Staggering hypocrisy from Google

Google press release: We recognize the impact that our operations have on the Earth’s climate, and are taking steps to ensure that we are carbon neutral by the end of 2007. Solving climate change won’t be simple, and there won’t be a single solution that addresses the entire problem at once. We all need to act together to meet the challenge – from the largest corporations and governments to individual households.

New Orleans [updated]

Let’s enjoy a few compassionate thoughts from the right-wing libertarians. First, Becky Akers, columnist for Lew Rockwell of the Center for Libertarian Studies: The day after the hurricane, Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco ordered New Orleans evacuated—again. Yep, folks facing a flood several fathoms deep without electricity, potable water, or food are too stupid to leave on their own. Good thing the Nanny Kate tells them what to do. […] Nanny’s sending buses, boats and helicopters after all the silly little citizens who didn’t know enough to come in out of the rain.

Katrina and the waves

So it’s a total disaster in New Orleans. Three levees are breached, one of them has a hole over 150 meters across. 80% of the city is under water up to 6 meters deep. The entire city is without electrical power or water supply. It’s estimated that it will be 9–12 weeks before they can even get rid of the water, much less get the city habitable. Interstate 10 is broken chunks of floating concrete; there’s no route into the city for trucks and other major vehicles.

Keep ya Aeron

As my dad observed repeatedly during my teenage and college years, I really do spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on my ass. Since I was setting up a home office space which would likely be lasting me for the next decade or so, I decided it was time to make a serious investment in an office chair. The archetypal web developer office chair is the Aeron by Herman Miller.

Choices, choices

Amount NASA will save by cancelling the Voyager 1 and 2 projects and no longer receiving the scientific data they are sending: $4 million. Amount NASA plans to spend in 2005-2006(PDF) to improve their IFMP financial reporting system: $77 million.

Uranus!

There was a news item on Slashdot about two new moons “about the size of San Francisco” being discovered around Uranus. This prompted a cranky posting from someone saying: “Seriously though, is it not possible to read an article about Uranus without seeing all those “uranus *lol* *giggle* *pffft!*” posts?” Well, I just had to reply… A scholarly look at Uranus Yes, there’s nothing funny about Uranus. Let’s forget the childish humor and take a serious, scholarly look at Uranus.

Space

I’m not sure I can explain why space travel means so much to me.

One of my earliest memories is of sitting with my grandfather, watching one of the Apollo moon landings on TV. I’m not sure which one, but since the Lunar Rover was involved it must have been one of the later ones. I would watch Sci Fi TV shows with him as well. “UFO”, in particular, and sometimes “Dr Who” if it wasn’t too scary.

Later I began reading SF, starting with Arthur C. Clarke. By then “Space:1999” was on TV, and soon I read the novel of “2001”. I remember working out how old I would be in the year 2000. With some delight, I calculated that I would be the right age to be one of the people working on the moonbase. So that became my plan.

I learnt everything I could about the space program. I collected books about astronomy, and books with diagrams of how rocket engines worked. I learned about relativity, zero gravity, orbits, black holes, red shifts and how zero gravity bathrooms worked, all before I’d got as far as trigonometry at school. I memorized the sequence of vehicle maneuvers for an Apollo moon landing. I studied souvenir brochures from the Kennedy Space Center, with pictures of the Vehicle Assembly Building, Skylab, Soyuz, Gemini, and the Angry Alligator.

Pluto (not the dog)

In order to save 50¢ per taxpayer, George W. Bush has cut NASA’s budget so that they can’t afford to send an unmanned mission to Pluto. The problem is, the last viable launch window to get a gravitational slingshot to Pluto is in 2006. If we don’t hit that window, Pluto will move too far away from the sun, and its atmosphere will freeze and precipitate out onto the planet’s surface.

LEGO dream

I dreamed of LEGO. That I found an old, discounted LEGO set in a toy store that contained LEGO versions of real NASA space craft, and lots of square bases patterned with craters, roads, landing sites, and other essentials. If you don’t know why that’s an exciting dream, well, you’re not a LEGO connoisseur…