Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


I got three in the Final Four. I've done better, but it's been a long time.

No hard numbers, but I'll take her word for it --

Eve Sprunt, Hart's E&P: US fortress hurting economy.

"The United States has long benefited as the recipient of the intellectual riches of the world through a worldwide brain drain." ...

"In the aftermath of 9/11, the response of trying to protect the American public by isolationism is understandable. However, in the global economy, a fortress mentality will penalize the isolated group."


George Will: Nevada's Big Test.

"Beyond the ridge is Frenchman Flat, where above-ground nuclear tests were a spectator sport between 1951 and 1962. Residents of Las Vegas took lawn chairs into the mountains to watch mushroom clouds rise into dawn skies. The Flat, still flecked with seared and twisted metal from vehicles and structures exposed to the blasts, is 65 miles from the Las Vegas Strip."


I just wanted to point out that my picks did pretty well last night. The three teams I had picked all won, and Bobby Knight and Texas Tech lost.


Back to the games tonight. My final four are still alive. For now.


BBC: North Sea crater shows its scars.

"What is thought to be the UK's only space impact crater has been mapped in detail in 3D for the first time. The so-called Silverpit structure lies several hundred metres under the floor of the North Sea, about 130km (80 miles) east of the Yorkshire coast." ...

"To the sceptics, though, there is a more mundane explanation for the Silverpit features which does not require an extraterrestrial impactor."


WSJ (subscription): Rock's Oldest Joke -- Yelling 'Freebird!' In a Crowded Theater.

"So what do the members of Skynyrd think of the tradition? Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie's brother and the band's singer since 1987, ... has a confession: His wife persuaded him to see Cher in Jacksonville a couple of years ago, and he couldn't resist yelling ‘Freebird!’ himself. ‘My wife is going, 'Stop! Stop!'’ he recalls, laughing. ‘I embarrassed the hell out of her.’"


SF Gate: Who Will Free Fiona Apple?

"‘Extraordinary Machine’ is an album that Apple finished over two years ago, but which was quickly shelved by the sad corporate drones over at Sony because they didn't ‘hear a single’ and because it doesn't sound exactly like Norah Jones and because they're, well, corporate drones." ...

"But now, a hot new twist. The rest of ‘Extraordinary Machine’ has, somehow, been leaked onto this fair Internet. All of it."

> Here's the complete album --

Fiona Apple MP3s.

> I enjoyed it, but the Sony suits were right -- it's not "commercial." If they had given it a regular commercial release, it would have disappeared before it hit the shelves. I'm sure I would never have heard of it.

> So maybe this free internet release is a ploy to rescue a non-commercial effort by creating a Wilco-type controversy. Or maybe it's just a magnanimous gesture by a big corporation, giving away what they can't sell. Whatever.

> At least check out the title cut, and maybe "Red, Red, Red" or "A Better Version of Me." What the heck, it's free.


Dark matter and dark energy are clearly 'mysteries,' but I think a lot of this list is bogus --

New Scientist: 13 things that do not make sense.

"Take our best understanding of gravity, apply it to the way galaxies spin, and you'll quickly see the problem: the galaxies should be falling apart. Galactic matter orbits around a central point because its mutual gravitational attraction creates centripetal forces. But there is not enough mass in the galaxies to produce the observed spin."

Cornell Chronicle: Hans Bethe, titan of physics and conscience of science, dies at 98.

"Despite the turmoil of history, Bethe remained committed to the idea of physics as a thing of beauty leading to discovery and understanding, a quest that he called ‘the spirit of physics.’ It was a spirit enunciated by his famously optimistic phrase ‘I can do that,’ always said in the face of opposition or adversity. Salpeter noted that Bethe's optimism sprang from knowing how to use the minimum mathematical complexity compatible with each problem he faced. ‘In his hands, approximations were not a loss of elegance but a device to bring out the basic simplicity and beauty of each field,’ he said."

AP: After 2 years, seeking end to 'war of aggression'.

> I have to say, a protest seems kind of pointless now. We can't leave Iraq, not without creating a much bloodier civil war than the on-going one.

> We have no choice now but to spend another $100 billion, and some Iraqi, American and British blood, trying to rebuild the place.


Reuters: No escape from global warming, 2 research teams say.

"Virtually no one disagrees human activity is fueling global warming, and a global treaty signed in Kyoto, Japan, aims to reduce polluting emissions. But the world's biggest polluter, the United States, has withdrawn from the 1997 treaty, saying its provisions would hurt the U.S. economy." ...

"‘We found that just based on the ingredients that have already been put into the atmosphere in the 20th century, we already are committed to another half a degree (or 0.9 degree Fahrenheit) of global warming,’ [National Center for Atmospheric Research's Gerald] Meehl said."


I bet you thought I forgot.

Nope. Here they are --

Illy, Louie, UK



... with North Carolina to take it all.

As usual, here are all my picks. (The tournament hasn't even started, and I've already lost a game!)


I'm extracting this quote for informational purposes from an otherwise pointless article --

AP: Just as you suspected, you're overworked.

"Baby Boomers [are] those between 40 and 59 years old.... Generation Yers are ages 18 to 25, while Generation X workers are 26 to 39 years old."


Nature: Stars can only grow so big.

"We'll never find a star larger than about 150 times the size of our Sun, according to observations of a star cluster at the centre of our Galaxy."

Wolfram Research: Euclid's Postulates.


Houston Chronicle: Woodlands' goal: 'Redefine ourselves.' Interview with CEO of The Woodlands Development Co.

"The Woodlands is a series of municipal utility districts that provide sewer and water to residents and maintain roads."

> Hey, I'm looking forward to seeing that on some sales brochures!

> Seriously, though, this D'Alesandro guy is _exactly_ on target regarding Houston annexation of The Woodlands. I hope my fellow Woodlands residents are willing to accept some compromises when Houston comes knocking in 2011 and demanding its tribute. Otherwise, we're going to end up like those poor sods down in Kingwood.


Unconfirmed Sources: White House Issues Warning As Mount Saint Helens Blows Off Steam.

"While scientists do not believe a major eruption is imminent, the Bush Administration has issued a stern warning to the mountain, saying that America will not tolerate seismic activity on it's soil."


Houston Chronicle: Marine looks back at his deer career.

"After decades of silence, a tough Marine has come forward with his clean little secret: He's the voice of Bambi."


Paul Graham: What you'll wish you'd known.

"The only real difference between adults and high school kids is that adults realize they need to get things done, and high school kids don't. That realization hits most people around 23. But I'm letting you in on the secret early. So get to work. Maybe you can be the first generation whose greatest regret from high school isn't how much time you wasted."

BBC (?): Sheep Dash!

> I find I do better with the sound on.

[via /usr/bin/girl, of course.]


Er, there really doesn't seem to be much of anything on the Internet today.

Science News: Martian Landscaping: Spacecraft eyes evidence of a frozen sea.

"A flat region near the Red Planet's equator may hold a frozen ocean that was once as deep and big as the North Sea." Time to View Planet Mercury is Now.

"Currently, Mercury is visible about 45 minutes after sunset, very near to the horizon, just to the south (left) of due west."

Slate: Hosni Mubarak: Elections or no, he's still Pharaoh.

"The 76-year-old Mubarak's hold on power appeared to be absolute and his love for it unyielding: so much so that his sudden gesture at first blush appears to signal a rupture in Arab politics, the crack in the dam that will unleash democracy in the Middle East. But ... Saturday's move is less a big shift in response to mounting internal and external pressures than a hard-nosed concession designed to strengthen and lengthen his waning days in office while he prepares the ground for his ruling party to carry on without him -- possibly with his son at its helm."


I was half-way through this before I realized that it wasn't meant to be a joke --

20 Ways To Say No.

[via Kyrie O'Connor]


The Guardian: Underwater bike ride to launch students' eight-week crime spree.

"... a couple of students from Cornwall are intent on making American criminal history by spending their summer breaking as many US laws as possible."


In Memory of Jef Raskin.

> Originator of the Macintosh project at Apple.

Walter Kessinger

Stale Thoughts Archive Walter's Home Page