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Archive: February 2, 2006

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Happy Groundhog Day!

Thursday,  02/02/06  08:00 AM

Punxsutawney PhilIt's Groundhog Day!  "Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but it was hard to find a complainer in the crowd at Gobbler's Knob, where the morning temperature was well above freezing and the Groundhog Day high was expected to hit 48 degrees."  So be it, another six weeks of winter.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite holidays...  fun, harmless, and un-loaded with bogus religous baggage.  Plus, groundhogs are cute.  Plus, sometimes you get to live it over, and over, and over, and over...  until you get it right and end up with Andie McDowell.  May your day be a happy one, and lived once :)



Thursday,  02/02/06  10:03 PM

This is pretty cool: Jakob Nielson from 1997: How Users Read on the Web.  Seems every bit as relevant today as it was then.  Key findings include that users scan a page, so highlighting key words is helpful.

Want to see racism in action?  A major Canadian agency has banned the hiring of white men.  "Managers in the Public Works department must hire only visible minorities, women, aboriginals and the disabled, except with written permission from their superiors, David Marshall, the deputy minister, ordered in an e-mail circulated yesterday."  This is unbelievable, except I can easily believe it, and I bet you can too.  This pendulum has to start swinging back, doesn't it?

One of my favorite blogs is Watching America, which runs stories from other countries' media about the U.S.  They are mostly anti-U.S. but it is interesting nonetheless, fascinating, in fact.  The dilemma for many of these foreign writers is how best to combine ridicule with admiration.  This situation is summed up perfectly by this column in The Times: The President is a dolt, so how can America be such a success?  Yes, that is hard to explain...

Baldilocks: Two women.  Absolutely nails it, IMHO.  [ via Acidman ]

Mars roverRemember those cool little Mars rovers?  Yep, they're still rolling around, Yahoo has a Mars Rover Update.  "At present, both robots remain relatively healthy and active, despite working eight times as long as the three-month missions originally planned for them--but each shows signs of wear and tear.  Opportunity rolled its way into a third year of Mars operations on January 24.  Spirit did so on January 3."  Awesome.

AMD chipThink those dual-core AMD chips are fast?  Check this out: AMD to demo quad-core chips in mid-2006.

RIM shot: The Onion on what users will do when their Blackberries go dark.  I like this one: "look where they're going."  Tap, tap... crash.

Well, I guess it had to happen sometime: Telegram passes into history.  "For more than 150 years, messages of joy, sorrow and success came in signature yellow envelopes hand delivered by a courier.  Now the Western Union telegram is officially a thing of the past."  CNet's take is pretty cool: Telegrams. Stop.

Here we have the top ten most peculiar places in the world.  "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a village on the island of Anglesey in Wales. It is best known for having the longest officially recognized place name in the United Kingdom."  I love it :)

island for saleHey buddy, want to buy an island?  Check out the international real estate marketplace - for islands.  Who knew they were so reasonable :)  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]

Clive Thompson ponders The anarchy of airplane boarding.  "What's the fastest way to load people onto an airplane? Certainly not the way that it's normally done, as any business traveler will attest."  Seems like the Southwest method works best - don't assign seats.  Then again, I like having an assigned seat, so maybe boarding a bit slower is okay...


The galactic center

Thursday,  02/02/06  10:38 PM

Today's high-resolution space shot comes from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope: A stunning view of the Milky Way Galaxy's bustling center.  Just click this image for the high-res viewer:

the galactic center

(After clicking, hit F11 to maximize your browser's window.)

"The Milky Way's core is indeed a very busy place.  Stars are packed together like subway riders as they race around the supermassive black hole that lies at the very center.  Our sun is located 26,000 light-years away in a more peaceful, spacious neighborhood, out in the galactic suburbs.  It circles the galaxy about every 225 million years, which amounts to 20 trips over the course of its 4.5-billion-year lifetime.  In contrast, stars at the galactic center complete one lap in only a few million years or less."  Awe-inspiring, isn't it! 


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