Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why everyone hates the media

Why everyone hates the media FRIDAY, DEC 23, 2011 4:00 PM EST by Kevin Canfield — "The cover of Jonathan M. Ladd’s new book shows a pair of newspaper vending boxes that have been vandalized. “Lies,” reads the graffiti scrawled across the machines.

Lots of people seem to agree with the sentiment expressed by this anonymous street-level press critic — even if most of us are more apt to express this by screaming at the TV.
"

When I first read the title of this article I thought, "Because the media are a bunch of lying, arrogant asses." After reading the article I came to the conclusion that, while the aforementioned statement is true, it isn't the complete story. The problem is much more complex that just the media. It is partly our own fault but much of the blame lies with the political parties and their (mis)use of the media.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

600-Million-Year-Old Microscopic Fossils Upend Evolution Theory

600-Million-Year-Old Microscopic Fossils Upend Evolution Theory December 23, 2011 — "A remarkable new fossil discovery of amoeba-like micro-organisms that lived 570 million years ago could make scientists rethink some widely-accepted theories about how complex life on Earth first evolved from a single-celled universal common ancestor."

Cool stuff. It seems things are never completely understood in nature. Just when we think we have a handle on it something comes along to remind us that we're still just scratching the surface of the universe.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How my book became part of the "satanic sex stabbing"

How my book became part of the "satanic sex stabbing" - Writers and Writing - Salon.com - SATURDAY, NOV 26, 2011 8:00 PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME — "On the night I heard about my connection to a “satanic sex ritual stabbing,” I had just finished the dishes with my wife. It was about 10 p.m. on a Wednesday, my 2-year-old daughter was asleep in bed, and I was in the living room, casually catching up on email. “I assume you’ve seen this,” a friend wrote. The link took me to a headline on Gawker.com:

“Satanic Sex Ritual Threesome Not as Awesome as It Sounds.”"


This is a glaring example of the truth getting in the way of a good story. Now, with the 'Net and the instantaneousness of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the "story" spreads even faster with the "truth" sometimes never catching up. There's an old saying... Believe none of what you hear and half of what you read. Social media is like gossip. It falls under the classification of what you hear.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Earth Must Have Another Moon, Say Astronomers

Earth Must Have Another Moon, Say Astronomers Thu Dec 22, 2011 09:15 AM ET | "Scientists studying satellites orbiting the planet have come to an astounding conclusion: Earth has multiple moons at any given time, the MIT Technology Review reported."

Very cool stuff. It makes sense, though. Having such a big moon has really kept the space rocks from slamming into Earth.

Two Earth-Sized Planets Discovered — Slice of SciFi

Two Earth-Sized Planets Discovered — Slice of SciFi DECEMBER 21, 2011 BY MICHAEL HICKERSON - "Astronomers with NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft announced the discovery of two Earth-sized planets yesterday.

Astronomers said the discovery showed that Kepler could indeed find planets as small as our own and was an encouraging sign that planet hunters would someday succeed in the goal of finding Earth-like abodes in the heavens.
"

We're getting closer and closer to finding Earth 2TM. To bad I won't be around when we do get to visit other planets. That is, unless someone discovers a way to transfer my brain patterns into a computer. You know, they are really taking their time getting this perfected.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japan is the latest F-35 customer

DoD Buzz | Japan is the latest F-35 customer | By John Reed Monday, December 19th, 2011 10:05 pm | Posted in Air, International | "It’s official, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force is the world’s latest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter customer, buying four F-35As starting in 2012. That purchase will kick off Japan’s effort to buy two squadrons worth of the jets to replace ancient F-4 Phantoms."

Japan gets F-35's while the US debates about them.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Scientists find answer to supernova riddle

Scientists find answer to supernova riddle AFP December 15, 2011 7:39AM — "THE discovery of a supernova only hours after its explosion has probably solved a long-standing mystery on the origin of the brightest known phenomena in the Universe.

On August 24, scientists witnessed the spectacular eruption of light and energy thrown off by the birth of SN 2011fe, the brightest and - at a mere 20.9 million light years away - closest-to-Earth supernova in over 25 years.
"

This is so beyond cool. When I was in 4th or 5th grade I did a report on stars and, since then, I have always loved this kind of information.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BBC News - Higgs boson: LHC scientists to release best evidence

BBC News - Higgs boson: LHC scientists to release best evidence - By Paul Rincon | Science editor, BBC News Website, Geneva — "Anticipation is building in the run-up to presentations of the best-yet evidence for - or against - the existence of the Higgs boson.

The famed particle is a missing link in current theories of physics, used to explain how everything gains its mass.
"

Tick, tock, tock, tick. The time is getting closer and closer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why does the world insist on crushing good men?

At the bottom of an article pertaining to the Sandusky scandal (AP IMPACT: PSU culture explained away Sandusky - Yahoo! News), there is a hint of a gleam of common sense and decency regarding coach Joe Paterno.
Regardless of the outcome of the criminal cases, reputations beyond Sandusky's are ruined.

While defending her husband's actions, Paterno's wife hinted at frustration in the failure of Penn State to act aggressively in dealing with Sandusky in 2002. She said her husband, "one of the most moral people I know," had expected those above him in the chain of command to deal with the matter properly.

She said prosecutors confirmed that her husband "did the right thing," and she insisted he had never heard any details about any other alleged incidents. "That's the only thing he knew about. How can you wish you did more when you didn't know anything?"
As for whether her husband should have done more, she said, "That's not how it works. If they have another question, they get back to you. They were supposed to handle it."
It is quite clear that Paterno did everything he should have in this situation. Paterno was railroaded and unjustly disciplined for doing exactly what he should have done. The world owes him an apology and should beg for his forgiveness.

There's one other thing that always seems to get overlooked in this story. At the time all of this happened, Sandusky was no longer coaching. He was not part of the Penn State football program. The university had as much reason to fire Paterno as it had to fire any other coach in their athletic program. So why weren't the men's and women's basketball coaches fired? The track coaches? The [insert sports program here] coaches fired?

Joe Paterno is a good, honest, caring man. And, for reasons that will forever escape me, the world has a need to crush and destroy any good, honest, caring person it finds.

Video game playing tied to creativity

Video game playing tied to creativity Published: Nov. 02, 2011 - EAST LANSING, Mich. — "Both boys and girls who play video games tend to be more creative, regardless of whether the games are violent or nonviolent, according to new research by Michigan State University scholars."

This isn't surprising news to anyone who has been involved with technology and education for the last decade or so. The bottom line is that exercising ones brain is a Good Thingtm.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Zach Wahls Speaks About Family - YouTube

Zach Wahls Speaks About Family - YouTubeZach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.

This video speaks for itself.

Friday, December 02, 2011

LGBT Nigerians: "We Are Not Illegal"

I just added my voice to this urgent appeal, standing for human rights in Nigeria. Nigeria is pushing forward a law that would make it a punishable offense - of up to 14-years in prison - for anybody to go to a gay bar, to work for or be involved with LGBT organizations, or to be in an openly gay relationship.

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan - who has said he wants to stake his presidency on improving access to healthcare and education in the country, can stop this bill - by refusing to sign it. Read - and sign - this powerful letter that Nigerian activist Ifeanyi Orazulike wrote to the president, asking him to stop this bill, so that Nigeria doesn't place itself outside the community of democratic nations.

This Monday, Ifeanyi and other Nigerian activists are speaking out at the UN against this draconian bill with a simple message: We Are Not Illegal.

Ifeanyi is taking a stand. Will you take a minute to add your voice to his?

http://www.allout.org/nigeria

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just a cranky old code hacker sinking in quicksand

Something has occurred to me recently. I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with computers. More specifically, hacking on computers. You see, I am a techie by birth; it's genetic. I still love playing with technology, especially related to computers and the Internet. But the enjoyment of programming has been fading for a little while now.

This is due to a combination of things, I suppose. Getting dropped from school because my health prevented me from keeping a good course completion percentage, my Android phone constently get filled with temp/junk and having the only way to fix be a complete system reset (thus losing all the data and programs on it), and, most recently, the frustration of having Fedora 15 and 16 becoming nearily as difficult to update and configure as MS Windows. I didn't have this much heartburn back in the compile-your-own-kernel, hand-configure-X-and-hope-you-dont-destroy-your-monitor days. Which means I have no interest in doing anything. i.e. I don't want to get out of bed. Sounds like being depressed, huh. It is, and I'm fairly certain that is part of it. But the depressing aspect of all this is that there doesn't seem to be a way I can dig myself out of the hole I'm in.

It's like quicksand. I can't work in my carrier field, nor any blue collar type job, due to my health. Seven years of unemployment have wiped out all savings and now we have trouble just buying food enough to last the month. I started the journey to get a degree in order to be in a better position for finding a job I could work at. I'm one year short of that degree but now I'm told I've used up so much of my financial aid I can't finish school without paying out of pocket. This is, obviously, an impossibility.
Can't work
because I don't have a degree
which I can't get
because I have no income
because I can't work
because I don't have a degree
which I can't get
because I have no income
because...
If it weren't for my son I'd just throw in the towel.
What's the use of trying anymore?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Urgent - Russia about to silence millions

This issue is one that needs to be dealt with. Silencing information is the first step towards making "undesirable elements of society" disappear. This that statement is an over reaction? Then I suggest you research Germany in the mid-to-late 30's for some historical perspective.
I just added my voice to this urgent appeal, standing for human rights in Russia and all over the world. Medvedev and Putin's party is pushing a law to vote this week that would make any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues illegal.
The bill, being introduced as early as this Wednesday, would criminalize any book, article or speech about sexual identity and gender orientation, labeling it "homosexual propaganda". This is outrageous, and now is the time for key world leaders to speak up, we need every voice.
Will you take a minute to add yours?
allout.org/russia_silenced

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I am so furious about the firing of Joe Paterno

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks you have heard something about the child abuse case involving former Penn State football coach Gerry Sandusky.  When the story broke I posted a commentary about the attacks that immediately started against Joe Paterno.  Since then Paterno has been vilified, crucified and fired.  And, as the title of this post might indicate, I am (understatement alert) a bit peeved about it.  While I tried not to get sucked into the ranting and raving that exploded on the 'Net, but it was a losing battle[1].

The reason I am so upset about what happened to Paterno is not simply due to my being a fan of his.  You see, I have some experience trying to help a molested child.  I also know what can happen when a good man is railroaded, slandered and ripped to shreds by people who don't bother to get any of the facts before passing judgment.  If you investigate this whole mess and read the official reports/documents you will find this -
  1. Sandusky is seen by Person A possibly molesting a child
  2. Person A tells Person B what they saw
  3. Person B tells Joe Paterno what Person A said they saw
  4. Even though he has what amounts to unsubstantiated, secondhand hearsay, Paterno reports the indecent to the proper authority
  5. From here, the whole thing gets swept under the rug
As you can see, the only person in this chain who actually did the proper moral and ethical thing was Paterno.  And he gets destroyed for doing so.

Many people have railed that he should have followed up and also reported the incident to the police.  These people have likely never been on the outside-looking-in of a child molestation case.  Do you know what happens if you report an unsubstantiated, secondhand rumor of child abuse to the police that is proven to be false?  In most cases, you get your ass handed to you.  I have lived it.  You don't just yell "fire" in a crowded theater then say, "Oops! My bad." if it turns out to be untrue and receive no repercussions.

What happens if you report to the police that a child told you they were molested?  If you're lucky, they will do more than a cursory "investigation" and close the case without even talking to you.  I have lived that scenario, too.

I know that this post isn't likely to have any effect on those who've already made up their minds about Paterno.  Jesus, himself, could come down and proclaim him just and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.  And this is what makes me so upset.  When people are so bigoted, judgmental and closed minded that they attack and hate without knowing anything about the situation, or even try to get informed, it is infuriating.

And you know what the irony of it is?  These people will feel just as infuriated when confronted with the very same kind of prejudice and hate that the insane, fanatical, so-called Muslims of Al-Qaeda spew in their tirades.

[1] Just search for my name and "Joe Paterno" to see some of the fun.

Dynamic Views

I'm trying out Bloggers new Dynamic Views options.  Please feel free to try out the different options available and see which one(s) you like.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turn it up to 11

Today is (inter)national Heavy Metal Day! If you had to pick one song to represent this day what would it be? Personally, I can't narrow the list down to less than three digits, but some of the ones that would be at the top of my list are (in no particular order):

  • "Ace of Spades" - Mötörhead
  • "Breakin' the Law" - Judas Priest
  • "Enter Sandman" - Metallica
  • "Walk" - Pantera
  • "The Trooper" - Iron Maiden
  • "Highway to Hell" - AC/DC
  • "Rainbow in the Dark" - Dio

But if I absolutely had to choose one, and only one, song to represent all of Heavy Metal, it would have to be "Paranoid" by the band that created Metal, Black Sabbath.

To those who understand the meaning of Metal, I solute you... \m/
To those who don't understand, my sympathies.

"Rock and roll ain't noise pollution,
Rock and roll ain't gonna die.
Rock and roll ain't noise pollution,
Rock and roll...
Rock and roll...
Is just Rock and Roll!"

Yeah!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Trying to break a great man

This weekend a story broke about a former football coach at the University of Penn State. It seems that, after retiring from the football program there, he was molesting young boys. This is a disgusting thing and he should be punished severely for it. The situation has also cost the jobs of the athletic director and the schools VP. They are being investigated for lying to the authorities about the abuse. All of this is as it should be. You do something bad, you get punished for it.

But there's something happening that is nearly as disgusting. There are people who are calling for the resignation of Joe Paterno. This is beyond ignorant. The authorities have stated that Joe Pa did the right thing by alerting the school when he found out about the allegations. He did everything legally, ethically and morally that could be expected for anyone yet he's being crucified.

But, for many longtime PSU/Joe Pa followers, this isn't as surprising as it might seem. Joe Pa has been part of a big-time university football program that doesn't play by the "rules." There's no cheating; no grade fixing; no "extra" special privileges... Joe Pa wins games because he plays fair and works hard. The elite university football establishment can't stand that. So they have been wanting him out for decades. Now they will try and use this incident to break him down.

After all, we can't have honest, decent men ruining our cash cow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Teaching hate

Tell NJ Superintendent to Take Action Against Teacher for Anti-LGBT Rant

Every time I think rationality, compassion and reason are gaining the upper hand something like this pops up to prove that ignorance, hate and stupidity are alive and well in the world. 

I need to take a shower after reading this.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Neglect and atrophy

I've been so busy failing classes and helping my son start high school I've gotten extremely backlogged on here.  If anyone out there is still listening I plan on breaking free pf the log jam after classes end next weekend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Funding Hate is More Than Just Wrong

I received this alert a few days ago. This kind of hate can't be condoned.

In the last few weeks, a group of regular people has been urging big companies to cut ties with CVN (also known as CGBG) - a site that allows customers to donate a portion of their online purchases to 'charities' - including several anti-gay groups such as Focus on the Family and Family Research Council. Because of those efforts, dozens of major companies have dropped off the network.

But now these groups have taken notice and they are pushing their supporters to directly contact companies like Apple, Macy's, Microsoft and Netflix and push them to re-join CVN. These companies have come out in support of LGBT rights, but are now the targets of a powerful hate machine.

Please join me by adding your name to this petition telling these companies that funding hate is more than just wrong - it's bad business.


http://www.allout.org/stay_off_cvn

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I said shake, rattle and roll

At around 1400 hours EDT today I got to experience my first earthquake.  A 5.9 magnitude hit in central VA 9 miles from Mineral, VA. I was napping at the time when the bed started shaking quite violently. Now that I have this experience I will be most happy to never experience this experience again.

Monday, August 01, 2011

50 Most Common and Easy Passwords that You Should Avoid

50 Most Common and Easy Passwords that You Should Avoid
by RAMESH NATARAJAN on JULY 29, 2011

"When it comes to providing passwords online, many users want to have a “one password fits all” for ease and convenience not really knowing that this could spell disaster.

The funny thing is most people do not bother deliberately creating their passwords, but rather just go with lame passwords that even a 2 year old kid can guess. Little did they know that their passwords belong to the “universal passwords” that a amateur hackers happen to have a list of."

You would be surprised at what's on this list. More surprising is how many of these I have encountered over the years.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NASA Discovers New Moon Around Pluto

NASA Discovers New Moon Around Pluto
July 25, 2011 by MICHAEL HICKERSON

"The Hubble space telescope has found a fourth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet of Pluto, NASA announced last week.

The space telescope was searching for rings around the planetary oddball at the edge of our solar system when it came across P4, the temporary name for the newly discovered moon."

Wow, this is so cool! First they decided that Pluto is no longer a planet. But it's got four moons and an atmosphere. You tell 'em, little guy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The reason for this debt debacle

With this stupid debt debate going on, I've seen many tweets, blog posts and other ramblings about who's to blame for not getting it done. The thing is, they're all wrong. You really want to know who's to blame?

EVERYONE!

By that I mean it is 100% the fault of the Democrats, 100% the fault of the Republicans and 100% the fault of the President. If you are blaming only one side of this problem you are as stupid as the fools in Congress. In fact, you are part of the problem. You're supporting whichever side you're on in their obstinate, idiotic, unbending position. Everyone is running around yelling about "compromise" but their definition of compromise is for the other side to give into whatever their side wants.

The polarization of the political parties in the US is going to lead the country to ruin. If you are a supporter of the Democratic party, the Republican party or, gods help us, the Tea "party," you are the reason for this debt debacle.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Physicists closing in on 'God particle'

Physicists closing in on 'God particle'
AFP – Mon, Jul 25, 2011

"Experiments at the world's biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalising hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012, physicists said Monday.

"We know everything about the Higgs boson except whether it exists," said Rolf Heuer, director general of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

"We can settle this Shakespearean question -- to be or not to be -- by the end of next year," he told journalists at a web-cast press conference at CERN headquarters in Geneva."

This is really exciting stuff. At least it is to me. The idea that we could have a definitive answer on whether the Higgs Boson exists by the end of next year is, frankly, incredible. And it looks like it could happen in my lifetime.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Apple, cut ties with CVN and stop funding hate groups"

From the AllOut.org website...
Right now, Apple is participating in a controversial online platform called Christian Values Network (CVN), which allows users to donate part of their purchases to “charity” - including anti-gay hate groups like Family Research Council, who recently asked members to pray for homosexuality to stay a criminal offense in Malawi, and even Abiding Truth Ministries, a group that has been tied to the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda.

Apple may not mean to be funding hate groups. In fact they've publicly supported LGBT rights in the past. But now that they know what’s really going on at CVN, it’s time to pull out.

BBC America, Microsoft, Delta, and most recently Macy’s have cut ties with CVN under public pressure, but computer giant Apple is still participating. So we need to turn up the heat and demand action. Join me and tell Apple to stop using CVN and stop funding anti-gay hate groups:

http://www.allout.org/stop_funding_hate
I will never understand the minds of these so-called "religious" people. All of the major modern religions have the same basic perception of Good and Evil. God, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, The Buddha, all of them preach peace and love.

It is very simple.

Good isLoveEvil isHate
LightDarkness
PeaceWar
JoyDespair
ForgivenessCondemnation

For those that believe God loves us all and made us who we are, then you must know that he loves Gays. After all, he made them, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Criminal For Playing a Video Game


The Entertainment Consumers Association is asking for help in defeating a piece of legislation.  Please read this and pass it on to everyone you know.
S. 978, would penalize average Americans for up to five years in prison for the simple act of sharing a video of their child singing a song.

Everyone is at risk. The vagueness of this law leaves it to copyright holders to determine the value of a song or performance and prosecute on a whim. If they want to prosecute through that loophole, they can. A child playing piano of their favorite performer on YouTube, a video of a child dancing to their favorite songs and video game players showing off walk-throughs, speed trials and live streaming their games are all examples of items that’d be prosecutable under this legislation.

Make sure to write your Senator today and tell them to vote no on this legislation http://action.theeca.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4444
We must stop these attacks on free speech and fair use.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Disgusting Hypocrites!

Casey Anthony and Jurors Targeted by Death Threats
7/10/2011 12:55 AM PDT by TMZ Staff

"Someone is threatening to kill Casey Anthony, her lawyers, and the jurors who found her 'not guilty' of murdering her daughter -- this according to Casey's attorney Cheney Mason."

And...

Casey Anthony juror, 60, quits work and flees town in fear of her life
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 1:24 PM on 11th July 2011

"A juror in the Casey Anthony trial has told how she received death threats and has been unable to work since she was cleared of murder.

The woman, known only as juror number 12 left her job and went into hiding fearing co-workers would 'want her head on a platter'."

This is disgusting. Following on to what I posted earlier, the reaction of some people following the jury verdict in this trial is unbelievable. There is outrage that Casey Anthony was acquitted of killing her daughter yet it is just fine to threaten the lives of the jurors. Stupid, stupid people. They are no better than her. You want justice? Prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did it. The prosecution in this case didn't do that. You want to be mad at someone? Be mad and them. But no matter the case, to make death threats against people who only did exactly what they were supposed to do is insane.

This stuff makes me sick.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The erosion of the US legal process is at hand

Ok, maybe things aren't as drastic as that, but there's something very troubling going on in the wake of the Casey Anthony acquittal. The amount of outrage and the firestorm it incited isn't something new. But the way people are so 100% positive that she killed her daughter makes me worried. Almost everyone I've heard from has never even thought about the legal aspect of "innocent until proven guilty." Now, I think she probably was responsible in some way for the little girls death. But it seemed like everyone had her convicted before the trial even started. Again, this isn't something new. The part that troubles me is that there are rumblings that the law should be changed in some way so that this "travesty of justice" doesn't happen again.

Let me be clear. There was no travesty of justice! The system worked exactly as it is supposed to. The prosecution put on their case and, for reasons none but the jury will know, they didn't make that case well enough. This doesn't matter to many people, though. They didn't want a trial, just a summary hanging.

We should remember that there's a reason for trials and juries. It's one thing to be incensed by the outcome of this trial. But the system worked the way it's supposed to. And, whether we think Casey Anthony did it or not, we do not have the right to say that our uninformed opinions should take precedent over the verdict of a jury. Therefor, we should not be looking to pass or change any laws because of this case. Let things cool down and allow reason to return. That's what truly needs to be done.

Friday, July 01, 2011

THE POSSIBLE DISCOVERY OF THE HIGGS WILL SHAKE THE FOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS

THE POSSIBLE DISCOVERY OF THE HIGGS WILL SHAKE THE FOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS
Michio Kaku on April 25, 2011, 10:25 PM

"The two things you’ve probably been hearing about the most since the LHC had its first collision is the possibility for creating dark matter and the discovery for the elusive Higgs Boson (God Particle). With the thousands of subatomic particles that make up a jigsaw puzzle, it’s always had one missing piece in the center that we have yet been able to discover and that’s the Higgs Boson. Physics doesn't really have any answers to explain where mass comes from or why matter has mass in the first place. The discovery of it will not only complete the Standard Model as it exists today but will literally shake the very foundation of our understanding of the Universe we live in."

Nice article on what the LHC is really doing and its goals.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

LHC achieves 2011 data milestone

LHC achieves 2011 data milestone
PR06.11 || 17.06.2011

Geneva, 17 June 2011. "Today at around 10:50 CEST, the amount of data accumulated by LHC experiments ATLAS and CMS clicked over from 0.999 to 1 inverse femtobarn, signalling an important milestone in the experiments' quest for new physics. The number signifies a quantity physicists call integrated luminosity, which is a measure of the total number of collisions produced. One inverse femtobarn equates to around 70 million million1 collisions, and in 2010 it was the target set for the 2011 run. That it has been achieved just three months after the first beams of 2011 is testimony to how well the LHC is running."

More coolness from the LHC. Maybe this is foreshadowing of the speed with which we'll find the God Particle.

Friday, June 17, 2011

U.N. Gay Rights Protection Resolution Passes, Hailed As 'Historic Moment'

U.N. Gay Rights Protection Resolution Passes, Hailed As 'Historic Moment'
By FRANK JORDANS 06/17/11 03:53 PM ET

GENEVA -- "The United Nations endorsed the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people for the first time ever Friday, passing a resolution hailed as historic by the U.S. and other backers and decried by some African and Muslim countries."

This is a great step forward in the advancement of basic human rights. This isn't about gay marriage or "civil liberties." It is about the right of homosexuals not to be killed simply for existing. No one has the right to kill others just because they are different.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

5-Year-Old Girl Makes Video Game

165-Year-Old Girl Makes Video Game
by Ryan Henson Creighton, May 24, 2011

"As planned, i took my five-year-old daughter Cassie to TOJam, the three-day Toronto independent game jam, to make a game with me. And here it is:"
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure

I think that, in a few more years, I'm going to be asking this girl if I can work for her. I just hope my skillz are good enough by then.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The git-fiddle dee dee

I've been banging on the guitar a bit lately and have been surprised by how fast the calluses have started to reform on my fingertips.  I'm remembering more and more of the stuff I used to play but my hands are so uncoordinated it's dreadful.   But it is allot of fun and it does make me feel better when I'm done playing.  There's very little likelihood of me ever performing in a real gig but that's not why I'm doing this (though if it were to come about I wouldn't say no).  It is purely for my own enjoyment.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Free-Floating Planets May Be More Common Than Stars

Free-Floating Planets May Be More Common Than Stars
NASA Mission News 05.18.11

PASADENA, Calif. -- "Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems."

Very, very interesting. Looks like "empty" space isn't as empty as once thought. So what might these lone planets be like? Anyone remember Space 1999?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

It is hot. The weather here has been humid with temps in the upper 90's. This would simply be Summer in the Washington DC Metro area but for one thing... The A/C in our house died three summers ago.

We can't afford to get it fixed, either. The heater & A/C must be replaced together and that's something like $3K to $5K. Last month we ran out of money the first week and ran out of food by the 20th. There's no way we can afford $100 for a window unit let alone get the whole system fixed.

I am looking for a way to find work but it's very difficult because of my limitations. I can't do any physical labor, nor work full-time due to my health situation. Being male and nearing 50 also hampers things. But I'm still hopeful I can find something. Minimum wage is just fine but part-time minimum wage white collar jobs are, well, scarce during the best of times. And this isn't the best of times.

Oh well, I'm going to take a quick nap now and hopefully it will cool down a bit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How close can we get?

@TomKierein: Astronomers find that light began travelling from a gamma-ray burst 520 million years after the big bang http://bit.ly/k8iyRJ

Relatively speaking, this is just a blink of an eye after the creation of our universe. The awesomeness of that is indescribable.

Monday, May 23, 2011

All's Quiet on the UnKnown Front

It's been a tad slow here, hasn't it. It's not like there's a dearth of things for me to babble on about. I've just been disinclined to get on the computers for anything lately. There are 174 unread email in my inbox at the time of this posting. That's bout 150 more than my usual "I haven't cleared things out in a while" count. It's because I've been really down these last few months. The last three terms in school have netted me a 0.00 GPA. Yes, that means I've failed, or withdrawn from, all my classes this calendar year. Looks like I set a record in the Calc I class, too. I've taken it four times already. At the rate things are going my son, who will be graduating 8th grade next month, will finish high school before I get my degree.

One thing that would be an huge help is for me to get a part-time job of some kind. We completely drained the checking and savings accounts this month by the 12th. Normally we make it until the last week of the month before the accounts run dry. Last month I interviewed for a position on the local Best Buy's Geek Squad but it's obvious that I didn't get the job. Last week I looked up the addresses for all the local employment agencies so I'll try hitting them this week. The difficult part is that I can't do any manual labor and the part-time/temp white collar jobs aren't looking to get a scruffy looking, middle-aged man as an office assistant or receptionist. And even if there were those kind of positions in the high tech arena, it's been six-and-a-half years since I've worked. Potential employers are going to think my skills are nonexistent or, at best, extremely rusty.

One positive thing is that I am going to try and play the guitar again. I haven't really played in over 20 years and, with my hands being crippled, the odds of me getting back to something remotely decent are slim. But, even if I can't get to the point of playing publicly, just being able to crunch out some blues/metal riffs would feel so unbelievably good. And besides, Django Reinhardt could only use two fingers on his fret hand and he became a legend. Not that I'd ever come close to that. However, if I can hit some metal power cords and catch some feedback... That would really be nice.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suicide Rate Goes Down for Gay and Lesbian Teenagers in Supportive Communities

Suicide Rate Goes Down for Gay and Lesbian Teenagers in Supportive Communities
By Denise Witmer, About.com Guide April 20, 2011

"According to a study reported in Pediatrics, gay and lesbian teens have a lower rate of suicide attempts in communities that support them. This support came through awareness or support groups at school or just a higher density of same sex couples in the community. This is good news - although it is still high at 20% of gay or lesbian teens in those areas reporting that they had attempted suicide at least once - hopefully as communities become more diverse, we will see less teen suicide due to differences in sexuality."

This is such a no-brainer. Love and support kids and they will tend to thrive. It's hard enough to be a teen in the best of communities and circumstances. Add fear, hatred, prejudice, and ridicule and it's a wonder any teen makes it to there twenty's.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Prince William County Public Schools censor 'It Gets Better'

Prince William County Public Schools censor 'It Gets Better'
April 11, 2011 - 05:00 PM
By Amanda Hess (Twitter @amandahess)

"On Prince William County Public Schools computers, students can't get to It Gets Better. Today, the ACLU of Virginia sent a strongly-worded letter [PDF] urging Prince William County Public Schools to stop censoring LGBT websites on school computers. PWCPS has outfitted its computers with a Blue Coat Systems web filtering mechanism that allows administrators to choose from dozens of categories of websites to block from student view–among them "illegal drugs," "pornography," and "LGBT." The schools currently elect to filter all gay, lesbian, and transgender-related content."

There are two things that stand out in this. First, that "Net Nanny" URL blocking programs are fairly useless (they either block far to much or hardly anything at all). Second, and more importantly, that the idea all LGBT web sites can be lumped into the category of porn is asinine. Anyone who could think that needs to brush up on the meaning of the phrase -

Hate is not a family value.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sick and tired of crappy hardware and worse software

I know I have, on occasion, mentioned that I am less than entheuastic about Microsoft and their products. Well, there's also some hardware vendors that get a little annoying, too. Todays spotlight is on eMachines and Dell. The former made the box I have been using for my schoolwork for the last couple of years. It was running Vista with all kinds of other Microsoft products. Unfortunately, this is mandated by the fact that the online schools all standardizes on Microsoft solutions. I can understand their reasoning, but it is still a huge pain-in-the-rear. Well, this system has been flaky from the get-go. Today, it finally died completely.

This is where Dell comes into play. There was a computer we got for my Mum a few years back that she never really used. This turned out to be fortuitous, in light of the previously mentioned situation. I proceeded to set this box up and installed Windows 7 on it. Due to the classes I am taking, I need a halfway decent video card in the box. Thus, I took the card out of the old system to put into this new one. But the Dell box is non-standard in its hardware setup so I had to jury rig it into the case. It's working, but the connection is precarious. But there is now another problem to deal with.

The hard drive in the eMachines is no longer being recognized at all. The only hope of recovering all the class work is to take the drive out and hook it up to the Dell. If the drive isn't physically damaged this shouldn't be tremendously difficult. My guess is that the drive is relatively ok and the problem lies with Vista. So tomorrow I'll be back messing around with hardware again. Unfortunately, since I've already missed three days of classwork, this is going to put me even further behind.

When I finally get all of this settled down I am going to redo the eMachines box with either Linux or one of the BSD's. At least it'll be a usable box then.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I! Hate! Microsoft!!!

Someday, I'm going to take a sabbatical and go to Redmond, Washington. Once there, I will visit the Microsoft facilities and politely register a complaint about their products. Specifically, that said products are significantly responsible for a goodly portion of my hair loss. Also, they did a fair job of helping me fail some classes over the last few years. I know there is absolutely no recompense for the troubles this company is directly and indirectly responsible for. But just letting them know, politely, how much aggravation they have caused will be worth the trip.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong

I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong
SUNDAY, MAR 27, 2011 14:01 ET
BY MURRAY RICHMOND

"A recent poll shows a huge shift in American attitudes toward gay marriage, from a 32 percent approval in 2004 to 53 percent today.

I am one of those people who changed their minds."

An interesting perspective from a former Presbyterian minister. Read the article and make of it what you will.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

NASA spacecraft now circling Mercury — a first

NASA spacecraft now circling Mercury — a first
By Mike Wall
updated 3/17/2011 11:27:43 PM ET

"A well-traveled NASA probe made history Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft ever to enter into orbit around Mercury."

I almost missed this. How cool is it that we have a probe orbiting Mercury? Well, I guess "cool" wouldn't be the right term to use that close to the sun, huh? What do you think they will find there? Nothing? Something? Anything?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hubble rules out one alternative to dark energy

Hubble rules out one alternative to dark energy
March 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- "Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have ruled out an alternate theory on the nature of dark energy after recalculating the expansion rate of the universe to unprecedented accuracy."

The ideas of Dark Energy and Dark Matter are fascinating.  It would be increadable to discover more about these phinominon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A new dawn

Started the new term today. I am feeling very good this time. Haven't been this psyched for classes in a while.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Where's Tyche, the (10th) 9th planet? Getting the full story

Where's Tyche, the 10th 9th planet? Getting the full story
Kunio M. Sayanagi | March 2, 2011 7:29 PM

"On February 14th, the UK's Daily Mail reported the possible discovery of a planet four times bigger than Jupiter and lurking in the outer solar system. From there, the story quickly spread like a wildfire on the Internet, seeing coverage by mainstream outlets including the Huffington Post and TIME online. The tone of various news stories varied from “Tyche, Giant Hidden Planet, May Exist In Our Solar System” (The Huffington Post) to “Astronomers Question Existence of Solar System's Mystery Planet Tyche” (Fox News). So, is there really a new planet lying out there?"

The idea sounds intriguing, but I'm not one of those that thinks there is a Jovian sized planet out that far. There might be something there but it would seem, to me at least, that a large body that far out would have trouble keeping in orbit.

But then, I'm not a celestial physicist.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don’t Exist, Says Minecraft Creator

Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don’t Exist, Says Minecraft Creator
By: enigmax 3/03/2011

"The “piracy is stealing” argument raises its head in the media every week and is on the lips of anti-piracy outfits and copyright holders every day. To them, every unauthorized copy is a lost sale and another small dent in the company spreadsheet which, when added to a million others, will destroy it bit by bit. To the maker of Minecraft, however, its an opportunity. Piracy is theft? You must be kidding. Lost sales? They don’t exist."

This ties in with the earlier post about music piracy. It looks like more sanity is starting to bubble to the surface. Good for us.

CTE found in Probert's brain tissue

CTE found in Probert's brain tissue
By IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer – Thu Mar 3, 1:08 pm ET

"Bob Probert knew the fierce pounding he dished out and received over 16 seasons as an NHL enforcer was taking its toll as he got older. That's why he wanted his brain to be analyzed once he died.

Even though heart failure ultimately ended his life last July at age 45, Probert also was living with a damaged brain.
"

It is good that they are doing more research into brain injuries related to sports. Hopefully there are more athletes signing up for this program.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

News Flash: Your Music Is Not Your Product

News Flash: Your Music Is Not Your Product
This post is by singer / songwriter Jeff Macdougall (@jeffmacdougall).

"When a label executive tells you that they are "not in the business of selling discs", (or vinyl, tape, t-shirts, etc.) and that they are actually "selling music," they are, at best, fooling themselves, or at worst, lying to your face. Moving plastic, vinyl, paper and/or any other tangible good they can dream up is exactly what the recording industry has been about since it was established."

Here is someone with a clue. Read his commentary and see why the entertainment industry is so messed up. He is not saying that music is valueless. In fact, he is saying the opposite. But, until the greedy b*st*rds of the world get it, things will continue to be messed up.

Giant Underground Chamber Discovered On the Moon

Giant Underground Chamber Discovered On the Moon
Mar 1, 2011 10:40 AM

Jesus Diaz — "Back in 2009, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA announced moon hole deep enough to contain a small human base. Now, the Indian Space Research Organization has discovered a "giant underground chamber" near the Moon's equator, in the Oceanus Procellarum area."

A one mile long (1.7 kilometers) and 393 feet wide (120 meters) cave to start building our Moonbase Alpha. It would be very cool to live there.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

North Korea Warns of Military Response Against South Over Leaflet Drops

North Korea Warns of Military Response Against South Over Leaflet Drops
By Jun Yang - Feb 26, 2011 9:45 PM ET

"North Korea threatened to take military action if the South continues to drop leaflets fomenting revolt, Korean Central News Agency reported.


North Korea said it will fire at the “source” of balloons containing leaflets and video clips saved on flash-memory devices and DVDs, along with books and one U.S. dollar bills. The leaflets were a psychological plot to “shake up our socialism and break the trust of our military and people,” state-run KCNA said today."

I hope someone is paying attention to this. Yes, the Middle East is a powder keg and oil prices are on their way to the moon. But even with all of that, the chances of nuclear immolation is much smaller than what could happen if North Korea decides to get stupid.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Majority of US Internet users on Facebook: market tracker

Majority of US Internet users on Facebook: market tracker
Thu Feb 24, 6:08 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – "Figures released Thursday by Internet tracker eMarketer indicated that more than half of US Internet users log in monthly to Facebook while about 20 million US online adults "tweet.""

I have to say this isn't a surprise to me. What is interesting is the number of people that I know who have jumped ship off of Facebook. There are many reasons why, most of them quite valid. The real question is what will be the Next Big ThingTM that takes the place of Twitter and Facebook?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IT MUST BE SO EASY

I came across this post while wandering aimlessly around Twitter. It is on the Tumbler account of @Clare and is very thought provoking.

"The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner which would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following example, a holdup victim is asked questions similar in form to those usually asked a victim of rape."

Read the rest...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Microsoft: Typhoid Mary wants others to carry the can

Microsoft: Typhoid Mary wants others to carry the can
By Sam Varghese
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 08:23


COMMENT "Passing the buck is a game at which Microsoft is adept. In the computer security industry, one needs to have tons of chutzpah to hold others responsible for one's own security stuff-ups."

Microsoft has the greatest marketing division in the history of computers. They screw up and make it look like it's everyone else's fault. Your computer is hit by viruses? It's your fault for not running a host of security software. Just because other operating systems are virtually immune to virus attacks means nothing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

History of Copyright, part 6: Hijacked By Record Industry

History of Copyright, part 6: Hijacked By Record Industry

"During most of the 20th century, a battle of prominence raged between performing musicians and the record industry. For most of the century, musicians were regarded as the important party in law and in common sense. However, the record industry would rather see music corporativized. Active intervention by the self-declaredly fascist regime in Italy tipped the scales in this direction."

This is part seven of a multi-part series on Copyright. If you ever felt that the music and film industry were being a little overzealous in their pursuit of "pirates" who "steal" content, this will explain just how things got so bad.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pa. teacher strikes nerve with 'lazy whiners' blog

Pa. teacher strikes nerve with 'lazy whiners' blog

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press – Wed Feb 16, 3:46 pm ET

FEASTERVILLE, Pa. – "A high school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges 'disengaged, lazy whiners' is driving a debate by daring to ask: Why are today's students unmotivated — and what's wrong with calling them out?"

This is one of those things where the teacher has a very good point but she shouldn't have posted this on her blog. At least she should have been more diplomatic about it. What you say online is part of who you are to the world. Yes, it was her personal blog, but it's not like writing in a diary book. If you don't want it splashed across the evening news don't put it online. Period.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Win your O'Reilly Media Wish list" Sweepstakes

Here is my wish list of O'Reilly publications. These are the things I would buy if I had the funds to get them (in no particular order) -

Mercurial: The Definitive Guide
By Bryan O'Sullivan
June 2009
Print: $39.99

grep Pocket Reference
By John Bambenek, Agnieszka Klus
January 2009
Print: $12.99

Microsoft® XNA® Game Studio 4.0: Learn Programming Now!
By Rob Miles
February 2011
Print: $29.99

Head First C#, Second Edition
By Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman
May 2010
Print: $49.99

The Art of Debugging with GDB and DDD
By Norman Matloff, Peter Jay Salzman
September 2008
Print: $39.95

C++ Cookbook
By Ryan Stephens, Christopher Diggins, Jonathan Turkanis, Jeff Cogswell
November 2005
Print: $49.99

McCullough and Berglund on Mastering Git
February 2011
Video: $49.99

Creating List-Based Android Apps in App Inventor
By David Wolber
January 2011
Video: $19.99

Connecting to Web Data and APIs with App Inventor
By David Wolber
January 2011
Video: $19.99

Seven Languages in Seven Weeks
By Bruce A. Tate
November 2010
Print: $34.95

Hello, Android, Third Edition
By Ed Burnette
July 2010
Print: $34.95

bash Pocket Reference
By Arnold Robbins
May 2010
Print: $9.99

Version Control with Subversion, Second Edition
By C. Michael Pilato, Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick
September 2008
Print: $39.99

Programming Python, Fourth Edition
By Mark Lutz
December 2010
Print: $64.99

I hope that I have a chance to win this sweepstakes.

Bomb-sniffing plants to the rescue

Bomb-sniffing plants to the rescue
By John Roach

"Bomb-sniffing plants could make airport security a whole lot greener – at least until a bomb-packing terrorist walks by and causes the leaves to turn white, researchers report in the journal PLoS ONE.

The plants are being grown by a research team headed by June Medford, a biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with funding from the Depart of Defense and a host of other agencies."

This sounds interesting. If they can get these to be properly cultivated it would make for a great and inexpensive security method.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Flash is working

I mentioned in a recent post how my Fedora upgrade went really smooth with the exception of flash movies. Well, today Adobe released an update to their Linux flash player and now I can play movies and vid clips again. Now I can watch all the porn I want again.    [wink] [wink] [nudge] [nudge]

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Zach Wahls Defends Gay Marriage To Iowa Legislators (VIDEO)

Zach Wahls Defends Gay Marriage To Iowa Legislators (VIDEO)
First Posted: 02/ 3/11 01:35 PM Updated: 02/ 4/11 02:33 PM

"A 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student defended gay marriage in a rousing testimony in front of the Iowa House of Representatives this week. Zack Wahls spoke out against a resolution which would end civil unions in Iowa by describing his own experience as the son of two lesbian partners."

This is one very good son. Quot: "[T]he sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character." And, hopefully, his words will reach someone.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Zach Weiner, Destroyer of Homophobes

Zach Weiner, Destroyer of Homophobes

"My [Phil Plait] pal Zach Weiner is a good guy. Smart, funny, talented — and he draws Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, my favorite web comic bar none. And it’s that last bit which has elevated him into my exclusive pantheon of personal heroes. Let me tell you this tale (and you can read Zach’s version too)."

This is one good way to mess with bigots.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Finally upgraded to Fedora 14

As the title says, I finally got around to upgrading my main Linux box to Fedora 14. The upgrade was smoother than I've had with any OS in a long time. The only problem was with Flash. Of course, every upgrade has had a problem with Flash. It's 99.9% caused by Flash, too. When I try to play flash movies there's no sound and the frame rate is double or triple normal. Now, while this is annoying, it's not a critical problem. I'm sure it's been encountered by others so all I need to do is hit the support list. But I'm not in the mood to mess around with it right now. And it's not like I watch movies or videos that often anyway. What this does mean is that proprietary software sucks when compared to open source software.

Next on the list is upgrading the server to CentOS 5 and then the frelling Windows box to Win 7 (ugh).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New look for a new year

I decided to try a new look for the Blog this year. I'm not thrilled with the color scheme so that might change over time. But the overall look is nice. It adds some functionality, too, for the handful of people who actually read it. Any and all feedback is welcome.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Could we (temporarily) get a second sun?

Could we (temporarily) get a second sun?
POSTED ON JANUARY 24, 2011, AT 1:12 PM

"Dwellers of the fictional "Star Wars" planet Tatooine live under two suns. Earthlings may soon enjoy the same distinction, according to a report in Australia's News.com that is provoking scorn in parts of the scientific community. Betelgeuse, the ninth-brightest star visible to humans, is expected to transform itself from a "super red giant" to a "supernova." If it does so as soon as the end of 2012, the News.com report suggests, "we could see a second sun light up the sky, if only for a matter of weeks." Others say the process could take another million years and that the 2012 prediction is just apocalyptic wishful thinking."

This sounds really fun. It would be a once in a lifetime occurrence, I think. Definitely going to have to get pictures of this if/when it happens.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gay Couple Win B&B Discrimination Case

Gay Couple Win B&B Discrimination Case
3:35pm UK, Tuesday January 18, 2011
Sarah Gordon and Kat Higgins, Sky News Online

"The Christian owners of a seaside guesthouse acted unlawfully by refusing to let a gay couple share a double bed, a judge has ruled in a landmark case."

So did they did the same for non-married heterosexual couples? I doubt it. And even if they did, that's just as bad. It's like denying an interracial or interfaith couple a double bed.

Friday, January 07, 2011

NKorea calls for unconditional talks with South

NKorea calls for unconditional talks with South
By HYUNG-JIN KIM
updated 1/5/2011 8:27:15 PM ET

SEOUL, South Korea — "North Korea called for "unconditional and early" talks with rival South Korea to put an end to months of tensions. Seoul quickly dismissed the offer as insincere and said it's waiting for an apology for two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang.

It's rare for North Korea to issue such a statement addressed to South Korea and it came as the U.S. envoy on the North was in the region to discuss the standoff. Earlier Wednesday, Stephen Bosworth sought to calm fears of conflict on the peninsula."

"Rare" has got to be the biggest understatement of the 21st century so far. Maybe there is hope there won't be a nuclear war.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

When the black hole was born

When the black hole was born
(posted on 27/12/2010)
Contact: George Hunka | ghunka@aftau.org | 212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

TAU astronomers identify the epoch of the first fast growth of black holes

"Most galaxies in the universe, including our own Milky Way, harbor super-massive black holes varying in mass from about one million to about 10 billion times the size of our sun. To find them, astronomers look for the enormous amount of radiation emitted by gas which falls into such objects during the times that the black holes are “active,” i.e., accreting matter. This gas “infall” into massive black holes is believed to be the means by which black holes grow."

Black holes are where God divided by zero. :-)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Look at Why Women Opt Out of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Careers

Seeking Congruity Between Goals and Roles
A New Look at Why Women Opt Out of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Careers
Amanda B. DiekmanElizabeth R. BrownAmanda M. Johnston and Emily K. Clark
Published online before print July 14, 2010, doi: 10.1177/0956797610377342
"Abstract"
"Although women have nearly attained equality with men in several formerly male-dominated fields, they remain underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We argue that one important reason for this discrepancy is that STEM careers are perceived as less likely than careers in other fields to fulfill communal goals (e.g., working with or helping other people). Such perceptions might disproportionately affect women’s career decisions, because women tend to endorse communal goals more than men. As predicted, we found that STEM careers, relative to other careers, were perceived to impede communal goals. Moreover, communal-goal endorsement negatively predicted interest in STEM careers, even when controlling for past experience and self-efficacy in science and mathematics. Understanding how communal goals influence people’s interest in STEM fields thus provides a new perspective on the issue of women’s representation in STEM careers."

This is an exceptional read. We, as a society, need to bring more girls and women into the "Tech Sciences" because, frankly, they are very good at them. The recent Geek Girls movement has been a first step. But more work needs to be done.