Friday, August 25, 2006

Pow, Straight to the Moon Footage!

I passed on the tidbit that the original moon landing footage had gone missing. Well, it's been located in a rather amusing way.

Not Throwing the Baby Out With the Stem Cells

Many issues in science have become highly politicized of late. Whether you believe that's a good or bad thing, it does put pressures on the course of developments. Especially when there is federal money involved. So when a group announces they have found a way to harvest stem cells without harming the embryo, what is your reaction?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What Actual In-depth Reporting Looks Like

This is the second part of a multi-part story that ran in the local "conservative" newspaper concerning recent events in the Greensboro police department. Note the depth of research, the use of quotations, and the lack of direct conclusion drawing. This is what reporting should look like. There are reasons why this particular reporter (who is probably most famous for the book Bitter Blood) doesn't work for the mainstream paper in town anymore.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

News from the Final Frontier

Last week Voyager 1 passed the 100 Astronomical Units from the sun mark. That's well over nine billion miles from home. The Voyager probes use thermoelectric power generation (converting the heat generated by radioactive material into electricity). I wonder if companies today have the vision to assemble a team that would continue to work thirty years after the project was successfully launched.

NASA has also contracted with some relatively unknown aerospace companies in the hopes of getting a transport capable of getting to the International Space Station.

Knowledge is Obsolecent

In the continuing effort of the scientific community to invalidate everything I learned in high school that wasn't math, the changing definition of planet could leave the solar system with twelve planets instead of nine. And I believe most of my English teachers might consider that a run-on sentence...

Appearing and Disappearing Tapes

911 tapes from the World Trade Center have been released. And NASA has misplaced the original tapes from the moon landing. Either of these would be good fodder for conspiracy theories, but both together is a gold mine. Back here in the real world, both pieces of news are saddening for different reasons.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Don't Worry It's Just Fiction

Sci-fi can be used as a way to explore ideas. Ideas such as: what if a time traveler from the future told you about the war with Islam.

Read the linked story. Seriously, if you happened along this blog and read nothing else, read this. It is one of the few things that didn't come from the feed list, and I guarantee that it will at least cause you to ask yourself a few questions. I know I did. And besides, it is quite well written.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Duh-huh

Now that the hurricane season is well under way and the forecasters can see that storms aren't appearing the way they predicted, the forecasts have been changed.

Wintermute Was Not Consulted

A startling example of the exposed nature of networked computer communications was provided to us by AOL when they published a library of user data that was supposed to be anonymous. Of course, anyone who asks for directions using Google or Mapquest has revealed their street address. And that is just one example of recoverable information. The story of one lady's searches was provided by the New York Times today. The technology is here for Big Brother, and he is slowly learning to use it. Continue to do what you will on the Internet, but don't think it's anonymous...

Moments in History

Today (yes, I actually managed a timely post for a change) marks the 61st anniversary of the dropping of ten kiloton "fat man" fission bomb on Nagasaki. In case we forget, we don't want these things to be used again.

How Not to Act When You Make Billions in Profit

BP is busy handling their disastrous and inexcusable lapse in maintenance of an Alaskan pipeline, but there is another side of the story. Alaska itself stands to "lose" 6.4 million dollars a day in taxes and royalties. Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is part of what you pay for at the pump.

Report, Don't Dramatize

The reporting business has always had to be strict about avoiding manipulation to maintain the trust of readers/watchers. One can debate the success they've had, but like them or not, they are our only pipeline for information on the goings on in the world. That's why it's nice to see Reuters taking the kind of action that they took in this case. Doctor one photograph and your entire career ends. Harsh, but that is the only way it can be.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Watching the Watchers

Now featuring automation! Seriously, a group of researchers has come up with a way of automating topic searches without much human intervention. And they have applied it to the Congressional Record. Because no human should be subjected to that level of pain. Aside from the split infinitive made famous by Star Trek, this is a pretty interesting article.

A Little Insight, a Little Computer Power

Rain prediction may be about to get better due to more accurate radar. The nifty part is that the improvement involves some clever data analysis of information that the radar already provides rather than having to have new hardware.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006