Whistling in the Wind


News and Site Updates Archive 2008/01/04 - 2008/01/31

We are living in a different world now. You can see it everywhere in international relations:
It was noteworthy that, after his visit to Washington, the Chinese president's next stop was Saudi Arabia.

- Daniel Yergin

31 Jan '08 - I buy a couple of wingback chairs on an online auction.  I have great difficulty finding someone to ship them to me from a town a full day's drive away.  I pay one person whose subcontract with the actual shipping company (I only later discover) is being disputed.  After 3 weeks of excuses, he folds, but very nicely refunds my money, so I find another shipper.  I do not request insurance - I don't know why - maybe because it is costing me $300 to ship 2 chairs that I only paid $170 in total for?  (Insurance was never mentioned, and I think I just forgot.)  Of course, one of the chairs arrives with one of its Queen Anne feet broken and another is missing completely.  I try everything to get replacements with no luck.  One furniture maker offers to carve them - but this will cost several hundred dollars and I only paid $85 for that chair.  We find similar feet online, but they are located in the US and the company will not (he says cannot) ship overseas.  (Does this inability stem from insurance rules? Tax rules?)  I offer to pay the cost if they'll pack and insure them but the answer is no.  So I buy 8 feet - now all the feet on both chairs will match - for $200 and then have them shipped to our mail service in Whippany, New Jersey.  When the feet arrive, I instruct the mail service to send them on to us.  This adds an expensive layer to delivery, but I assume it will work.  Except it doesn't.  After 7 weeks of waiting, it appears the chair feet have fallen off the back end of the world.  Pursuit will be time and resource consuming, but not to worry.  I find a tattered wingback chair for sale on the same online auction for very little money.  The owner had intended to "do it up" but is moving on to other things.  The feet on the chair are identical to the feet I am missing.  I email the seller and tell him that I only need two of the chair's feet, but I need them rather badly.  If I win the bidding for the chair, will he remove the chair feet and send me only them?  (It will cost me $150 to have the whole chair shipped - I will just throw or give it away after removing the feet - but the feet alone will cost only a few dollars to ship.)  The tattered-chair owner replies, "What do you expect me to do with a 2-footed chair - tango?"  He says if I want the feet, I will have to remove them myself.  Why this hostility?  My guess is that my buying only two of the feet, though I pay more than someone else is willing to pay for the whole chair, doesn't solve the owner's problem - which is how to dispose of a tired chair he no longer wants.  Back to the drawing board.

       350,000 species of beetles dot collections around the world, and millions more are estimated to exist but haven't been discovered — which means they make up more than 25% of all known species of life forms.  They appeared more than 300 million years ago - predating the arrival of dinosaurs by about 70 million years...  Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards (a homophobe satire reminiscent of this (click to begin play), a gentler presentation...  On 23 October 2007 the US House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.  The bill passed on a vote of 404 - 6.  In the Senate the bill (sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins) apparently faces no meaningful opposition.  Called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act," when HR 1955 becomes law it will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas.  The commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs.  The bill will, in short, create massive terrorism in the US.  But the perpetrators will not be Muslims - they will be government agents...  The enormous gap between what US leaders do and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments. – Michael Parenti

       Teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults.  This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11pm (when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin) and waking up much before 8am (when their bodies stop producing melatonin).  The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28% of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll.  Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates...  If you need to memorise something quickly or if your schedule is filled with different activities which require learning "how" to do things, it is worth finding the time for a 90-minute afternoon nap during which time your brain can consolidate your memories.  Further, If you’re looking for a quick memory fix, move your eyes from side-to-side for 30 seconds.  Horizontal eye movements are thought to cause the two hemispheres of the brain to interact more with one another, and communication between brain hemispheres is important for retrieving certain types of memories.  Or you could smoke.  One reason [that] people smoke is because it enhances mental sharpness.  Until now, neuroscientists thought hair-like extensions called axons were like the "wires" in a radio, conveying signals between brain cells.  But they found that stimulation of the axon actually altered the strength of the signal, like turning the volume knob on a radio.  In one experiment, scientists either stimulated a neuron's axon with nicotine or did not apply nicotine.  Without nicotine, about 35% of the messages sent by the brain cell reached the cortex, while the success rate jumped to nearly 70% with nicotine.

       What is the chart on the left meant to illustrate?...  Researchers find that people think about past foul-ups or missed opportunities in several ways: some fixate and are at an elevated risk for mood problems.  Others ignore regrets and seem to live more lighthearted, if less-examined, lives.  In between are those who walk carefully through the minefield of past choices, gamely doing what they can to dig up and defuse live traps.  Young adults who score high on measures of psychological well-being tend to think of regretted decisions as all their own — maybe because they still have time to change.  By contrast, older people who score highly tend to share blame for regretted decisions ("I tried to reach out to him, but the effort wasn't returned").  With age, people apparently detoxify regrets by reframing them as mutual misunderstandings, a touch-up that may (or not) be more accurate...  The World Values Survey of 120,000 people in 96 countries found those who are moderately happy make more money than those who rate their satisfaction level the highest.  Another study found the happiest college students are the most social but have lower grade-point averages than their slightly less happy peers.  In studies looking at well-being several years after initially assessing happiness levels, the happiest people wound up with less education, lower incomes, and shorter lives than the moderately happy.

       A staggering £8 billion-worth of food is thrown away in Britain every year.  For every 3 bags of shopping brought home, one ends up in a landfill.  Experts said too much food is being thrown away because consumers let it go off in the fridge or cupboard, or portions are too big and leftovers are simply binned.  If households cut out such waste it would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road.  (Maybe people just need to get a dog?)...  Personal consumption accounts for 70% of the US economy.  Consumer satisfaction with the economy has reached a 15-year low there - Americans are buying just as much gasoline as ever, but paying more for it, forcing cutbacks in other purchases.  A similar trend is evident in the cost of natural gas, electricity and home heating oil as those big houses in the suburbs need lots of energy and a car for shopping - and that won't change quickly.  Advertising is important because consumers must be encouraged to keep buying until it hurts...  Wasteful Britons toss unwanted Christmas presents worth more than NZ$125 million, according to new research.  The study on behalf of Surrey county council found that the nation's least-loved gifts were toiletries, with 1/4 of those asked claiming to have received unwanted soaps and perfumes.  The survey found more than 3% of people just threw their unwanted gifts straight in the bin.  At an average cost of NZ$25 per gift, that adds up to almost £50 million destined for the tip.  1 in 12 turn disappointment into profit by selling unwanted gifts.  1 in 3 say they gave unwanted presents to charity shops, while 1 in 5 confessed to saving them to give back to friends and family.

      Try doing laps in THIS pool: the world's largest outdoor swimming pool is as long as 10 football fields...  Despite their intelligence giant Pacific octopus are relatively short lived - going from the size of a rice grain at birth to being fully grown within the space of 2 years...  Coal is not scarce like oil.  Rather, coal reserves are cheap and plentiful, especially in developing countries like China and India, which use coal to expand exponentially their economies (and emissions).  One new coal-fired power plant comes on-line every week in either China or India, and the US has 150 such power plants in various stages of planning.  Yet, to avoid climate catastrophe we supposedly must reduce emissions 80% by 2050.  Is that even remotely possible?...  Most cells don't divide, whatever students learn — they just get old and die.  The body subcontracts out the job of replacing them to a special class of cells called stem cells.  Embryonic stem cells — those in an early-stage embryo — can grow into any kind of cell: spleen, nerve, bone, whatever.  Rather than having to wait for a heart transplant, maybe a patient could use stem cells to grow a new heart: organ transplant without need for a donor.  Biotechnology increasingly resembles the software industry in its dependence on venture capital, loathing of regulation, pathological secretiveness, penchant for hype, willingness to work overseas.

       You get more pleasure from buying something expensive than buying something on sale even if the expensive item isn't objectively worth the cost (advertisers know this well).  Scientists put subjects into magnetic resonance imaging brain scanners then gave each several tastes of wine, assigning each wine a random price.  In actuality, the wine served was exactly the same in each instance.  But the scan revealed more neurological activity in pleasure centres when subjects were informed that they were tasting expensive wine (the results will be used to further dupe the unsuspecting)...  In 2006, about 27 million American men held a college degree; so did about 27 million American women.  But male college graduates tend to be old, and female graduates tend to be young.  Among people age 65 and older, men are much more likely than women to be college-educated.  Middle-aged men and women are at parity.  Among young adults ages 25 to 34 years old, the college gap favours women almost as lopsidedly as it favours men among the grandparents' generation.  1/3 of today's college-bound 12-year-old girls can expect to "settle" for a mate without a university diploma - but women will not stop wanting to be hands-on moms.  For families, this will pose a dilemma as women will have a comparative advantage at both parenting and breadwinning.  Many women will want to take time off for child-rearing, but the cost of keeping a college-educated mom at home while a high-school-educated dad works will be high, often prohibitive...  A household in which both parents work part-time on their careers and part-time looking after children and the home does not make rational economic sense.  Two halves are much less than a whole.  Economies of scale dictate that, logically, one partner should apply himself or herself full-time to paid work.  The other should work at home-making and only work for money if there is spare time available after household chores.  There is no reason to believe that men are generally breadwinners because they are good at it - they may simply be breadwinners because getting them to help around the house is even worse.

       A 15-year-old Australian liver transplant patient has defied modern medicine by taking on her donor's immune system.  Demi-Lee Brennan had a liver transplant after she suffered liver failure.  9 months later, doctors were amazed to find the teenager's blood group had changed to the donor's blood type.  Further tests revealed the stem cells from the donor liver had penetrated her bone marrow.  The doctor and his colleagues were even more surprised when they found the girl's immune system had almost totally been replaced by that of the donor, meaning she no longer had to take anti-rejection drugs...  The history of sports is full of activities once thought to alter fair competition into unfair competition - the use of shoes by runners was one - later judged perfectly natural the way munching an energy bar is today.  What's wrong with gene doping, and why not regard it as just another tool, like better food or innovative training techniques, to improve competitiveness?  Where does enhanced sport become "spectacle"?  Are bans on particular substances or practices in sports are just conventions of a particular time?  We need literacy in the ethical concepts and scientific information necessary to make informed decisions...  "Loneliness provides additional motivation to interact with kin, but only when necessary.  Affection always encourages you to interact with kin.  Loneliness also encourages you to interact with kin, but only when you have not interacted recently.  The alternative to temporary loneliness is permanently stronger affection, which would cause too much interaction [because] interaction would always be better than sex..." - The Origin of Emotions by Mark Devon

       The planet is getting skinned.  While many worry about global warming, a few scientists are pointing to another global crisis quietly taking place under our feet.  Call it the thin brown line.  Dirt.  On average, the planet is covered with little more than 3 feet of topsoil - the shallow skin of nutrient-rich matter that sustains most of our food and appears to play a critical role in supporting life on Earth.  Cropland in the US is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the time it takes for lost soil to be replaced.  We lose about 1% of topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture.  One solution?  Stop plowing.

4 Jan '08 - I get embarrassed by complimentary emails.  I suppose I'm defective socially in some way.  If you wrote me something nice and I didn't respond, it doesn't mean that it wasn't appreciated or that I didn't think about it a lot.  Sorry - and thanks.

       Oysters can be eaten half-shelled, raw, smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed, broiled (grilled) or used in a variety of drinks.  Preparation can be as simple as opening the shell and adding butter and/or salt or can be very elaborate.  In a haul of 3 tons of oysters, only 3 or 4 of them will have produced a perfect pearl.  Biologically speaking, under the right set of circumstances almost any shelled mollusk can produce some kind of pearl - however, most of these will have no lustre or iridescence.  In fact, the great majority of mollusk species produce pearls unattractive to look at and not durable and they usually have no value at all except perhaps to a scientist or as a curiosity.  Gemologists call these objects "calcareous concretions".  A Florida man recently found a small purple pearl in a clam on his lunch plate which proved to be worth about US$25k...  You save more fuel switching from a 15 to 18 mpg car than switching from a 50 to 100 mpg car.  A 15 mpg car would require 1,000 gallons of gas to drive 15,000 miles while an 18 mpg car would need just 833 gallons, saving 167 gallons of gasoline.  By contrast, since a 50 mpg uses 300 gallons to go 15,000 miles, upgrading to 100 mpg can't save that much gas - the super-efficient car would use only 150 gallons less (via Andrew Sullivan)...  An all-season jacket for the homeless can be stuffed with newspaper for insulation.  The coat, anorak-style, has drawstrings at waist and hem.  A hood folds from the collar.  Two pockets in the hood, 4 on the chest, a large one on the back, and a long one down each sleeve can be stuffed with crumpled newspaper as temperatures drop.  In warm weather, the coat can be folded into one of its pockets and straps allow it to be carried as a backpack or used as a pillow.

       Mitchell Spero spent 10 years training a pet turtle to sit, heel, stay, and roll over (video)... The gong was one of the first instruments humans created.  Can you control yourself when you see a mallet next to public gong?  No, you can't (via J-Walk)...  Schultz had just punched out for a break when he heard a commotion at the front door of the store.  The manager yelled for help stopping a shoplifter.  Schultz, the manager and another employee cornered the shoplifter between 2 cars in the parking lot; Schultz told the shoplifter to wait for police but the man broke away and ran to a nearby gas station.  Schultz caught up and grabbed his jacket, putting his leg behind the man's.  The arriving manager told Schultz to release the shoplifter, who then ran away leaving a bag of merchandise worth $346 but taking his full backpack.  The next day, Schultz was called to the store's office and fired because he violated company policy prohibiting employees from physically contacting any customer.  Schultz had worked at the store more than 5 years...  In the well-organised restaurant kitchen, next to the dish of water+vinegar for wiping plates, is a bowl of clarified butter which stays warm under the heat lamps.  In it is a pastry brush with which the chef gently wipes the top of every main course - whether the expensive sea bass with fennel, the blackleg chicken with morels, or the sausages served with mash - to make the main ingredient look even more appetising and the first mouthful even more delicious.

       Looking for the perfect birthday gift for that special someone who wants to pack heat but doesn't want to mess with bullets?  At $299 - $349, the C2 Personal Protection System may be the ticket.  Resembling something you'd shave your legs with and at 5½ inches in length, it's small enough to slip into a purse - but don't be fooled.  These babies deliver 50,000 volts of muscle-paralyzing electroshock.  Each Taser C2 is filled with small pieces of confetti with serial numbers on them that fall out when it's fired so that the owner can be identified.  Customers can get a free replacement Taser after they've fired it — but only after filing a police report.  Stun guns require physical contact with a target - that differs from a Taser, which fires an electrified cable that attaches to the target, delivering the shock; the C2 can shoot 15 feet (some police models can reach 30 feet)...  Why not tattoo a measuring tape onto your forearm?!  That way it would always be handy...  One of the most beautiful bookstores in the world...  Would you boost your brain power with "smart" pills?  It's not a matter of "Should it be allowed?" but rather one of "How fast and how deep will the practice spread?"  I predict the long-term side effects will be subtle and will take years to be acknowledged because, by then, people will have established dependencies.  Let's just jump straight to implants - that will come as well.

       Even bacteria get old.  Scientists traditionally assumed that bacteria were immortal, since these single-celled organisms split into two apparently identical daughter cells, which in turn divide, and so on. But fluorescent images of individual E coli cells over 10 generations shows that each generation's cells divide down the middle, giving each daughter cell one new tip and a tip inherited from its mother, either what had been her new tip or else an even older tip - one she inherited from her mother or grandmother, or some even older ancestor. The cells that inherit mother's older tip suffer diminished growth rate, decreased offspring production, and increased incidence of death...  If-It's-Not-One-Thing-to-Worry-about-It's-Another: Cell survival in general is influenced by an "anti-death" gene known as Bcl2.  So one scientific study included mice without that gene.  Turns out these mice would lose their melanocyte stem cells shortly after birth so their fur turned gray really quickly.  Could be that people who gray prematurely have mutations that knock out Bcl2... 

       Billions of tons of methane hydrate, frozen chunks of chemical-laced water buried in sediment some 3,000 feet under the Pacific Ocean floor, may help Japan win energy independence from the Middle East and Indonesia.  Japanese engineers have found enough "flammable ice" to meet gas use demands for 14 years.  The trick is extracting it without damaging the environment.  Japan is joining the US and Canada in test drilling for methane even as scientists express concerns about any uncontrolled release of the frozen chemical.  Some researchers blame the greenhouse gas for triggering a global firestorm that helped wipe out the dinosaurs.  Methane hydrate was a key cause of the global warming that led to one of the largest extinctions in the earth's history...  What will life be like if people stop reading?  According to the US Department of Education, between 1992 and 2003 the average adult’s skill in reading prose slipped one point on a 500-point scale, and the proportion who were proficient — capable of such tasks as "comparing viewpoints in two editorials" — declined from 15% to 13.  Between 1992 and 2005, the share of proficient 12th-grade readers dropped from 40% to 35%.  Some sociologists speculate that reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a special "reading class," much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy in the 2nd half of the 19th century.  Reading may become "an increasingly arcane hobby."  A reader learns about the world and imagines it differently from the way a viewer does; a reader and a viewer even think differently.  If the eclipse of reading continues, the alteration is likely to matter in unforeseeable ways.  It is only in a literate culture that the past’s inconsistencies must be accounted for, a process that encourages skepticism and forces history to diverge from myth.  Go!  Do yourself a favour - go read a book!

     How to paint grass?  This thriving industry can save water because brown grass painted green still looks good from the street.  They say it's non-toxic and lasts up to 12 weeks...  The 3oz container rule is silly enough — after all, what’s to stop somebody from carrying several small bottles each full of the same substance — but consider for a moment the hypocrisy of TSA’s confiscation policy.  At every concourse checkpoint you’ll see a bin or barrel brimming with contraband containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit.  Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous.  If not, why were they seized in the first place?  But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash?  They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad; they are simply thrown away.  The agency seems to be saying that it knows these things are harmless.  But it’s going to steal them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly...  Warren Blackwell spent 3 years in jail as a convicted sex attacker until his "victim" was unmasked as a fantasist.  He was awarded £252,500 compensation for his lost years minus £12,500 for his board and lodging - the estimated cost of his food and accommodation while behind bars.  Does this sound wrong to you?...  An Indian lawmaker, Nirmal Deshpande, gave the US president perhaps the least expensive present of his time in office: a yellow linen scroll with Gandhi’s warnings, with an estimated worth of $7 dollars — or one per sin.  They are "politics without principle," "wealth without work," "pleasure without conscience," "knowledge without character," "commerce without morality," "science without humanity," and "worship without sacrifice".

       The Dragon Bike has a couple of very trick mechanical features. The eyes (which are blue LED headlights) move left and right when the handlebars move - and the jaw bites when you squeeze the left brake.  (My son thinks the handlebars should be wings.)...  Toshiba has developed a new class of micro-sized nuclear reactors designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks.  The new reactor, only 20 feet x 6 feet, could change everything for those who want more control over their energy needs.  The 200 kilowatt reactor is engineered to be fail-safe, totally automatic, and will not overheat.  Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction but instead has reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope effective at absorbing neutrons.  These are connected to a vertical tube in the reactor core.  The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only US5¢ per kilowatt hour, half the cost of grid energy.  Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009...  World map showing average lifespan by country...  Price rise?  Don't think your customers will like it?  Here's a clever way to mask it...  A very lovely photo of the moon obscured by clouds on a warm windy December night...  Intriguing doors (my favourite is St Nicholas’ cathedral door.  The cathedral doors from that same church...  And more lavish detail...  In October of 2001, Apple announced the iPod and Slashdot dismissed it as an immediate failure.  Since then there have been 5 generations of iPods, as well as the iPod Mini, iPod Shuffle, and iPod Nano with 42 million iPods sold worldwide as of January 2006.  Lots of stuff about Duke Nukem and also a surprising recap of just how MUCH has been accomplished in the past 10 years...  When clutter is removed from a dwelling in order to create the archetypal vision of sparse, minimal decor, this is called "styling".  It might as well be called "lying", for it helps promote the universal untruth of architectural photography, a world without clutter, people or any kind of visual idiosyncrasy.

       Prolific reproducers and hardy survivors, they can thrive in penthouses, flophouses or any environment where they can locate warm-blooded hosts, said entomologist Louis Sorkin, who keeps a colony of 1,000 bedbugs in his office and lets them feed on his arm...  The Geographically-based Economic data [G-Econ] research project is devoted to developing a geophysically based data set on economic activity for the world covering "gross cell product" for all regions for 1990, which includes 27,500 terrestrial observations.  The basic metric is the regional equivalent of gross domestic product.  Gross cell product (GCP) is measured at a 1° longitude by 1° latitude resolution at a global scale.  A surprising amount of information can be absorbed at a glance...  A panorama of famous people (230kb) - how many do you recognise?  2.5 of the (only 6!) females are actors, 1.5 are politicians, 1 royalty and 1 a photographer.  Is this the sum total of female fame?  A cursory count turned up 15 famous animals, 7.5 of whom are statistically likely to be females - so female animals have been more successful at receiving notoriety than female humans?  I couldn't locate an original source, so I don't know who did it (very likely a man) nor its purpose (found in J-Walk blog)...  The medical term for toenail fungus is onychomycosis (on-ee-ko-me-KO-sis).  The infection is caused by the same types of fungi that cause athlete's foot, and the two often occur together.  "It starts in the sole of the feet when you're a child and grows from the sole to the nail bed," said Dr Nardo Zaias, director of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.  "In teenagers, it goes into the groin and causes jock itch and sometimes to the body, causing ringworm."  About 20% of people have toenail fungus, researchers have found, and the likelihood of getting it increases with age, rising to about 40% by age 70...  Demonstration video of "happy clapper" Kent French, record holder for most claps per minute...  Cool photo of a glass of water and a striped background...  English to _________ and back again.  See what's lost (or gained) in translation.  28 languages available.  Results highlight some of the problems of marketing internationally...  Can you recognise a terrorist?

       Light Drop is a wall-mounted lighting element with an illuminated custom-molded polycarbonate bulb.  It features an embedded, dimmable LED in the faucet - intuitively controlled by the tap: the more you twist, the more light you get (via Neatorama)...  Why go through all the trouble of hunting down a moose or deer to stick on your wall, when you can just blow one up with air?  A good way to make fun of those people who stick stuffed animal heads in their living room and probably one of the tackiest gifts you could ever hope to give...  Stunning landscapes made of food (via Robot Wisdom)...  Derivatives, in their modern form, are the most powerful and the most complicated financial instruments ever devised.  The crucial thing about them is that they are everywhere.  In 2003 the total size of the world economy was $49 trillion.  The total size of the derivatives being traded was $85 trillion.  In other words, derivatives today are worth far, far more than the total economic activity of the planet.  More than $1 trillion of derivatives are bought and sold every day.  Every single thing that can be traded through derivatives, IS...  Your official invitation ...  Clever-Ad-Sells-Soup-Department: In a grocery store 4,820 cans of Campbell’s Soup were used to build an installation piece that spelled HUNGER.  Signage beside the piece encouraged shoppers to buy one and donate it to their local food bank.  As shoppers bought cans from the display the word HUNGER slowly disappeared.  This allowed people to see how their individual effort could help bring an end to the problem of hunger...  Scientists have assumed that the shifting of crustal plates has been slow but continuous over most of the earth's history, but a new study from researchers at the Carnegie Institution suggests that plate tectonics may have ground to a halt at least once in our planet's history - and may do so again.

        "Only the shallow judge by more than appearances." - Oscar Wilde


No publication is a staple of life.  It's not bread and water.  You have to make it noteworthy in people's minds and even in their hands as they're holding it.

- Timothy White

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