Feb 152017
The nuclear bomb simulator that lets users nuke their home cities.


NUKEMAP is an interactive map using Google Maps API and unclassified nuclear weapons effects data, created by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology who studies the history of nuclear weapons. The initial version was created in February 2012, with major upgrades in July 2013, which enables users to model the explosion of nuclear weapons (contemporary, historical, or of any given arbitrary yield) on virtually any terrain and at virtually any altitude of their choice. A variation of the script, NUKEMAP3D, features rough models of mushroom clouds in 3D, scaled to their appropriate sizes. NUKEMAP3D doesn’t work on most browsers anymore for NPAPI plugins are no longer supported by them.

The computer simulation of the effects of nuclear detonations has been described both as “stomach-churning” (by Wellerstein himself) and as “the most fun I’ve had with Google Maps since… well, possibly ever” despite the admittedly abjectly grim nature of the subject. Originally intended in part as a pedagogical device to illustrate the stark difference in scale between fission and fusion bombs, more than three million people as of 2012 have exploded some 30 million virtual nuclear warheads; having gone viral, the increased popularity of the website necessitated a move to new servers. The website averages five “nukes” per visitor. According to the site’s own counter, in November 2016 users had simulated over 90 million nuclear explosions.

The NUKEMAP was a finalist for the National Science Foundation’s Visualization Challenge in 2014.

Users can select the location and size of the bombs.
The site shows the spread of the mushroom cloud including casualty numbers.

This map created by nuclear weapon historian Alex Wellerstein demonstrates the fallout caused by 2.3 megaton bomb dropped on Washington. It was modeled on the Soviet weapons held during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s


Feb 112017


Frank was once a runaway bull in Queens, NY, but now he’s enjoying a peaceful life at Farm Sanctuary! This short film, narrated by Jon Stewart, offers a look back at how our favorite escape artist found his way to safety.

We’re deeply grateful to those who made it possible for Frank to live the life he deserves. Among them: Tracey & Jon Stewart, Mike Stura of Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue, and the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC).


Feb 082017

grape-racingThis is really something for a rainy day, so long as you’re equipped with the essentials. What you need is a microwave oven, some grapes, a small measure of sunflower oil and some friends with whom to compete.

The idea is thus.

First, if the microwave is of the type that has one of those silly rotating dish-like things, which rotates your food to make sure it gets cooked evenly, then TAKE IT OUT and THROW IT AWAY. You won’t need it for this game and, if you get addicted enough, you probably won’t use your microwave for anything else, so you won’t need that dish thing ever again.

OK, next, lightly cover the floor of the microwave with a SMALL amount of sunflower oil. Just generally spread it about, to make a thin, lubricating layer, on which a grape may skate about. Try it with a practice grape to make sure you’ve got it right. Then, line up a number of grapes at one side of the oven, with one grape corresponding to each player. Important tip here – MAKE SURE THAT THE END WITH THE HOLE IN IT IS POINTING AT THE WALL. This is really quite fundamentally important. Next, lay bets – or whatever – on your grape, that it will win/lose/finish in a particular position or state/whatever. Then, set the microwave to full power, and switch on.

What happens is that the inside of the grape heats up, liquefies, and acts as a jet propellant to push the grape along the lubricated floor of the microwave as it shoots out the hole at the back. Thus, each grape travels with varying degrees of speed and/or success across the floor of the microwave. The first to reach the other side of the microwave is judged to be the winner, or, failing this, the one to travel the furthest. Some grapes don’t make it even this far, and either shrivel up or explode messily on the starting line, but this just adds to the fun. Remember to switch off the microwave and remove the competitors before replacing them for the next round.

The game can be varied according to players and their individual tastes, like “Strip Grape Races” for example, or “Stunt Grapes” where the grape must perform a task like jumping over other grapes, etc. These, and other variations, should keep you and your friends amused for hours.


Feb 062017
Drench: The World’s Simplest Flash Game

Dubbed as the “world’s simplest flash game” Drench tasks you turning a board containing a myriad of colors to a single color within a set number of moves. The premise is a simple one, but the execution may not necessarily be that easy.

When the game starts, the board is filled with random blocks consisting six different colors. Begin at the upper left block, select one of the colors on the right panel to match surrounding blocks. Repeat the process until the whole board is covered with paint of one color. The first level gives you 30 moves, and in each subsequent level you get one less move.


Jan 312017
The ‘almost human’ gorilla who drank tea and went to school

A Gorilla Named John Daniel

John Daniel was no ordinary gorilla. For starters, he was called John Daniel. And he had his own bedroom, drank tea and cider, and could purportedly do his own washing up.

The extraordinary tale of the village that adopted its very own gorilla a century ago is told in a new local history book by a Gloucestershire historian.

Margaret Groom, an archivist at the Uley Society, unearthed a collection of photographs of John, which have been published in her book about the village’s history.

A Gorilla Named John Daniel

The book recounts how villagers in Uley adopted the lowland gorilla after he was captured in Gabon by French soldiers who shot his parents. In 1917, he was spotted for sale in a London department store by Uley resident Maj Rupert Penny, who paid £300 (about £20,000 in today’s money), and named him John Daniel.

Penny’s sister, Alyce Cunningham, raised John as a human boy in the village and used to send John on regular walks with the children of Uley junior school, according to Groom.

A Gorilla Named John Daniel

Groom told the Gloucestershire Live site: “Until recently, we had people that remembered him walking around the village with the children. He used to go into gardens and eat the roses.

“The children used to push him around in a wheelbarrow. He knew which house was good for cider, and would often go to that house to draw a mug of cider.

“He was also fascinated by the village cobbler, and would watch him repairing shoes. He had his own bedroom, he could use the light switch and toilet, he made his own bed and helped with the washing up.”

A Gorilla Named John Daniel

Cunningham would also take him to her London home in Sloane Street, where he would attend her dinner parties, drinking cups of tea in the afternoon, Groom said.

But the story of John Daniel has an unhappy ending. “When he grew to full size, Miss Cunningham couldn’t look after him any more,” said Groom. “She sold him to an American for a thousand guineas, believing that he would be sent to a home in Florida.”

Instead, he fell into the hands of Barnum and Bailey circus and was also displayed in the zoo at Madison Square Garden in New York, where his health deteriorated and it was believed he was pining for his former “mother”. Cunningham, alerted by the zoo, set sail immediately, but John Daniel died of pneumonia before she arrived.

A Gorilla Named John Daniel

His body was given to the American Museum of Natural History for preservation and went on display in the New York museum in 1922, where he remains.

John Daniel is to be the subject of art exhibitions to be held this year at Prema Arts Centre in Uley.


Jan 302017

Have you ever imagined that you might have some unique powers that almost no one else on Earth has? No, we’re not talking about supernatural abilities like invisibility, flying or walking through walls. There are skills that are more common, but still very rare among people. So, here are 5 simple tests to find out how unique you are. top 10 mind games intelligent education