Wednesday, March 30, 2005
we have done it, (or at least finally admitted to it..... again). We have irrevocably (on the human time-scale) altered the earth for the worst. here is a quick excerpt: Study highlights global decline
The most comprehensive survey ever into the state of the planet concludes that human activities threaten the Earth's ability to sustain future generations.
The report says the way society obtains its resources has caused irreversible changes that are degrading the natural processes that support life on Earth.
end except. (here is another story on same subject)
And the 'best' part is that we won't have to clean it all up, it will be the problem of our children and grand children. Thats the wonderful thing about ecological problems, they tend to run on a time scale just barely longer than that of a single human life so people just ignore them.... let the next generation deal with it. I have seen the next generation and wonderful though it might be, I do not know that it will be any better at dealing with this.
On a (heh) happier note, Exercise is suggested as a good step in combatting depression.
The BBC has a great list of the top 10 unusual accidents in the UK, number 2 looks like the result of guys lighting their farts on fire.
On a more serious note, the Marburg virus outbreak continues and has Scientists Puzzled. They are trying to figure out why this rare disease showed up and why it seems to be attacking children. Considering that this virus is not very infectious (close contact required) how are all these children passing it around but no the adults. It is also weird in its location (geographical).
I need to correct something I said earlier about Marburg. I said that it had a 90% death rate. That is incorrect. Marburg has historically had between 23 and 75% death rate. Better but not by much. There is no known treatment (lassa is the only hemorrhagic fever I know of with a treatment) or vaccine. Containment is the only answer and that tends to be pretty easy due to the low level of transmissibility.
Ingenuity trumps cash, yet again. This time around an underwater robotics contest was won by a group of illegal mexcian-american immigrants who built their robot in three days for 800 bucks against teams that spent months and up to 11 thousand (including MIT). Here is the full story from wired. And just to hammer home the point, wired did a recent article on another robotics (highschool level only) competition called FIRST that, year after year, is won by schools with almost no budget and students from lower scoio-economic status over schools with big budgets and major funding and high socio-economic standing.
An ACTUAL cause may have been found for autism, as opposed to the fear-mongering that has been going on lately.
and thats all for now.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This is a cool device that scares the crap out of me. I once read a great short story, by William Gibson if I am correct in the Mona Lisa Overdrive collection. In it a character (a minor one, but important all the same) commits suicide by re-programming/tricking the medical-bot on his starship so that it will run an autopsy on him while he is still alive. This new device, though truly useful and worth investing in and making and etc. brings up fears of someone remotely controlling or reprogramming it. Well, I hope the guys making this thing take that as a cautionary tale and put lots of safe guards into it. Here is a link to a more complete blurb on the 'trauma pod'.
So a company called daystar has come up with a thin-film photovoltaic cell that is based on titanium foil instead of silicon. (here is a better link, but the first one is still valid) That gets rid of the problem of a shortage of solar-grade silicon but it brings up the fact that titanium, which is being increasingly used in just about everything, is also in limited supply. Here is a link to wikipedia on how solar cells work.
Gatta love the commercial spirit. Someone decided they wanted to sell something that required no shipping but allowed them to create new fashions. So they came up with this. (in truth I know there are other reasons for this, but I choose not to mention them)
Britian's top climatologist backs global warming claims. How come they have a top climatologist and all America has is a top Scientific Advisor chosen by his ability to tow the party line?
Location is more important that funding past a certain point when it comes to conservation.
Cool article on how the Secret Service cracks encryption on seized hardware.
thats it for now.
Monday, March 28, 2005
I just found a to-do list from two months ago. To my great non-surprise I found that only two items had been completed.
well, then. Lets get this done quickly and get back to work, which is the important thing between the hours of 7:30am and 4:30pm.
When they made airport security a federal job, it was supposed to raise the level of expertise and increase security. Well we can see the effects here (and here) which is to say that it has had no (good) effect on security what-so-ever.
First off another person has died from it, this time its a 17-year-old girl. That means it has begun attacking (and killing) people who should normally be able to withstand a bout of flu. On top of that it seems that its possible many more people have/had it then was really reported.
In related news a group of opinionated scientists think that the US's attempts at a flu vaccine for the H5N1 strain, while admirable, are misguided. They suggest that even if a vaccine is created there will not be enough time to mass produce it in order to avoid a pandemic. hmmm.... not doing enough..... not doing the right thing.... and not doing it in a timely fashion. Yup, I think I agree.
Moving to other nasty destructive biological catastrophes in the making. Canada has decided to help Angola with its Marburg virus outbreak. Thank god. That stuff makes H5N1 look like a walk in the park. For the record my knowledge of hemorrhagic fevers comes almost exclusively from a book I read "LEVEL 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC" which was actually more about hemorrhagic fevers than anything else. A great read, I do suggest it. One of the major items that the author speaks about is that many of these outbreaks can be easily contained if appropriate barrier nursing techniques are used. This is not high-tech stuff. This means using gowns, masks and gloves. Never coming into direct contact with bodily fluids, and washing everything down with home made bleach. Marburg (like lassa and ebola and crimean hemorrhagic fever) is transfered by bodily fluids, not through the air and not from a simple sneeze (though by no means should you personally test that). Instead of following these simple rules, medical people the world over do one of two things: 1) get the blood of the infected person all over themselves or 2) assume the infected person will infect others by breathing near them and therefore refuse to get close enough to treat them. Both are stupid. The second is a more western response.
anyway, enough of that.
Here is an op-ed about one (actually two) guy's opinion on how to fix healthcare in America.
Don't believe everything you read on a product's website. for instance, this shark repellent has been shown to be nearly useless. More than a few people wearing it have been eaten or killed by sharks. There is however a shark repellent that does work, its made from the essence of a dead, decaying shark body. Its still being tested though so far it has shown great effectiveness.
Last but not least we have an effect of farming runoff that is directly affecting the health of millions of US citizens in an immediate and important manner. Not to mention what it might do to the Florida Tourist industry. Now maybe something will be done about it all.
Friday, March 25, 2005
it turns out I am far better at it (if i may toot my own horn) then i thought I would be. Here is what i am talking about. Two days ago I reported on scientists discovering a connection between air and splashing in liquids and I made some fun of it because it did not seem new to me. Well first off I must admit to having NOT read the articles all the way through because the scientists involved were looking at air in terms of atmosphere and not air in terms of dissolved in the liquid. Ok, admission to cutting corners dealt with. I then (today) found this short blurb on the subject. What i did in this case was open the article and look at the photos at the top and read just until I hit the caption for the photos. At that point I stopped and looked carefully at the photos and realized that from those photos I could postulate a theory as to why liquids splash in atmosphere and not in vacuum. Can you do the same? (hint, you must scrutinize the second photo in the top group.) Anyway, I then read the rest of the article and found that my theory was 90% correct. Honestly the answer seems so obvious to me that i am surprised at the fact that the scientists involved were surprised at the answer. However this answer does ask the question, if this works why does smooth water (mentioned earlier) work. That stuff will not splash and it is NOT in a vacuum. I think that should be the next thing these guys look at, might be useful.
Some paleontologists (holy crap i spelled that right on the first try) have found some soft tissue on the inside of a dinosaur fossil. That makes it the worlds oldest left-overs, assuming the rest of the dino was eaten by something at time of death. Anyway, there are articles about it 1) here and 2) here and 3) here and 4) here. By the number of people reporting it you can guess its a very big deal.
Did I ever tell you how much i am amazed and fascinated by octopuses?
The new space prize is out from NASA, they want people to work on parts and ideas for a space elevator.
Another failure for security under the Bush administration as it serves the public good.
More on that Marburg outbreak, it is spreading.
here is a great post of what to do with your body should you go vegetative but still want to be politically relevant.
last item of the day, a game to help people learn how to make money on the foreign money exchange.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
most of what i write today will be rehash of other blogs (not my own) sorry.
Hack a day has a great little item on how to play music from RFID tags. What i would like instead of dumping old commodore 64 music files to an RFID tag and then reading them back is a system that reads the raw data from RFID tags and uses it as random info for creating music. It would make an interesting experiment to see if different stores have different musical style. Would the RFID tags at walmart really make different music then the ones at target or just the same music in different order based on store layout and direction of walking. Same story on slashdot.
Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Well he's coming back. Even as a non-kid at the time, i liked his show.
Dangerous, nut-case, self destructive, stupid..... Muammar Gaffafi speaks out. But those were not the things he said, those are things I am saying about him. The frightening thing is he might, through his own prejudice and refusal to see the facts, be right about the two nation solution. It will likely not work well in the long run.
Another reason to get married, but only to someone happier than you are.
Now this one makes me laugh. It seems that what makes water splash is the air and gasses dissolved in it. The reason that makes me laugh is two-fold. One is that a number of months ago a bunch of researchers in Australia found that if you removed all gasses from water, it will mix perfectly well with oil. That should have been a clue that the water/gas mixture changes the nature of things. The other and bigger reason to laugh is that YEARS ago two physicists patented the idea of removing gas from water to make it not splash. They created something called smooth water, sold smooth water installation art setups to Disney for a fortune and went on to work on fire-fountains. Found a neat article on how to make your own fountain which had lots of helpful info on the creators, Mark W. Fuller & Allen Robinson of WET Labs/Design.
Remember Biology 101 or high school bio class? No, I am not asking about the cute girl in the third row, though the two of you would have been less worried if you had listened in class instead of making eyes at each other. Mendelian genetics, those silly little boxes.... well it turns out things may not be that simple after all. It seems that one particular plant that a fellow was playing with carries backup copies of old genes somewhere because the off spring of two genetically mutates plants was not mutated. Now here is where my memory gets me into trouble. I can clearly remember my college bio teacher (who looked like Dustin Hoffman in drag (think Tootsie) but was actually female, but none of that matters right now) saying to us that an experiment had been done with fruit flies that bred them to have no eyes, however after a few generations of no eyes, they reverted to normal. If thats the case then whatever mechanism did that is likely the same as the one working in the plants and that makes this a non-new discovery (did I mention that i never showed up for english class?).
Portable TV with video recording and playback/internal HD.
Add this to the list of robot kits I want to play with.
A neat article on how to extend the age limits on brain flexibility in youngsters. If I had to make a guess it works off the research that showed that human babies are as good at telling the difference between monkey faces as monkey babies.
A new advancement in Fuel Cell technology that should make fuel cell cars and equipment a little easier/cheaper to make/market/own.
EAT MORE BAMBOO SHOOTS, pretend your a swampland gorilla or panda bear.
Britian prepares for 750,000 bird flu cases. I wonder what the rest of the world is doing?
As I mentioned earlier I like reading about hemorrhagic fevers. Marburg virus is named for the research station in Marburg germany where a bunch of researchers caught the virus from some green monkeys they were working with. It has a pretty high mortality rate. Well, now it has shown up in Angola. I hope that someone read the same book I did, there are ways to keep it under control, but treatment is limited and no good past a certain point in time. All joking aside, its not a fun thing and I hope everyone is praying for those people, if not working to help them.
one step closer to thinking machines. Again, pick your favorite sci-fi cautionary tale.
And again a pet topic of mine, getting the aide to the places that need it goes beyond collecting the cash.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Chocolate as health food (again)
Water recycling equipment.... seen better/cheaper/less prone to breaking for earth use.
Really cool new materials based on ones found in nature.
Bright ideas and who they really make rich (not the inventor)
We have beaten Rubella in the US. thats three (polio, small pox, and now rubella).
Somewhere in south america is a jaguar who likes to get his picture taken.
thats all folks.
Monday, March 21, 2005
actually in this case its 'no time for posting'
today is turning out to be a wreck of a day, so some links with no more than one sentence each, all on topics I speak about often like security, health, environment, application of logic to daily life, etc...
The pathetic state of credit card security. Worth a read, very funny, covered by slashdot today.
Computers are more of a distraction than a help in teaching young children the basics..... this goes into the 'duh' section.
More on 3D printers and giving them the ability to self replicate, now if only they could use any material to do so.
More on language learning from slashdot.
Friday, March 18, 2005
The next big agricultural boom is happening off the coast of africa. Seaweed is now the big cash crop. So far no major environmental problems as little more then seeds, wooden stakes, and rope are used. When someone starts fertilizing it all things will go to hell quickly.
A step in the right direction if you ask me. Its too bad that librarians and teachers are not cultural heroes in america, instead its slutty pseudo actresses and corrupt sports stars. Oh well.
Another prediction on sea levels rising, say good by to a number of pacific islands.
And yet another excuse to avoid doing anything useful about global warming. I am not saying that the science is wrong, but pollution in general and CO2/Methane in specific is not good for us. Declaring a warming trend inevitable will mean people will mess even more with the world. Heres another look at the same thing. And one more on the point of no return.
As a matter of fact here is a nice article on why keeping a clean environment is economically important even without global warming.
Oddly enough though I am all happy about being 'green' especially where energy is concerned, I am not so happy about government support for energy companies even in the form of help going green. I would rather government support the research and provide that research free of charge and then make it mandatory to put it into practice. The UK government subsidizes Solar Panel Manufacturers.... They are considering stopping it. I think they should, and instead pay for research into better panels at research centers and universities.
In general its always a good idea to give poor people a little more in life, maybe a job or a skill so that they can get out of being poor. However it is always good to do it in a way that does not hurt them in the long run by destroying their local environment. By the same token it is good to conserve endangered species and environments but in a way that helps the local people, not hurt them. Here is a study looking at this problem in Gabon.
On to health, remember when I said abstinence programs do not work? Neither do Virginity pledges.
Red wine helps protect your heart! LETS ALL GO GET DRUNK!
From hack a day comes another hack I would love to try. This one turns the wheel of your bike into an LED display for short messages.
i leave this unfinished... I got swept up in work.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Senate Votes to Allow Drilling in the Arctic Reserve.
What's the point of making a reserve if we will allow all the stuff that we are supposed to be protecting it from. At yellowstone they allowed a geo-thermal power-plant to use the heat vents below the park, which will over time reduce the park from a boil to a simmer. Logging is being allowed in yosemite, everglades are nearly gone cause the water is being syphoned off. This time around the funniest thing is that most of the oil drilling grants that have been handed out in the US are NOT being used/drilled cause there just isn't enough oil in it to make it worthwhile. On top of that the reserves in the arctic are decades away from accessibility and hold a minute amount of removable oil.
Some one finally woke up and declared that Climate Change Is An Economic Threat. Congrats. Next decade we will discuss whether or not poison is god to breathe. At this rate we will have all our problems worked out a little after the next big extinction event.
The BBC has a lovely Pictorial showing how the world is changing with warmer climates everywhere.
When losing the battle with the facts at hand you can either make up new facts or try to invalidate the facts that the other guy is using. This is done often in environmentasl circles as it is far easier than ding the science.
In case you want more 'facts' here is the BBC Guide to Climate Change.
Study Suggests Link Between Mercury, Autism I'll believe it whent hey prove it, not suggest it.
hehehehe, Talmud Ipod.
Learn a language.
thats it for today
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
CNN has a very nice Climate Timeline that unfortunately opens in a pop-up window.
There are some cool pics of a tiger attacking a 'hidden' camera. Including an extreme close-up of his very big canines.
More on Mercury and coal-fired power plants. Lots of people are criticizing the clean air bill saying it does not go far enough and gives a false reason to relaxe. Both sides of the argument have good points, I am undecided on which side i should fall.
Speaking of coal and pollution, the Asia Times has an article on China's abuse of the environment in pursuit of economic advancement.
But lets not be unfair to china, they are not the only ones ignoring the world environment in pursuit of money and prosperity. The US is now playing dirty in its attempts to maintain the status quo of environmental destruction in the name of economic growth. In truth this kind of short term economic growth is bad for the country and the world.
Some smart guys over at Purdue University have figure out that palladium is the best catalyst for burning natural gas. Thats wonderful isn't that stuff damn expensive?
More on the Corn/Sugar/Cattle connection (I am still doing research for my giant expose on the subject). This time a study looking at Beef that was grain fed (read corn) vs beef that was pasture fed has found that the pasture fed beef is a healthier food choice.
But don't overdue the eating of that 'healthier' steak. A study that I could swear I red about a year ago has come out saying that the benefits gained with a reduced calorie diet (long life, low cancer and diabetes risk) can be had with a near normal diet combined with a regimen of fasting every other day.
Again, an item I know I saw years ago in Discover magazine, around the time I was taking child pysch in college. They have discovered that talking 'baby talk' to your baby helps the child learn how to pronounce sounds and build sentences. So those of you with children, please reduce your speech to infant style to help them learn faster.
Wired has picked up that item on instant buildings. Its actually pretty cool, a combination of inflatable tent and concrete half-pipe building. Its a pretty good quick start to building a refugee center..... but when it comes time to make that center actually permanent, then you need to call in one of these things. This is an automated house building machine. In theory you could make these the corner stone of a autonomous city building set. Seriously, you put together a series of robots, type 1 is a remotely controlled surveyor that is dropped in first or unpacks itself first. It is used to map the area, figure out where important items like water, wood, and sand are, and lay out a design that the other robots will follow. Next up are type 2 which run around following the map declared by type 1, clearing brush, making dirt roads, and doing basic prep work on all building sites. Type three runs around building the actual buildings, laying down concrete roads and water courses. Type four runs cables and pipe in a pre-determined manner form each building to a central line (which it runs as well). Thats enough that when the people come in they will have minimal hard labor to be able to get working and living in their new instant city.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
as I have stated before better ID checks won't beat fraud, and won't make flying any safer.
Ever read the books 'Einstein's Dreams'? Well in it 'he' puts forth a idea where people discover that living in high altitude lengthens their lives, but over time they take it to extremes and start hurting their life spans instead..... Well here is a medical blurb claiming that living in high altitudes will lengthen your life.
And there is this idea which I thought was really cool..... when i thought of it about three years ago. Oh well, another idea brought to market by someone else.
stuff from gizmag: I wish they would build this, it looks cool.
In other news, I talked about instant shelters and the problems with tent cities and what not: Here is an instant shelter!
One of these MIGHT get me out of bed in less than twelve snooze cycles.
Hiatus over with.
am back at work and back at blogging on my lunch hour.
The Holocaust Museum in Israel has been re-opened and re-dedicated.
The New York Times (free reg, how annoying) has an article on how people deal with life's little annoyances. Its ok as far as it goes, but there is far better on the web if you look for it.
The Science that wouldn't die! Table top sonoluminescence with heavy water is in the news again. In the past it was there because two scientists who forgot to check each other's work while collaborating claimed to have made cold fusion in a bottle. They were wrong. Now other scientists are saying that while those two were wrong, they have now been able to create plasma, a starting point of sorts, using similar methods.
The great flu pandemic of 1918 killed 2 percent of the people who got sick..... The current H5N1 bird flu, that has mutated to pass human to human, has a detah rate of 67 percent. Only hemherhagic fevers surpass it in deadliness (except for rabies which if not caught in time is about 99% deadly, but because it can be caught early, treated cases have very good prognosis). In truth H5N1 may not be that bad as many minor or non-symptomatic cases go unreported.
More on green tea being good against cancer.
ENVIRONMENT (you knew it was coming)
When in doubt, blame anyone but yourself.
Water crisis looming. The item behind the crisis is the disapeering glaciers in the himalayas. Lets not mention those on other continents. (check out the photos of kilimanjaro, freaky).
A long time ago i read about some technology and I decided that if you combined it you would have a KICK-ASS laptop. One of them is back in the news: Millipede, and here too. The other technologies were the magnetic memory (nonvolatile, as fast or faster than regular ram, cheap, small... basically replace your ram and hard drive with it, giving you instant-on for a laptop) and the E-Paper full color display from E-ink which is reflective (no backlight needed) light weight and pulls very little power. These three items give you a light weight laptop, with little power draw, instant on, huge storage and long battery life. In five years everything will be ready...... too bad I won't be able to cash in on the idea.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Speaking of nasty pathogens, a new study suggests that if you cleaned the air on air planes, fewer pathogens would get spread around. Who would have figured out that cleaning the air being breathed by 200 human crammed in to a small space for two hours will result in less sickness? I mean, next thing you know they will figure out that gravity does not shut off on weekends.
Now on to more serious stuff. I have decided I need to come up with a direction for my blog, rather than just repeating everything that is out there, otherwise how will I make money? what's that you say? Blogs are not about making money? then why the hell am I doing this?
I have always loved hiking. I like looking at nature, seeing what secret little place hides behind every turn in the trail. I just have never had the time to do any serius hiking. If I did here is one trial I would consider. I know someone who did the trail and met/fell in love with his wife while doing it. Except for the lack of showers its supposed to be amazing.
Ever wondered why Apple still ships all their computers with single button mice? GearLive (never heard of them before today) has an interesting view as to why this continues and why its actually a good idea. I was all set to dispute and disagree with them, but the editorial
I am a big Anime fan. I love the fansubs as it lets me get into shows that would otherwise not come to america, but I understand the worries of the animation shops that are currently asking fansubs to stop, it kills their chances to bring the series over to america later on (or so they believe).
On the other end of things are the movies. I saw Akira when it was re-released in the theaters (saw it long before that but big screen was nice) and I loved Ghost In The Shell (have not seen the second one yet) and Spiritedhttp://www.spiritedaway.com.au/ Away was very beautiful and really well done as was Princes Mononoke.
Now for what i am actually talking about here: There is a new movie coming to America called SteamBoy and it is directed by the same guy who did Akira. Looks good, I hope they release the original voicetrack on the DVD unlike the Princess Mononoke DVD which promises the original Japanese voices but does not have it.
Remember those things I said about coal mines being bad? Well apparently it does not matter what country your in, they are still bad. A look at China's dependancy on coal fired power plants, and what they need to do in the future to avoid major mistakes.
Speaking of power plant polution, here is a quick editorial frm a publication i do not know well on the good and bad of the Clean Air Interstate Rule and why we should consider it a win.
Moving along with generating electricity in general, the Governator wants to put solar cells on 1 million california roofs (old news I know but I found a new article on it).
USE SOAP! a common yell of parents at children the world over. Seems they are right. A recent study looked at all kinds of hand sanitizing systems using real world variables (washing for ten seconds not ten minutes). They found that while the alcohol based hand sanitizers worked on bacteria they did not work well on viruses, and in general not as well as anti-microbial agents.
Back to world Politics: Annan seeks terror treaty to outlaw attacks on civilians. This could be very good or very bad. the reason it could be bad is that what happens when civilians are aiding and training terrorists? For instance, in Israel they have a major problem in that a family will house and arm a suicide bomber, but not bomb anything themselves. If Israel attacks a house to get at a bomber before he commits his act of terrorism, would then Israel be guilty of terror attacks on civilians? What i am saying is that this will have to be carefully worded not to be misused as a political weapon.
In other news, a 'typo' in an American report on past nuclear tests has made Sudan a little jumpy. The report claimed that the US tested bombs in the Sudanese desert, when according to everything known about the US bomb program says all testing was done in Nevada. Sudan is checking into it just to be safe.
Now for the most useful thing I will stick up here today: How To Make Small Talk. This is apparently a huge asset to business people and another reason I will never be a good business person. I suggest reading it to anyone currently working, or soon to be working in any field what-so-ever.
have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, March 10, 2005
A look at history just cause I found it interesting. This article discusses how Gorbachev rose to power in the former USSR.
A small nod to international-ish news..... Bush has backed out of a pact that gives people arrested in other countries the right to see a diplomat from their homeland... gee i wonder why he did that?
Good story on bruce willis, may favorite quote was ""I don't watch it on TV either," he says quietly, as he twirls a spoon around a cup of coffee. "If something big is going on in the world, somebody's going to tell me about it. But I've come to believe the news is manipulated. On some higher level, someone is saying, 'We can tell 'em this, we can't tell 'em that.' ""
Finally, a cruise I can afford.... too bad it aint in America.
Oddly enough at this point, while viewing pictures of Mt. St. Helens erupting (see yesterdays post) my browser crashed taking with it several stories on bird flu, a few on the environment, one about Bush not getting his way, and one or two really neat tech items.... I am too swamped to re-open it all.... sorry, more tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
and now..... The ENVIRONMENT (sorry, couldn't pass it up)
It seems that melting of the northern pack ice at the (north) pole may be a normal natural cycle and NOT related to global warming.... sortof. If in the next 5 years it does not increase in thickness and duration, then we 'know' we have a problem.
Brazilian rain-forest and all its problems.
In the pacific northwwest, Mt. St. Helens is erupting! And the BBC is running an article on what to expect if there were a 'super eruption' in yellowstone. Such an eruption would cool the earth somewhere between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. (a lot). COurse that accompanies blocking the sun, choking ash and smoke, and lots of raining hell-fire.
Ummm... i just found the Mt. St. Helens webcam... and it don't look like its erupting but everyone is reporting that it is... wonder what the dealio is.
In the space arena, a launch site has been secured for space tourism, now all we need is a reliable vehicle and a few thousand wealthy thrill seekers.
NASA it seems is taking a page from the movie 'Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control' and is building robots for exploration that don't cost too much and can be lost without worry...
Bird Flu Time and it seems the first human carriers have been found, that is people who have the virus but show no signs of it, allowing them to pass it to others.... sorta like typhoid mary who had typhus with no symptoms and worked in a cafeteria giving it to everyone she served food to.
In other health news, America's love afair with the quick fix continues, this time in the form of a pill that ends smoking addiction..... Ok so this is the one (probably more than one) time I think a quick fix is a good thing.
How many things can you do at once? I can chew gum and walk... or watch and ... um... I can't do anything while watching tv. I can drive and talk, think, or on occasion sleep at the same time! The American Psychological Society has released a report on exactly how many things the average human can do at once.... not many.
EA, the huge software/game company that has come under fire for terrible employment practices like no overtime pay and endless required overtime work has announced that they will pay overtime... but anyone who wants it has to give up their bonus and stock options. Thats kinda silly....
The US government is finally paying up for walking away with gold,art, china and cutlery that belonged to the Jews of Hungary prior to WWI. the settlement is worth about $25m, not much in the grand scheme of things but its nice to see them say "oops".
Literacy as a tool against corruption.... i wonder if it will work.
Some Gizmag links:
Shirt Ironing machine
Lie detecting glasses
rotary crank for boosting pedal power on bikes
amazing treehouses to order
survival pod This one points to something I was saying earlier, the need for cheap easily distributed instant shelter. this is at least one step in that direction
Some other cool stuff from elsewhere:
Build it yourself laser tag. I saw this one a few days ago but not until i read the details did I think it worth mentioning. this system is supposedly easy to build, cheaper than the ones you buy from commercial setups, and has amazing abilities.
Some idiots out there wish to build a floating city(on the ocean not in the air). While floating cities are all the rage in sci-fi/fantasy novels but they tend to be rather tricky and icky in real life. Think about al the garbage a normal sedentary city creates. Now think of what we do with it. Now think instead of simply dumping it out the back door. Hell even the cleanest ships trail oil and fuel and incidental garbage. This thing will be a floating cesspool in my humble opinion. Plus what happens if it moves into an area where whales/dolphins/turtles often live... they will be unable to surface beneath that thing and will suffocate if they head in the wrong direction.... it would have its own ecology and basically bring invading species with it where-ever it went... no its an all around bad idea. Freedom or not, its a bad idea.
Now back to indian food:
Chatpati Channa Chaat Recipej
thats all for now
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
comics in arab lands
More proof on the idiocy of believing photo ID is secure
Spys looking to hire... just promise them your not already a spy
Exercise better for children than cows milk (who knew?)
Laughing is good for you (at this rate, declaring the obvious will become an industry)
Buying food grown far away is more ecologically expensive than local foods(again, obvious)
Bittorent being more legitimate
New strong metallic materials
Monday, March 07, 2005
and another slow day begins. You would think that with all I have to do myself (work on my patent, prepare taxes for the company created to commercialize my patent, rewrite the business plan, study for yet another certification, etc...) that i would somehow not have slow days.
So the mid east is following all the latest fads these days. Egypt has declared 'open' elections, a new thing for them. In the more intense situation in Israel has left people asking if no deaths equals cease fire.
in other news:
The NYTimes is running a lovely little article discussing the problems with China and patent infringement. In another magazine, Inc to be specific, there is an article related in topic about how Lionel is playing dirty and stealing IP from competitors. The story, entitled 'Train Wreck' reads like one. The common practice in Asia of taking company secrets with you when you switch companies paved the way for Lionel to buy secret designs used by a major competitor. A law suit was filed and won, and resulted in the person who stole the information being jailed for 2 months. Another law suit was filed in the US against Lionel directly. Again the ruling was in favor of the wronged party. Rathe than pay up, Lionel declared bankruptcy and is continuing business as usual under that protection, including the use of the stolen designs! So the happy go lucky approach to IP and patents that is common in much of Asia and especially China is directly affecting business here in America, causing no end of trouble.
Moving along to yet another illegal activity, counterfeiting ID for the purpose of getting a beer! It seems that In the ID Wars, the Fakes Gain. Specifically the fact that with computers, hard to produce Identifications are easy to re-produce. This article also discusses the upcoming changes to ID, that they will require standardized format, and possibly rfid or electronic chips. All of this will not deter the fakers or the college students buying them. The bigger problem is that this innocent form of illegal stupidity (getting into bars underage) is no dangerously close to a not so innocent form of illegal stupidity (supplying ne'er-do-wells with valid looking ID for the purpose of terror) and that means stiffer penalties and harder crack down. SPiraling into more and more of a 1984 police state like existence. As I mentioned when I linked to the article on the fellow who refuses to show ID to get on a plane, ID, especially photo ID, is really rather pointless as a security measure. Obtaining the real deal is not hard, and obtaining a fake is even easier. At best it says "I am who I say I am" it says nothing about whether or not I can be trusted. That makes it useless against someone who does not expect to make more than one attempt (suicide bomber/shooter/driver/attacker of whatever sort). I promise, the guys who need it for more than one use (the masterminds) are either using good fakes or real ID for created identities. The CIA has a term for picture ID, they call it a 72 hour identification. It will stand up to a quick check (this is an ID, it has data on its strip, and it sets off no flags or alarms) but a concerted look into the history of this person/identity will set off lots of alarms as the person does not exist. that concerted look used to take 72 hours, now its probably down to 24. Either way its more than enough time to rent a u-haul, check into a hotel room, board a plane, or whatever needs to be done. By the time anyone notices that either A)This is a fake identity or B)This person looks like but is not in fact the person on the ID the deed will be done. PIcture ID is useless for security. Use it to check people taking tests, use it in low security spaces, use it when you know that X people need to be here and all X have been thoroughly checked and now I need to make certain that all X are here and are themselves. None of those situations include air or rail travel.
enough on that, lets move on.
I once thought the world bank was a serious attempt to do right that was being mismanaged. Now I know its not a a serious anything.
BIRD FLU TIME:
and the its keep on rolling.
A Nurse in Vietnam has contracted H5N1 strain of flue, otherwise known as bird flu. There is also a story on it over at chinadaily take your pick as news source.
The EPA has a new head. Wasn't it just yesterday that Christine Todd Whitman was being replaced for not doing the bidding of the all powerful energy lobby? What happened to fellow who replaced her, the one that was supposed to strike a balance between industry and environment? I could go look it up but I don't care enough.
Bush has been collecting criticism again. leave it to the Brits to compare President Bush to Nero. I am not certain if thats really a criticism though.... I mean Nero was an accomplished actor, musician, orator..... debaucher.... but anyway, some people (The Royal society, the oldest existing fraternity of scientists and a bunch of generally brilliant people) are claiming that Bush's lack of movement on the issue of global warming is tantamount to 'fiddling while the world burns'.... hey wasn't there a great song by midnight oil to the same general tune?
And humans can be proud, We are outdoing Mother Nature
The Philstar (filipino publication) is running an article looking at population and environment and how they affect each other which is a rather nice more holistic approach, one that is surprisingly not obvious to most of the world.
Amazingly NASA has not yet replaced Space with Stupidity in its name. It seems they put instruments for one rover into the other and vice versa. Which kinda makes me wonder if a labeler is too high tech for nasa to use correctly. I used to defend NASA, say such things as 'yes they did that wrong but look at how many amazing things they have done right' but the more I learn about NASA in the post foam shielding debacle, the more I realize they have not been good... they have been lucky. Time to change that.
An article on Cold fusion and recent advances in the field involving the idea of producing it using collapsing bubbles I wonder if there is anything to it this time.
New battery technology on the horizon
This is frightining. Some company has decided to start selling an in home android. From the pics it looks like a mannequin standing in different poses. They claim it will NOT be able to have intercourse but something tells me they will figure out that it might become a selling point. the things they claim it CAN do are pretty out there. Set the table, do the dishes, walk bipedal, understand spoken english commands, do the laundry, re-order food supplies.... its a bit much but if its for real......
Some company in Tokyo is selling an assistive (it is so a word) suit that will allow frail people to walk, climb stairs, sit and get up again on their own, all without any real effort. Two things, one is that the US army has been working on this for years which either says something about the armies ability to get things done or this companies ability to overcome technical obstacles. The other is, can I use one? I don't want to exert any effort ever again.
Ever wanted to own the whole world? Well its for sale in Dubai. And check out the time lapse photography. Its freaky.
Back to robots: The days of the terminator are coming and we have takent he first steps to bring them to fruition. (terminator, matrix, galactica.... whatever)
ALARM CLOCK OF THE FUTURE...TODAY!
Friday, March 04, 2005
I really like tea, I find tea relaxing and pleasant. If ever you are in NYC you should stop by the Wild Lily Tea room. It is a great place to relax and have a very nice cup of tea that you would otherwise never come in contact with. Its a bit pricey but worth the experience, and on a day when you take the subway, try their Saki taster. Very pleasant.
I just did a google search for TEA, and maybe the caps had something to do with it (one sec while I check, nope, made no dif.) but the first web page hit that comes up is for the Texas Education Agency
odd, but logical all the same.
'Course it also returns on the front page a number of large Tea companies such as:
Republic of Tea
The UK Tea Council
Pete's Coffee and Tea
I also love Coffee but we will leave that for another time.
Alton brown, one of my favorite cooking channel stars, did a wonderful episode all about tea. Not much to say from it except that he made me notice that my tea does indeed taste better when I:
1) use fresh water. He attributes this to the oxygen content.
2) pre-heat my steeping pot. This makes certain that the water that will be used for steeping does not cool down simply by touching the tea pot. Preheating is easy, just fill the dry empty tea pot with boiling water (well, not fill, but put some in it and slosh around so the pot gets warm) and then spill it out.
3) rinse my tea. the first very small amount of water to hit the tea should be discarded, it carries with it the bitter dust that is tea leaves crushed too fine.
4) store my tea properly, in airtight light proof containers placed in a cool (but not cold) dry location. The cupboard above the stove is not the right place. For the record the same applies to spices, coffee, sugar, flour, baking soda and just about every other dried cooking ingredient I can think of.
I would cover the history of tea, but its not really worth it. Mostly it boils down (no pun intended) to an anachronistic event in china some 5000 years ago in which an emperor who did not actually live at that time or place accidentally boiled the leaves of his shade tree and discovered it tasted good and was mildly addictive. Every single tea website has some version of that story, and then a timeline of how tea moved around the world.
I prefer unflavored or mildly flavored teas, though I know plenty of people with refined taste who prefer the flavored and herbal to the straight up and black/green/white varieties.
Tea is relaxing to me, the whole deal. Boil some water, take out a nice tea pot and some nice mugs, arrange on a tray. Put a small selection of teas and sweeteners on a separate tray along with some cream and lemon slices. Warm and then fill the tea pot, take both trays to the table. Enjoy with friends.
I don't think I have EVER had the opportunity to enjoy tea in that manner but maybe one day.
I own three tea pots of note. One is the bodem glass tea press. A very nice twist on the French Coffee Press. I also own a Japanese formal tea set that i got from Pearl River back when it was a fun neat place instead of a modern sell-out department store. I don't use it often. Lastly I own a beautiful little ceramic chinese tea pot with a dragon and a phoenix on it that I bought on the lower east side one day while furniture shopping. I cannot use this one as the lead content would likely leave me a drooling idiot inside of three uses. But its pretty. I think I will begin to collect unusual tea pots.
An odd side note, ever notice that teapot in the old windows pipes screen saver? well it has a back story which can be read here and is worth reading especially for computer geeks.
I found a short little page that attempts to explain the role of tea in the daily life of feudal and modern Japan as well as the tea ceremony and a few other things.
I thought Tea would be a subject that i could write about for a considerable length of time, but i am finding that a quote on the Wild Lily Tea Room web page pretty much sums it up.....
Tea is nought but this;
First you heat the water,
Then you make the tea.
Then you drink it properly.
That is all you need to know.
- Senno Rikyu (1522 - 1591)
I do not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, I have too much to read as is. It is, however, an excellent publication well worth the read if you have the time. I look at their front page every day, just to get an idea of what they are barking about currently. Today they say that analysts expect oil prices to spike above $60 a barrel. I have a cousin who trades oil commodities..... I hope he can take advantage of this cause the rest of us are gonna be hit in the wallet by it. Now if only America had its own oil producing land.... if only america had put more effort into the electric car back when cars were starting, if only americans did not love their SUVs so much, if... if... if... but reality is reality and we must deal..... time to re-budget.
There is an interesting documentary out there somewhere called 'Gunners Palace' that i am looking forward to seeing one day.
Yesterday I was lamenting to my friends that status of education in our subset of the american population. It seems that my subset is not the only one seeing problems. America has terrible schooling systems, and we give little or no respect to the position of teaching. My mother is a special education teacher, she has two masters degrees. One in general special ed and one specifically in teaching the deaf and blind (though how they lumped those two together is beyond me). She recently stopped working in the high-school age group because she was tired after 20 years of the same age group, the same problems; and school administrators making no progress in fixing anything. She decided maybe she would like to work again with little children. That decision did not last long. She looked for jobs but no one would hire her. The teachers union had, many years ago worked out a deal where a teacher that is hired must be paid commensurate with their experience.... so my mothers twenty years of experience made her too expensive. Instead the schools hire young kids, fresh from undergrad, with little or no experience and often without a teaching license as long as they promise to get it in the first year. While the union had meant well with that deal, it backfired. But the problem is not that deal, its deeper. The problem is that the best and brightest look down on being a teacher. Teachers get paid crap (NYC starting salary is 25k, you can make more waiting tables at an upscale restaurant, or as a secretary, or doing data entry. Hell people make more than that selling stuff on ebay full time!) teachers get no support (My sister is also a special ed teacher, and while working in NY for a school run by the catholic church under contract to the city she had to by her own classroom supplies because they refused to provide them, saying they were not needed and there was no extra money in the budget). Teachers are the bottom of the barrel. An attempt was made to get better teachers, the government declared that a teacher must have a bachelors in the subject they are teaching. That was pointless. No one is paying them to go to school for two degrees (education plus whatever they choose to teach). Better to give good money to teachers, and then require that they meet higher standards. Offer 50k as starting but the person must have a special ed masters plus a bachelors in whatever they choose to teach. Make it only for teachers going forward. That way you don't screw the little towns with one teacher teaching ten subjects who has only a degree in english. He/she can keep teaching, but the next person will be a federal employee under special contract, paid commensurate with their skills/experience/schooling, answerable to a higher set of standards. All of that costs money and money is something this government just does not have. which is why we spend $80 billion on war but next to nothing on education, cause we don't have money. I think I will start writing my uninformed opinion into a single tirade on how to fix this country.... heres a sneak preview.... DON'T PUT AN IDIOT IN CHARGE! DON'T PANDER TO LARGE CORPORATIONS! DON'T TAKE THE EASY ROAD!
A quick sub-foot-note on american intelligence. I personally believe that the amount of time we spend in front of the TV is inversely correlated with how well we do in life. The more time in front of the TV, the less well you will do. WOrse I think that if anyone were to check, they would find the same correlation between tv time and intelligence. (I do not think tv is bad or evil, just that like any drug it must be taken in small doses and carefully budgeted.) So it is with great sadness that the last bastion of reading time (not the bathroom, tvs in the bathroom are old news) is now being invaded by the TV
lets talk about the US budget and how we have no money....
Our country has major money problems right? So lets figure out how to fix them starting with what we spend..... well Greenspan already warned about deficit spending. We should probably listen to the man, he has been shepherding us through economic boom and bust for decades. Now he is talking about how we collect the governments money. Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, cautiously endorsed a shift in the nation's tax system on Thursday from one that primarily taxes what people earn to one that taxes what they spend. And here is another article (shorter) on the same subject Greenspan Calls for Simpler Tax Code. I once hung out with a guy in college who had spent a summer working for an economist. That economist talked non stop about taxing what we buy on the federal level, putting a 'small' income tax on the hugely wealthy, and otherwise leaving everyone alone. He was convinced this was the way to run things. They spent that summer writing a book on it. In the end the book was never published, some major flaw in the math behind it all was found (it came out when they applied game theory, then a new thing to do in economics). I wonder if Greenspan's idea is the same or not.
On the subject of US money well spent, or rather not so well spent, we have farm subsidies. What's that you say, how dare I take aim at the american farmer, that poor fellow who feeds us daily and can barely make ends meet?!?!?! well in truth i am not taking aim at him. I am in fact taking aim at the giant farming conglomerates that are the true beneficiaries of the farm subsidies. Many farm subsidies pay according to how much land you farm or don't farm. There is no land cap and no statement that says you must be an individual farmer and not a corporation. So the giant farm corporations get millions in subsidies that they really should not be getting, that money allows them to undercut the small farmers in price and operating costs, causing the small farmer for whom those subsidies were designed, to lose his land and end up on TV asking for MORE SUBSIDIES. (gee, you think some education might be needed here?) Anyway, the world trade organization has rules once again that US subsidies to cotton farmers are illegal. Now I wonder if anyone has figured out that they are also bad for US business.... (its that whole protectionism thing again.... don't protect your people, teach them how to compete!)
Like I said before, one of these days I will have to explain the whole corn/sugar/beef problem with american food/farming industry and why it is bankrupting and harming america.
Its a slow news day out there in the science and tech world.....
I have an article to report:on teens and sex which goes hand in hand with what i mentioned yesterday on abstinence programs and what not.
I have news on the automotive front: The rules are changing for formula 1 racing which at first I thought was a silly thing to do but the more I think of it the better it is. It will inspire new advances in automotive technology like more durable better handling tires and longer lasting engine parts. Now if I were a formula 1 car owner I would run out NOW and buy every possible piece for my car's engine made from glassy metals. Hell if I had money to invest in a new formula 1 car I would run out and have its engine parts made form glassy metal. That stuff does not corrode, does not wear out quickly, has very little friction and absorbs very little kinetic energy.... its perfect. Actually if I were a major high end car manufacturer like .... say.... Ferrari... i would create a car that used that material everywhere I could just to see how massively improved I could make it. Same as a production car, just new material. hmmm.... where else would strong, corrosion resistant smooth metals be of use.... maybe in building a reusable launch vehicle for low costs satellite launches.... i mean being able to reuse a part hundreds of times instead of tens... thats gatta be useful.... oh well, another idea lays by the road side.
and just to show you how slow a news day today is, the NYTimes is running an article about how hard it is for transsexuals to use public bathrooms without getting harassed.
ah well.... heres hoping something really interesting pops up soon.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
First the gizmag report. I have no idea where these guys get this stuff but i hope they get paid for it cause i like it.
A new stealth ship has been designed, I wonder if its worth it... would be better in my mind to have a number of drone helicopters than this thing, but what the hell do i know.... its still damn cool. Its supposed to be used for harbor patrol and to escort larger ships that are prone to attack from swarms of smaller ones. (for those of you wondering, I looked it up and the littoral zone is the area between high and low tide marks.... shallow waters indeed)
One of the nice things about Gizmag is that if you click on a story it will bring up the most read OTHER stories in that subject line. So lets look at more watercraft.
Concept boats are very interesting, here is a list of boats entered into a contest for concept boats. here is is another list of such boats And on another page are some winners of such a contest. The actual web site for the conceptboat contest seems tobe having trouble so here is the google cache of it. Recently I was driving and passed two trucks loaded with bombardier boxes that had an unknown recreational device inside. Here is a discussion of what they have designed in the water craft world. They have a VERY cool design for a personal sail craft. Here are two items for undersea living. The Jelly-fish and the the Trilobis . Course your gonna need a high tech anchor to match your high tech boat/home.
Yesterday i mentioned something about using kites to move ships around, here is another story on the same subject, this one claims that these kites can cut the fuel usage in half. I wonder if my research is still accurate and fuel is the second largest expense in international cargo shipping. Insurance is the first and human pay is the third. here is the web site for one manufacturer of the kite sailing system.
Now onto other areas of science and industry:
Telemedicine was supposed to be the big savior. Allowing fewer doctors to do more work in remote areas, cutting costs and saving lives. Well a new study says that Telemedicine is not living up to its hype which is no suprise because most things do not live up to their hype, but this time its kinda sad.
How about plants as a fuel source?
Or the startling realization that wetlands clean the water that passes through them and control flooding whodve thunk it?
now a whole bunch of studies on farming and the environment:
Fine tuning calf nutrition to reduce nitrogen pollution
New form of clover feeds cows without requiring fertaliser
Grubbs are being looked at to turn manure into high protein feed for he animals that dumped it in the first place.
Researchers are looking into whole farm systems to reduce pollution from dairy farms without ruining the economics of it.
When i have more time I will write out my tirade on the cattle/corn/sugar industry triumvirate that is ruining farming in america.
And now the news:
It would seem that Slashdot no longer holds the power it once did. I am not surprised. Here is an article discussing the decline of the slashdot effect which goes hand in hand with something I have noticed as of late. Slashdot, for the most part, has news hours after it is reported elsewhere. Thats fine if you use slashdot as your only source for such news, but if you are looking to slashdot for timely reporting of interesting geek news, your out of luck. I attribute this time lag and general decline to the incredible amount of mail slashdot must get. They probably have to go through hundreds of thousands of submissions before finding one that MIGHT be worth posting. Even if they spend only 3 seconds on each, that means it will be a long time before the good stuff gets noticed if it ever does. To fix this they need to invest in more people scanning the submissions.
In other news, the US Drops demand for anti-abortion words in a UN document on women's rights. This is good news, maybe next the US government will realize that their own studies show abstinence programs do not work in cutting underage pregnancy rates or the spread of STDs, but thats asking a lot.
India is facing a problem that probably all the other tsunami hit countries are facing: What to do with the orphans. The answer would seem simple, get them adopted as fast as you can, removing the fiscal burden of raising them from the government and improving their lives (kids in orphanages tend not to do well). But the fear is that in the rush to get them settled the kids may be accidentally given over to the black market in children. I understand those fears completely, the horror stories out there are ..... well.... horrible.
And now for something that is not a shocker New Poll Finds Bush Priorities Are Out of Step With Americans but the question remains, if hes so out of touch with America, how in gods name did he get elected TWICE?!?!?!? (well at least once)
Continuing with what i was saying yesterday, more from Alan Greenspan on the Deficit. I guess running the country in the red is not such a great idea.
The NY Public Library is opening its collection of images/posters/post cards/etc.. up to be viewed on the web. A NYTimes Story is here and the link to the image library is here. I hope someone smart somewhere creates a screen saver that just grabs random images from the library and displays them on my screen..... hell I hope someone smart somewhere creates a picture frame that I can hang on my wall that will grab images from this and other image libraries and displays them in an ever changing slide show.... or maybe thats too tacky... whatever.
An interesting problem faces all 'small' societies. Population growth. It must be carefully balanced with the other needs and wants of the society. Japan is facing a huge problem. Their population is not growing, at least not in the past few generations. Italy faces a similar problem, but less so in that italians do not have the same kind of taboos on marrying non-italians.... non-catholics maybe. Japanese look down on people who intermarry and worse than that they look down on people who adopt children or put children up for adoption, especially to foreigners. I read an article once (cannot find it now) about special orphanages in Japan filled with children whose parents don't want them but don't want anyone else to have them either. This simply compounds their population problem, those children are unlikely to grow up wanting children of their own.
speaking of Japan, It seems that the Japanese jumped the gun on MMR and saved the rest of us the trouble which is to say that the Japanese ban on the MMR vaccine in an attempt to slow or stop the rising incidence of autism proved for the rest of the world that there is no link between the two. Despite their ban on MMR vaccination, the incidence of autism went UP, pointing to some other cause. 30,000 children were involved in this 'study'. So all those who are conspiracy theorists or just plain nuts and were convinced by bad science and good PR that MMR caused autism, you need a new scapegoat. WAIT, i got it, both Japan and California border the Pacific Ocean AND both are seeing a rise in autism.... so it must be the Pacific Ocean that causes autism..... quick, ban the pacific ocean! (always remember, correlation is not causation, look deeper)
Speaking of correlation and causation..... ITS ENVIRONMENT TIME!
An essay/editorial in New Scientist Covers Michael Crichton's new book about global warming. It requires full access but basically discusses how the book claims global warming is a conspiracy and how in fact, it is not.
In the environment and food area we have two items:
1) scientists discuss how to increase rice production which is a big deal cause it wreaks havoc with local environments and worse it gives off HUGE amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. I once suggested collecting and using that methane, but no one listened to me. I even devised a way of doing it.
2) A discusion of how to turn ethiopia back into a fertile land.
A blurb on a paper that describes How science survived the middle ages which is a neat way of looking at it.
A cool article on how google created a fault tolerant system and corporate culture though the corporate culture thing is not really covered, just alluded to.
thats all for now.... I found a host of things on gizmag but i will leave that for later.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
WOW, thats what i have to say. this is damn cool stuff. Ok so here is the small article that caught my attention, sent to me by the science in the news daily email: Mystery Squid Helps Prove Ocean Research but it had no picture of the mystery squid in question so i went looking for it at the home page of the research group in question. And in the fourth dispatch I found it, here is the link to the quicktime however that was not what got me, look at some of the other photos and movies they got, plus the specimens they brought up from the deep, a very cool and fascinating scientific effort. I hope they get more funding. As a matter of fact I find it very interesting that this gets a total of 500k in funding but a TV show get 3 MILLION in private funding..... nah I see nothing wrong with those priorities.
lets discuss asinine concepts and items: Light your bible on fire. now i know its a fake bible, and honestly if you want to run around burning your own holy book (just not anyone else's) thats your problem, but I cannot figure out what possible purpose such childish parlor tricks serve in the greater scheme of religious teaching.
In the world of government finance that was touched upon earlier, Greenspan, that wonderful old codger who keeps his personal retirement savings in the form of precious metals in his home rather than trust it as American dollars in a bank (read that somewhere, can't find it now, so take it with a BIG grain of salt), is giving warnings regarding deficit spending. Its a good thing our current president and his cronies...er...I mean appointed government staff, do not believe in big deficit spending. Can't say that with a straight face, you can't see me but I am laughing..... and crying.
Now what would you do if someone reneged on a secret deal? If your the mafia you have their legs broken. If your the US government, you likely are the one reneging and so you cover things up as fast as you can. If your a spy come in from the cold you go to court incognito and ....lose. I wonder if the CIA thought through the other side of this. In their argument no one will work for them if their is the CHANCE they might one day be exposed in a court case. On the other hand is the much more logical argument that if the CIA renegs on their promise, no one in their right mind will work for them. After all, any contract between a spy and the US government is on the honor of both to uphold. If either is in question, it makes it hard to close the deal. They may want to very publicly re-instate those benefit checks, while keeping the identity of the recipients very private. Otherwise the credibility of the CIA is worth less than spit.
A while ago Kodak announced that they figured you would need 25mega pixels to reach the level of standard 35mm film. well.... Here is a 22mega pixel camera for 12 grand I wonder if its worth it.
I was going through some gizmag posts from times gone by (bout three months ago) and found an article on improving the internal combustion engine as well as a car for the paranoid person in you and if you remember me pointing to a gravity car racing thingy being done.... well here is the airborne equivalent of it. Course in my mind using gravity to power an airplane is kinda like using fire to power a paper-airplane..... self destructive..... but who am I to say such things. While the gravity powered 'plane' (read it, its more of a balloon meant to fall from great hight) is se to lift 1000tons, there is a project called pelican set to lift 1400 AND have an engine, I wonder which will win out? i wonder if they know they are in competition with each other?
Once upon a time someone came up with the idea of creating a blimp that could move at 300 miles an hour, stay aloft for a month at a time, and carry an entire platoon into battle at once, with administrative buildings and heavy armor support. That company went bankrupt and their HUGE hanger is now an indoor tropical island in germany. So much for modern heavy lifting blimps. I hope these guys fare better.
ok, lets start the day with something funny. Four BABIES charged with looting in India I always knew that people in India were early starters, precocious, and hell bent on getting ahead but this is a bit much.
What to say, what to say? A most contentious group of people have made a giant show of unity. here is a short but interesting article on the current Orthodox Jewish practice of Daf Yomi. I wonder how long, how many generations until the practice of Daf Yomi goes from a nice thing to do, to becoming a Minhag (a word that roughly translates to custom, only with more strength, somewhere between a custom and a law), and then how long before it becomes law. If you look carefully at current jewish practice, much that is taken for law is actually custom, and much that is custom has its roots in habit more than religion. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something that needs to be noted. Judaism is not the only religion that does this, but it has more of a habit of codifying things than most other religions.
While I am not a huge fan of the current sitting president, I must give him props for trying. Its to bad I disagree with most of what he tries and worse how he tries it. Oddly enough I agree that Social Security needs major work. I even agree that a system of personal accounts is probably the best, however I have seen little inthe way of evidence that his current plan will do the job. March 1 - President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security is in trouble, and while it is far too soon to declare it doomed, it faces obstacles on all sides., thats from the NYTimes, one of my favorite non-perfect news sources. When i find a perfect news source I think I will stop blogging and just read the damn thing.
As long as we are discussing politics and washington, lets discuss how it all works. Here is an interesting look at some of what goes on in DC in a way you would not really think of. Professional line sitting(standing actually), not fence sitting (that job is taken by most of congress).
How about a Fair and Balanced (HA) look at Donald Rumsfeld being named in a torture lawsuit now I am all for accountable governing but something here smack of fall guy..... I have no proof and expect there is none, its just a feeling.
LETS TALK SCIENCE:
and of course whenever we talk science we start with the ENVIRONMENT (caped out and everything so its easy to find).
2004 Was Fourth-Warmest Year Ever Recorded and with the 10 warmest years ever recorded having happened in the last 30 years and the top 4 in the last ten years.... It is clear to me that all those people yelling about global warming are just hippies with too much acid in their systems.... Sorry, was channeling our current government for a second there. I'm better now. Although correlation is not causation I wish to point out that human activity is the only thing to work on the same time scale as the current temperature shift.
More ont he environment, the BBC reports that a pact to curb mercury has been rejected at the UN. Guess which government was behind the rejection of a binding agreement? It starts with U and the last word starts with A and the middle word starts with S. No big surprise. Let the coal fired power plants continue!
The UK is ramping up their Flu Preparedness Program, in preparation for a pandemic. they have also cornered the market on the letter P and are suing anyone else who uses it. In an attempt to avoid a law suit, British publication New Scientist reported on the whole situation without a single 'P' in the title of their article: UK to stash 15 million anti-flu drug courses However they messed up in the first paragraph and used the word 'Pandemic' making it impossible for them to avoid stiff penalty fines. (if you don't know that my blurb on the letter P was a joke, your really dumb)
I mentioned yesterday about the ipod firmware being hacked, here is another story on it, this one focuses on how it was done.
More from New Scientist, an article reviewing Cars and the Technology behind them, gatta love their reviews.
In India, it seems that if you remove a few cubic tons of soil and sand you will find an ancient city. WHile that in no way makes up for the huge and truly horrible loss of life, it at least shows that maybe something good can come of the tsunami. I wonder if tsunamis serve a similar role to seasonal floods, rejuvenating the environment, even while wreaking havoc. before anyone starts yelling, I ant it clear I am not saying this tsunami was good. I think that the huge loss of life and property was a very bad thing.
A friend once claimed that snake poison was proof that evolution was fake. His theory went that if the poison is fatal even to the snake itself, how could it have evolved a way to contain it safely in its own body. I questioned how he knew that the poison was fatal to the snake... he never answered that. Well, here is a short blurb on the evolution of snake poison who'd've thunk my friend might be wrong?
Licorice whips herpes and it also does wonders for constipation.
I am liking hackaday more and more, here is an article on Making your old palm pilot into an lcd readout for other things too bad I just threw mine out. Also and article on Hacking a car boot and while this particular scofflaw got away with it, I wonder if he realized how much an entire new wheel (rim and tire) costs. Could he really have owed THAT much in parking fines? I wonder how the parking attendant who put the car boot on his car reacted.
And in the using tech/science to sell stuff arena we have shopper profiling. a good read.
and last for the morning post which will just barely make it to the morning edition:
famous cooks using bizarre tools in their private kitchens
hopefully I will find time to post again this afternoon (which is in twenty minutes)