October 19, 2010
It’s been a while since I got on my soapbox of how the 2012 Mayan calendar doomsday myth is, well… a myth. Let me begin by saying that there is no reason to believe that anything exceptional will happen when the Mayan long count calendar ends. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either totally full of shit, or is very gullible to fluff and hype (generated by the former). The descendants of the Mayans themselves have even said that the doomsday myth is bullshit. So, this thing is already completely blown out of the water by real science and reason, but just in case you needed another reason not to believe the doomsday hype, now the actual date of the end of the long count calendar is in question. The methods used to convert the Mayan calendar into our own Gregorian years has been shown to be unreliable, and this could throw off the date conversion by as much as 50 to 100 years. So in reality, the Mayan calendar might have already ended (and thus simply started over again)! I’ll keep an eye out for any updates and clarifications to this story, but let’s face it- the Mayan calendar doomsday hype is nothing more than fear-mongering and utter ignorance. (Via LiveScience)
I know I link to this blog all the time, but the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog continually showcases some of the most amazing imagery you’ll find anywhere, and what’s best about it is the content. This particular series involves the National Ignition Facility in California. This massive experiment could literally solve all the world’s energy problems. What they’re attempting to do here is essentially create a miniature star right here on earth. Just recently they completed a successful test in which they fired 192 lasers simultaneously into one tiny frozen target capsule containing deuterium and tritium (isotopes of hydrogen). The ultimate goal is to create a nuclear fusion reaction- the same process taking place in the center of our Sun. As you can easily deduce, this would release enormous amounts of energy that is completely clean- the only by-product is helium, which is the element formed when hydrogen atoms fuse. The only hurdle is that it already requires a massive amount of energy to power the lasers that start the reaction in the first place, so the reactor must produce significantly more energy than it consumes in order to truly be a viable solution to the energy crisis. Another issue could be safety. With a reaction as powerful as nuclear fusion, things can get dangerous very quickly. Thankfully though, if an explosion were to occur, it wouldn’t involve the radioactive fallout danger associated with current nuclear reactors which use a different process- nuclear fission. (AKA the reaction used in the atomic bomb.) Click here to learn more about the NIF.
Jack White’s latest side project, The Dead Weather, will be playing their first public show in NYC @ Bowery Ballroom on April 14th. They played a private show right here in Nashville for the opening of White’s new label offices/record store/recording studio/photo studio complex back in early March. In other news via Brooklyn Vegan, AC/DC will be heading back to the US for some extended tour dates. I was under the impression that the Nashville show at Sommet Center was to be their last performance in the US… apparently I was gravely mistaken.
In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, Lake Fever has posted a special 5-song issue of their “Lake Fever Sessions” video series starring Superdrag. They play several tracks from their new record Industry Giants, which was recorded at Lake Fever. Pretty effin’ awesome if you ask me. I suggest reading Joe Baine Colvert’s blurb to the right of the videos about his teenage years and first discovering Superdrag. The photo to the left was taken by me when I ran into them at SXSW. Speaking of that… I FINALLY got all my pics from Austin on my Flickr, so go have a look. There are a lot of random candid shots on there that weren’t in the Scene slideshows.
For your daily dose of “awww how cute,” check out this article about a new dog that will be a strong contender for the world’s smallest dog. His owners oh-so-cleverly named him Tom Thumb. Via sister sisyphus.
While we’re on the subject of really tiny animals… might as well mention this new species of tree frog discovered in the Andes Mountains. It’s called Noble’s Pygmy Frog. How cute.
The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog has a set of amazing photos of Mt. Redoubt, the Alaskan volcano that recently erupted. I knew it was only a matter of time before they had a post full of nice Redoubt imagery. I have a hard to choosing between the aerial shots and the nighttime lightning shots as my fav.
This May 10 through June 13, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are co-funding the greatest tornado chasing effort in history. It’s called VORTEX-2, and in classic scientific tradition, they came up with a really cool acronym, and then figured out words that would work with the acronym and also describe their project. The result- Verification Of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2 (VORTEX 2). As if we need verification that tornadoes rotate…. No matter how silly the name, I’d still LOVE to be right there with them!
io9’s quote of the day today: “The Best Green Technology is Population Control.” Just read this whole excerpt by author Paolo Bacigalupi. My favorite quote from the interview:
Advertising agencies and PR firms are delighted to sell us any number of “green” gizmos and they’re throwing in some nice self-esteem blowjobs for all of us, using their persuasive talents to assure us that we’re enlightened and forward thinking because we just stuffed a green X into our Prius.