Click over to Gizmodo for details on how this was filmed. A few quick thoughts:
1) this is not CGI, it’s real. Wow.
2) America used to lead the world in building cool stuff like this. We don’t do it anymore. Why? Can’t or won’t?
And in a really cool tribute, the restaurant shown on last episode of The Sopranos made a simple but elegant gesture.
They reserved THE table. This was the table where Gandolfini filmed the most memorable scene of his life. The one where Tony faded to black.
“On the twenty-fourth of May 1844, Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, seated amidst a hushed gathering of distinguished national leaders in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, tapped out a message on a device of cogs and coiled wires:
WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT
Forty miles away, in Baltimore, Morse’s associate Alfred Vail received the electric signals and sent the message back. The invention they had demonstrated was destined to change the world. For thousands of years messages had been limited by the speed with which messengers could travel and the distance at which eyes could see signals such as flags or smoke. Neither Alexander the Great nor Benjamin Franklin (America’s first postmaster general) two thousand years later knew anything faster than a galloping horse. Now, instant long-distance communication became a practical reality.”
Excerpt From: Daniel Walker Howe. “What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848.” Oxford University Press, 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner
At the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India’s state-owned telecom company, a message emerges from a dot matrix printer addressing a soldier’s Army unit in Delhi. “GRANDMOTHER SERIOUS. 15 DAYS LEAVE EXTENSION,” it reads. It’s one of about 5,000 such missives still being sent every day by telegram – a format favored for its “sense of urgency and authenticity,” explains a BSNL official.
That missive will come 144 years after Samuel Morse sent the first telegram in Washington, and seven years after Western Union shuttered its services in the United States. In India, telegraph services were introduced by William O’Shaughnessy, a British doctor and inventor who used a different code for the first time in 1850 to send a message.
At their peak in 1985, 60 million telegrams were being sent and received a year in India from 45,000 offices. Today, only 75 offices exist, though they are located in each of India’s 671 districts through franchises. And an industry that once employed 12,500 people, today has only 998 workers.
One of them is R.D. Ram, who has been working in the Delhi office for 38 years. “They will now move me to another department where I will feel like a fresher [beginner],” he complains.
Mr. Ram once learned the Morse code technology for telegraphy, but today oversees staff who type out and send telegrams over a Web software. He tries to put up a spirited defense of the obsolete technology in the age of the smartphone, arguing that mobile penetration is much lower than it is hyped to be. Mobile penetration is indeed a dismal 26 percent, but even in the remotest village, at least someone has a phone.
Do you ever feel like you’re always running into people with your birthday? It might not be you; it might be the date that you were born. Matt Stiles’ birthday heat map gives us a picture of which birthdays are the most and least common in the United States.
Stiles used a table that ranks birthdays for people born between 1973 and 1999, which you can view at the New York Times. The darker colors indicate the date has a lower-numbered birthday rank and the lighter colors a higher-numbered birthday rank. February 29th and December 25th were ranked 366th and 365th in rank, respectively, while September 16th was the most common birthday. One thing is clear from Stiles’ visualization of the data: card-shopping season has just begun.
Based on this chart, Lane Harrison has created an interactive chart with both the birthdate ranks and the approximate conception ranks
Which brings us to the Birthday Paradox. How many people do you need to have crammed into a room before the odds favor two of you sharing the same birthday? You’d think, given 365 days in a year, that it would need to be around 180. you’d be wrong. The answer is a mere 23 to have a fifty-fifty shot. To bring the probability to ninety-nine percent, you need a crowd of only fifty-seven people.
Explanation here. Warning: math and statistics involved.
What are the most common causes of death throughout the entire 20th Century? Over at Information is Beautiful, designer David McCandless has whipped up a stunning infographic that helps visualize the answer.
Click to embiggen.