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Stone Knives and Bearskins

I am endeavoring, Madam, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins. -- Mr. Spock to Edith Keeler

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January 07, 2004

The Muds of Mars 

Great story about the Mars rover and its terrain from the Washington Post (free registration required). It seems the lander left tracks in the surface:
The material was mashed and clumped, like something moist and viscous, and was broken away in pieces at some spots.
Moist? On Mars?
"The way the surface has responded is bizarre," said lead rover scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managing the mission. "I don't understand it. I don't know anybody on my team who understands it. . . . It looks like mud, but it can't be mud."
Bear in mind that Spirit landed in Gusev Crater (somewhere in the crater; "[t]he team was still locked in vigorous debate on the location of the lander") because some people think it was a lake bottom once. So in this case - although the JPL scientists wisely refused to speculate - it's just conceivable that there might be water still near the surface, tied up in some sort of clay.

At least now we know how the Martians were able to dig those canals, eh?

January 05, 2004

Quis ipsos custodet custodes? 

Halley Suitt thinks it's about time political journalists got a taste of their own medicine.

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