Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Potpourri CXXXI

I have a bit of a backlog on my "stuff," but I've been trying to put stuff out on Twitter as I get it. In any case, it's time for another dose of Potpourri. As the memos at Disney World used to say, "Read, react, toss."

I subscribe to Foreign Affairs magazine, and they occasionally have some pretty good articles. This one is about universities in Asia, and the efforts by China and India especially to develop "world class" universities to compete with those in Europe and the States. You need a subscription to read the whole thing, but if you have an interest in what foreign policy experts are saying about what our country should be doing, it might be worth the subscription.

This one is a little sad, but a young lady in Vancouver decided to do a blog while she was dying from cystic fibrosis. This isn't too unusual. My pal D2 blogged while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and Dar referred me to the blog of a friend of hers whose daughter has been fighting leukemia. I'm definitely a believer in writing as catharsis. However, I keep my medical issues off of this blog and out of the general topics of conversation at work or even with the family, if need be, because that's nobody's damn business unless it becomes terminal, and then I'd have to think very hard about what to share and when. (I recall having an argument with a manager about this issue--he asked me what he should say to the troops if I died. I said, "Tell 'em there's a technical writing job open!" I get this from my mother, who's got serious attitudes about privacy.)

The lawyer of a passenger who was behaving erratically on an airplane blamed the man's behavior on Ambien.

Need help starting or funding a new creative project? Consider the Kickstarter site! (This is not to be confused with the MyKickStart site run by my buddy Hu.)

My buddy Dar and her cohorts--who have been trying to increase citizen participation in science and technology decision-making and reviving the Office of Technology Assessment with a citizen component to it--have released a paper, presentation, and new web site to advance their cause. Dar has an excellent blog discussing some of the ins and outs of this effort. The official citation of the paper is:

Richard Sclove, Reinventing Technology Assessment: A 21st Century Model (Washington, DC: Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, April 2010).

I think I got this link from Joanne Manaster: a list of "brain science blogs." You know: because everyone should have some.

From D2: A Leia-in-slave-girl-outfit car wash. I think Hooters has met its match.

Speaking of D2, NASA has big plans for its R2 humanoid robot. At the rate our nation's space policy is going, robots are about all we'll have in space in a few years.

Water has been found on an asteroid. Why should you care? Well, if we want a civilization beyond this planet, it'd be nice if we didn't have to take all our water with us. Just sayin'.

This sounded kind of fun: using solar sails to pick up space junk.

William Shatner as Governor-General of Canada? I don't think he'd want to take the pay cut.

Can you force yourself to dream? Maybe.

From the Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE): What's Deutsch for AIIIGHHHHH!!!!!?

Might there be a ban on burqas in Europe? That would prove an interesting clash of civilizations and priorities: which virtue wins out? Cultural integrity or women's rights? Guess it depends on what's being done to the women wearing said burqas.

From Kate Down Under: A forum on the Battle of Midway. Midway might not be taught in American schools anymore, but it's still a major deal in Australia. During this battle, Japan lost four of its front-line aircraft carriers and afterward lost the initiative in the Pacific, which included plans for invading Australia.

Along these same lines, Father Dan forwarded a YouTube video of a newsreel covering the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. Huzzah!

Speaking of NASA's space policy, my buddy George Whitesides has left the agency. No word on the why, but it'll be interesting to see how things change, if at all, at NASA HQ. And along those same lines, here's an article on public reaction to the change in NASA's direction.

Feel like helping to pick a jingle for a science and engineering festival? Try this site.

From Doc: "A little late for LCROSS, but still..." (Warning: language)

Random link from a site on eliciting the future you want...or something like that.

For those of you concerned about the Zombie Apocalypse, May is Zombie Awarness Month.

The Huffington Post caught the Washington Post confusing our President with Malcolm X. Whups.

From Yenie: A new vineyard to try if/when I ever get out to Oregon.

How fast is Google's new Chrome search engine? Check this out.

Plan to be near Big Ben or the Houses of Parliament in London tomorrow? You could watch the election returns live, projected on the side of the bell tower. Cool!

Need a boost? A walk outside might improve not just your mood, but your self-esteem.

Ever want to be in a Star Wars movie? A JibJab video? Now you can do both.

And as a last note on this post, I have decided to deactivate my Facebook account completely, much to the consternation of a couple of friends. I appreciate the concern, all, but really: I need to walk away from the forum for a bit. There's a lot going on in my life, and FB is a serious distraction right now. I'm getting old, and my bandwidth/ability to handle multiple things at once is just going to heck in a handcart. I'll return when the propitious moment arrives; but that moment is not in an hour, in a day, in a week, or maybe even in a month. Furreal.

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