Well, I know this has been all over the MSM so I'm just repeating it, but by the way US carbon output forecasts are down. Again. "No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that."
Ok, what everyone seems to have forgotten is this is exactly how the Iranians claim to have nabbed their own purloined US drone. It must be a switch in the software somewhere, "use only GPS for navigation" or something. If it were Microsoft, that switch would of course default to ON. I would've thought other folks would do better.
The youth of Japan are at it again, indulging in a fad that has them "seeing" things all too well.
It's nice to know I'm not the only one who obsesses about watching airplanes. Before I graduated high school I used an old refractor telescope to follow contrails and see what sort of airplane was making them. More recently, I bought a used radio scanner to listen to air traffic control, and once sat under Regan's approach vectors and used the radio to know what was inbound next. The road that leads to Udvar Hazy has a section that is directly beneath the approach to one of the main runways at Dulles, and for awhile parking and letting the planes fly over was a good way to distract Olivia. Fun stuff!
Scientists have found even more evidence that dinosaurs were warm blooded. I thought this particular bit of science had been settled long ago. I guess I underestimated the ability of academics to grind against each other arguing for decades over the smallest of disagreements. Beats having to work for a living.
A Texas inmate in county lockup has managed to off himself with a plastic spoon. The arrest was for misdemeanor charges, which should've seen him out of the pokey pretty rapidly, but SOMETHING happened to get him in lockdown. You'd think there'd be cameras to keep an eye on this sort of thing.
Using a combination of telescopes, scientists for the first time have captured a star blowing away some atmosphere from one of its orbiting planets. The star, elegantly named HD 189733, is about 63 light years from Earth and is prone to big flares, one of which smacked the planet named... wait for it... HD 189733b, right in the kisser.
Ellen insists this is what our living room is like when I turn the rig up to 11.
Minitel, the French system which prefigured what we now think of as the Internet in many startling ways, will be shut down on Saturday. I learned about the system in the book Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, and if that account is to be believed the French were rightly proud of it.
21st century relationships: planning a lesbian Jewish wedding. They're (presumably) staying out of trouble, paying their taxes, and aren't on my lawn. Therefore, I'm OK with this.
The Alfa SUV project seems to be coming along nicely. They could do a lot worse than a Jeep with a fancy body on it and an Italian motor in it. Here's to hoping it's in our price range!
The Air Force has rediscovered the wreckage of a plane that crashed in 1952 with, weirdly, 52 people on board. They'd plotted the wreckage right after the crash, but lost it again after it got buried by storms.
Scientists have discovered that a newly-found human ancestor ate a unique diet. It appears that Australopithecus sediba, which lived about two million years ago, fed on tree bark, and seems to be the only hominid yet found to do so. Remarkably, actual bark was found in between the fossilized teeth of some specimens.
It's all fun and games on your 125 mph super bike ride until a snake crawls into your lap. Now that's some cool-headed bike handling right there, I'll say.
Problem: meddlesome nanny-state low flush toilets don't work worth a damn.
Unintended consequence: EXPLODING PRESSURIZED TOILETS!!!
SpaceX is moving from strength to strength, with a successful test firing of an improved Dragon rocket engine. The new design is said to be stronger and easier to make, allowing launch prices to continue to fall. With video!
Title says it all: This is what happens if a box of garbage falls into a volcano lake. Tossing a person in would likely see the same result. What? Oh, like you never watched Gilligan's Island or the second Ice Age movie. See what I did there? You're bound to know at least one of them!
American Horror star Dylan McDermott managed to solve the mystery of his own mother's murder. It turns out what was filed away as a tragedy 45 years ago was something much more sinister.
A cat tweaks a guitar (supposedly) during the recent earthquake in Australia. I dunno about this one. When we had our Virginia earthquake last year everyone hauled ass out of the building.
Scientists examining a meteorite that fell to Earth more than forty years ago have announced the discovery of several new minerals contained therein. It's thought the compounds will provide important insights into the conditions of the early solar system.
Now, we've gone on record as considering "roughing it" to be the lack of a Tivo, but this camping trailer is still pretty nifty. I keep thinking I'll see it in its transformed state as a giant robot next.
Boeing has unveiled its most recent experimental jet, the X-48C. That "blended wing body" shape has been around quite a long time. I think I first saw it when Boeing was kicking the transsonic cruiser around back in the late 90s, which probably means it's much older than that. It'd certainly make for a much cooler looking plane than what flies around nowadays!
To paraphrase an ancient Eurythmics song: "you can fool with your brother / but don't mess with those knitting with their hands." Obligatory:
By cleverly leveraging info from elephant seals, scientists have discovered the Antarctic ice shelves aren't melting at all. It would seem that, until now, the computer models being used to "prove" they were had never actually been tested with real-world observations. Which we all know is completely OK since the science has been settled. Yes, that's exactly what it sounds like when the other side coughs up the ball. Again.
Dog bites man: a guy with no job who lives with his grandmother gets tricked online by a different guy into thinking a South African hottie is in love with him. Man bites dog: he sets out to kill the girl in the pictures sent to him. Why, yes, he was taken to a mental hospital after he was stopped, how perceptive of you!
Scientists have announced the discovery of a unique ancient burial. Fifth century AD would put it right in the heart of Britain's Dark Ages, as Rome's influence collapsed and barbarian hordes started pushing down roots. Apparently a burial of this sort is unique to all of Europe.
Via Honor Among Thieves.
Folks worrying over how Shuttle prototype Enterprise will weather winters on the Hudson should worry no more. The air-supported domes I've been inside have been dark and pretty loud, but maybe this is a different type. Regardless, it's a temporary solution which (hopefully) will be replaced once a permanent facility has been created. I didn't know they had enough room on Intrepid's deck to fit the thing on it, but there you go.
Everything old is new again: instability and rapacious progressives are causing the wealthy to almost literally bury their money in the back yard. The efforts of cash-strapped governments to prohibit these moves look so much like what the Romans did at the end of the Western Empire I'm surprised the laws aren't written in Latin. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
And today's theory of what Stonehenge actually means IS... [spins wheel]... a hippie commune. Good as any other, I guess. However, the article (and, presumably, the book it's based on) does supply a nice catch-up summary of the latest findings on the site, which are quite numerous and interesting. They seem to have been pretty busy over there recently.
And that's what six hours at the pool on your birthday will get you. I used to wonder why my parents were so happy to dump me off at the pool as early as possible. I don't wonder anymore.
Onward and upward!
I've got a pair of little girls dancing and singing to Katy Perry with the rig thundering behind them, complaining about kamikaze ninja kittens trying to gnaw their ankles off right now. I'm more than a little wistful, since I know she'll be snarling at me and dating someone who uses "there" possively in less than four years. But I will remember this.
I SAID, I WILL REMEMBER THIS! WHAT PART OF 'TEH THUNDAR' DIDN'T YOU GET?!?
And now, a 300-pound, eight-foot long gar. It was so big they had to shoot the damned thing to kill it.
As of Thursday afternoon, the 44-year-old tortoise was still missing. Lechner said he’s wandered out of the couple’s yard in the past – to check out the interesting smells at a nearby trash bin or graze in the lawn of an adjacent apartment complex, but he always returns. This time, Andy Lechner said he believes the tortoise wandered out of the yard and either got lost, was picked up by a well-meaning neighbor hoping to help the animal or was snatched by someone hoping to sell him.
Read the rest of the here.
Another day, another attempt at stating basic economics. So, slowly this time: demand goes up, price goes up. High prices mean high profits, which attract Clever Greedy Bastards (CGB). CGB innovate, existing producers increase production, supply increases. Supply increases, prices fall. Sun rises, sun sets, sky is blue, these are things only a fanatic would argue about.
Scientists have discovered plants get a surprising amount of nutrients from deadly fungi in and around their roots. No, you're not going to drop dead in the garden tomorrow morning. But the insects you're fighting just might. Good, bad, the fungi's the one with the gun.
They told me if I voted for John McCain corporate criminals would get government hand-outs, and they were RIGHT!
Those Chinese are at it again, this time cloning an Alfa Romeo. Well, someone needs to pick up the "pretty but flimsy" flag now that (apparently) the Fiat group has left it behind.
A new genetic study has provided hard evidence that the Queen of Sheba was real. I only knew her as a name, even the biblical legends were beyond me. The study also revealed interesting information about our very ancient past as well.
A Syrian pilot has defected with his fighter jet. It's a MiG-21, so I guess it should be more like "ANTIQUE fighter jet." He landed in Jordan mostly because that's about as far as those things can fly. It'd be nice if they let him keep it. Those things are pretty valuable on the private market.
A man colorfully known as "The Dating Game Serial Killer" has been accused of two murders in New York City. The connection is apparently that he appeared on the game show a year before he was arrested for other murders in California back in the late 70s. Since he's been in jail ever since, it won't take a killer off the streets, but perhaps it will give the victims' families some closure.
Archeologists have found evidence of dairy farmers in Africa 7000 years ago. Analysis of pottery sherds revealed evidence of dairy fats, indicating the Saharan Africans were processing the milk into a form that would make it more digestible to their (presumably) lactose intolerant systems.
And the latest attempt to tilt the odds of a high-stakes sport involves horse racing and frog juice. Yes, you heard me, frog juice. Look, I wasn't the one who made it up, they did! Juicy frogs!
Making the rounds: sometimes even physicists can act like kids the night before Christmas. Filling in the last of the blank spaces in the Standard Model will be every bit as revolutionary as it's being made out to be. Knowing exactly what the Higgs boson looks and acts like will eliminate a huge swath of theories while confirming others, and may even allow the development of things like antigravity plates. Floating skateboards, FTW!
It would seem the best way to finally end those damned Nigerian scams is to answer each and every one of them. After all, it shouldn't just be stupid people who get to have all the fun!
Scientists have announced the discovery of the first-known fossils which capture vertebrates in the act of reproduction. The hapless victims were a kind of ancient turtle, with the working theory that some extraordinary event got a whole bunch of them at once. Well, if you gotta go, that would seem to be one of the better ways.
Background story, and a second song, is here...
I have no idea what you're talking about, so here's a cat that's adopted a baby bird. Our remaining cat is too fat, old, and lazy to be much of a threat to any bird, so I actually find this pretty likely.
Good: Dolby is premiering a new theater sound system! Bad: It's not in any nearby theater. Curses! Adding a ceiling channel is definitely more realistic than the 40+ channel standard that they're wanting to wedge into the next hi-def TV spec.
Now, I know this will be shocking to you, so sit down and hold your breath: the Obama administration's DREAM decree isn't exactly what it was said to be. "They said, if I voted for John McCain..."
If this detailed but thinly sourced Der Spiegel article is to be believed, all is not well at the Vatican. A closer reading, to me at least, reveals more about the assumptions and expectations of a modern secular political writer than it does about any particular set of scandals in the Curia. It's also quite striking how similar this is to the kinds of stories that come out of the Pentagon when the Secretary of Defense tries to get anything major done. Massive, insular, wealthy, and powerful organizations run by humans seem to have commonalities.
The unfortunate truth, and to me it seems that the author can't quite get his head around the fact, is that the Pope is not a bureaucrat, and he is not an elected official in the popular sense. He's the head of an independent state with an organizational memory that goes back to the time of the emperors of Rome. The papacy has survived far, far worse than whatever it might actually be going through right now. It will continue.
And now, a dolphin with an octopus attached. So, an over-ambitious snack attack, or an attempt at a free ride gone wrong? You decide!
Swill down a yoghurt-style drink which interacts with the food in your stomach and your excrement turns a variety of hues depending on how sick you are.
The scientists have so far only suggested it could detect the progress of e.coli - but they hope one day it could diagnose far more conditions.
Crazy thing is, she would make me do it and we would do manicures and pedicures at the same time.
Yes, I admit it. I kitten huff.
Kitten huffing is a controversial practice that has recently been growing as a popular alternative to street drugs. Despite a long history in Western culture, the practice remains largely taboo. Excessive huffing has been known to produce undesirable side effects, and kitten-related human fatalities. Even unapologetically frequent huffers caution against using more than two or three kittens per day.
New data coming in is suggesting that Voyager 1 may soon cross into interstellar space. I thought it'd done that a long time ago. Maybe I'm thinking about Voyager 2 instead? Anyway, won't be long now until it falls into a black hole and then becomes part of a super-intelligent hyper-destructive space ship. But I digress...
Scientists have announced the discovery of the oldest definitively dated rock art in Australia. Unusually for this sort of art, the work found in the Northern Territory rock shelter, known as Nawarla Gabarnmang, was made with charcoal, which allowed it to be accurately dated. While not as old as the ~40,000 year old art found in Spain, at 28,000 years the site is still on the far side of ancient.
Event officials have announced the adjustments which will be made to the Reno air races after last year's deadly crash. Surprisingly, "cancelling them outright" isn't on the list. After all, there really isn't a way to completely mitigate, let alone prevent, a repeat of the disaster. In this risk-averse and litigious age, that's normally all it takes to shut something down. Let's hear it for the risk-takers!
I guess the reason he's so good at making fun of "the 1%" is because he is one.
Speaking truth to power: "In [the interview], the inventor of Gaia theory and godfather of modern environmentalism declares that wind farms are hideous, renewables are a waste of space, nuclear power is good, sea level rises aren't a worry, environmentalism has replaced Christianity as the global religion and that we should all be "going mad on" shale gas, which he considers our best energy hope for the immediate future." More here...
Presenting The Dimensions of Paradise and the Sacred Cubit, wherein we explore the mathematics of heaven. I think. There sure is an awful lot of math in there, and he says "New Jerusalem" a lot. At least it's basic math. God apparently isn't all that into calculus. Maybe that explains black holes?
Scientists have discovered that a certain type of carnivorous plant is able to catapult bugs into its gullet. A leaf covering the "pitcher" in a pitcher plant has a special coating on its underside. If a bug crawls on the underside of the leaf, that special coating ensures it can barely grip the surface. A water drop, a breeze, basically anything that causes the leaf to shake plops the hapless insect into the plant's waiting maw. Ain't nature grand?
Pravda is on the case: America's dominance is due to manipulation, wealth, and Kim Kardashian. No, really! Not surprisingly, the man who's come to this conclusion is from the Arab world. How else explain how one can substitute "America" with "The Jews" and have it still make complete sense? One would think this foil-hattery was just the beliefs of a single kook. In my opinion, though, if we were to make people who really believe this actually wear foil hats, it would be impossible to look at the Middle East without a welding mask.
A young man who wandered into Berlin claiming to have lived on his own in the woods for years, is actually just a dumb kid from the Netherlands. I guess, for some people anyway, it's just impossible not to tell a story when asked. Olivia's famous for that, but she's only 8. It'll be interesting to find out if anything else comes of this.
New tests have revealed cave paintings found in Spain are the oldest known in the world. At 40,000 years, the oldest is right on the cusp of when modern humans were settling in Europe. This, of course, caused at least one of the scientists to imply neandertals were responsible. Since we've never found any other neandertal art anywhere and this IS still a time period modern humans could've done it, I'm thinking that is unlikely.
Reason #452 why I don't want to try seafood: a Korean woman got inseminated by improperly cooked squid. "She spat out the food in her mouth, but still had a "pricking and foreign-body sensation" in her oral cavity." [[SHUDDER]]
Pro tip: when exiting from a failed shoplifting attempt, try not to get run over by your getaway car. Bonus: this is the Wal Mart we use most weekends for groceries. All in all, I'd rather it be a lot more boring than this. Bonus: Perp is actually from, you guessed it, New York.
Robert H. gets a securely contained no-prize for bringing us The SCP Project, a one-stop community shop which seems to be dedicated to the creation of all things creepy. It's fictional, but it took me rooting around awhile to make sure. It all seems to be protected by the Creative Commons copyright, which I guess is why it hasn't turned into a giant feed trough for Hollywood.
Recent biological surveys are indicating cougars are repopulating areas in central North America. It seems they're permanently set up as far as Texas / Ontario, with one individual being found all the way on the East Coast. The scientists go out of their way to assure everyone that cougars are shy and retiring, but I've read enough accounts (and observed the behavior of their much smaller cousins) to think otherwise. Ah, well. At least now Amber will have an alibi if Ron ever disappears after going out for a walk in the woods.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
A civics teacher is in trouble for showing an incredibly graphic video of a murder and dismemberment to his class. The guy warned the students, who seemed to be junior and senior level in high school, took a survey of who did and didn't want to see it, and offered an out for those who didn't. I think his main mistake was not notifying the parents, but it's not a huge mistake, IMO. We let teens that old drive cars, they're definitely old enough to make a judgment about something like this.
That said, during one of my cultural anthropology courses when I was, as I recall, a sophomore in college, we got shown a film which graphically depicted the ritual slaughter and butchering of a pig. Lots of warning was given, and as I recall some students didn't actually attend. Even then, at least two got so upset they had to leave (in tears, naturally), and the professor was visibly embarrassed by it all. Which is to say being warned something is horrible is not the same thing as actually witnessing something horrible.
It's a pretty questionable judgement call, I think. But if the guy is otherwise an upstanding, high-performing, and popular teacher, I'm not sure he should face any serious discipline over the incident.
By using a new, more sensitive space telescope, scientists have discovered the fabric of space is not as "knotted" as some theories predicted. This should go a long way toward weeding out the many existing theories of how the universe came into being. Even more finely-grained observations are on the way, potentially refining what theories stand up to the tests eve more.
"Happy Days" star Erin Moran has fallen on some hard times. The money in TV is good, if you get the right deal, but it does run out eventually.
Sometimes there's no way to improve the lede: "A jury has awarded a Georgia woman $3 million over her husband's heart attack, finding that his doctor should have warned the Atlanta cop against strenuous activity like the three-way sex he was having at the time he died, WXIA-TV reports." Decline and fall of Western Civilization, chapter 26.
Scientists have announced the discovery of a rare, intact skeleton of a soldier killed during the Battle of Waterloo. The location of the individual and the artifacts found with him strongly indicate this is a British soldier, probably killed by the musket ball found in his chest cavity. It's hoped those artifacts will help identify him, allowing him to be buried in something other than an unmarked grave.
Well, it's not like you can mail a barge from South Korea to the Netherlands. This ship, or one very like it, was used to ferry USS Cole and (I think) what was left of that Russian sub that torpedoed itself a few years back. They are definitely nifty bits of engineering.
Effete Europe to China: "We har zo verreh zorry, but eef zyou do hnot clean hup your haeroplanes, zere whill be Evehnts hof Consequence fhor zyou."
Most of the time I find China worrisome, paranoid, and arrogant. But sometimes they get it just right.
Well, at least now I know my family isn't the only one with a collection of awkward family photos on gramma's wall. After my grandparents passed away all those pictures were (presumably) boxed up and hidden away somewhere. But I know they're out there, somewhere, waiting to horrify an unsuspected distant relative some day.
Rome's famous Trevi fountain seems to be losing some of its marble. Bonus: the guy in charge of it is named "Broccoli." I kid you not. Apparently you can still drink the water from the fountain?
A WaPo columnist recently tried biking to work and the vaguely amusing, vaguely whiny article that resulted got him a nice cross-section of the DC area bike community to respond. Me? That's almost exactly the same distance I ride, when I ride to work. Fortunately I don't have to deal with the unpaved C&O Canal trail, otherwise I'd probably be on a hybrid of some sort. He's already picked a better route than his first few tries. I got lucky with Google's bike routing and have what I consider an ideal compromise between safety, speed, and lack of hills. Keep riding!
Life in the 21st century: a Spanish company has created a self-making bed. Looks kinda fiddly to me. I think I'd be worried it'd try to make itself with me still in it during an... enthusiastic... moment. That, and it adds about a hundred new things to break.
Agreed: when teaching someone how to ride a motorcycle, it's better to choose a place that's on the ground. Heck, I wouldn't teach someone how to use a car's stick shift, let alone something that can actively toss a person off the seat.
So, the next big thing, or another green boondoggle? Scientists have lofty ambitions for a new form of building material, laminated timber. If it makes buildings easier/cheaper/safer, heck I'm all for it. Costs a premium? Well, it's your money, your house. Enjoy!
Let the "briefly" jokes begin: Alfa Romeo's new 4c sports coupe should arrive sooner than predicted. It'll still likely be more than we can afford, and certainly more than we have places to put it, but it'd be awfully nice to park my ancient Spider next to one.
Only two months from now we'll (hopefully) have a new Mars rover trundling about, and NASA engineers are already "cramming" for the landing. This thing is about as self-contained as it can be, and once the light-enduced delay is included it's 15 minutes before they'll find out what happened. In other words, I'm not all that sure what there is to practice for. Ah, well, I guess they need to keep busy somehow. Here's to a safe landing!
Shades of Home Alone: a child was accidentally left behind in a UK pub during a crowded and confused party break-up. Oh, did we mention the kid belonged to the Prime Minister? Eight years old is definitely old enough to stay out of trouble and get help rolling in the right direction, which she did. The kid even managed to help out.
Victor Davis Hansen: "From Greece to Italy to California to Wisconsin to Obama’s Washington, the verdict is in: the democratic model of trying to provide cradle-to-grave benefits, administered by an elite technocratic class, using demonization to bully the opposition and redistribute income, not only does not work, but cannot ever work."
Author Neal Stephenson has started a "crowdfunding" project to bring real sword fighting to video games. He's already about 1/5th to his goal, with most of a month left. It's not every day that someone'll give you a sword for funding his start-up.
It's all fun and games until they have to use an angle grinder to cut the ring off your junk. Bonus: You'd think a guy less than a year from his 70th birthday would know better. Then again, hey, go grandpa! (SFW)
After an incredible 115 years together two giant turtles at an Austrian zoo have gone their separate ways – refusing to share a cage any longer.
The falling out, which has baffled the zoo officials, marks the end of the world’s oldest animal 'marriage'.
According to the paper, staff at the zoo realised all was not well when Bibi attacked Poldi – biting off a chunk of his shell.
Read the rest of the article here.
How sensitive can the Large Hadron Collider actually be? Sensitive enough that an object 235,000 miles away can cause the data to go jiggery. It's also thrown off by a TGV that runs nearby, and a host of other very minor effects. Ultimately, when you're using a machine that has gauges that *start* with nine zeros after the decimal, it don't take much.
No, really: when ostriches attack! That pretty much defines every little kid's real-life nightmare right there. Fortunately nobody got kicked, and it looks like the bird ended up fine as well.
Aviation enthusiasts with more resources than I have may find this survey of great aviation destinations of interest. And if you're local to one, by all means check it out anyway. I've done my own "virtual" flyover tour of The Boneyard via Google Maps. Amazingly enough, at the time the pictures were taken at any rate, there are still a number of D-21 drones scattered about the property.
Breaking news: I'll Have Another has been pulled from Belmont. The article's pretty darned sketchy, but I'm sure the details will flesh out soon. After all the various race horse tragedies of recent years, if the owner thinks the horse needs a rest, the horse needs a rest.
Coming to a desktop near you: compact x-ray lasers. We'll just have to take them at their word that it's useful, since the article doesn't mention any explicit applications. But it's an x-ray laser, man, it can sit there and just be awesome.
The DOD is working with two university professors to see if it's possible to create rat-based mine detectors. The idea is to train them to circle a mine once they've found it. A tiny GPS backpack they're wearing would allow a computer to "spot" the behavior, and therefore the mine. The rats are too light to set the mines off, so they'd be safe. Not sure how they'd collect them after the job was done, I guess you just pick them up from their circling.
Lost knowledge rediscovered: the lines on a Solo cup are actually measurement marks. I was always a little suspicious about how a bottle of beer NEARLY overflowed one. But after the third or forth one, I sorta stopped noticing.
In other news, vampire bones are being dug up in Bulgaria. Well, ok, not actual vampires, but apparently whoever did the burying was wanting to make sure no funny business with fangs was going to happen. Apparently it's so common in that region that the scientists aren't sure what all the fuss is about.
Pop singer Lauryn Hill is now in trouble with the feds. Something they all learn eventually: you can rape, murder, rob, or burn and the feds won't go after you as quick or as hard as they will if you start monkeying with your taxes. Get between them and your cash at your peril.
SpaceX's recently returned Dragon capsule is now heading for Texas. I wonder why it's only dark on one side like that?
I guess I really should have watched that whole Jubilee thing last weekend. In addition to what seems to have been a good concert, Waldo showed up. Point: he proved that German has a sense of humor. Germans as a whole, well, hell I just remembered they paid for some Monty Python episodes back in the day. They can't be THAT humorless.
A dock so big it was at first mistaken for a barge recently washed up on an Oregon shore. So what? It floated all the way from Japan. The article includes an illustration of where the "bulk of debris" is which, if it's to scale, makes it look like you'll soon be able to walk most of the way to Japan from the West Coast.
And in the "people will do anything to get high" file we have scorpions. Yes, scorpions. Seems they cut the tails off, crush 'em up, and smoke the powder. You'd think it wasn't all that big of a deal, since lots of Chinese people eat the damned things all the time. Me, I think I'll stick to good ol' beer and wine, thankyouverymuch.
Walter Russel Mead: "Voters in Wisconsin didn’t reject a role for the state in regulating the economy and easing the harshness of life in a market economy. But they turned decisively against the argument that well-paid armies of life-tenured bureaucrats can produce enough good government to justify the cost. And the lesson of the election isn’t that the right has too much money; the lesson is that while the left still has plenty of passion and fire, it has, thanks in part to the power of public sector unions, largely run out of compelling ideas."
Chinese piracy has reached a whole new level now that a developer has duplicated an entire Austrian town. Since I'm pretty sure copyrighting geography hadn't actually occurred to anyone writing treaties, it's technically not illegal. This, of course, has not prevented at least some residents of The Village, Actual from being upset, but not so much they skipped the premiere of the copy.
Sorry, though. That Japanese guy who served his junk for dinner is still the gold-standard of Asian weirdness.
I guess there really was a whole bunch of cool things going on over in London last weekend, as this short video of a "pilot's eye view" of the festivities can attest. Bonus: the airplane being flown is a Lancaster. Thank goodness for tiny, cheap, HD video cameras!
Yeah, yeah, we know. Physically, humans are pretty awful predators. We've got tiny teeth, no claws, poor smell and vision. But it turns out we are the absolute kings and queens of long distance running. Hey, we grew up on one of the greatest lawns on the planet. Being able to run something to death was probably a pretty damned useful thing to have back then.
Coming to a cellphone near you, maybe: a new display technology promises to bring tactile buttons to your touchscreen phone. I've never liked what passes for keyboards on today's touchscreens. I'm far too much of a touch typist. Still, I wonder about price, durability, and just how... well, flexible it really is.
Scientists have found important new evidence in the quest to understand the evolution of apes. In spite of what the article implies, "out of Asia" for apes has been bandied about for at least thirty years or so, when I was an undergrad in anthropology. Back then, the problem was trying to figure out if all these ape fossils were in Asia because that's where apes evolved, or if it was because that's one of the very few places where sediments of the right date are accessible. This find definitely seems to point to the former conclusion.
I swear, you can't trust Yankees to do anything right. We get a real Shuttle and
con graciously gift them our prototype and what do they do? Run it into the side of a damned bridge. You just can't teach 'em anything!
Bare weeks have gone by since Fiat's announcement that the next Alfa Spider will be based on a Miata, and no official documents have been released. So, the folks at Car and Driver pulled out their WAG machine and posted up something anyway. Just having the power come out the correct end for the first time in nearly twenty years is, for me at least, the real "get" of the deal. I trust the company to get the rest of it right all by themselves.
Grateful that the biggest bugs you have to face in your daily life are nothing like the monsters that flitted around millions of years ago? Thank birds. Swoozie still doesn't get to screech any time she feels like it. She'd be a very noisy, very naughty bird otherwise.
I don't know why, because the summary certainly sounds dry as dust, but this story about pelting mosquitoes with raindrops was just fascinating to me. Maybe it's just that growing up in SE Arkansas makes me almost professionally interested in things which can send those buzzy little bastards to an early grave. Unfortunately it turns out that drops of water, of any sort, won't do it.
It's all fun and games at the wedding until the sprinklers start to explode. We just returned from a really nice wedding this weekend, and I'm happy to say no fire sprinklers were involved. Eww!
So when cat Orville, named after the famous aviator Orville Wright, was run over by a car, his artist owner decided to turn him into a permanent piece of artwork as the ultimate tribute by transforming him into a flying helicopter.
Dutch artist Bart Jansen first stuffed Orville before teaming up with radio control helicopter flyer Arjen Beltman to build a specially-designed flying mechanism to attach to the cat.
Complete with photos and a video!
Hey, remember when the MSM was trumpeting the fact that Iraqi oil production was nowhere near pre-war levels? For years? Well, obviously that's really important, so obviously it'll be great big huge news when Iraq's production starts meeting not just pre-war, but all-time highs, right? Right. Getting out of the way and letting them get on with it seems to be working pretty well. No wonder we're not hearing about it.
Scientists have discovered evidence of a radiation burst 'round about 775 AD. The problem is the only record of it is in tree rings. Nobody else seems to have noticed it, and apparently it was plenty big enough to notice. Certainly an emperor or pope must've dropped dead for no reason 'round about then?
Problem: Two obsolete spy satellites need a new job. Solution: spin them 180 degrees and hand the controls to NASA. Yep, the telescope guys just tripled their available 'scope time, with the two new ones representing a real upgrade, for free. Surplus rocks!
Just in time to re-stoke 2012 doomsday hysteria: last month's solar flare caused a mysterious neutron "pulse" that shouldn't have happened at all. It's, naturally, not at all clear why it happened, or even how it happened. A press release in the never-ending quest for grant money, or yet another harbinger of DOOOOOOM? You decide.
"Adopting a hairless cat is like hiring a naked old man to walk around your apartment and never thank you for anything." -- Even more tweets are here...
Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder in Australia, it starts raining sheep. No, I'm not kidding. I'm pretty sure those splashes aren't very nice. Yeah, and try explaining that one to the insurance adjuster, too.
Nothing says "coastal shopping center" more than a snapping turtle who feels like taking a break in the parking lot. We've never been able to really figure out what makes our tortoise stop or start, so this seems completely in character. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Once you get past the author's purple prose of an introduction, it seems scientists have figured out some pretty cool stuff about the Earth's core. Includes the standard scientific plea, "Oh, the things we could learn, if only we had unlimited resources." Yeah, ain't that the troof?
Everybody panic! Andromdeda is on a collision course with the Milky Way! Actually, I remember hearing about this at least five years ago. Maybe they've gotten a better measurement? At any rate, take a good look around, because four billion years from now it'll all get re-arranged.