Cluster Map

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Introducing the Pollyanna blog of nice things

The most notable pleasant events coming up this month are the
arrival of Maya (she has changed a bit since this photo was taken)

for her home leave visit from Oregon and 
the 11th birthday of Ari

on June 21. Maya will be in Winnipeg
on the birthday and then fly home. We are looking forward to
seeing her. I most strongly recommend taking a look at her blog
entitled Ma'am right alongside this one.

OK, let us start with some fun with science:

I  suspect that all of you have lost sleep wondering how salt water
crocodiles that are very poor swimmers managed to populate so many islands
scattered all over the oceans.  Well relax, the answer has been found and indeed they surf.

Look what a cute creature he is.


Here is a little capsule with a  big story.  It is the sample return package of the Hayabusa
asteroid mission carried to asteroid Itokawa.  Some ten years ago a NASA spacecraft NEAR landed on the asteroid Eros (on Valentine's Day 2000),  but  this is the first asteroid sample return.  This is extremely important since while there is scant probability of an asteroid collision with Earth, the results of such an event would be so cataclysmic that we have to know how we might divert an asteroid.  We already know from NEAR that asteroids are fluffy which means that mounting rockets on them will not do the trick nor will blowing them up.  So kudos to the Japanese Space Agency JAXA and their NASA collaborators.  The links tell the story better than I could.  It had a spectacular return to Earth.    It is great news that the capsule has been recovered in the Australian Outback.  and is on its way home to Japan.  More on this blog from Emily Lakdawalla .  Of course there is always suspense until the capsule is opened.  Let us hope material was taken despite a malfunctioning at the time.
Follow the official blog.

There have long been claims that we Jews are some sort of Europeans or mixed breed and do not belong here.  Recent genetic studies appear to refute that and show that both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews trace back to ancient Near East populations.  Of course, we have also intermarried with our neighbors over the centuries, but the unique genetic markers seem to be holding.  


I have long been a drinker of green tea both because I like it and because I have been told it is good for me.  It is now becoming known how good for us it really is.
So pour out the green tea and enjoy with dark chocolate which is also good for you...


Of course all of us have had the experience of a sudden insight in which a problem that had seemed intractable suddenly clears up and things fall into place.  We call it the aha moment and it is really great when it happens, alas too seldom.  It is nice to know that someone had some sudden insight into sudden insight and devised an experiment to test it.  It appears that we share these glorious moments in our lives with laboratory rats, but so what.
why deny the little critters their share of the fun.
Of course, you might get a different insight if you smoke a bit of pot that the doctor ordered for you...

It has generally been accepted that predators on land and sea move around randomly until they stumble upon a prey cue.  Now there is evidence that sharks use fractal mathematics to find dinner which is quite interesting.  You can imagine that this would be an adaptive advantage in the evolutionary sense and the trait would survive.  There is still debate about the finding,

but it is fascinating to think about.

We can wind this up with some deep philosophy by Dr. Gene Weingarten of Below the Beltway fame

OK, this is my second stab at a happy blog.  The masochists among you are invited to the nasty stuff at the arkee-titan blog.
Comments on the new split format are welcome on either blog.  Thank you Maya and Judy for your kind words.

1 comment:

  1. Being the ornery type that I am, I will read both. You didn't need to split for me. Luvya!