Friday, August 31, 2007

Chess, trailers, and grapes

The latest Technology Review has an column by cognitive scientist/philosopher Daniel Dennett about the tenth anniversary of Kasparov losing a match to Deep Blue (free registration is required). I happened to be at the ACM conference the year before where Kasparov lost a game to Deep Blue, but won the prize money. I remember his chess-equivalent-of-a-rock-star entrance (and entourage) at the awards banquet to receive his $400,000 winner's check :)

Also in Tech Review is a profile of a controversial researcher who believes resveratrol is a key to long life, so keep eating those grapes (or drinking red wine). Here's a quote from the article:

Sinclair's basic claim is simple, if seemingly improb­able: he has found an elixir of youth. In his Australian drawl, the 38-year-old Harvard University professor of pathology explains how he discovered that resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine, extends life span in mice by up to 24 percent and in other animals, including flies and worms, by as much as 59 percent. Sinclair hopes that resveratrol will bump up the life span of people, too. "The system at work in the mice and other organisms is evolutionarily very old, so I suspect that what works in mice will work in humans," he says.

Some NASA news: Dawn sent me this link about how the Apollo 12 quarantine trailer ended up on a fish farm in Alabama.

Finally, in local news: The first meeting of the Central Valley Cafe Scientifiqué is in October about sea otters. And, the securities and exchange commission (SEC) charged a local company with an illegal stock scheme involving about $1.5 million. If you lost money, you might remember some of the players from IQ Biometrix days.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Corn, spy planes, tunnels, and vanity

Some miscellaneous stuff: An article about "The Ethanol Scam" from Rolling Stone magazine.

An ABC News reporter gets a ride in U2 spy plane.

Shocking tales of the underground (tunnels on university campuses) and more about university tunnels and even more about Caltech's and Columbia's tunnels.

Finally, I was surprised to see how many times I came up in a search of NASA documents.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Back in April I wrote about ONE QUART ZIP TOP BAGS. Airport security is in the news again:
  • A new TSA directive as of yesterday about what kinds of electronics needs to be removed from your carry-on luggage for scanning (in addition to laptops computers).
  • A summary of a Q&A with security expert Bruce Schneier at DefCon. An excerpt:

    The first thing he talked about was the need for ID to fly on US airlines, or lack thereof... Bruce says you simply need to go to the airline and say that you don't have an ID. You will be issued a boarding pass with "No ID" on it... So, the whole no fly list thing just went out the door. If you are an evildoer, just buy a ticket under someone else's name, go up and say you lost your ID, and go on through. Security theater at it's finest. Luckily, this only inconveniences you if you are honest.

  • Schneier does his own Q&A with the head of the TSA.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Steve's gopher snake picture (click on "Mill Creek is completely dry") reminded me of these two rattlesnakes on the Sierra Foothill Conservancy property. It's a busy place: you can read about a three-way bobcat fight, or rowdy hummingbirds. Here's a quote:

As you may suspect by observing the behavior of males around a feeder, they are so busy threatening their rivals that they may lose as much as 20% of their body weight during the mating season.