Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


Steven Levy, Newsweek: Sex, Secret Codes and Videogames.

"First of all, let me express my shock -- total jaw-dropped, head-slapped, loss-for-words shock -- upon learning that a hidden scene in the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas depicts a somewhat graphic sexual encounter. Who would imagine such a thing in a game that lets millions of people vicariously engage in simulated cop-killing, 'ho-running, drug dealing and drive-by shooting?" ...

"My gut tells me that simulating the actions of a heartless gangsta is something to discourage, and I've banned GTA from my household. My 15-year-old considers the ban absurd.... Tough."


NYT: Planet or Not, Pluto Now Has Far-Out Rival.

"The astronomers do not have an exact size for the new planet, but its brightness and distance tell them that it is larger than Pluto, the smallest of the nine known planets."


Gizmodo: iPod Video Revealed!

"God you guys are worse than engadget."


Neutrino geophysics --

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: First Measurement of Geoneutrinos at KamLAND.

"Results from KamLAND, an underground neutrino detector in central Japan, show that anti-electron neutrinos emanating from the earth, so-called geoneutrinos, can be used as a unique window into the interior of our planet, revealing information that is hidden from other probes.... In a paper presented in the July 28, 2005 issue of the journal Nature, an international collaboration of 87 authors from 14 institutions spread across four nations has demonstrated the ability of the KamLAND detectors to accurately measure the radioactivity of the uranium and thorium isotopes, the two main sources of terrestrial radiation."


Brought to you by the people responsible for Consumer Reports --

Jib Jab: The Drugs I Need.


Jon Stewart explains the Karl Rove scandal --

Underground Clips: The Best Leak Ever.

CNET: Top 10 web fads.


Google: Moon.

"In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we've added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor. Happy lunar surfing."


Houston Chronicle: Daylight-saving plan has critics burning.

"The proposal -- perhaps the most visible change triggered under Congress' sweeping overhaul of the nation's energy strategy -- would have Americans turn their clocks forward one hour on the first Sunday in March, rather than the first Sunday in April.

"Daylight-saving time would then continue until the last Sunday in November. Currently, the nation ‘falls back’ to standard time the last Sunday in October."


Science News: Dr. Feynman's Doodles.

"As he was making these pictures to visualize various terms, Feynman suddenly had an inkling of the revolutionary path he was on. ‘Wouldn't it be funny if this turns out to be useful, and the Physical Review would be all full of these funny-looking pictures?’ he thought to himself...."


Prof Yash Pal, The Chandigarh Tribune, India: This Universe.

"... the universe is choc-full of sensational things and occasionally even scientists can lapse into romantic talk." ...

"I can see the stuff I am made of cooked in the middle of star. I can imagine that the water I drink was sometime part of a comet circling the sun for a million years. Such musings give me a sense of belonging and indestructibility and make me feel as a significant element in the magnificent dram of this universe."


UCSD: X-Ray Oscillations From Biggest Star Quake In Universe Provide Clues To Mysterious Interior of Neutron Stars.

"Most of the millions of neutron stars in our Milky Way galaxy produce magnetic fields that are a trillion times stronger than those of the Earth. But astrophysicists have discovered less than a dozen ultra-high magnetic neutron stars, called ‘magnetars,’ with magnetic fields a thousand times greater -- strong enough to strip information from a credit card at a distance halfway to the moon.

"These intense magnetic fields are strong enough they sometimes buckle the crust of neutron stars, causing ‘star quakes’ that result in the release of gamma rays, a more energetic form of radiation than X-rays."


Hey you! Get back to work! --

Reuters: U.S. workers admit to wasting over 2 hours a day.

"U.S. workers say they squander over two hours a day at the workplace, with surfing the Web, socializing with co-workers and simply ‘spacing out’ among the top time-wasting activities, according to a survey released today."


This is London: Terror attacks rock London.

"A series of terrorist blasts ripped through central London today leaving scores of casualties."

Here are some links to blogs covering the attacks --

Houston Chronicle: London Blasts.


Internet News: Smaller Screens, Bigger Brains.

"In one study, ... researchers at the Dunedin School of Medicine ... found that the more time the research subjects had spent watching TV during childhood, the more likely they were not to have made it through college." ...

"A second study ... found that kids who had a TV in their bedrooms had significantly lower test scores than those who didn't. Kids without a bedroom boob tube [who] did have access to a home computer had the highest test scores."

Walter Kessinger

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