Leaking Air


NASA researchers close in on why Mars lost its atmosphere.

Sunrise on Mars


Well, kinda, given that the Phoenix lander is near one of the poles:

Alarmed by Ike

Jeff Masters isn’t liking what he’s seeing as Hurricane Ike rebuilds in the Gulf of Mexico. Texas is in the crosshairs:

Ike is likely to be a extremely dangerous major hurricane at landfall, and will likely do $10-$30 billion in damage. The chances of hundreds of people being killed in this storm is high if people do not heed evacuation orders. It is possible that Ike will make a direct hit on Galveston as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. The potential storm surge from such a hit could be in the 15-25 foot range, which is capable of overwhelming the 17 foot sea wall in Galveston. I put the odds of such an event at about 5%. 

Thinking Makes You Fat

Oh, wonderful:

A preliminary study from a group of researchers in Quebec suggest that working on a computer may have an additional impact on our waistlines: taxing mental effort appears to cause people to eat significantly more food, even though it doesn’t burn many more calories than sitting around and relaxing.

Science Explains Why the Yankees Suck

The New York Times, reporting on a new study by British psychologists who explain why it’s so hard to judge a line drive:

The problem Damon and Abreu face, the scientists say, is a product not only of human biology and the laws of physics, but also of our environment. We live, generally speaking, in a world of slowly moving objects, and things that move fast are, under normal circumstances, rarely moving at us. Our motor responses to moving objects have evolved to deal with this ordinary world, not the world of fast-flying baseballs.

Next up, a time-series study of ARod’s gag reflex.

Damp Squib

Hurricanes are a fact of late-summer life even at the inland locale where I live. Mostly, they’re just annoying, much like earthquakes in Los Angeles. Occasionally they’re a much bigger deal. Hanna turned out to be nothing much. We got a boatload of rain and what sounded in the morning like just a little bit of wind. The rain was welcome, as we’ve been in a drought thanks largely to the lack of tropical storm activity the past couple of years.