The 10,000 Year Clock, a counter balance for the Doomsday clock?

Friday, 30 January, 2015

We’ve probably all heard about the Doomsday Clock, and of course the news that it now stands at three minutes to midnight, but how about the 10,000 Year Clock, that is currently being built into a mountain in western Texas?

All going well, and assuming the somewhat more apocalyptic Doomsday retreats rather than advances, those in the vicinity of the 10,000 Year, stand to hear it chime out one of three and a half million possible tunes, each time it is wound, by who knows, a distant descendant of ours.

Notice how the foundation behind the project references the years as, say, 02012, rather than the more familiar four figure format of 2012… all rather hopeful, as all going well, we’ll need that extra digit in the future.

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The uncertain future of çay, or Turkish tea

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Sure the coffee in Turkey is great but the tea, or çay, is better. That, by the way, is one of the few times you’ll ever hear me say tea is better than coffee. In fact, you do not go to Turkey and not drink çay. It’ll be offered to you at every stop, and corner you turn.

And it doesn’t take long to start craving a cuppa, once you’ve sampled it. We’d frequently make çay stops when travelling from point A to point B, simply to drink more of it.

Sadly though Turkish tea growers are struggling against both increasingly erratic weather patterns, and industrialisation, which is slowly, but surely, encroaching upon traditional plantation lands, factors that pose a threat to the production of this staple beverage:

Unlike Sri Lanka or India, where harvests continue year-round, Turkish tea must be harvested three times a year in order to make it a viable crop despite cold winter months that curtail the growing season. This means trimming, fertilizing and harvesting run on a tight schedule, and when weather interrupts, profits quickly collapse. And weather does interrupt – increasingly so. Heavy frost last spring delayed harvesting by several weeks and cost producers and manufacturers more than 15 percent of their annual income, according to an engineer at Çaykur, the Turkish state tea production company. With production falling, growers of Turkish tea are getting nervous.

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Dangerous sex positions… say what?

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Holy moly… it seems some sex positions are more dangerous than others. I would think that some of what we see in, say, the Kama Sutra might be asking for trouble, but the four that have been identified here, are just a little more day to day, as it were. Linked in the interests of keeping everyone out there safe and happy…

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It’s three minutes to midnight according to the Doomsday Clock

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Climate change, and concerns over nuclear weapon stockpiles, have prompted members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, to advance the hands of the so-called Doomsday Clock another two minutes closer to midnight, to eleven fifty-seven, or, if you prefer, twenty-three fifty-seven.

While the world likely has a little more than three minutes left to it, and the clock is purely symbolic, unless action is taken to address the issues being highlighted by the scientists, the world may indeed find it is fast running out of time, in the not to distant future.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists doesn’t use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe. Each year, the magazine’s board analyzes threats to humanity’s survival to decide where the Doomsday Clock’s hands should be set.

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This ship did the Kessel run in under twelve revolutions per minute

Thursday, 29 January, 2015

Photo by Marco Garza

Fantastic… a record player, turntable, fashioned from a model/toy of the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars”. I’ve no doubt the popularity of records would skyrocket if there were more playing devices like this.

(Photo by Marco Garza)

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Low prices sure, but constantly falling prices, that’s not so good

Thursday, 29 January, 2015

If you follow the business/finance news, you’ll have heard about the massive bond buying initiative that the European Central Bank, or ECB, recently committed to.

Long story short, and it’s not as if you’ll find me offering in-depth, expert, analysis of the move, but it’s all in a bid to stave off deflation, or falling prices. Now you’d think that lower prices would be a good thing, but that’s not always the case. In fact constantly falling prices can cause all sorts of problems:

When shoppers see persistent price declines, they hold out on buying things. They ask, will I get a better deal next week, next month, next year? As a result, consumer spending flails. For most nations, that’s a big chunk of their economy, and any slowdown in consumption threatens growth.

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How can I tell ye, do not disturb? Let us count the ways

Thursday, 29 January, 2015

There’s this one hotel I sometimes stay at in Sydney that does not supply do not disturb signs… a rather odd establishment, no? Well, maybe.

Thankfully I usually only stay there while in town for work purposes, so it’s not like I’m going to be awoken from a twelve hour slumber or anything, and besides housekeeping only calls every other day, so it’s not like there’ll be too many disruptions in the first place.

If I do ever decide to make a holiday out of a stay there though, maybe I ought to print off one or two of these such signs from this extensive collection assembled by Lisa Hix. They’re not all signs as such either, take a look, and you’ll see what I mean.

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The best workplace teams talk to each other, and also mind read

Thursday, 29 January, 2015

Communication, a clear perception of how others are feeling, and the presence of more women than men, could be the keys to building effective workplace teams.

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group. Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible. Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

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The three Fs of tooth care, floss, floss, and floss

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015

I hope my dentist sees me posting this… if you’ve decided you want to take better care of your teeth, then you ought to read this.

The main standouts though are to floss daily, and, somewhat surprisingly to me at least, not to brush your teeth in the shower. I can’t say I’ve known, or even heard of, anyone who does that, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Experts think the issue is underlying inflammation that can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body’s normal functioning – which isn’t good even if you’re NOT trying to be a parent. (Bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and respiratory illness, research suggests.) A toothbrush’s bristles can’t adequately clean between the teeth or under the gums – but you already know that. What you probably don’t know is the correct way to floss (and you need to be doing it every day).

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Looking for a space-time wormhole? You may be living in one

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015

Intersellar made wormholes one of the hottest dinner party topics of discussion upon its release last year, and now I bet you can’t get them out of your mind. If that’s the case this is the news you’ve been waiting for… our galaxy, the Milky Way, just might be one gigantic wormhole:

If we combine the map of the dark matter in the Milky Way with the most recent Big Bang model to explain the universe and we hypothesise the existence of space-time tunnels, what we get is that our galaxy could really contain one of these tunnels, and that the tunnel could even be the size of the galaxy itself.

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