Sunday, November 28, 2010

How About a Friday Night Miscellany - TODAY!

Just because I'm in the mood, and I haven't been in a long time :)

First up, a new article on the Antikythera mechanism. I've posted about the mechanism here many times before.  To find those posts (I'm lazy tonight and not going to provide them for you) scroll down on the left hand column of the blog until you find the little search box and then type in "Antikythera" and voila!  Pop back up to the top of your screen and you will see a list of all posts from Chess, Goddess and Everything that mentions the Antikythera mechanism.

Anyway, darlings, here is a link to the latest, and it sure is interesting. Well, I always figured it wasn't based on what the Greeks knew, it was far too sophisticated for them.  It was the Babylonians who had it all figured out!  Yeah, turns out it was Babylonian astronomical knowledge that was incorporated into the mechanism - and for all we know, it wasn't a Greek "mechanic" who built it, either.  It could have been an immigrant who took a Greek name.Or a Babylonian who built the thing and shipped it to the person who ordered it in Greece.  How do we really know?  We don't.  So let's toss those pre-conceived notions into the Ionian Sea once and for all, shall we?  Yes, let's. 

Ancient astronomy: Mechanical inspiration
The ancient Greeks' vision of a geometrical Universe seemed to come out of nowhere. Could their ideas have come from the internal gearing of an ancient mechanism?
Jo Marchant
Published online 24 November 2010 | Nature 468, 496-498 (2010) | doi:10.1038/468496a

From the same website, but the way scary part of it - geez! - check this out.  The Fountain of Youth stuff is closer than we think, and when I think about what it could mean to mankind, it gives me the heeby-jeebies.  That it might be based upon flawed science - even scarrier, but who gives a hoot about that, heh, when eternal life is at issue...

Telomerase reverses ageing process
Dramatic rejuvenation of prematurely aged mice hints at potential therapy.
Ewen Callaway
Published online 28 November 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2010.635

Whoa!  For those of you who think that Global Warming (and it's effects, which hardly anyone ever seems to talk about except the real scientist people and now, the people who are actually being affected by it) is a bunch of hooey, this is "The Day Before Tomorrow" for Norfolk, Virginia.  And please don't tell me it's just due to Sun spots and the Moon being in a certain position, har!  In a way, this is even scarier than the "Fountain of Youth" thing I posted about above, because this is here and now. It's not going to go away, folks. It will just get worse and worse and worse. And what will we do about it? What will happen to those people in this area of Norfolk, Virginia, who own homes there? What will happen to all the people who live in areas at sea level? What will happen to my home town, Milwaukee, as sea levels rise and the Great Lakes rise too with influx from the Atlantic Ocean, and get more saline? Ohmygoddess, goodbye drinking water for a third of the USA - and Canada too. But this article is just about the here and now - for now...

From The New York Times, Environment
Front-Line City in Virginia Tackles Rise in Sea
Published: November 25, 2010

For those of us who like to lighten the load, so to speak, by partaking in spirits (not religious spirits) and forgetting all of our cares if even for just a little while, hail to the world's most expensive bottle of Tequila:

World’s most expensive bottle of tequila unveiled
Christopher Hooton - 24th November, 2010
Hacienda La Capilla has produced a bottle of tequila that it is expected to fetch £2.2 million at auction, making it the most expensive drink of its kind in the world.

Paradoxes - and are they, or aren't they?  Damned if I know, and I don't give a hoot.  Let the Republicans try and figure it all out, they claim they can, after all.  They're the remedy to what ails America, right?  Right?

Paradoxical Truth
November 28, 2010, 5:30 pm
Professor Greene is lecturing. Down the hall, her arch-rival, Professor Browne, is also lecturing. Professor Greene is holding forth at length about how absurd Professor Browne’s ideas are. She believes Professor Browne to be lecturing in Room 33. So to emphasize her point, she writes on the blackboard the single sentence:

Everything written on the board in Room 33 is false.

But Professor Greene has made a mistake. She, herself, is in Room 33. So is what she has written on the board true or false? If it’s true, then since it itself is written on the board, it’s false. If it’s false, then since it is the only thing written on the board, it’s true. Either way, it’s both true and false. ...

More Vermont Families Seeking Food Assistance
Published: November 28, 2010
Filed at 6:51 p.m. EST

ENOSBURG FALLS, Vt. (AP) — The extended downturn in the economy is forcing more Vermont families to seek food assistance.

A new federal report says the share of households in Vermont that at times didn't have enough nutritious food rose from 12.1 percent to 13.6 percent between 2008 and 2009.

The Enosburg Food Shelf is feeding more families than it had expected. Three years after opening it now serves an average of 160 families each month. It had predicted it would be serving about 60 families.

******* Heeelllloooooooo! The worst part of the downturn was NOT between 2008 and 2009, it is right now, when all the people who were laid off during 2009 (after the so-called Great Recession was already supposedly OVER)  are suffering because their jobs are gone forever and EVERTHING they were told was true : WORK HARD, GO TO SCHOOL, GET A DEGREE, WORK HARD, SAVE MONEY, BUY A HOME turned out to be LIES. Fricking duh!  Of course there is an increase in need for food from people who have had their livelihoods wiped out by multinational corporations whose profits are not taxed in the USA.  That it is happening in the state where people have historically prided themselves on being self-reliant is - well - see the article above about paradoxical truths.

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