(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)
"Settling down each afternoon to watch Mister Rogers' eponymous television show, my brother Peter and I would wait for him to ask his famous musical question, `Won't you be my neighbor?' and we would yell back at the set, laughing uproariously, `But we ARE your neighbors!'"
"`I'm sick of winter. I'm going to go kill the groundhog,' said Carla Gaster, with the Boy Scouts of America Service Center in Nashville, Tenn...."
Thomas L. Friedman has been writing an excellent series of editorials on Iraq --
Thomas L. Friedman: Iraq threatens 50-year security system.
"We don't need a broad coalition to break Iraq. We can do that ourselves. But we do need a broad coalition to rebuild Iraq.... President Bush, if he alienates the allies from going to war -- the part we can do alone -- is depriving himself of allies for the peace -- the part where we'll need all the friends we can get."
You can find links here to more columns by this rational hawk.
"The Bush folks are big on attitude, weak on strategy and terrible at diplomacy. I covered the first gulf war, in 1990-91. What I remember most are the seven trips I took with Secretary of State James A. Baker III around the world to watch him build -- face-to-face -- the coalition and public support for that war, before a shot was fired. Going to someone else's country is a sign you respect his opinion. This Bush team has done no such hands-on spade work."
More from last week's WMAP press release --
"Rather than using more approximate numbers, astronomers can now say the universe is 13.7 billion years old, the researchers report. The new data also confirm that the universe began with a brief but humongous growth spurt, dubbed inflation." ...
"The images of the Big Bang's afterglow, known as the cosmic microwave background, also delineate the cosmos' composition: 4 percent is ordinary matter; 23 percent is invisible stuff called cold dark matter, which prompted the galaxies to coalesce; and 73 percent is so-called dark energy, which has accelerated the rate at which the universe expands."
Nature: Mars gets new icing. Red planet's poles are mostly frozen water, not carbon dioxide.
Nature: Doing the dishes wastes water.
"Some people who wash their dishes by hand are sending the environment down the drain. They can consume more than ten times the water and twice the energy of a dishwasher."
> Give it a try. If you can't figure out how it works, here's the explanation --
Scientific American: The Infant Universe, in Detail.
"New data from a NASA probe located a million miles from Earth has provided scientists with the information necessary to paint the most precise picture yet of the early universe. The long-awaited images, unveiled yesterday, support theories that posit that the universe underwent a tremendous growth spurt shortly after the big bang. Moreover, they pinpoint the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years old -- give or take 200 million years -- a mere one percent margin of error."
> Glad to hear it. What really caught my eye was this piece of truth-in-advertising --
"In its recent regulatory filings, Apple noted that it competes with Microsoft in several areas:
"`Accordingly, Microsoft's interest in producing application software for the Mac OS ... may be influenced by Microsoft's perception of its interests as the vendor of the Windows operating system,' Apple said in a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. `Discontinuance of Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products for the Macintosh platform would have an adverse effect on the company's net sales and results of operations.'"
"Hey, dude, you're getting a cell!"
Nature: Sandwich could cut solar-panel costs. Silicon replacement raises hopes of affordable solar power.
"`If [the price of] oil increased by a factor of two we're pretty close to being there,' says one of the new technology's developers, Eric McFarland of the University of California, Santa Barbara."
Scientific American: Sleep Lets Brain File Memories.
"A second study, also published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, links age-associated memory decline to high glucose levels. Previous research had shown that individuals with diabetes suffer from increased memory problems."
Unlikely to amount to anything, but --
San Francisco Chronicle: West Coast footage may hold clues to tragedy.
"Of particular interest is a startling image taken by an amateur astronomer in San Francisco, which appears to show a purplish bolt of lightning striking Columbia at it streaked across the predawn skies." ...
"Should the photograph prove significant, it would open the inquiry into a strange world of high-altitude electro-physics. The field studies a place in the skies once described by physicists as the `ignorasphere,' because so little is know about it. It is populated by ghostly electromagnetic effects that the same wags named `blue jets, elves and sprites.'"
> Over the past five or six years I've noticed a lot of research on this topic in publications of the American Geophysical Union.
> That reminds me -- I'm late paying my AGU membership dues!
CNN: World's tallest towers proposed for WTC site. Two finalists chosen; winner named late in month.
> Ugg, the THINK proposal is really maudlin.
WSJ (subscription): Skirts Head Back to Stores, But Will Women Buy Them?
"From Paris to New York, fashion designers and editors have declared super-short miniskirts and figure-hugging pencil skirts the big fashion news for women this spring."
SMU Daily Campus: Professors study Columbia's final moments. SMU experts offer theories on space shuttle's loss.
"Howell Watson retired from teaching mechanical engineering at SMU after 32 years and has become a specialist in recreating events based on wreckage.
"`People over the age of 40 will have memories of sonic booms. They used to be quite common in the earlier days,' Watson said. `What was heard was a series of sonic booms and not the explosion.'
"Watson said that as a piece of the shuttle entered the atmosphere in excess of the speed of sound, a sonic boom occurred. He explained that the size of the boom depends on the size of the piece of debris."
Associated Press: Did Columbia begin breakup over N.M.?
"The space shuttle Columbia may have begun breaking apart as it flew over eastern New Mexico, data from a high-tech listening post operated by Southern Methodist University suggests.
"Seven large subsonic explosions were recorded by an array of very-low-frequency sound detectors operated by SMU near Big Bend National Park in Texas."
CNN: Space Shuttle Columbia.
"NASA investigators were working to determine what caused the space shuttle Columbia to disintegrate into a trail of flaming debris, even as they grieved for the seven astronauts -- their friends and colleagues -- who were killed in the disaster."
Coverage and links on Scripting News.