Sad. Sitar god Ravi Shankar dies at age 92

in your eyes

Ravi Shankar, sitar virtuoso, dies at age 92

NEW DELHI — With an instrument perplexing to most Westerners, Ravi Shankar helped connect the world through music. The sitar virtuoso hobnobbed with the Beatles, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century.

From George Harrison to John Coltrane, from Yehudi Menuhin to David Crosby, his connections reflected music’s universality, though a gap persisted between Shankar and many Western fans. Sometimes they mistook tuning for tunes, while he stood aghast at displays like Jimi Hendrix’s burning guitar.

Read more here at the full article.

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2012 in Review: 9 Important Archaeological (and Paleontological!) Discoveries

12/11/2012 From GEEKS ARE SEXY:

Great things happen every year, but it never fails that by the time we reach the holiday season, most of them have been forgotten to all but a few die-hard news junkies and history buffs. In case you weren’t obsessively poring over the details of this year’s archaeological news, here’s a year-end round-up.

Mummy

Mummy

Read more at the whole article here.
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Princeton’s nanomesh nearly triples solar cell efficiency

12/11/2012  A friend stated about this article “This is certainly a step in the right direction by making the cells three times as efficient, which, if the cost remains the same, will make the energy yield about 1/3 the cost of fossil fuels.

If the replacement of the ITO layer reduces the cost to 1/3 or less of the cost of the solar cell itself, this would effectively replace fossil fuels for electricity generation. ”

solar panels

As seen on Extreme Tech:

There is huge potential in solar power. The sun is a giant ball of burning hydrogen in the sky, and it’s going to be sticking around for at least a few more billion years. For all intents and purposes, it’s a free source of energy. Sadly, humanity hasn’t been very good at harnessing its power directly. Our current methods of capturing the sun’s energy are very inefficient. For example, modern silicon and indium-tin-oxide-based solar cells are approaching the theoretical limit of 33.7% efficiency. Well, a research team at Princeton has used nanotechnology to create a mesh that increases efficiency over organic solar cells nearly three fold.

Led by Stephen Chou, the team has made two dramatic improvements: reducing reflectivity, and more effectively capturing the light that isn’t reflected. As you can see by the illustration below by Dimitri Karetnikov, Princeton’s new solar cell is much thinner and less reflective. By utilizing sandwiched plastic and metal with the nanomesh, this so-called “Plasmonic Cavity with Subwavelength Hole array” or “PlaCSH” substantially reduces the potential for losing the light itself. In fact, it only reflects about 4% of direct sunlight, leading to a 52% higher efficiency than conventional, organic solar cells.

Check out the entire article here. Cool stuff!

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What are we reading right now?

12/11/2012  Currently reading:

The Books of Rachel: I am only about 15 % into it, but so far it is very good. From the Amazon.com blurb:  The Books of Rachel is a fictional microcosm of 500 years of Jewish history. Since the 15th century, in the Cuheno family, the first daughter born to the family is given the name Rachel and a heritage of faith and courage as precious as the family diamond. A saga sweeping from the Spanish Inquisition to the birth of a Jewish homeland.


The Facility: From the Amazon.com blurb: In a near-future dystopian Britain, democracy has been undermined. Emboldened by new anti-terrorism laws, police start to “disappear” people from the streets for unspecified crimes. But when unassuming dentist Arthur Priestley is snatched and held prisoner at a top-secret facility, his estranged wife, Julia, and a brave but naive journalist named Tom Clarke embark on a harrowing quest for the truth. Following a trail that leads to the very top of government, they soon find themselves fighting for their lives.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am about 50% through it, and quite impressed.  The book is creepy, given the current political state of our world. It is too true, or too probable.


Next on the fiction platter is Bone Machine, another book I received free in exchange for an honest review. From the Amazon.com blurb:

War. Poverty. Hunger. Are over.    Humankind hasn’t changed, but the way we work has. Welcome to the brave new world of the Artificially Conscious Androlibra, a humanlike robot that acts like a personal clone, helping to bring balance to our lives.

Grayson Cornel doesn’t sleep much anymore. His life is in shambles. His father is teetering on death. He was recently promoted by The Libra Robotics and Cybernetics Corp, but his predecessor, Zoe Asher is wanted for murder and is now targeting him. On top of that, his first assignment in his new position has ended in disaster.

The last of the world’s sweatshops in Haiti had finally placed an order for Libra Corp robots, and it was Grayson’s job to make sure that the order was filled. But when the robots arrived, something went horribly wrong. They disappeared, leaving only dead bodies in their wake. No Libra Corp robot had ever killed anyone before, so Grayson is sent to Haiti to figure out what went wrong.

What he discovers begins to unravel a dark secret Libra Corp has been keeping from the public. Something so shocking that Grayson risks ending utopia to put a stop to it.

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Bill O’Reilly Thinks Shoeless Veterans are Causing the Deficit

 

Bill O’Reilly Thinks Shoeless Veterans Are Causing The Deficit

Posted by on Addicting Info

 

 

For a while there, back when Glenn Beck was making all the right-wing headlines, I consciously thought to myself that, “hey, maybe Bill O’Reilly isn’t that bad. Maybe he’s closer to the center than I thought.”

WRONG.

It turns out that just because the light of the sun will drown out the light from a billion candlepower searchlight, it doesn’t mean the searchlight isn’t still really bright. In this case, Beck’s persistent douche-baggery was able to at least mask the scent of O’Reilly’s in the short term but, as stank does, it was only a matter of time before we all got a nose full of ol’ Uncle Bill again.

Case in point: Recently, Bill (I’m done calling him O’Reilly, the journalistic equivalent of “Mr.”), took to the airwaves to drop what you can tell he thinks is just a gigantic bombshell: that the shoeless man in New York City, Jeffery Hillman, whom an officer purchased a pair of boots for, the subsequent photo of which went viral, isn’t actually homeless. He has an apartment as the result of government benefits.

See the original story here, for the video: Addicting Info:

What Bill neglects to mention throughout his smug little diatribe is that the man’s housing comes courtesy of combined veteran’s and social security benefits and he was homeless as recently as last year, as reported by NBC New York. He then goes on a breathless rant about the perils of such government subsidization, telling the rest of the God-fearing, taxpaying citizens of the nation that they’re being fleeced by men like this who, according to Bill, prefer to live life shoeless on the street, costing the taxpayer untold sums of money to keep them, likely in this case and in countless others, alive.

*********************************************************************************************

Have I mentioned how much I despise Bill-O? (ed.)
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George Will: ‘The opposition to gay marriage is dying… it’s old people’

By David Edwards on The Raw Story

 George Will: ‘The opposition to gay marriage is dying… it’s old people (via Raw Story )

Conservative columnist George Will suspects that the Supreme Court could support equal rights for LGBT people because “quite literally the opposition to gay marriage is dying… it’s old people.” On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would take up cases on California’s Prop 8 same…

Continue reading “George Will: ‘The opposition to gay marriage is dying… it’s old people’” »

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Holiday Fun With Balls

One must assume Apartment Therapy published this headline, and the article intro (below the picture) fully intending to garner the sophmoric giggling, Beavis and Butthead “he said balls” crowd. They were right, so naturally here I am to pile on.  Enjoy!

HOLIDAY FUN WITH BALLS (FROM APARTMENTTHERAPY.COM)

holidayballs112712.jpg

Have you every noticed how much the holidays are all about balls? Rum balls. Cheese balls. Mistletoe kissing balls. Ball ornaments. Balls, balls and more balls. So, in the spirit of the season, this post is about origami. Just kidding. It’s about balls. To be more specific, unfinished wood balls. Here are six fun holiday DIY projects, all using balls. Balls.

Check out the entire Apartment Therapy post here.

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Did you know you have stripes? 12/6/2012

Pharyngula

Before you go looking, they’re usually invisible – if they were visible, we wouldn’t need to tell you about them! The stripes (or Blaschko’s lines, after the discoverer Alfred Blaschko) typically follow the same basic pattern – V-shapes on the back, S-shapes on the abdomen and an inverted U-shape around the breast and upper arm. They seem to be a clue to embryological development, though they do not correspond to structures such as nervous, endocrine, lymphatic or vascular.

See the whole fascinating article here: ScienceBlogs Pharyngula
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12/4/12 NASA Earth as Art Photos available as FREE PDF Download

Totally downloaded this awesomeness. You should, too, before they change their minds.

 

Earth as Art PDF Download

News Releases

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
Nov. 30, 2012
 RELEASE : 12-410
 New “Earth as Art” Book Illustrates Beauty of Satellite Views

WASHINGTON — A stunning array of images of our home planet, taken by Earth-observing science satellites, are featured in a new NASA publication. The book, “Earth as Art,” is available in hardcover, electronically, and as a free iPad application.

The 158-page book celebrates the aesthetic beauty of Earth in the patterns, shapes, colors and textures of the land, oceans, ice and atmosphere. Images include snow-capped mountain peaks in the Himalayas, Arizona’s Painted Desert, the Mississippi River Delta spreading into the Gulf of Mexico, a Saharan dune sea in Algeria, and Byrd Glacier in Antarctica.

“Earth as Art” features images from the Landsat 5 and 7, Terra, Aqua, and Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellites. All are among a fleet of U.S. environmental satellites used for scientific research and applied purposes. Instruments on these satellites measure light outside of the visible range. The images produced from these data reveal features and patterns not always visible to the naked eye. The Terra, Aqua, and EO-1 satellites are managed by NASA. Landsat satellites are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The iPad version of “Earth as Art” allows users to zoom into the book’s 75 satellite images and access additional information on selected features and the satellites used. The app can be downloaded by visiting:

http://www.nasa.gov/apps

“Earth as Art” is available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at:
http://bookstore.gpo.gov

A free ebook version of “Earth as Art” in PDF format may be downloaded by visiting:   http://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/earth_art_detail.html

For more information about NASA’s science program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earth

earth as art

Earth as Art free PDF Download – Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar

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12/3/2012 WTF/Science Mash Up.

Play to the echoing sounds of women everywhere singing “Uh-oh”, with chorus of Maury Povich going on a murderous rage. Cue it up, Sparky:

When pregnancy is caused by more than one father

baby

Is this yours?

Esther Inglis-Arkell
 There are myths about women giving birth to children from two different fathers. A look at genetics today, though, shows that those myths might have originated in truth. It’s called superfecundation.   (see full article here at IO9)
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