Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


I'm making an editorial decision -- I'm not going to cover the Enron trial, which is starting this week. If you want full coverage, I'm sure The Houston Chronicle will have at least four stories a day for the next several months.


It's been available for months, but I haven't pointed to Google Earth before because most of The Woodlands is right outside the high resolution satellite coverage, and that irritates me no end. But it is a great free reference tool that you can waste hours playing with, so you really should download it.

Here's the result of a toogle image search for Houston. And for me!

Talking Points Memo: When was the last time there was a major terror alert?

"They were something like a regular occurrence for the eighteen months or so before the 2004 election. And through 2004 the administration pushed the line that al Qaida was aiming to disrupt the elections themselves. But as near I can tell there hasn't been a single one since election day."


Houston Chronicle: New Orleans residents are enraged over recovery plan.

"The population of New Orleans was 462,000 before the tragic flooding. It is estimated to be about 144,000 now and could grow to 247,000 by September 2008, the Rand Corporation estimates."


AP: LSD discoverer still enjoying his trip through life at 100.

"Hofmann was the first person to test the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a repeat of the laboratory experiment in April 1943."

NYT: Nearly 100, LSD's Father Ponders His 'Problem Child'.


Science News: Science News of the Year 2005.

"It's anyone's guess which of the items listed in the following pages will turn out in future decades to be important advances and which will have future readers scratching their heads."


The Daily Advertiser: Hugh Thompson, hero who stopped My Lai massacre, dies at 62.

"Hugh Thompson Jr., 62, the helicopter pilot who was reviled and then made a hero for his role in stopping the infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, died about 12:30 a.m. today...."

The author of this next article usually makes me uncomfortable. He's not shy about voicing his distain for Zionism, and a strong support for the Iraq invasion.

Like the author, however, I've never been a fan of Sharon; even recently, when Sharon appeared to be following the right path, like withdrawing from Gaza, I distrusted the motives behind his actions.

The "Nixon to China" analogy in this piece is certainly worth a thought, though --

Christopher Hitchens, Slate: What Sharon Did. The Bulldozer's long, brutal career ended better than anyone expected.

"It's usual at this point to make comparisons with Charles de Gaulle in Algeria or Richard Nixon in China: that bizarre political alchemy whereby it's supposed to be easier for hard-liners to make concessions."

> Incidentally, if the Palestinians can't get their act together in Gaza, independent Palestine is going to become a "failed state" before it ever gets started.

> While I'm on the topic of Sharon, let's get a commentary from Pat Robertson, everyone's favorite Christian evangelist nutcase --

Media Matters: Robertson blamed Sharon stroke on policy of "dividing God's land".

> The next time Pat Robertson suffers ill health -- nothing serious, maybe just a head cold -- I hope the Christian Broadcasting Network remembers to put out a press release blaming his bad fortune on "God's enmity."


When I visited my in-laws last September, I was shocked to discover that my father-in-law didn't have any of his HDTV's connected properly. Apparently he's not the only one --

Mac Night Owl: HDTV is definitely not plug-and-play.

"... a survey reported by Scientific Atlanta, a major builder of set top boxes, concludes that less than half the people who own these magnificent new TV sets are actually watching real high definition. The rest of you? Well, you're seeing standard definition TV, which may or may not look as good as a regular set."

Houston Chronicle: Sunday's high of 81 degrees sets record for Houston.

"Eleven days into winter, the mercury reached 81 Sunday, beating the previous high of 80 set in 1934."

> That's 27 degrees C for non-US readers.


Happy New Year!

Houston Chronicle: Houston is 'Texan of the Year'.

"A Dallas newspaper just named the entire city of Houston ‘Texan of the Year.’"

Via Scripting News --

AP: Pack of angry Chihuahuas attacks officer.

"A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home after a traffic stop, authorities said."

> We got a new dog yesterday -- a ferocious Shih Tzu puppy.

Washington Post: Stem Cell Advance Is Fully Refuted.

"Korean news outlets also reported that the ongoing probe into one of the biggest scientific frauds in memory had broadened to embrace allegations that government officials -- concerned about the shame such revelations could bring upon their country -- may have attempted to bribe scientists who were considered potential whistle-blowers."

> I think the real story here was the courage of the mostly young researchers who took a leading role in exposing this fraud.

Walter Kessinger

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