Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Maybe the Mayans had it right ;-)

Submitted for your approval ...

"VW agrees to kick the "Crackberry" habit": Is it a harbinger of sanity or an omen of pending doom?

"Will China Break?" as Paul Krugman suggests? Or will the bull safely exit the porcelain emporium?

While teams of particle physicists feverishly search for a needle in a haystack's worth of haystacks, one physicist spends $2,600 for a custom Lego kit to build a 9,500-piece scale model of CERN's Atlas (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) detector -- part of the hunt for the Higgs boson. Heavy.

From the Department of Don't Believe Everything You Read, be sure to read "Doh! Top Science Journal Retractions of 2011."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cosmic greetings of the season

(But as with Arthur C. Clarke's classic short story "The Star," you wouldn't want be in the neighborhood when the show began ...)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cyberwar heats up

Did you find my January cyberwar post futuristic?  If so, the future is now.

From AP (via Yahoo News), here's an item from security firm McAfee: "Report: Global cyberattack under way for 5 years." To begin: 
... cybercriminals have spent at least the past five years targeting more than 70 government entities, nonprofit groups and corporations around the world to steal troves of data.
 McAfee Inc. said in a report Wednesday that the attacks have targeted a broad range of organizations, including the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee and companies mostly in the United States.
McAfee did not say who may be behind the attacks but says the culprit is likely a nation state.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cul de sac

My life is crazy-busy these days. So: what better time than today to share a few of the more interesting items from my web-clippings file?

Remember the 1993 movie Six Degrees of Separation? Neither do I. Regardless, the Kevin Bacon game proves too easy. See "Facebook Claims 4.74 Degrees of Kevin Bacon."

As the Eurozone and the EU itself crumple, Brussels bureaucrats took the time to tackle a vital consumer-protection issue. See "Europe's ruling on water preventing dehydration – another 'angels dancing on the head of a pin' moment."

(That topic has a certain Douglas Adams feel about it, does it not? How soon can we expect new workplace protections for telephone mouthpiece sanitizers?)

But truly exciting -- and now I'm not being sarcastic -- is a recent initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. To wit: "Darpa seeks nanotechnology defense against novel pathogens." Consider:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where credit is due

Unless this is your first visit -- in which case, "Hi!" -- you likely know that I'm a onetime physicist and computer engineer, and that I remain interested in science and technology.

It continually amazes me how few people I meet have any interest in either subject area.

Admittedly, seemingly esoteric things can fascinate me. (Like whether, as recent experiments suggest, neutrinos can travel faster than light. Like the nature of dark energy: a label of convenience for our present state of ignorance, not an explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe.)

But my fascination with the cutting edge of science isn't why others' disinterest in science and tech surprises -- and, yes, saddens -- me. Come. Travel with me to my youth.