Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


University of Arizona: Astronomers Report First Direct Evidence For Dark Matter.

"‘The bottom line is, there really is dark matter out there,’ [UA astronomy Professor Dennis Zaritsky, a member of the discovery team] said. ‘Now we just need to figure out what it is.’"

Anniversary report --

Washington Post: Gulf Cost Hurricanes.


Infoplease: The Shrinking Value of the Dollar.

I can remember getting a pay raise working my first job as a teenager, when the federal minimum wage increased from $2.90 an hour to $3.10 an hour. According to this chart, that would be the equavalent of $7.50 today.

YouTube: guitar.

> Here's the backstory --

NYT: Web Guitar Wizard Revealed at Last.

"Johann Pachelbel, the great one-hit wonder of the baroque period, originally composed his Canon in D Major for three violins, at least one chord-playing instrument (like a harpsichord or lute) and at least one bass instrument (like a cello or bassoon).... If you hadn't heard it a thousand times before -- in the movie ‘Ordinary People,’ in commercials, at all those weddings -- it might blow you away."


BBC: Pluto loses status as a planet.

"‘The eight planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune,’ said the IAU resolution, which was passed following a week of stormy debate."

CNN: Pluto gets the boot.

"... Jocelyn Bell Burnell -- a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings -- urged those who might be ‘quite disappointed’ to look on the bright side.

"‘It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist,’ she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella."

The Washington Post: Bush's New Iraq Argument -- It Could Be Worse.

"Of all the words that President Bush used at his news conference this week to defend his policies in Iraq, the one that did not pass his lips was ‘progress.’"

Fred Kaplan, Slate: What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference!


NYT: Astronomers in a Quandary Over Pluto's Status.

"Pluto was looking more and more like a goner yesterday as astronomers meeting in Prague continued to debate the definition of a planet."

Damn Interesting: Operation Acoustic Kitty.

"In declassified documents from the CIA's super-secret Science and Technology Directorate, it was revealed that some Cold-War-era cats were surgically altered to become sophisticated bugging devices." Keep Out of Children.


NYT: For Now, Pluto Holds Its Place in Solar System.

"In the hope of ending years of wrangling, a committee of astronomers and historians has proposed a new definition of the word ‘planet’ that would expand at a stroke the family of planets from 9 to 12 and leave textbooks and charts in thousands of classrooms out of date."

> Now Ceres is a planet??? Who's going to be happy with that???

Science News: Titan's Lakes -- Evidence of liquid on Saturn's largest moon.

"New radar images indicate that Saturn's giant moon Titan contains lakes of liquid hydrocarbons. The finding provides the first compelling evidence for bodies of liquid on the surface of any object besides Earth, say the researchers who analyzed the images."


Houston Chronicle: Stuck with a winning ticket.

"‘The rule of thumb we use is sudden wealth will ruin people in three to five years,’ said Thompson, president of Sage Financial Design, a Connecticut-based company whose clients include instant millionaires."

Library of Congress: Bound for Glory -- America in Color, 1939-1943.


Esquire: Things a man should know about drinking.

"29) Drinking is not a competitive sport."

CNN: Jumping sturgeon whacks jet-skier.


NYT: Last 7 Months Were Warmest Stretch on Record.

"Scorching temperatures in July, particularly strings of hot nights, were almost certainly related in part to the continuing buildup of heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases linked to global warming, said Jay Lawrimore of the National Climatic Data Center. ‘The long-term trend we're seeing cannot be explained without the influence of greenhouse gases,’ Mr. Lawrimore said."

Woo-Hoo! --

Houston Chronicle: Final order keeps DeLay on ballot.

"It's time for Tom DeLay to decide if he is going to cut or run."


Living in denial --

Associated Press: Half of U.S. still believes Iraq had WMD.

"The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight."


The Graphing Calculator: How I broke in to Apple to code for them without permission.

> Story of a software engineer who was so determined to finish his project, he broke into Cupertino every day, to code for them without pay or permission. Six months later, he snuck the app into the final version of Mac OS 9.


NYT: Evolution Opponents Lose Kansas Board Majority.

"Both moderate Republican winners face Democratic opponents in November, but the Democrats are moderates as well, favoring a return to the traditional science standards that prevailed before a conservative majority elected in 2004 passed new rules for teaching science."

Haven't tried this one yet --

Elevator Hack.

"While some elevators require a key, others can be put into "Express" mode by pressing the ‘Door Close’ and ‘Floor’ buttons at the same time."


Wikipedia: One heck of a group photo.

"Bohr, Einstein, Planck, Curie, Schrödinger, Pauli, Heisenberg, Lorentz, Dirac, Compton, de Broglie, Debye, Bragg et al at the 1927 Solvay Conference."

Walter Kessinger

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