HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » n2doc » Journal
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,779

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3- Issues





Tuesday Toon Roundup 2- Politics




Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Sequester

So Open It Hurts -What the Internet did to Aaron Swartz


On his third day at Stanford, Aaron Swartz forced himself to attend a party. He wasn’t interested in having a good time—in fact, crowds of strangers made him anxious. He merely wanted to document the mating rituals of the “teenager,” a species that alternatively mystified and horrified him.

“In my culture (of vaguely technical people), people converse by sharing information through mutually-beneficial discussion and debate,” Swartz wrote on his blog, “but the teenager’s system is altogether different and wholly alien to me.” It also struck him as irrational. The teenagers interacted through soundless, spastic movements known as dancing. When they opened their mouths, it was to enact a custom the non-scientist would recognize as flirting. “The protocol begins by sharing basic personal information to establish identity, then moves to the humorous recitation of cultural information,” he explained.

To Swartz, practically everything at Stanford needed fixing, and not just the way the students related to one another. The school’s ID cards were intrusive (“It even has a RFID transmitter in it, so they can track us while we walk”). The library was a disaster (“books with catalog numbers starting with P are on floor W4, those starting with PA through PZ are on floor W6. Yes, that’s right, W6”). By his tenth day, Swartz had even grown suspicious of the washing machines. “I’d guess that the process removed microscopic germs,” he wrote, “except for the fact that germs only thrive in damp, warm environments.” He dropped out before his sophomore year.

Granted, all of us would be mortified to find our 17-year-old musings frozen for eternity on the Internet—every goofball utterance and angst-ridden thought preserved for the world’s browsing pleasure. But Swartz was no ordinary goof. He was a hacker, a breed of computer savant that looks out at civilization’s greatest achievements—space travel, constitutional democracy, Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto—and sees only a set of algorithms to debug. The reason hackers hate driving, the author Steven Levy wrote in his definitive account of the subculture, is that traffic delays “are so goddamned unnecessary the impulse is to rearrange signs, open up traffic-light control boxes, … redesign the entire system.”



Toon: Ted Cruz gets a medal

Toon:Raising Minimum Wage

We call that last category "Unpaid Interns"

3-D View of a Quasar with a Galactic Lens


I get excited when I see astronomers using novel techniques to study more distant and more difficult problems in astronomy. In this case, we have a galaxy cluster acting as a lens and some high-resolution spectroscopy to get a 3-dimensional view of a quasar.

A typical quasar is dominated by a point of light coming from the very center of the distant galaxy, specifically from the accretion disk around a supermassive black hole that is pulling matter into it. That bright central quasar can often act as a background light for probing what is in front of that quasar along our line of sight, including the structures within the very same galaxy.

For this study, a group led by Toru Misawa looks at the broad absorption line features in the spectra of one such quasar, J1029+2623. Such features are not uncommon in quasar spectra as they are a result of some outflow of material away from the accretion disk. Yes, there are things falling in AND things flowing away from the black hole; it’s a very turbulent place. In fact, these outflows are key to transporting angular momentum away from the black hole so that more material can fall in. They also can have the side effect of shutting down star formation in other parts of the galaxy. So, they are quite important to understanding the whole evolution of a quasar.

Artist conception, where paths A, B, and C correspond to the image at top.
However, typically, a quasar only allows one, piercing line of sight through the outflow region. J1029+2623 is different because it is being lensed by a whole galaxy cluster that lies somewhere in front of it along our line of sight. So there are three different images of the quasar widely separated apart. This means, as the diagram above shows, you get several different lines of sight through the outflow and can begin to discern its shape and properties.


Ancient Chompers Were Healthier Than Ours

February 24, 2013 5:05 AM

Prehistoric humans didn't have toothbrushes. They didn't have floss or toothpaste, and they certainly didn't have Listerine. Yet somehow, their mouths were a lot healthier than ours are today.

"Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth," says Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. " as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."

And thousands of years later, we're still waging, and often losing, our war against oral disease.

Our changing diets are largely to blame.

In a study published in the latest Nature Genetics, Cooper and his research team looked at calcified plaque on ancient teeth from 34 prehistoric human skeletons. What they found was that as our diets changed over time — shifting from meat, vegetables and nuts to carbohydrates and sugar — so too did the composition of bacteria in our mouths.



The Onion's Tips For Not Accidentally Murdering Your Girlfriend

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like just about any guy can accidentally kill his girlfriend at virtually any time. Here are some easy strategies to avoid inadvertently murdering your significant other:

Be sure to avoid firing a gun in the general direction of your girlfriend, regardless of the situation.

Shy away from doing anything that may cause your girlfriend a massive amount of blood loss, such as beating her, stabbing her, or shooting her multiple times.

Consider performing a task that has a low risk of accidentally murdering your girlfriend, like giving her flowers, taking her to dinner, or letting her continue living and breathing.

Remain generally cognizant of the fact that three gunshots to the head and torso will, in most situations, fatally wound a person, and that this fact will, therefore, likely apply to your girlfriend as well.

If there is a locked door in your home and there is even a remote possibility that the person you’re currently dating is behind that door and could be immediately killed by the bullets you fire at the door, try not to fire a gun directly at that door.


Mt. Etna Boils Over


Lava flows on Mt. Etna visible from the The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured Etna on February 19, 2013. Credit: NASA

Italy’s Mount Etna has turned on again, spewing lava and gas in its first big eruption in 2013. The volcano is one of the most active in the world, and is Europe’s tallest active volcano, currently standing about 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high.

The volcano has been “simmering” for 10 months, but on February 19 and 20, the famous volcano came to life, providing dramatic visuals from the ground (see the video below) as well as from space, with three outbursts in less than 36 hours. This image from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured Etna on February 19 at 9:59 a.m. Central European Time, about 3 hours after the end of the first outbursts.

The false-color image combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light in the red, green, and blue channels of an RGB picture. This combination differentiates the appearance of fresh lava, snow, clouds, and forest.

Fresh lava is bright red—the hot surface emits enough energy to saturate the instrument’s shortwave infrared detectors, but is dark in near infrared and green light. Snow is blue-green, because it absorbs shortwave infrared light, but reflects near infrared and green light. Clouds made of water droplets (not ice crystals) reflect all three wavelengths of light similarly, and are white. Forests and other vegetation reflect near infrared more strongly than shortwave infrared and green light, and appear green. Dark gray areas are lightly vegetated lava flows, 30 to 350 years old.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/100155/as-seen-from-space-mt-etna-boils-over/
Go to Page: « Prev 1 ... 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 ... 906 Next »