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"boosting ozone levels by as much as 50%"

I don't think "boosting" is the verb you want.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need to get our collective ass to Mars, and other places relatively hospitable to human life, if we're going to survive as a species. Of course in 2 billion years, who knows what'll be hospitible to human biology? We could be quite happy with a hot, dry climate that's heavy on the ozone. Catastrophe evolution, anyone?

Geesh! No one's talking about the genuinely important issue that Jennifer has introduced, the injustice to Melinda. My son and I think that everyone just assumed that SHE was safe, and so they voted for their second place candidate -- the race had heated up between Blake and Jordan -- and that totaled so many votes it just barely edged Melinda out. ??
I agree, Jennifer, Melinda was far and away the best, from the very fisrt week. (I never watched American Idol until this season and you've scientifically explained why. It's the House connection! Of course....) However, since I live in Bothell and Blake went to my son's high school, may I say that the young man is absolutely charming and turned in some performances that really moved me. Has anyone else heard any scuttlebut about the voting results? Com'on, folks. Lets keep our eyes on the essential matters. And while we're on the subject of pop TV we would never condescend to watch, what's the deal with the postmodern finale to Grey's Anatomy? Every single relationship went to hell?

Blake Stacey, "boosting" is an entirely appropriate word used in that context unless you've time-travelled back to 1801 and are still living there. ;-)

I'm with Lee's thoughts, and was thinking about this more while rereading Ray Bradbury's short story "The Wilderness" (among many others of his from the '40s and '50s). And despite his sort of love-hate relationship with commonplace technology, he is still a proponent of Moon bases and going to Mars. "We *are* the aliens!" Asteroids might be fun too.

That galaxies picture looks like an angry face, doesn't it? Phil Plait posted about that very picture with a little twist: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/04/26/galactic-catastrophe/

Sorry to say, I don't watch American Idol. There's another Blake? I thought Blake Stacey was the only Blake. (-:

what's the deal with the postmodern finale to Grey's Anatomy? Every single relationship went to hell?

I do not watch that show in depth - it is on and Im in front of the TV but it's my wife's show not mine so I pay minimal attention. Just enough to be startled that Burke just .. left. What they hey is up with that? Were there any clues about this? I'm shocked. And also .. I do NOT want my doctor to have a dramatic personal life. I want him to be paying attention to his job .. me.

It makes you want to reach into the TV and smack the sense into some of those characters.

But yes, gamma ray bursts, asteroids - the universe does not think we're special and won't keep bad stuff from happening just because we think we're cool and awesome. If we really want our species to survive we gotta work at it.

Oh, so many things to comment upon!

Jen-Luc Piquant has a major meta-crush on Hugh Laurie.

AAaaaaarrrrrgggg! I am consumed with jealousy.

Now, as far as extinction events from GRBs... if only someone were writing a book about such things! http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/04/08/big-announcement-part-1-my-next-book

:-)

I have been reading many papers about Death By GRB, and I'm not convinced just yet. Sure, one in our Galaxy would be bad, very much so (the extinctions would be serious indeed, including, maybe, ours), but it's not clear that a collapsar-induced GRB can even happen nowadays. I need to talk to Adrian Mellot and see what he says. And there is always the neutron star/neutron star coalescence that can create a GRB... and those *can* happen in our Galaxy. Scary.

Actually, I think American Idol's voters are primarily teenagers and they voted for teh young and teh pretty, as opposed to the most talented. Also, it was clear that Melinda is a bit more reserved than the Final Two, and especially at the start of the competition, was a bit lacking in confidence. For all the disappointment, I think she'll go on to have a very nice career, just not as an "Idol." If there's one thing the show is good for, it's giving a national platform to people with talent who might not otherwise show up on the collective radar...

I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy after Season 1, but a fundamental rule of TV dramas is that no relationship can ever be successful. There's the occasional exception, but by and large, engaging couples get together only to Things Go Horribly Wrong.

Phil, I warned you Jen-Luc is fickle. The good news, she's easily swayed back to former favorites. :) The Hugh Laurie fixation is, I'm sure, a passing fancy... And I'm glad someone linked in the comments to your earlier post about the colliding galaxies, because I looked for the link and couldn't find it.

We are all looking forward with bated breath to your forthcoming book! And good luck with the move!

I wouldn't worry about the oceans boiling. I ran the figures once, and I think it worked out that if we launch a 100 square meter mirror to the Earth Sun L1 spot once a year it would reflect the excess light.

We could probably do that with today's technology, much less with the technology 1 billion years in the future.

When you say "boosting" ozone levels by 50% I think you mean "decreasing" ozone levels by 50%. That's what an ozone-depleting chemical would do, and that's what would cause greater exposure to solar UV.

Hello... what's this??? I've stumbled upon a blog written by a Buffy fan with an eye for House MD, that can compare and contrast the unavoidable demise of our solar sytem alongside the self-destructive voting tendancies of American Idol fans??? If you like Starbuck's mochas and Baskin Robbins' Gold Medal Ribbon ice cream, than I think we were twins separated at birth.

So, is there some large "Apocalypse Pool" in the break room where we can pick squares based on when and by what means we will meet our final end? I choose an unexpected Asteroid Strike in August of 2075. (of course, now it won't be so unexpected, will it?)

And really, what was it with the the complete obliteration of all romantic relationships on the series finale of Grey's Anatomy? Who's going to want to tune in next fall to see the fallout from all of that damage?

Wait...Blake is a JT wannabe? Have you seen Blake? Or JT? They are two completely different type of musicians with completely different styles. Blake is more of a Jamiroqui wannabe.

Melinda, sadly, had no neck and people without necks can't be winners. A sad fact of life.

Oh yeah, go science!

Mark, Thank you so much, I just wanted someone else in the world to have felt the strangeness of that Grey's Anatomy finale. My first thought was "Has the show been cancelled?" I don't see how all this is supposed to keep us on tenterhooks until next fall....
Then, good postmodern that I am, I thought, okay, so this IS exposing our addiction to the happy-ending TV fantasy-land kind of narrative resolution, so is this supposed to be some kind of postmodern commentary, like you get on South Park?
The truly weird thing is that the chaos in all those relationships was so far-fetched. Is "real life" ever nearly THAT paradoxical? (Maybe the fact we're still thinking about it says something....) There are moments on Boston Legal that have this same really strange, uncanny feel to them. I just want to grasp the "aesthetic" that's going on here! If anyone reads anything pertaining to this, please let us know, okay?

Mark, Thank you so much, I just wanted someone else in the world to have felt the strangeness of that Grey's Anatomy finale. My first thought was "Has the show been cancelled?" I don't see how all this is supposed to keep us on tenterhooks until next fall....
Then, good postmodern that I am, I thought, okay, so this IS exposing our addiction to the happy-ending TV fantasy-land kind of narrative resolution, so is this supposed to be some kind of postmodern commentary, like you get on South Park?
The truly weird thing is that the chaos in all those relationships was so far-fetched. Is "real life" ever nearly THAT paradoxical? (Maybe the fact we're still thinking about it says something....) There are moments on Boston Legal that have this same really strange, uncanny feel to them. I just want to grasp the "aesthetic" that's going on here! If anyone reads anything pertaining to this, please let us know, okay?

I meant kIm, not Mark, and didn't mean to post twice!!!!

Mark said: When you say "boosting" ozone levels by 50% I think you mean "decreasing" ozone levels by 50%. That's what an ozone-depleting chemical would do, and that's what would cause greater exposure to solar UV.

**********
Mark, thank you for clarifying that so succinctly. You are right of course. I wonder if Jennifer has low-level ozone in her mind now that she's in Los Angeles. Low-level ozone has *increased* in industrial areas and cities (except for those that have instituted strict clean air efforts) which helps block UV rays, but causes health problems and issues with vegetation. High atmosphere ozone levels are decreasing thus exposing us to higher solar UV. Arrgh, GRBs are the least of my concerns as I...hack...breathe in photochemical soup. :-)

An aside, reading about LA smog last night, I didn't realize that running your lawn mower for an hour is the equivalent of driving a car 100 miles, pollution-wise. (Lost my source, but can probably find it.)

Fortunately some bike to work.

Good news for you Melinda Doolittle fans! She’s set to release her debut album titled, Coming Back to You on Hi-Fi Recordings in January 09. Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Mike Mangini (Joss Stone, Run DMC, The Jonas Brothers), Coming Back to You was recorded with a team of live musicians in Nashville and New York City.

The first single, “It’s Your Love” will be released to radio in October.

“Keep yourself updated with Melinda’s career at melindasbackups (dot) com is a web site owned by Melinda Doolittle. Melinda’s Backups™ is a non-profit supportive association inspired by Melinda and authorized by her to operate this web site on behalf of her fans.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.