Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Scientists with Luxuriously Flowing Locks

Even yonks back in secondary school, my teachers referred to scientists informally as "the long hairs". From Darwin to Freud to Einstein, your searcher after scientific discovery seems to have been resolutely shy of the scissors. Anyway, check out this gallery of long-haired boffins.

The site, Improbable Research, also hosts the results of the Ig Noble prizes - a spoof on the real deal.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Letter to the Times

Track erosion is a serious issue in North Wicklow, and heavy traffic by walkers must be acknowledged as part of the problem. good work by Fas on wooden pathways has contain the problem of walker traffic in the worst affected areas. Tracks on the remoter peaks of South Wicklow have until now remained intact.

The South Wicklow peak of Croghanmoira is a shapely cone of quartzite offset from the main Wicklow massif. Its position and superb views made it the location of choice for the Grand Trignometrical Station when the Ordnance Survey mapped the South East. A well marked but intact track to the top made a fine summit access for even novice hill walkers.

It is with sorrow that I report that the lower half of this track has been irretrievably damaged by quad bikers. Damage of this scale permanently destroys surface vegetation, and rainfall completes the work of removing the layer of blanket bog. Before the quads: a springy trail through the heather; after them, a gully of mud and rock.

It is bad enough that the peace and tranquillity of hill walking is savaged by the noise and racket of quad bikers and scramblers. Destruction of trails adds injury to this insult.

The cavalier attitude of the current government to hill walkers' rights seems to ignore the voting capability of an increasingly numerous contituency. Since legislation to curb the scourge of off-trail vehicles is too much to hope for before the next election, it is only justice that this attitude is roundly punished at the polls.
Sincerely
Tony Mulqueen
Aughrim
Co. Wicklow

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Voynich Manuscript

Is profiled in this page by the ever interesting website, Interesting Thing of the Day. It's a cipher (or is it??) which no-one has managed to crack.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's not easy being weird

People can get all worked up about, say, mountain gorillas, but some of the world's least prepossessing creatures are also under threat. There's a good list here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Procrastination

I've been putting off blogging for ages. Procrastination has been the study of scientists, one of whom has worked out the formula:

Desire to Complete Task (U) = Expectation of Success (E) x Value of Completion (V) / Immediacy of Task (I) x Personal Sensitivity to Delay (D), or U=ExV/IxD


Given that both V, I, and D in the above are all close to zero for blog entries, it really is a wonder that I even blog at all. I've been noticing lately too that some of the people who started blogging around the same time as me have hung up their boots.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Frozen in time

A frozen waterfall in China. I've never seen a completely frozen one like this, but visit Niagara in January or February and you'll see a pretty impressive half frozen waterfall.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blue Origin

That's the project name of Jess Bezos' attempt to create a small affordable vehicle for going into space. The site has a pretty cool vid of the first launch. The beastie at this stage only made it up (and down) 285 feet, but that's a start. It has a charmingly 50s SF retro look, and it'#s nice to know a couple of microcents of the bucks I spend on books et al at Amazon might be going to funding a little space travel.