Sunday, January 30, 2011
Poland eyes EUR25 bln investments as it goes nuclear
Nuclear power for Poland, but at what price?
Greenland ice sheet a complex mystery
Shepherd and his team used satellite observations of six landlocked glaciers in south-west Greenland, acquired by the European Space Agency, to study how ice flow developes in years of markedly different melting.
Despite the fact that the initial speed up of ice melting was similar in all years, slowdown occurred soonest in years which were warmer than others, suggesting that these years of abundance triggers an early switch in the plumbing at the base of the ice, causing a pressure drop that slows down the ice speeds, behaviour that is similar to mountain glaciers, which sees summertime speed up of ice reduce once the melt-water from the glaciers can drain efficiently.
My question: what about glaciers that drain to the sea, like the huge Jakobshavn?
Friday, January 28, 2011
This made me wonder; when was the last tennis grand slam final without either Nadal or Federer in it?
Actually, it wasn't real long ago; it was the 2008 Australian Open final, where Djokovic defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I'd forgotten about that. Before that it was the 2005 Aussie, with Marat Safin over Lleyton Hewitt, and before that it was the 2004 French, with Gaston Gaudio over Guillermo Coria.
So since the beginning of 2004, there have been 3 finals without either Nadal or Federer in contention. Geeze. 3 out of 29.
Nice to have a bit of variety down under, eh mate?
Andy Murray beats David Ferrer in Australian Open semi-final
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
electric cars, nothing other than something with a high energy output in comparison to its weight and volume would work for things like trucks, trains, and planes. That's where I think biofuels and biodiesel come in.
Previously I've noted that food waste should be recycled; food waste is an excellent feedstock for biodiesel. I also think that farm waste (i.e. animal poop) can work in the same regard. So also for human poop. So that's a lot of feedstocks for biodiesel. The other liquid biofuel of note is biomass ethanol, notably cellulosic, which might work for trucks (reserving the diesel for trains and potentially airplanes, if they can make bio-kerosene -- I'll have to look that up).
This article describes plans to make both. Let's keep the good news coming.
Energy department backs biofuel plant
Yes, there is biokerosene. I should have remembered that. It needs to be made from plant oils; can those be grown and harvested sustainably, enough for the all the planes flying in the
KLM fuels Boeing 747 with biokerosene
Airbus and TAM Airlines to support jatropha-based bio-kerosene jet fuel processing plant project in Brazil
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A mammoth in 4 years?
They plan on taking nuclei from the mammoth cells and inserting them into an elephant's egg cells from which the nuclei have been removed. This will create an embryo that contains the mammoth's genes. The embryo will then be inserted into the elephant's womb, and the animal will, hopefully, give birth to a mammoth. According to The Daily Tech, [Dr. Akira] Iritani said:
"The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently, but now stands at about 30 percent. I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years."
After they study it, then they'll probably eat it. This is Japan, after all. Eating species on the verge of extinction is their specialty, so why not dine on a species that actually IS extinct?
"I thought we were done with this nonsense 10,000 years ago!"
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Put simply, Hanks is an extraordinary water color painter. He has a special way of making the watercolors look like oils. And the other thing, he can paint a lot of different subjects; he's great with kids -- but he paints truly luscious, appealing, attractive, sensual nudes.
So it is with great interest that I find two new Hanks nudes.
"Lost in the Reverie"
Some more examples of Hanks:
The Venus-de-Milish "After the Shower"
And he also has a Kiss:
And if you peruse his full portfolio, you have to wonder: where does he find his models??? (And can I visit there?)
All very sweet and romantic. (Not quite, if you read the story behind "The Kiss".)
What I barely remembered but recently accidentally recalled was that Rodin had another, more sensual (i.e. "hot") sculpture of a kiss, entitled "Eternal Spring" (alternately "Eternal Springtime"). One version of it in bronze is shown below, followed by a review.
(Now if it was me in that position I might be a little more, ahem, interested, but maybe it's because the guy is trying to keep both of them from falling off the side of a cliff with his other arm.)
Eternal Spring, also known as Eternal Springtime, probably modeled 1881, this marble executed 1906–7
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917)
Links to three other pictures of this work:
Eternal Spring 1
Eternal Spring 2
Eternal Spring 3
"Our challenge is transformation. We need a global clean energy revolution -- a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all," he [Moon] told participants in the fourth edition of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
"This is essential for minimising climate risks, for reducing poverty and improving global health, for empowering women and meeting the Millennium Development Goals, for global economic growth, peace and security, and the health of the planet," he said in his keynote speech.
Maybe I should have said laudable GOALS.
Meanwhile, I like the words of the Sultan:
"Sultan al-Jaber, the chief executive officer of Masdar, a body created by oil-rich Abu Dhabi to champion the cause of promoting clean energy, stressed the need to use a mix of energy resources.
"Energy must come from a mix of sources... Solar energy is clean, efficient and cost-effective. A mix should also include peaceful nuclear energy, and, of course, renewable energy," he said."
Monday, January 17, 2011
The thing is, the Europeans have already launched SMOS** , which does that, and the Americans are going to soon launch (June 9 of this year) Aquarius -- which does that too.
So what does the Russian satellite do differently (if it does) than SMOS and Aquarius? Like the title says -- tell me more. There is apparently nothing else out on the English-speaking Web about this. I guess if I did find anything it would be in Cyrillic and that would not do me much good.
* Rereading the article, quote, "The satellite will use a frequency of 21 centimeters, which ensures the complete "transparency" of the earth's atmosphere ... " LET ME JUST POINT OUT that 21 centimeters is the measure of a wavelength, not a frequency (that would be in Hz), but yes, it is in the microwave range.
** TERRIFIC animation at this Web site, by the way.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
a gigantic sculpture of a reclining nude woman...
... on the banks of the idyllic, famed Loire River...
... behind a historic, ancient church ... where there is still a school! ...
... with her thighs spread open, widely and invitingly.
I truly didn't believe this one either, until I read about it.
What do you think?
(The real condition of concern lady-wise is loss of libido. This post is not about that.)
New (but expected) news that the melting ice and snow of the polar regions, particularly the Arctic, is causing a positive feedback for global warming. Bright white areas reflect the vast majority of the energy of solar irradiance falling upon them. Darken those areas, either by soot deposition or melting, exposing darker land (on land) or darker sea (for sea ice) means more irradiance turns into heat and less gets reflected back into space.
All elementary, all figure-outable by even the densest neophyte. But what's going on?
"Satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice, glaciers, winter snow and Greenland's ice were bouncing less energy back to space from 1979 to 2008. The dwindling white sunshade exposes ground or water, both of which are darker and absorb more heat.
The study estimated that ice and snow in the Northern Hemisphere were now reflecting on average 3.3 watts per square meter of solar energy back to the upper atmosphere, a reduction of 0.45 watt per square meter since the late 1970s."
And the envelope please...
" "This reduction in reflected solar energy through warming is greater than simulated by the current crop of climate models," he said of the findings by a team of U.S.-based researchers and published in the journal Nature Geoscience Sunday."
Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008 (links to the abstract; to read the whole thing, pay for it or subscribe to Nature Geoscience)
So... another article about this, even equipped with a diagram!
14% less solar energy reflected back into space
1. "Roger Pielke Jr., has a name for this: the iron law of climate policy. Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and the author of the new book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming, which advocates energy innovation, writes that when climate policy is seen to get in the way of development and economic growth, climate policy loses."
2. "We need to put in the money and the time to develop significantly better and cheaper forms of green energy, first in the lab and then in the real world. Just as American scientists created the atomic bomb, pioneered the space program, and launched the information and biotechnology revolutions, they can create the energy solutions needed for the future. We just have to give them a chance—which we haven’t yet. Here’s an astonishing statistic: Since the beginning of the 1980s—around the time climate change began to become a concern—federal investment in energy research and development has generally shrunk. Temporary stimulus spending aside, the U.S. government spends less than $5 billion a year on energy research and development, compared with more than $30 billion for health research and more than $80 billion on military R&D."
3. "Of course, at a time when climate-science denial seems to have become a badge of honor in the Republican Party—which also wants to take a guillotine to government spending—perhaps this approach is doomed to failure, too. But eventually, hopefully, our collective national fever will break, and when it does, we need to be ready with the right energy policy: one that can appeal to more than just a narrow band of bright greens. Amplified energy research won’t be the whole show. Efficiency standards, smarter cities, and perhaps eventually carbon standards—we’ll need a royal flush of policies to stand a chance. But it has to begin with innovation, not regulation."
From "Cap and Trade is Dead. Now What?" by Bryan Walsh
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Court ruling on Italy nuclear power referendum
"Italy can hold a referendum on the planned re-introduction of nuclear power after a ban introduced by a 1987 vote following the Chernobyl disaster, the Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday.
The referendum against government norms aimed at allowing construction of nuclear power plants, which was proposed by the opposition Italy of Values party, was found to be "admissible", the court said in a statement."
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I have full faith and confidence in Kate that after she gets fat and happy with this tyke in her tummy, she'll get back into killer desirable shape again.
Here's Kate in desirable shape:
Cinema Italiano (from "Nine")
2010 tied with 2005 for warmest year in the surface temperature record
NCDC Global Climate Analysis for 2010
For 2010, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record, at 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). 1998 is the third warmest year-to-date on record, at 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average.
NASA Research Finds 2010 Tied for Warmest Year on Record
WASHINGTON -- Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.
Meanwhile on the satellite side, the UAH lower tropospheric temperature data from satellites also has 2010 in a statistical tie, but this time with 1998.
December 2010 UAH global temperature update
So everything is consistent with 2010 as a very warm year, as if we didn't know that already. Despite the December-January cold in a few isolated (but highly publicized) northern hemisphere regions.
Now we have to see what the UK Met Office says about December 2010 and the year 2010.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
What the heck??? I guess this is part of the reason that the world population will hit 7 billion in 2011.
But... in news to gladden the heart and hearten the loins, Shakira is on a supposed "temporary" break, romantically at least, from her boyfriend and manager. This means that she might be technically available for a date. For the sheer bravado of doing so, if I was younger and singler, I'd sure like to take her out for a night on the town. And maybe a night she'd never forget. Scratch that -- it'd be a night I'd never forget. I, on the other hand, am likely utterly forgettable for a girl at her level. But a guy can dream and fantasize and imagine...
seed within the female channel at such a time as to foster a successful fertilization.
In other words, Natalie is preggers, and will be displaying what the hot and versatile young movie actress likes to wear in the manner of glamorous maternity wear on a number of red carpets during the upcoming awards season, and particularly during the press junkets for "Thor".
Natalie comments on her baby's father
Turns out that there's going to be ANOTHER Natalie Portman vehicle, "The Other Woman" which was actually made a couple of years ago and shelved. Not sure why. But the trailer for "The Other Woman" is out, and in it she plays the other woman, who the man doing the other woman does, and she gets pregnant for all her efforts. And dramatic consequences ensue. From the trailer, it appears that Natalie's other woman, i.e. mistress, beds the married guy (don't recognize the guy, but Lisa Kudrow plays the p-o'ed wife), gets pregnant (life imitates art, as we'll see soon), has the baby, the baby DIES -- this indicates it's not a rom-com -- then I think she marries the father of the baby, thus becoming stepmother to a not-really-liking-this-arrangement son, and various drama ensueth. So, let's get this all straight:
In the "Black Swan", Natalie plays a two-way (black and white, that is) ballerina who also tries it both ways with Mila Kunis;
In "No Strings Attached", Natalie plays a doctor who plays doctor with Ashton Kutcher, trying to just keep it physical but apparently not fully succeeding;
In "The Other Woman", Natalie plays the other woman, again not fully constraining her
wanton sexual desires OR using birth control, and thus making a mess of things for
quite a few people (well, the cheating hubby could have used foresight over the
foreskin and prevented all these romantic and procreative complications);
And in "Thor", Natalie has a romantic relationship with a hunky blonde Norse God who
carries a hard hammer in his hand and isn't afraid to use it.
Princess Amidala, you've grown up!
And if that wasn't all, let us now segue to Natalie's personal news, which by now if you've been paying any attention has been all over the grocery store racks and the Internet gossip sites...
This article is about the Portman coverup; apparently her personal posterior was too wonderful to be featured in the trailer for another movie she's in, called "Your Highness". It's easy to find what was covered up for the trailer, particularly nice because she's wearing a decidedly out-of-epoch thong. And wearing it wonderfully well, it is important to add.
But this begs the vital question; how many 2011 movies is she going to be in,
While I ponder that, feel free to ponder this:
Not so official trailer
you're going to JAIL!
Global warming (links to YouTube)
Boy, I can wish that this was true for a few offenders.
Well, someone who's both nice and gorgeous shouldn't go through life without a love partner, and apparently she's got one now. Good for her (I guess it goes without saying, even though I'll say it, that it's also good for him, I expect).
Petra Nemcova, Jamie Belman engaged
Speaking of the gorgeous level of Nemcova:
Today's January 11 posts kick off a series of babe-related postings over the next week or so. Don't be surprised.
1. To soften the colors or outlines of (a painting or drawing) by covering with a film of opaque or semiopaque color or by rubbing.
2. To blur the outlines of: a writer who scumbled the line that divides history and fiction.
1. The effect produced by or as if by scumbling.
2. Material used for scumbling.
scumbling: What is scumbling?
Scumbling usually refers to the application of a fine layer of paint with a very dry brush. It is sometimes described as a glaze effect, but rather than the pigments being dispersed in a transparent medium, scumbling creates a fine mesh of opaque pigment.
Now, I wonder what kind of magical powers the offspring of a woodland elf and a Victoria's Secret angel will have...
(or, for that matter, the kid of two people named after characters from Shakespeare -- I hope they don't name their new child Puck)
Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom welcome baby boy
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Sheril has a new book out, directly entitled "The Science of Kissing", and well-reviewed. I was tickled that the book was mentioned in a Daily Mail article, in which two things are noted:
a. a lot more is remembered detail-wise about the first kiss than one's loss of virginity (but I have good recall and I remember both!), and
b. men kissing women try to pass them a dose of testosterone, and the best way to do this is with small and more frequent kisses. Thumbs-up!
I think both of those things are important.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Does that make sense?
Climate Shifts Changing New Weather "Normals"
The "new normals" will update the averages for temperatures, rainfall and snow. A climate normal bases itself on the weather patterns of a particular region over a 30-year period. Every decade, in accordance with international agreements, the National Climate Data Center releases new temperature and rain and snowfall normals for 10,000 regions across the country. ...
The current normals rely on weather patterns that occurred between 1971 and 2000. The new normals, which will be released later in the year, will drop the 1970s -- a decade marked by cool temperatures -- and add the hottest recorded decade in history, the 2000s.
The one thing that I think this is bad for is that cold snaps will now be even colder than normal, and heat waves will be less hotter than normal. More fodder for the climate change deniers.
Friday, January 7, 2011
I have a history of liking short-run series. I still miss "Maximum Bob"!
I think one of the critical problems is money; like the difference in getting top-class athletes to compete in less-rewarding sports like track and field compared to basketball in the USA, obviously a young UK boy can aspire to a lot bigger paycheck playing football (soccer) compared to cricket, and one thing England has is a lot of football teams).
I also wonder where the West Indies rank these days. They used to be ranked way up high, especially when Brian Lara was playing for them. (Just checked and they're currently 8th).
But given the tradition and the fact that it's just plain fun to watch, I'll keep up with cricket.
Ashes 2011: England win series 3-1
The post-series celebration
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I kinda wish that the Sea Shepherd battle against the whalers wasn't quite so ... publicity-seeking, but sometimes you've got to make a stand. Mahatma Gandhi showed what passive resistance can do, and these guys are continuing that tradition, albeit a little more actively. I'll keep boycotting all tuna products.
Straight into battle: High-tech anti-whaling vessel clashes with Japanese fleet in freezing Southern Ocean
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
North polar region of Venus
The link to "Full Size" shows the entire polar region, which is on the verge of astonishing. Ya gotta admire the technology.
A bluefin tuna (caught in the Pacific, amazingly enough) sold for nearly USD $400K in Japan yesterday.
That's nuts. And dreams of a haul like that are what keep the black-market overfishers in the Med going for the gold. Pretty much literally.
Makes me sick. Make mine tilapia, please.
Record bluefin tuna sale
(T-shirt source: End of the Line)
In other news, Cheryl is in Elle. And there's a video, too.
Great hair, great eyes, great smile, adorable accent (and it doesn't seem quite so thick), great shape... but what really tops off the package is her dimples. She's CUTE.
Derek, I hope you're lucky enough to have her and it's not just for show. Go for it.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
One is the Eruptions Blog Pliny Award, which I commented on with nominations, a couple of which were picked up as Honorable Mentions (Erta Ale, Pacaya) -- and my top two were the consensus top 2, Merapi as first runner-up, who will serve in case the Pliny Award-winning volcano is unable to fulfill its duties; and the attention-grabbing, tongue-twisting (unless you're
Icelandic) glacier-melting Eyjafjallajokull.
The other is Discovery Channel's top 10 listing,
Top Volcanic Eruptions of 2010
which has some Kamchatkan volcanoes listed, and Santiaguito in Guatemala, which I didn't notice at the time. The Eruptions Blog Santiaguito post has a couple of links to some wild and crazy, emphasis on the crazy, videos of tourists standing on the crater rim when the volcano lets loose. Not an activity for the faint of heart.
“Members of the incoming Congress are proposing to slash cost-effective funding for rapidly expanding renewable energy technologies while foolishly plowing ever-more federal dollars into the nuclear power black hole,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.
My question is still with scale. Bringing a new nuke plant online can provide enough energy for a significant portion of a moderate-size urban area. How many acres of fields, miles of solar panels in the desert, hundreds of windmills, or new waterfalls (hard to come by these days) are the equivalent of that? Now, I admit that biofuels is probably a growth industry, because I think that the internal combustion engine will still be the dominant vehicular transportation power source for decades to come. The capacity of burnable liquid fuels in a regular-sized vehicle compared to batteries still tilts heavily in the favor of the liquid fuels. But I think you're going to need power input at some stage in the biofuel processing stream (the first and second laws of thermodynamics and all that), so nuclear has a part to play in that as well as a home and industrial power source.
Here's some more on this:
Renewables Share of Energy Rises, Almost Catching up with Nuclear Power
Malaysian take (from a reader, not a professional, I don't think):
The case against nuclear energy
This is an issue for the 21st Century's teen years, obviously.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
'We're so happy!': Valerie Bertinelli marries long-term partner in intimate ceremony
Amanda Holden at six months (surprise!)
Surprise! Amanda Holden, 39, reveals she's six months pregnant with baby No.2
Beckham back to Britain? (OK, this is sports news, but he's such an A-Lister and Posh is such a pure celeb, this counts as social news, too)
David Beckham might play for Tottenham Hotspurs in Premier League
Dancing for joy: Cheryl Cole and Derek Hough let their hair down at £1m party
Some noteworthy events:
Hough has also reportedly bought the 27-year-old X Factor judge a £10,000 diamond bracelet as a love token.(roughly 20-25K USD)
and of course:
It was there, in front of the assembled revellers, that the couple sealed their love with a passionate kiss after toasting each other with champagne as the midnight chimes rang out.
Well, I say, it's about time. Now, one could still claim they're just friends, staying at an exclusive resort in South Africa and dancing and kissing at a New Year's Eve party, but that would be a stretch. As I think Cheryl's definition of "single" is.
That makes using a compass in the traditional Boy Scout fashion somewhat challenging.
Why is the North Magnetic Pole racing toward Siberia?
According to some recent models, plumes of less dense fluid form at the inner core boundary and subsequently rise within [a cylinder] whose central axis is the Earth’s rotation axis. Such plumes undergo a strong helical motion due to the Earth’s rapid rotation, a phenomenon also observed in laboratory experiments with water. In the core, helical plumes advect and twist the magnetic field lines, forming what scientists call "polar magnetic upwellings."For more, you'll have to track down the references in the linked article.
A Determined Ballerina, Propelled to the Top
Osipova in one of her signature roles, Kitri in "Don Quixote"
Now THAT's extension.