speech lined up in my head about how many readers I get and how many subscribers there are to the newsletter version of this weekly post but…
But then I saw this awesome gif and decided it did a much better job.
Thank you. To all of you, for your readership and your support.