CNN reports that the first commercial jet with an onboard anti-missile laser system is now in operation. It's part of a pilot program to see how Northrop Grumman's Guardian anti-missile system behaves on a working commercial jetliner, and what impact it has on its maintenance and operational schedule.
The system works by firing an invisible laser beam at the guidance system of an on-rushing missile, disrupting it and causing the projectile to miss the plane. The goal is to prevent attacks by shoulder-launched missiles, but since officials say it could take 20 years to equip the commercial fleet with such system, you have to wonder if it's worth it. Won't some other, more modern threat to planes have emerged by then? Or will the missile technology be so cheap and widespread that we'll have terrorists regularly taking potshots at jetliners as they fly overhead?
I didn't hit the gym nearly as much as I needed to in December and early January, but the good news is that despite eating quite a lot of good food during the holidays, I only gained about two pounds. I'm holding steady at 210 right now, but I'm hoping to start making downward progress again once the start-of-semester crush is over at the day job.
British researchers say that wearing music players or watching TV during a workout can help provide the sort of distraction people need to keep going to the gym, according to this AP article on CNN. At the same time though, hardcore athletes do better when they're able to listen to their bodies, and avoid such audio and video distractions.
Personally, if I'm at the gym, I need my iPod. Whether it's a podcast, an audio book or just some Huey Lewis, I need that brain fix to keep my mind occupied.
Ah yes, my coffee shop starts blogging, and I all but stop. It's been that kind of week. Heck, it's been that kind of Interim. Working in IT at a college, January turns into a mad, frantic rush to get everything done between when the students leave campus in December, and when they return at the end of January.
This semester is all the more stressful because of two pilot projects starting up in the spring: one for Moodle, an open source course management system, and the other for iTunes U, Apple's education-oriented take on its iTunes Music Store. There's a lot to do, and not much time to do it. So instead of writing or blogging, I've been working.
The Cosmic Cup now has a blog (the Cup being the Easton, Pa. coffee shop I frequent most). Not much there yet except for announcements about music and new coffee (but hey, I'm not complaining, seeing as how I like new music and love new coffee...).
Sense About Science is a United Kingdom organization aimed at getting journalists, celebrities and others in the public eye to check with a scientist before spouting off some inaccurate (or just plain wrong) opinions as scientific fact. Topics include alternative medicine, chemical information, and genetic engineering.
Wil Wheaton speculates on raising the next generation of geeks, in the form of his two teenage step-sons. His success, as seems to be the case with most of my friends, is hit or miss: some things the kids love (Battlestar Galactica, Harry Potter, Munchkin, comic books, some they hate (2001, The Prisoner) and some they just don't get (Watchmen).
Discussion turns to books and coffee as I reminisce about my 35th birthday, a geeky Christmas, and the surprising fusion of my Xbox 360 with a spiffy new iPod. In Net News I look at Villain Talk, the podcast for evil geniuses, take a bite out of a gingerbread TIE fighter and find out what geeky women at the She's Such a Geek blog.
For my birthday this year I headed out to Barnes & Noble with my son Lucas for an afternoon of browsing books and drinking coffee. Lucas, being about 5 months old at the time, was enthusiastic about the outing, as only a baby can be, smiling, gurgling and generally looking forward to flirting with every woman he could see at the bookstore.
A very merry (and hopefully, very geeky as well) Christmas to everyone! Right now the Newquist clan is basking in the occassionally turbulent afterglow of the holidays, gifts strewn across the living room and library like some sort of Toyland apocalypse. Jordan and I are escaping it for a few hours to hang out with fellow geek and long-time friend Dave and his daughter, but we'll be back by night fall to continue with the unpacking, assembling and organizing.