Monthly Archives: January 2010

“There it goes!”

Just south of Loulé, where I live, a small creek drains the city. The only place where it seems to be named is on the A-22 freeway, which passes over it and identifies it with a single sign: Ribeira Carcavai. … Continue reading

Posted in Portugal | 9 Comments

Doomsday Clock moved one minute back

In 1947, worried about the state of a planet that had recently seen the invention and use of atomic bombs, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists came out with the now-famous Doomsday Clock. With midnight representing the moment of complete … Continue reading

Posted in good news | 1 Comment

Why the Goshawk will never need bifocals

Yesterday’s spectacular Goshawk video reminded me of one of the coolest things I ever learned in a long-ago zoology class: why birds never need bifocals the way humans do. Think about this: If you’re running through the woods, you have … Continue reading

Posted in science | 4 Comments

A bird’s eye view — literally

Ever wonder what the world looks like to an eagle? Or a falcon? There is some incredible footage floating around the web from the BBC’s “Animal Camera,” in which tiny cameras were attached to three species of raptors: a Golden … Continue reading

Posted in science | 2 Comments

The cup-size difference between Europe and the US

My wife, who teaches at a local university, had an interesting conversation with one of her students. He’s a cosmetic surgeon, one of the very few in southern Portugal who does breast augmentations. “I’m curious,” said my wife. “What size … Continue reading

Posted in culture, Europe | 3 Comments

“Whole blocks of houses had been reduced to rubble”

Dozens were crushed by falling timber and a rain of marble as columns, capitals, arches, buttresses and massive blocks of stone crumbled. Many rushed to escape to open ground, but some refused to abandon the church and frantically prayed and … Continue reading

Posted in Portugal, science | 2 Comments

Printers were sent from hell

The Oatmeal demonstrates, in graphic form, just why printers drive all of us so completely insane. Click the panel below for the full comic.

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Sand painting

Kseniya Simonova won the semifinals of the 2009 Ukraine’s Got Talent with this performance. It’s not “Nessum Dorma,” nor anything musical at all. She is a sand painter, telling an animated story using a light box, sand, and music. Though … Continue reading

Posted in culture | 3 Comments

How to find an earthquake

Since I’ve made a lifelong habit of living next to major fault zones, I’ve picked up a few tricks for tracking earthquakes. The US Geological Survey runs a web site that makes earthquake information available within minutes of the event. … Continue reading

Posted in Apple, science | 4 Comments

But it was only 7.0 on the Richter Scale

As the reports pour in of appalling damage and rising death tolls from the Haiti earthquake, I’ve been seeing commentary from people who wonder why a quake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale caused so much devastation. After all, Taiwan … Continue reading

Posted in science | 2 Comments