Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Interesting Things

Some things I have recently found interesting:
  • Our Sun flips its magnetic field every 11 years. Now astronomers have found the first other star that has done so at least once: tau Bootis.
  • (Are star names cool or what?)
  • January was a relatively cool month: only 0.31°C above the long-term average (land-temperatures only). Skeptics are already making a big deal of it, is my impression.... Of course, just a year ago Jan-07 was the warmest month in recorded history, which they did not make a big deal of.
  • It turns out that there is another NASA temperature series, land + sea-surface temperature, available here. (All these years I have been referring to the land series only.) In it, Jan-08 was only 0.12°C above the long-term average, the coolest month since May-95. So which to use? Well, both I guess -- I mean, each for which it specifies. The latter is more global. On the other hand, humans live on land and are most interested in that temperature.
  • Now I can't find where I read this, but I read recently that China will emit more pollution in the next 20 years than all of industrialized civilization since the Industrial Revolution. All of it blowing right towards Oregon.
  • Good song: "Audience in the Room" by Dirty on Purpose -- top song on this page. Anyone know what instrument makes that screeching sound around 2:50 and then again at 3:03? I have heard the same sound in some Arcade Fire songs.... I love it.
  • A new climate resource with potential: Climate Debate Daily.... except the very nature of the site presents the debate as 50-50....
  • Tobacco could kill up to one billion people by the year 2100. Why is this product legal? Oh yeah, free choice. Plus, governments make a lot of money on it: $200B/yr. But I'm sure that's not a factor.
  • Roger Clemens is looking more guilty, and more of an ass, every day. The tactics of his defense team are despicable. So are the actions of House committee members, who have let Clemens visit them on a more-than-friendly basis before today's hearing.
  • This kind of thing does not help the cause: "Sen. Kerry Blames Tornadoes on Global Warming." It's unscientific, and maybe not even right in a statistical sense. And doesn't Kerry seem surprisingly flaccid anymore? And I voted for him.
  • I came across a fascinating new term in the book Falling Man by Don Delillo: "organic shrapnel." It's the tiny bits of bone and tissue from a suicide bomber that shoot out at high-speeds and hit people. Months later they can develop bumps under their skin from the foreign tissue still embedded there....
  • I loved this recent letter in the Oregonian:
    I was slightly amused by Marylin Shannon's concerns with the "homosexual agenda." I wonder if she is equally concerned with the "Latino agenda," the "black agenda," the "male agenda," the "female agenda" or the "short persons agenda"? I am more concerned with the "marginalize people who aren't born just like me agenda."

    Northeast Portland

1 comment:

MT said...

Anyone know what instrument makes that screeching sound

I don't think it's been "the instruments" making the sounds since the invention of reverb. Wouldn't it be more apt to ask whether the effect is hardware or software?