Usenet Timeline

Google“Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.

[They] compiled some especially memorable articles and threads in the timeline” on their 20 Year Archive page. Pretty cool…

Earthquake/Tsunami Effects

The 9.0 earthquake near Indonesia responsible for the tsunami that catastrophically affected so many countries in South Asia has caused some permanent, albeit minor, effects to the Earth as a whole. Australian National University scientists report that “much of the Earth was still ‘ringing like a bell’ two weeks after the December 26 earthquake” and that “hyper-sensitive gravity measuring equipment showed minute reverberations may continue for weeks.” The movement associated with this oscillation could correspond to as much as a “millimetre of vertical motion of the earth.” This observation correlates with the theory of other scientists speculating on the larger effects of the quake: “Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth’s center during the quake… caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or 3 millionths of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.” Furthermore, some geophysicists believe that the quake “permanently altered the map of Asia by moving some small islands up to 20 metres (66 feet).”

Update: Slashdot had a post leading me to a page with “synchronized” before and after photos of the tsunami’s effect on different coastal areas. I’ve seen many videos and photos in the past couple of weeks, but seeing the comparison in this way highlights the devastation…

Update: ABC News reports that:

The South Asian earthquake that spawned deadly tsunami waves also shifted water levels by at least 3 feet in a geologically sensitive Virginia well some 9,600 miles away from the epicenter, researchers say.

The well near Christiansburg, which started oscillating about an hour after the magnitude 9 quake near Sumatra on Dec. 26, is particularly sensitive to movements in the Earth and is monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Update: “NASA [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] scientists using data from the Indonesian earthquake calculated it affected Earth’s rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planet’s shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters.” There are some more exact figures in the article, along with some comparisons to other natural phenomena.

Official Family Guy Blog

Family GuyFox Network’s official Family Guy blog (!) is “the only place that you’ll be able to see the return of Family Guy every step of the way along the production process.” As many of you probably heard, the brisk sales of the Family Guy DVD sets and the popularity of reruns on Comedy Central have convinced Fox to “uncancel” the show. I am definitely psyched to see new episodes…

To Fly is Everything…

“To Fly is Everything…” is “a virtual museum covering the invention of the airplane.” There is a lot to see here, including movie and photo galleries, links to simulators of early aircraft, QuickTime virtual reality models, early aviation patents, and more. Definitely worth a visit if you’re into aviation (as I am, obviously)…

Albert Einstein – 100 Years Later

100 years after the publication of five of Albert Einstein’s most revolutionary papers, The Economist has an article making the claim that “A century after Einstein’s miracle year, most people still do not understand exactly what it was he did. Here, we attempt to elucidate.” Although I’m at least somewhat familiar with most of his theories, I found this article very interesting and informative.

Coincidentally, I came upon an Albert Einstein action figure at ThinkGeek that’s pretty fun… 🙂