As a follow-up to last week’s outage, here is a detailed explanation of what transpired, the root cause, and plans to mitigate this from happening again in the future.
Mathematician finds a strong correlation between the presence of mobile phone masts and the number of children born
The match between mobile phone towers and birth rates is an extremely strong correlation and it is highly statistically significant. There is no doubting the mathematical finding that more mobile phone masts mean that there will also be more births. This is about as rigorous as statistics can get.
Mobile phone masts, however, have absolutely no bearing on the number of births. There is no causal link between the masts and the births despite the strong correlation. Both the number of mobile phone transmitters and the number of live births are linked to a third, independent factor: the local population size. As the population of an area goes up, so do both the number of mobile phone users and the number people giving birth.
I remember my economics and statistics teacher coming up with a similar example: it’s in towns that have the highest number of churches that you’ll find the highest number of alcoholics. Because those towns are bigger. Duh!
SpaceX’s first operational Dragon spacecraft launched aboard the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 10:43 a.m. EST (1543 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40.
The capsule made two orbits of the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 mph (over 27,300 kilometers per hour), according to SpaceX officials. It then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean shortly after 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). The entire mission lasted almost 3 hours and 20 minutes.
This launch will make history! Congratulations to SpaceX!
“This Paper Should Not Have Been Published”
Scientists see fatal flaws in the NASA study of arsenic-based life.
Why Do Google Maps’s City Labels Seem Much More “Readable” Than Those of Its Competitors?
For months, I’ve been trying to figure out why Google Maps’s city labels seem so much more readable than the labels on other mapping sites.
To me, Google’s labels seem to “pop” much more than the other sites’ labels. Major cities also seem to stand out much more.  And whenever you’re quickly scanning the maps, the label you’re searching for seems to stand out just a little sooner on Google’s maps.
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.
Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only 3. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.
It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.
Found on kottke
<a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/46915979@N05/4822139106"><img src="http://mostlyrealstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/4822139106_a4fda83c78.jpg" /></a>
NASA scientists announced today an incredible find: a form of microbe that apparently evolved the ability to use otherwise toxic arsenic in their biochemistry!
First off, just to be straight and to dispel the rumors: this is not aliens on Titan, or Mars, or anywhere else. This bizarre life form was found right here on good ol’ Earth. And don’t be disappointed: this is still pretty cool news.
Read the rest of this fascinating article on http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/12/02/nasas-real-news-bacterium-on-earth-that-lives-off-arsenic/