Treehouse of Horror XVII

In honor of The Simpsons’ upcoming Treehouse of Horror XVII Halloween episode, Popwatch reports on an awesome interactive Flash tool:

Using reverse engineered alien irony, this user-friendly editing tool lets you manipulate choice clips from the show’s upcoming annual Treehouse of Horror terrorama and Frankenstein them into a petrifying promo of your own fiendish design.

I haven’t actually played with this yet because I don’t want to ruin this weekend’s episode, but I will definitely try this out afterward…

In the Shadow of Saturn

Last Monday’s APOD is called In the Shadow of Saturn:

In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn and slightly scattering sunlight, in the above exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the above image. Visible in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus, and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, visible on the image left just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

Awesome photo…

The Internal Combustion Engine

The YouTube video 3D Deutz engine animation is pretty neat:

This video gives us an animated look at a virtual engine, from bare block to ignition. The inline-four engine is made by Deutz, an independent German machine manufacturer. See every component: casted this, braided that, spinning this, machined that. The animated video shows the engine assembling itself, then gives you an inside look at the combustion compartment, injecting fuel, igniting it and expelling the exhaust fumes.

Very Short Stories

Wired Magazine has a fun feature entitled Very Short Stories:

We’ll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves.

Dozens of our favorite auteurs put their words to paper, and five master graphic designers took them to the drawing board. Sure, Arthur C. Clarke refused to trim his (“God said, ‘Cancel Program GENESIS.’ The universe ceased to exist.”), but the rest are concise masterpieces.

The online version has several dozen additional entries not included in the print version.