Thursday, January 31, 2008

Looks like I picked a bad decade to move to Boston.

Brits at their Best
Sun's low magnetic activity may portend an ice age

The Canadian Space Agency’s radio telescope has been reporting Flux Density Values so low they will mean a mini ice age if they continue.

Like the number of sunspots, the Flux Density Values reflect the Sun’s magnetic activity, which affects the rate at which the Sun radiates energy and warmth. CSA project director Ken Tapping calls the radio telescope that supplies NASA and the rest of the world with daily values of the Sun’s magnetic activity a “stethoscope on the Sun”. In this case, however, it is the “doctor” whose health is directly affected by the readings.

This is because when the magnetic activity is low, the Sun is dimmer, and puts out less radiant warmth. If the Sun goes into dim mode, as it has in the past, the Earth gets much colder.

Tapping, who was originally from Kent, says that “Typically as you go through the ten or eleven year solar activity cycle you see the numbers go up or down. The lowest number is 64 or 68. The numbers 71 or 72 are very low, but they usually start to go up. We are at the end of a cycle, but the numbers still haven’t gone up. We have been joking around coffee that we may be seeing the Sun about to shut down.” (To date Tapping has been far more concerned about global warming.)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Psalm 62: 9-10

Surely men of low degree are a vapor.
Men of high degree are a lie;
If they are weighed on the scales,
they are altogether lighter than vapor.

Do not trust in oppression,
nor vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Culture Matters

Virginity Loss Map // Current
Apparently people worldwide are having sex for the first time at an average age of 17.3 years old, with just over a third (35%) say they were 16 or under when they lost their virginity.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

The Grid

Nicholas Carr: Why IT Will Change: Seismic Shifts
Carr: Whenever you change the supply model for a resource, a product or a service that is crucial to society, you change a lot of the trade-offs that determine how people work, live and entertain themselves and shop and connect with other people.

We're going to see that, just as the electric grid dramatically expanded the availability and reduced the cost of mechanical power, and that led to all sorts of knock-on effects: the way society is organized, the way we think about education, the way we think about consumerism. We'll see similar effects as we're all essentially hooked up to this one huge worldwide computer, this Internet-based supercomputer that all of us share.

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I blame American Warming

Antarctic volcanoes identified as a possible culprit in glacier melting - International Herald Tribune
Another factor might be contributing to the thinning of some of the Antarctica's glaciers: volcanoes.

In an article published Sunday on the Web site of the journal Nature Geoscience, Hugh Corr and David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey report the identification of a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica.

"This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet" in Antarctica, Vaughan said.

Volcanic heat could still be melting ice to water and contributing to thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island glacier, which passes nearby, but Vaughan said he doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in western Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause of thinning.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland - New York Times
Then there are the government-sponsored studies proclaiming that Ireland ranks third in the European Union in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. And Enterprise Ireland, an agency of the Irish government that gives fledgling small companies a helping hand, has even leased space in an office building in Midtown Manhattan to serve as an incubator for businesses hoping to expand into the American market.

The relatively new emphasis on entrepreneurs in Ireland is the culmination of nearly four decades of government policies that have lifted the economy from centuries of poverty to modern prosperity.

The change began when Ireland entered the European Union in 1973. In subsequent years, the government rewrote its tax policies to attract foreign investment by American corporations, made all education free through the university level and changed tax rates and used direct equity investment to encourage Irish people to set up their own businesses.

“The change came in the 1990s,” said James Murphy, founder and managing director of Lifes2Good, a marketer of drugstore products for muscle aches, hair loss and other maladies. “Taxes and interest rates came down, and all of a sudden we believed in ourselves.”

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Generation Help

Today's Youths Display Commitment to Philanthropy -
According to research and nonprofit experts, children and teenagers today are showing increased interest in philanthropic activities, reports The Washington Post.

Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children, a nonprofit network of youths helping other young people, said, “We’re seeing a generation of kids, ages 10 to 15, who are aware of global problems, and they’re really searching to help.”

Nicole Sanchez, co-founder of New Global Citizens, a national nonprofit group that helps high-school students tackle global issues, said young people today are more engaged than prior generations largely because of technology. She said, “They’re hearing stories firsthand about the Darfur genocide or about the mudslides in Indonesia. Most young people’s immediate reaction is, ‘What can I do to help?’ and ‘What do you need from me?’”

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