Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


Science News: Dark Doings.

"Cosmic acceleration is ‘not just another mystery,’ says [Joseph Lykken of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory]. ‘It's getting at something fundamental in our understanding of gravity, energy, and quantum theory. It may take us 20 years to [figure it out], but it will open a whole new chapter in physics, a revolution in our understanding of the world.’"


Did anyone see Bush's speech on Monday night?

Slate: Exit Strategy.

"People of Iraq, I say to you:

"Stop trying to kill us, so we can leave. But also, do not fear. We are in it for the long haul, although we cannot stay with you indefinitely. No, as soon as you stop trying to kill us, believe us, you will never see us again. Therefore, trust us, people of Iraq, have faith, we assure you: As long as you continue trying to kill us, we will never abandon you."

A related topic --

Scientific American: Do we really use only 10 percent of our brains?

"Losing far less than 90 percent of the brain to accident or disease has catastrophic consequences. What is more, observing the effects of head injury reveals that there does not seem to be any area of the brain that can be destroyed by strokes, head trauma, or other manner, without leaving the patient with some kind of functional deficit."


Houston Chronicle: Crash fuels cell phone debate.

"... the New England Journal of Medicine has reported that drivers talking on a cell phone are four times as likely to get into a motor vehicle accident -- a risk similar to that of drunken driving."

The Sun: Cheese to meet you.

"A dating website has compiled Britain's Top 30 worst chat-up lines.... Sun lothario Stewart Whittingham hit the streets to try out some of the chart's worst lines."


Baltimore Sun: 2,900 feet below the bay, piece of geological puzzle.

"... the largest impact crater in the United States [is] a formation the size of Rhode Island created 35 million years ago when a massive meteor smashed into the planet. The meteor sent rocks flying as far as the Gulf of Mexico and carved out geological rifts that created the Chesapeake Bay."

Damn, Houston just lost one of its two classical music radio stations --

Houston Chronicle: With sale to chain, classical station to switch formats.

"Radio One said it plans to change the call letters and format of KRTS, and the acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter, Radio One said in a prepared statement."

> As it is now, I only use four of the six radio buttons in my car. Now I'm down to three.

Slate: The Big Lab Experiment. Was our universe created by design?

"‘When I invented chaotic inflation theory, I found that the only thing you needed to get a universe like ours started is a hundred-thousandth of a gram of matter,’ Linde told me in his Russian-accented English when I reached him by phone at Stanford." ...

"‘You might take this all as a joke,’ he said, ‘but perhaps it is not entirely absurd. It may be the explanation for why the world we live in is so weird. On the evidence, our universe was created not by a divine being, but by a physicist hacker.’"


WSJ (subscription): Universe's Big Events May Help Shed Light on the Smallest Ones.

"Quantum physics, which describes electrons and quarks and other fundamental particles, had found that even in empty space, particles can pop into existence, albeit fleetingly. What if, Prof. Tryon asked, the universe sprang from just such a quantum fluctuation that, well, got out of hand?

"Perhaps, he wrote, our universe is just ‘one of those things that might happen from time to time.’ His speculation became the basis for what is now the leading theory (well supported by astronomical observations) of how the universe was born and evolved."


Houston Chronicle: Mysterious 'dark energy' still expanding universe.

"The studies led by Fabian and Steve Allen, both from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England, suggest that if the universe continues to expand at its current pace, stars could fade from night view in 100 billion years."

I'm sure this is a hoax, but what the hell --

Ananova: Childless couple told to try sex.


NYT: Scientists Say Crater Is Result of a Killer Meteor.

"A buried geological formation off the northwest coast of Australia, long thought to be remnants of an old volcano, is actually a 125-mile-wide crater formed by a devastating meteor strike 251 million years ago, scientists asserted [Thursday]. It was that meteor, they went on, that caused the largest mass extinction in the Earth's history."


Misheard Lyrics Stories: Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" --

"We were playing an outdoor festival one day and this old woman came up to us and said ‘Could you please play slow-motion Walter? I just love that song.’ I asked her what she was talking about because I was stumped and she said ‘Oh you know, the one that goes *singing* Sloooooow motion Walter, The fire engine guy.’"

Walter Kessinger

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