Brush off the Dust Best of the Web, 8/1-8/5/2011

 1. Finding a fishy solution, Microbiologist devises a model for sustainable urban farming

JHU's David Love combines Aquaponics with Hydroponics for sustainable urban farming.

In a greenhouse on loan to the Baltimore Parks and Recreation Department, David Love of John Hopkins University is creating a new kind of sustainable urban farming practice, according to The JHU Gazette.  It combines aquaponics with hydroponics; basically, using fish waste water to feed the growing plants.  It could be a revolutionary step in sustainable urban farming.  Read the article by clicking here.

2. The Beer Archaeologist

Midas Touch beer

Indiana Jones meets that guy from Samuel Adams.  That’s what we’re getting from this read and its awesome!  It is a good long read, so feel free to print it out and read it with a cold one.  There are some great pictures, too, including the beer bottles of some new Doghfish Head brews–and a video with a tour inside their brewery–inspired by new findings.  Read it by clicking here!

3. The history and mystery of the high five

History of the HIgh Five

ESPN posted this from their magazine and it is at the crossroads sports geekdom and historical pop-culture-mythbuster geekdom.  It is a well-written, amusing piece by freelancer, Jon Mooallem.  Read it by clicking here.

4. Thomas Jefferson’s Iftar

Thomas Jefferson's Quran on display stand (Library of Congress)

Thomas Jefferson's Quran on display stand (Library of Congress)

This one is a little loaded, politically.  Jefferson received the first Muslim ambassador from Tunisia.  If you are at all an American history enthusiast–there are Tripoli pirates!–read this short piece, with its leading quote from Mr. Obama.  Read it by clicking here.

5.  Who Made Those NASA Logos?

This New York Times’s “6th Floor Blog” piece traces the origin of the NASA logos, dubbed “the Worm” and “the Meatball”.  Run in honor of the final landing of our beloved space shuttle, this piece is suitably quirky, while legitimately informative.

6. The Empathic Civilization

I would love to sit down and run a Q & A with the author of this really interesting and rather riveting piece, because a few of his points raise questions, but this is worth watching and thinking about.

7. A new leader in the D. B. Cooper mystery

Mystery man

Police sketches of D.B. Cooper, mystery suspect in a 1971 hijacking case

As a kid, reading a book about unsolved mysteries, this case fascinated me.  The part that still intrigues me, today, is that he asked for a relatively modest sum, even by contemporary standards, and was never caught.  So, assuming he survived, how wealthy was he as he lived out the latter years of his life?  After jumping out into low altitude from the plane he high-jacked the police found no trace until this new lead came up.  And, it may be a false one.  Still, I would love to know what became of D. B.  Read the L. A. Times article, with photo gallery, by clicking here.

8. Goya’s Wellington: The Duke Disappears

Portrait of the Duke of Wellington 1812-14 by Goya (National Gallery, London).

Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington, stolen in the 1960s changed the laws in England

This is the story on the UK’s History Today website about the unsolvable theft of Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington, which solved itself and revealed some interesting legal deficiencies in Merry Old England.  If you enjoy a good art-theft caper, you should enjoy this, but on top of that you find the ludicrous situation in England for which there was, at the time, no legal statute to prosecute the acts of thievery!  Read it by clicking, here.

9. The OEC: Facts about the language

A fascinating piece from the Oxford English Dictionary “Oxford Dictionaries” blog about the number of words in English!   This is a really interesting read about our language and its evolution.  Read it by clicking, here.

10. Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages to train missile launch officers

The Washington Post reports that the Air Force is dropping a program taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, after it was “outted” by  The course hearkened back to Biblical and early Christian doctors in its development of ethics for firing missiles at targets.  Reportedly dubbed the “Jesus loves nukes speech” by trainees, the “outting” was orchestrated by officers, most of whom were Protestant or Roman Catholic. Read the report by clicking, here.

11. How Google Dominates Us

James Gleick, writing for The New York Review of Books, explores in this review how Google influences our lives and decisions.  This is a four-book review about Google’s dominion.  It is not a short read, but it is an important one for our increasingly electronic society.  Read it by clicking, here.


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