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Archives for August, 2013

Sierra Nevada Species: Garter Snake

I found this beautiful snake basking in barely flowing water at an elevation of about 5800′ in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. At first I thought it was a striped racer, but racers have two light stripes on their sides, while this one has a light stripe down the middle of its back and…

Following last week’s post about Windows phone and the incredible Nokia Lumia 1020, I wanted to share some images to show what the camera phone is capable of.  These are 5 megapixel images taken straight from the phone.  Click any below for full-size.

There Are No Saviors, Only Teachers

In our capitalist, conspicuously consumptive, greedily go-getting society, teaching has always been disrespected as a vocational pursuit.  They quip “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”  Meanwhile the public education system in the United States suffers from neglect, indifference, and outright enmity.  The most powerful nation on Earth can only claim to be mediocre…

Spoiler Alert: Elysium

If you have the time, money, and interest, go see Elysium before you read this post.  The visual design and actors’ performances are very enjoyable even as the script sinks into mediocrity.  The technology envisioned for the year 2154 has a unique, appealing, retro physicality that is unmatched in modern science fiction. For writer and…

Life and Lunar Influence

Posted to the homepage on August 11, 2013. The Moon—like the sun, stars and Earth—is easy for a human being to take for granted.  But the Earth’s moon is truly exceptional, and should be appreciated for shaping the exceptional world we live on.  Earth is the only planet with a single moon, and relative to…

Windows Phone Is Actually Awesome

Windows takes a lot of crap from fanboys, and Apple products do the same, but while our prejudices can be well-founded it’s always worth taking an honest look at the opposition.  With its Windows Phone mobile OS, Microsoft has built a very fun and functional platform that in some ways exceeds the user experience of…

In his role pinch-hitting as The Daily Show anchor while Jon Stewart directs a feature film called Rosewater, John Oliver has demonstrated a candid, hilarious fury that is unmatched in its impact by Stewart’s usual well-meant silliness.  People have called Stephen Colbert the heir to 1950’s primetime BS-caller Edward R. Murrow, and Colbert is certainly…

Life has been growing on Earth for about 4 billion years, and during that time there have been a handful of mass extinctions that have wiped out a large percentage of complex lifeforms.  Asteroid impact, volcanic eruption, climate change, anoxia, and poison have dispatched untold numbers of once-successful species to total oblivion or a few…

To War over Water

Water may be the most abundant molecule on the surface of the Earth, but more than 99% of it is frozen, underground, or too salty to drink.  Only .007% of the planet’s water runs in rivers and lakes, yet this precious amount sustains massive populations worldwide.  Agricultural societies have long gone to war over water,…