Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


Conversation with my five-year-old:

"Dad, sometimes when I hear music, it make me think of things I want to do when I get married."

"Uh ... like what?!?"

"Dance with a girl like this." (Raises one hand above an imaginary partner and makes twirling motions with the other hand.)

"Oh! You want to learn ballroom dancing."

"When I grow up, I'm going to marry lots of girls who don't want to have children so that I can dance with them like that."

"Well, um, Kenneth ... you don't have to marry a girl to dance with her. You can, um, dance, uh, with lots of girls ... before you get married....

"... Maybe we should enroll you in dancing lessons."


Via /usr/bin/girl:

Hand Shadows To Be Thrown Upon The Wall.

> I had a paperback copy of this book when I was a kid! Great stuff! I could do about half of them.

> I didn't remember that it originally dated from the 1850's.


CBC News, Canada: UN: Demand for robots expected to increase.

"The report said more than 600,000 domestic robots were in use at the end of 2003. Close to 70 per cent of the robots were purchased last year, mostly as robotic vacuum cleaners."


MIT News Office: MIT's Wilczek wins 2004 Nobel Prize in physics.

As a consciquence of my AGU membership, I get a monthly subscription to Physics Today. In fact, my Physics Today subscription is probably the main reason I keep up my AGU membership.

Hands down, the best features in Physics Today are the occasional columns on particle physics written by Frank Wilczek. Unfortunately, these are usually a subscriber only feature on the Physics Today web site. But I see in this announcement on the Physics Today web site that they've made several of Wilczek's articles freely available, and I would suggest reading every one of them --

Physics Today: Coverage of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2004.

Here's a lecture by Prof. Wilczek available from MIT's web site. It requires RealPlayer software, and it's a seriously intense hour and 20 minutes.

MIT World: The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity.

Science News: Modern Telescopes Illuminate 400-Year-Old Astronomical Mystery.

"Four hundred years ago this past weekend, skywatchers witnessed the appearance of a new object in the western sky.... Now astronomers are using space telescopes to better understand our galaxy's most recent supernova." ...

"Of the six known Milky Way supernovae, Kepler's remnant remains the only one for which scientists do not yet know the cause."


Houston Chronicle: Maxime Faget, NASA engineer, dies at 83.

> If I'm not mistaken, he was the model for short engineer in the control room in the movie "Apollo 13." One of the best scenes in the film was when his character stood up to everyone and told them, "We're not discussing whether we can still land this mission on the moon. We talking about whether or not we can get this crew back to earth alive."


Science News: Humming Along: Ocean waves may cause global seismic noise.

"Our planet's outer shell is constantly pulsing. Earthquakes trigger many of these ripples, but the ground undulates imperceptibly even on days devoid of significant temblors. Scientists have dubbed these persistent vibrations ‘Earth's hum.’

"The largest undulations in this seismic background noise occur at frequencies between 2 and 7 millihertz, or once every few minutes, says Barbara A. Romanowicz, a seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Each day, the energy driving these worldwide oscillations is the equivalent of that released during a magnitude 5.7 earthquake."

San Jose Mercury News: Winter waves may make Earth hum. Storms create ripples that shake the planet's core [crust], study suggests.

"Now, with instruments in California and Japan, scientists have pinpointed the source. The hum, they say, starts in the oceans, when winter storms whip the waves into a frenzy."

Nature: Earth's mantle can generate methane. Untapped fossil-fuel reserves could be hidden deep within our planet.

"... the best way to obtain methane generated in the mantle would be to look for pockets in the crust where rising gas has become trapped. But ... the amount of gas is unlikely to be significant compared with the oil and gas reserves we already know about."

Michael Shermer, Scientific American: The Myth Is the Message. Yet another discovery of the lost continent of Atlantis shows why science and myth make uneasy bedfellows.

"What if Plato made up the story for mythic purposes?

"He did. Atlantis is a tale about what happens to a civilization when it becomes combative and corrupt. Plato's purpose was to warn his fellow Athenians to pull back from the precipice created by war and wealth."

Walter Kessinger

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