Facebook-stalking is like this, too

April 30, 2009


Cosmonauts’ secret conversations

April 30, 2009

In the early 1960s, a pair of Italian brothers allegedly managed to hack into Soviet and US transmissions from the first cosmonauts. For strategic reasons, some early space missions were kept secret until they were proven successful, but the Cordiglia brothers (age 20 & 23), managed to make a satellite dish that they claim picked up secret transmissions from space shuttles back to Russian & US home bases:

… on 11 April 1961, an Italian journalist working for the International Press Agency in Moscow received a tip-off that something “of immense importance” was about to happen. He called the Cordiglia brothers.

“We leapt out of bed,” said Achille, “dashed over to our receivers and began listening. Suddenly, in what was a magical moment, the hiss faded and this Russian voice emerged from very far away for a few seconds.” At that stage, no one in the West – not even the President of the United States – knew that the Russians had launched a rocket.

Russian translators were few and far between but the brothers had this covered – their younger sister was fluent in Russian. The first sentence they heard was: “The flight is proceeding normally. I feel well. The flight is normal. I am withstanding well the state of weightlessness.”

As the brothers listened, the cosmonaut experimented with zero gravity. They lost the signal as the cosmonaut prepared for re-entry while whistling a communist hymn. It was only then that President John F Kennedy was awoken at 2am to be given the news that Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space.

Fascinating article here. Cosmonauts and space missions seem very theoretical and almost like works of fiction to me: this article made them seem much more real, even if it may be an exaggeration or hoax.
Via Metafilter.

I love you, Internet

April 30, 2009

This site proves to me that there is an Internerd community for every single thing in the whole entire world.

Young love

April 30, 2009

The little boy is Tan Hong Ming. The little girl is Omi Kazrina. This video is rated A for adorable.

I think the final message is supposed to be like OMG, Malaysia, little kids from different ethnic groups can get along!!11! But it’s kind of confusing if you don’t pay attention to the names or look too closely; you might not notice that the kids are so “different”. I just want to pay for them to have a romantic dinner (pizza and chicken nuggets by candlelight, maybe) and record the whole thing for cuteness posterity. Is that wrong?


April 29, 2009

My downstairs neighbours usually aren’t “cat people” (by which I mean that at least one of them is abjectly terrified of cats). But they aren’t “mouse people” times a hundred, which is approximately how many mice we could hear stampeding around behind their fridge. Enter Mojo.

Now Mojo is not very good at catching mice. One time he found one and batted it around for a bit. Eventually he lost sight of the mouse and I watched him sit there, confused, peering all over the room hoping to spot the errant rodent. Which was, at that very moment, hiding between Mojo’s own front paws. Yeah, directly below his quivering nostrils. So much for cats being the perfect predators.

All this to say that my hopes were not high, but I like to help a neighbour in need, so I opened my apartment door and let the little shaggy bear loose in the house. (Juno, my more cautious female cat, wanted no part of the action and refused to leave her sunbeam.)

About a half-hour later, I heard him trotting back up both flights of stairs, making a strange strangled mrrowling noise. There was something in his mouth, and he’d brought it up all 30 stairs to show me.

Fig. 1: He was acting all nonchalant but his little heart was filled with pride.

Fig. 1: He was acting all nonchalant but his little heart was filled with pride.

Figure 1 depicts the little guy finally doing what he was born to do. Scare mice to death? In the back of my closet, like he did in my old apartment, so they basically liquefied over the long weekend and stunk up the whole house? Nope, not any more: this was a perfect kill, its little body limp and barely even bloodied, one eye popped out of existence, the other staring blankly into eternity. I praised the kitteh extravagantly and delicately disposed of his prey when he wasn’t looking. Soon enough he wandered back downstairs, and an hour later, heralded by more of the weird gargling mmmmrrrllling, he was back.

Kill by Mojo.  Napkin by Stamper.

Kill by Mojo. Napkin by Stamper.

Several hours later, he outdid himself and chased yet one more mouselet out into the open. My downstairs neighbour, the one who’s animal-phobic, was home alone when Mojo found mouse #3, and with nobody to rely on except himself, he experienced an epic moment of truth and managed to trap and kill the final mouse independently, in the process conquering his fears of both rodents and felines.

I’m very proud of everybody. And I think today was pretty much the bestest day a cat could ever have.

Fig 3: Tastes like chicken.

Fig 3: Tastes like chicken.

Slow loris looks sad when you stop tickling him

April 29, 2009

This makes me want a slow loris. Except, (a) they have poison in their spit that makes them have poison fur! (b), my cats have never let poison fur deter them! and (c), slow lorises (lori?) like to pee on everything!
So, not an ideal pet as much.


April 29, 2009
Homemade schmaltz.

Homemade schmaltz.

Schmaltz is rendered goose or chicken fat used in Yiddish, German and Polish cuisine. You can grease a frying pan with it, spread it on toast like butter, mix it with matzo crumbs for matzo balls, melt it and pour it on salad as a dressing (!), or use it to make chopped liver (WHAT AM I) which is basically liver pate.

We think of foie gras as being French, but in its earliest form, it originated when Jews migrated to Eastern Europe from the Middle East or Mediterranean. They couldn’t rely on butter or lard as a cooking fat, since it isn’t kosher to mix dairy & meat, nor eat pork period. And in Europe, they couldn’t find the olive or sesame oil they’d used in the Middle East. So they fattened up their geese, rendered the fat, and it became their substitute for butter and olive oil. Mmmmmm….?

Some restaurants (notably Sammy’s Roumanian in NYC) offer schmaltz as a table condiment. My friend Kelly My friend Kell’s friend’s friend’s friend ate there recently and said it was scrumptious, and if you know me at all, you know I love me some fatty food. Totally gonna dip into the schmaltz next time I’m in NYC.

Schmaltzy photo by Eve from Garden of Eating.

Maru kan haz bocks

April 29, 2009

Fatteh kitteh Maru can’t get in the box. I can almost hear the Rocky theme song as he triumphs.
Also, Japanese people’s apartments always look so empty. It’s like they live in spaceships.

Thanks to Nick B for the tip!

I am not a crazy cat lady.

April 28, 2009

You guys, I am not a crazy cat lady. See?

You know for 100% sure that I am not a crazy cat lady because I have a TAG on my BLOG called I AM NOT A CRAZY CAT LADY.
Would a crazy cat lady have a tag like that?*

*Hint: Of course she wouldn’t.

Water bottles repurposed as 50w bulbs

April 28, 2009

This video depicts a bunch of people in Brazil who light their homes with plastic bottles of water wedged through holes in the roof. The water acts as a reflector, bouncing the daylight all over the room. In the video you can see them popping black plastic film cannisters over the lids of the bottles- they do that because that type of bottle comes with a cheap lid that cracks when exposed to sunlight for too long.

Each bottle gives off about as much light as a 50w bulb, reduces energy use, and is a clever way to divert those bottles from becoming waste. This whole idea made me really happy.