Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


AP: On Google map, everything's back to normal after Katrina.

"Google's popular map portal has replaced post-Hurricane Katrina satellite imagery with pictures taken before the storm, leaving locals feeling like they're in a time loop and even fueling suspicions of a conspiracy."

Wikipedia: The navel orange.

"A single mutation in 1820 in an orchard of sweet oranges planted at a monastery in Brazil yielded the navel orange.... Today, navel oranges continue to be produced via cutting and grafting. This does not allow for the usual selective breeding methodologies, and so not only do the navel oranges of today have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original tree's, they can even be considered to all be the fruit of that single, now centuries-old tree."

Kokogiak Gedankengang: All known bodies in the solar system larger than 200 miles in diameter.


The Skeptical Optimist: Who Owns the [US] National Debt, January 2007.

> The Chinese own a lot less that popular myth would have you believe.

Car Talk: MIT recruiting letter and response.

"The level of pomposity and lack of tact reflected in your letter is a powerful indicator that your august institution might well be a possibility for John Mongan's future education."


Incarceration Rates ...

> ... of various countries.


NYT: John W. Backus.

"John W. Backus, who assembled and led the I.B.M. team that created Fortran, the first widely used programming language, which helped open the door to modern computing, died on Saturday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 82."

[via Scripting News]


Just a reminder --

Discover Magazine: Sorry, the real universe isn't that dramatic.

"That's right, the colors in many familiar photographs of the cosmos are fake. For more than 20 years, space agencies have embellished images of the heavens."

NYT: Girls Will Be Boys.

"It is no small feat to make a romance between the world's first two transsexuals seem ho-hum, but [the story of Dr. Harold] Gillies almost manages."


Wally Picks 2007

Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA.

Three ones and a two -- but I did pick a number of upsets along the way. Here are my picks for the whole tournament.


Space science day --

New York Times: Dark energy -- a universe for beginners no more.

"But even if somebody were to figure out whether or not dark energy changes across time and space, astronomers still wouldn't know what dark energy itself is. ‘The term doesn't mean anything,’ said David Schlegel of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory this past fall. ‘It might not be dark. It might not be energy. The whole name is a placeholder. It's a placeholder for the description that there's something funny that was discovered eight years ago now that we don't understand.’"

Scientific American: Black Hole Blowback. A single black hole, smaller than the solar system, can control the destiny of an entire cluster of galaxies.

> Subscription only. Maybe I'll pick up the magazine the next time I'm at the grocery store.

> In the past four years we've gone from oceans to wet sand to lakes and now --

AP: Scientists find what they think are hydrocarbon seas on Saturn's moon Titan.

"Judging by their sizes and depths, the newly discovered seas likely aren't responsible for replenishing the long-term methane found in the moon's atmosphere, Lunine said. Instead, the source likely is underground methane reservoirs that vent to the surface."

Nature: Astronomers hash out defense against asteroids. A billion dollars needed to spot potential killer impacts.


NYT: To Have, Hold and Cherish, Until Bedtime.

"In a survey in February by the National Association of Home Builders, builders and architects predicted that more than 60 percent of custom houses would have dual master bedrooms by 2015...."

> Oh, yes, my dream house ...


L.A. Times: Ethanol still a long way off in U.S.

"Although Bush and others regularly point to Brazil as an example of what a determined nation can do to reduce its dependence on oil -- most motor vehicles in Brazil run on a blend of 80% ethanol and 20% gasoline -- there are huge differences. Brazil has been subsidizing its ethanol industry for several decades, and has a huge crop -- sugar cane -- that can efficiently be refined into ethanol." ...

"To achieve Brazil's results, the U.S. would have to turn all of its crop-producing acreage over to corn and use all of the corn for ethanol...."

AP: Europe to unplug from common light bulbs.

"The world's three largest light bulb makers said Thursday they will push European consumers to switch to energy-saving bulbs in a bid to cut carbon dioxide emissions that are believed to contribute to global warming."

Walter Kessinger

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