May 05 2015

Avenue Q does Lion King

What can I say? A charming and witty parody of the Lion King by the cast Avenue Q for the 2015 Broadway Cares’ Easter Bonnet Competition. They won best presentation. Hilarious: “…pink pajamas, penguins on the bottom…”

Apr 24 2015

Scientists find missing link in Yellowstone plumbing

Yellowstone is essentially like a boil on the earth: a giant pool of hot melted rock sitting just below the crust, or skin, of the planet, periodically reaching an explosive stage. Since the crust moves over time, past explosions have left scars in a chain across the North American continent.

Scientists find missing link in Yellowstone plumbing: This giant volcano is very much alive - The Washington Post

This giant volcano is very much alive 

Apr 22 2015

Old tech can be good tech

To the delight of the attendees at the conference where the results were announced, Jonathan Betts was able to announce that Clock B lost 5/8ths of a second over the 100 days – a phenomenal achievement and a tribute to Harrison.

http://www.salonqp.com/updates/watch-news/john-harrison-guinness-world-record-clock-greenwich-observatory/

Aug 08 2014

Why I quit Amazon

I submitted this as feedback on my Amazon account today.

I’ve been a long-time Amazon customer, since 1997 in fact, and have purchased thousands of dollars and dozens of items from you in the last 17 years. I’ve always been pleased with the utility of your website and the ease of purchasing books, music, and other products.

Over the years, I have unhappily noted that small bookshops have disappeared throughout the country, with rare exceptions. This saddened me, since book browsing has always been one of my favorite pastimes; however, I also whole-heartedly embraced the digital revolution, and I recognized this loss as a disheartening consequence.

So I am not just disheartened, but dismayed, that Amazon has elected recently to impede the sales of books from Hachette. Amazon’s appeal to me was not simply that it could send hard-to-find books quickly; it was that it was open-handed and its reach enabled it to find almost any book I needed. Now, however, by limiting or blocking Hachette’s catalogue, I see that this is not true. Worse, Amazon has chosen to do this even as it has driven most of its competition out of business; it is almost impossible for me to now go to a bookstore to find unusual books, since they simply can’t afford to compete with you and maintain such an inventory. So Amazon, by blocking Hachette, has not simply interjected its self-interest into its own marketplace, but has in effect has blocked me from finding Hachette titles anywhere.

This is an unfriendly act to the Hachette authors and overall publishing industry. But it is also an unfriendly act to me, as a customer of Amazon. However easy and effortless purchasing on the Amazon website might be, it is useless if the book or other product I want isn’t there.

So, whoever in the vast organization of Amazon is reading this, I am hereby informing you as one of your millions of customers that I will no longer turn to Amazon first for book or other purchases. Instead, I will be looking for small bookstores or local vendors. And if that should fail, I will seek other website vendors who may offer those products. Amazon will be my last, rather than first, choice going forward. Competition is a wonderful thing, and your actions regarding Hachette have reminded me to patronize your competitors as a way of ensuring that my freedom to find and purchase what I want in the future is protected.

Jul 07 2014

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

Absolutely amazing to think that simply peeling everyday tape can produce high energy bursts such as  x-rays, but it does. As the scientists suggest, this is the simplest and cheapest way to produce x-rays ever invented.

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

May 19 2014

Sun’s twin

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun…

Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion

 

May 19 2014

Earth’s biggest volcano

 

Covering an area roughly equivalent to the British Isles or the state of New Mexico, this volcano, dubbed the Tamu Massif, is nearly as big as the giant volcanoes of Mars, placing it among the largest in the Solar System…Located about 1,000 miles east of Japan…Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles.”

Scientists Confirm Existence of Largest Single Volcano on Earth

Apr 26 2014

Rediscovering the early images of space exploration

Once upon a time, NASA collected high resolution photos of the Moon and Earth on tapes, transmitted by early-generation satellites. Then they put the tapes away. Then the tape decks stopped working, and the companies stopped making them, and the engineers retired, and the tapes were forgotten.

And then one day someone found an old tape deck…

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

Apr 10 2014

All the water on Earth, shown as a drop…

I don’t know, I assume when I look at maps that the oceans are deep. I mean, the Earth is ⅔ water, and maps give the illusion that Earth is mostly water by volume. It isn’t. It’s mostly water by surface area. By volume? Just a drop.

USGS Water Science School.

Mar 18 2014

Alan Turing was a genius in chemistry and biology, too

A theory of Turing’s regarding cell differentiation – all the more remarkable since he was a mathematician, not a biologist – has just been proved, 60 years after he killed himself following prosecution and conviction as a homosexual. This is the man who cracked the German WWII ciphers, devised the universally accepted test for artificial intelligence, and reinvented the definition of mathematical proofs that underlies all of modern computing. A true genius. First the crown awarded him an OBE – then it decided to persecute and destroy him. How profoundly stupid.

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated

Mar 17 2014

Historic confirmation of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation

Looks like the Big Bang theory has been essentially indisputably confirmed with the discovery of microwave echoes of “inflation”, the incomprehensibly rapid expansion of the universe from a dimensionless point to the size of a marble in a trillionth of a second.

Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

Nov 17 2013

“Tesla Motors may make its own batteries”

It was only a matter of time for Tesla to come to this conclusion. Buying batteries from a foreign supplier left them vulnerable in the long term to single-source risk: suppose Panasonic had a fire, or raised its prices exorbitently? Not to mention that Tesla has no real control over the timing of manufacture or the design of the batteries themselves. It’s too much of a risk for the major essential component of their product.

Tesla Motors may make its own batteries

Nov 12 2013

iOS vs. Android: why Steve Jobs blew his stack

Jobs was betrayed by Eric Schmidt of Google even as Schmidt sat on Apple’s board. So much for “don’t be evil” (Google’s motto).

Jobs had trusted Google’s cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board. All three had been telling Jobs about Android, but they kept telling him it would be different from the iPhone. And for some reason he believed them until he actually saw the phone and its software.

Steve Jobs On Android Founder Andy Rubin: ‘Big, Arrogant F***’

Nov 12 2013

Yet Another Inane Post: “Is Tesla Motors Doomed?”

It’s getting tiresome seeing lazy blog posters trolling for readers by posting wildly overdramatic headlines. Like this one.

One, Two, and Now Three Fires: Is Tesla Motors Doomed?

No, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) is not doomed…

So why read beyond the first 6 words?

Oct 25 2013

Five Billion Years of Solitude

Reviews of a new book on astrobiology, the history of the earth, and our future.

…in equal parts, a primer on the search for alien worlds, a biography of Earth and the life that inhabits it, and a story about how exoplanetology grew, and how, with the hour of its greatest triumph approaching, it fell short.

The Economist

…it’s really an amazing and entirely unprecedented time to be alive if you’re interested in the question of life beyond Earth. Right now is one of those strange moments where you have a singular confluence of brilliant minds and breakthrough observations that will become legendary in the history of science.

interview  with the author in The Atlantic

Oct 25 2013

Interactive clothing

Imagine clothes that change their look depending upon your mood – or the mood of your friend. Then read about Cute Circuit.

In 2002, Cute Circuit released a shirt allowing two people to send each other hugs in different places. After getting a notification on their phone, the hug-receiver, who is ideally always near his hug shirt, puts on the garment. When they put on the shirt, the hug is awaiting them. The shirt then begins vibrating warmly, tightening around them. Each hug is personalized by the hug sender’s grip and the amount of time they held on to their own hug shirt. [Cute Circuit article]

Oct 24 2013

Laser-mediated broadband from lunar orbit

[NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer has]…a series of lasers on the outer hull designed to shoot back data to three base stations here on Earth much faster than traditional radio data links – and the agency reports the first tests have been a roaring success 

 

So this is probably faster than my broadband from Comcast.

622 Mbps Broadband Found On Moon

Oct 22 2013

Ancient light on a long and winding road

 

Ancient light

The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern. 

This twisted pattern of light, called B-modes, has at last been detected…

Long-Sought Pattern of Ancient Light Detected

Oct 14 2013

Iconic: a photographic tribute to Apple innovation

OK, say you’re an Apple devotée. No, say you’re an Apple fanatic. No, actually, say that Apple has changed everything you do, that Steve Jobs is one of the most influential people in your life, and that it is inconceivable that you could imagine functioning day to day without at least one Apple product in your hand, your pocket, or your purse.

Then you need this book.

Iconic.

Aug 30 2013

Charging the Model S

I’ve created a small spreadsheet to calculate the charging times at various stations for the Tesla Model S, and the optimal kW/m usage to maximize range.

 Tesla-charging

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