Sunday, July 31, 2005

Human Impact on US

Yet another interesting enviro article in todays NYT (Week In Review)
(go figure, two in a row):

click for larger graphic


graphic courtesy of NYT

here's an excerpt:

"PRISTINE lands, by the strictest definition, no longer exist. Atmospheric pollution has settled on every earthly surface; human-induced climate change is affecting ecosystems across the planet, scientists say.

The wolf's-eye view of American wilderness is not quite so stark, but today's untrammeled landscapes are fragmented and shrinking.

Where is the last of the truly wild? The Wildlife Conservation Society, with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University, assembled satellite and land-use data to plot the extent of the global human footprint. On its colorful maps, the zones closest to pristine pop out as patches of leafy green.

Worldwide, the society found that 17 percent of land is still virtually untouched -- mostly because it is inhospitable to humans. In areas capable of growing basic crops, and therefore most able to support people, untouched lands have diminished to just 2 percent of the total.

Alaska holds the vast majority of leastaltered lands in the United States. In the more settlement-friendly lower 48, the wildest areas have become islands ringed by interstates, farms, towns and cities, making up only 0.9 percent of land."


Where the Human Footprint Is Lightest
NYTimes, July 31, 2005

Posted at 12:33 PM in Politics, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MBTE Contamination on Long Island

From the Sunday NYT (Long Island Section):

click for larger graphic


graphic courtesy of NYT
For an even bigger graphic, click here.

If you think that looks bad, check out this excerpt:

"For two decades, a dangerous and fast-moving gasoline additive called M.T.B.E. has been leaking from underground tanks at gas stations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties - including near the Plainview pump - and if left untreated, M.T.B.E. will remain in the aquifer for years, threatening the drinking water.

Hundreds of locations all over the Island have been identified as M.T.B.E. spill sites, and battles over who will clean them up - at a cost that could run into billions of dollars - are being fought in the courts. In even trace amounts, M.T.B.E., or methyl tertiary butyl ether, makes water smell and taste like turpentine, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has reported that laboratory rats developed cancer when exposed to high doses.

M.T.B.E. has also been a factor in deliberations over national energy policy. A push in the House of Representatives to provide the oil industry with immunity from liability for M.T.B.E. contamination led to an impasse on the energy bill last year, and the immunity effort this year was abandoned only last weekend.

Water districts and communities across the Island have filed lawsuits seeking payment for cleaning up and monitoring water. And the spills are everywhere.

There are 349 active M.T.B.E. spills being cleaned up or under investigation on Long Island, said Peter A. Scully, the director of the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Long Island office. But according to Toxics Targeting Inc., which compiles environmental-spill data in the state for water suppliers, municipalities and lawyers, there are at least 615 gasoline spill sites or leaking gas tanks containing M.T.B.E. in Nassau County and at least 610 in Suffolk."


What Seeps Beneath
NYTimes, July 31, 2005

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

"As he stared at her ample bosom . . ."

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual."

-Dan McKay, Fargo, ND

Winner, Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

via C/Net

Dept. of English & Comparative Literature
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Eta Carinae gas and dust clouds

A huge, billowing pair of gas and dust clouds is captured in this stunning Hubble telescope picture of the super-massive star Eta Carinae, more than 8,000 light-years away.


Photo: Courtesy of Jon Morse (University of Colorado) and NASA

Happy 15th Birthday, Hubble 
Amit Asaravala
Wired, 02:00 AM Apr. 25, 2005 PT,2697,67304,00.html

Posted at 05:24 PM in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard (in online travel)

A terrible amusing WSJ story this week:  Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard  -- regarding travelling on Earth:

In the online travel world, one of the biggest battles for new customers has come down to this: Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard.

Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," is the new company spokesman for travel search engine SideStep. That's a direct challenge to rival, whose ads have long featured William Shatner, Captain Kirk on the original "Star Trek."

The celebrity showdown reflects the growing rift within online travel. Traditional online travel sites -- like Priceline, which invented "name-your-own-price" online travel bidding technology -- ruled the dot-com era. Newer travel search engines, like SideStep, now scan the Web and claim to retrieve the best deals with no surcharge to the user.

SideStep enlisted Mr. Stewart because "he literally represents the next big thing. We can play off Priceline and the original captain of the Enterprise," says Phil Carpenter, a SideStep spokesman.


Date With the Captain
Unlike Priceline's traditional ad campaign, SideStep's ad is a contest. The winner gets a chance to hang out with Captain Picard as the prize.




Travel Site Beams Up 'Next' Trekker
Campaign Features Patrick Stewart to Challenge Priceline Pitchman Shatner
July 26, 2005; Page A18,,SB112233199540095440,00.html

Posted at 11:10 AM in Humor, Television, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome kottke and Metafilter surfers!




Wow -- kottke and Metafilter, both in one day -- and on two different posts, also.


Posted at 11:30 PM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shuttle Damage?

Way cool illustration of the shuttle, via the NYT, of the number of hits its taken over the years:

click for larger graphic


Intense Hunt for Signs of Damage Could Raise Problems of Its Own
Published: July 27, 2005

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Sources of our Problems


via the Onion

Posted at 07:26 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

Here's a list of the 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, according to GQ/Details

The list is incomplete, missing as it is the Corner Bistro in Manhattan, and Taby's Burger House in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

Here are the 20 best burgers in America

20. Hamburger Sandwich
Louis' Lunch
New Haven, CT

19. Our Famous Burger
Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Ypsilanti, MI

18. Hamburger
Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House

17. Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese
Red Mill Burgers

16. Hamburger & Fries
Burger Joint
San Francisco

15. Build Your Own Burger
The Counter
Santa Monica

14. Hamburger
J. G. Melon
New York City

13. Cheeseburger
White Manna
Hackensack, NJ

12. Hamburger
Bobcat Bite
Sante Fe

11. Grilled Bistro Burger
Bistro Don Giovanni
Napa, CA

10. Number Five
Keller's Drive-in

9. Cheeseburger
Burger Joint, le Parker Meridien Hotel
New York City

8. Hamburger
Miller's Bar
Dearborn, MI

7. Buckhorn Burger
San Antonio, NM

6. California Burger
Santa Monica

5. Kobe Sliders
Barclay Prime

4. Rouge Burger

3. Not Just a Burger
Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel
Newport, RI

2. Luger Burger
Peter Luger Steak House

1. Sirloin Burger
Le Tub
Hollywood, FL

via kottke

The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die
Alan Richman

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Beyond the Frame

Incredibly cool sculpture exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art, featuring the works of J. Seward Johnson, Jr titled Beyond the Frame: Impressionism Revisited.

What the artist did was take numerous famous impressionist paintings -- by Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rousseau, Manet -- and recreate them as life-size sculptures. The really cool part -- you can interact with them -- indeed, you are encouraged "walk into" them and touch.

Here are a few samples:

Vincent Van Gogh's The Bedroom
click for larger photos



Henri Rousseau's The Dream
click for larger photos




Many of the sculptures are cctv-ed into screens mounted on walls and framed. So what looks like a painting mounted on a wall suddenly has people walking in and out of them . . .



Other famous "walk-in" paintings include Manet's Olympia, and La Japonaise, Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day, and Renoir's Whispering Close, and Luncheon of the Boating Party.

The type of model casting used by the artist, J. Seward Johnson, was considered a lost art. Johnson (one of the disinherited J&J heirs) has made a career of resurrecting it; Most of these sculptures are constructed in several steps before being cast in Aluminum:



He founded the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, an educational, non-profit art casting and fabrication facility, in 1974.

Way more fun than you typically expect at an Art Museum . . .

I ran off 100 digital snaps -- if readers want, I can post other sculptures of the show -- but the 2 above were the most recognizable to the casual art patron.


UPDATE July 30, 2005 8:20 am

Int he comments, IDJ informs us that the Washington Post's art critic called this show "This is the worst museum exhibition I've ever seen."  And that may very well have been his experience -- but mine was that this was a whole lot of fun -- more fun than most people typically have in a museum.

If you have young kids, and you know how bored they can being dragged around a stuffy ole museum -- this is a terrific way to introduce them to art. Especially if you show them the paintings (in a book) before hand, and then let them run loose through each painting . . .

Posted at 06:43 AM in Art & Design | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack