Archive for January 6th, 2009


Weirdest news story of the day, probably the week, and possibly even the month: British scientists want your brains! Medical research, quoth the doctors, is imperiled by “a gross shortage of brains”… which, ignoring for a moment the obvious joke possibilities there, are not only tasty, but used to study diseases like autism and dementia. (There are no signs of an Ikea shortage, so zombies still have something to unlive for.) Apparently, according to a spokeszombie, er, spokesperson, the problem isn’t that Britons are squeamish, but that they don’t realize that opting to be an organ donor means your squishy bits can only be used for transplants, not for research or culinary purposes. (It could also be that overseas shipping is too expensive…) So, if you’d like to donate your grey matter to “science”, and live in the UK, you’re advised to contact one of the dozen or so “brain banks” throughout the country.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on January 6th, 2009 | Comments Off on Braaaaaains!

Naval Railguns

It’s been over a year since I last wrote about railguns, one of those “weapons of tomorrow” I’m really looking forward to seeing. To be fair, electromagnetic railguns have been “just around the corner” since – at least – the early 1950s. Back then, or so it seems, the major hurdle was generating enough energy; the railgun artillery of the 1950s was to be powered by mobile nuclear generators. I don’t know if that was really workable, or if it was just a symptom of that decade’s fascination with harnessing “your friend, the atom”. Either way, fifty years later, the power systems are by-and-large sorted, though the basic concept has morphed from battlefields full of self-propelled railgun artillery, to, um, ships equipped with a very large railgun. Too, because lobbing dumb chunks of metal at the enemy is so twentieth-century, the plan now seems to involve smart projectiles – GPS-guided, purely-kinetic chunks of metal…
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on January 6th, 2009 | Comments Off on Naval Railguns