- Open: Emphasis Update and Source
The New York Times has a great feature that I'd never noticed—the ability to link to pages with specific content highlighted. It's perfect for calling attention to specific paragraphs or sentences when sharing a link with somebody. It's cleverly implemented, too.
- Time: Why Some Languages Sound So Fast
All languages, when spoken, have basically the same information density. If more meaning is packed into shorter words, its speakers talk more slowly. If it takes them a lot of sounds to get a concept across, they talk quickly.
- NPR: Tracks, Equipment Left By Apollo Missions Visible In New Moon Photos
New photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter provide an aerial view of the site of the Apollo 12, 14, and 17 missions. The lunar module, the abandoned lunar rover, and astronauts' tracks across the surface are all visible.
- Snopes: Obama Lends $2 Billion to Brazilian Oil Company
Heard the one about how the President Obama is spending billions on offshore drilling…in Brazil? Snopes rates it “mostly false.” This is another case of conservatives getting riled up about something that's not true and dates from President Bush's time in the White House.
- ThinkProgress: Exxon Makes $30.5 Billion, So GOP Votes Unanimously To Give Them Tax Breaks
All the Republicans and 7 Democrats in the House voted to block a bill that would cut $1.8B in annual subsidies to the oil industry. Republicans voted unanimously to keep them in March, too. Remember, kids: welfare is bad, unless it's going to the world's most profitable industry.
- NASA: Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
I love theoretical physics. Albert Einstein came up with all of these ideas about how space and time should work, based solely on doing math on paper, and as science catches up with him, we keep finding that he's right. In this case, Einstein forecast that mass should curve spacetime. For instance, the mass of Earth should cause the very fabric of the universe to twist and warp around it. By launching some gyroscopes into space seven years ago—containing the most perfect spheres ever made—and observing how their spin drifts, it was observed that Einstein's calculations were spot-on. NASA's work on the project began 47 years ago, culminating in this magnificent confirmation of how the universe works.
So I’m reading the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report, and it’s really fascinating reading. The amount of detail NASA has come up with from the wreckage of the shuttle is just amazing. NASA truly has the best and the brightest working for them. I just finished reading about the survival suits that they wear for reentry (§3.2.1, p. 300), and was totally jealous, because I want one. These suits have two parachutes, light sticks, smoke flares, a radio, emergency signal, motion sickness pills, a life jacket, a radio beacon, supplemental oxygen, and a life raft (!), along with lots of other toys.Not an inch of space goes to waste in the thing, and NASA has clearly put an enormous amount of research into developing it. So I was a bit surprised when I go the the section about their boots.
Astronauts wear “Rocky 911 commercial off-the-shelf boots”. They can be yours for $124.99, direct from their Ohio maker’s headquarters. (Though they are not, sadly, American-made.) I’m not really in the market for this kind of footwear, but if I were, the Rocky 911s would definitely be my choice.