Ice is strange stuff: brittle when struck suddenly, yet malleable when pressured over a period of time. With low but steady pressure, this plastic deformation can continue indefinitely. Above all, ice is unpredictable. Molded into a beam, it will fracture at loads anywhere from 5 kg/sq cm to 35 kg/sq cm. Because it fails at unpredictable loads, it is not ideal as a building material...
Pykrete is a super-ice, strengthened tremendously by mixing in wood pulp as it freezes. By freezing a slurry of 14 percent wood pulp, the mechanical strength of ice rockets up to a fairly consistent 70 kg/sq cm. A 7.69 mm rifle bullet, when fired into pure ice, will penetrate to a depth of about 36 cm. Fired into pykrete, it will penetrate less than half as far—about the same distance as a bullet fired into brickwork. Yet you can mold pykrete into blocks from the simplest materials and then plane it, just like wood. And it has tremendous crush resistance: a one-inch column of the stuff will support an automobile.
"The Floating Island", Cabinet Magazine
More on the story of a failed, secret WWII project to build ships out of ice.
Modern Pykrete experiments.
Everyone knows GIF, the image file format most commonly found on web pages. The GIF file format is patented, which means that our free use of GIFs is by the grace of Unisys. All use of GIFs were free of royalty obligations until December 1994, after its wide-spread adoption on the web, when Unisys decided to start collecting royalties from anyone who writes software that can create or edit GIFs. This means Open Source graphics editors have a hard time supporting a very popular format. In response, BurnAllGIFs.org encourages web pages to never use GIFs, and instead use the completely open, unpatented and equally featureful PNG file format. Unfortunately, this isn't easy to do, as browser support is limited, with common browsers missing features like transparency. (PNG's alpha transparency for web pages would be cool, even better than GIF's binary transparency.)
The GIF patent expires on June 20. Do we still need PNG?