Has Cassini Found Lakes on Titan At Last ?

The Planetary Society is reporting some really interesting news:

Saturn’s moon Titan was once thought to conceal a global ocean of methane and ethane beneath its smoggy atmosphere. However, while the landforms seen by Cassini and Huygens show ample evidence of past modification by the action of flowing liquids, actual bodies of present liquid have proven elusive through more than two years of investigation. Until now. During a July 22, 2006 flyby, Cassini’s RADAR instrument has finally unveiled what appears to be a land of lakes in Titan’s northern polar regions.

Pretty neat stuff, and this image is a neat example of some of the data they’ve got..

Possible Lakes on Titan

BBC Articles on Lebanon Conflict – History and Future

BBC correspondent Jim Muir in Lebanon has two excellent articles on the current conflict in Lebanon – “History repeats with a vengeance” and Washington risks a wider conflict.

The second article makes a very interesting point, saying:

The Hezbollah operation of 12 July was apparently launched at least partly in support of the embattled (Sunni) Hamas in Gaza, perhaps at the prompting of their mutual supporter Iran.

So the seeds of co-operation between Sunni and Shia radical groups are already there, and – encouraged by Iran and Syria – they could start sprouting elsewhere in the region.

This, I bet, is something that Israel and its US backers would probably not have envisaged when they started on this tragedy and I fear that his thought that:

If an increasingly isolated US, with anaemic support from Britain, continues to support or even encourage Israel’s absolutist approach, the consequences could be dire both in Lebanon and in the wider region.

is probably not far off the mark.

Australian Academics Branded Anti-American for Being Pro-Australian

This makes me sick..

Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Chubb says ANU researchers were labelled as “anti-American” after they released a study of Australia’s free trade agreement with the US, which revealed adverse results.

The fact that some people believe publicising the fact that this “Free” Trade Agreement isn’t good for Australia is “Anti-American” seems to speak volumes about their real sympathies, which is really sad given that some of them are our politicians. πŸ™

Professor Chubb says he received several calls suggesting the university would be unwise to promote the research.

I’d love to know where those calls were from!

Microsoft, Firefox and Bad (X)HTML

So Microsoft stuffed up their redirect of real web browsers at one point from their preview page (you’ll need to set your browser to lie and say it’s IE 6 on XP to avoid the now-working redirect to the standard MS home page).

I think it’s a device to try and hide the fact that it’s the usual MS generated broken markup, the W3C validator spat out 113 errors and 13 info messages and their CSS doesn’t fare much better!

They’ve got their work cut out for them if they want to avoid making it a significant regression on the results for the current home page which has only 2 HTML errors (though still with a considerable number of CSS bugs).

Alec Muffett Last Update: Saturday 23rd July

Alec himself writes:

today i stood up for the first time in 2 weeks

my leg muscles are wasted, gone, even on the good leg. i sat on the edge of the bed, stood up into a device called a “pulpit” and took my weight across my forearms and elbows. all blood sank to my feet and i nearly fainted, but with some frantic toe waggling managed to restore supply to my head, and thus i walked – or maybe toe-crawled – some three feet forwards and backwards.

it took me two hours’ sleep to recover, and i got a burst of the shivers due to dropping temperatures from the thunderstorms. the nurse covered me in a hot cotton sheet removed specially from an oven (such are kept for patients returning from theatre, where anasthetic can cause shivers) and that got me going again.

i still ache. this, presumably, is where it starts to become hard work.

i got moved into a new room today – rm 23, extn 1133 – because some ants got into my old room overnight, through the open window. i now have aircon, but the view is less interesting.

rachel (rac) arrived 5ish and brought some more clothes, post/mail, and lindt chocolate which i shall enjoy greatly though most sparingly; this evening brought a call from and a nice chat/sync-up with adriana, and an offer of help with shopping from cynthiac calling from a rock festival in wellington country park.

it’s great to have friends. πŸ™‚

Now Alec is back blogging I’ll leave it up to him to report on how he is. πŸ™‚

419 Spam Giggle

Had a 419 spam this morning that slipped through the filters (now fed to SpamAssassin) that started with the following – do they know something that I don’t ? πŸ™‚

Dear Fiend,

Sadly it’s probably just an attempt to evade the “Dear Friend” test..

0.8 DEAR_FRIEND BODY: Dear Friend? That’s not very dear!