Time for another NPF potpourri post, albeit one with an unusually mixed bag of links. Instead of the usual small servings of random internet finds of the funny/"omg awesome" variety, this sample ranges from funny to terrifying. To better mess with your fragile Friday emotional state, I present them in no logical order:
1. This may be old news to some of you, but I had never before seen the "9/11 from space" photos taken by ISS astronauts during the terrorist attack. For the recent anniversary NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson shared his thoughts and recollections on witnessing the event from orbit.
2. Do you like things that are awesome? Do you have $400 burning a hole in your pocket? Well you can get a big ol' print of the cover art from Eightball No. 18 straight from Daniel Clowes.
I kinda want to use this as the new background art, despite how hard and how repeatedly he would sue me.
3. The latest from the "DARPA's reality is far scarier than anything fiction writers can imagine" file: the Squad Support System, an autonomous robot intended to carry heavy loads over rough terrain for soldiers. Not interested in sleeping? Then check it out!
Despite the fact that this thing is unarmed and intended to be helpful to our fighting men and women, the only things I can picture when I look at it are A) hiding from it, and B) Linda Hamilton urging me to lure it under a machine press and crush it.
4. From the "Everything the government produced during the Cold War is inherently hilarious" category comes the 1975 instructional manual "Civil Disturbances." It contains helpful descriptions of how your friends and family in the Army will put you down like dogs when you start rioting over President Romney's plan to turn you into high-protein animal feed. Complete document available here.
5. In my new city the air raid/tornado warning sirens sound often and at absolute random. They go off four or five times per week (in perfectly calm weather; not so much as a rain shower in ages) at any hour. They've gone off at all times of day – noon, after work, early in the morning, and right now at 12:43 AM…after a rousing chorus of sirens at 10:30 PM. I urge anyone able to offer a rational explanation for this to do so in the comments. Baffling.