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Los Links 1/7/2011

‘Tis the Winter Writing Season, which means I’m pre-loading a lot of posts in order to make time for work on ye olde magnum opus.  Unfortunately, this means the bits I blog either have to be a) old news or b) original.  The schedule of 1 post per day exacerbates the situation.  This, I’ve come to feel, shamefully neglects worthy posts that I should commend to your attention in a timely fashion.


Which is a long way of saying, “Friday linkfest!  Woo-hoo!”


These linkfests might end up being long, depending on how much demands inclusion.  Sample at will!

The Real Death Panels: “Throughout the debate over health care reform, Republicans said the initiative didn’t do enough to cut costs, and would instead lead to things like rationing and ‘death panels.’ More than a year later, those identical Republicans want to reverse Democratic efforts to cut costs, while cheering on states that are already rationing and implementing their own versions of ‘death panels.'” (The Washington Monthly)

Deep Time: “And so, viewing all of geologic time, or particular parts of geologic time, requires me to slide my view to the right and left — or to slide time itself — while expanding or contracting the detail of the time frame, depending on what I want to look at.” (Looking for Detachment)

Simosuchus and the trouble with “living fossils”: “A modern crocodylian is not prehistoric; it is, by definition, modern. It, like every other living thing, has been evolving for millions of years. That’s one of the reasons that the oxymoronic term “living fossil” is one that always gets under my skin.”  (Superoceras) (h/t)

Can Hurricanes Trigger Earthquakes?: “Hurricanes and other storms are powerful agents of change of the Earth’s surface. In mere hours, storms can erode material from one area and deposit it somewhere else. In some cases, this sudden movement of sediment can completely transform a landscape. But can atmospheric forces trigger movements within the crust?”  (Clastic Detritus)

Ten million feet upon the stair: “This wear is the cumulative result of a century of people walking up and down from their flats. As they left for and returned from work, as they nipped out to the shops or ventured out for an evening in one of Edinburgh’s many pubs, many times a day the feet of the people who lived here would fall upon each stair. The force applied by each footfall may not be great, even for those who had over-indulged in deep-fried Mars bars. But as every geologist knows, even a small force, repeated over a large enough stretch of time, can add up to some very large effects indeed.”  (Highly Allochthonous)

When we can’t confess an awful mistake: “This is what Nationalism does.  It is what Religion does.  It is the kind of thing you expect someone to say while they’re holed up in their mountain cabin during a tense, 78-hour standoff with FBI and BATF agents.  It is what the President Of The United States did say, trying to persuade the president of another country to join him in an invasion.” (Decrepit Old Fool)

Sunday Photo(s): “What’s especially remarkable is that it’s easy to see the Cascade Mountains in front of Mt. Rainier. Usually, they look kinda like one mountain ridge at this distance.” [click for image - outstanding!] (Slobber and Spittle)

INSANELY awesome solar eclipse picture: “Earlier today Europe, Asia, and Africa got to see a nice partial solar eclipse as the Moon passed in front of the Sun, blocking as much as 85% of the solar surface. The extraordinarily talented astrophotographer Thierry Legault traveled from his native France to the Sultanate of Oman to take pictures of the eclipse. Why there, of all places? Heh heh heh.” (Bad Astonomy)

So… the Earth is 6,001 years old now?:  “If you look up at the sky, and you watch the Sun, the Moon, and the planets all move through it, you’ll notice something spectacular.”  (Starts With a Bang)

Lords of the rings: understanding tree ring science: “The ancient Greeks were the first people known to realize the link between a tree’s rings and its age but, for most of history, that was the limit of our knowledge. It wasn’t until 1901 that an astronomer at Arizona’s Lowell Observatory was hit with a very terrestrial idea—that climatic variations affected the size of a tree’s rings. The idea would change the way scientists study the climate, providing them with over 10,000 years of continuous data that is an important part of modern climate models.” (Ars Technica) (h/t)

Apologetics and Apoplexy: “This post is about demonization. It’s about basic empathy and humanity. And it is, sadly, about kids and rape and a suicide note. This may get too intense for some people. If you’re one of them, you’ll find the rest of what I have to say at the very end of this post, below the fold.” (Almost Diamonds)

“Piltdown” Medicine: Andrew Wakefield’s scientific fraud was worse than previously thought.  “The more we find out about how Wakefield put together his case series for The Lancet, the more it becomes obvious that he calculatingly put together a fraud every bit as elaborate and planned as that of the Piltdown Man hoax.”  (Resp
ectful Insolence
)