blivet

I watched a great PBS show last night Culture Shock. The episode was about The Adventures of Huck Finn which is part of their "Born to Trouble" thread. What better than the novel we’ve been banning, deifying, exalting, and vilifying for 115 years. The series is about art and literature, how it raises controversy and how we, as a culture, respond to it. What does any of this have to do with the practice of Zen Buddhism, you ask? Ah ha, stay tuned. I can’t write that fast. Until then, mull on this new essay. Hammer that nail!

[archivist’s note 8/13/2006: I have no idea what was supposed to be linked to at ‘this new essay.’ Import error? Perhaps, but unlikely.]

blivet

Tunguska anyone? No, this isn’t X-Files trivia. NASA is awaiting the results from tests on a cloud of extraterrestrial dust left after a large meteor blasted across the skies of Canada. The last major meteor event was in June of 1908, when a major explosion rocked the skies above Siberia, near the Tunguska River. More over at Wired. But did they find any black oil?

It seems that the hope for the Polar Lander is slim at best. Still, it would be a minor coup for NASA if they could establish contact. Morale on the Mars team has to be pretty shaky. More on the efforts of NASA and Stanford from CNN.

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At MSNBC from the ‘I sure hope so’ dept. Signals revive hope for Mars lander

Jan. 25 ˜ NASA says it is transmitting new commands toward
Mars amid indications that its Polar Lander spacecraft has been
weakly trying to phone home. Mission managers say the radio
signals, received twice in last two months, are so faint that it‚s
taken weeks to make them out, and they caution that their
expectations are low. Nevertheless, the development has revived
hopes for the luckless lander.

Mars Pathfinder enlisted in search for lost Polar Lander from CNN

This was kind of interesting. TV networks may be using digital insertion, which allows objects to be placed into the video that aren’t really there. Play ‘spot the insert’ on CNN.

from slashdot "According to the Daily Telegraph (free login required): the earth has a second moon called ‘Cruithne’, which was discovered by a British team. The moon was previously thought to be an asteroid, but the experts now tell us that Cruithne, which is 3 miles across (4.8km), is in fact a Trojan asteroid, and has an eccentric horseshoe orbit around Earth which takes 770 years to complete."

I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR as I was getting ready to go to work and, predictably, there was a lot on the Iowa Caucus. One observation: Several Republican interviewees said that they didn’t really ‘like’ Bush but voted for him because they "thought he could win". Hello?

blivet

late update…

Hubble Space Telescope Back and Better Than Ever from the BBC. Everybody is pointing to this, I’m just piling on.

slashdot thread: "This article in the Arizona Daily Wildcat details the efforts of Rep. Jean McGrath, (R-Glendale), to restrict dormitory visitation, require the installation of Internet filters, and allow students to to use campus Internet connections only for a “specific educational purpose” on all Arizona university campuses."

Bush and Gore in Iowa. Just go to any news site, this story is all over the place. Remember, its just a caucus!

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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.

blivet

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]

blivet

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.

blivet

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…