Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. VII

This week we have more evidence the world is going to blow up, a blind water skiier, and annoying-ass ads on the Kindle.  That's right kids:  IT'S GEEK SHIT WEDNESDAY!

Climate Change Linked To Tectonic Shift

Science has known for years that tectonic shift affects climate.  Changing mountain ranges and sea trenches have long been known to have an effect on the weather.  However, a recent study released reveals that the reverse may also be true-- that more radical weather shifts can cause stronger earthquakes, for instance.

"Understanding why plates change direction and speed is key to unlocking huge seismic events such as last month's Japan earthquake, which shifted the Earth's axis by several inches, or February's New Zealand quake.

"An Australian-led team of researchers from France and Germany found that the strengthening Indian monsoon had accelerated movement of the Indian plate over the past 10 million years by a factor of about 20 percent.

"Lead researcher Giampiero Iaffaldano said Wednesday that although scientists have long known that tectonic movements influence climate by creating new mountains and sea trenches, his study was the first to show the reverse.

"'The closure or opening of new ocean basins or the build of large mountain bands like the Andes or Tibet itself, those are geological processes that affect the pattern of climate,' said Iaffaldano, an earth scientist with the Australian National University."

The study goes on to stress that this is a slow process.  The intensification of weather extremes takes millions of years to change tectonic patterns.  It's a fascinating story nonetheless.


IT Manager Sets World Record For Blind Water-Skiing

Smashing the world record of 20 miles, an IT geek from the UK skiied continuously for 23.85 miles.  The coolest part of all?  Steve Thiele, 45, is blind.

"In an effort to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Ghana Outlook, Thiele announced in December that he would attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest water-skiing distance by a blind person. His initial plan was to head out last weekend and completely circle the island of Anglesey, which would’ve encompassed some 70 miles in total water-skiing.

"The previous distance record for blind water-skiing was 20 miles, and Thiele (though legally blind for 37 years) would have to wear a blindfold, as per requirements set forth by Guinness. Despite his lack of sight, Thiele (a former competitor in the Disabled Water Ski World Championships) uses no special equipment, save for a whistle that he uses to communicate with whomever’s driving the boat."

It only took him an hour, too.  Congrats, Steve Thiele!


Ad-Enabled Kindle Available for $114

Amazon has made a killing off of cheap Kindles-- the leader in the digital reader market-- and now have dropped the price an additional $25.  The tradeoff?  On-screen ads.

"Kindle director Jay Marine revealed the company's plans in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday afternoon. 'It was very important that we didn't interfere with the reading experience,' Marine told the publication, noting that ads would display across the bottom of the screen and on the Kindle's screen saver, but not while the user was reading a Kindle book. 'We think customers are going to love it.'"

Never fear, they aren't going to be doing away with their more expensive Wi-Fi Kindles.  I don't know, though, would you take the $25 discount just to deal with annoying ads all the time?

[Ars Technica]

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