(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)
A heavy subject, but I started the month with it, so I might as well end the month with it --
Dave Winer: Sharon must go.
Charlotte "Jenne" Fitzgerald: Recollections of Life in Kessinger, Kentucky.
"Soft clouds of dust puff up from under my feet as I run down the path to see where they are making molasses. I run around the boys who have drawn a circle in the warm summer dirt to play a game of marbles. This is an exciting day in Kessinger."
> While we're on the topic --
Houston Chronicle: Tollway drivers joining cruise. County agrees to erect 55-mph signs by May 1 to meet clean air deadline but weighs other options.
Doonesbury: 72 Virgins.
"Mystery Martyr, what do your parents think of your career path?"
Scientific American: How far away is the closest extrasolar planet discovered thus far?
As I approach 40, I'm seriously thinking about taking up golf.
[pointer from Jill Matrix]
Being a Mac fanatic doesn't mean I can't take a joke --
> Yeah, ha-ha, the old iBooks do look a little like toilet seats.
On a related note:
"Hypnotically encased iMacs trick unsuspecting computer users into accepting Darwinism.... That's right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don't advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an `Open Source' license, which is just another name for Communism."
> I think that link is a joke site, but it's so well done that I really can't be sure.
> The "Kid's Page" is so over the top that ... I dunno. Decide for yourself --
Objective: Christian Ministries: 4 Kidz.
"Creation Science Fun Fact:
"Dinosaurs still walk on the land and swim in the seas! And the Earth is only 10,000 years old! Incredible but TRUE!"
More pictures of my kids. You are so lucky!
These are from last October.
"I come home from work to the sight of a smoking back yard. It turns out that it was winter time and the grass was dried-up (dormant) -- JD8 threw a lit cigarette out his back door and you can imagine the rest."
Dave Winer: A joke for women who date engineers. Warning: extremely lame.
Scientific American: Journey to the Farthest Planet. Scientists are finally preparing to send a spacecraft to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the last unexplored region of our planetary system.
"Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper ... suggested in the 1940s and 1950s that perhaps Pluto was not a world without context but the brightest of a vast ensemble of objects orbiting in the same region." ...
"In 1992 astronomers at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii discovered the first Kuiper Belt object (KBO), which was found to be about 10 times as small as and almost 10,000 times as faint as Pluto. Since then, observers have found more than 600 KBOs, with diameters ranging from 50 to almost 1,200 kilometers. (Pluto's diameter is about 2,400 kilometers.)"
Nature: Neutrino weighed up. Astronomers use galaxies to reckon a subatomic particle's mass.
"The neutrino weighs no more than one-billionth of the mass of a hydrogen atom, Ofer Lahav of the University of Cambridge told the annual UK National Astronomy Meeting in Bristol today. Yet despite being so small, neutrinos could account for a maximum of about 20% of the mass of the entire Universe." ...
"... only about 5% the Universe's mass is in a visible form. The rest is in a variety of substances known as dark matter, of which neutrinos are one component."
Science News: Strange Stars? Odd features hint at novel matter.
"Since its discovery in 1996, astronomers had thought that RXJ1856 was a neutron star, a stellar cinder composed almost solely of neutrons. Now it appears the star may be a more bizarreÑand up until now hypotheticalÑobject called a quark star, says Jeremy J. Drake of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass.
"A quark star would consist entirely of the building blocks of matter called quarks, but they wouldn't be combined into more massive particles, as they are in all matter known to date. This quark matter would include the so-called up and down quarks of which protons and neutrons are made and also "strange" quarks, which are heavier and not found in ordinary matter. "
Associated Press: E-mail scammers revive Nigerian letter fraud plot.
"Among 10,000 Americans who reported being suckered by online hoaxes last year, 16 fell victim to ... Nigerian letter fraud. Those 16 reported losses of $345,000, including two unidentified people who lost $78,000 and $74,000, respectively."
WSJ (subscription): Record Companies Should Attempt To Compete for Music Fans' Loyalty.
"Record companies can compete on selection. After all, they have all the music. But they need to dip deep into their catalogs, offering out-of-print albums and working with artists to get rare live performances online. The file-sharing phenomenon isn't about the latest from Britney Spears."
> I don't think record companies will ever understand this.
"... if a legitimate service outshines the free services on selection, reliability, ease of use, sound quality and other factors, is it so hard to believe average consumers would pay something to use it?"
I had a really good weekend with my boyz. Yesterday I stuck them in the bike trailer, and we spent four hours visiting neighborhood parks. A damn good day.
I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the kids from last August. Where does the time go?
Wall Street Journal (subscription): Genes Don't Give Humans Edge Over Their Primate Relatives.
"Ever since biologists discovered in the late 1990s that the DNA in humans and chimps is 98.7% identical, the search has been on for that magical 1.3%." ...
"... our brains aren't made of very different stuff -- genes and proteins. What distinguishes ours from theirs, rather, is which genes turn on and how much.... The kinds of proteins produced by chimp genes differ from ours by only 7.6%. The amounts of those proteins differ by 31.4%."
World Oil: Free energy?.
"The new fusion process being touted has the requisite temperature, produces the neutrons and tritium that theory calls for, and is repeatable. Well, maybe.... The fact that this paper was published at all is itself a controversy." ...
"TANSTAAFL: If the reader does not understand this term, that is too bad."
A Small Victory: Dreams, movies and happy endings.
"`Many people look at Houston as a good place to visit and a good place to live,' said Mayor Lee Brown.... `People come to Houston and they fall in love with the city.'"
> That's an outrageous exaggeration. But Houston is a cheap place to live.
Spotted on a bumper sticker --
Slate: Today's Papers. (Quoting an article from last Saturday's Los Angeles Times.)
"U.S. officials express little or no sympathy for Arafat. In private, they describe the Palestinian leader as indecisive, evasive and exasperating. But they also blame Sharon for operating -- in their view -- with no apparent strategy beyond lashing out against terrorists and fending off internal political challenges."
> And what was Sharon thinking when he declared war last week? Didn't he realize that that was just a recruitment call for more suicide bombers?
"... the shockingly abundant supply of suicide bombers, and its expansion to include females, drives home another point. Killing terrorists doesn't just fail to discourage aspiring martyrs -- it can actually create more of them."
When I visited Israel in December 2000, Israeli friends were expressing concern that the Intifada might result in an international peace-keeping force in the West Bank. The theory that was widely circulating was that this was, in fact, Arafat's true objective. I think this point of view was -- and probably still is -- a valid analysis.
Lisa Beyer, Time: What Are They Thinking? Inside the Minds of... Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon.
"[Arafat] can't fight a conventional war with Israel because he has no real military. And so the suicide bombers are his army."
> In high school (Acadiana High School in Lafayette, Louisiana), I was on the debate team with Lisa B. -- she was a debate god. A very scary god.
> For years now, her byline has been all over Time's Mideast reporting.
> Lisa doesn't mention the prospect of an international military force. Maybe that's because it still seems like a far-fetched idea. I doubt any American would like to send US troops into the middle of this mess.
> But if this conflict starts to destabilize the entire Middle East, it could happen.
Michael Bernstein is currently visiting Israel.
Here's an Israeli blog --
"Maariv reported that 93% of Israelis support the current actions against the Palestinian Authority. I'm one of them of course..."
And a Palestinian weblog --
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Middle East, let's check in on our good friends in Saudi Arabia --
National Review: Dump the Saudis. They don't deserve our support.
> O.K., that's enough politics for now.
Is this a late April Fools joke?
Good news for someone, I guess --
New York Times: Few Risks Seen to the Children of 1st Cousins.
"In the general population, the risk that a child will be born with a serious problem like spina bifida or cystic fibrosis is 3 percent to 4 percent; to that background risk, first cousins must add another 1.7 to 2.8 percentage points, the report said."
I missed Roseann O'Donnell's big network tv interview on this, but I stumbled across this essay on an ACLU site yesterday --
Let Him Stay: From Rosie.
[via Scripting News.]