02 January 2008

New Year's News Wrap

Mourning yesterday's Badger loss in the Outback Bowl due to a "gutsy" but selfish and foolhardy performance by Tyler Donovan, subpar secondary play, and questionable play-calling (you guys had all three of your gifted running backs available and this is the best you could do?!), I decided to just do a quick news wrap-up today. (By the way, congrats and thanks to Michigan; you guys helped the Big Ten manage to not look like total chumps yesterday.)

USA Today: "Tech could reduce coal facilities' emissions"

I didn't know USA Today wrote stories this long. Anyway, this one's worth a read just to keep tabs on this important technology (integrated gasification combined cycle). Any honest nuclear engineer will tell you that nuclear alone isn't going to solve all our energy problems, so everyone should be rooting for the carbon-capture potential of IGCC.

Chicago Tribune: "Space power could be bright idea"

The hallways of UW-Madison's Fusion Technology Institute (which takes up most of the floor I work on) are decorated almost exclusively with framed articles about the interesting but rhetorically nightmarish idea of mining the moon for helium-3 to fuel fusion reactors ("but you haven't even gotten one to work yet!" the critics would rightly decry). This power-from-space idea seems slightly less far-fetched, though still a little frightening ("but what if you point your one megawatt microwave transmitter in the wrong direction?").

New York Times: "Rock Is Back. Give Him a Cookie."

Review of that show I mentioned earlier. Glad to see Jill Scott opened. By the way, not that I'm any authority, but I've never read a disappointing article by Kelefa Sanneh.

New York Times: "The Invisible Ingredient in Every Kitchen"

This article contains a half-dozen book ideas for some food-loving engineer. It reminded me of the time I had a homework question that asked for fluid mechanics and heat transfer arguments for why fryers and convection ovens cook turkeys faster than traditional ovens. (Come to think of it, that might make a good holiday post next Thanksgiving; this past year, CSC didn't exist yet, plus my friends Carl and Brenna and I were too busy eating Thanksgiving burritos at Las Iguanas in Toronto).

New York Times: "Web Playgrounds of the Very Young"

When judging the recent regional Ethics Bowl Madison hosted, I heard the argument that "marketing is not brainwashing." While I'm inclined to agree most of the time, the way the suits talk about "instill[ing] brand loyalty in a generation of new customers" in stories like this makes me not so sure. Those new customers are, like, seven.

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