Monday, November 28, 2005

Cassini Meets Rhea

And on the topic of Cassini, Top Men would like to bring to your attention that on November 27 Cassini had yet another close encounter with another moon of Saturn. This time within 315 miles of the surface of Rhea. When you get that close - the pictures are amazing. Here are a few of our early favorites...

Nice close-up one.
Nice close-up two.
Teeming masses stitch.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Saturn Ring Shine

Top Men continue to be amazed by the Cassini spacecraft. On November 21st Cassini took this near true-color image (prepared and enhanced by Top Men here at Wohba) looking at Saturn, the rings, and the moon Dione.

What is especially striking is the ring shine that illuminates the dark side of Saturn.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Draw Toys

Top Men keep getting distracted from important scientific investigation by goofy little artistic web apps. Here's one called DrawToy.

Guaranteed more fun than the mall.

UPDATE: Here's a related app (also from zefrank) that kaleidoscopes (that's a verb, right?) your artwork.

Hayabusa Update

Top Men have been following the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Hayabusa spacecraft since our last Wohba update.* It has become the first spacecraft in history to sucessfully land on, and take-off from an asteroid. Here's what's going on.

Nov. 20 - Hayabusa sucessfully landed on the surface of asteroid Itokawa. A metal marker was shot to the surface just prior to the touchdown. Hayabusa landed for 30 minutes and then lifted off. There were problems after lift-off that delayed getting any data for a few days. Nobody was sure what happened until communications was fixed. The probe did not collect any samples. There are a few good images here of the probe's approach.

Nov. 25 - A second landing attempt - Hayabusa apparently landed successfully, scooped up a sample and took off again. Communication was established quickly and data was analyzed. An image is here (thumbnail above.) Top Men will post more as they are available.

Nothing left but to head home and deliver the goods.

A live blog is sometimes here.

UPDATE (11/28): Here is a great description of what transpired in the JAXA control room during this final descent. Roughly translated, but heartfelt and inspiring!

UPDATE (12/6): Whoops! Maybe JAXA spoke too soon. It appears now that Haybusa may not have collected the sample after all. And a fuel leak is likely to compromise the crafts ability to return to earth. Oh well - got a few nice pics.


* Previous Update

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Bazillions of dollars and this is what the internet is good for - musical ransome notes. Type in your message and it pieces together words from songs to sing it. And then of course you can email it to your friends or enemies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Weather Power

Top Men love the teeming masses - the hive mind, the group power, the corporate sync, the village... uh... whatever. Anyway, The Weather Underground has mixed the masses with Google Maps and personal weather stations to create a powerful (if somewhat lumbering) weather revolution.

Open up the Personal Weather Stations Google Map and enter your location. You have at your fingertips the weather data by the people - not the propaganda of The Man. To get you started - the color of the tag represents the temperature, and the bar is the wind direction - you can figure out the rest. You can even dig down for historic data at that specific station

Here's a few choice locations...

San Francisco (default)

Get your own personal weather station and rage against the machine!

Monday, November 21, 2005


A digital camera tied to a bunch of helium balloons makes for these fun videos...

Previous related Wohba links:
Kite Stuff
Space Balloon
Before Airplanes

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Chalk Up Another One

Top Men must have been subconsciously influenced by Mary Poppins 'cause we are intrigued by sidewalk chalk art.* Julian Beever has certainly done his share of it - and Top Men wonder how many people have tried to jump into these favorites of ours...

The real thing?

Self portrait.

City sidewalk sailing. (Thumbnail above)

Striking it rich series.

Who's digging what?

The water's fine (and from the top side.)

Globe (and from the side.)

(Thanks Ryan)

(* Here's more sidewalk chalk art presented previously at Wohba.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Take a Spin

Give it a whirl. Top Men made a lovely goblet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hand-held Death Ray II (batteries included)

Bubbles are for kids. Adults need Lasers. Big, blazin', wicked lasers. It just so happens that there's a place called Wicked Lasers that offers them. And they have plenty of photos and videos to show you what fun you can have. Here's a few of the Top Men's favorites...

- Video outdoors at night.
- Video outdoors at night.
- Video scaring a bird off a wire. (Uh... okay.)
- Video burning holes in plastic.
- Video cutting through electrical tape.
- Video popping five balloons.

The $99 Classic has a range of 6 miles. But for $560 you get the Elite with a range of 60 miles. (NOTE: 5% discount for telling 'em Wohba sent you - referrer ID: 3720)

And remember kids...
"WARNING! Serious and even permanent eye damage can be caused by looking directly into the beam of this laser or its direct reflection.

(Thanks Alex T.!)

Colored Bubbles

Who'd have thunk that colored bubbles would be such a pain. But I suppose if they were easy we would have had them years ago. Took this guy ten years to figure it out. Seems the biggest problem was the stains.

Check this video. And here's the story at Popular Science.

And don't forget Catch-a-Bubble - the bubbles that last up to five minutes. Here's a commercial.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Even More Crowded Skies

More* visualizations of the crowded skies. These amazing videos will either make you feel more safe or less safe, depending on your point of view.

This color movie is our favorite.
This movie is a close second.
This movie includes various version and text.

(Thanks Brice! (via Boing Boing))

*Top Men at Wohba have covered air traffic before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Wonder of Corn

Corn is good! Top Men love corn. In addition to chips, pop, tortillas, oil, syrup, chowder, puffs, dogs, stuffing, flakes, bread, pudding, and pipes, corn has some amazing properties in its starch form. And those amazing properties really shine when you vibrate the corn starch at 120 hertz. (Who figures this stuff out?) We're talking holes in liquid and bizarre fingers of constarch reaching for freedom. Check out the amazing video here. (Mac users may have better luck here.)

This phenomenon is vaguely reminiscent of the magnetic liquid mentioned earlier on Wohba.

And for more amazing properties of corn try this previous Wohba post.

The fun never ends.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Station Identification

This month marks the five year anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS). To celebrate the occasion Top Men at Wohba have found a most amazing photo of the station - in all its hi-res glory.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Watch Me Paint

What if there was a way to preserve and playback the artistic process of creating a painting, instead of just being limited to seeing the end result. Oh and it'd be nice to speed up the playback.

This Russian site does just that. It's simplified painting, but the results are amazing. It's not just a final frame that you can appreciate, but the entire process - the subtle choices, the mistakes and corrections, the sequence, varying techniques. Top Men were amazed for way too long! Below are some of our favorites: faces and more. (Always click the x16 button to speed things up.)

The face in the thumbnail above.
A minimal yet striking portrait.
An eye in the city.
Stylized but real.
One final portrait.
A whimsical metamorphosis.
Evolving Animals.

If you're inspired after watching other people create, click the pencil in the upper right and become the artist. If your Russian is a bit rusty, here are the bare-bone basics...

- Undo
- Erase All
- Quit and Save
- Yes
- No


Top Men at Wohba have been following the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Hayabusa spacecraft as it hovers near asteroid Itokawa. We've been waiting for the cool stuff - the cool stuff is about to happen. After an aborted practice session brought the craft to within 70 meters of the asteroid, all systems are go for another rehearsal and a touch-down.

Nov. 12 - Hayabusa approaches Itokawa and drops the Minerva* probe to the surface.
Nov. 19 - Hayabusa approaches, lands briefly to collect one gram of... uh... asteroid.
Nov. 25 - Another approach and brief landing to collect sample again (if necessary).
Early Dec. - Hayabusa begins journey back to Earth
June 2007 - Samples of asteroid drop to Earth in re-entry capsule.

UPDATE: Looks like Minerva* is AWOL. Hayabusa ejected it, expecting it to find the asteroid, but it had other plans - headed out to the undiscovered country. No hopping around with color cameras on the surface, but the landing and scooping mission will continue.

*The Minerva probe is a tiny (barely over one pound) mini-lander that will hop around the surface of the asteroid and send photos back to Hayabusa.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dione, Tethys and Pandora

Cassini just keeps sending home (ahem) out-of-this-world images. The latest is a shot of Dione, Tethys and Pandora posing above the rings. More details are here for those so inclined.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flippin' Cool

Be the animator! Go to the Flip Book and click on Make. Hand animation has never been so easy. Top Men saved a few masterpieces.

(Thanks Josh!)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Flags of the World

Add this to your reference site list. An exaustive collection of flags of the world - complements of the CIA.

Top Men don't quite get the Isle of Man flag, but we're diggin' Kiribati.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Scale Solar System

Want to feel like you matter? Then don't go here. A scale representation of our solar system - 1 pixel = ~1,000 km. (Just scroll to the right - way to the right.)

Top Men think it's beneficial to be reminded of how small this island is that we call home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Another Titan Pass

Late last week Cassini made another close flyby of Titan (its ninth) as it continues to orbit Saturn. Titan is the only moon in our solar system that has clouds - so top men at JPL have been using radar to image through the clouds. (This flyby is also interesting because they aimed the radar imager at the Huygens landing site - to get a better idea of where it landed.)

They took a few days to process, but the images have just been released. Top Men at Wohba enhanced a couple of the raw radar images. (A Wohba exclusive!)

Enhanced Image 1 (raw image)
Enhanced Image 2 (raw image)

UPDATE: Here's a movie that illustrates precisely where the radar was aimed.

Dynamic Flight Dynamics

Top Men like jets. Particularly sonic booms, pressure waves, condensation clouds, and other high-speed phenomena. Sometimes it enough to make Top Men wish they were Top Gun. (clever, huh.)

Back in June we posted a still photo of a condensation cloud on a jet. We've since found a few related videos that have a Wohba! factor.

Movie - condensation cloud.
Movie - condensation cloud.
Movie - pressure wave and sonic boom.
Movie - big sonic boom.

(We can hear you humming "Highway to the danger zone...")