(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)
Big news --
LA Times: LSU slips past USC for top AP ranking.
"LSU is No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time since Nov. 2, 1959."
WSJ (subscription): Historic Surge In Grain Prices Roils Markets.
"What's changed is that powerful new sources of demand are emerging. In addition to U.S. government incentives that encourage businesses to turn corn and soybeans into motor fuel, the growing economies of Asia and Latin America are enabling hundreds of millions of people to spend more on food."
Nature: Birds may 'see' magnetic north.
"‘This means that if a bird looks in a certain direction, the magnetic north might be seen as a dark spot,’ says Heyers, although he adds that the precise way the birds see that magnetic field is subject to a bit of guess work: ‘we cannot ask [the birds] how they see it.’"
Nature: Earth's mantle in a spin.
"Jung-Fu Lin at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, and his colleagues took some iron-containing minerals known as ferropericlases and subjected them to the brutal high temperatures and pressures of the lower mantle -- the layer of the inner Earth lying just above the core, in some places more than 2,000 kilometres beneath the surface."
The problems of having a family tree without enough branches --
Wikipedia: The Ancestry of King Charles II of Spain.
"His great-great-great grandmother, Joanna I, (Joanna the Mad) ... became completely insane early in life; the fear of a taint of insanity ran through the Habsburgs. Charles descended from Joanna a total of 14 times -- twice as a great-great-great grandson, and 12 times further."
> I found all 14 on the chart!
Here's a neat little puzzle game on a Russian web site --
> Just move the patterned squares to cover their corresponding symbols.
> There's a catch, of course ...
Speaking of Faith: Animals at Play.
Green Gabbro: Galveston Bids for Darwin Award.
"Hurricanes ... happen several times per year and cause serious damage several times per decade, which is well within the 30-year timeframes used by planners and mortgage brokers. I expect people to be able to wrap their heads around that."