Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notes for today

  • Stress. Overthinking. This is why I can't stop eating pizza. From the article:
"Here's where the results get weird. The students with seven digits to remember were nearly twice as likely to choose the cake as students given two digits."
In other words, if you have a lot to think about, you're a lot less likely to eat healthy.
  • Conventional wisdom is typically a load of crap. Proving conventional wisdom wrong is usually an invitation for people to dislike you. Especially when you're challenging the use of the word 'trauma' to describe sexual abuse.
  • Saying that the Mars Rovers have exceeded all expectation seems understated at this point. Way back in 2004, it was exciting for the rover to even get off its delivery vessel. Of the two rovers, Spirit is now stuck in the sand and unlikely to ever move under its own power again. The little rover did get 10 kilometers, and took some amazing pictures (scroll through the Wikipedia article for some highlights).
  • There are new reservoirs being built all the time, often to promote recreation. The reality is that you really don't want to be playing around in those reservoirs (or eating the fish) for the first 15-30 years. Why? Mercury. Mercury is a really widespread pollutant that volatilizes into the atmosphere and re-distributes all over the planet, then falls out in a fairly even layer. The most isolated places on earth still have substantial mercury contamination. So soils and plants have much greater mercury loads than they once did. When you inundate an area after constructing an impoundment, much of that mercury breaks down from organic forms and becomes bioavailable again. And as a result, fish tend to accumulate really high mercury loads.

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