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Late night clickage

I spent the day in training class for the tools that build the newly redesigned msnbc.com coming soon. Then my nasty head cold caused me to fall asleep on the couch at like 7:30. So here I am wide awake in the middle of the night catching up on links.

Google maps find their way to gas pumps - Now that I have Google maps on my phone this isn't such a big deal but a few years ago it would have saved me a lot of money. You can't imagine how many "where the hell am I" maps of New Jersey I have.

Submarine-Launched Helicopter - With just two paragraphs and a little photo this may be the most amazing thing I read all day.

OK, I take that back, this is the most amazing thing I've seen all day. Police in Georgia, Tbilisi raid opposition TV stations. I watched this one first, which is three minutes of two people looking kind of nervous and eventually giving up the news desk to a third guy who's out of breath. In this one we get a bit of translation of what the third guy is saying. Check out this one with the reporter trying to deliver her report while choking on tear gas. I keep waiting for V to appear on the screen. (I should add, I don't know enough about this story to pass any kind of judgment or take sides. I'm highlighting these videos based on their objective drama.)

Speaking of undermining governments, can it really be a good idea to punish a country by helping it further repress its population through the restriction of access to the Internet? I understand the point of sanctions but I've always thought America's cultural influence was its greatest weapon. In some countries there might be an argument for blocking the Web to make it harder for terrorists to organize but the story I've always read in connection with Iran is that the web has been a means for dissidents and expats to help undermine the government.

Flight pattern visualizations are animations of flight paths over the United States.

How to make fire using a potato - I know I got burned by the glow in the dark Mountain Dew but this looks weird enough to be true. NOTE: For some ridiculous reason it starts with a few seconds of a woman in a thong.

'Heroes' Creator Apologizes to Fans - Wow, this guy really hates his own show. I don't have a problem with season 2 so far. It's a little frustrating waiting for answers but that's always been part of the show's appeal. I didn't hate the Hiro in Japan segments. We need to see him do some character building stuff so his future cool self makes sense.

Remember those spider sculptures made from confiscated scissors and I was wondering how to buy confiscated scissors? How To: Buy Items Confiscated at Airports

I don't know why but it wasn't until I read the BBC version of this story of the super model who doesn't like American dollars that I finally figured out that it's not about finance or economy so much as it's about how fashionable the dollar is - or now, isn't. I know, duh.

7 Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and what it means)

Canadian dollar passes US$1.10 mark in overseas trade Wednesday - Somewhere in my notes I have a link to an essay on why the falling dollar is not a big deal. I'm really wanting to find that link now.

All the Defense Appropriations Earmarks plotted on Google Earth - Other than seeing that there's a whole lot of them I'm not sure what I'm seeing in all these points on the map. There's kind of a red state/blue state pattern there but I reckon that's more to do with where the cities/people/industry are.

Nokia perfects the clicky tactile touchscreen - "We inserted two small piezo sensor pads under the screen and engineered in a 0.1mm movement in the screen itself." This news is most significant to cell phones but I'd love it if they could put a little tactile feedback in ATM screens.

I finally read the Google Blog post about "the Gphone," Android and the Open Handset Alliance. It's a software development kit for mobile phones. So on one hand the whole news story means nothing to almost everyone. On the other hand it means you may one day buy a blank cell phone and decide on your own what software you want to put on it. The important thing to note right now is that Gphone isn't about a kind of phone, it's about the software on a phone.

Why actors and models love to hang out with Hugo Chávez - "The Western weakness for other people's revolutionary violence, the belief in the glamour and benevolence of foreign dictators, and the insistence on seeing both through the prism of Western political debates are still very much with us." There's one aspect of this phenomenon that isn't mentioned in here that I always wonder about. You never hear anyone actually praising Chavez and anyone who pays attention knows what his deal is, so how do these celebs think of going to see him in the first place? My (wild) guess is that Chavez has a really good PR person who extends very compelling invitations. I don't believe Sean Penn wrote to the president of Venezuela and asked if he could come visit some day. I do believe Penn opened his mail one day and found out that the president of Venezuela was interested in meeting with him and talking about his political ideas. What? You wouldn't be tempted?

Cancer cured again

Tesla coils playing the Mario Bros theme are unsurprisingly awesome

Bloglines has published a list of its top 1000 feeds. From a surfing perspective it's not a very precise tool though I did find this Ven diagram comic blog and decided the exploration was worth it.