Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


Bit of News: A Fifth State of Matter.

"When the indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose wrote his article ‘Planck's Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta’ in 1924, he was unable to get it published and ridiculed for what was simply considered an embarrassing statistical error. In desperation over the physics journals' continued rejections of his article, Bose sent it directly to the physicist he admired the most: none other than Albert Einstein. The german scientist immediately realized the importance of Bose's findings, translated the paper to german and got it published in ‘Zeitschrift für Physik.’"

Gospel truth here --

News of the Weird: The Classic Middle Name.

"It only occurred to me in the early 1990s that ‘Wayne’ was a popular middle name among a few of the most heinous murderers of our time..."

Freakonomics: The next time your daughter brings home a new boyfriend, be sure to ask his middle name.

"After going through the package, I pulled my two oldest daughters aside (they are six) and told them they were not allowed to ever have a boyfriend with the middle name ‘Wayne.’ Olivia, who is obsessed with a boy named Thomas in her class, is going to check on his middle name tomorrow."


Checking in on Voyager 1 -- Surprises from the Edge of the Solar System.

"The spacecraft left Earth in 1977 on a mission to visit Jupiter and Saturn. Almost 30 years later, with the gas giants long ago seen and done, Voyager 1 is still going and encountering some strange things."

Science News: Fossil puts youthful twist on Lucy's kind.

"The nearly complete skeleton, missing only the pelvis and a few other bones, comes from a 3-year-old Australopithecus afarensis female who died about 3.3 million years ago...."

"The shape of the Dikika girl's thighs and shins indicate that she walked upright, even at age 3, the researchers hold. However, several apelike lower-body traits support the view ... that A. afarensis sometimes climbed in trees...."

WSJ (subscription): Judge Allows Class Action For 'Light' Cigarette Smokers.

"The lawsuit, filed in 2004, accuses tobacco companies of defrauding smokers into thinking cigarette brands labeled ‘light’ or ‘low tar’ were safer than regular cigarettes when they are not." ...

"In arguing last week for the class certification, plaintiff attorney Michael D. Hausfeld said the manufacturers hoped to ‘move markets’ with a cynical marketing strategy promoting light cigarettes as a lower-risk alternative to regular cigarettes, even though their own internal documents showed they knew the risks were about the same."


The UK Sun: Car found after seven months.

"Motorist Eric King has been reunited with his car -- seven months after FORGETTING where he parked it."


NYT: People Who Share a Bed, and the Things They Say About It.

"In researching his book, Dr. Rosenblatt said even though many couples said they slept better alone, they still shared a bed. ‘When I asked why, they looked at me as if Iąd asked them why they keep breathing,’ he said."


This is really corny --

Lazy Comic: The Old Swimmin' Hole.


Slate: The Trouble With String Theory.

"But string theory works only if you assume the existence of other dimensions -- nine, 11, or 25 of them, depending on your flavor of string thinking -- and there's not one shred of evidence other dimensions exist. This may render string theory highfalutin nonsense that has hijacked academic physics."

Jory Des Jardins: The Conflicted Bride.

"I hadn't been planning my life to necessarily be a married woman; now that I am becoming one, people and society have dropped their pretenses about it not mattering."

[via Scripting News]


NYT: The Hole in the City's Heart.

Houston Chronicle: Lessons of 9/11.

"When attacked by terrorists based in one country, don't invade a country unrelated to the attacks."

> ... and please notice, this was the Houston Chronicle, not the New York Times or the Socialist Worker Daily.


Slate: Today's Papers.

"On a side note: after President Bush admitted last week that alternative interrogation methods were used in these secret prisons, there was a fair amount of discussion about what ‘alternative’ meant. Well the NYT has the scoop: it involves locking someone in a freezer and blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers as loudly as possible."

> I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but my wife has always complained that having to listen to them is torture.


My brother has spent most of the last year working in Kazakhstan, so I was quite interested to see this promo for a Kazakhstan documentary --

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.


Eloquently stating the obvious --

Slate: Donald Rumsfeld's ghastly speech.

"The fifth anniversary of 9/11 looms before us, and it's hard to say which artifact is gloomier: the awful memory of the attack itself ... or the spectacle of our leaders wrapping themselves in its legacy as if it were some tattered shroud that sanctifies their own catastrophic mistakes and demonizes all their critics."

Walter Kessinger

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