Seeing Red

Kitsch 'n giggles for the ROKENROL scene


May 2006

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bygone era January 2006

January 27, 2006

Russia: UK spy 'rock' cost millions

A fake stone alleged to have been used by British spies to communicate with Moscow agents was a "wonder" of technology that cost tens of millions of pounds (dollars), Russia's FSB security service said on Thursday.


Old space-suit recycled as experimental satellite

Astronauts on the International Space Station are turning an old Russian space-suit into a satellite by shoving it out the airlock with extra batteries. The suit will transmit a looped message that people with ham radios or police-band scanners can tune into, and there's prizes for people who spot the "SuitSat" from the ground.


January 25, 2006

Inside! Fresh Google search terms to confound Dubya and the FBI. Also: Is Bush a fascist?

Attention, all who are reading this column right now, please put down your drink and leap up off the couch and put your pants back on and log in to Google and type the words "hot bunny terrorist fluffer banana" into the comely and world-beloved Google search engine. Do it. Do it now. (Possibly NSFW.)


Perspectives of Russian Art

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Americans had limited opportunities to view Russian art of the 20th century. The political pressures of the Cold War era resulted in the mutual cultural isolation of Russia from western Europe and the United States that also created an atmosphere of aesthetic mystery regarding Russian art.


Chocolate Jolt

Chocolate and coffee bean bark, perfect for when you need to get caffeinated quickly.


January 24, 2006

Roadmap To Mars

So far, NASA's plan to reach the red planet has been short on detail. Here, in a Popular Mechanics exclusive, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin unveils his own step-by-step proposal for mankind's next giant leap.


January 22, 2006

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

How to Survive a Robot UprisingAn inspired and hilarious look at how humans can defeat the inevitable robot rebellion—as revealed by a robotics expert.

How do you spot a robot mimicking a human? How do you recognize and then deactivate a rebel servant robot? How do you escape a murderous “smart” house, or evade a swarm of marauding robotic flies? In this dryly hilarious survival guide, roboticist Daniel H. Wilson teaches worried humans the keys to quashing a robot mutiny.

From treating laser wounds to fooling face and speech recognition, besting robot logic to engaging in hand-to-pincer combat, How to Survive a Robot Uprising covers every possible doomsday scenario facing the newest endangered species: humans. And with its thorough overview of current robot prototypes—including giant walkers, insect, gecko, and snake robots—How to Survive a Robot Uprising is also a witty yet legitimate introduction to contemporary robotics. Full of cool illustrations, and referencing some of the most famous robots in pop-culture, How to Survive a Robot Uprising is a one-of-a-kind book that is sure to be a hit with all ages.


Great Russian freeze spreads west

Severe cold weather gripping large parts of Russia has now spread west, causing chaos in Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Scandinavia.

Officials in those countries say there is growing pressure on energy supplies, with power shortages as Russia cuts deliveries to fight the freeze at home.


January 17, 2006

A Real Rocket Bike

What does a propulsion engineer do when he wants to experience the power of a rocket without going to space? He simply bolts one to a bike.


How To Cook With Lava

Got a pair of asbestos gloves and a shovel you don't plan on using ever again? Now all you need is a nearby volcano and you, too, can cook with lava. Kids, don't try this at home!


January 15, 2006

Carving a derelict Soviet-style building into a Star Wars AT-AT

An architecture firm (whose crappy Flash/popup site will resize your window, be warned) has commissioned this cool project to transform derelict Soviet-style modern buildings into sculptures--like this Star Wars AT-AT battle-mech.

AT-AT building


January 14, 2006

Army of Red Monsters Marching West from Russia

Monster crabs are invading Europe. Armed with a jar of garlic mayonnaise, Stephen Bleach steps into battle.


Pose like a God of Guitar

We can't all be Gods and Goddesses of Guitar, but now we can at least be posers.


January 12, 2006

WFMU's Velvet Painting Gallery

Quite a collection of paintings on velvet; includes such notables as Marilyn Monroe and Martin Luther King; scary political leaders like Bush, Cheney, Osama bin Laden and Zell Miller; and of course old standards like Elvis standing next to Jesus.


January 11, 2006

Not mentioned in Apple keynote: The GeigerPod

GeigerPodHere's an iPod modded in an old civil defense geiger counter. Just in case your music is radioactive.


The aerodynamic qualities of Bert's head

G-cluster rockets constructed out of vintage Muppet toys compete for glory in the semi-annual Evil Bert Rocket Race.


(Video available from 2002, 2004, and 2005.) And of course, when you're ready for it, you can make your own.



Attention, citizens of Earth! NASA needs your assistance in pinpointing the submicroscopic particles of comet dust embedded the aerogel collector plate on the Stardust spacecraft, due to return to Earth on January 15th.

Finding the incredibly tiny interstellar dust impacts in the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC) will be extremely difficult. Because dust detectors on the Ulysses and Galileo spacecraft have detected interstellar dust streaming into the solar system, we know there should be about 45 interstellar dust impacts in the SIDC. These impacts can only be found using a high-magnification microscope with a field of view smaller than a grain of salt. But the aerogel collector that we have to search enormous by comparison, about a tenth of a square meter (about a square foot) in size. The job is roughly equivalent to searching for 45 ants in an entire football field, one 5cm by 5cm (2 inch by 2 inch) square at a time! More than 1.6 million individual fields of view will have to searched to find the interstellar dust grains. We estimate that it would take more than twenty years of continuous scanning for us to search the entire collector by ourselves.

To participate, sign up here. You will be required to go through a web-based training session and pass a qualifying test. Then participants will download Virtual Microscope software and search assigned areas of the collector plate for signs of interstellar dust impact. Participants who find a particle will be named co-author of any scientific paper announcing the discovery of the particle.