- Federal Register
If you haven't seen the website for the Federal Register in the past year, it's really a thing of beauty. Andrew Carpenter, Bob Burbach, and Dave Augustine put it together as an independent site, GovPulse,us, which the feds liked so much they asked the guys to take on the job of replacing federalregister.gov with what they'd put together for govpulse.us. It doesn't matter if you don't care about the Federal Register—the site makes it interesting to anybody.
- Science Now: ‘Dinofuzz’ Found in Canadian Amber
Feathers from Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, preserved in amber, are providing the first detailed look at how hair evolved into feathers. The 78-million-year-old feathers are really "dinofuzz"— not quite hair and not quite feathers. Eleven samples were found in all, and provide what seems like a great cross-sample of the varieties of dinofuzz in existence then.
- Media Matters: News Corp. Outlets Attack Obama Over Paper Clip
Fox & Friends and the New York Post are very upset that President Obama used a paper clip to hold together a document. Seriously. This is not The Onion.
- Wikipedia: Ellis Island
The waters around the Statue of Liberty are owned by New Jersey, but the land on which the statute sits is owned by New York. The adjacent Ellis Island is largely owned by New Jersey, which the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 has the right to all parts of the island that were created via infill after 1834. That leaves about 20% of the island (which I've been told includes the gift shop) in New York, and the remainder in New Jersey.
- National Geographic: "Sea Monster" Fetus Found—Proof Plesiosaurs Had Live Young?
Two plesiosaurs nested like Russian dolls seems like a pretty good indicator that they gave birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. There's good reason to think that other marine dinosaurs gave birth to live young, but usually to lots of little ones, while plesiosaurs would have given birth to human-like numbers of offspring, raising the possibility that they actively raised their young in a social sense.
- The Guardian: Birmingham’s Muslims and Sikhs debate response to tragedy
Three Middle Eastern men were killed in Birmingham this week, the victim of a hit-and-run as they stood guarding a gas station against roving English looters. This is the account of an impromptu meeting outside the same gas station, 24 hours later, of 300 Muslim and Sikh men. The unorganized bunch showed up expecting to march in protest, but after prayers, discussion, and votes, they collectively made a decision that probably surprised most of them.
- Naval Company Inc. Line Gun
I have occasionally wondered how utility companies run lines across rivers, ravines, etc. Here's a video about one company's shoulder-mounted, black powder mini-cannon. That seems like a great toy.
- Talking Points Memo: White House—We Thought We Were Down To The Details
Turns out the real reason that Boehner walked out on Obama on Friday is because Boehner demanded a repeal of the individual healthcare mandate. Which, ironically, would actually have worsened things, since the individual mandate will significantly reduce federal spending.
- New York Times: Some Parents of Gay Children Push for Marriage
I really enjoyed this article about the normalization of gay marriage having led to parents saying "OK, fine, you're gay, and now gay marriage is legal, so what's the holdup?" Gay or straight, kids are going to get nagged about marriage by their parents.
- UC Berkeley: Agonized pose tells of dinosaur death throes
So many fossilized dinosaurs were preserved in the same position: head and neck pulled backwards, bent halfway down the back. There has long been a standard explanation for this—drying tendons and ligaments pulled them into this shape—but attempts to simulate this in animal corpses have all failed. A new theory is that this is consistent with damage to the central nervous system, specifically damage to the cerebellum, perhaps through infection from algal blooms.
- AP: October 2010 Newsletter
It was only last fall that the Associated Press stopped distributing their news via satellite and moved to an internet-based distribution system. Wow.
- WordPress Publisher Blog: A complete publishing system on WordPress
The Bangor Daily News managed to turn WordPress and Google Docs into an entire newspaper publishing system, by using a bunch of plugins to create an editorial workflow. Having written a lot of code to perform this very task, I'm really impressed by this. Better still, it all integrates with InDesign, and all of the plugins are open sourced. Bravo!
- Joel Stein: How Jewish is Hollywood?
- Washington Post: Congressional Budget Office warns of debt explosion
The CBO reports that threre's a simple solution to our budget problem: let the Bush tax cuts expire.
- New Scientist: Lab yeast make evolutionary leap to multicellularity
In just 60 days, yeast cells became multicellular, dividing labor between cells. Apparently this isn't nearly as complicated or unlikely as some evolutionary theorists believed.
- Texas Tribune: Counting Confusion Keeps Texas Cowboy Confined
I've become a real fan of the Texas Tribune, the new nonprofit news outfit in Austin, and this story is a good example of why. It's a pleasure to read, with some nice turns of phrase, and some great quotes from the subject of the article. I came across this in the New York Times, which has started to syndicate the Tribune's stories.