1. Greek fire ain't what it used to be. If you're a student of history, you know that Greek fire (πῦρ θαλάσσιον) was popularized by the Byzantines, mostly against Arab navies. We don't know what it consisted of because the recipe was lost to antiquity but it made enough of an impression that various other cultures copied it. Naptha? Saltpeter? No one can be sure.
Greek fire was not an ingredient but instead an entire system. It required special processing to make and was compressed so that the liquid shot out. Thus it required expert handling as well.
Greek heroes once had names like Jason or Odysseus or even chemicals that burn on water but in the coastal resort of Mallia, a 26 year old Crete woman is considered heroic because she objected to a Brit waving his genitals in a crowded bar so ... she poured Sabucco on them.
When that did not chagrin him appropriately, she lit a match. And they are calling her a hero. Oh, how the Greeks have fallen.
2. Yes, a drunk Brit on vacation trying to get laid had to be surprised when his genitals burst into flame but imagine finding out your nurse, who was 'Nurse of the Year', is not only not nurse of the year, because she paid for the entire award dinner to honor her, she isn't even a nurse.
3. Being a fake nurse is bad enough, what if you aren't even an real researcher? PLoS Medicine and The New York Times busted ghostwriters for review papers sugar-coating findings related to hormone treatments and breast cancer. What happened to the good old days, when only NY Times journalists made stuff up?
We can't just blame Wyeth because doctors signed their names to stuff they didn't write that framed the results in ways that made it look like hormone therapy was not correlated. But blaming them is a start.
4. If you are still insure that more government won't take society to a weird place, ask eight-year-old Daniela Earnest. She set up a lemonade stand to raise money for a family trip to Disneyland but the city of Tulare local government (a California town, naturally) shut her down because she did not have a business permit.
Fortunately, a local radio station came to the rescue. So the private sector rescues citizens from bureaucrats with rules once again. Let's hope we don't soon have radio stations doing multi-trillion dollar bailouts.
5. Coolest archaeology discovery I will see today. A stone tablet found in a cave in Abauntz in the Navarra region of northern Spain is believed to contain the earliest known representation of a landscape.
5. We've seen some crazy ideas about how to solve global warming: Big sunglasses in space, making all humans a foot shorter, replacing CO2 with acid rain by subsidizing battery-powered cars (oops, we are actually doing that one, to the tune of $2.4 billion) but some NASA engineers have come up with something even crazier; they want to move the whole planet.
I guess they're going to hire Green Lantern and have him use his magic ring to make a big tennis racket and swat us a few thousand miles?
Actually, Green Lantern did that to save a planet once (but it was a sun coming at the planet and, in Green Lantern physics world, his ring is powerless against yellow, so he made a green paddle and swatted the planet's moon into the runaway star - I am convinced DC comics readers are a lot dumber than Marvel comics readers because of plots like that) though I can't find what issue it was. If you know, or find out, I will send you a cool Scientific Blogging t-shirt.
I'm hoping my mention of Green Lantern does not send all of the militant New Atheists on some kind of cultural war path. He's Catholic and takes his orders from an eternal Guardian but that's no reason to want the planet destroyed by having someone without a green power ring, like NASA engineers, move Earth.