Daily Archives: March 23, 2009

The Best of Twitter

Macroblogging the microblog so you don’t have to.

From BoraZ: Texting Your Catch: New Technology For Recreational Fishing Data

At nearly every fisheries management meeting he attends, Baker hears the same complaint: North Carolina’s recreational fishermen don’t have to account for their catch. Two years ago, during a regional meeting about snapper and grouper, Baker looked down at his hands and finally saw a possible answer: his mobile phone.

“I wondered if you could send a text message to a computer database somewhere instead of just texting from phone to phone,” he says. “And if you could do that, maybe that was something recreational fishermen could do to track their catches and fishing effort.”

And so, of course, they are twittering the fish. Story here.

Fossil Challenge #1 – Marine Carboniferous Invertebrates from the Ozarks

Ever since I was a small child I have been collecting fossils. In fact, I can trace my own fascination with biology directly to my discovery that the very house in which I lived (actually a trailer back then), was set upon land literally made of these long dead and formerly ocean-dwelling ancestors and distant cousins….

What???? The corpses of your cuzins was littered all over the property????? Read the whole story here, then dial 911…

Minnesota Recount End Is In Sight

So, my friend Phil was in the Air Force up near Grand forks (where the flooding is happening now). He told me today they use to use a super tall radio tower to spot weather, and this tower was something like 70 miles away. So it was in sight, but almost unbelievably so.

Similarly, there is an end in sight for the Minnesota Senate Recount…
Continue reading Minnesota Recount End Is In Sight

Which boots faster, Linux or Windows?

Everybody knows the answer is almost always Linux, and one of the reasons for that is because Windows cheats. Mr. Exile has run a test in which he compares two laptops, one with four times the memory and about double the processor speed and a more advanced processor, with the hotter computer running XP and the older, less powered computer running Linux.

Since the valid test is not when the desktop pops up (because Windows is still busy booting when that happens), Mr. Exile instead timed how long it took for him to have a browser opened to his web based email page.

If you are a Windows Apologist Jingoist, don’t even bother reading Mr. Exile’s analysis, because you will simply become depressed and despondent when you see the results. If you are a Happy Linux person, go over to Mr. Exile’s post and drop him a line.

The analysis and results are here.

I should say that I have the same exact experience, except to get to email, I compare Evolution on a Linux computer with Outlook on a managed Windows computer. The amount of time from turning on the Windows computer on a Monday Morning (I turn the computer off over the weekend) and being able to read the most recent email on the managed computer is between 15 and 25 minutes, if I don’t have to reboot. It has been as long as 45 minutes, and earlier this week it was one day because the network was borked so I just went home and worked there. Yes, you read that right. NORMAL startup is 15 to 20 minutes before the first readable email.

The amount of time on the computer running Linux and using Evolution to access the same account plus four other accounts is … I don’t know, never felt the need to measure it. Three or four minutes, I think.

New Particle Throws Monkeywrench in Particle Physics

We know where Dora’s monkey is…. She’s over at Fermi Lab throwing a wrench in Teh Physics:

… scientists have detected a new, completely untheorized particle that challenges what physicists thought they knew about how quarks combine to form matter. They’re calling it Y(4140), reflecting its measured mass of 4140 Mega-electron volts.

“It must be trying to tell us something,” said Jacobo Konigsberg of the University of Florida, a spokesman for Fermilab’s collider detector team. “So far, we’re not sure what that is, but rest assured we’ll keep on listening.”

Over Fishing and the War on Science

Blogfish has an interesting writeup on what they call “New England’s War on Science” ( might think of it as “Coastal New England’s War on Science”)

Fishing interests in New England have convinced politicians to launch a new war on science and common sense. They want to keep catching fish faster than they can reproduce.

New England’s war on science might be dismissed as simple regional protectionism if it didn’t include Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Snowe, Collins, Reed, Whitehouse and Shaheen. That’s not just a few fishermen throwing elbows. Or is it?

Which is, of course, a mix of Democratic and Republican politicians.

This war has been going on since Sixteen Oh Something when Samuele de Champlain watched his men pulling pulling ‘countless cod sufficient such ye can walk across their backs to reech thine distant shore’ or words to that effect and his first mate and ship’s surgeon started arguing over whether cod reproduced naturally or were placed there by divine intervention as were humans.

OK, I’m joking about the exact details of Champlain’s observation, but it is true that back in the day you could not swing a dead catfish without hitting a shoal of cod on the New England coast, and today there are almost none. The sea has been scoured almost clean in this region. And, most disturbing, we have good Democrats with their own war on science.

Go to Blogfish’s links and poke around with the links.

Texans up to no good

… as usual …

a legislator in Texas has introduced a bill to require open document formats in all state government business. The bill is carefully worded such that only ODF could pass its test as “open.” The story is covered by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which is careful to be even-handed, giving Microsoft’s spokesman equal time. A ZDNet blogger notes that the bill, introduced by a Democrat in a state whose politics is dominated by Republicans, faces chances that “…fall somewhere east of slim and west of none.”

from /.

An up close and personal look at flooding in the Red River Valley

In 1997, the sandbagging was not enough to save Grand Forks. The river rose higher than it had been since 1826. Downtown Grand Forks was destroyed by explosions and fire that added on to the damage caused by the water. … The local TV stations carried stories of cattle stranded in flowing water, unable to reach higher ground. Some cattle were frozen standing in place as the floodwaters froze at night.

From A Simple Assignment . Go read it!

Welcome Spring Storm Season

This picture, from a current (as of this writing) accuweather forecast page, is an excellent illustration of what happens here in the upper Midwest the spring.


The overall pattern of movement of air masses at the continental scale is west to east, with extra moist and extra warm air secondarily moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and cool and usually dry air coming form the Northwest (not shown here but note the “blizzard” part) and with dry Pacific/Rocky Mountain air coming from the west. The main energy flow to keep an eye on is that coming from the Gulf.

There is a rule of thumb you can apply here….

Continue reading Welcome Spring Storm Season