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Grand Geyser

Grand Geyser

After way too long, I’ve finally gotten the photos from our trip to Yellowstone National Park on my flickr. We had a great time and I will never, ever tire of seeing that place. It is literally one of the most fascinating places on earth and everyone should go see it. It had been 9 years since I last saw it, and while reading some of the information plaques I realized that some major geologic changes had taken place just since the last time I was there. The place is just teeming with hydrothermal activity and is always changing. Not to mention that the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. So please go take a look at the photos. We also visited Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Grand Teton Park, and came back by driving through Colorado and New Mexico, making a quick stop at Philmont. Not only was the land beautiful, but we also got to see a pretty nice light show in the sky almost every night we were in Yellowstone. The Perseid meteor shower peaked while we were there, and with the absence of light pollution from cities, we could see them quite well. (That is, until the gibbous Moon rose around 11pm…) Literally, we could look up at any given time between sunset and Moonrise and see a meteor within a minute.

Some other random scientific tidbits:

A team of Swedish scientists, with the help of some other Chinese researchers, have discovered a very exact location and date for the birthplace of dogs. Apparently dogs originated from a group of tamed wolves about 16,000 years ago in an area of China south of the Yangtze River. Sadly, it’s also thought that those dogs met their fate in the stomachs of humans. (Via EurekAlert)

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple’s new OS Snow Leopard. It’s not a total upgrade, since the last major update was called Leopard, but it is a significant advance in how the computer utilizes those multiple-core processors that have become standard over the past few years. It all boils down to the OS providing a way for applications to run multiple processes in parallel, or at the same time. Gizmodo has an article that explains it quite well, and I suggest reading it. I’ll probably be upgrading to Snow Leopard pretty soon.

And now I’m simply going to leave you with this incredibly creepy video using time-lapse footage of a rotting apple. No pun on the previous paragraph intended. (Via Kottke)

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Today I found a smattering of random links worth posting.

Google announced that they’re going to be developing a “Google Chrome OS”… basically a whole new open-source operating system for notebooks. As a Mac user I’ve yet to experience the Google Chrome web browser (it’s not available for Mac), so I don’t really know what to expect here. (Via Yewknee)

yazoologo02Nashville brewers Yazoo are going to be re-locating to the Gulch neighborhood next year. The new facility will allow the company to produce 4 times as much beer, which means they’ll be able to expand distribution to several neighboring states. They’ll also have a taproom at the new location, with the same hours they have now plus the possibility of opening a full-on pub if the demand is there. I must say I’ll miss the charm of the current taproom in the old Marathon Motor Works building, but it’s good to see a local brewery doing so well. (Via Bites/Nashville Scene)

In other local news, Nashvillest has a sexy new look to their website. Go check it out. I also found some disturbing news while exploring said new look- even though GM rid itself of Hummer, the brand still exists and it was bought by a Chinese machinery manufacturing company, and thus the Hummer executives need a new HQ. Unfortunately it looks like Franklin could be it. Honestly though, they’d fit right in, what with Nissan HQ there and the GM plant just down the road in Spring Hill. Why won’t these things just die? More at the Tennessean article.

Science is getting closer and closer to making invisibility possible. A new breakthrough in metamaterial technology may soon allow one to see through solid steel, or even become invisible. Furthermore, one could make one object look like another. The example they use is making a cup look like a spoon. The cup is sitting there, but when you look at it through a layer of the special metamaterial, you would see a spoon. One of the biggest applications that I can see with this technology would be in spaceships. The scientists behind this research say that it would be possible to make an otherwise opaque material transparent. This would eliminate the need for traditional windows on a spaceship- you could just install one of these devices made of metamaterials on a solid aluminum (or other metal) hull, which is much safer than cutting a hole in the hull to install a glass window, which is much more susceptible to the inevitable impacts from micro-meteors and other space junk. (Via NewScientist)

It’s pretty obvious that hydrogen is fuel of the future. It’s the most abundant element in the universe, and when it’s burned the only byproduct is pure water. Even though it’s abundant, it’s still hard to make here on earth. Up until now the best way was through electrolysis of water, but that’s very expensive, so unfortunately most of it today is made from fossil fuels, which kind of defeats the whole purpose (to get away from fossil fuels!). But that may be changing. Researchers at Ohio University found a way to make it from urea, which is the main compound in urine. Crazy eh? It’s not the most practical idea, but it could be made practical eventually… (Via EcoGeek)

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