Fat Chance!

The intervening years for Gardner have been more down than up, unlike his weight: an Olympic bronze medal in 2004; retirement; divorce and marriage to his third wife; trouble financing a gym; death-defying experiences aboard a snowmobile, a motorcycle and a small plane; an abortive appearance on the NBC reality show “The Biggest Loser” after he ballooned to 474 pounds — nearly 200 above his gold medal weight. “I’ve had the highest highs and lowest lows,” the 6-foot-1 Gardner said.

via Wrestler Rulon Gardner Plots Comeback at London Olympics – NYTimes.com.

9:20 PM Samantha
I’m reading the Gardner story; he has to lose about 50 pounds, maybe more, by April? That seems unlikely.

9:20 PM John
To me, also. Unless he gets in another gruesome accident!

9:21 PM Samantha
Ugh, terrible.


The New Enviromentalism

With so little of the Earth’s land still pristine and unaffected by humans, the idea of the ‘wilderness’ has less and less meaning in the modern world. Indeed, if pollution and climate change are taken into account, no part of the planet’s surface is any longer truly wild. This does not mean that we must gloomily accept the continuing diminution of semi-wild areas and the erosion of the vital ecosystem services they provide. It does mean though that we need to challenge some orthodoxies that are no longer useful in this new era of near-total human planetary dominance. ‘Getting close to nature’ or going ‘back to the land’ will generally not be good for the environment, however psychologically fulfilling these objectives may be to individuals seeking escape from industrial living. Instead, we need to intensify agriculture and other human land uses in existing areas as much as possible, and encourage as an environmental boon the growth of the world’s major cities that already successfully concentrate today’s enormous human population onto only a tiny proportion of the world’s land. The most positive trend of all in allowing us to minimise our impact on the planet’s surface is one more often bemoaned than celebrated: urbanisation.

via The Smart Way to Play God with Earths Limited Land: Scientific American.

See also: The Environmentalism Problem | Patos Papa.

Chelsea 1, Q.P.R. 0 (Zagat-style)

“On an incessantly sour and hostile afternoon,” a “toxic tie between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea was settled by a controversial second-half penalty.”

“It was Daniel Sturridge” and not “the race row involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand” “who caused the one moment of on-field acrimony.” Sturridge “fell to the turf” “with Clint Hill beside him and the QPR defender immediately remonstrated, accusing Sturridge of diving.” “Television replays suggested it was a harsh decision,” but Chelsea’s Juan “Mata coolly netted his eighth goal of the season.”

“Chelsea were dictating the pace of the game but lacked a cutting edge.”

via The Associated Press; The Observer; Mail Online; West London Sport; and Kilburn Times

We’re Sorry

A third of all delays around the nation each year are caused, in some way, by the New York airports, according to the F.A.A. Or, as Paul McGraw, an operations expert with Airlines for America, the industry trade group, put it, “When New York sneezes, the rest of the national airspace catches a cold.”

via N.Y. Airports Account for Half of All Delays – NYTimes.com.

The Master Observer

If 2 people have a treat and one person is blindfolded, the dog will beg only to the one who can see. Dogs can not only be practical like this, but clever in other ways, such as deceiving another dog so as to get its food illustrated in a few video clips. …Although religious and cultural belief has opposed such notions as consciousness implies a soul, laboratory experiments, to say nothing of our daily experience, suggest that indeed dogs have conscious intent, knowledge, and experience.

via Fenichels Current Topics in Psychology – APA Convention 2009 Toronto – How Dogs Think.

Stale, but interesting throughout. A broad discussion of canine intelligence, nominally how they think, but including other pips, like top 10 lists of the smartest and dumbest dogs. (The one pictured above is on neither list, but would be a shoo-in for Top 10 Most Afraid of Plastic Sacks, Vacuum Cleaners, Unfamiliar Furniture, Etc.)

No need to dwell on what dogs are thinking. It is “bacon.”

Even better, see also:Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

This (Actually) Explains Everything

Before the Big Bang, the cosmos was a perfectly symmetrical nine-dimensional universe or ten, if you add in the dimension of time with all four fundamental forces unified at unimaginably high temperatures. But this universe was highly unstable and cracked in two, sending an immense shock wave reverberating through the embryonic cosmos.The result was two separate space-times: the unfurled three-dimensional one that we inhabit, and a six-dimensional one that contracted as violently as ours expanded, shrinking into a tiny Planckian ball. As our universe expanded and cooled, the four forces split off one by one, beginning with gravity. Everything we see around us today is a mere shard of the original shattered nine-dimensional universe.

via Why Does Our Universe Have Three Dimensions? : Discovery News.

‘…If You’re Scared of Fires and Stuff’

On second thought, I am not sure that looks as good as it tastes.

Instead, I decided to leave it on the small back burner set on the lowest heat setting overnight (you could do the same with a slow cooker if you’re scared of fires and stuff).

via Vegan: Coconut Lentil Soup with Cilantro-Habañero Gremolata | Serious Eats.

I mean it is a joke, right, “if you’re scared of fires and stuff”? That’s funny, right? I suppose that is the kind of joke that people make on a blog, but I was not aware that there were people who were happily willing to leave their stove on all night. I do not know if that is an electric stove vs. gas stove thing, or just something stupid people do.

In any event, the recipe for this might turn you off because it has a “vegan” label on it. I do not know why it says that. It is vegan, of course, but so are a lot of things (apples, for one), and I do not know why we have to go around saying everything is vegan.

Mostly it is vegan because it has no butter in it. But that is neither here nor there. This is very delicious, very satisfying, strong notes of curry and hot pepper and cool cilantro. Very satisfying on a cold day, or any day.

I made it in a crockpot, and left it to cook for more than three hours. I came back, expecting to use an immersion blender. I did not need to. The amalgamation had a rich, thick consistency, almost like melted ice cream.

Whew, That Is a Relief

…even before the devastating 2010 Stuxnet virus attacks, the Iranian program was already experiencing a “tremendous slowing down,” in the words of former IAEA safeguards chief Olli Heinonen.Is it really reasonable to expect such low-quality, brittle technical infrastructure to create a single, Hiroshima-size nuclear device — let alone a bona fide nuclear weapons arsenal?

via Crying wolf about an Iranian nuclear bomb | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Let the Robot Do It

The X-47B will not only land itself, but will also know what kind of weapons it is carrying, when and where it needs to refuel with an aerial tanker, and whether theres a nearby threat, said Carl Johnson, Northrops X-47B program manager. “It will do its own math and decide what it should do next.”

via New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable? – latimes.com.

Don’t Sell Your Stock in Uncle Sam

If we are to gauge accurately whether the United States is currently in decline, we need to have a reasonable baseline from which to measure. To compare American influence today with a mythical past of overwhelming dominance can only mislead us.

via Robert Kagan: Against The Myth Of American Decline | The New Republic.