Taxonomy term

september 2008

The art of un-legislating

Taking public approval ratings at face value, it would be easy to conclude that the legislative branch of our government is motivated by an unfortunate blend of incompetence and arrogance. Certainly the repeated and well-documented failures of Congress to act on issues of national significance and its tendency to substitute rhetoric and pork barrel spending for meaningful action provide ample fodder for this well-worn reputation.

30 Sep 2008

Travels in Geology: Taking in Hawaii's Big Island

For a bit of money, visitors to Hawaii can indulge their touristy impulses with a single night of mai tais and luaus. But take on Hawaii’s geologic hallmarks, and you’ll embark on a low-cost safari that will last you all week.

26 Sep 2008

Games: In Spore, cells divide and conquer

I’m no evolutionary biologist, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t just add a horn or an extra ear to your own body whenever you feel like you need a leg up on the competition, so to speak.

25 Sep 2008

Congress lets bans on outer continental shelf drilling expire

In July, President Bush lifted the executive ban on outer continental shelf (OCS) drilling, putting pressure on Congress to follow suit.

In the face of increased fuel costs and a weakened economy, lawmakers in both chambers have demonstrated a willingness to compromise on the issue. The House was able to pass a compromised energy bill on Sept. 16, by a vote of 236 to 189. The legislation would allow drilling 160 kilometers (100 miles) from shore and would provide states the option to drill 80 to 160 kilometers (50 to 100 miles) from their own coasts.

25 Sep 2008

Electrical failure shuts collider down for the winter

Well, it had a short run: Only nine days after going online Sept. 10, CERN's Large Hadron Collider has already gone south for the winter, due to an electrical failure Friday. The LHC was always scheduled for winter shutdown and maintenance, due to the costs of fuel, but that wasn't supposed to happen until the end of November. Now, CERN says, the necessary inspections and repairs will likely not be completed much before that scheduled shutdown date.

24 Sep 2008

Benchmarks: September 21, 1938: The great New England Hurricane strikes

After a disappointing golf outing (the wind made it impossible to drive a golf ball anywhere but straight up), golf pro Raymond Dennehy and his friends returned to the clubhouse of the seaside Kittansett Golf Club in Marion, Mass. Dennehy noticed something wrong: The incoming tide was much higher than normal. In fact, the ocean rose so high that it cut off the club’s grounds from the rest of the state. Then a car floated by./  As water filled the clubhouse, Dennehy took his German shepherd and ran to his car. He drove to the highest point on the golf course and waited. Sitting in the parked car with water around his ankles, Dennehy watched the two-story yacht club collapse under the weight of the rising water. Cottages crumpled. Panicked golf caddies climbed an oak tree to escape the rising sea.  
 
21 Sep 2008

Brazil says 'no thanks' to OPEC

I didn't know you could do that. 

Back in August, Iran had invited Brazil to join OPEC, but Brazil declined, saying it had "other priorities." And now, Saudi Arabia has invited Brazil into the cartel.

17 Sep 2008

Energy's the hot topic this week on the Hill

UPDATE: The House energy bill, which will allow offshore drilling and gives states incentives by sharing the revenues from drilling leases with them, passed yesterday (Sept. 16). The Senate bill is still pending, but a vote is likely sometime this week.

 

16 Sep 2008

Houston avoids worst of Ike; gas prices jump

Hurricane Ike roared into southeastern Texas early Saturday morning as a strong Category-2 storm, with 170 kilometer-per-hour (110 mph) winds. But due to a last-minute veer to the east, the populous region between Galveston and Houston narrowly avoided the worst of the storm.

Meteorologists had feared the region would encounter the “dirty side” of Ike, a nickname for the hurricane’s northeast quadrant that combines the speed of its overall northeasterly movement with the powerful winds of Ike’s counterclockwise spin.

13 Sep 2008

Large earthquake rocks Iran oil port

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 12:30 p.m. EDT — At 3:30 p.m. local time, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck Iran near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. Tremors from the quake were felt as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS detected a magnitude-4.8 aftershock about 30 minutes after the quake, although John Bellini, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., says that many other aftershocks have and will bypass U.S. detection.

10 Sep 2008

Pages