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I had a second snow day today, which I didn't expect, but it was enough to make me tired of blogging about the storm and its aftereffects. Instead, I decided to post about the intersection between science and sports, climate, and the latest developments in Detroit.
That should get my desire for a change of pace out of my system, so I might write about the weather after midnight. If not, I have some more D&D war stories to share.
neonvincent: For general posts about politics not covered by other icons (Uncle V wants you)
Fat Cat goes Galt


I've been a regular commenter over at Kunstler's blog for years, but I haven't been much of a participant over at The Archdruid Report until the past few weeks. There were three reasons for this. First, John Greer he Archdruid wasn't giving me what I couldn't already get at Kunstler's blog or The Oil Drum. Second, his comments are heavily moderated, while Kunstler's are only weakly so. Third, while he posts Wednesday P.M., he's just not a predictable as Kunstler. The latter two meant that I couldn't lure readers from his blog the way I could Kunstler's. So, I read when I had the opportunity, but didn't comment.

This year, that all changed. First, Kunstler moved from Peak Oil to finance. Then, The Oil Drum closed down. Finally, The Archdruid moved to a topic that he is uniquely suited to address, the role of belief systems in societies and how resource depletion would affect both societies and their beliefs. It was enough that, after two years, I finally found something of Greer's that I could feature on my blog, the description of civil antireligions in The Fate of Civil Religion that I excerpted and commented on to compose The Archdruid on Objectivism as civil antireligion. Then, he wrote an essay that I actually had something to say in response to, An Old Kind of Science, which I turned into A conversation with The Archdruid for the Solstice. The next week, he engaged in A Christmas Speculation, in which he called the GOP a bunch of closet Satanists who were hiding their true beliefs behind their devotion to Ayn Rand. I commented on that and converted the result into A conversation with The Archdruid about Objectivism, Satanism, and the GOP. I despise Objectivism, and couldn't resist a comparison between it and an unpopular religion. After all, two years ago, I posted Objectivism and Scientology: a sublime to the ridiculous comparison.

So, Greer isn't directly good for driving traffic. He is good for inspiring my writing, which is proving to be good for bringing readers in. I posted a link to the most recent entry about the Archdruid to Kunstler's blog this morning. So far, I've pulled in 400+ page views to that post, moving it up to the second third most read entry this calendar year and the ninth most read in the history of the Crazy Eddie's Motie News. That only took 12 hours. I think I'll keep reading and responding to The Archdruid after all.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I completely missed reposting any of my posts from Crazy Eddie's Motie News for March on the Nablopomo theme of Whether. Bad dog, no biscuits. I'll get around to organizing and posting linkspams from last month eventually. In the meantime, I'll resume my regular weekly summaries of the Nablopomo posts for April. This month, the theme is poetry. Here's what I wrote on April Fools Day.


From Nablopomo on BlogHer:
So what is the NaBloPoMo theme of the month?
POEM

In honour of National Poetry Month in April, we've made the theme POEM -- which can go in a multitude of directions. First and foremost, you can try your hand at writing some poetry. We'll be presenting a few fixed forms as well as prompts for free forms. Make a personal goal to write a haiku-a-day, write an entire post in rhymed couplets, or argue the merits of Pinterest... in sestina form.

We'll be writing about our reactions to poems -- which poems have come up at important moments in your life? Which poems do you return to again and again? Which poems have changed your mood, given you comfort, or made you want to be a poet yourself?

We'll spend the month looking at reflections of poetry in nature and social situations. And we'll be featuring YOUR poetry weekly. So get your poem on.
When I first read the theme and description, I considered not participating, as I'm not big on poetry. I especially had a hard time squaring the theme with a blog about sustainability, science, and politics, although "poetry in nature" might work. Then I realized that there were some forms of poetry that I liked, limericks and song verses. Most limericks wouldn't be fit for a family blog, but I can always find a good song for my posts. So, I'm participating again this month.
The songs that I've featured so far are:
There will be more next week, as I already have another post up.

Happy reading and happy listening!
neonvincent: For posts about Twilight and trolling (Twilight Fandom wank trolls you)

The first full moon of 2012 will be tonight, the first of 13 full moons this year. Each of these moons has a name (and one of them has two names), as Space.com (via MSNBC) explains.*

How 2012's full moons got their strange names
Origins credited to Native Americans and early European settlers
By Joe Rao
updated 1/7/2012 3:07:59 PM ET
The start of 2012 brings with it a new year of skywatching, and lunar enthusiasts are gearing up for a stunning lineup of full moons. But, where does the tradition of full moon names come from?

Full moon names date back to Native Americans of a few hundred years ago, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. To keep track of the changing seasons, these tribes gave distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.

There were some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England, continuing west to Lake Superior.

European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names. Here is a list of all of the full moon names, as well as the dates and times for 2012: (Unless otherwise noted, all times are given in Eastern Standard Time.)
Tonight's full moon is the Full Wolf Moon which will reach maximum on January 9th (technically tomorrow) at 2:30 a.m. EST. The association of wolf with a full moon has cross-cultural connotations, particularly with superstitions about what else happens involving wolves, people, and full moons. Everyone, enjoy the light show and sing along with Warren Zevon. A-hoo!



Now that the show is over, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News for the rest of the full moon names, along with important astronomical events associated with some of them.

*This article is among those I excerpted for last night's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (100 Year Starship edition) on Daily Kos. The headline article of that diary entry is one that also deserves a "Beginnings" entry of its own, especially given the science fiction slant of this blog. Like Anonymous, expect it.
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sustainability_spheres

In the previous digest, I promised "global and national environmental issues, local (Michigan and Metro Detroit) sustainability issues, and Tea Party screw-ups." I'll do the first one, as I just posted an entry on that general topic.

Next Media Animation on the Keystone XL pipeline

Next Media Animation on Thanksgiving food inflation

Phil Plait on saving Earth from asteroids

Nebris and I have a conversation

A video gift from a student

Yes, I posted that one before. It's worth seeing again. Besides, I'm an environmentalist; I recycle.

The village of Wukan, China, in open revolt

The situation in Wukan escalates

More paranoia about Agenda 21

You'll see this one again, as it's about Tea Partiers screwing up.

Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good

Next Media Animation on Canada leaving the Kyoto Protocol, plus a Rick Perry joke

With that last entry, the topics complete the circle, as the first and last are about Canadian tar sands.
neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)

Crazy Eddie the Motie wishes you a Merry Christmas, part 1

Funny and snarky videos from Next Media Animation.

Crazy Eddie the Motie wishes you a Merry Christmas, part 2

A Christmas light show set to music from a drum and bugle corps.

Crazy Eddie the Motie wishes you a Merry Christmas, part 3

Christmas-themed space and science stories.

Now time to play Star Wars: The Old Republic.  May the Force be with you!


neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)

Original here

PhysOrg: PHD Comics hits the big screen
by Deborah Braconnier
September 16, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- If you are a graduate student, you are more than likely aware of the popular Piled Higher and Deeper, or PHD, Comics created by Jorge Cham. These comics cover the everyday struggles that scientists face while in grad school in a humorous and accurate depiction.

For the last year, grad students around the world have found themselves missing their regular comics, it now appears that creator Jorge Cham had a very good reason for the comic going MIA. He has been working with a team of grad students from California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, to create a live-action film where the characters of his comic strip come alive.
More, including a trailer, at the link.

Crossposted to [community profile] scans_daily  and random_lounge on JournalFen.
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I have a really cool, if depressing, macro at We could have had the Moon, instead we get Afghanistan on Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Unfortunately, I can't seem to post it here because of what the browser says is "bad unicode." Let's see if this works.
neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)
Reuters: Space shuttle leaves Earth on final flight
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Fri Jul 8, 2011 1:24pm EDT
Space shuttle Atlantis rocketed off its seaside launch pad on Friday, rising atop a tower of smoke and flames as it left Earth on the shuttle program's final flight.

About 1 million sightseers witnessed the smooth liftoff from Kennedy Space Center. They lined causeways and beaches around the central Florida site, angling for a last glimpse of the pioneering ship that has defined the U.S. space program for the past 30 years.

"Good luck to you and your crew on this final flight of this true American icon," shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach radioed to the crew minutes before takeoff.
...
"The shuttle is always going to be a reflection of what a great nation can do when it dares to be bold and commits to follow through," said Atlantis commander Chris Ferguson.
I would consider myself remiss if I didn't at least mention this story, which I plan on highlighting as the science story of the week over on Daily Kos tomorrow night. After all, this blog is about both collapse, including decline, a leading indicator of collapse, and how to prevent it, and I examine these topics from a science fiction angle. I think few themes more exemplify civilizational decline in science fiction more than withdrawing from space, and those that do generally include loss of ability to travel off the planet.

For the rest of this post, read it on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)

Solstices and Equinoxes


National Geographic: Summer Solstice 2011: Why It's the First Day of Summer
Why summer starts today, and why it's the longest day—but not the hottest.
Ker Than
for National Geographic News
Updated June 21, 2011
The first day of summer—heralded today by a manic bunny and bear in a Google doodle by artist Takashi Murakami—officially kicks off today at 1:16 p.m. ET, the beginning of the summer solstice and of the longest day of the year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.
Just like my Rapture post, I felt I couldn't blog about the environment and not observe an environmentally significant event. The difference is that this one is real.

Crossposted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)
June2011NaBloPoMoSmallBadge


Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a "Chickenosaurus".
I'm a paleontologist by training, so of course I'm a fan of Jack Horner. If nothing else, his discoveries have made dinosaurs more interesting.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Sustainability news from Michigan's Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability news from midwestern Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability News for the week ending June 4, 2011: National commercial sources

Wow, three posts in one day--looks like I'm not so burned out any more. I guess taking a couple days off helped!

Also, I posted about Michigan politics.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner--oh the possibilities!

As you can see, that one pressed my ambition button. I'll re-write that one and post it here on Dreamwith and LJ, as well as on Michigan Liberal and Daily Kos.

Finally, I promoted my most recent post on Kunstler's blog.

That's enough for this morning. Time to go back to bed!

neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)

June2011NaBloPoMoSmallBadge



No, I'm not a "My Little Pony" fan. I am a fan of fun science, and this presentation certainly qualifies.
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Below originally posted to Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Yuri's Night 2011 edition)

Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, and the environment.

This week's featured story comes from the Yuri's Night website.

Human Spaceflight became a reality 50 years ago with the launch of a bell-shaped capsule called “Vostok 1” on April 12th, 1961. The capsule was carrying Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who took his place in history as the first human to leave the bounds of Earth and enter outer space.

Exactly 20 years later, the United States embarked on a new era in spaceflight with the inaugural launch of a new type of spaceship — the Space Shuttle (April 12th, 1981). Designed to carry a larger crew and large volumes of cargo to orbit, the Space Shuttles became synonymous with human spaceflight for an entirely new generation of young people.

When the next 20-year point arrived, that generation (often called “Gen X”) laid a new space milestone by connecting thousands of people around the world to celebrate and honor the past, while building a stairway to the future. That event was Yuri’s Night, and it continues to bring the excitement, passion and promise of space travel closer to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
This is the fourth Yuri's Night I've covered for Overnight News Digest. Time flies.

Two videos from NASA Television on YouTube about the event behind the cut. )
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

April2011BadgeMichigan Stand Up and FightDetroit Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten


It's the weekend, which means it's time for me to select this week's news from midwestern universities about food and sustainability. Once again, Michigan State University has pride of place as the first Michigan university mentioned with the only two food stories.



Food

Michigan State University: MSU class building a better popcorn kernel

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A group of Michigan State University students is taking a course this semester that has the official title of “Science of the Foods we Love.” But most everybody knows it as the “popcorn course.”

That’s because in addition to teaching the students the finer points of scientific research, and how the worlds of science and industry come together, another result of the course might be a better kernel of popcorn.

With the help of a gift from ConAgra Foods, the maker of, among other things, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, the class is studying different aspects of popcorn (e.g., explosivity, hull thickness and kernel size distribution) as they relate to the overall quality of a popped bag of microwave popcorn.

Later this month the class will travel to ConAgra headquarters in Omaha, Neb., to present their findings to the company’s scientists.
As I wrote in one of my early linkspam posts:

The flip side of Purdue's concern with food is that it's very much in the pocket of industrial agriculture, and this article shows that relationship in unapologetic detail. Honestly, I find Michigan State University, where there is a program in organic agriculture that was created by student demand, to have a more progressive perspective, and MSU is also a land-grant agricultural college.
They may be more progressive, but they are still strongly connected to industrial agriculture.

Michigan State University: Oxygen sensor invention could benefit fisheries to breweries

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Monitoring oxygen levels in water has applications for oil spills, fish farming, brewing beer and more – and a professor at Michigan State University is poised to help supply that need.

The concept of oxygen sensors isn’t new. The challenge, however, has been manufacturing one that can withstand fluctuations in temperature, salinity, carbon dioxide, phosphates and biological wastes. Ruby Ghosh, associate professor of physics, was able to overcome those obstacles as well as build one that provides real-time data and is relatively inexpensive.
...
Constantly testing dissolved oxygen is critical in industries such as:

  • Aquaculture – where fish are raised in oxygen-rich, high-density environments.
  • Beverage manufacturing – which constantly monitors dissolved oxygen levels during the fermentation and bottling processes.
  • Biomedical research – which could use probes to further cancer research by detecting changes in oxygen dependence in relation to tumor growth.
  • Petroleum manufacturing – to monitor ocean oxygen levels and detect/prevent oil leaks in rugged, saltwater environments.
...
To test her prototypes, Ghosh and her students worked with Michigan’s fish farmers to see how they would hold up in a year-round, outdoor environment.

“My lab focuses on solving real-life problems through our technology,” Ghosh said. “Raising trout for recreational fishing is economically important to Michigan, and our prototype proved that our sensor performs well in the field and could help that industry thrive.”
Since the most read posts this month so far has been Detroit Food and Sustainability News for 4/4/11 and its popularity has been driven by Google searches for people searching for the news story about Russ Allen of Seafood Systems in Okemos and his proposal to raise shrimp in Detroit (Let's see what that phrase does for this post's Search Engine Optimization--muahahahahaha!), I decided to put this story about aquaculture above the fold as a food story.

More news stories about sustainability, science, economy, politics, and law at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
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march11

Australian Broadcasting Corporation via Discovery News: Biggest Full Moon in Decades to Appear This Weekend
Moon gazers are in for a treat this weekend when the full moon will appear 14 percent bigger.
Fri Mar 18, 2011 08:47 AM ET
Content provided by Carl Holm

Romantics, werewolves and other moon gazers are in for a treat this weekend as they witness the biggest full moon seen in nearly 20 years.

But experts are discounting predictions of earthquakes associated with the event.

The moon's orbit is elliptical, and as it follows its path, one side of the ellipse, known as perigee, passes about 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) closer than the on the other side -- apogee.

A perigee full moon appear around 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an apogee full moon.


Discovery News: No Link Between 'Super Moon' and Earthquakes
The 'maximal perigee' tonight has only a minimal effect on seismic activity and cannot be linked with last week's earthquakes in Japan.
Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:50 PM ET
Content provided by Rachel Rice

Despite opinions being dispersed over the Internet that the 'super moon' will lead to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, geologist Bill Burton with the US Geological Survey says that this is unlikely.

"There are just too many factors that go into seismic activity to make that statement," Burton told Discovery News. "I think you'd be hard pressed to see a difference in tectonic activity during different lunar phases."

Severe natural disasters such as the earthquake off the coast of Japan last week can raise questions about all of the factors involved. Research geophysicist Malcom Johnston with the USGS says that blaming such events on the moon's orbit is not a new idea.

"This idea of blaming natural disasters on the phases of the moon goes way back to the Greeks. It has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years," Johnston said.
Above part of Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Supermoon edition) on Daily Kos.

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