Archive for December 18th, 2007

Science Is Cool!

This really is pretty awesome:

About 34,000 years ago, a herd of mammoths found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. Analysis of seven tusks, purchased from a Canadian fossils vendor, show the ancient beasts were blasted by an exploding meteor.

“The only reasonable explanation is that a meteor exploded somewhere near where these animals were standing,” Richard Firestone, a nuclear analytical chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

Scientists aren’t sure if the animals died from their wounds, although the populations of several ice-age beasts decreased dramatically at about the same time of the suspected meteor strike. At least one creature, a bison, did survive, as its skull shows bone grew in after a fragment embedded, Firestone said.

“It was certainly a bad day,” he said.

(…)

After sifting through thousands of tusks at a Phoenix, Ariz., fossil show, he found one with a burnt hole in it and tested it with a magnet, as many meteors contain iron.

The magnet stuck. West bought the tusk for $200 and asked to look through the company’s warehouse, which contained another 15,000 fossils. He found more evidence of micrometeorite impacts in a batch of tusks from eastern Siberia.

Some of the tusks had hundreds of tiny holes, made by burning fragments of the exploded meteor. The punctures all face the same direction, consistent with a blast from the sky.

Analysis by Firestone and colleagues confirmed that fragments in the tusks had high nickel-to-iron ratios and little titanium, indicating the shards probably did not come from Earth.

“We think the meteor exploded several miles up in the air, sending shrapnel in all directions,” Firestone said. “Anything lying underneath it was likely to be injured or killed.”

(…)

The researchers hope museums, universities and private foundations will look through their collections of mammoth tusks and bones for signs of meteorite impacts. They also are looking at a meteor impact site in Canada that may be the source of the shards that pierced the mammoths. That meteor would have been about 550 yards in diameter.

Well, I suppose it’s not so awesome if you’re one of the mammoths’ family members. A respectful moment of silence, if you please.

December 18th, 2007 at 11:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science

Quote Of The Day, Pt. II

Well, this should give you all a nice warm fuzzy feeling…

From the question-and-answer session after Bush’s speech:

Q: “My question is, I have three children in the school system here, and I’m very concerned about their well-being, living in this country — and you’ve done a wonderful job of protecting our nation. But I’m concerned about the nations like Iraq, who now have nuclear weapons –”

Bush: “Iran.”

Q: “Iran and Iraq both.”

Bush: “Not Iraq.”

Not Iran, either.

Yep. We’re screwed.

December 18th, 2007 at 11:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iran,Iraq,War

Quote Of The Day, Pt. I

Teddy Kennedy hits it right on the button:

Think about what we’ve been hearing from the White House in this debate. The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity. No immunity, no new FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he is willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.

Perfect. The most frustrating absurdity about this whole immunity discussion is the idea that forcing telecoms to be accountable to the law somehow puts us at risk for terrorist attack. Which is yet another indirect way of saying that the rule of law is an unnecessary hindrance to the important work of keeping us safe from Teh Scary Terrorists.

December 18th, 2007 at 10:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Democrats,Politics,Quotes

That’s Great, But…

Great post by Mike Caulfield over at Blue Hampshire, and I think he might be onto something:

Obama may be the change candidate the media focuses on now, but it was Edwards, almost exactly a year ago, who gave the keynote for what the anti-Hillary campaign was going to be about.

It was going to be about the movement candidate.

(…)

Obama, meanwhile, was putting together his own movement candidacy. I’ll skip over the details — I’m sure you’ve heard about his different sort of politics once or twice. Like Edwards, Obama has focussed on building the movement which will empower the change he wants to enact.

Today, as I flipped between the coverage of the FISA debate on Daily Kos, and Chris Dodd on C-SPAN2 behind the podium doing the Lord’s work, it hit me.

We don’t need a movement candidate, because we already have a movement.

It’s there on Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Swing State Project, Eschaton, firedoglake, and a thousand other places. And that makes 2008 different than 2004.

In 2004, Howard Dean (from whom the current movement candidates stole their blueprints) created a true movement where there was somewhat of a vacuum. But that was then, this is now. The seeds planted in 2004 have already blossomed into a movement much larger than any one candidate. According to one source, in the past weeks, the Senate was inundated with more calls on FISA than on immigration reform — let that sink in for a minute.

There is no shortage of movement. Obama and Edwards don’t have to build a movement for us.

It’s here, already.

What the movement waiting for is not an architect, but a leader.

We saw that today with Chris Dodd. It wasn’t a “movement candidate” up at the podium threatening to filibuster. And it wasn’t a “movement campaign” that put together the year’s most impressive web tool for pressuring change. And it wasn’t a movement candidate that finally stemmed the tide of Democratic capitulation and gopher-moat politics.

It was a leader. Backed by the movement that already exists.

If the other candidates are watching, there’s a lesson there: Lead, and the movement will take care of itself. Senator Dodd knows that, and because he chose to lead, we will not enter the New Year with yet another erosion of our liberties passed by a Democratic Senate.

My only problem with this is, why doesn’t Dodd have more support as a presidential candidate? I think Mike’s right that he’s probably the closest we have to a Dean in the race, and yet I’m pretty sure his support is in the low single digits. Is it just because he hasn’t started reaping the benefits of his courageous stand for FISA (and the ball-less wonders haven’t started reaping the penalties for their fecklessness), or will he just never catch fire because he’s not presidential-candidate-y enough? Or because the media can barely be bothered to talk about him, even now?

I would love to see his FISA stand finally ignite his campaign and his name recognition in the broader progressive population. He deserves it, and we deserve it.

December 18th, 2007 at 09:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Politics

Tuesday Pianoblogging

Some… reflective piano photos from my grandfather’s 90th birthday party:

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Worth noting, most of my photos from the party are ISO 3200 and occasionally 1600, just in case you’re curious about the D300’s high-ISO performance.

December 18th, 2007 at 06:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Mission Accomplished

Bravo, Dubya. Not many American presidents manage to get the word “diaspora” associated with their names in the history books.

What’s truly scary is that it wasn’t even your biggest fuckup.

2 comments December 18th, 2007 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Katrina,Wankers

Leadership

Dodd has it.

Hillary, Obama, and Biden don’t.

We should nominate someone who can’t even be bothered to stick up for the rule of law? Yeah, that’s just what we need from our next president – we need a real good go-along-to-get-alonger.

December 18th, 2007 at 11:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Obama,Politics

Hey, Remember What Happened The Last Time We Elected A “Uniter”?

Yeah, I thought so.

Mike Huckabee is not a nice man. He just plays one on TV.

December 18th, 2007 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Huckabee,Politics,Religion,Republicans


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