blivet

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jack Dykinga has teamed up with naturalist and writer Janice Emily Bowers to tell the story of the smallest U.S. desert in their new book, Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley. From CNN Book News This is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yes, I’m biased

BBC News, and others are reporting that EMI and Warner Music are planning a merger. Soon there will be no more little guys anywhere

There is a new Alertbox Saying No: How to Handle Missing Features

John Anderson talks about his fear of dentists over at genehack. I share this phobia. Dentists terrify me! As a result I have a third-world mouth.

I saw this at BradLands – The Movie Review Query Engine

Incompetent people have no clue that they are. What is more interesting to me is that extremely competent people tend to believe that more people are competent than really are. This could explain a lot of things.

It was great seeing Karl again. After the initial awkwardness, we settled back into the banter of old friends. Time is just a comma in the sentence.

In another moment from the past, Terry called last night. He moved back to Idaho 10 years ago and we haven’t spoken for a couple of years. Lots of difficulties in Terry-Land. We talked for about four hours. He had a lot to pass along so I did more listening than talking. I love him like a brother. There’s nothing I can do for him except be his friend. Perhaps that is enough, he certainly didn’t ask for advice or “help”, but it still feels like its not enough.

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We lost two days of blivet in the editthispage.com server crash. Oh well, its not like there was any thing that important here, just self-indulgent ramblings.

This is strange – The Intercollegiate Studies Institute of Wilmington, Delaware, a conservative “think tank”, has named Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead’s 1928 treatise, as the “worst nonfiction book of the past 100 years”. Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935) and Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and 47 other books make their ‘list’. I hear the sound of axes being ground in the name of ideology. The CNN story is here. Think Tank my ass! You have a political agenda, you’re not a think tank. Not to be confused with Dave’s computer program ThinkTank.

100
If my maternal grandfather (Lovell Martin Boyle) was still alive, he would have turned 100 today. Imagine having a lunar eclipse to mark your 100th birthday. 🙂

He was born in Oklahoma and raised in northeast Kansas. He farmed for much of his life and watched a lot of changes I take for granted like indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, radio, and television happen. Together, we watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969.

He started farming with a team of Belgian draft horses, followed by steam engines, kerosene tractors, and gasoline tractors. He and Grandma raised their kids through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

Once, I remember him squinting at my mother after she had complained about not having much while she was growing up and then very firmly and quietly saying, “You had two dresses, they were always clean, and you never went to bed hungry.” I can still see in my mind’s eye how ashen her face got when he said that.

She told me later that he had once put cardboard inside his work boots to cover up the holes in the soles through the fall and winter, so she could have a brand new dress to start the fifth grade. She said it was the first new, not a hand me down, dress she remembers having.

I’ve never been that poor. I have to say, I hope I never have to go through times like that. I wish no one ever has to.
One wish: If I could sit one more time with he and grandma in the motel chairs under the Elm trees in their back yard late in the summer, and drink iced tea from a Mason jar while I listen to them talk and watch the fireflies dance in the south pasture.

It was cloudy here last night, I didn’t get to see his lunar eclipse. Rats!

[archivist’s note 8/13/2006: my son bears this man’s name]

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College has roared into session. It seems very unnatural knowing my diploma will have the date “2000” on it. I feel like I should have a data jack just below my right ear or something. Where’s my hovercar? We were supposed to have hovercars in the year 2000! We were supposed to have colonies on the Moon and Mars too, for that matter. The futures just not what it was all cracked up to be. Where does that phrase “all cracked up to be” come from? I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean though it gets used often.

Karl is in town for the Scuba Con. We getting together Thursday night, it will be the first time we’ve seen each other since 1977. Coool.

Work proceeds on the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Master Plan. It is truly strange to be involved a project that has a roll-out in 2005 and think that there isn’t much time to get things done. So much science to do, so little time.

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In the USA, the third Monday in January is a holiday to honor the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal, as well as most state and county employees have the day off work.

More Kennewick – How NAGPRA affects Kennewick Man
The Department of Interior has confirmed a 9,000+ year old date for Kennewick Man, which makes him de facto Native American and therefore subject to NAGPRA. From kris hirst at about.com.

The Kennewick skeleton has become a flash point for a reaction by some of the professional archaeological community about legal constraints on how we do our work. It has also raised some long smoldering notions concerning the initial populations of the New World.

The Mars Polar Lander is officially lost. <sigh> The story from NASA’s Polar Lander site; CNN; BBC.

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BBC coverage of the initial findings from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Chandra solves cosmic X-ray mystery

The Chandra X-ray observatory orbiting the Earth has solved a long-standing puzzle of modern astronomy – the source of the X-rays that bathe the Universe in a mysterious high-energy glow.

NASA has a Chandra X-ray Observatory News web site.

Every moment contains the potential for clarity, for that glimpse of reality. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for it. Just remember its always there.

Well, it is kind of quiet on the archaeology and DOJ vs Microsoft front. Monday should change that I bet…

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I expect there will be more Kenniwick Man news, as well as more on Microsoft …

I’ll be your teaching Assistant …

I'll be your teaching Assistant …:

I saw this on slashdot:

The Matrix is now the focus of an introductory philosophy class at the University of Washington in Seattle. According to Sci-Fi Wire, instructor David Nixon based the class on the philosophical themes and religious archetypes of the film. Nixon got the idea after seeing the film five times in theaters and realizing that it served to illustrate such concepts as perception, the mind and free will.

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17:40 Lots more to notice after I get home.

“KENNEWICK MAN OVER 9000 YEARS OLD AND NATIVE AMERICAN ACCORDING TO NAGPRA LAW Cultural Affiliation Studies underway to analyze evidence of Shared Group Identity with present day American Indian Tribes The Department of the Interior today announced its conclusions on the first of two questions Interior is answering for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: whether the human skeletal remains found in the Columbia River (known as Kennewick Man) are to be considered Native American. The Department of the Interior considers the Kennewick remains “Native American” for the purposes of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA). The decision is based upon recent radiocarbon dating, analysis of a lithic point embedded in the left hip and other anthropological and sediment analysis performed in February, 1999.” more from the National Park Service

“Kennewick Man expected to go Native.” more from Channel 13 in Seattle

“Department of the Interior scientists have dated the remains to 8,410 radiocarbon years – or as old as 9,300 calendar years. Interior officials planned to release their results today, along with their decision on whether to classify the skeleton as Native American under federal law. In other developments, the leader of an Old Norse pagan group said Wednesday that the Asatru Folk Assembly was withdrawing from the legal dispute.” more from ABC News

16:30 Wow! Lots of things happen during the day.

Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft. And so it begins…

Researchers clone monkey by splitting embryo

At 7:15 (-0700 GMT) a quick pass over Scripting News, CNN, slashdot, Wired, and some blogs didn’t turn up anything that piqued my interest. Not that there isn’t anything out there, we all know there is. I need a crawler…

Off to work.

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Prosecutors apparently reach plan to break up Microsoft
Sigh, I no longer have even a marginally coherent opinion or idea about what should be done here. I’ve always used the “other” operating systems (Amiga, MacOS, various flavors of Un*x) so I’ve been biased for a looong time. Still, if the app side of the fence didn’t have an unfair advantage (access to system calls and non-documented features) the playing field might be more level. I’m not at all confident that the consumer would benefit from a breakup. What if things got (shudder) worse? Still, its not so much that Microsoft ‘beat’ competent companies. WordPerfect, Lotus 123, AmiPro, and Netscape are all case studies in ‘stupid things companies do’. Apple is a whole course by itself (save the flames, I have a house full of Macintoshes, I continue to drink the Kool-Aid).

Bubbles in Guinness Do Go Down, Study Finds How many of us have had this discussion? 🙂

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Galileo Findings Boost Idea of Other-worldly Ocean

When NASA’s Galileo spacecraft swooped past Jupiter’s moon Europa a week ago, it picked up powerful new evidence that a liquid ocean lies beneath Europa’s icy crust. As the spacecraft flew 218 miles (351 kilometers) above the icy moon on January 3, its magnetometer instrument studied changes in the direction of Europa’s magnetic field. Galileo’s magnetometer observed directional changes consistent with the type that would occur if Europa contained a shell of electrically conducting material, such as a salty, liquid ocean.

The Solar System Simulator is a fascinating web app to create a view of a planet or satellite at various dates and times.

That’s it for today. The update schedule for this site is waaaay off kilter, but hey – it beats not working.

Chop wood, carry water, do weblog.