Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)


Nature: Big diamonds grown faster.

"... Russell Hemley of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and colleagues have developed a method for depositing fresh diamond rapidly and without flaws onto existing gems."

New Scientist: Lorenzo's oil finally proven to work.

"The controversial do-it-yourself medicine that inspired the heart-rending movie Lorenzo's Oil has finally been proved to work. The new research ends years of uncertainty about the treatment and demolishes the claims of experts who repeatedly said it was a worthless quack remedy."

BBC News: Blondes 'to die out in 200 years'.

"A study by experts in Germany suggests people with blonde hair are an endangered species and will become extinct by 2202."

Be sure to read the update!


Regardless of your political preferences, I think this is a fun site:

Make your own Bush speech.

(The warning at the bottom says this page may not be up much longer.)

A cool optical illusion.


If you drive your car into large puddles...


Ouch! That must have hurt!

[link via]


More popular science links --

Science News: Hole in the Middle: Are midsize black holes the missing link?

"The presence of midsize black holes may explain how supermassive black holes form, Gebhardt notes. One clue is that despite their extraordinary difference in mass, both midsize and supermassive black holes obey the same rule: Their mass is 0.5 percent that of the hub of stars and gas that surrounds them. That pattern suggests that black holes within globular clusters merge to build supermassive black holes. And this suggests that the merging of globular clusters built the cores of galaxies, Gebhardt adds."

Astronomy: Painted Moon.

"Earlier this month, news headlines were abuzz proclaiming the possibility that Earth has a second moon. Almost from the start, astronomers suspected the newfound object orbiting Earth wasn't natural, but they couldn't yet prove it. Now, two University of Arizona researchers have the first direct evidence that the enigmatic object is a Saturn V rocket stage from the Apollo era."

Science News: Veggie Bites: Fossil suggests carnivorous dinosaurs begat vegetarian kin.

"Scientists describing the new species say its remains provide the first distinct dental evidence for plant-eating habits among theropod dinosaurs, a class made famous by its carnivores, including Tyrannosaurus rex.... The large worn areas on Incisivosaurus' front teeth, as well as smaller ones on most of its cheek teeth, indicate that upper and lower teeth made contact during chewing, as they do in modern herbivores."

I may not be a bio-anything (I never even took college biology), but I've always suspected this --

Nature: DNA codes own error correction. Genetic alphabet is like computer parity code.

"DNA's double helix consists of two twisted molecular strands bound together by hydrogen bonds. The four building blocks of each strand are called nucleotides. Their names are adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine, and are abbreviated to A, T, C and G. These four stick together very selectively: A to T, and C to G." ...

"... genetic information became encoded in A, T, C and G ... not just by chance but a result of the parity code that this subset of molecular building blocks forms."

Scientific American: Why does fat deposit on the hips and thighs of women and around the stomachs of men?

"For women, this so-called sex-specific fat appears to be physiologically advantageous, at least during pregnancies.... The potbelly, on the other hand, is a typical male form of obesity that has no known advantage and can be life threatening."


I've haven't posted any "popular science" links recently because I've fallen behind on my popular science reading. Anyway --

Science News: Missed ZZZ's, More Disease? Skimping on sleep may be bad for your health.

Nature: Rivers ran with gold three billion years ago.

"The arguments about how South Africa's Witwatersrand Basin became laden with gold have raged ever since the deposits were discovered. More gold has come from these 7,000 square kilometres than from any continent -- about 50,000 tonnes over 120 years, nearly half of all the gold ever mined."

Green Gabbro: New Moon Over Kentucky.

"Possibly the coolest thing to happen this year: Earth got a new moon...."


William Saletan, Slate: Don't fetishize Sept. 11.

"Why, then, do we focus on anniversaries? Why do we in the media organize our coverage around them? Because we can plan easily for them. In the age of terrorism, it is the worst of all possible reasons: We know they're coming. We know exactly what they are and exactly when they'll happen."

> Don't spend the day being bummed out!


Wall Street Journal (free): IM takes off in corporate world. Technology commonly used by teens catches on with elders.

"`Having someone in your contact list deepens your relationship,' adds Francis deSouza, president of IM Logic Inc. a Boston provider of IM software add-ons. `It's like being in a cubicle with someone. After a year, you actually become friends.'"

> I've never used IM, and I keep thinking, "Maybe I'm missing something." Then I think, "Maybe I can keep on missing it."


Conversation between my wife and my six-year-old son during a long car drive this Labor Day weekend:

"Do you think Santa Claus will bring me coal this year?"

"No, Christopher, I don't think you'll get coal for Christmas."

"But I wouldn't mind if he did bring me some, because, you know, I like rocks."

Walter Kessinger

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