(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)
"A team led by palaeontologist Gerta Keller of Princeton University, New Jersey, reported that a sediment core drilled in east Texas emphatically confirms a study that the group released two years ago. Sediments of glass sprayed out by the Chicxulub impact are separated from fossils killed during the mass extinction by a 300,000-year gap, they argue."
Reuters: Andromeda galaxy bigger that had been thought.
"[The new observation] makes the spiral galaxy ... more than 220,000 light-years across -- triple the previous estimate of 70,000 to 80,000 light-years.... Andromeda is 2 million light-years from Earth."
Science News: Founding Families: New World was settled by small tribe.
"A geneticist armed with computer simulations of prehistoric populations says that only about 200 to 300 people crossed the ice age land bridge from Asia to become the founding population of North America."
Warren St. John: No laughing matter -- the joke is over.
"Whatever tenuous hold the joke had left by the 1990s may have been broken by the Internet.... While getting up and telling a joke requires courage, forwarding a joke by e-mail takes hardly any effort at all. So everyone did it, until it wasn't funny anymore."
Associated Press: Angelina Jolie says she never slept with Brad Pitt.
> Whoever wrote that headline must be terribly depressed about about how his/her career in journalism turned out.
I've said some nasty things about Pat Buchanan over the years. But I'm almost starting to respect that, like Al Sharpton, he's never afraid to go way out on a limb. Way, way out.
Patrick J. Buchanan: Was World War II worth it?
"A charge of making a firearm accessible to a child is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500."
> ... and a stern lecture?
"... one recent afternoon the theater's manager and an employee spied Skilling at a nearby Starbucks. Theater employee Josh Trotter approached Skilling, asking him to autograph an ‘Enron’ poster.
"He politely declined."
The Guardian: Richard Feynman's letters.
"When I was very young, I thought my father knew everything. Indeed, Omni magazine once declared him ‘The smartest man in the world’."
> The last entry in the article is a really touching love letter.
Crooks and Liars: The Daily Show and Blogs.
> Jon Stewart pokes fun at "blogs in the news."
WSJ (subscription): How Slumping Market for SUVs Is Hurting Detroit's Bottom Line.
"An unpublished study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute estimates that profits of large and midsize SUVs for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group dropped 40%, or almost $7 billion, from 2001 to the end of last year." ...
"Industry analysts widely believe that GM and Ford make money only from SUVs, full-size pickup trucks and a few luxury cars -- while sustaining losses on everything else."
Houston Chronicle: When it comes to traffic jams, Houston ranks No. 5 in U.S.
Slate: Interest-Group Conservatism.
"Ten years ago, conservatives defined themselves in large measure by their belief in less government. Many still view themselves that way, but the self-conception no longer has anything to do with reality.
"A recent Cato Institute study points out that for the 101 biggest programs that the Contract With America Republicans proposed to eliminate as unnecessary in 1995, spending has now risen 27 percent under a continuously Republican Congress."
Associated Press: Evolution debate resurfaces in Kansas schools.
"Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, Kansas education officials began four days of trial-like hearings to consider changes to how Kansas students are tested on the origins of life."
> This is so depressing. And the situation is really much worse than it appears.
> Here's a poll taken last November --
The Gallup Organization: Third of Americans Say Evidence Has Supported Darwin's Evolution Theory. Almost half of Americans believe God created humans 10,000 years ago.
> This poll didn't cover it, but I wonder how many of those same respondents would have professed belief that Earth, or even the Universe, is also only 10,000 years old.
> It's time for me to plug these guys --
"The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defends the teaching of evolution in public schools."
> Sometime in the last couple of years I let my own membership slide -- but the news items above motivated me to pull out a credit card.
Associated Press: Images of dead kids one reason for PG-13 Sith.
"Episode III - Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars tale to receive a PG-13 rating. The movie was screened for reporters Tuesday night at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, and the PG-13 rating -- ‘for sci-fi violence and some intense images’ -- is well-deserved.
"The action is relentless and includes sequences more dark and disturbing than anything previously seen in the tragic Skywalker soap opera."
> I am stunned! I was planning on taking my 9-year-old next week -- he loves Star Wars -- but from the description in this article, I think he needs to wait a couple of years.
Scripting News: Happy Birthday to Dave.
"And that, my friends, is both the curse and the blessing of humanity. It's the curse because it haunts each of us from the age of seven or eight when it first hits us that we're going to die too. I remember very well lying in bed as a small child totally freaked out about this. It becomes the backdrop of all we do, it's where our sense of urgency comes from, if it weren't for this, why would we ever actually do anything?"