Dream of the Dragon

Month: April, 2010

They call it a mine.

by Justin

The news of the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine a few weeks ago only recently began to resonate with me. A methane buildup in the West Virginia coal mine led to the deaths of twenty-nine men and the worst disaster of its kind in forty years. The tragedy of this event was obvious and immediately apparent – most early stories focused on the toll it took on the locals and the implications for the families affected. Read the rest of this entry »

Health Care Wha?

by lbej

Americans are funny about government.  I understand that we were once a people into frontiering and mountaineering and engineering and all sorts of eerings, but now we’re mostly into the sitting and the staring and the eating.  In the past we didn’t need so many things taken care of for us but now we do.  Civilization is also very complicated now.  You could treat your own bear-inflicted wound in 1810, but you’re not very well going to give yourself a heart bypass in 2010.  The health care debate has been bothering me, because I think it’s silly.  I hear something to the effect of “I want to make my own decisions about health care.”  Really?  Do you really?  Then it’s a good thing you have all that medical training and oh yes the finance and statistics knowledge that helps you to weigh costs against benefits.  It’s also a good thing that 300 million people can make uncoordinated, arbitrary and contrary decisions about health care and force the consequences into a single system that then doesn’t fail catastrophically.  Otherwise you’d need people with actual knowledge to administer the system. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunshine.

by Justin

Images cranked out by Hubble or other impossible pieces of space technology tend to set the bar for mind-blowing. NASA just released images from one of its latest, and maybe most practical initiatives:

SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. Read the rest of this entry »