Monday, December 7, 2009

The "Climategate" er....Thing

Recently, a large cache of e-mails and computer code was stolen from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and published on the web. After a flurry of quote-mining, right-wing pundits have been quick to seize upon a handful of messages as a "smoking gun" proving the existence a left-wing conspiracy to promote an Anthropogenic Climate Change hoax. Of course, the reality of the situation is that the stolen data indicates nothing of the kind....

As for the hackers' claims that climate researchers are keeping data to themselves that should be made public, this is also far from the case. Dig through all the raw data you like. It is all out there....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Highway USA

Once upon a time, people envisioned the future with bold optimism, and nobody presented  such visions of the future better than Disney. Check out this film from 1958 exploring the highways of the future. It is quite fascinating to consider which of the predictions have come true (even if not in the way imagined), and which have not.

The big thing they missed, of course, is traffic jams.

Tip o' the hat to Doc Parker for pointing this one out to me.

The Bohr-Einstein Debates - With Puppets?

The philosophical back-and-forth between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein helped lay the foundation for Quantum Mechanics. And, make no mistake, Einstein's approach to the problem was far more nuanced than his famous "God does not play dice" line would suggest. His philosophical challenges to Bohr's strictly mathematical approach helped drive the science forward considerably.

So what better way to present this essential element of the history of science than with puppets?

The Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Puppets from Chad Orzel on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Uber-Cool Space Shuttle Footage: STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights from mike interbartolo on Vimeo.

Spectacular footage compiled by the Systems Engineering and Integration team at JSC. I especially like the video shot from the Solid Rocket Boosters during SRB separation and during splashdown.

I should point out that some of the music in the video is performed by the Celtic band Clandestine, which features some old friends of mine from my TRF days, E.J. Jones (best damned bagpipe player in North America), and vocalist/percussionist Emily Dugas.

(Hat-tip to Stacy Bakri for pointing this one out to me.)