It seems oxygen is far more abundant than we ever suspected, particularly on moons that seem to be completely frozen solid. We recently found evidence of oxygen on Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede, and now this finding on Rhea. In fact, because the region of space surrounding Saturn’s rings has an oxygen atmosphere, it’s thought even more of the icy moons within the gas giant’s magnetosphere likely have little atmospheres of their own.” (io9)
When Your Company Kills Your iPhone : Beware. If you have your smartphone configured to receive mail from your company’s Microsoft Exchange Server, you have given the company’s IT dept. the capability to remotely control a number of your phone’s functions, including doing a remote wipe of all your content. (NPR)
As Elizabeth Currid-Halkett explains in her fascinating, well-researched new book, Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity, recent developments in the celebrity industry can tell us a great deal about our changing global culture. In an era in which more and more people are feeling alienated from their peers, stars give us a common language and allow a greater degree of social cohesion. They also fuel enormous industries — celebrity-driven occupations generate $1.5 billion in salary in Los Angeles alone. Elsewhere in the book, Currid-Halkett, the author of The Warhol Economy and an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, uses party photographs and Google to draw fascinating conclusions about the geography and social stratification of the celebrity world (Note to Angelina Jolie: Getting photographed in Las Vegas might actually hurt your fame).
Salon spoke to Currid-Halkett over the phone from Los Angeles, about our changing star culture, our obsession with celebrity minutiae, and why Paris Hilton actually deserves our respect.’ (Salon.com).
She has built a television studio in her house in Wasilla so that she can loop into Fox News broadcasts — she earns $1 million a year as a commentator — at will. She is the first former office-holder and vice-presidential candidate to star in her own reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, for which she is earning $2 million and which debuted last week on TLC to record-breaking numbers. Five million people watched, making it the highest-rated premiere in the channel’s history.
These are branding opportunities that, even a few years ago, would’ve been considered too down-market and damaging for a potential presidential candidate. They are working.’ (NYPOST.com)
How many of these have you visited? I have been in three of the ten, bookshop aficionado as I am.
- In Praise of the Humble Comma (time.com)
- Celebrate National Punctuation Day Sept 24th (whattheythink.com)
- German body scanner protesters remove clothes at airport (gadling.com)
- Body scanners scan people walking by (warintel.blogspot.com)
- Do Your Travel Plans Include A Full Body Scan Or An Intrusive Probe? (businessinsider.com)
- Will new, oppressive, airport security measures keep us safer? (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- 100 naked body scan images leaked; Why is scanner picking up people in line? (americablog.com)
- Engineer refuses scanner, protects junk, gets investigated (news.cnet.com)
The Not-So Private Parts: “One of the interesting claims in the current brief that was not included in EPIC’s original request for a stay is the allegation of a violation of the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act. That would be the law passed by Congress in 2004 that is used, in part, to fight upskirt filming. The Act [PDF] prohibits the filming of private parts — it makes an exception for cleavage — when individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even if they are in a public place.
The law specifies that it applies in “circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place.” So if people know that their private areas are visible, does the law apply? If there are representational avatars instead of real naked people — a software fix devised by scanner makers L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and OSI Systems Inc. — does it apply?
These questions and the constitutional privacy issues raised by the scanners will be hashed out soon enough. The government will be filing its reply brief by December 1, and then the case should move on to oral arguments. If the court were to rule in EPIC’s favor, the TSA will have to “revise its airport screening program so that it complies with federal law,” says EPIC president Marc Rotenberg.” (via Kashmir Hill – Forbes)
…without the hysteria: “Here’s a scenario:
Middle Eastern terrorists hijack a U.S. jetliner bound for Italy. A two-week drama ensues in which the plane’s occupants are split into groups and held hostage in secret locations in Lebanon and Syria.
While this drama is unfolding, another group of terrorists detonates a bomb in the luggage hold of a 747 over the North Atlantic, killing more than 300 people.
Not long afterward, terrorists kill 19 people and wound more than a hundred others in coordinated attacks at European airport ticket counters.
A few months later, a U.S. airliner is bombed over Greece, killing four passengers.
Five months after that, another U.S. airliner is stormed by heavily armed terrorists at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and wounding 150 more.
Things are quiet for a while, until two years later when a 747 bound for New York is blown up over Europe killing 270 passengers and crew.
Nine months from then, a French airliner en route to Paris is bombed over Africa, killing 170 people from 17 countries.
That’s a pretty macabre fantasy, no? A worst-case war-game scenario for the CIA? A script for the End Times? Except, of course, that everything above actually happened, in a four-year span between 1985 and 1989. The culprits were the al-Qaidas of their time: groups like the Abu Nidal Organization and the Arab Revolutionary Cells, and even the government of Libya…
I bring all of this up for a couple of reasons.
If nothing else, it demonstrates how quickly we forget the past. Our memories are short, and growing shorter, it seems, all the time. Our collective consciousness seems to reinvent itself daily, cobbled from a media blitz of short-order blurbs and 30-second segments. There will be a heavy price to pay, potentially, for having developed such a shallow and fragile mind-set.
With respect to airport security, it is remarkable how we have come to place Sept. 11, 2001, as the fulcrum upon which we balance almost all of our decisions. As if deadly terrorism didn’t exist prior to that day, when really we’ve been dealing with the same old threats for decades. What have we learned? What have we done?” (via Ask the Pilot – Salon)
According to court documents, 67-year-old Steven Cowan became enraged while watching Palin dance on Monday evening. He felt Palin was not a good dancer…” (via Wausau Daily Herald)
“The Leonid meteor shower rolls through the sky once a year, peaking in mid-November. It’s caused by a trail of debris that travels along the orbit of the comet Tempel-Tuttle.The 2010 Leonid meteor shower runs from Wednesday, Nov. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 21. The peak will be the nights between the 17th and the 19th.The Leonids are famous for being spectacular storms — since the orbit of the Temple-Tuttle comet intersects with that of Earth, the debris cloud our planet passes through each year is dense and full of particles and meteoroids. In optimal viewing conditions on a good year, you can see between 15 and 30 meteors per hour streaking across the sky during the peak.” (via Wired How-To Wiki)
- “Leonid meteor shower 2010: when to watch, where to look” and related posts (personalmoneystore.com)
- Get Ready: Leonid Meteor Shower Starts Early Wednesday (cbsnews.com)
- Best time to see Leonid meteor shower: now (msnbc.msn.com)
- Best Time to See the Leonid Meteor Shower is Now (space.com)
- Leonid meteor shower to peak Thursday (topinews.com)
- Leonid Meteor Shower 2010 Peaks Now (livescience.com)
- Don’t Miss The Leonid Meteor Shower TONIGHT (huffingtonpost.com)
‘Follow Me Here’ celebrates 11 years of weblogging today.Yes, eleven years. I once was totally cutting edge, I fancied! In any case, many thanks to my loyal readers, new and old.
Why don’t you leave a comment telling me what you found to be the most memorable FmH post of the past year? or the most unmemorable (grin)?
It is also the 11th blogiversary of Kevin Murphy’s Ghost in the Machine, the ‘blog twin’ of FmH. All the best, Kevin! And many happy returns.
My story is about the surprising power of the placebo effect — what happens in the brain and body when you think you’re taking medicine or receiving treatment — and the problems in the pharmaceutical industry caused by the increasing number of experimental drugs that are failing in clinical trials to outperform dummy pills used as controls.
It’s always gratifying to see a story you’ve worked hard on be embraced by readers, linked to by other journalists, and recognized by a venerable institution like the AAAS. Even Stephen Colbert ended up riffing on the seemingly absurd notion that sugar pills could perform better in a trial than an expensive experimental drug…”
Although my praise is not as important as that of the AAAS, I too found the piece lucid and important. Perhaps that is because it agrees with my own biases; I have often said that most of healing relies on the placebo effect, i.e. mobilizing the body and mind’s own powers.
- NeuroTribes (followmehere.com)
- So, What’s in a Placebo, Anyway? (nlm.nih.gov)
- Good Placebos Gone Bad (3quarksdaily.com)
- The Message of the Placebo (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- When is a Placebo Not Really a Placebo? Maybe More Often Than You Think (blogs.wsj.com)
- What’s In Your Placebo? (motherjones.com)
- The Kavli Prizes (cenblog.org)
Happy Guy Fawkes Night: “Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Anglican King James I of England and VI of Scotland and replace him with a Catholic head of state. The survival of the king was first celebrated on 5 November 1605, after Guy Fawkes, left in charge of the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords, was discovered and arrested.
The same month the surviving conspirators were executed, in January 1606 the Observance of 5th November Act 1605, commonly known as the “Thanksgiving Act” was passed, ensuring that for more than 250 years 5 November was kept free as a day of thanksgiving. According to historian and author Antonia Fraser, a study of the sermons preached on the first anniversary of 5 November demonstrates an anti-Catholic concentration “mystical in its fervour”. Each anniversary of the plot’s failure was for years celebrated by the ringing of church bells, special sermons, and the lighting of bonfires. Further controversies such as the marriage of Charles I to the Catholic Henrietta Maria of France and the 1679 Popish Plot helped fuel the popularity of the events, which at times became a celebration not of the deliverance of a monarch, but of anti-Papist sentiment…
Historically the date has been celebrated by the burning of effigies of contemporary hate-figures… Some modern instances of burning effigies exist; in Lewes in 1994 revellers immolated the effigies of politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and John Major, alongside Fawkes.” (via Wikipedia)
This is not the point of Thomas Friedman’s op-ed piece, but it is the interesting part:
Obama’s visit comes shortly after the emergence of shocking video footage showing Indonesian soldiers torturing two villagers in the West Papuan highlands. The Indonesian government has admitted that the torturers were its soldiers.
Controversially, in July this year, the Obama administration lifted its ban on assistance to Indonesia’s notorious elite special forces, Kopassus. Kopassus had been barred from receiving US military aid for more than a decade because of human-rights abuses including killings, disappearances and torture.
The President, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, will make his first official visit to the country since taking office.” (via Survival International)
Bush said he wanted to put an end to assertions by critics that Cheney was the real decision-maker and to “demonstrate that I was in charge.” ‘ (via The Associated Press)
(Yes, the puppeteer allows the puppet to think about cutting his strings.)
“…if everyone who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win this election, I’m confident that we will.” –President Barack Obama
The neuroscientist was Daniel Levitin, a psychologist at McGill University and author of the bestsellers This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. He was joined onstage by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and its conductor, Edwin Outwater. Together they took the audience a guided tour of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, perhaps the best-known work in the Western musical canon. Audience members were given electronic “clickers” with which they could respond to Levitin’s questions and voice their own reactions to what was being played; the results were displayed on a giant screen in real time.” (via New Scientist CultureLab)
“With his new film, writer-director Gareth Edwards says he set out to make the most realistic monster movie ever. Not that he wanted the most biological plausible aliens or the highest possible quality of special effects. He wanted a film about a story that might happen if aliens really had invaded Earth. Has he succeeded? ” (via New Scientist CultureLab)