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Spirit dying

The Mars rover Spirit has been operational for 6 years, in spite of its 3 month projected lifespan (c.f. the Scotty Principle). However, it appears finally to be on its last leg.

Personally, I find this to be an amazing accomplishment, and it's a shame that the Mars rovers have lost their luster in the public consciousness. But while so many negative events may define the past decade, I like to think that the efforts of all the geeks at JPL and elsewhere have made a step, small as it may be, toward future extraterrestrial human existence.

The Year's Most Amazing Scientific Images

Feynman - Fun to Imagine

These videos are from the 1983 BBC program(me) Fun to Imagine, in which Richard Feynman talks about how mind-bogglingly awesome the world is. I haven't seen all of these yet, but my favorites so far are The Train and Seeing Things.

Neil deGrasse Tyson sums up the problem with Richard Dawkins

I love Neil deGrasse Tyson—he's a great ambassador for science. While I may tend to agree with what Dawkins has to say, I find his sarcastic asshole shtick to be grating.


been listening to the eels lately

I don't know if "parallel worlds parallel lives" is still being shown, but you should catch it if you can. It's fun to watch... and it's sad, it's what physics can do to offspring.

gettin' Higgy with it

Mug o' Mercury

Just eat more kangaroo

Australian scientists might try a kangaroo intestinal bacteria transplant for cows in order to give them the 'roo's magical methane-free farts and thus aid the War on Global Warming.

But as someone quoted in the article says, perhaps they should just eat more kangaroo meat. Because, you know, kangaroos actually belong in Australia and can survive much more easily than the imported, antibiotic-loaded crap factories.

Sleepy, sleepy monkey

This drug sounds both glorious and terrifying:

The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.

The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys' cognitive abilities but made their brains look "awake" in PET scans.

Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is "specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness" without other impacts on the brain.

Glowing UV-reactive kitties

Makes you fat and turns your shit black... and prevents heart attacks!

Research has shown that 24oz of Guinness a day may be as effective as aspirin at preventing arterial blood clots.

On a side note, I just learned that Guinness and a lot of other beers are not technically vegetarian (and will likely kill delicate vegans). A commonly used clarifier in beer and wines is isinglass, obtained from fish swimbladders. Plus there's gelatin in a lot of wine, etc etc.

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We must remember the First Amendment which protects any shrill jackass
no matter how self-seeking.
-- F. G. Withington