Friday, November 30, 2007

CCCCold returns

As December approaches, New England is being visited by some Arctic air.

The traditional tea in these situations is Vodka, clear and cold.

The traditional cheese plate has returned - as have a few other delectables.

See you at 4:00!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The things that some people will do...

The things that some people will do just to get a little attention!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday!

LL is celebrating a BIG birthday today!

Happy Birthday, LL! Many happy returns!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oh Boy, Another Field Trip!

We're off to Radnor, Pennsylvania next week for a tour of the Philly Main Line, whatever that is.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We've gone industrial

Yes, folks, there's no stopping us now. Once we nail down the exact proportions for the coffee, we can have coffee pretty much on demand.

Also, there's slightly less chance that JM (or RA) will steal the best coffee from the pot before it's done.

But only slightly less.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Adjust your Calendars!

Adjust your calendars - the Massachusetts Presidential Primary is moving to February 5th!

Don't forget to vote!

Vote for the Kucinich of your choice, but vote!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Tea - CC edition

By some strange scheduling fluke, CC is in today, and might just be around for Tea.

In her honor, we'll be having Cape Codders.

See you at 4:00.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

EP Day A Success

Many people showed up - from Frisbee to a certain Yacht captain and his wife, as well as the usual subjects.

Leblanc did not, for some reason, make it to the event, for the second year in a row. We're sure it'll catch up with him sometime next week, though.

We have a venue tentatively picked out for next year - that is if we want to be bloated and sick.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

EP Day is Tomorrow

EP Day is tomorrow, and the deadline for reservations has passed. Those of you who've decided to come, welcome. Follow me in. Nothing to worry about.

Joe, Party of 16?

NT and WP have bought a house!

It's only a matter of time, now, until Arlington is but a memory, and that lovely 2-acre parcel in Bricca is all yours.

If you can stand living in "America's Yankee Doodle Town", we'd say it's great news.


Monday, November 12, 2007

I was wrong.

The moon isn't drifting away at the rate of a couple of centimeters a year - it's drifting away at around 4 cm/year.

As has it:

A billion years ago, the Moon was much closer to Earth than it will be tonight. Its tighter orbit meant it needed just 20 days to go around us, to make a lunar month. Other things were noticeably different, too. A day on Earth back then was only 18 hours long. People were probably wishing, "If only I had 24 hours in a day"

Okay, there were no people then, but the critters of the time eventually got their wish. In the intervening eons, the Moon has been drifting away. Each year, it moves about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) farther into space.


During the past 4.5 billion years, Earth's overwhelming gravity has slowed the Moon's rotation down and pushed the satellite away. The cause is complex, involving tides, which we'll discuss below. One amazing result, for now, is a readily observable set of very interesting facts: It takes the Moon 29.5 days to make one revolution about its axis. All the while, of course, the Moon is also going around the Earth. This orbit also takes 29.5 days.


The high-tide bulges are pulled just ahead of an imaginary line connecting the centers of Earth and the Moon. It might seem rather amazing, but a terrestrial bulge of water has enough mass to tug at the Moon from yet another angle. The effect is to constantly prod the Moon into a higher orbit, which explains why it is moving away from us.

The Moon, meanwhile, is yanking back on the tidal bulges. So the water, down where it meets the ocean floor, rubs against Earth. This slows the planet down, explaining why there are 24 hours in a day instead of the mere 18 of a billion years ago.


Things continue to change, of course.

Earth's rotation rate is still slowing down -- our days are getting longer and longer. Eventually, our planet's tidal bulges will be assemble along that imaginary line running through the centers of both Earth and the Moon, and our planetary rotational change will pretty much cease. Earth's day will be a month long. When this happens, billions of years from now, the terrestrial month will be longer -- about 40 of our current days -- because during all this time the Moon will continue moving away.

It's EP week

Please mentally gird yourselves.

Friday, November 09, 2007


We just totally inadvertently referenced Maimonides...


Friday Tea - Diwali

Today is Diwali, the Festival of Light, celebrated by Hindus and others all over the world. It is a celebration of Good over Evil, of Light over Dark, of Digital over Analog.

We'll be marking the occasion with a selection of white cheeses.

We don't quite know how to work the Gin Martinis into the theme, but after a few we're sure, like the Martinis, it'll become clear.

Comet update

It really is up there, somewhere...

The Los Angeles Times has a small slideshow.

More here and here.

Sky and Telescope has a guide for the perplexed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


EP Day is one week away! Please stock up on whatever you'll need to recover with!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Great news!

We have plenty to sing about today. A few more months of breathing room, financially speaking...

Unfortunately, RD will now have nothing to do but breathe down our necks, SM. We hope you're up to it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Does anyone else think...

Does anyone else think that there's something just a little bit wrong with a duster product from the Stoner company?

Friday, November 02, 2007

And for those of you following

And for those of you vicariously following the "Published!" story - here's the actual photo published in the Autumn 2007 issue of CentrePiece magazine, published by the, ahem, Centre for Economic Performance, at the, ahem, London School of Economics:

That's our lab, and our beaker. We hope you're proud of yourselves!

Cat Genome (lightly - 65%) sequenced!

RD reminds us that we have been remiss in not reporting that the housecat (specifically, the Abyssinian) genome has been sequenced. Now we'll be able to eradicate all those terrible tendencies toward eye-gouging seen in certain members of that family.

Here are the details:

Auntie Beeb: Cat joins exclusive genome club

A pedigree cat called Cinnamon has made scientific history by becoming the first feline to have its DNA decoded.

The domestic cat now joins the select club of mammals whose genome has been deciphered - including dogs, chimps, rats, mice, cows and people.

The genome map is expected to shed light on both feline and human disease.

Cats get hundreds of illnesses similar to human ones, including a feline version of HIV, known as FIV, and a hereditary form of blindness.

Cinnamon, a four-year-old Abyssinian cat, is descended from lab cats bred to develop retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, also found in humans, which can lead to blindness.

Earlier this year, with the help of the sequence, scientists found the gene change, or mutation, that causes the condition in cats.

Analysis of the cat genome sequence could also shed light on everything from evolution to the origins of feline domestication, they say.

- and here's some more technical jargon from Science Daily (Like we need any of that!): Domestic Cat Genome Sequenced

ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2007) — The DNA of a 4-year-old Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon, whose well-documented lineage can be traced back several generations to Sweden, has been sequenced. Cinnamon is one of several mammals that are currently being analyzed using "light" (two-fold) genome sequence coverage. To make sense of Cinnamon's raw sequence data, a multi-center collaboration of scientists leveraged information from previously sequenced mammalian genomes as well as previous gene-mapping studies in the cat. In doing so, they found that Cinnamon's sequences spanned about 65% of the euchromatic (gene-containing) regions of the feline genome

The similarity between the cat genome and six recently completed mammalian genomes (human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, dog, and cow) allowed the scientists to identify 20,285 putative genes in the cat genome. The comparison also revealed hundreds of chromosomal rearrangements that have occurred among the different lineages of mammals since they diverged from a diminutive ancestor that roamed the earth among the dinosaurs some 100 million years ago.

The genome sequence analysis is certainly expected to lead to health benefits for domestic cats, 90 million of which are owned by Americans alone, according to The Humane Society. But the domestic cat also serves as an excellent model for human disease, which is one reason why the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) initially authorized the cat genome sequencing project three years ago.

Winter is not quite here

but we're definitely in the Vodka mode.

Low-rent munchables, too.

See you at 4:00.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thanksgiving is approaching

Thanksgiving is approaching, and we know what that means! Yes, it's El Phoenix time again!

The venue this year looks to be The Iguana Cantina in Waltham. Our brief foray into good Greek food last year was not traditional enough for many of us. While the food at the Cantina is good, it's also Mexican, which gets us halfway home. We can concentrate on finding a really bad Mexican restaurant for next year.

Beware the ides of November!

Sweet Caroline!

Hey other CP, thanks for the congratulatory cases of Chardonnay! It made several of us wish for fish for lunch today. Maybe some Perch Oscar would go well with it.

Here's what we should expect:

A pale golden colored wine with an attractive melon, citrus, fig and peach nose. On the palate, these flavors are rounded out by green melon and tropical fruit notes as well as some smooth vanilla. A rich dry wine that has a rather long finish. This white is a food wine – try it with a heavier fare like duck, swordfish or pasta with cream sauce.