Daily Archives: 08/13/2006

Link Roundup

Rainy Sundays afford a chance to get away from work and catch up on the links I wanted to mention during this very busy week at work.

  • Tommy Chong On The Joint – Remember Tommy Chong getting busted for selling bongs? It was a major victory in John Ashcroft’s War of Terror. Well, Tommy’s out of jail since 2004 and he wrote a book about his experiences. How utterly American. – Oh look, he’s making the interview circuit.
  • Flash Turns 10So the Flash plugin turned 10 this week, and Wired has an article praising its ubiquity on the internet. Oddly, I think Flash is the #1 plugin I’d get rid of first. Those incredibly irritatingly Flash ads that slather themselves over the screen are a pain in the ass.
  • Brooklyn Corpse Flower – The excellent Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has a special treat this month. An Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as a the titan arum or corpse flower, is blooming this month, revealing an enormous flower that smells of rotting flesh.
  • Full Belly Universal Nut Sheller – Since peanut butter is used by the UN as a potent emergency food, this hand cranked nut sheller makes great sense.
  • Gecko Glue? – A couple months ago I read an article in American Scientist about how geckos stick to walls and ceiling with apparent disregard for gravity. Gecko toes are covered with billions of tiny hairlike projections that engage van der Waals forces of molecular attraction.
  • Nine Months of Pregnancy in 20 Seconds – Ain’t time-lapse photography cool?
  • Crop Circles in Wired – A brief piece about this year’s batch of crop circles in England.
  • Speed Dating at the BookstoreBookslut creator Jessa goes to a speed dating event at a book store and lives to recount the tale.
  • Guardian Book Podcast – Speaking of books, the Guardian has a book podcast I am going to check out. I’ve been looking for an interesting literary podcast. I was listening to KCRW’s Bookworm, but dropped it a few months ago. Maybe this will be more to my liking.
  • Malarkey from the BBC – The BBC’s been pushing this story about how the Mayon volcano in the Philippines could erupt explosively last week during the full moon, because 3 of the 47 known eruptions of the volcano occurred during a full moon. Huh? Let’s think this through for a moment shall we? For the sake of argument let’s say a full moon could be considered as a day before or after the actual full moon. It takes 29 days for the month to cycle through all it’s phases, so that is 2/29 days, or roughly 1/15 of the time in any month the month will be full. Multiply 47 by 1/15 and the result is roughly 3! So this compelling evidence for a full moon eruption is actually no better than random chance. Sounds like baloney science to me, or maybe fear mongering from the BBC.
  • Greenland’s Melting – Faster than previous estimates. How about investing in some beachfront property, in Arkansas?
  • Say Goodbye to Classic Mac OS – With the debut of the Mac Pro, Apple no longer sells a computer able to run the Classic Mac OS 9 environment. It dies a quiet death, half a decade after Mac OS X premiered. People are always wondering why Microsoft can’t get Longhorn/Vista out the door, when Apple keeps pushing out OS X with regular updates. Perhaps it has more than a little to do with backward compatibility? Basically anything written before 2001 for an Apple Macintosh no longer functions. It is a stunning disregard for the installed userbase, and something Microsoft goes to extraordinary pains to address. I can go to Dan Bricklin’s website, download Visicalc, and install it on my Windows 2K box at work with minimal fuss. Anything that wasn’t carbonized on a Mac is a museum piece now.
  • Ars Technica reviews the Mac Pro – Speaking of Macs, Ars Technica gives a rundown on the new Mac Pro desktop. And they like it – except for the nVidia GeForce 7300GT video card. As they put wonderfully put it, “it’s like having a can of Schlitz with filet mignon.” And check out System Shootouts for a comparisono of the new Mac Pro with a comparably equipped Dell workstation.
  • This New Mideast Sucks Worse Than The Old OneKooky conspiracy theories and much hand wringing abound. And how long will this cease fire last?
  • Evolution? Who Needs It? Not US – We’d rather believe in angels, ghosts and UFO’s than genetics and evolution.
  • Immortal Dog In Cancer Cells? – Carl Zimmer’s excellent blog, The Loom, broke a story about research into Stickler’s Sarcoma, a common, contagious, non-lethal cancer in dogs. It is a pretty bizarre tale of how the cancer cells from different dogs around the world are genetically similar, more so to each other than to their host dogs. And researchers were able to track the genetic development of this cancer line, establishing that it probably arose in a dog or wolf in eastern Asia between 250 and 2500 years ago. Read the post, it is fascinating stuff.
  • Doomsdays Are Not Fun – Some idle speculation from the SciAm blog about doomsday scenarios and how quickly the skein of civilization can become unbound. Of course there is no need for idle speculation; just look at the historic record. Civilization’s collapsed before, and the results weren’t pretty. They aren’t called the Dark Ages for nothing you know.
  • Tringo is surprisingly addictive.
  • Terrorists suck – But they ain’t going anywhere so long as the world sucks more.
  • Alaskan Pipeline Closure Drives Up Gas Prices – It’s hit over $3.45 a gallon here. No end in sight to this shortage. Will nuclear become an option?

Okay, I’m bored with this. My link fest could continue ad infinitum with nothing more useful to say. So click away and be happy.

Lazy Sunday

It’s wet and rainy. I’m reading today, nursing a twisted ankle and a nasty raspberry scrape.

The ocean is ridiculously flat on the eastern side of Guam today, a sea change from yesterday’s violent swells on the western side. It is like glass out there right now.

While paddling in the outrigger sprint championships yesterday we watched the Navy and Fire Department work together to retrieve a drowned spearfisherman. It was a little creepy thinking that the guy they pulled from the water was probably one of the fishermen I said good morning while we were warming up before the races.