I can’t resist these pictures from NASA’s Earth Observatory. The original is here.
Another beautiful shot from NASA’s Earth Observatory. The original is here.
In San Francisco this winter was unusually cold. I was told by Them Who Came Long Before Me that they don’t remember a winter quite as cold. I tried to ignore this abnormality of nature for as long as I could, but finally had to succumb to ugly reality and to break my habit of wearing the same T-shirt all year long.
Local population of ants had to acknowledge reality too. My friend, a biologist, said that her apartment was invaded by a colony of these little hard-working insects, apparently in search of warmth and humanity. My friend is rather old, so I was concerned about her and asked if she has an anti-ant spray and whether I should get her one. With gentle smile she said, “I don’t want to drive them away,” and suddenly I felt like a genocide perpetrator who has, in an act of inexplicable kindness, been reasoned with. Every time I visit her, I shake my head in disbelief and make a mark in my imaginary notebook, “Yup. She is still talking to me.”
Microsoft recently announced an Apple Store knockoff – the Retail Experience Center. It’s located on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, and isn’t open to the public, but it’s supposed to show how to market and sell Microsoft products (and presumably PC-related products from other manufacturers). Revealing is this picture that shows how much stuff they would like you to buy: shopping carts full of it. That’s the kind of consumer spending that should help the economy out of its slump.
Somehow -and with Wikipedia you never know how, really- I was looking at language families and this wonderful image of their distribution across the Earth. Noticing the green color for Estonia I looked it up and -lo!- it’s a Uralic language like Finnish and Hungarian, not Baltic like its location might suggest. You learn something new every day… To prove that you know your way around languages, surf over to Sporcle.com and take the test – what are the most spoken languages?
So beautiful, yet so violent. The full-size image is available at the NASA Earth Observatory.
This insider’s account of the USA‘s fight against terrorism from the Reagan administration until after 9/11 makes for gripping reading. Although Clarke apparently got a number of facts wrong, the big picture seems to be portrayed correctly. Some parts are heavily disputed, though, like the connection of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to Iraq, and whether the Clinton and Bush Jr. administration dealt adequately with al Qaeda (search online for Clarke/Mylroie to find details). But then, Clarke paints a positive image of Clinton’s actions, and a negative one of Bush Jr.’s actions, while Mylroie sees it just the other way around -and has her own books to sell- so some disagreement is to be expected.
Quote from a news story:
His Pentagon-appointed lawyer stayed silent during the trial, refusing to even answer questions from the judge.
Read it at Gitmo jury: Life sentence for bin Laden videomaker and weep.