Open thread

We’re getting closer to beating the Romulans at their own game!  “For the first time ever, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have developed a material with a negative refractive index for visible light. Ames Laboratory senior physicist Costas Soukoulis, working with colleagues in Karlsruhe, Germany, designed a silver-based, mesh-like material that marks the latest advance in the rapidly evolving field of metamaterials, materials that could lead to a wide range of new applications as varied as ultrahigh-resolution imaging systems and cloaking devices.”

King George has taken his dictator powers one step further.  “President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant, the Daily News has learned. The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a ‘signing statement’ that declared his right to open people’s mail under emergency conditions. That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.”

Don’t miss Friday Ark #120.  Visit throughout the weekend for a growing list of links to all sorts of animal photos and stories.

As mArniAc said when she forwarded this to me, WTF!?  “Authorities are dropping a disorderly conduct charge against a 12-year-old special education student who they accused of deliberately wetting her pants at school. Superintendent Steve Keifer said Thursday that it was a mistake to bring police into a case of school discipline.”  Huh?  A special-ed student wet her pants, so they call the police and have her charged with disorderly conduct?  You wanna run that by me again because I swear what I heard was that a bunch of adults were abusing a child by getting the police involved in what ABSOLUTELY was not a criminal issue.  To again quote mArniAc on this: “Ok, this world is truly insane.”  You got that right, sister.

I rather enjoyed Ryland’s discussion of the hypocrisy of anti-evolutionists.  I’d quote some of it, but I think doing so would ruin the experience.  I’ll just recommend heartily that you read it.  It’s not long and it’s not complicated.  It’s just a layman’s view of the debate, and it’s incisively correct.

This is why Christmas trees should be recycled.  Just look at that photo!  “Holiday leftovers aren’t just for humans. Elephant calf Thabo-Umasai at Germany’s Zoo Dresden joined camels, deer, and sheep in a traditional new-year feast of Christmas trees…”  The elephants ate about five trees apiece.

I don’t find this at all surprising, but I do find it to be yet another reason to urgently move to renewable energy.  “The most damaging earthquake in Australia’s history was caused by humans, new research says. The magnitude-5.6 quake that struck Newcastle, in New South Wales, on December 28, 1989, killed 13 people, injured 160, and caused 3.5 billion U.S. dollars worth of damage. That quake was triggered by changes in tectonic forces caused by 200 years of underground coal mining, according to a study by Christian D. Klose of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.”

More bad news about the impending crash of the oceanic ecosystem: “The warming of the oceans is having a cruel effect on some fish: they can’t breathe fast enough to survive in a hotter home.”  As the water temperatures rise, some fish die out because they can’t breathe, and this is only one part of the overall devastation that will cause sea life to die out by 2050.

Leave a Reply