Archive for March 2008

This is National Dark Sky Week!

March 29, 2008

From March 29 to April 4 is the annual National Dark Sky Week. And tonight, from 8 to 9PM is Earth Hour. To take part in tonight’s event, turn off the lights and appliances you don’t need (like a PC running 24/7?) from 8 to 9PM. Outdoor lights are especially encouraged. Similarly, National Dark Sky week promotes energy saving and a better view of the beautiful universe around us for the whole week.

And it’s always a good thing do put less carbon into the atmosphere. Give it a try!

More information here.

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The great 2008 Mortgage bailout – Why am I paying for other people’s homes?

March 27, 2008

Washington is abuzz with talk of rescuing the sub-prime mortgage lending industry, and all the home buyers who who signed up with them, gambling that rates would remain low.

Personally, I have a bunch of problems with this. First, when I bought my first and only home so far, I opted for the best fixed-rate mortgage I could find. I knew I’d be bankrupt if I went with an adjustable-rate mortgage and the market went bad. So, I’ve been paying higher interest rates than those who need their debts forgiven by the crazy lenders who loaned money to those who couldn’t really afford it.

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Spectacular Space Shuttle night launch video

March 22, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavour had cameras mounted on its solid rocket boosters when it climbed into orbit on March 11. Together they produced a beautiful video of a night launch from the spacecraft’s point of view. It’s hard to believe the shuttle is 28 miles up and moving at 3100 mph when the boosters detach—without the Earth in the background, the spacecraft appears still.

Uh, is this a good thing?

March 20, 2008

layered iceberg

The Daily Mail reports that a research ship 600 miles from Antarctica has found and photographed icebergs with layers dating back “hundreds, if not thousands, of years.”

It would be interesting to find a more scientific citation for these sightings. While the icebergs are visually stunning (more pictures can be seen at the article), one can’t help but wonder if they are anachronisms, rare even in geological timeframes, and yet another indication of global climate change.

Pro bicyclist at crematorium, arranging his infant son’s funeral, is threatened with suspension by drug tester

March 18, 2008

The Fanhouse at AOL is reporting the sad story of Kevin van Impe, who was arranging his baby’s cremation when he was approached by a drug tester and ordered to pee in a cup. Van Impe asked for some compassion at such a painful time, and the tester (whose name and agency have not been reported) threatened the cyclist with a two year suspension.

Words can’t describe what a tragedy this is, not only for Mr. van Impe, but also the sport of cycling, which is suffering at the hands of over-zealous, secretive anti-doping agencies who feel they have a moral mandate to conduct a modern-day Inquisition, yet like Torquemada have long ago lost their own moral compass.

(Warning: the comments contain NSFW language.)

Holding the Sun

March 17, 2008

This is a page of pictures submitted by regular folks, all with the theme of holding the sun. A few, like the one here, are very well done. One is a very creative joke picture.

Warning: There are some links to some Not Safe For Work pictures on the “Holding the Sun” page. The one I viewed was artful and beautiful, but I make no promises. Kids, please get your parent’s permission first.

Ferrofluid “Morphing Sculptures”

March 2, 2008

Ferrofluid is cool stuff. Here’s a video of two electromagnetic metal cones in a pool of ferrofluid. Mmmm…. spiky….