Articles by ralph

Washington MonumentJennifer Epstein writes in the Politico:

The earthquake didn’t cause widespread damages or injuries, but it did put a crack in the Washington Monument. After unconfirmed reports suggested the monument was tilting, park officials said Tuesday night that the 550-foot obelisk suffered a crack in the 5.8-magnitude rumble centered in Mineral, Va., near Charlottesville.

Inspections conducted by helicopter found a crack “at the very, very top” of the monument, park service spokesman Bill Line told The Washington Post, and the monument and plaza surrounding the structure will be closed indefinitely as it is examined.

Though it suffered damage, the monument isn’t leaning, the Park Service said. The Park Service has also temporarily closed the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial pending further inspection, while other landmarks — including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial set to be officially unveiled this weekend — remain open.



Interesting article on The Week. It says that it’s really not the lack of access to healthy food (what the USDA terms a “food desert”) but living close to fast-food joints and…


Granted this video is a promo for the New Scientist‘s recent issue on “existence”, it’s pretty interesting, if you are OK with incomplete answers. (Figuring out how the universe got so large is still a serious head-scratcher.) My takeaway after watching this, is if “something” is not really that different from “nothing” (according to our human perception) then, well, there is still much to ponder …



NevermindUpdate: Even though several news outlets are reporting this, the album cover is still on Nirvana’s Facebook Page. I’m not sure if this smells like censorship or publicity stunt right now …

Looks like they haven’t managed to get completely get rid of it. Hard to believe this story is real. Lauren Schutte reports in the Hollywood Reporter via MSNBC:

Twenty years later, Nirvana is still managing to cause controversy.

The band, whose Nevermind album made waves when it was released in 1991 because of its cover art which featured a naked baby boy floating in a pool, has run into censorship yet again, this time on its Facebook page.

After product shots of the album (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall) were uploaded to Nirvana’s Facebook page, the social networking company removed the photo citing a violation of its Terms of Use.

“Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use,” the notice read.


Interesting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com: The evidence has been mounting for years that early humans and Neanderthals interbred, but now it’s pretty much a certainty. Part of the X chromosome…











What can I say, true believers, it is science. Daniel Fraser reports on ABC News:

Eyre Peninsula’s Matt Waller has added another tip to the ‘don’t get eaten’ handbook with his discovery that Great White’s are much less aggressive when listening to AC/DC: particularly ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.

A South Australian charter boat operator has made a fascinating discovery whilst conducting research into what kinds of music affect the behaviour of Great White Sharks.


School's OutNadine Bells writes on Yahoo News:

It sounds like a teenager’s dream and a parent’s nightmare. Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder, is paying 24 college-aged students $100,000 to just say no — to college.

For two years, winners of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship have focused on developing business ideas instead of heading to class.

The fellows will work in Silicon Valley with a network of more than 100 mentors where they “will pursue innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow,” the press release states.




Had to imagine there would be drastic action taken. Sam Biddle writes on Gizmodo:

The faces at the Pentagon are still mighty red since WikiLeaks. And they don’t want a repeat. A new directive from the Department of Defense aims at squelching leaks — by deputizing a massive number of employees as involuntary snitches.

The document, titled “Counterintelligence Awareness and Reporting (CIAR),” directs DoD employees, military and civilian alike, to “Report, in accordance…the contacts, activities, indicators, and behaviors” of their coworkers. And given the WikiLeaks story, this means keeping tabs on your neighbor’s computer. Suspicious (and must-report) behavior includes:

“Unauthorized possession or operation of cameras, recording devices, computers, and communication devices where classified information is handled or stored.”

“Discussions of classified information over a non-secure communication device.”

“Unauthorized copying, printing, faxing, e-mailing, or transmitting classified material.”