Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Giving Déjà Vu A Second Look

Giving Déjà Vu A Second Look

It is Deja Vu all over again!
Deja Doo-Doo?

A serious look at a strange feeling that many of us experience. This is an article about those who really have it bad. Unfortunately, while they have a certainty of prior experience, they can recall no details until the experience happens again!

Friday, January 27, 2006

How to Beat the High Cost of Gasoline. Forever! - February 06, 2006

How to Beat the High Cost of Gasoline. Forever! - February 06, 2006

or "I love the smell of alternative fuel in the morning".
This is, I fear, an overly optimistic story. Please review and comment.

Stardust Update - January 25, 2006

Stardust Update - January 25, 2006

Current status of the study of returned "Stardust" from NASA's Comet Sample Return Mission.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Other dimensions might soon be detected

Other dimensions might soon be detected

Calling Rod Serling....things are getting stranger and stranger!

NASA - SuitSat

NASA - SuitSat

The crew of the International Space Station are throwing out an old space suit, equiped with batteries and a transmitter to determine whether or not such suits would make good satellites. Tine to 145.990 mhz. when the suit goes over your location to hear it!

Why did not I think of that???

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Soloar-Powered Nanomotors - Technology Review

The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Solar-Powered Nanomotors - Technology Review

Book 'em Nano
Instead of the advice "Plastics, my boy, plastics"
Maybe it is "Nano, my boy, nano!'

CONELRAD | ATOMIC PLATTERS: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

Enough seriousness...no more duck and cover. Baby Boomers, remember the good old days!

CONELRAD | ATOMIC PLATTERS: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

"The unexpected pleasures are many. This is history as it should be: a dance of laughter in he dark, the eternal lesson that fear and repression will not deliver us. Nor will advice from Connie Francis to keep an emergency supply of food and water in case of a nuclear attack."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Books from the Earth Policy Institute - Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble

Books from the Earth Policy Institute - Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble

Lester Brown and the Earth Policy Institute. I heard Brown interviewed on the radio show of physicist Michio Kaku. Brown, in this book, explores the past and warns of future problems, especially if China follows our path to an auto-centered, throw-away culture. I trust Kaku and plan to read this book. Comments from those who've followed Lester Brown are invited.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

El Guapo's Pix

 Posted by Picasa

Max Planck Society - Press Release

Max Planck Society - Press Release

People laughed at Ronald Reagan when he said: "Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources." This might not have been entirely correct, but, hey, he was getting old!

This climate change thing is getting very confused. Perhaps we are not yet able to even analyze the issue. I go back to my contention that we should just be conservative in our use of resources for the sake of being conservative. This would have many positive effects and might help the global warming issue.

I once read a book discussing the complexity of the subject. One approach was to postulate how to increase greenhouse gases by massive human intervention...seeding the atmosphere and such, as a way to reverse engineer the problem. There is also the theoretical possibility of seeding the ocean to increase phytoplankton. Pytoplankton takes CO2 out of the air and into the ocean. There is even a foundation formed to research this, Planktos
(See http://www.loe.org/series/iron_fertilization/)
I would suggest this would need much study to avoid unforeseen consequences.

You might recall Biosphere 2, the closed enviornment built in the late 1980's. Bionauts were to enter the closed system and stay for a year in a completely sealed environment to show how humankind might fare in a closed circuit during space travel. The problem was that they were forced to pump in air to counteract a rising CO2 level. Until much later, no one knew why this happened as the best minds had developed this closed loop environment. They finally figured out that the large cement foundations and other cement in the structure gave off C02 while curing. You might consider visiting Biosphere 2 in Arizona. It is now maintained by Columbia University for enviornmental research. I have heard rumors that they gave it up and the facility is now vacant, but there is still an active website. (See http://www.columbia.edu/cu/21stC/issue-2.1/specmain.htm)

Another example of unexpected consequences inovlves an invasive species and the Oregon Dunes. These great sand dunes are shrinking because of a the planting of European beach grass in the first half of the last century to stabilize some of the dunes for development. It got out of hand and is almost unstoppable!
(See: http://www.dunegoon.org/oregon/odnra5.html


Well, enough babbling for today!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Stardust from comet analysed by University of Washington News and Information

Now that NASA's stardust sample has returned, it is time to analyze it...but first:

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we’re apart
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust
Of yesterday
The music
Of the years
Gone by

Chorus:

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights
Dreaming of a song.
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you.
When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago, and now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.
Beside the garden wall, when stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
Of paradise where roses grew.
Though I dream in vain, in my heart you will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain."

uwnews.org | University of Washington News and Information

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Seattle Times: 6 ex-chiefs at EPA say Bush failing on global warming

The Seattle Times: 6 ex-chiefs at EPA say Bush failing on global warming

I don't want to be a Cassandra on this issue...but it is really beginning to look like global warming. Of course, the change in the Gulf Stream may mean no more sunny vacations in the South of France!

Music and the Mind

Music & the Mind

Oliver Sacks wrote the book "Awakenings", made into a movie with Robin Williams. I once attended a presentation he gave and he was brilliant. He is now exploring the relationship between music and brain function. Music may be able to help those with a variety of brain maladies.
Also, see Beliefnet for a discussion on a Zen way to look at Alzheimer's....everything is in the now.

"The slow peeling away of the self caused by Alzheimer's opens a window on what it means to be human."

NASA - New Horizons

NASA - New Horizons

We are off for a trip to the last "traditional planet" not yet visited by person-kind. We still have Voyagers leaving the solar system (with mysterious speed changes that have left astrophysicist and cosmic navigators baffled)! Also on the way is Messenger to Mercury (Clever, eh wot?) and of course, Cassini still exploring the Saturian System. These along with a plethora of probes to Mars and the European Space Agency's Venus Express, launched in November 2005. Future Venus missions include: Planet-C is a Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) mission to study the dynamics of the atmosphere of Venus from orbit, particularly the upper atmosphere super-rotation and the three-dimensional motion in the lower part of the atmosphere, using multi-wavelength imaging. It will also measure atmospheric temperatures and look for evidence of volcanic activity and lightning. Also to be planned is the BepiColombo is a European Space Agency (ESA) Cornerstone mission to Mercury that will fly by Venus.

Finally, there is a Japanese HAYBUSA returning from a mission to an asteroid with samples. This craft had an ion engine. The NASA Stardust recently landed a capsule with cometary dust. However, the mothership is still in orbit awaiting another mission. There are also a few other craft monitoring the sun as well as a few space telescopes and countless satellites no exploring the solar system. Did I miss any?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why go the the Moon-Fusion?

The Space Review: A fascinating hour with Gerald Kulcinski

The Chinese, when asked why they wanted to go to the moon, answered: "helium-3". As you may know, and shown earlier on this blog, there is a chance that fusion power may be feasible in the somewhat near future using helium-3 as a fuel. It is available in quanity only on the moon. The University of Wisconsin researcher interviewed for this article claims that, contrary to other reports, fusion with helium-3 is not just a distant pipe dream.

Ready for annonymous Blogging?

pbwiki :: anoniblog | FrontPage

Quoting from the Technology Review Digital Magazine Blog:

"TechWeb.com has a story about an interesting phenomenon -- an online instruction manual called Anoniblog for people looking to post online without fear of having their identity exposed. The tool, which is published in several languages, is meant to help bloggers who live in countries with restrictive governments; however, as the article rightly points out, it doesn't promise that following the guidelines will insure safety."

Until recently, I would not have thought this be necessary in the U.S., but, well, Beware the NSA!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Guidelines for Cats

Enough series stuff! I have cats and this site nails cats perfectly and only goes to show that we exist only for their pleasure! We have two cats and a semi-permanent guest cat. My wife once saw two kittens that looked just like the cow-cat brothers we have and wanted them. She said that this would not make her a "Cat Lady" as technically "Cat Ladies" were always single. However, I only had to say the words "Litter Box" to dissuade her of the idea!

Guidelines for Cats

Stardust reentry a success!!

The Globe and Mail: NASA capsule returns to Earth

I tried to watch towards the East early this morning to catch the reentry over Utah, but, alas, clouds and rain in Portland, OR ended that idea!

European Space Agency GPS!

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | First Galileo signals received

Well, the Europeans are starting their own GPS system. Those poor Germans got their GPS systems in their Mercedes and BMW's and such turned off when the U.S. Military turned off the switch during the invasion of Iraq. Nich mer!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

NASA - Stardust

NASA - Stardust

Almost home...let's hope nothing was installed backwards as in the previous return mission involving the solar wind. I plan to get up early Sunday morning, look east from Portland towards Utah and see if I can detect the craft burning through the stratosphere. Unfortunately, we have nothing but continuous rain and overcast, so I'll most likely see nada.

Next, it is the Japanese return from an asteroid with a sample. See the Japanese Space Agency's site at: http://www.jaxa.jp/missions/projects/sat/exploration/muses_c/index_e.html

I believe they had some problems when they encountered the asteroid, but methinks all is now well.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Turing Test

The Turing Test

See if you can ID the computer from the human. Is this still a good test? Artificial intelligence (AI) has not come as fast as we had once thought. After all, it is well past 2001 and we do not yet have HAL . . .though we do have Marvin, the Paranoid Android (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Europe warms to nuclear power | csmonitor.com

Europe warms to nuclear power | csmonitor.com
Germans are still against it, but France may forge ahead with a new reactor design that they consider cleaner and safer. All of Europe is thinking twice about abandoning nukes because of the recent problems with Russian natural gas and the paradoxical cooling of Europe due to global warming.

We in Portland, Oregon had the Trojan Power plant built by Portland Gas and Electric ("PGE" of recent Enron fame). It did run well for a number of years, but later discovered construction and design flaws closed it early leaving rate payers holding the bag for decommissioning. Even if they can be made safe, they have to be economically viable. PGE is about to topple the giant cooling tower on the banks of the Columbia River and eventually donate the land (except for the radioactive wastes in cooling ponds) to the state as a park. Many have suggested calling it the Homer Simpson State Park in honor of Homer's creator, Matt Groening, who grew up in Portland. See http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=12392

Doom to you all!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Highlights from CES

The Impact of Emerging Technologies: Highlights from CES

Gagets, gagets, Gadgets. Pardon the lack of activity. I got a flu shot in early December and got a very nasty flu last week!

Friday, January 06, 2006

SPACE.com -- Record Set for Space Laser Communication

SPACE.com -- Record Set for Space Laser Communication

This is a step towards the Interplanetary Internet! Messenger, bound for the planet Mercury, communicated with the earth from several million miles out!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Space Review: The case for smaller launch vehicles in human space exploration (part 1) (page 1)

The debate continues...is bigger really better (in space launches, that is).

"While many are adamant about heavy-lift technology being an absolute necessity for both lunar and Mars exploration, others nevertheless contend that bigger boosters only represent bigger failures in economic judgment, and that, if space exploration using HLLVs was truly cost-effective, the Apollo Saturn 5 would not currently adorn the grounds of Kennedy Space Center as a lawn ornament."


The Space Review: The case for smaller launch vehicles in human space exploration (part 1) (page 1)

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Scientist SPACE - 13 things that do not make sense - Features

End of Year Science Oddities - Pioneer spacecraft effect, placebo effect, Ultra-energetic cosmic rays, Dark matter, Viking (Mars) Methane and more fun stuff!
New Scientist SPACE - 13 things that do not make sense - Features

New Scientist SPACE - Features - 13 things that do not make sense

The best end of year list. Read about things that don't make sense...dark matter, placebo effect, Tetraneutrons, The Pioneer spacecraft anomaly and more!


New Scientist SPACE - Features - 13 things that do not make sense

The Producers | The New Mel Brooks Musical

The Producers | The New Mel Brooks Musical


The realm of reality is as vast as cosmic space; it is the knowing mind of sentient beings that is small. Just as long as you do not become egotistic and selfish, you will be ever sated with the spiritual food of nirvana.

-Pao-chih

From "The Pocket Zen Reader," edited by Thomas Cleary, 1999. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

news @ nature.com - Tree planting not always green - Forests can suck up water and change the soil.

Tree planting is always good, is it not? Well, according to the linked article, not so. We should keep in mind that eco-solutions should not be taken without close examination of the ultimate results. This goes back to my contention that conservation, energy conservation and sensible living is a good end in itself. We do not yet know enough to live the way we want and fix things as we go.

news @ nature.com - Tree planting not always green - Forests can suck up water and change the soil.

sitemeter