Very nice interactive showing the trajectory of Comet ISON. Move through space in 3d, start and stop the timeline and even switch to Earth perspective to see where the comet will be in the sky. I especially like that they show the planets rotating as they orbit the sun–because the timeline is moving many days per second, it’s like the planets are spinning tops.

Sun Moon Scope.

If you just can’t stand simulations and want to see the real thing–that is, Earth, viewed from space–check this out:

Watch Earth Spin From Your Browser

With the aid of Russian space authorities, Vancouver-based UrtheCast (pronounced “earthcast”) will launch two cameras into orbit today (Nov. 25) with the immediate goal of streaming images of the Earth back home in near-real time.


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Online art: a shared canvas for anyone to make their mark. Rendered as a sphere.

The instant a touch is made, things are set in motion. Make a drawing to reach out and be touched. Drawing together we are drawn together. This is how we make a difference in the world, on micro and macro levels, individually and collectively. Touch the moon by drawing on it – a vision, doodle, statement, a greeting, thought. . . your drawing is a hinge between you, everyone else, and the universe.

By connecting in spaces for imagination – by determining what to share and how to share it – we can create a greater outcome. Through messages and non-verbal communication, in a language unique to each person, the collective work becomes a testament to personal freedom, creativity, and activity.

Celebrate with us the gathering of creative powers from around the globe to mark the passage from nothing to something and from thinking into doing. Savour this moment of transformation. Leave your fingerprint and see the shared moon grow as others reach out too. Let’s show the world that together our marks matter. Creativity defies boundaries.

Ideas, wind, and air no one can stop.

Quite an opportunity for a continuous exquisite corpse. But of course, every other doodle is bathroom graffiti.

Moon by Ai Weiwei & Olafur Eliasson.

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Must-See Video: 3-Sweep is the Fastest Way to Get 3D from 2D That You’ve Ever Seen – Core77.

Really: Must-See. An experimental method to extrude 3D shapes from 2D images by providing just a few hints to the computer. Watch the whole thing. It will give you the unmistakable sensation that the future is upon us.

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Tridiv | CSS 3D Editor.

My eyebrows have yet to come down after playing with this thing. A web-based model-making app, all in CSS. You owe it to yourself to take a look at this for even just two minutes.

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Welcome to National Atlas Streamer!.

Thanks to the USGS, an interactive map that lets you trace streams and rivers to their outlets. Click on a blue line and trace it upstream or down. Impressive.

Try clicking on the Chicago River and take a look at the long, improbable red line going all the way down the Mississippi, instead of quickly dumping into Lake Michigan. For those of you who don’t know the story, check out 99% Invisible’s feature. And subscribe to their podcast if you haven’t already.

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Simulating a TI calculator with crazy 11-bit opcodes.

A 1970s calculator sim via javascript, with an explanation of how those little computing machines worked.

Now’s a good time for me to recommend The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick. An awesome, in-depth chronology of communication and the concept of information. There’s a great chapter on Babbage where he describes the original calcuators: people who wrote out tables of calculated numbers. It’s a great read.

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Disney’s Aireal lets you feel the imaginary | The Verge.

Puffs of air (like smoke rings) create a tangible interface for you and your video games. (It’s more sophisticated than I make it sound.) From Disney, with video.

Also from Disney:
Disney Research » Computational Design of Mechanical Characters.

A (relatively) simple tool to replicate complex 2D motion with cranks and gears. It’s so smooth it made me sit upright so I could see the rotating ellipses better. The implications? You can 3D-print gears to create toys that move as naturally as you want them to. Yes, there’s a video demonstrating this.

And just for good measure, if you haven’t seen the game Disney Infinity, go take a look now. It’s probably unlike any video game you’ve seen before. (There’s Wikipedia, for those of you who want the quick read.)


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Ikeas new AR app superimposes furniture into your empty room | Digital Trends.

Very clever, using the catalog cover as the reference point to determine view angle and scale. Watch the video.

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Everyone runs out of disk space eventually. Even if you have exabytes of space, it’s good to cull once in a while. Here’s a simple, lightweight utility for Windows to see all the files you have as proportionally sized rectangles: WinDirStat. (On their site they recommend some alternatives for Linux and Mac.)

It’s not a beautiful visualization, but it’s fast and free. Tell it what drive or folder to analyze, and it’ll create a colorful summary of all the files, organized by folder. (Filetypes are color-coded.) A directory listing appears on top, with filenames and sizes. You can click either the text or the graphic rectangle to select a file. From there you can get Properties, open in Explorer, Delete and some other administrative stuff.

It’s a great way to spot the huge files (or folders made up of hundreds of small files). I just did this the other day when I saw my Dropbox was full.

There are other utilities that do this, but I love the raw simplicity and ugliness of it. But that’s me. At work I set up Windows 7 to look like 98.

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Hollywood and Blake Snyder’s screenwriting book, Save the Cat! – Slate Magazine.

How a single book on blockbuster screenwriting has taken over, uh, blockbusters. Sadly precise story beats, laid out to the minute. See them here.

So much more pernicious than Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, which I actually do respect.

I imagine it’s just a matter of time before someone does a multiframe overlay of different movies illustrating how all the beats really are synchronized.

I once mapped out a biographical museum based on the Hero’s Journey. It would be funny to see someone try to apply the Save the Cat! formula to other kinds of experiences, like fine dining (All is Lost) or office buildings (Dark Night of the Soul).

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