Thursday, February 27, 2003

According to the International Chamber of Commerce, 271 ships were attacked by pirates and another 20 ships were hijacked during the first 9 months of 2002. The following ICC maps show where the attacks occurred near Africa, Asia, and South America.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

In October or November the Chinese plan to launch a Shenzhou 5 rocket carrying up to three people into space. This Boston Globe article discusses the ramifications of China becoming the third spacefaring nation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Here's a website about an Englishman named Mil and his German girlfriend Margaret. The site is called Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. Some examples:

The way one should cut a Kiwi Fruit in half (along its length or across the middle).

First Born's name (Jonathan). Then, when that was settled...

How to pronounce First Born's name.

Margret walked through the living room on Friday as I was watching 'Band Of Brothers'. Absently, she asked, 'Is this "Killing Private Ryan"?'

Monday, February 24, 2003

Neal Pollack thinks the problem with the threat of terrorism and the upcoming war with Iraq is that they are causing a lot of bad writing. Pollack writes in this article from the Stranger that, "Nobody gives a shit what anti-war or pro-war writers think. Really. So shut up. That goes double for poets. Shut the hell up, poets. Everybody just shut up."

Later in the article Pollack calms down a bit and writes, "On both sides of the Iraq war "debate," writers are straining. They want to be seers, prophets, and tellers of eternal truths. They think they're dropping wisdom for the ages. But they're not. They just sound foolish. From any important historical circumstance, only a few pieces of genuine literary art emerge. In this current situation, I would argue for two: the Onion's special issue immediately following September 11, and William Langewiesche's book about reclaiming Ground Zero."

Thursday, February 20, 2003

In this year's State of the Union address, President Bush proposed spending $1.2 billion over the next five years to research the production of hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline in automobiles. In this New York Times column, Nicholas Kristoff test drives a prototype hydrogen-powered car and considers what fuel cell technology could mean for the U.S. However, in this New Republic article, Gregg Easterbrook explains the difficulties in producing hydrogen fuel.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

You can now have your DNA scanned for 130 common genetic mutations, including those associated with colon cancer, melanoma, and Alzheimer's disease. After having his genome scanned, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote this column about DNA testing and its implications for the future.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Previously I have linked to reviews of foreign versions of American science fiction films such as the Turkish Star Trek and the Italian Star Wars. The Brazilians have also been "inspired" by American films. Here's a review of Os Trapalhões na Guerra Dos Planetas, the Brazilian Star Wars.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The most common sleep disorders, or parasomnias, are sleepwalking and night terrors. Other less common parasomnias cause sleeping people to eat or impersonate animals. As this New York Times Magazine article explains, scientists who study these disorders have developed new theories of what the brain does while sleeping.

Monday, February 03, 2003

The search engine Google makes it easy to do research on anyone. But is this easy access to information always a good thing? This Boston Globe Magazine article discusses the implications of Google's information access revolution.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Here are links to information on the Shuttle disaster. The new weblog called Shuttle Lost was created to follow this story. The blog Scripting News also has many links to Shuttle news.

Here's a long Gregg Easterbrook article from the April 1980 Washington Monthly on the space shuttle's safety problems. It was written one year before Columbia's first launch in 1981. Easterbrook argues that the Shuttle should be replaced in this new article.