Friday, June 29, 2007

Bacteria: In You and In Space

It has been calculated that the normal human houses about a trillion bacteria on the skin, 10 billion in the mouth, and 100 trillion in the gastrointestinal tract. The latter number is far in excess of the number of eukaryotic cells in all organs which comprise the human host. It is sometimes said quite simply that there is more of "them" than "you'' in you. The normal flora occupy available colonization sites which makes it more difficult for other microorganisms (nonindigenous species) to become established.
Eeeeeeww!!!! (Link) At least those little bastards serve a good purpose.

Also, from the same article, did you know that Streptococcus bacteria can survive in space? Craziness!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

There Are Two Americas After All

Yep, John Edwards' and the democrat's "Two Americas" theme really does have some truth to it, but the real two Americas are not the rich and the poor. They are the vibrant and optimistic versus the stagnant and pessimistic. The people versus the bureaucrats.

Read Paul Jacob's article The two Americas on Townhall.com here.

Also, read Rush Limbaugh's take on The Real Two Americas here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice

Today (at 12:06 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, to be exact) is the Summer Solstice -- or "Northern Solstice" to be globally correct (it's winter in the southern hemisphere).

I love the summer solstice. It's the point at which the Sun reaches it's highest point in the sky off of the southern horizon and takes it's longest trip of the year across the sky, making it the "longest" day of the year. More time to do stuff outside in the long twilight. Its also the first official day of summer! And that means it's almost my birthday!

The downside of this is that for the next six months the days are getting shorter. And I am not a fan of that. To be honest, it's a little depressing. [grumble grumble.]

But anywho... there's quite a bit of neat science and astronomy (not astrology) that goes into the summer solstice. Did you know that because of changes in the tilt or wobble of the Earth (currently about 23 degrees off of vertical) that the solstice has not alway occurred on the 21st of June? (Or 22nd, depending on you time zone.) It actually used to happen on the 24th of June (my birthday), hence, the traditional "Midsummer's Day" being held on that day.

So now that there's no doubt that I'm a huge dork, here's some good sites that I found for more info on this solstice stuff:
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for this year's solstice (neat composite image and interesting links)
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for last year's solstice (awesome Stone Henge photo with more good links)
Solstice - Wikipedia
Ancient Origins Solstice

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Race conditions" in security dialogs

Ever wonder why Firefox makes you wait three seconds before you can install an extension or other add-on? I have, and apparently Jesse Ruderman figured it out.

Apparently, there's a tendency for people to click "okay" or "install" or "yes" as fast as possible without reading any warning or notice dialogs when they think they know what they are doing. This can be dangerous if a site is trying to trick you into doing something that you wouldn't have otherwise done. There are also sites that will take advantage of the "y = yes" keyboard shortcuts that are common in a lot of applications and trick you with a 'captcha' like the one in his post.

I'm a geek, but it answers one of those nagging questions that I probably wouldn't have figured out on my own.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flag Day

The whole inspiration of our life as a nation flows out from the waving folds of this banner.
~Unknown

We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity, representing our liberty.
~George Washington, attributed

When Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
~Joseph Rodman Drake, The American Flag
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Not Easy Pleasing Greens

Do environmentalists oppose pollution or capitalism?

Dennis Miller Barates Harry Reid

Last night on Fox News Channel's "The 1/2 Hour News Hour", Comedian / Comedian Dennis Miller took Harry Reid (Democrat, NV) to town in his "The Buck Starts Here".

Damn. That's hard core. Hard core, but honest and pretty funny at times.

For those of you that don't know, The 1/2 Hour News Hour is basically a combo of SNL's Weekend Update and John Stewart's Comedy Central show. And it's damn funny.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Best Non-Flaming Web Comment Evah

Whilst fulfilling my addiction to Lifehacker's offerings to the web, in this case a discussion about Apple's Cinema Display monitors versus those offered by Dell, I came across the best comment exchange ever. And by best, I mean non-flaming, name-calling, immature ranting. Just a nice, clever "Oh Snap!" moment.

Here's a summary:
soslack says:

Colours are far more accurate in the Apple display. Please see http://www.pcauthority.com.au/review.aspx?CIaRID=4837 for review regarding this monitor :)

razordu30 says:

soslack - Your link says nothing about Dell Monitors. You fail at the internet.

Doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, June 01, 2007

NPR: NASA Chief Questions Urgency of Global Warming

Yesterday (31 May) on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, NASA administrator Michael Griffin defended his agency's programs and said that while NASA studies climate change, the agency has no authorization to "battle climate change."

I, for one, think that Mr Griffin brings up a really good point that no one in the traditional media is covering:
To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.
You can read excerpts from and listen to the NPR interview here.