Archive for November, 2008

Birthday Sky

November 30, 2008

Live Science features an entertaining little application – Starry Night Birthday Sky. Enter the date and time of your birthday, then double click your birth location on a Google map of the US, and Starry Night shows you the exact position of the sun against the background of constellations at your time of birth (at least, within 15 minute increments – close enough for astronomical work).

It’s part and parcel of their subtle disparagement of the claims of astrology, as in Pedro Braganca’s feature from October of 2007 on Your Astrological Sign May Not Be What You Think It Is. For instance, with my birthday coming up soon, I’m a proud Ophiucan. Makes it challenging to scan the papers for my daily horoscope.

Oh, and you needn’t be born during hours of darkness. Starry Night works just fine for those like me born in the middle of the afternoon.

Greenhouse Gases: A Tip of the Cap

November 17, 2008

The results of the election just past probably augur the early adoption of some variant of a cap-and-trade system of emissions control to combat the release of greenhouse gases and mitigate global warming. If you’re interested in the possible details of such a plan and their likely consequences, today’s Science Daily offers a brief discussion of a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research focused on that very topic.

For the complete report in PDF format, see the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research document Cap and Trade: Contributions to the Design of a US Greenhouse Gas Program (106 pages). MIT’s own descriptive writeup of the report is available here.

Unconventional Wisdom

November 12, 2008

Camille Paglia weighs in at Salon with her typical perceptive commentary on the recent election in Obama Surfs Through.