Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Looking every which way

Herewith, something of a catch-up/catch-all post -- but (I like to think) interesting stuff ...

Jodrell Bank was one of the first great radio observatories. For me, at least, just to encounter the name evokes a sense of wonder. And so, I was sad to learn that the man behind Jodrell Bank, "British astronomer Bernard Lovell dies at 98."

Above Valles Marineris
But there's more wonder to be had, as "Scientists Discover Tectonic Plates on Mars." Plate tectonics are crucial to keeping Earth a living planet. We need the crust stirred up so that critical substances don't get locked away from, well, life.

(Consider how, on Earth, plate tectonics are integrally tied into the carbon cycle (and keep in mind that organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon). "Follow the water" has become a NASA mantra for locating signs of past or present extraterrestrial life; the availability of carbon is, IMO, just as important. At least for as long as the life for which we're looking is presumed to match terrestrial patterns ...)

Escaped from their can?
Meanwhile, the tale of the leak of the parties behind the Stuxnet worm (that targeted Iran's uranium-enrichment program) has become more tangled. See: "Stuxnet: Leaks or Lies?"

As for a computer-security lapse that -- in a more mundane way -- might affect many of us, "Hotel Lock Firm's Security Fix Requires Hardware Changes For Millions Of Keycard Locks." Because how quickly will hotels make changes to millions of locks?

As post-tsunami, post-Fukushima Japan moves toward writing off nuclear power (over many years, to be sure), here's yet another view of why that is an over-reaction. See "The Panic Over Fukushima."

And to wrap up today's post with an item that's amusingly horrifying (or vice versa), consider that the "Nook version of War and Peace contains embarrassing search-and-replace error." In which we are shown (it being odd that anyone would need to be shown) that mechanically replacing every instance of "kindle" in an ebook with "nook" -- for competitive reasons -- was not the world's brightest idea ...

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