an exercise in miscellany

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page


In science & nature on December 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

In general, super-Earths are defined exclusively by their mass, and the term does not imply temperatures, compositions, orbital properties, or environments similar to Earth’s. A variety of specific mass values are cited in definitions of super-Earths. While sources generally agree on an upper bound of 10 Earth masses (~69% the mass of the smallest Solar System gas giant Uranus), the lower bound varies from 1 or 1.9 to 5  with various other definitions appearing in the popular media.  Some authors further suggest that the term be limited to planets without a significant atmosphere.

via Super-Earth – Wikipedia


The White House Plumbers

In history on December 30, 2010 at 11:49 am


The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, were a covert White House Special Investigations Unit established July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. Its members branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-ins and the ensuing Watergate scandal.

via White House Plumbers

Jack Anderson

In people on December 30, 2010 at 11:26 am


Jack Northman Anderson (October 19, 1922 – December 17, 2005)   was a key and often controversial figure in reporting on J. Edgar Hoover’s apparent ties to the Mafia, Watergate, the John F. Kennedy assassination. He also broke open the case of John Lennon, who was followed, had his phone tapped and was generally harassed by the Nixon administration during the fight to deport him, the search for fugitive ex-Nazi officials in South America and the Savings and Loan scandal. He discovered a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro and was credited for breaking the Iran-Contra affair, though he has said the scoop was “spiked” because he had become too close to President Ronald Reagan.

Cancelled checks show that Anderson received thousands of dollars in payments from one of his long time sources — Washington lobbyist Irving Davidson.

via Jack Anderson (columnist)

Video Game Obsessed Mom Neglects Kids, Starves Dogs

In wild card on December 30, 2010 at 10:39 am


A 33-year-old Englishwoman was given a suspended sentence after admitting her obsession with a popular online game called “Small Worlds” kept her from caring for her three children, aged 9, 10, and 13, and two dogs.

The kids continued to attend school but had been reduced to eating cold beans straight from the can – because she had stopped buying food that had to be cooked.

via Video Game-Obsessed Mom Neglects Kids, Starves Dogs

Operation Highjump

In operations and projects on December 30, 2010 at 10:25 am

Operation Highjump (OpHjp), officially titled The United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program, 1946-47, was a United States Navy operation organized by RADM Richard E. Byrd Jr USN (Ret) and commanded by CAPT Richard H Cruzen, USN. Operation High Jump began on 26 August 1946 and ended in late February 1947, six months earlier than planned. Task Force 68 included 4,700 men, 13 ships, and multiple aircraft. The primary mission of Operation High Jump was to establish the Antarctic research base Little America IV.

The stated claims of the operation were as follows:

1. to train personnel and test material in the frigid zones

2. to consolidate and extend American sovereignty over the largest practical area of the Antarctic continent

3. to determine the feasibility of establishing and maintaining bases in the Antarctic and to investigate possible base sites

4. to develop techniques for establishing and maintaining air bases on the ice, with particular attention to the later applicability of such techniques to operations in interior Greenland. (where, it was then believed, physical and climatic conditions resembled those in Antarctica)

5. to amplify existing knowledge of hydrographic, geographic, geological, meteorological and electromagnetic conditions in the area.

via Operation Highjump

The New World Order – H.G. Wells

In books on December 30, 2010 at 9:44 am

The New World Order is a book written by H. G. Wells, originally published in January 1940. Wells expressed the idea that a ‘new world order’ should be formed to unite the nations of the world in order to bring peace and end war. It was republished in 2007

via The New World Order (Wells)


Hegelian Dialectic

In words & phrases on December 29, 2010 at 12:20 am

Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a three-fold manner, was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.

Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant. Carrying on Kant’s work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it.

On the other hand, Hegel did use a three-valued logical model that is very similar to the antithesis model, but Hegel’s most usual terms were: Abstract-Negative-Concrete. Sometimes Hegel would use the terms, Immediate-Mediated-Concrete. Hegel used these terms hundreds of times throughout his works

via Dialectic

Artistic Squatting

In art on December 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Artistic Squatting

Artistic Squatting is an online intervention by Lanfranco Aceti, who is researching the impact of digital media formats and forms of social networking.

The words are moved from paper onto Google’s headquarters becoming the signs of an art occupation of virtual spaces. The “Virtual Squatting” in museums in London, Paris, New York and Berlin continues with another artistic intervention on the virtual space of Google’s headquarters.

Dr. Aceti’s research focuses on finding artistic digital platforms to peacefully engage and generate alternative sociopolitical discourses.

via Artistic Squatting


Digital citizenship

In technology & innovatons on December 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Being a Digital citizen

A digital citizen commonly refers to a person that participates in society using a certain amount of information technology (IT). To qualify for the unofficial title of digital citizen a person must have the skill and knowledge to interact with private and government organizations through means of “digital” tools such as computers or mobile phones, along with access to these devices.

People characterizing themselves as digital citizens often use IT extensively, creating blogs, use social networking and other means of modern communication.  Digital citizenship begins the first time any child, teen, and/or adult signs up for an email address, posts pictures online, uses e-commerce to buy merchandise online, and/or participates in any electronic function that is B2C or B2B.

via Digital citizen

New Swabia

In places on December 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

New Swabia is a cartographic name sometimes given to an area of Antarctica between 20°E and 10°W in Queen Maud Land, which within Norway is administered as a Norwegian dependent territory under the Antarctic Treaty System. New Swabia was explored by Germany in early 1939 and named after that expedition’s ship, the Schwabenland, itself named after the German region of Swabia.

via New Swabia