Guedelon Castle

I came across this article about a French project to build an authentic Burgundian castle using only hand tools and local materials, as would have been done in the middle ages. It's a very ambitious project, one that won't be complete until 2023. However, it's already drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists, since it's the only place you can see a castle actually being built the way they once were. Europe, after all, already has plenty of castles in varying states of repair.

The craftsmen don't plan to stop with just the castle. Tourism is bringing in enough money that they are financially independent, and they plan to build an abbey and village once the castle is complete.


CNN.com - 'Explosion of diversity' sweeps U.S., census shows - Aug 15, 2006

CNN has an interesting article highlighting the increasing diversity of the US population.

Some key highlights:

  • Education levels increased in every state from 2000 to 2005. Nationally, the share of adults 25 and older with at least a high school diploma increased from 80 percent to 84 percent. The share of adults with at least a bachelor's degree increased from 24 percent to 27 percent.
  • Every state is getting older. Nationally, the median age -- the one at which half the population is older and half is younger -- went from 35.3 in 2000 to 36.4 last year.
  • Hispanics increased their hold as the country's largest minority group, at 14.5 percent of the population, compared with 12.8 percent for blacks. Hispanic is a term for people with ethnic backgrounds in Spanish- speaking countries. Hispanics can be of any race, and most in the U.S. are white. When demographers talk about the shrinking percentage of white people in America, generally they are talking about whites who are not Hispanic.
  • Such whites are a minority in four states -- Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas -- and the District of Columbia. The share of white people fell below 60 percent in three other states: Maryland, Georgia and Nevada. Nationally, non-Hispanic whites make up about 67 percent of the population, down from 70 percent at the start of the decade.
  • California, New York, Texas and Florida have the nation's largest immigrant populations. The new data show that immigrants will travel beyond those states if there are jobs available.

  • CNN.com - 'Explosion of diversity' sweeps U.S., census shows - Aug 15, 2006

    SPACE.com -- NASA's New Moon Project Gets a Logo

    Space.com has images of the new NASA logo for Project Orion, the new moon mission project in the works (not to be confused with the other Project Orion )

    Read more at www.space.com/news/cs_0...


    Even the President of Iran has a blog now...


    I wonder how long it will be before he opens a MySpace account....


    I was at an antique shop yesterday and picked up an interesting book, a salesman's sample of "The Nations of Europe: The Causes and Issues of the Great War".

    What's interesting about it is that it was published in 1914, shortly after the war started. It's neat to see what was thought about the war early on, and of the forces involved. There's one picture of the Austrian army training with a caption that says "They are rated as among the world's finest soldiers." :)

    There lots of great pictures, with captions that seem somewhat amusing in hindsight. There's a picture of a German airship above British ships, with a caption saying that the zepplin is capable of destroying the entire fleet with its bombs and that aircraft such as that will play an important part in the struggle. There's also a picture of a French submarine from pre-war training maneuvers, with the claim that the submarine could have destroyed the entire fleet of battleships. The author seems to be very excited about new technologies...

    The book goes on to give the reasons behind the outbreak of war, what new technologies and other factors make this war unique, etc. It also goes into the history of 19th century conflicts, and what to expect during the Great War.

    I'm tempted to track down the full, 400 page version of the book, though the salesman's copy is interesting enough by itself...


    Matt Damon cast as Kirk in Star Trek XI

    According to Slashdot, Matt Damon has been cast as a young James T. Kirk for the upcoming Star Trek XI. According to rumor, the movie is set on Kirk's first mission with the Enterprise, so they couldn't use Shatner this time. Damon does look a little like a young Shatner, but it will be strange seeing someone else playing Kirk. Still, with J.J. Abrams behind the film, it should be good.

    Read more at slashdot.org/articles/0...


    College students warned about Internet postings

    It looks like more and more colleges are becoming concerned about what students are posting on their blogs and on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

    It's often easy to forget that anything that goes on in an electronic format -- webpages, blogs, emails, pictures -- can be easily shared and passed around without your knowledge. It may seem like you're in the privacy of your own home at times, when in reality you've got the windows wide open.

    Read more at www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCAT...

    Movie-themed kid's cereal reviews

    Over on Wired.com there's a humorous review of breakfast cereals based on this summer's blockbuster movies.

    Clearly they enjoyed working together, because this isn't just another damn boring cereal with unidentifiable marshmallows. No, this is regular, mouth-flaying Cap'n Crunch with red Superman insignias. OK, admittedly they don't have the actual "S" in the middle. And the low levels of quality control over on Crunch Island have resulted in the shapes looking like anything from a heart to the opening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I give them points for trying.

    Wired News: Sweet New Silver-Screen Cereals


    Habitable Planet Possible Around Nearby Star System

    This is pretty neat - according to computer models there might be an Earth-like planet around the star 55 Cancri, about 40 light years from Earth.

    That's still pretty far, but it's looking more and more like there are other habitable planets in our neighborhood.