Archive for January 2010

Who Wants to do RAGBRAI?

Now that I am getting more serious about using my bike, I am ready to begin exploring phase two: events. Although I lived in Iowa for 20+ years, I never had the desire to do RAGBRAI while I was there. I am now thinking that I would like to do it sometime (add it to the list of things I want to do eventually).

For those not in the know, RAGBRAI — the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — is an annual, organized, week-long bike ride across Iowa. They announced this year’s route tonight:

RAGBRAI XXXVIII will treat riders to one of the shortest and flattest routes ever as it winds through northern Iowa from Sioux City to Dubuque.

That combination means the 10,000 riders will navigate a 442-mile route that ranks as third-easiest historically, at least as far as hills and mileage go. Weather remains a wild card. So train well.

It happens in late July.

So, who’s with me?

IRIOTI

IRIOTI: I read it on the internet. (Therefore, it must be true.)

Dinosaur Protofeather Colors

I clearly recall being told in elementary school that the skin colors of dinosaurs are unknown because the necessary parts do not survive the fossilization process. I think that bothered me at first. I got over it eventually and had no trouble accepting that dinosaurs probably were similar in color to some selection of extant reptiles. Still that’s not as nice as knowing for sure.

Let’s put aside dinosaur skin color for now. Scientists have discovered pigments in the protofeathers of some dinosaur fossils. The new observations are of melanin-containing organelles called melanosomes, which exist in the feathers of birds today.

The two most common types of melanin found in modern birds are eumelanin, associated with black and grey feathers, and phaeomelanin, found in reddish brown to yellow feathers.

Both of these types melanin were seen in the fossils being studied.

National Geographic: Dinosaur True Colors Revealed for First Time.

Skagit County Gnome-Napping Report

Here’s one of the articles I have in my backlog of items to share; it is from a while back.

Back in December, a respectably large cache of garden gnomes was discovered in a Mount Vernon, Washington resident’s back yard when high winds knocked down her fence. The fence was concealing around sixty yard gnomes — at least some apparently stolen from other yards — along with other yard ornaments. See the link for more details.

Seattle P-I: Gnome-napping: Thefts may have created backyard statue stash.

Site Revamp

I have already hinted that I read many articles that I feel are worth sharing, but never get around to writing anything about them. Explanations of this behavior include being busy, lazy, or not really having much to say, other than something is interesting. As described earlier, this leads to a build up in the various (lame) places that I store the links. To mitigate this, I have started using Twitter to make small posts about these interesting articles. That’s all fine and good, but that means my reader(s) has(ve) to check two places. I preferred the idea of having all of it in one place, hence the revamp of parts of the site. I am now using Lifestream to pull in my Twitter feed and displaying that in the new, right sidebar of the blog pages.

Since it has been a while since I messed with CSS, I had to tinker around with stuff for a while to get it right. I found some insight about float elements here and got a lot of help getting my second sidebar in place by looking at this example.

Consider this a technical preview for the moment because I have not modified all of the page templates to work with the new stylesheets. That’s why the tags page, for example, is missing its sidebars. I will fix it soon, but I need to move to another task for now.

Meadows Field Airport Shut Down by Honey Scare

The Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, California was shutdown on Tuesday by bottles of honey. They did not know they were dealing with honey at the time. From “Bottled Honey Shuts Down California Airport” in VOANews:

Two Transportation Security Administration officers were also treated and released from the hospital after being exposed to what were described as “fumes” from the bottles.

My path to the VOA article: Boing Boing >> Backwards Beekepers >> VOANews.

Missed the Boat

I plan to add new memory to my desktop machine around the time I install Windows 7. A few months ago I checked the price on two more DIMMs of the same type that are already in the machine: $32 at the time. I should have bought then because they are now up to $50. Oh, well.

The cause for the upward shift? The general sentiment seems to be simple supply and demand. Some have it as demand for DDR2 has fallen, and others have it as the supply was too high.

I have decided not to wait and get it now.