Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


Slate: The Steakhouse Index. What steakhouses reveal about the weakness of the U.S. economy.

"The high price of oil has spurred demand for ethanol, which in turn has boosted the price of corn. Corn is a primary ‘input’ -- or as we say in English, ‘food’ -- for beef cattle. The combination of higher grain and energy prices has led to burgeoning inflation in food."


AOL Autos: Drive like a cop.

"Airbags save lives, but many a police officer has been unnecessarily injured because their hands were over the airbag when it went off."

The Economist: Marriage in America -- The frayed knot.

"A survey of teenagers by the University of Michigan found that 64% of boys and 57% of girls agreed that ‘it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.’ Research suggests otherwise."


I must be turning into a grumpy old man. It seems like all I do these days is bitch about the government. Here's an editorial riffing on one of my favorite subjects -- subsidies for corn ethonal --

Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune: The BP BLT, the Phillips 66 Cheesesteak - Eating Oil Instead of Food.

"Just a year or so into our current ethanol mania, the effects of feeding high quality grain to our cars are already beginning to show. Mexican maize is too valuable to waste on tortillas for poor people and milk prices are increasing faster than gas prices, as the dairy cows of America now have to compete for corn with the pork producers on Capitol Hill."

Hollywood is always way behind. I read this book 20 years ago --

First Showing: William Gibson's Neuromancer Finally Coming to the Big Screen!

"The project will get a $70 million budget with Joseph Kahn currently set to direct. Kahn has only directed one full length feature so far, the motorcycle film Torque, but he may be better known for directing Britney Spear's music video for ‘Toxic’. I think all the excitement I just had flew out the window."

> Well, I'm excited. That Britney Spear's video was hot!


Michael Graham Richard: The Hubble Space Telescope vs. New James Webb Space Telescope.

"[T]he James Webb telescope will have about 5.8 times more mirror surface area than Hubble, and it will be able to observe on frequencies that Hubble can't (though, on the other hand, it apparently won't be able to operate on Hubble's wavelengths). It is currently planned to launch in June 2013 by a European Ariane 5 rocket."


Washington Post: 4 Myths About America-Bashing in Europe.

"Why has U.S. stature in the world eroded? Opinion polls cite widespread dismay with the Iraq war, our dog-eat-dog social model and the arrogance of an imperial superpower that places itself above international law. But behind the surveys about ‘why they hate us’ lies a reservoir of goodwill waiting to be tapped among foreigners who would prefer to see the United States succeed rather than fail."


Science News: Stellar Spectacular -- Brightest supernova.

"Astronomers this week described the brightest stellar explosion ever recorded.... According to ... theory, the star that exploded must have been the heaviest on record, tipping the scale at more than 150 times the mass of the sun."


I love stuff like this --

The Size of Our World.

> I was able to find most of the stars in that comparison on this next site --

Atlas of the Universe.

> Sirius is about 10 light years distant from the Sun. Zoom out the find other stars. I didn't find Antares, which is about 600 light years distant.


Boston Globe: What does $456 billion buy?

"Breaking it down, $456 billion could buy gasoline for everybody in the United States, for about 449 days."

Walter Kessinger

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