Saturday, July 26, 2008
I had been putting off adding the picture and link because I didn't know how to link the picture to the destination address. Turns out (just like everything else on these machines [with the exception of Microsoft ware]) it's much easier to do than I'd guessed. At least in Google's system, go to layout, then add a page element, then add a picture. (For the following, it'll help to have two pages open: one to your "layout" options, and the other to the increment page.) From the increment page, pic the most appealing portrait and right-click on it. Select "Properties" from the list, and the URL of that picture will be on the info panel. Copy and paste that URL into the source. For my current picture it's http://www.splotchy.com/goaway/georgewbush_ghoul.jpg. Alternatively, you can download your chosen picture onto your hard drive, then browse and choose that picture rather than simply pointing to it on the web.
After you add the picture, you have the option to fill in the destination URL- what you want the picture to link to. That would be http://www.splotchy.com/goaway. Fill that in, hit save and you're done. Except for poking your picture in the eyes, punching his nose, snapping his ears, bopping him on the head, or whatever abusive symbolism you choose to engage in. And it would be nice if you encourage other blogging friends to follow your example.
Oh, and stop by and thank Splotchy for coming up with the idea and following through.
I'm creating quite the interwebs fingerprint.
Then I came across this...
(Read the rest...)
As you may know, under the Public Screening Act, all citizens are undergoing routine checks for anomalies. We do so through the use of public sources only, aggregating and mining your digital traces.
According to our findings, which are accurate in 99.5% of all cases -- thus legally qualifying as proof beyond reasonable doubt -- we have come to the following conclusions:
You really should read the rest. I'm not sayin' we're going to go this way. I'm just sayin' it sounds wayyyyy too easy to go this way.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Der Spiegel is roughly the German equivalent of the US's NYT. I signed up for their newsletter about a week and a half ago, and I've been pretty pleased. They tend to have one major story or theme they focus on each day, but they hit it from a variety of perspectives. One I really liked was a set on nuclear power. Germany under current law is required to go nuke-free over the next few years; as you might imagine, the energy price spike has a lot of people questioning that, but a lot of people adamant. Today's theme is Obama's speech. I haven't read those articles yet, but the headlines range from, He's clearly #44, to somewhat disparaging and dismissive. It's an interesting approach to reporting.
Here's their front page online. As I've said before, I like e-mail newsletters. You can sign up for theirs here.
This one had me in tears a bit ago
more cat pictures
This one sinks in slow... but that expression just gets funnier
more cat pictures
more cat pictures
This was the one that I first really cracked up over a couple of months back
more cat pictures
This one's not so much funny (just a pun), but this cat looks a lot like the one that adopted me. But she does not like being held. Picked up briefly, OK; more than a few seconds and the claws are out, digging in for traction.
more cat pictures
Californians are only afraid of four things: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Check out their other stuff too. I really like the t-shirt with "fucking pterodactyls."
Update: The button is no longer down from this post. Now you have to scroll up to see it.
http://view.break.com/525219 - Watch more free videos
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Oddly (and tragically) enough, that is a question that has been answered: on August 21, 1986, Lake Nyos in Cameroon erupted about 1.6 million tonnes (I think that spelling implies metric tons, about 2200 pounds) of carbon dioxide, killing 1700 people and thousands of livestock. A few years later, I argued with a professor over whether pollution was necessarily man-made, and used Lake Nyos as an example. (For the context of atmospheric chemistry, his definition stood) But imagine millions of tons of CO2 erupting near a city. The victims would never know what hit them.
This is why I've been uneasy with the idea of sequestration. Most investigations have been made in land-based sites with sedimentary rocks like sandstones and limestones that have ample pore space and permeability to allow fluids to be pumped into them. But both of these types of rock would tend to be chemically nonreactive with CO2: the gas would just sit there, in human terms, essentially forever. From my perspective, it just looks like an accident waiting to happen.
However, there have been a couple of articles recently that make the idea look a little more appealing to me. A group has looked at the sea floor basalt of the west coast, from Northern California to Southern British Columbia. Basalt has a high proportion of calcium feldspar and magnesium silicates such as olivine and pyroxene. And calcium and magnesium both react nicely with CO2 to form carbonate minerals- calcite and magnesite, respectively. Basalt also contains lots of iron, which will react to form siderite. In other words, if we pump our exhaust into basalt, it will react to form stable minerals. It goes away over time, rather than sitting there as an enormous pressurized pocket waiting to leak.
A similar article out of Queensland University of Technology suggests injecting CO2 into magnesium-rich rock units.
I really like the idea of locking the gas up chemically. I'm really not comfortable with just pumping it into the ground and assuming it will stay put. And these ideas, while promising, do not represent a full answer. I haven't seen any realistic estimates of costs- and costs need to take into account the forgone energy used to pump the CO2 into the ground. If it costs all the energy generated from a ton of coal to sequester the equivalent exhaust, it's a non-starter. Another problem is that conventional methods of burning fossil fuels use regular air, which is 80% nitrogen. Thus the exhaust is 80% N. You need to either use pure oxygen to burn the fuel- expensive- or you need to separate the CO2 from the exhaust stream- which I can't imagine being cheap. Still, I see this as a promising area for further study.
Rawley pointed out that BadAstronomy had posted this in video form and shore-nuff:
The photographer, Hal Brindley, posted the video on his site. He also has up thirty some pictures, representing the whole sequence. Good stuff!
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