Summer wildfires are drawing near Lthe birthplace of the atomic bomb. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, built as Site Y of the Manhattan Project, is today used for research, including weapons engineering. The town of Los Alamos has been evacuated and the lab temporarily closed. Some pictures of the lividly lit skies on the lab's Flickr page. more inside
Animal Beatbox [YouTube, weapons-grade earworm] is the most recent winner of Australian short film festival TropFest. Finalists are listed here, and all are available to watch on the TropFest YouTube channel. more inside
The Gifts of the Magi : Artist P. Craig Russell has put his 1990 graphic novel of the O. Henry story up for all to read on his new website. more inside
Long-exposure pictures of fireflies in a forest in Germany. In Japan. In Taiwan. In Elkmont Smokey Mountain National Park. Over a river somewhere. Fireflies on video in New York. Synchronous fireflies in a tree. more inside
Diana Wynne Jones "not at all well." If you grew up speaking English, odds are that before you were twenty you read at least one book by brilliant and prolific authoress Diana Wynne Jones. Now she has, according to this month's Ansible, decided to "abandon chemotherapy [...] and resign herself to whatever may follow." more inside
Spiderman dances! Nor is this the first time the costumed crusader has busted a move. News flash: there's just something about that screaming red costume that makes people flip out. [MLYT]
Making Peace With A Pumpkin : On one of the stops where he and his brother hid in the French countryside, the frightened boys survived a season and the "awful, unforgettable pangs of hunger -- real, awful hunger," he told me, by eating nothing but pumpkins. "I couldn't eat them since," he said. "Didn't even want to touch them."
Unplanned Freefall: Survival Tips. Etiquette for those awkward moments when there's 30,000 feet between you and civilization. Brought to you by the Freefall Research Page. Fallen from a great height? They want to hear about it.
BBC: The zombies would win. Using infectious disease modelling techniques, the University of Ottawa has conducted a study [pdf] detailing the spread of a zombie attack. Conclusion: "It's imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else... we are all in a great deal of trouble."
The Ten Doctors , a webcomic romp through time and space featuring all 10 incarnations of Doctor Who and all your favourite companions and villains, ended today after 247 pages, a near-superhuman achievement by Rich of Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic fame.
Burial at sea [BBC video]: it's not just a roll of sailcloth and two roundshot any more. The latest thing is to have your ashes mixed with concrete to create part of an artificial reef. A few companies will make your remains into a fish-friendly little holey ball or there's this underwater sculpture garden you can become part of off the Florida Keys.
In the 1500s, vampires were easy to recognise. What did you do when you found a bloated corpse with a bloody mouth and a hole in its shroud? You didn't waste time with crosses or stakes; instead you stuck a brick in its mouth so it would starve to death.
Aberdeen, 1869: A doctor buying a corpse for dissection gets more than he bargained for. This "frolicsome" story was widely reported; much was made of the fact that the central figure was a "daring man of colour." The incident became the subject of a popular broadside ballad (click the magnifying glass in the corner to enlarge.) more inside
World War II: the simple version. The Second World War in a cartographic comic. [Large image; there's a smaller version here at strangemaps.com]
Yakushima is a beautiful island off the southern tip of Japan. Its ancient forest, including many cedars over 1000 years old, inspired Hayao Miyazaki's film Princess Mononoke. For one photoblogger, a short visit led to a three-day trek over the island's peaks. more inside
Glass models of tiny aquatic creatures made in the late 19th century, discovered gathering dust in a drawer in a Wisconsin museum. More here and here.
Today is Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. The day has already been marked in traditional manner by the appearance of three red roses and half a bottle of cognac on the great man's grave, courtesy of the mysterious Poe Toaster. To celebrate, you could check out this excellent slideshow of his works and letters done by the New York Times; or check out his complete works on this site, complete with handy list of unusual words. more inside
The Odyssey retold as part choose-your-own-adventure, part amusing multiple choice quiz. Test your classical knowledge or just ask yourself "What would Odysseus do?" more insidePage 1 2