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Playlist: Ocean Atlas, Dead Dudes on Twitter, Jonathan Coulton, RjDj

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Old 01-26-2009
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Playlist: Ocean Atlas, Dead Dudes on Twitter, Jonathan Coulton, RjDj
: The National Geographic Society's giant coffee-table book catalogs and analyzes almost every drop of salt water that ebbs and flows over two-thirds of our planet. The collection features 100-plus beautifully rendered maps of seafloors, currents, surface temperatures, and political boundaries. Dive into stunning photographs of underwater life and essays from people with surnames like Cousteau and Sagan. Beware: Once you start this fascinating voyage, you may get lost at sea.
: Spoiling for an argument? Brushing up on your silly walks? Pining for the fjords? Monty Python's new YouTube channel can help. It may not be exhaustive, but as a response to rogue uploaders, this trove of dozens of high-quality clips is a hell of a lot classier than a cease-and-desist letter.
: It's hard to tell if a Twitter feed from a famous musician is legit or merely the work of a label flack. One dead giveaway: when the tweeter is no longer living. Following the feeds of deceased artists (or at least their die-hard fans) is like visiting old friends. Kurt Cobain (@kurdtcobain) laments the antics of Courtney Love, while Biggie Smalls (@NotoriousBIG) fields disses from Tupac Shakur (@PacIsAlive).
: We got hooked on this hirsute ex-programmer after he uploaded his take on Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" to the interwebs in 2005. Rocking 20 tracks, including many that debuted on his song-a-week podcast, this live DVD captures JoCo belting out lyrics about delirious coders, Ikea, and why Pluto's moon Charon will always love the despondent former planet. Awww.
: Tune in and trip out with RjDj, an iPhone music app that transforms ambient noises into ear-bending soundscapes. The clattering of keyboards, the rumble of buses, even the ins and outs of your breath are multiplied, pitch-shifted, looped, and twisted on the fly into an aural mosaic. It's like taking a leisurely walk inside Brian Eno's brain.
: Eighty years after explorer Percy Fawcett disappeared while searching for a mythical lost city in the Amazon, New Yorker staff writer David Grann set out to find him. Grann retraces Fawcett's steps (minus the maggots and poison arrows) in hopes of discovering what felled the man who hobnobbed with Lawrence of Arabia, got funding from John D. Rockefeller, and was even (fictionally) rescued by Indiana Jones.
: Laser-etching your MacBook Pro? Permanent and pricey. Instead, spend just $30 on an all-over vinyl decal from Infectious, a San Francisco-based design house that offers scores of original looks. The stickiness lasts for three years, but whenever you're ready for a change, the decals peel right off, residue-free. Bonus: The vinyl is coated in high-gloss laminate that protects your precious baby from wear and tear.
: The National Association of Broadcasters has produced more than a dozen straight-shooting spots about the impending conversion to digital TV — all stuffy, all hinting at anarchy if you don't switch NOW! That's why it's nice to see this spoof: 99-year-old Mae Laborde fumbling with coaxial cables and URLs ("How many W's?"), as Announcer Man guides her through the "simple" process. Available on Hulu, it's a brilliant parody of government incompetence, consumer electronics, and, well, geezers.
: Put your Rubik's Cube skills to good use: This app offers up 3-D puzzles that are actually proteins scientists are trying to understand. Log on and twist, pull, and fold digital models of molecules to mold proteins like insulin into their proper shapes. Mastering a protein's structure is essential for drug targeting, so every puzzle you solve could help solve a medical mystery.
: Samuel L. Jackson again lends his voice to the title character of this manga turned television series turned TV movie, airing on Spike TV. In Resurrection, our hero finds that his previously vanquished foes have returned via the miracle of mad science, and the undead cyborg samurai are out for revenge. The stellar score from Wu-Tang's RZA may as well be a sequel to his Ghost Dog and Kill Bill soundtracks.

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