kottke.org posts about Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park's groundbreaking digital dinosaursJun 10 2014

Great short film about how ILM's groundbreaking visual effects came to be used in Jurassic Park.

When Spielberg originally conceived the movie, he was going to use stop-motion dinosaurs. ILM was tasked with providing motion blur to make them look more realistic. But in their spare time, a few engineers made a fully digital T. Rex skeleton and when the producers saw it, they flipped out and scrapped the stop-motion entirely. Fun story.

Jurassic UnixMar 03 2014

Hold onto yer butts, you can use the computer interface from Jurassic Park right in your web browser.

Jurassic Park Unix

It may look a little confusing but just remember: this is a Unix system and you know this.

DNA has a 521-year half-lifeOct 10 2012

Researchers in Copenhagan and Perth used DNA found in the leg bones of the extinct moa bird to determine the half-life of DNA: 521 years.

By comparing the specimens' ages and degrees of DNA degradation, the researchers calculated that DNA has a half-life of 521 years. That means that after 521 years, half of the bonds between nucleotides in the backbone of a sample would have broken; after another 521 years half of the remaining bonds would have gone; and so on.

The team predicts that even in a bone at an ideal preservation temperature of -5 ºC, effectively every bond would be destroyed after a maximum of 6.8 million years. The DNA would cease to be readable much earlier -- perhaps after roughly 1.5 million years, when the remaining strands would be too short to give meaningful information.

That means no real-life Jurassic Park, folks.

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