SpaceX Succeeds - Sort of..

It looks like SpaceX's second attempt to launch it's Falcon 1 rocket was a success today - almost. While the rocket did successfully launch, they lost contact with it during the second stage, prior to reaching LEO. This is still good news for the company, as their first launch failed on the launch pad a year ago. The price tag of $7 million per launch makes them a very affordable alternative to other launching services, and potentially allows them to work with NASA to service the ISS.

Falcon flies to space but misses orbit


Good news for terraformers

ESA's Mars Express probe has massive ice depostits on Mars's south pole, up to 2.3 miles thick. This is good news for those who hope to one day set up bases on the planet, and eventually colonize it.

Huge ice deposits cover souSave as Draftth pole of Mars - CNN.com


Probe spots seas on Saturn's moon Titan - CNN.com

It looks like images sent back by Cassini have revealed natural gas seas on Titan. They've been theorized for along time, but this is the first definitive proof.

Probe spots seas on Saturn's moon Titan - CNN.com


The real Sparta

This article is a good comparison of Spartan society as depicted in "300" to our actual historic knowledge of the city-state.

While I loved the movie, I did get a chuckle out of Sparta cast in the role of defender of democracy and western values. While that was the long term effect of the Battle of Thermopylae, it was more of an accident than any intentional desire of Sparta -- it bought time for the Athenians to evacuate and for their fleet to regroup and destroy the Persians at Salamis.

Sparta practiced ruthless eugenics, had an economy devoted to the single purpose of training elite soldiers, and had a secret police that waged perpetual war on their hundreds of thousands of serfs via teenage military trainees sent out to fend for themselves and kill any serfs they came across.

LiveScience.com - Sparta, Spandex and Disturbing Distortions of '300'


So what excuse do men have?

Scientists discover the cause of most of Mankind's woes:

LiveScience.com - Study: Genes Make Women Cranky


No Comment

LiveScience.com - Gorillas Gave Humans 'The Crabs'

Friendship & Gender

A new study on friendship and gender:

A four-year study by sociologists at The University of Manchester has found that women are much more likely than men to make deep and lasting friendships.

The investigation into social networks by the University’s Research Centre for Socio-Cultural Change found that men are more fickle and calculating about who they should be friends with.

Women on the other hand, stand by their friends through thick and thin.

ScienceDaily: Women Are Best At Being Buddies


The new Final Frontier

Wired.com has an article up about the potential new industry of undersea mining. It looks like technology is reaching a point where tapping major deposits on the ocean floor is economically viable.

Wired 15.03: Race to the Bottom


The Origin of Species

LibriVox has Darwin's Origin of Species in free downloadable audio formats -- all 24 hours of it...

LibriVox » The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin


Evolution and Religion

The New York Times magazine has a story up this week about research into the origins of religious belief. I think there's good evidence that humans are genetically predisposed toward the supernatural. Perhaps not a monotheistic god in heaven per se, but all of us have a touch of animism. We may just call it luck or fortune, or we may have a sense of there being a purpose to the world beyond us. The universe is a big place, and ascribing human or at least giving it anima helps us deal with what would otherwise be cold equations.

Evolution and Religion - Darwin’s God - Robin Marantz Henig - New York Times


Lunar eclipse on Saturday night

Saturday beginning at 3:18pm and reaching totality at 5:44pm (ET) the moon will undergo the first total eclipse in nearly three years.

If you're outside tomorrow afternoon or evening, look up.

SPACE.com -- Saturday Night Special: Easy-to-Watch Lunar Eclipse


Pre-columbian solar temple

A nice pic of a 2300 year old observatory in Peru:

SPACE.com -- Ancient Solar Observatory Discovered

Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll -- New York Magazine

New York Magazine has an interesting article on the "new generation gap", highlighting the different behavior online between those younger than 25 or so and those old.

Old news for most members of said younger generation, but interesting.

Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll -- New York Magazine

No great surprise here

A recent study has found that people see what thier beliefs make them want to see:

LiveScience.com - The Rich See What They Believe