Just some links to keep you happy

Hell-O blog-readers!

After coming into the office this morning after a relaxing, news-free weekend, I started reading news and getting agitated. Not all of it is climate related (which, is supposedly this blog's theme, supposedly), but I thought I'd just throw out some of the articles I've read this morning.

So the big news in the atmosphere is Hurricane Emily, which has now crossed the Yucatan. I wonder how close the eye came to the impact site of the meteor that ended the dinosaurs' reign? I suppose that the diameter of the hurricane is bigger than the crater, but amazingly has less energy than that unleashed by the impact. That's a lot of energy. For up to the date information, see the National Hurricane Center.

Slightly concerning for those of us with ties to environmental groups, the FBI has been keeping tabs on some groups that support environmental (or social or progressive) activism [LINK]. Why? More importantly than 'why?' is the more specific question, why are they doing so with anti-terrorism task forces and funds? This is blantantly politically motivated. This sort of behavior by the federal government is taking us back in time to more invasive and paranoid days, and simultaneously toward a very Orwellian future.

Getting less related, but still sort of following the lines of this blog, the solar car race is happening. There's a story in the SF Chronicle about it [LINK], with a focus on the Cal and Stanford teams. While racing this fragile little solar cars seems silly and just a diversion, the technologies and skills and press coverage that this race and these teams generate will help move away from the dirty hydrocarbon economy that we live in today. More information about the American Solar Challenge can be found at americansolarchallenge.org.

Moving away from environmental and climate issues completely, but staying in the realm of science, there's a news story about a new study of an extra solar planet that orbits three suns. None of the stories I read really do this story justice, but it sounds really interesting, and might have important ramifications for understanding how solar systems form [LINK].

And moving past hard science news, and into more murky waters, there's a column by Gina Piccalo in the LATimes about atheists in America. It's kind of a strange piece in the sense that it implies that there's a lot of stigma attached to being an atheist in today's USA [LINK]. No doubt there is in some places. No doubt that religious types feel various feelings ranging from confusion to pity to anger and hate and fear when confronted with real-life atheists. However, this probably isn't a serious issue for most atheists, at least in my experience. I'd guess that at least half the people I know are atheist or at least agnostic, and I don't think they are facing much difficulty due to non-belief. Well, I hope not. The column also mentions, and reminded me of, a great web site for those out there who don't invoke mystical forces in their world-view. It is called the Brights' Net, and I have to say that I think it is a clever and harmless site/idea. It is very non-confrontational, very pro-people, and doesn't condemn anyone.

So that's what's been on my mind today. Also, crude oil prices dropped this morning to about $57.20/barrel. However, as I understand it, today the whole market is adjusting to some kind of profit reports or something... so everything seems to have gone down a bit.

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