Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Anna Nicole is still dead, Britney is still messed up, don’t miss the Lunar eclipse, and other Friday fun

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Saturn from a new perspective. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Another Friday, another weekend. Phew. Another interesting cat filled week. I noticed vaguely recently that my wooden ruler seemed to be disintegrating. Today I wondered why, I mean, all I use it for is to turn my stereo on and off? Upon close examination… it has numerous small puncture marks. Puncture marks the size and shape of small fangs. Cat fangs. Sigh. I feed them, house them, and cater to their every whim…and they repay me by destroying my meagre possessions. Could be worse I suppose, I could have kids. After an incident with a ball peen hammer and his beautiful carved wooden front door, my best friend remarked that when one has their first kid, the wisest thing to do is gather together all of their most precious breakable items, place them in a big pile, and smash them. It will save eighteen years of annoyance and heartache. So I guess in the greater scheme of things, I shouldn’t complain. At least my cats won’t be wrecking my car when they turn sixteen. Moving on to the world at large, some stories from the past week that don’t involve war, politics, Bush, etc:

College Students more narcissistic. That pretty much says it all. The “me” generation and decades of bolstering children’s self esteem (as if children needed to be taught to be self centred and selfish) has come home to roost. For example children now commonly sing a song in preschool to the tune of “Free Jacques” with lyrics like: “I am special, I am special. Look at me.” When I was a kid being spoilt was frowned upon, now it’s educational policy? So here we are, American freshmen are greedier and more self-centred than ever. This can’t bode well for the Empire.

Underground “ocean” discovered. Not really an ocean, but a huge area of very slightly damp rock has been discovered under East Asia. Apparently resulting from the major subduction zone along the western Pacific, where Earth’s crust is constantly being recycled into the Earth’s interior. It’s enough water to fill an ocean, though of no practical use. It just shows how we are still learning things about the planet we live on.

Hole in the Earth. Speaking of things geologic, scientists are studying a huge area in the ocean where the Earth appears to have no crust. I find this amusing, because there has been at least one failed effort to drill through the crust to study what lies below. Apparently scientists didn’t know about this location when they did so?

Mysterious bee disappearances. Bees are vanishing across much of the USA, and it is in fact a mystery, whole colonies of commercial bees are simply vanishing. Scientists have named the phenomena CCD or colony collapse disorder, but as yet no one knows what is causing the problem. A disease? A parasite? A toxin? A biological warfare attack? Major investigation is underway as bees are vital to billions of dollars worth of agriculture.

Albino millipedes discovered. Not just a white bug, an entirely new type of white bug! Is that exciting or what? I guess one had to be there. Still, curious, these are blind cave dwelling bugs that are being called “living fossils.” Scientists will learn more about how bugs evolved from this discovery, and every bit of new knowledge about the world fits into the puzzle somewhere. (Speaking of bugs, it’s been brought to my attention recently that insects have superpowers, I may be blogging about this disturbing information at a later date.)

A New View of Saturn. The Cassini probe has returned spectacular pictures of Saturn from a new perspective, from well above and below the rings. There are better pictures at the link, and a neat video of the probe passing through the plane of the rings.

Lunar Eclipse. There will be a total Lunar eclipse on March 3rd, check your local news for exact times. I recommend seeing a Lunar eclipse at least once in your life, it’s not spectacular but it is way cool. The Moon basically turns dark brownish red for some time. It’s not really an event for kids though: “I see the Moon daddy, can we go home now? I’m cold.”

Another Bay Area Earthquake. Now this one made my whole building shake like a bowl of Jello for five or six seconds. It was actually a little alarming. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but there have been a lot of small quakes the past year, and they seem to be getting stronger. Cue twilight zone music.

Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above NASA image is public domain and may be reproduced freely as long as it is not used to imply that NASA supports or endorses a commercial venture.)

Written by unitedcats

March 2, 2007 at 10:14 am

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