Saturday, March 18, 2006

Geoffrey Chaucer's blog

Chaucer knows enough acronyms to work at NASA


KRBMA: Kynge Richarde II buggynge me againe

AOMSHJDOTBD: anothere of myne servauntes hath just dyede of the blacke death

EISBYMIWATCHDNSTHD: eftsoon I shall be ycleped mad if worke atte the customes house doth not settle the helle downe

(via Metafilter)

Emily Yoffe is awesome

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bitch 'n' moan

I try not to be a whiner, but here I go ...

(1) This morning I got an email from NASA HQ that stated

In your planning for next year, assume that you will get cut by 15%

A little later I got an email from NSPIRES (they really need to change the name to XSPIRES) that listed a scad of grant programs that are being cancelled, delayed indefinitely, or reduced. The guy who convinced me to come to Colorado said that half of his funding will disappear if this goes through. He is a very well-respected scientist.

(2) Yesterday my wife got an email from the doctor who will treat her rheumatoid arthritis in London stating that maybe she should try an experimental drug instead of Remicade. This was right after the story broke about six healthy guys in a Phase 1 Trial in London screaming like their heads were going to explode immediately after taking a drug for, among other things, rheumatoid arthritis. This, by the way, was right after I dismissed The Constant Gardener for engaging in implausible conspiracy theorizing.

(3) The bit rates between Colorado, Texas, and the UK trying to arrange the simplest things for my sabbatical have been ... very ... slow ....

(4) Our house is full of crap we don't need.

(5) My father's house is full of crap that nobody needs, despite my best efforts to go through it last week.

(6) I still have untreated sleep apnea.

(7) Our son's school needs to raise tuition a lot for next year, and I don't know how we can afford this.

(8) My wife has a cold.

(9) My cat throws up all the time.

(10) The dog ate my homework.

OK, I'm done now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stagnant North, Recede!

We saw Fernando Meirelles' film of The Constant Gardener last night. I was sure I'd love it, since I'm a big fan of City of God, but I thought it was awful - entertaining, but really superficial. This reviewer nailed it, mostly.

WMD, kitty litter, or Playboy: you make the call

... the radiation in cat litter comes from trace amounts of uranium, thorium, and potassium-40. Glossy magazines and brazil nuts are also culprits. A guy at Oak Ridge measured the gamma-ray spectrum of Playboy magazine.

Scientists at NIST in Boulder have developed a new gamma-ray detector that, they hope, will be able to distinguish highly-enriched uranium from kitty litter.