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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

1. Over at Hackaday is an articleabout difficulties you probably wouldn't have anticipated about colonizing Mars:
Mars doesn't have a local electrical ground. The Earth does because the ground is electrically conductive and accepts charge from any charged object that comes in contact with it. Due to the large mass of a local Earth ground, it accepts this charge without becoming very charged itself. The moisture in the Earth ground aids its conductivity by enabling ions to move around. Mars' ground, however, is dry and while it contains ice, that ice further decreases conductivity.
Yep. That one went right past me. Interestingly, that fact would affect architecture for any colonists.

2. Item One on this list of "Five Things You Must Not Do During Totality at the Solar Eclipse" is photograph it. For one thing, professional photographers will be all over this. For another, consult the rest of the list.

3. In an entertaining articleabout "The Confusing Way Mexicans Tell Time," a travel writer passes along the following method one American expat deals with the strange way they use the term ahorita, whose literal translation is "right now," but which is used quite differently there:
ome expats living in Mexico just cannot get used to this more fluid way of measuring time. After moving to Mexico from the US, Elizabeth Wattson found a unique way of working with Ahorita Time. "Whenever my boss said 'ahorita', I would respond by asking 'ahorita when?'. I just couldn't work with this vague concept of something getting done at some indeterminate point in the future," she said.
I think I'd pretty quickly start doing something like that, myself, in such a situation.

4. Forget everything you thoughtyou knew about lichens right now:
He has shown that largest and most species-rich group of lichens are not alliances between two organisms, as every scientist since [Swiss botanist Simon] Schwendener has claimed. Instead, they're alliances between three. All this time, a second type of fungus has been hiding in plain view.
Okay, so that was hyperbole: You're still right about them being compound organisms, but this recent discovery is still really neat, particularly if you have a biological, or maybe a botanical bent.

-- CAV

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