Australian emerges after two weeks in underwater box

Doesn't sound like all that much fun, but cool nonetheless:
An Australian adventurer emerged from the bottom of a lake yesterday after spending nearly two weeks living underwater, riding a bike to generate electricity and using algae to produce oxygen. ...

Breathing air provided by algae soaked in his own urine, "aquanaut" Lloyd Godson spent 12 days living in a yellow steel capsule submerged in a flooded gravel pit.

The 29-year-old's claustrophobic ordeal was intended to shed light on the practical and psychological challenges of living in an alien environment.

His temporary home, a 10ft long box, was billed as "the world's first self-sufficient, self-sustaining underwater habitat." ... The marine biologist used a system of onshore solar panels and a pedal-powered generator to create electricity and recharge his water-proof laptop computer.

He kept an algae garden to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for breathing.

A team of divers delivered food and drinking water to the sub through a manhole, including a homemade lasagna and freshly barbecued salmon.

For entertainment, Godson watched videos on his laptop and used a wireless Internet connection to communicate with schoolchildren around the world.

The 29-year-old scientist won funding for the project by winning a £20,000 contest called "Live Your Dream" sponsored by the magazine Australian Geographic.

San Diego

Friday night we flew down San Diego to see my great aunt who wasn't doing too well. Luckily we saw her on Saturday, because when I called on Sunday morning to go over, it didn't sound as if things were going well. It turned out that she died a few hours later.

I was glad that we had managed to see her on Saturday, even though she hadn't been able to talk. I hope that it made her happy to know that so many people had come to see her. I wish I could have done more for my great uncle, who is very smart and very kind. We watched an old video of me and Turtle Bro when we were little. We were both dressed very embarrassingly, and my great uncle took us fishing while my great aunt was working in the garden.

My great aunt was always a very bright and happy person and it was very sad to see her in that state. However, she was able to choose pretty much when, where, and how she went, and was surrounded by her immediate family and a parade of guests who all loved her. I will always remember her smiling and joking and saying "aluminium" in her cute accent.

On Saturday evening we went to Officer T's house to see his new baby. She's really cute and has two parents who obviously care for her very much. I always have fun talking with Officer and Mrs. T, so we stayed up really late shooting the breeze. In my defense, I had it in my head that he was working the late shift the next day, instead of the early (6am) shift. I hope he didn't fall asleep on the job on Sunday.

It seemed kind of fitting to spend the evening with a fresh, new baby. I'm not a philosopher, or even a very good writer, so I can't explain it very well. If I think about it too much I get really sad, but maybe that's the lesson.

What Time is Dinner?

I may have posted this before, but this is a really cool article about the evolution of mealtimes since medieval times. Below are some excerpts, but you really should read it all.
The names of meals and their general times were once quite standard. Everyone in medieval England knew that you ate breakfast first thing in the morning, dinner in the middle of the day, and supper not long before you went to bed, around sundown. The modern confusion arose from changing social customs and classes, political and economic developments, and even from technological innovations. ...

Peasants broke off after six or seven hours of work in the morning to have dinner around noon. This was their main meal too, consisting of bread or porridge, peas or beans, perhaps with some cabbage, turnip or onions thrown in. Sometimes they had meat, fish, cheese or whey (a byproduct of cheese-making). Their meal was much like that of the middle class except there was usually less to eat, and little variety. They ate far more at dinner than at breakfast or supper. ...

In the 1790s the upper class was rising from bed around ten a.m. or noon, and then eating breakfast at an hour when their grandparents had eaten dinner. They then went for "morning walks" in the afternoon and greeted each other with "Good morning" until they ate their dinner at perhaps five or six p.m. Then it was "afternoon" until evening came with supper, sometime between nine p.m. and two a.m.! The rich, famous and fashionable did not go to bed until dawn. With their wealth and social standing, they were able to change the day to suit themselves. The hours they kept differentiated them from the middle and lower classes as surely as did their clothes, servants and mansions. ...

Luncheon as a regular daily meal only developed in the US in the 1900s. In the 1945 edition of Etiquette, Emily Post still referred to luncheon as "generally given by and for women, but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday or Sunday, to include an equal number of men." She also referred to supper as "the most intimate meal there is...none but family or nearest friends are ever included." Only hash or cold meat were to be served at supper; anything hot or complicated was served at dinner. In her first edition of Etiquette, in 1922, Post had seen no need to explain that. But by the 1945 edition, she had to explain that luncheon was an informal midday meal and supper an informal evening meal, while dinner was always formal, but could occur at midday or evening.

The New Span

How to Make The Coolest Prop Ever

The M41-A Pulse Rifle from Aliens. Awesome!

The Final Frontier

A Sci-Fi author discusses the feasibility of space travel. He convincingly concludes that it won't be possible. You should read it if you're at all interested in this sort of thing.


Cell Phone Fun

Here are a couple of applications that will work on any cell phone that can run Java. My cell phone is a few years old and can run them, so yours probably can too.

First we have Google Maps Mobile. This is an amazing map program. It'll give you interactive driving directions, showing a map and giving text directions for each turn you need to make. It is far and away the most impressive general program I've ever seen on a cell phone.

Next we have Opera Mini, a much nicer web browser than the one that came with your phone. Trust me. I used it last night to check my email and to view some photos sent to me as attachments.

Finally, we have Google Mobile. Just set your phone's web browser (hopefully Opera Mini by now) to, and it'll let you access Gmail, Google search, Google news, and Google SMS on your phone. I believe that these are just web interfaces, as opposed to Java, but the displays and interfaces are optimized for cell phones.

These applications are all free, but remember that you might be charged for internet access or airtime on your cell phone, depending on your plan. Our plan charges us for the airtime we use (it comes out of our minutes), but doesn't charge anything extra. This means that I have free internet usage after 7pm and on weekends on my cell phone.

Let's be friends

Gold crop's coming in good this year

An article about gold farmers in China. These are people who play video games for a living, selling in-game money for money in the real world. Their lives are a strange mixture of drudgery and gaming.

Humans and Their Avatars

The Apple //e rocked!

This animation was made on an Apple //e in 1985! He made it frame-by-frame using stop-motion animation, with a monochrome monitor! The color appears because he used color filters and exposed each frame multiple times for the various colors. It's amazing what people could do with such a machine.

A great tweak for Firefox

From Lifehacker:

If you've ever tried copying and pasting a multi-line address into Google Maps just to realize that an input box will only take one line at a time—meaning that you have to copy and paste each line individually—there's a simple Firefox tweak that will solve this problem:

Type "about:config" in the location bar. In the "Filter" field type "singleline." You can set the value to 2 for editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines, which will allow pasting of multiple lines to input boxes.


The Turtles actually returned on May 28, 2007 (Memorial Day), but I neglected to point out that fact until now.

We left on May 28, 2007, a few hours before we arrived. Fun stuff, that international date line.

The Stars!

The Turtles are back from Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and are finally caught up on Dancing with the Stars. This year justice was served, as opposed to last year, one of the biggest thefts of the century. I do feel sorry for Joey, though. He really wanted to win.

Our turtle stomachs have still not recovered, or are perhaps readjusting to Western food. Neither of us got sick the whole time we were gone, although we had upset stomachs much of the time and took prodigious amounts of Pepto.

The jet lag is also really bad. I suppose it has something to do with our slow turtle metabolisms.