Friday, September 29, 2006


Four years in the making, the first hi-resolution image from the HiRISE camera (the most powerful camera ever to orbit another planet) has arrived! It was snapped at 8:45 am (Mountain Time US) and has taken a few hours to make its way from the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) to the DSN (Deep Space Network) dishes to JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs) to HiROC (HiRISE Operations Center) and finally to Top Men.

A second image was taken around 1:00 pm. We'll update when it's available.

Here is the first full-scale image. WARNING: 23k x 23k pixels
Here is info and other resolutions.

UPDATE (9/29): Second Image
Here is the second full-scale image. WARNING: 13k x 13k pixels
Here is info and other resolutions.

UPDATE (10/1): Image Viewer
Here is the HiRISE image viewer.
Here is the HiRISE image download center.

Previous related Wohba links:
Test Photos From MRO
Martian Telescope Arrives
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bullet Time

Top Men wish they had a high-speed camera to take fun slow motion video of things (apples, cards, bottles, eggs, etc.) getting destroyed. We'll have to settle for this until then.

(via digg)
Previous related Wohba links:
Slow Motion Smorgasbord
Dihydrogen Monoxide Balloon

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Behold Victoria!

After trudging almost 10 kilometers (6 miles) across the deserts of Mars, Opportunity is close enough to Victoria to merit another Wohba post! (The next Wohba Victoria post will be the grandaddy of panoramas from the rim of the crater.) Top Men first wondered about the slim possibility of reaching this grand destination in April of 2004, given that the rovers were only guaranteed for 90 days.

Here is a color-enhanced image (from the teeming masses) from our current position on the rim. Remember that the crater shown is a half mile wide. Hard to grasp the scale.

Top Men are sometimes humbled to live in such times as these.

UPDATE (9/27): Panoramic image from Duck Bay.
UPDATE (9/28): Close image of Cabo Verde cliff.

Previous related Wohba links:
Victoria's Doorstep
Victoria on the Horizon
Where is Opportunity
Make It To Victoria?

Line Rider

Here is another one of those interactive diversions (aka - toy) that doesn't have any specified goal - just explore the rules of the world and see what happens. Start by drawing a nice long sloping line, and pressing play.

Top Men often use this kind of distraction as a break from all the rocket science.

Here is some fine sample work from the teeming masses to get you going.

Previous related Wohba links:
Sand, Seeds and Eggs
Ball Droppings
After Christmas Toys
Liquid Man and Falling Girl
Fun With Particles
Another Machine
Soda Machines

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ant Farmers

This video fits in the amazing creatures department. These ants actually... uh... care for... these caterpillars - with some rather extreme behavior. Talk about your strange codependency (complete with narcotic overtones.)

Previous related Wohba links:
Never Trust a Liar Bird
Aye-Aye Sir
Alien Creatures
Lurch the Wonder Watusi

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Dr. Hans Jenny is a top man in the field of Cymatics.


Top Men just like to watch this weird video.

Previous related Wohba links:
Magnetic Liquid Weirdness
Ferrofluid Performance
Wonder of Corn

Sand, Seeds and Eggs

Remember the Falling Sand game. Well "d of i" has been busy. Here is a new version to mess around with. Now with seeds.

And you might try frying some eggs without breaking any yokes. Top Men love to cook.

Previous related Wohba links:
After Christmas Toys

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Space Balloon Two

Top Men brought the Space Balloon to your attention back in May of 2005. But now it's time to meet the new Space Balloon, and this one kicks the old Space Balloon's derrière.

Old Space Balloon: 50,000 feet
New Space Balloon: 100,000 feet

(Okay, just for the record space starts around 60 miles up, and the new Space Balloon made it to just under 20 miles - so it didn't really make it into space. But it looks like space - kind of.)

Here are some of the best photos.
Here are the facts and the story.

Previous related Wohba links:
Space Balloon
Balloon Cam

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Behold Saturn!

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for two years, and on September 15th got to a kind of ultimate vantage point. Everything alligned for this one. Cassini was just the right distance from Saturn as the planet blocked the sun for twelve hours - allowing for some amazing backlit images.

Here is a small one. Top Men expect more.

Previous related Wohba links:
Free Saturn Poster
Ring Shine
Disturbance in the Ring
Stunning Saturn View
Ring Waves

Sunday, September 17, 2006

That's No Sunspot!

Amateur astronomer Thierry Legault snapped this hires shot of the sun today from Normandy France. Being the smart guy he is, he managed to get an amazing silhouette of the newly enlarged International Space Station (ISS) with the Space Shuttle Atlantis close by.

Sometimes Top Men feel like we're living in the future.

(Don't miss the full image - click on the thumbnail above.)

Previous related Wohba links:
Sun We Need To Talk
Iron Giant

Shuttle Booster Cam

Here is the Space Shuttle Atlantis Booster Cam video footage from launch to splashdown.

Top Men love this stuff.

Previous related Wohba links:
Rocket Cam

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Stephen Wiltshire appears slightly slow on the surface, but he has a remarkable skill beneath. In this video clip from a BBC documentary he is taken on a brief helicopter ride over Rome and then returns to the studio and faithfullly reproduces a detailed panorama drawn with perfect perspective and scale.

And then there is Daniel Tammet who (in additiona to speaking French, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Esperanto and Icelandic) has a remarkable ability to calculate. In this video clip he calculates 13 divided by 97 to way too many decimal points.

Of course this wouldn't be complete without mentioning the real Rainman Kim Peek. Here is a glimpse into his remarkable skills.

Top Men can only say "Wohba!"

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Inner Life of the Cell

Since when was watching white blood cells sense and respond to external stimuli so interesting?

Smart guys in the Harvard Biology Department have been involved in the creation of a series of amazingly intricate CG animations that highlight concepts in biochemistry. Top Men are mesmerized by the precise, microscopic clockwork that we know as life.

Here is the hi-res video.
Here is the lo-res video.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Paper Work

Peter Callesen takes paper craft to a whole new dimension. Here is his paper-work. (May have server issues - refresh a couple times if necessary.)

Wait... don't just lazily pass this over. From what Top Men can gather the pieces of the page remain connected - which makes it all the more amazing, and worth checking out.

Previous related Wohba links:
Paper Chase

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just Text-Message My Sofa

Top Men love flashy-blinky things. So of course we're drawn to shirts, sofas, and chairs that have flashy-blinky built right in. Phillips is going to deliver news, weather, email, and spam to soft, cushy items in our everyday life with their Lumalive light emitting textiles.

YouTube Movie 1
YouTube Movie 2
Press Release

(via digg)

Sun, We Need To Talk

First: NASA is set to launch (October 18) the STEREO pair of spacecraft to image the sun. One will fly in front of earth the other behind earth. With two images you get depth. Cool. Here is a movie.

Second: See, the deal is that the earth is traveling through space around the sun. So John Cabrer figures why not snap (or take from the SOHO satellite) two images of the sun at roughly an hour apart, and that would provide the same kind of stereo image of the sun. (Granted the sun could change in an hour, but usually not that much.) Here is the result. (Thanks Tinselman!)

Third: Here is a cool hi-res image of the sun.

Previous related Wohba links:
Iron Giant

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Extreme Makeover: Space Station Edition

This week's (tomorrow?) Shuttle launch marks the beginning of some massive construction on the Internation Space Station (ISS). The ISS is currently about half the size it will be when completed. The next four Shuttle missions will add about 40 tons of trusses to the ISS, including two trusses that have 17,000 square feet of solar panels.

There are lots of other facts but Top Men thought you might like to see a movie instead. Here is the best movie we've found for going through the assembly process.

The current state of the ISS comes about a third of the way through the movie (represented by the thumbnail image above.) From then on it's all work to be done in the next few years.

Previous related Wohba links:
Space Station Sightings
Station Identification

Monday, September 04, 2006

Victoria's Doorstep

After an impossibly (figuratively) long trek, Mars Rover Opportunity is poised on the cusp of Victoria. It really is hard to believe that Opportunity has lasted ten times longer than spec'd. Top Men have waited for this moment for no other reason then to finally get the sweet wall paper image to decorate our desktop - although it will probably be too large to see the entire crater in one shot.

This week Opportunity will be making its way to the rim of Victoria to give a hopefully spectacular view into (by far) the largest crater we've been to on Mars.

Top Men will post a link to the wallpaper as soon as we find it.

Previous related Wohba links:
Victoria on the Horizon
Where is Opportunity
Opportunity is Out
Make it to Victoria?