Thursday, July 29, 2010

Potpourri CXLIX

The odds of my getting through the blog file backlog aren't good this evening, but I'll do what I can. The format of this blog has been evolving over the past four years or so, and it will continue to do so. To wit: I’m going to try not to bombard my readers (all 20, God bless you!) with scads of links. Instead, I’ll try to focus on just a few—the ones that really catch my eye—and provide a little more commentary. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. If you want a lot of links, I’ll just refer you to the pages at the right, where I find most of this craziness anyway. However, since I still have an inbox to clean out, the limited-link rule isn't going into effect quite yet.

Science, Technology, and Space

Might as well start with some good news from the space biz for a change: my friend Rick Tumlinson gave a really great, level-headed, forward-looking speech at the NewSpace conference this past week. It's worth a listen on both sides of the government/industry "debate" (I put the words in quotes because it's been more like a screaming match).

From another libertarian space friend, Tom Olson: a couple of ideas here and here on how to get carbon out of the atmosphere--"carrots instead of sticks," as he puts it--that would not require an economy-destroying idea like "Cap and Trade."

From the University of Central Florida: a simulation that is supposed to help teach pre-teenage girls to resist social pressure to engage in sex and other behaviors. Hm. I guess "Just say no" doesn't sell anymore?

What if the Earth really did stand still?

New Airbus concept aircraft. Cool!

The inventor of the “black box” has died.

SpaceShipTwo could do glide tests this autumn.

The flight over the three-hour “tarmac rule” continues. The consultants are right on this one: airlines are canceling more flights. And since many of these three-hour waits are due to weather, the airlines manage to avoid both the FAA fine and having to reimburse passengers for hotels or other expenses because weather-related delays are considered beyond their control. Something that is under control, as Mike Boyd keeps pointing out, is upgrading the government-controlled Air Traffic Control system to 21st century technology. Don’t hold your breath waiting on that to happen quickly.

Need an upgrade to your yacht? Have you considered a Maltese Falcon-class ship?


From Father Dan:
  • Three of Time Magazine's Top 50 American Roadside Attractions are located in Alabama. "Y'all come," as we might say around here.
  • Want to know where the speed traps are in your area? Check this out. Disclaimer: I am not encouraging speeding here. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
From Cousin Katherine: a new cultural dictionary, which is definitely more polite and less profane than the Urban Dictionary. This one is interesting because it doesn't just define terms but explains what cultural trend they are reflecting.

Interested in being a science writer? Check out this link.

I won a t-shirt today from Science for Citizens (W00t!). If you're interested in DIY science experiments, give that site a look. And speaking of t-shirts, I thought Darlene the Science Cheerleader might like this new t-shirt.

Ever heard of a Turboencabulator? Some technobabble humor, courtesy of Karen and Doc.

Hard to top this: The Best Image of Chewbacca Riding a Giant Squirrel and Fighting Nazis That You Will See Today. No foolin'. And along the same lines: Cow choreography.

Is there a relationship between Social Darwinism and classical liberalism?

From Lin: A new authorized biography of SF giant Robert A. Heinlein is due out soon. This should be fun.

From Anthony: how to open a bottle of wine with just a shoe. Not sure I'd want to admit to this one, though...

Famous authors reading works aloud.

Oh, the Old Spice towel guy isn't done quite yet. He can leave your voice mail, if you're so inclined.

Robert Silverberg, one of my favorite SF writers, has written an essay suggesting that the days of the full-time science fiction novelist might be numbered.

U.S. Politics

From Lin: Okay, so remember all the brouhaha about American banks not being "transparent" in their dealings with the public about this or that financial instrument? You know--that whole cause of the now-two-year-old-recession? Anyhow, it's a bit odd that the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC), the government agency responsible for overseeing these suitably bailed-out or publicly chastened banks, is exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Wonder who will complain first?

This essay has been on my reading list for awhile, and it was worth the wait. It is an American Spectator discussion on America's "ruling class," which is a different thing from the "political class."

How d'ya like that? I managed to clear the inbox and still have time to shut down and slow down the brain before sleep. Will wonders never cease? Anyhow, I hope you've enjoyed these quick-hit excursions through the internet. In the future, seriously, I'll try to restrict my "Oh, look at this!" list to a choice few. After all, if you just wanted links, you could probably go to one of the sites I'm already surfing. The point here is to cough up some thoughts of my own, right? Or so the theory goes.

Peace and happy thoughts, all.

No comments: