Cool Links

Snow height or rock height?   Chinese and Indians disagree on even how to measure the height of the world's highest mountain, since if you have ever had one of those 'why can't they just talk to each other?' moments about actual serious geopolitical issues, you know it is never that simple.

Mount Everest is in both countries and its official height 29,029 feet and both sides agree that is the official height, but the pesky Chinese still use their rock height number instead of the snow height number, which is 12 feet higher.  So Nepal says it will take an accurate measurement.

Both countries could be wrong.   The US Geological Survey used GPS in 1999 and say it is approximately two feet higher than the official number.
Nothing says celebrating athletic perfection like a McDonald's hamburger.

Actually, elite athletes likely can eat all the hamburgers they want but you get the idea - a McDonald's, nay the world's largest McDonald's, at the site dedicated to athletic excellence is pretty funny.

But Brits are nothing if not funny.  And so they get a 3,000-square-meter McDonald's restaurant,  on two floors and equivalent to half the length of an American football field. 

Olympic chiefs have moved quickly to reject claims that the new McDonald's will deter from aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, which London chiefs have been pushing since winning the Olympic bid.
It's not easy to get a tenured professor to leave his job - unless he is caught dog-fighting or saying girls might be different than boys, there isn't a lot off-limits, especially at a progressive bastion like Harvard.

But bad press is not always good press and Harvard evolutionary psychology Professor Marc D. Hauser has announced his resignation.  A three-year investigation said he fudged data in his research on monkey cognition and he was on the wrong side a Psychology Department vote in February to disallow him from teaching in the upcoming academic year.
Partisans on each side will claim some vast conspiracy in the debt ceiling debate - Republicans are bought by corporations and hate poor people because they want to lower their taxes, Democrats are bought by unions and hate poor people because they want to give them stuff for free - but it may be simpler than that.    Cooperation is in our nature but morality can undercut the tendency, writes Jason Castro in Scientific American, and game theory can tell us some things about why - at least academically.
Reddit/Science is overrun by the marketing people they instituted as moderators so we are not costing ourselves any traffic by linking to an article about the left-wing kook who created it getting caught stealing four million documents from MIT and JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers.   100% of our articles are summarily buried so readers can instead enjoy PhysOrg press releases and whatever else the people who pay their moderators thinks should be in place of actual science.
It's impossible to imagine a science audience is not excited about "The Avengers".  Marvel, who throughout the 1980s and 1990s could do nothing right, has now taken great pains to do nothing wrong.   "Thor" should have been the hardest but it was darn good and only the twin Hulk efforts could be regarded as something of a misfire.

I wouldn't have picked Scarlett Johansson to be Black Widow (Hilary Swank, obviously) and yet another Hulk can be annoying, but you can tell by the audience reaction that this is going to be pretty sweet.

Sen. Tom Coburn, the kind of funding watchdog Congressman everyone says members of Congress should be unless he is attacking their funding (in which case they want their state to have a Barbara Boxer instead, because she is kooky and thinks every state can bring in more money than they send to Washington, D.C.) has proposed a $9 trillion solution to the federal deficit.

Will it work?  No, there is a lot of porkbarrel on both sides of the aisle, so that is untouchable, and conceding $1 trillion in higher taxes will alienate fellow Republicans and still not move Democrats at all.
From digital archives, to religious studies, to national libraries, these university libraries from around the world have plenty of information for you. 

Here are a few samples and go to the link below for the comprehensive list:
This isn't science, but this wildlife photography is pretty spectacular.

Wildlife photographer Richard Austin took these terrific pictures and they aren't in some remote wilderness, they were in Britain.


An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) as a secondary effect of a nuclear blast has been known for decades, but recently groups have started to talk about EMP concern in a primary attack.   With so many of today's communications systems based on electromagnetics and the semiconductor world that lives there, a terrorist attacked designed not to kill people but simply to explode and kill communications has gotten some press.

But how much of our communications system or the electrical grid would be impacted?   No one is sure, there are too many variables, but people still create some worst-case domino effect where all electricity is knocked out, food is gone and Sean Penn is patrolling the streets with a shotgun and contend we have to plan for it.
Greenpeace protestors recently broke into an experimental Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) farm near Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified (GM) wheat. 

The wheat's genetic makeup has been altered to improve its nutritional value. Modifying the level of resistant starch could impact where the digestive process takes place in the gut, and could have health benefits for obesity and bowel cancer.

Greenpeace has always been on the dangerous legal edge between being reputable and becoming Earth Liberation Front and the progressive zealots who work for the multi-national corporation act no differently than any paramilitary group in their efforts.
Zahi Hawass, long on self-aggrandizement and short on scientific knowledge, was everything that was wrong with the latest dictatorship in Egypt.

After months of pressure from critics who attacked his credibility and accused him of having been too close to the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Hawass lost his job along with about a dozen other ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle meant to ease pressure from protesters seeking to purge remnants of Mubarak's regime.
 Given the mass exclusions we already know from the Tevatron it is already more likely that the Higgs sector will be described by something outside the Standard Model. 

With the exception of two small mass ranges either side of the presently excluded region, a Higgs boson that is consistent with the standard model is not now possible. The answer is probably going to be something else, perhaps a Higgs multiplet from some form of supersymmetry, or perhaps no Higgs at all. 

Hold your breath - viXra blog
If you miss french fries that aren't cooked in animal fat and wish pesky health mullahs would stop trying to ban things and get something productive done, there is hope for the future.  Science is out to make a better french fry, not just a healthier one that tastes like cardboard (we're also talking to you, Frito's).
What do you get when you combine eight films, 10 years and $6 billion?  Apparently a suicide watch.   The Harry Potter films are done, finis, kaput - and I have yet to see one.   But I am not the target market.    I do own every episode of "Firefly".

Older, wiser fans - they of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" - have wisdom to impart to today's youngsters about how to cope with withdrawal; namely spend money going to conventions and act out stuff.

Today, President Obama said 80 percent of the public supports Democrats' demand for tax increases.   "The American people are sold.  The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically."

Demanding to have less money sounds odd, because it is.   A new Rasmussen Reports national survey found only 34% thought tax hikes were a valid part of the solution.   
Archaeologists at Khirbet Qeiyafa in Elah Valley near Jerusalem say they may have found remains of the biblical City of King David,  Israel's second king who held an area from Egypt to the Euphrates in the 10th century B.C.

If so, it is the first evidence that the ancient Jewish empire actually existed - while the Kingdom of David was described in the bible as the first Jewish state and features in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it is commonly dismissed as just a story.

Professor Israel Finkelstein, of Tel Aviv University, pointed out that the remains are not evidence of a powerful biblical state.

On vacation  short while ago, NBA player Tony Parker rented a water-powered jetpack and it got a lot of attention.   They're cool because you aren't using rocket fuel, you're using water - less cool is that you are actually renting an entire boat and an engine and you are tethered to it while it pumps the water into the system, making it a toy for the idle rich.   On a Fox morning show, TechCrunch notes, an overenthusiastic Jetlev R200 user surprises the on-camera reporter with some premature ignition.  Hilarity ensues.
Is there a 'Singularity', an ascension of man being able to become machines or machines becoming sentient, coming in 2045?

Given the current state of artificial intelligence and robotics, that would only happen if we were able to put a man on the Moon in a relative time scale of 3 minutes.  In reality, selling books and tickets to conferences showing "Man + (Black Box Full Of Magic) = SINGULARITY" not much progress has been made in decades much less anything leading us to believe the drastic inflection point needed will be happening any time this century.
The robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks often begins speeches by reaching into his pocket, fiddling with some loose change, finding a quarter, pulling it out and twirling it in his fingers.
An activist website called Negotiation Is Over is urging its followers to attack scientists.  

Left-wing kooks are no different than the right wing kind, just their issues are different.   Instead of global warming, they are anti-vaccine, instead of human embryonic stem cells, they are anti-agriculture.  

One way fringe kooks on the left outdo their counterparts on the right is calls to violence.   They're even willing to pay students if they will target biomedical students who use animals in research.  Check this out: