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Brenda Chapman recently shared some illustrations from the children's book project she's had quietly simmering away for many years. Look, and understand the wonder of illustration. ^_^ (Hey, tania! Still reading this?)

Want to be part of a four month long simulated Mars mission, taking place on Hawaii? Applications close on Feb 29. You'll need to have a degree in engineering, science, or mathematics, have three years of professional experience in your field, and be in a condition to pass a flight physical examination, amongst other qualifications.

The Royal Institution now has its video collection available on Vimeo as well as YouTube.

If you sometimes find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, and unable to get back to sleep for a couple hours - that may, in fact, be what we're more attuned to naturally.

You might like to waste a minute on the Pew Research Center's News IQ Quiz. Only thirteen questions long, all multiple choice, with four options each. At the end, it'll show your results, broken down by question, with the option of seeing how the public fared in their actual survey (the questions are taken from a larger set used in the actual survey; these net results don't affect their findings - just for fun), broken down by age, gender, and education level.

As you've probably heard, a US District judge has ruled against section 3 of DOMA. One highlight I found particularly worth highlighting, on the justifications used in the legislation, from page 40. (BLAG being Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a standing body of the House of Representatives, comprised of the Speaker, the maj/min leaders, and the maj/min whips) Amongst the many positive effects DOMA's eventual downfall will have, of course, will be to permit international same-sex couples to choose which of their home countries to jointly call home, rather than at the moment, the US-based partner either has to leave, or be prepared for a contentious legal battle with the USCIS, on the basis that foreign same-sex marriages cannot be legally recognised by them, whilst het marriages form the basis of a comparatively (I should perhaps emphasise that word =:) straightforward legal process.

BLAG also contends that Congress should remain cautious, especially in an area of so much social divisiveness, by holding the purported federal definition of marriage steady while waiting to see how the states tinker with new definitions. The Court finds the contention similar to arguments that were advanced in support of antimiscegenation laws. Proponents similarly argued that the long-standing tradition of the separation of the races provided justification for prohibiting interracial marriage. The lower court in Loving found that God had created the races and placed them on separate continents in order that there “would be no cause for such [interracial] marriages.”

Congress cannot, like an ostrich, merely bury its head in the sand and wait for danger to pass, especially at the risk of permitting continued constitutional injury upon legally married couples. The fact that the issue is socially divisive does nothing to relieve the judiciary of its obligation to examine the constitutionality of the discriminating classifications in the law.

Trump card deck.. based on CPUs. =:D And the proceeds go toward the National Computing Museum, at Bletchley Park.

Of some minor geek interest: an overview of a dozen lesser-known OSs, including household names like OpenGEM, Inferno, Viopsys, and MenuetOS. Some are offshoots building on a DOS background, or other defunct OSs, whilst others are entirely original fresh creations.

The emoticon mask. ^_^

Yet another fun experiment from Brew Dog: Mr Squirrel lager, infused with miso, conditioned with walnuts, and aged over apples in Bourbon barrels. =:9 Only a limited edition, sadly, so it's anybody's guess whether you'll actually be able to lay your paws on some.

Even if you're not a linguist, you ought to consider checking out this link: Why Arabic is Terrific. Okay, it's in a very geeky way, but it goes into a dozen ways of just how curiously interesting a language it is. eg:

Nearly all Arabic words consist of a three-consonant root slotted into a pattern of vowels and helper consonants. The root gives the word its base meaning, while the pattern modifies this meaning in a systematic and predictable way. This idea is so cool that you'd think it came from a constructed language, and yet Arabic has actual native speakers who live completely normal lives and will not try to talk to you about Runescape.

Arabic has a number of very unusual agreement rules. My absolute favorite is that all non-human plurals are grammatically feminine singular: al-kutub hadra' (الكتب حضراء) 'The books, she is green'

And then there is this beast: ع a consonant pronounced so far back in the throat that you must wait two hours after eating to safely attempt it. Naturally it's one of the most common sounds in the language.

Are these not quite wonderful examples of transportation? ^_^

More good cinematic news for the City: the disused New Mission Theater may be returning to life in its original role, as an Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based chain of cinemas with an unorthodox line in PSAs. Like the old (and forthcoming rebirth) Parkway in Oakland, there'll be food and good beer to go along with the projected offerings.

In a thrilling home development, I finally have a dial tone. =:D And to think, it only took them almost six weeks to accomplish that. *cough* Needless to say, the DSL order went in - not with said telco - about two hours later. The ISP's site notes around a week for typical turnaround, though it can sometimes be less. Erf.. it'll be such a welcome change to be able to slurp down the bytes again, without having every gigabyte costing money, as well as (hopefully) having connectivity that simply never goes down, versus the situation I've had, where some days are fine, and others see the connection stall every few minutes. Still, it beats having no connection at all. ^_^

The New Yorker takes a look at the steadily rising number of people incarcerated in the US: The Caging of America, by Adam Gopnik.

The ISP Entanet comments on ACTA, DEA, and other judicial joys in the UK.

A quote I've only just encountered, which I can wholeheartedly side with, from Kofi Annan: "The Lord created the universe in seven days but the Lord had the wonderful advantage of being able to work alone". Appropriately, seen while working from home, having achieved more in the first hour after waking up than all of yesterday. ^_^
You have got to have some of the most intricately laid out LJ entries I've ever seen.
*grin* You can see why I enjoy LJ. ^_^
As long as you have readers! So many people seem to be migrating away from LJ these days that many writers don't have any reader base.
I'd probably just continue shouting into the darkness. =:) I encounter various things of interest, and enjoy sharing them, hoping they'll stir some discussion. Generally, that happens, though this entry's rather fallen between the cracks. =:/

Certainly, I've known quite a few folks go fairly quiet here, migrating elsewhere, but for the most part, those with things to say do seem to've continued - certainly, I try to read my flist at least daily, else it just starts piling up, and I wind up having to skim through, which doesn't really do justice to the thought people have put into their entries.

And there are the occasional fresh faces to LJ, such as rav_bunneh and pawnytail. ^_^
I'd love to try that beer....even if it didn't have squirrel on the box. (Yes, I have returned to occasionally bending the elbow)

The scooter side hacks are interesting too. I've actually got my eye on the Ural Gear Up as a possible new ride for me this year.

Glad you got your phone finally installed. In six weeks you could have probably run your own line. Although today at the office the cable service installers finally showed up after nearly a year of waiting.

The Caging of a America is quite an article. This is something that many people in Canada fear in our future as the new crime bill is set become law in less than a month. The introduction of mandatory prison sentences for first time, non violent drug offenses marks a sudden change from the trend toward de-criminalization.

Hmm...lot to think about.

...wish I had some of that Squirrel beer.
Not that I always follow said maxim, but I've long felt "nothing in excess" is broad in its wisdom. ^_^

The Ural Gear Up would surely make for a fabulous furry photo shoot, out in the woods. =:D

A year of waiting? Egad. I feel almost lucky.. well, theoretically, the DSL should be going live on Tuesday sometime, and I've set up the old D-Link with the necessary parameters, so it should be good to go. S'pose I should pick up a microfilter for the phone, though there's hardly any hurry on that - I barely make any calls, whatever the means. Reminds me, there will be cable availability by the end of next month, but it seems like all of those bundles come with usage limits - I'd sooner have unlimited traffic at 8Mbps or whatever, than 40 or 75GB at 40Mbps.

Egh, mandatory sentencing.. true, there's understandable concern over seemingly trivial sentences for severe crimes, but removing judicial discretion seems a poor way of addressing that, especially when the result is yet more people in jail, resulting in nothing more than someone's livelihood wrecked, at great cost to the country. But when politicians decide they want to take a certain path, it seems no volume of evidence to the contrary will persuade them - just look at David Nutt's recommendations on relaxing controls on pot, and the governmental reaction thereto.

I'm not hugely into lager land, but Mr Squirrel does sound like rather an interesting take on the theme - and, of course, Brew Dog pretty much can do no wrong. I wonder if they'd consider making it a permanent addition to their lineup, or at least, an occasional/seasonal. Though, of late, I seem to've shifted somewhat toward ciders, helped by now finding myself in a cider producing area, so even the local supermarket has a few genuine - and rather delicious - local farmhouse offerings.