In the "never think any science is useless file" we found the discovery that poo from China's giant panda may end up being the key that unlocks efficient biodiesel production. It seems there's an enzyme in there that allows the panda to convert 95 percent of the plant matter it ingests into energy. It's hoped that, once the enzyme is synthesized, it will allow the creation of a cheaper process for converting plant matter into biodiesel.
Anything that puts hajji closer to the breadline...
Scientists have discovered the specific area of the brain that keeps a Rick Astley song stuck in your head until you go mad. By studying volunteers with different kinds of dementia, as well as healthy people, an area of the brain called the right anterior temporal lobe has been discovered to have a primary role in musical remembrance.
Hang on a minute... "volunteers with different kinds of dementia"?
No wonder they can't find Kadaffi! Me, I'm surprised CNN can find its butt with both hands and a map sometimes.
Scientists have decided to take a closer look at the bottom of a curious crater on Mars. Exactly why scientists insist on looking at crater's bottoms, I'm not completely sure. I think they need to get out more.
Naked dude: check. Girlfriend: check. Raccoon: check. Alcohol: well, duh.(SFW) The only truly strange thing was it didn't actually happen in Florida.
This year's "Earth and Moon" family portrait comes courtesy of the Juno space probe. I think it was Voyager that was the first probe to take a picture like this, but it never hurts to be reminded we are on a very small boat in a very, very large ocean.
Kevin gets a no-prize that'll ensure no cat is ever right in our house again for bringing us Air Swimmers. Actually, I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen RC balloons before now. I guess I'm not looking in the right places. At least this one will be hard to crash!
Possibly one of the funniest 80's videos out there!
I should mention we splurged. We spent an entire $8 on Amazon for this CD! Chicago 17 FTW!
Observation: a fringe group of former Catholics who actually got excommunicated by Pope John Paul II deny, among many things, the Church's acceptance of the heliocentric solar system. Headline: A few Catholics still insist Galileo was wrong.
Exactly why the LA Times decided to re-run the July 9 Chicago Tribune article last weekend isn't very clear to me. I think perhaps the first time around the breathless horror of the occasional secular blogger wasn't quite enough. Certainly the re-run has shaken another loose marble free.
The Wikipedia article doesn't mention this particular item explicitly. It does mention quite clearly these guys are reactionaries out of communion with the Church, and some were even schismatics.
In other words, they're so far out there the Church not only gave them the boot, it explicitly said a few of them were literally going to hell if they didn't wise up and get with the program. While the four who got excommunicated were let back in a few years ago, contrary to our first breathless blogger that does not mean the Church accepts what they teach in the least bit. It just means the priests have backed down to the point the Church doesn't think they're going to hell anymore.
Look, I appreciate a good "ZOMG! Look at what the wackos are saying now!" article as much as the next guy. It would just be nice to see, say, PETA's board of directors or Earth First!'s president held up in the same spotlight.
So, yeah, all you guys who scoff when Christians start talking about the MSM mistreating them? Here's a case in point.
And hell, I'm not a Christian. "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"
Numismatics in the audience (you know who you are) may find this overview and news of recent developments in the infamous "double eagle" case of interest. The rest of us will read it with a bit of fascination and wonder, waiting for previously-mentioned coin collectors to climb out of their basement to tell us all what it really means.
A new startup company thinks using hand-rolled UAVs can solve previously unsolvable problems of international aid. Primarily the "guys with guns take aid packages before they get near the intended recipients" problem. Right now even their "heavy" quad-copter is only scheduled to carry about four pounds, so I don't think they'll be replacing trucks any time soon. It also removes the potential for graft from a whole host of middle-men, both at home and abroad. But as far as pipe dreams go, hey, at least this one has radio-controlled helicopters in it!
The installation of the first "body liquifaction" plant in Florida sparked the BBC to take a closer look at the whole process. Dissolving a body to its bones is fine, I guess, but I can definitely see why people would be upset that the results get dumped into the municipal water system. I don't care how pure it really is, the thought definitely gives me pause.
No improving this lede: What would America be like under a Rick Perry presidency? Well, if Rick Perry's Texas is any indication, the country could look forward to 85 mph speed limits, hog hunting from helicopters and a security check "fast-lane" for concealed handgun carriers.
In other news, people can hunt hogs from helicopters! I didn't know very much about Perry until quite recently, but, judging from the shrieking and poo flinging that erupts from the left side of the peanut gallery every time his name is mentioned, he must be doing something right.
A weird, birdlike mystery drone has turned up crashed in Pakistan. It doesn't look much like any drone the US acknowledges flying, but far as I know we're the only ones flying anything in the region. Me, I'm smelling a hoax, but my nose is sorta sensitive to that nowadays. Other than camouflage value, I otherwise don't really see the point.
It's everything the shrieking chimps on my side of the peanut gallery ever wanted: scientists have discovered a microbe that eats newspapers and craps gasoline. Ok, not gasoline, but something really close to it. If we could only find one that ate columnists. Or, you know, at least Olberman. I kid, I kid...
Seriously, though. Gas has been so high for so long there are now, what, six, seven different groups chasing microbes that poop diesel or something like it? I desperately want one of these bunches to go public, because which ever one of them hits the jackpot will quite literally change the world.
If you picked "less than a day" in the "how long will it take for pictures of a weird dead thing to show up on the tabloids after the hurricane," you can collect your prize. The comments seem to agree it's a bear. I dunno.
Could it be this?
First day of school, more pictures soon!
Russia Today is featuring this detailed look at the recently completed MAKS airshow in Moscow. Bonus: finally I get to hear the names of all these various Russian manufacturers and bureau. Movie is heavy on the civil stuff, but does include looks at the more exciting military stuff. It also includes an extensive look at the Russian involvement in the Boeing 787.
Folks out there are still trying to turn the video game Portal into a movie. I think this one works pretty well, although it's a little slow at the start. I think it also points out just how crucial the GlaDos character is, since I think without her it's just a fancy prison movie with a neat gun.
And now, a great big house boat that's been docked. "Docked" as in, "placed on top of." I'm sure the owners are grateful their boat appears undamaged. I have a feeling they may be puzzled about the next step.
Evidence from the Large Hadron Collider seems to be burying the simpler supersymmetry theories. In other worse, the bazillion dollar big science toy is actually starting to do its job.
Ok, when the sea foam is green, it's a fashion statement. When it's brown, not so much. I constantly wonder what these reporters do wrong to get these kinds of assignments.
A scientist who was involved in cloning Dolly the sheep 15 years ago has started work on a new technique to clone rare Scottish wildcats.
Embryologist Dr Bill Ritchie said the project could help protect the species which is thought to numb>er about 400 cats in the wild.
Bring back the Scottish MEOW!
"Daddy!!! I want to watch TV down here!"
"You have your own TV."
"Daddy!!! Every time I want to change the channel on my TV, I have to get up, walk over, and punch the button. When I want to change it again, I have to get up again."
"Daddy, if I saw that bad guy in real life, I would totally p3wn him."
No, really, that's what she said. I have no idea where she got it from. The nerd is strong with this one...
Yes Virginia, there are people that are just that stupid.
We now have a mission for Om! She will be put to work. Carrying a barrel of ale of course.
Motivation? You need motivation to exercise, punk? All right, how about 5k's worth of obstacles and zombies? That's right, maggot, zombies! DO YOU FEEL LIKE RUNNING NOW?!? DO YOU?!?
I'm sure this has made the rounds, but it's the first time I've seen it: I think this is the best "in person" video of Japan's massive quake. It really provides a sense of how severe, and how long, it really was.
Someone's managed to put together an animated map of tweets regarding the VA earthquake. Privacy? What's that? Me, I'd like to see an animated map of how quickly the vibrations propagated, and see how closely that corresponds to this.
A UK woman shot in the chest with a paint ball gun ended up with a lot more than just a nasty bruise. See, just because fake ones look bullet-proof, it doesn't actually mean they are bullet-proof. Bonus: fake ones "make you an easier target."
It's been conclusively proven that rocky asteroids in the solar system are primarily responsible for the rocky asteroids that hit the Earth. Yeah, I know, me too, but I guess they have to justify their grant money somehow. And I guess it makes it easier to spot the ones that don't come from the solar system's dustbin.
A new study has found homosexual pairs of finches form bonds just as strong as heterosexual pairs. The find strongly indicates choosing a mate (at least in finches) is far more complex than simple reproduction.
A report detailing scientific findings of a study on how cosmic rays interact with cloud formation is likely to force "substantial revision" of existing climate models. Science will always provide the right answer, until provided with new data. Then it will provide a new, right answer. Keep that in mind the next time a green proposes... well... anything.
By using a sophisticated imaging technique who's description made my head explode, scientists have directly imaged the orbits of a molecule's electrons. What good does it do? Who cares! They're taking pictures of molecules, man! The article does mention something about designer molecules, but by that point I was all, "vibrating wha???" Anyway, sounds good enough to me!
Another WWII veterans group is calling it quits. This one is special to me because I'm pretty sure the 84th infantry was my grandfather's unit during the war. I'm not sure if he ever went to any reunions, but he did remember them fondly, as I remember anyway.
DARPA has released video and analysis of its recent HTV-2 experiment. The hypersonic test vehicle did fail, and in roughly the same place as the previous experiment. However, fixes implemented after the previous run did seem to make a difference. Hey, if it was easy anybody could do it!
Making the rounds: a NASA telescope has for the first time caught a black hole in the act of swallowing a star. Put that in your "ZOMGQ!@!! Earthquakes and hurricanes are huge!" pipe and smoke it.
A spectacular fossil found in China is bringing the fossil record of mammals more in line with the DNA evidence of their, our, evolution. Juramaia sinensis was only a few inches long, but displays the unmistakable characteristics of a placental mammal 35 million years earlier than any other previous fossil.
Scientists believe a fishing technique known as "conching" is slowly spreading through an Australian population of dolphins. Considering how long dolphins have been around, you'd think they would've figured it out sooner.
Not content with all the other nasty things cocaine can naturally do to you, dealers are now cutting it with stuff that makes you look like a black death victim, and then gives you AIDS. Well, ok, not exactly AIDS, but it definitely can fatally weaken the immune system. Hey, man, that's great. They were making it sound like it could kill you or something...
Russian engine manufacturer Saturn is insisting the recent T-50 flameout during the MAKS airshow was not caused by a mechanical failure. Instead, it was a faulty sensor that caused the fancy new management system to make the engine surge and shut down. Because, you know, that's a much better outcome.
Tired of that chlorine smell in the pool? There are increasingly popular alternatives to it. We don't own a pool, not yet anyway, but it's good to know technology is marching them along. I wonder if it'd work as an alternative to conventional hot-tub treatments?
A certain house in Campbell Hall will certainly be tuned in to see this one: Lady Gaga is set to be a character in an upcoming Simpsons episode. The article makes it seem more than just a single-line "talk-on" (talkeo?) Here's to hoping for an early end to the World Series!
A new genetic study is calling the conventional story of just how Europe was populated into question. Previously, it was thought farmers from the plains of central Turkey gradually displaced the hunter-gatherer tribes native to the region. A recent Y chromosome study seems to indicate that the hunter-gatherers stayed where they were, and just changed jobs.
Scientists have developed a wetsuit that promises to let swimmers go faster. The trick? Extra-long artificial "hairs" that go right through the thing, which, according to the guys who invented it, allows the swimmer to more effectively feel and therefore control the water flow around them. Thing is, last I heard the "in thing" was to shave the whole body for competition. Of course, that was more than twenty years ago. These kids, always thinking up new things!
Observation: the difference between a southerner in an earthquake and a southerner in a blizzard is WARNING TIME. Compare and contrast: Snowpocalypse, 2010!!! At least there's still beer and milk on the shelves. Until the hurricane. OH SHIBBIT!!!
In the wake of the DC earthquake, is it too early to ask what Obama did wrong?
Gotta love dem farkers.
Well that was an experience. Olivia will now be able to tell her grandkids she lived through a bona-fide earthquake. 5.8, a bit south and west of here. As far as I know, everyone is doing fine. I ran like a scalded cat out the door & left behind my phone. I'm sure Ellen will be quite aghast at my lack of concern for the device.
And in today's "can't make this stuff up" box we find notice that King Arthur Pendragon has lost his bid to force the reburial of remains found at Stonehenge. This is not a repeat from 475. Really.
Important science find: the ancestor of the yeast responsible for lager has been found in the forests of Patagonia. It's thought the yeast managed to hitch-hike back over the Atlantic, where it was inadvertently hybridized and, eventually, turned into the species which is used by brewers the world over today.
Exactly how this got past the editors I'm not so sure: a Haaretz report on a Jewish youth singing competition in Israel ended up with the headline, Who will be Israel's next Jewish idol?. I dunno, I guess it's just me, but the first thing I thought of was, "wait, are they going to paint them gold? Is an angry old Jew going to come down a mountain and throw stone tablets at everyone?"
Ok, I get that motorcyclists must be constantly vigilant around other motorists, on account of latter constantly trying to kill the former. What I didn't expect was for the streets themselves to get into the act. It's the whole, "crashed through the barrier" thing that has me puzzled. Was the driver not paying attention? Barriers incorrectly marked? Was he or she driven into them by a motorist? If so, that would be a pretty classic bank shot, no?
Scientists have announced the discovery fossils which may represent the oldest direct evidence of life on the early Earth. These sulfur-processing microbes lived a whopping 3.4 billion years ago, and their discovery may provide insights into if, how, and where Mars may have developed life as well.
Ok, what I want to know is, since when is circumcision considered a routine treatment for inflammation??? Losing his winkie in the bargain just makes it extra-fail-tastic.
Sharks have attacked two people in the past 24 hours off the west coast of Russia. The article helpfully includes a) a picture of the one sort of shark that never attacks anyone, and b) the geographic note that the area was, "4,000 miles east of Moscow."
Cadillac has unveiled a very interesting new concept car. It's nice to see them coming out with some genuine art again.
Introducing the AX388: the successor to the sniper rifle that holds the world-record for "longest shot." This one shoots through schools that are in the next county.
Observation: people who can afford to lose a million dollars or more in a single stock trade guessed right and are making money in the market downturn. Regulators (i.e., the government) restrict certain investment vehicles to only such people. Headline: "Super rich still making money in crisis, they can access investments that are closed to the rest of us."
When seventy years old YOUR favorite marque becomes, look as stylish, it will not. The folks I knew who owned Alfas like this enjoyed taking them to US car shows, just to embarrass the Cadillac and Duesenberg guys. Oh, and read closely, this one was campaigned by Ferrari, actual.
Thing is, the guys who designed and built this one, trained the guys who designed and built mine. No, really.
Scientists have announced the development of an innovative warhead material. The substance is a combination of metal and polymers which is more destructive than a standard explosive and also strong enough to be shaped into the nose of, say, a missile or even a bullet. The result is said to be a much more destructive "kill," that also reduces collateral damage.
Storm Chasers' Sean Casey is exhibiting his iconic TIV2 at The Tech Museum in San Jose, Calif. Even better: It seems like he's finally finished that damned IMAX movie he's been working on all this time, and it's showing downtown! This'll definitely beat the hell out of Spy Kids 4D.
A new survey of ancient Egyptian mummies has revealed they spent as much time preserving their hair as they did the rest of their bodies. Seems like priests and priestesses shaved their heads, but nobody else did. At least, 3000 years ago in Egypt it was like that, which was when their sample of mummies were created. It's important to keep in mind that, even at that date, the pyramids were already 1500 years old.
Ridley Scott has been named to direct a new film set in the Blade Runner universe. Details are sketchy, but the current idea is it will be a stand-alone film related to, but not a remake of, the original. If Scott's attached, it'll certainly be a pretty film. Here's to hoping it's also a good one!
Wall Street Journal: [I]f equality of income is the priority, liberals should be thrilled with the last four years. It's hard to soak what's already been underwater for years.
The Oxford Dictionary is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the inclusion of words like "woot" and "mankini." "Jeggings" too, which is fine with me, because I actually didn't know what the hell that meant until Ellen explained it to me. Now get off my lawn.
It's bad enough when a truck driver doesn't pay attention to clearance signs before passing under a bridge. It's even less fortunate when the truck is carrying cars. Expensive cars. The underpass in front of my college's student union would snare trucks with some regularity, and it had the gouges in the ceiling to prove it. I think they eventually lowered the road to stop it from happening.
March 27, 1997-August 17, 2011
The "C" to AMCGLTD has decided to pass on after a year long battle with cancer. We love you very much Coconut. We will never forget that you were our "first" baby from start to finish. It was a privilege to be able to wake you up when you were born and then help you go back to sleep. Mommy loves you.
What is it with high-profile passengers peeing on airplanes? And how drunk does someone have to be to just whip it out and let fly? You know it's only a matter of time before some idiotic celebrity drops trow on a United flight or something.
After being entombed in a chimney for nearly thirty years, a Louisiana man is finally being laid to rest. Nobody knows why Joseph Schexnider decided to climb down a small bank's chimney in 1984, although even some relatives acknowledge his final weeks were spent, "with a bad crowd." His body would likely still be there, were it not for the renovation of the 2nd floor space where the fireplace vented by the chimney sits.
And I'll bet that was a damned interesting day to be a construction worker!
Chris gets a no-prize that'll bloody well ring freedom wherever it pleases for bringing us news that a silicon valley billionaire is out to create himself some countries: "Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine."
The experiences of Sealand may be instructive here. I'm not sure just how serious the guy is, but hey, it's his money, he can spend it how he pleases. That said, these things will only survive at the pleasure of the US Navy. I would expect them to be able to hold off your garden variety pirate raid, but a determined state could easily overwhelm them. Still, it's fun to think about!
The intrepid Mars rover Opportunity has finally arrived at its latest destination, the crater Discovery. MRO imagery has detected clay in the area, which should give Opportunity the, well, opportunity to examine this specific sort of soil for the first time on Mars.
A lady takes her kid to a concert and bemoans the missed opportunities to score political points. Oh, and peers down her puritanical nose at the goings-on before the concert. She even made the classic critic's fumble by not actually saying whether she liked it or not. Compare with someone sent to professionally review what was likely the exact same event.
No, really: when nerds attack. I absolutely could have done something like this to my previous employer. I didn't because a) I'm a classy guy and b) I didn't feel like going to jail. I will, however, admit a bit of satisfaction at what must've been several panicked meetings amongst upper management after I'd gone, all over nothing.
Quick! is this a new beauty device, or the end of an insect's proboscis? I was going to make a crack about the lengths women will go, but I'll bet this is just as popular with men as well. Just not, you know, me.
Our open fields and woodlands—be they roadside, along utility lines, or in our own back yards—are overrun with invasive species and other problem vegetation. Enter Eco-Goats! This sustainable alternative is fast, easy, effective, environmentally sound and just plan fun.
When it comes to clearing unwanted vegetation, goats can provide an ideal alternative to machines and herbicides. They graze in places that mowers can't reach and humans don't want to go (yes, they love Poison Ivy). In fact, goats eat a wide range of unwanted vegetation, which on the East Cost include Kudzu, Oriental Bittersweet, Ailanthus, Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, Mile-A-Minute and more.
How much fun would that job be? Drop your goats off and let them get to work.
"People have been throwing things-- at night--especially at night. When they are partying and they're out of control. They do it. They think it's a joke," he said.
Don't toss stuff off buildings!
The conventional wisdom is Texas's job growth is real but concentrated on "bad" low-paying jobs. Someone who flat out admits he doesn't like Perry has run the numbers and found, "Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they're creating ones with higher wages." Go and check the data, then come back and tell me how wrong it all is.
Football season is clearly upon us when the plaintive cry, "love the Redskins! They won't suck this year! We Promise!" rings all the way to the Shenandoah valley. I had to double-check the byline to make sure Redskins fanatic Chris didn't actually write it.
Yeah, right, I know I know. When Redskins fans engage in myopic hope whilst dancing on the edge of the abyss, it's sad. When Cowboys fans do it, it's a factual step onto the plains of paradise. Until it isn't. Every year.
Well, I guess now we know where the Huygens probe ended up. Nice of them to provide a pointer, innit? Every time I think Saturn's moon Titan couldn't get any weirder, it starts painting arrows in its own sky.
Today's Darwin award goes to a Japanese chick who thought slippery rocks didn't apply to her. Bonus: they haven't found her body yet, but they did find a different body of a dude they weren't even looking for and don't know who is. Unexpectedly!
By using some clever interleaving with x-ray and visible light images, NASA scientists have created a remarkable image of an "exclamation point" collision. Meh. It'll buff out.
A UK man has been banned for driving for a year after being spotted using two cell phones at once. Oh, and not having insurance. The only thing that keeps Ellen from doing this is I won't loan her my phone while she's using hers.
When raised in same-sex groups, more than half the birds paired up together. When females were then brought into the male group, five out of eight pairs of males ignored them and stuck with their male partner.
As in their relationships with the opposite sex, they were found to be as 'attached and faithful', perching side by side, nesting together and greeting each other by nuzzling each other's beaks.
Just like Bert and Ernie.
Not sure how we managed to miss this one: an 18 year old US Olympic ski team candidate may have literally pissed away his chance at the games. Ever wonder why airliners try so hard to keep drunks off the plane? I bet you don't now.
I tell ya, it really does look like what we're going to get in DC is a Space Shuttle that's been left outside a chop-shop convention. I definitely find it sad to see these giants quietly shuffling (shuttling?) off to their final end, at least until I consider how incredibly expensive it all was. Then, then I think about SpaceX and Bigelow and the idea of a sustainable privately run space program, one not directly beholden to Congress's whims, and I take heart. The next generation will not so easily be cancelled, or held hostage, or frozen in the amber of a bureaucrat's fears.
An engineering team has developed an innovative trainer to help golfers improve their putting game. No pictures are provided, but the description makes it sound like an elaborate frame that uses wires to ensure the swing is correct and straight. Expensive, yes, but most things in golf seem to be. Me, I fly RC helicopters instead. You can't mow down dragonflies with a golf ball!
Russia's fifth-generation fighter candidate has been photographed recently prepping for its airshow debut. Me, I think it looks enough like an F-22 to raise suspicions, but I'll admit the resemblance may simple be caused by common solutions to common problems.
A teenaged Florida girl is dead after a weird parasite crawled up her nose and into her brain. No, really! This time even sticking to pools is no guarantee of safety, since the critter can take root in any body of water "not cleaned regularly." All those times I've walked home smelling like chlorine? Yeah, not complaining about those anymore.
The on-again, off-again debate on whether or not dark matter even exists is now on again. I've read enough popular science books to become convinced the stuff probably does exist, but I must admit it all seems really kludge-y. Getting rid of it would make this place conceptually a bit more elegant, in my opinion.
A recent chemical analysis of a nearby white dwarf star has revealed a recent collision of planets very like the one which formed the Earth's moon. The chemical signature found is very weird for a star, but fits well for a rocky planet. That we can see it at all means the event probably happened less than 50 million years ago.
Despite cramped backyards, sub-par soil and the sheer improbability of starting such a project, Chicagoans are embracing the land, bringing elements of the farm into the city. Nowhere is this more dramatic than those who raise chickens, a stable of farm living that is spreading through city neighborhoods.I need some chickens.
A baby Meercat born out of wedlock!
Scientists have announced the discovery of the darkest exoplanet yet known. It's one of those loopy gas giants that twirl very close to their star. While chemicals in the planet's atmosphere no doubt influence the phenomena, it doesn't completely account for why less than one percent of the light that hits it is reflected back into space.
Me, I blame GW Bush.
Ok, so if it helps save lives, can we all now agree radio controlled vehicles are not toys, but rather are a legitimate pastime with real-world applications? Anyone? Anyone?
Oh, shut up. A $200 truck is not a danged toy, ok?
We've actually seen the one with the button and the bacon. Put it this way, beats the heck out of setting a police car on fire.
Planking is so last May. Now we have "horsemaning." Pictures of seemingly headless belly dancers in costume will, of course, be on their way as soon as Laura and Ellen do another show together.
Another day, another slow news day over at Slate. This time, they hired a psychologist to write an essay on the history of autofellatio. Article is SFW. Well of course we're going to link that up! We're classy that way!
DARPA's latest hypersonic glider tests seems not to have gone very well. The thing is supposed to fall into the ocean when it's done. I just have a feeling they were hoping to get more data before it actually did so.
Victor Davis Hanson: Obama is being blamed for not being liberal enough — after federalizing much of the health care delivery system, expanding government faster than at any time since 1933, borrowing more money in two and a half years than any president in history, absorbing companies, jawboning the wealthy, going after Boeing, reversing the order of the Chrysler creditors, adding vast new financial and environmental regulations, appointing progressives like a Van Jones or Cass Sunstein, and institutionalizing liberal protocols across the cabinet and bureaucracy, from the EPA to the Attorney General’s Office.
This is almost exactly the line of reasoning I see coming from the folks who teeter on the left edge of the peanut gallery. They claim it will force them to stay home. So may they all...
A new tech start-up is promising drones with infinite endurance using laser power. It's not the first time I've heard of such a scheme, indeed the article mentions a better-known instance when the company in question actually won a prize from NASA for powering a proof-of-concept space elevator prototype. I can't help but wonder how they plan on solving the "over-the-horizon" problem though. Lasers don't exactly bend with the curvature of the Earth, ya know?
While it has only been tried on exactly three patients, a new drug treatment holds real promise for being an outright cure for a common form of cancer. Using a re-engineered HIV virus to customize white blood cells has been a technique I've read about for twenty years or more. It's nice to see it finally paying off. Assuming it continues to pay off, that is.
They told me, if I voted for John McCain, the State Department would continue to be a source of American arrogance and parochialism, and they were right: US asks China to explain why it needs aircraft carrier.
If this headline doesn't stop you dead in your tracks you must be made of stone: 'My Strange Addiction:' Woman Eats Husband. Turns out she's switched to a diet of cremains, her husband's cremains, to lose weight. Part of my faith is to contemplate the impermanence of things. That said, I can't recall "licking the inside of a funeral urn" being part of the program.
Scientists have found fossil evidence that very large birds once roamed with the dinosaurs. Prior evidence seemed to indicate that Cretaceous birds consisted almost exclusively of crow-sized creatures, but the lower jaw found recently indicates birds which may have stood taller than an ostrich also lived at that time.
Remember Varyag? You know, the rotted Russian aircraft carrier that was towed in circles around the Black Sea for a few years? The one that was so far gone nobody'd ever manage to do anything useful with it? Yeah, the Chinese just got started with their first series of sea trials with it. Never underestimate a determined Asian country, and never underestimate just how wrong pundits can sometimes be.
A very professional RC pilot with a very souped-up MCPX. One day, one day...
After seventeen years the body of a missing scuba diver has been found in Lake Tahoe. Even better, it seems there are at least four other dead divers hidden in its depths. The locals claim they're haunting tunnels that riddle the lake's bottom, connecting it to the nearby Pyramid Lake.
Cool only because nobody got killed: it's actually more than a little dangerous to get too close to a glacier. With video! Me, I'm happy watching HD videos of the things. Then again, I think roughing it means no Tivo. I'm fun that way!
Scientists have announced the discovery that Texas was once joined to Antarctica. Once joined 1.1 billion years ago, that is, which puts it so far back it predates just about all known multi-cellular life. Back then that whole part of the world was a blasted wasteland unfit for human habitation. Now that I think about it, Texas really hasn't changed all that much, has it?
Exit, stage right!
Ok, I don't care what you think about Rick Perry. What I want to point out is what salvo two and salvo one of a series of hit pieces really look like. Ad hominem: check. Straw man: check. Argument by innuendo: check. Proof by verbosity: check. It's a fun game! See if you can spot any others!
Oh, calm down, will ya? Like I said, this isn't a comment about the (presumed) candidate, rather the crude and ridiculous attempts to smear a (presumed) candidate. I'm sure if you tried hard enough you'd find a few that went after Democratic candidates. I'm equally sure you will have to try, and hard.
Oh, and someone make sure Ron eats once in awhile as he goes a-hunting for more fallacies in the articles.
Scientists are reporting the discovery of artificial genes in "escapee" weed plants. It seems that, once a crop plant gets out of its field it's then called a weed, and these weeds have been found not only all over the place, but with other artificial genes in their makeup that they could only have gotten through wild interbreeding. While not a doomsday proclamation in and of itself, the findings do provide worrying evidence that it is at least possible that fully wild weeds could one day acquire artificial resistance to widely used weed killers.
A new, far more precise measurement of the Cygnus system has both proven conclusively Cygnus X-1 is a black hole, and allowed scientists to predict its ultimate fate. I don't know about you, but black holes whizzing around the galaxy all by themselves doesn't sound like a good idea. I'm not completely sure who built this place, but I think the bid should've gone to another contractor.
A meteor explosion is the likely cause of a "surprising 'bang' over a small Pacific island. I'd rather it kerplooey over my house rather than through it.
For the first time an amputee will be competing in an able-bodied World Championship track and field event. Oscar Pistorius, a 24-year-old double-amputee who competes on carbon fibre legs, will race in the 400m and 4x400m relay for South Africa. Good on ya, mate!
Ok, let's say, for the sake of argument, we do need to tax high earners to generate more revenue. Would you be willing to consider starting that list in a different place? Me, I'd also include that 70%+ income bracket the left side is always going on about, but starting with high earners working for any professional sports league, or who've worked for the federal government in the last, say, fifteen years.
Looks like hacker conventions aren't always about anarchists airing out dirty laundry: Defcon hackers are building, among other things, a camera designed to be fired out of a grenade launcher. Well, the military version is. Their version seems to be meant to use a flare gun. Like that makes it any less cool. Who knows? Maybe "Turkey and Rockets '13," the 2013 version of our annual Thanksgiving party, will be accompanied by roving miniature photography helicopters and an "eye in the sky."
Here's one I certainly had never heard of: King George I imported a "wild child" from Germany as court entertainment. Eventually the court tired of him, and pensioned him off to a rural farm to spend the rest of his days. Now it seems he was likely the victim of a genetic disorder instead of being raised by wolves.
Mars rover Spirit may be long gone, but its twin Opportunity is trundling along pretty well, all things considered. It'd be interesting to see if, assuming a successful mission start, the new larger probe Curiosity managed to rendezvous with one or the other of these intrepid little probes.
Ok, even I thought pictures of where children sleep as a metaphor for where wealth and poverty live was a nifty idea. That said, I can't help but be a bit suspicious of the sampling choices. Three kids from the NYC area and two from Kentucky isn't really going to be too representative of the US. I suspect the other choices may not be particularly representative of the other countries, either.
Scientists have announced the ability to create basic computer circuits out of diamond. These new nano-material circuits should allow the construction of far more robust digital devices, able to operate in environments where normal circuitry would fail.
"I am a little shocked. She says she is a Christian, but the Bible doesn't say anything about dinosaurs. Should I let him keep them, as long as he understands that dinosaurs aren't real? Even the PBS shows that he watches talk about dinosaurs and evolution, and how the scientists found these "bones" but the Bible doesn't say that God ever created them, and the earth is only 6,000 years old, not old enough to have "bones" that they say are MILLIONS of years old! I know that Satan tries to trick us in many ways, and this is one way that he tries to fool man into believing that there isn't a God who created the universe. How can they be bones when they are made out of ROCKS? I told my son that dinosaurs are one of Satan's many ways of tricking man, and he must talk to God before he plays with them. Am I handling this right? My first 3 were all girls, and I adopted boys, and lots of mothers tell me that boys are often attracted to these dinosaurs. So I don't know what to do. Is this just harmless fantasy play for him, or should I be worried that he may go on to believe in things like evolution?"
Really? There are still people out there like this?
Don't forget to read the comments! Those are always the best!
Leave it to a chick with skin in the game to tell it like it is. Unfortunately the Chicago Machine won't go quietly, and they've got more than a year to go before we get to put the grownups back in charge. I'd like to think they'll play nice. I'd also like to think there's a pile of gold coins buried in my yard. The difference I see is that I recognize that both are fantasies. I"m not sure the folks in the White House would.
Cindy gets a no-prize full of sand for bringing us news that a Star Trek theme park will be opening soon in... Jordan. Well, it's gotta get built somewhere, ya know?
Scientists have announced the discovery of a thin band of antimatter circling the Earth. There's enough out there that people are beginning to scheme ways to go out and harvest it. What could possibly go wrong?
I think the judges just didn't like his technique. I don't remember that sort of thing resulting in a DQ, but memory may be failing or they may have changed the rules. Sometimes the trigger is just too hairy.
Scientists have announced a significant positive step forward in farming blue fin tuna. It would be a massive step forward if aquaculture of this endangered and unfortunately tasty fish can be made economically viable.
I'm not sure why anyone's surprised by this: Boeing decides to use boosters made by... well, Boeing... to loft its upcoming 7-seat space capsule. First flight is scheduled for 2015, which I think puts them 3 years behind SpaceX? Competition is good!
A genetic study has found that about half of all European men "share king Tut's DNA", which is a classic MSM distortion of, "share a common ancestor with king Tut." The finding is still quite surprising, since Tut himself was a member of a (now) rare haplogroup.
Rowan Atkinson seems to have inadvertently tested just how crash-proof a McLaren really is. Hey, you don't buy a car from an F1 factory ONLY because it's fast, donchaknow? This time I think the car's probably a write-off.
It seems a guy who's weirdly into Hello Kitty can sometimes have a lot of other problems. Police, and consent laws, can be tough that way. And then the feds can get involved, too. His lifestyle implies rich white parents, which I hope he has, because if he doesn't he's in for a world of... well, you know...
As part of a holy day celebration, a group of Buddhists has freed over 500 lobsters in Massachusetts. Bought & paid for them, no less. Oh geeze, someone get Ellen and Mark some tissues. No use crying over freed food!
Scientists have announced the discovery of a 20 million year-old ape fossil. It represents the first known instance of cranial remains of an ape of this age.
Nothing like finding a live rat in a fresh loaf of bread to start a meal right! Lovely how everyone involved is handling it so gracefully, too. You would've thought someone would've noticed, I don't know, the bread moving or something? Or a hole in the package? A squeak?
Scientists have finally figured out some tests to see if we really do live in a "multiverse". As I understand it, a lot of conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics, particularly with regard to gravity, can be explained if our universe is just one of many "bubble" universes. And that's about as far as I can get, since the physicists who's books I've read sort of sputter out at that point because they can't use the right sort of math in a popular science book. Anyway, testing is good!
So, does the "Angry Birds Bra" mean they've jumped the shark, or is there more to come?(SFW) Or, you know, support... something like that. Now, if it falls apart as quickly as one of the puzzles, I may find it more interesting.
Scientists have developed a new theory to explain why the near and far sides of the moon are so different: it may be that another, smaller moon slowly collided with the larger body billions of years ago. It's hoped that two upcoming NASA missions (GRAIL and LRO) will provide data for the tests needed to confirm, or deny, this new idea.
More hurdles seem to have been cleared in the effort to get algae to poop diesel. Last I heard the stumbling block was in making sure regular algae didn't contaminate the engineered kind. That's not mentioned at all here, so either a) they've fixed it or b) they've got enough money to build some sort of big factory that'll put the critters in a white room. Bonus: the greens better damned well love it because it eats CO2 as part of the process. Double bonus: puts hajji that much closer to the breadline. Triple bonus: creates American jorbs!!!
If plans pan out the title of "World's Tallest Building" will soon be moving to Saudi Arabia. My old anthropology adviser once noted the best way to tell when a society is on the way out is when they start making monstrous monuments. "It means they're not busy enough doing real work," he said. Pretty apt description of the Sand Box, I'd say. Winning!
A new report published in the medical journal Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation is extolling the virtues of yoga-based therapy in treating many kinds of common injuries. Doesn't seem like it would be a big deal to just try it.
And now, a technicolor jellyfish that's four feet across. Every time I think it might be fun to swim in the ocean I see one of these things. Or a shark week episode. The beach is good enough for me!
Poor squeaky ball!
So some social conservatives decided to stick a butter knife into America's wall socket by coming up with "The Marriage Vow," which makes the admittedly incendiary assertion that, "a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President." Yet the best the New York Times can come up with is a refutation that actually doesn't refute anything in the aforementioned vow.
That life was much worse for most former slaves immediately after emancipation is something that's been known in anthropological circles for at least twenty-five years. The guy who literally wrote the book on it was my college adviser, and I handled and examined some of the evidence myself. I'm not sure it's possible to prove that black kids in the 1870s were more likely to grow up in an intact home than they were in 2009. I don't think statistics like that were kept, or kept reliably at any rate, during reconstruction.
I am sure it's possible to prove that kids of all races were more likely to be raised as part of an intact family in the 1950s than they were in the 1980s, and probably even today. Because of that I think the assertion is ham-fisted but more likely to be true than not. I'm also sure that being a professor at Princeton makes you damned good at writing an impressively intimidating thousand-word essay that never quite gets around to refuting the central point. I just wish I could figure out how to do it and get paid like this one did.
The good news: Smithsonian's getting their new shuttle no later than next September. The bad: it might look like it's been parked outside a chop shop convention overnight. Hey, if reporters get paid to make a hysterically distorted headline, why can't I?
The ongoing drought in Texas has led to the discovery of a lost part of space shuttle Columbia. It sort of sounds like a fuel cell, or at least part of a fuel cell. I wouldn't want to touch it either without NASA's go-ahead. The shuttles were filled with all sorts of nasty stuff that could hurt the unprepared.
... so much for skydiving: Skydiving quadriplegic plunges to death after parachute failures. Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes has never struck me as the wisest of hobbies, but people do it all the time without getting hurt. And when something does go wrong, well, that sudden stop at the end makes for a very quick appearance at the back of the reincarnation line.
The MSM is (per usual) long on cheer-leading Team Obama and short on the details of what has actually happened with the budget. Bloggers to the rescue! This is a summary of has happened, not what anyone thinks it means (that's in a different post on his blog).
Scientists have announced the birth of a genetically modified beagle that glows in the dark. The modification is actually a rather routine proof-of-concept that should pave the way for more meaningful alterations which could help advance any number of medical research projects.
Just when you thought the insect world was done with surprises, someone comes along to explain something like an insect which uses a re-activated gene to alter a body part to look like an aggressive ant. It's actually uglier than the bug that imitates bird poo, which turns out to be a cousin. Nature can be a damned strange place, I tell ya...
Observation: a giant Chinese tech company which has a slightly lower-than-average suicide rate among its employees has plans to use robots in its worst jobs instead of people. Lede: If the world's largest manufacturer of computer components can't stop its workers from killing themselves, it will just replace them. The mind boggles.
The company that owns Seattle's Space Needle wants to shoot you into orbit. Well, ok, has created a contest who's grand prize is a trip with Virgin Galactic. I'll wager far more "common" people will get rides like this than pundits have predicted.
Scientists are working with SpaceX to re-tool their new Dragon space capsule as a payload delivery system. By using existing commercial products, the scientists hope to field their experiments for a fraction of the normal costs.