(no subject)

Dear Mother Nature,

Fuck You.

I go hiking once, maybe twice per year. That leaves you ~360 days you could pick to give me an infected wisdom tooth. But no, you had to choose that one evening when I'm a six hour hike away from the nearest ranger station, on a moonless night to boot.

You know, I was going to get you something nice for your birthday. Maybe a tree or something. Instead, I think I'm just gonna go out and dump some kerosene on the lawn. Happy now?

Apart from the pain and the fever, the hike was great. We drove up to Yosemite friday night, hiked to a small glacier lake saturday, camped, hung out for a few hours sunday morning, then hiked back. Beautiful and refreshing. Some random pictures after the cut.Collapse )

(no subject)

Yet another proud day for the "investigative journalists" at the New York Times...

"Big Hurdles Remain in Detecting Liquid Explosives"
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/world/europe/10cnd-threat.html
Despite knowing for years that liquid explosives posed a threat to airline safety, security agencies have made little progress in deploying technology that could help defend against such attacks, security experts say.

Yeah? You know why? Because the distinction "liquid explosives" is completely meaningless. You might as well say "Big hurdles remain in detecting salmon-colored explosives". Liquid is just a property, and has nothing to do with anything, really.

However, explosives can be divided into two major groups, nitro-based compounds and peroxy-based. The vast majority of explosives, and all commercial, are nitro-based. We can detect those quite well - if you've ever gone through security and they swabbed you with a piece of paper, that's what they were looking for.

The peroxy-based explosives we can't look for, though, as the end products are acetone, and the volatility of the starting material is too low. These are the explosives the airlines are freaking out about.

Oh well. It's only the New York Times. I don't know why I keep expecting them to actually fact-check their headlines...

Gnu's abroad

So I was planning on visiting a friend in London for a few days at the end of June (25 - 28). Already bought the tickets and the hotel room, all non-refundable. Unfortunately, her online bf is coming into town exactly that week, so she won't have any time for me...

Now, I really really hate traveling alone. I usually end up reading at a coffeeshop instead of touristing. So the question is - do you guys happen to know any Londoners who'd be interesting in spending some time with a wayward swede? Touristing, visiting British Museum, randomly wandering in London, dinner, drinks, I'm open for suggestions. Any or all days, I'm not picky.

Open letter to Jaqueline Carrey

Dear Ms. Carrey,

I've recently finished the first hundred pages of Kushiels Dart, and I have a small request. Enough with the damned foreshadowing already, OK? In my humble opinion, foreshadowing is the literary equivalent of defecating on the kitchen table. Once you've started, it really doesn't matter how good the food is, it's all just gonna smell like crap.

Sincerely,
Schrodingers Gnu

A revival of an old tradition...

In a throwback to my first year as a postdoc, I'm now enjoying the "It's monday morning and the Gnu's face is falling off" experience.

The weekend was spent skiing in Mammoth Mountains, which was absolutely awesome. Perfect weather, between 40 and 60 F temperature depending on altitude, still plenty of snow and almost no people. Unfortunately, 11,000 feet of altitude and a deep blue sky does not make a good combination with the fair skin of the Scandinavian Gnu (Connochaetes Scandi). Right now I have a beautiful red/white border on my forehead where the bandanna was, in addition to the sunshade-induced racoon eyes in an otherwise beet-red face. The peeling will commence shortly.

Some pictures after the cutCollapse )

(no subject)

Heeee - Dinosaur Adventure Land shut down for lack of building permit

County commissioners showed no sympathy to members of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry who spoke out Thursday night at a commission meeting about the county's actions.

"Scripture also says 'Render unto Caesar what Caesar demands.' And right now, Caesar demands a building permit," County Commission Chairman Mike Whitehead said.


Ah, I do enjoy a good biblical smack-down.