Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Unimaginable Has Happened

If this isn't a sign that the earth is about to blowup then I don't know what is...

The Philadelphia Phillies Have Won The World Series

This also can be classified as a really late GOOD NEWS WEDNESDAY! We'll have much more on this story over the next few days, but for now visit for complete coverage.

[UPDATE - 10:35a] This is Philadelphia's first major sports championship in 25 years. The curse has been lifted.
"A scream of triumph decades in the making burst forth from bars and living rooms across Philadelphia [and other cities across the country -ed.] last night as the Phillies won their first World Series in 28 years.

Citizens Bank Park trembled beneath the feet of 46,000 ecstatic fans. Teeming masses of humanity instantly seized South Broad Street, the intersection of Frankford and Cottman, and Main Street in Manayunk. Center City was so crammed with revelers, it was a challenge even to move." (

[UPDATE - 11:05a]
AP Video Recap:

And, watch a video here of the fans taking to the street in Center City Philadelphia!

[UPDATE 11-03-08: 10:31am]

EIGN took a road trip down to Philadelphia for the championship parade on Halloween day. Walking down Broad Street with 2 million of my closest friends was an experience I'll never forget. These pictures do no justice in capturing the absolute insanity that was the city that day. We've never experienced anything like it.

[images courtasy of me]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good News Wednesday XXVI: The Salmon Will Be Alright

More human interference with nature, but this time maybe things aren't as bad as one would think...

"The heavily dammed Columbia and its largest tributary the Snake River in the northwestern United States serve as a breeding ground to millions of salmon, including endangered chinook and steelhead species, which have been dwindling steadily for years." (discovery news)

However, the damning appears to have no negative effect on any of the millions of salmon that reside in it's waters.

"Whether or not the eight dams along the rivers contribute to the decline has been a source of bitter controversy for decades. Conservation groups, the commercial and sport fishing industries and local Native American tribes have long blamed the fishes' plight on the dams."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I Don't Go To Doctor (And You Shouldn't Either)

Nearly half of the doctors in this country (america, in case you didn't know) said they regularly use placebo treatments with their patients. Anything from OTC painkillers to sugar pills are apparently commonly used to try and shut a patient up. Which I would probably do too considering how many people must come in asking about all those new medicines they see advertised on TV during CSI: Miami.

More disturbing is that "many of these doctors are not honest with their patients about what they are doing, the survey found." (AP via msnbc)
Remember, when in pain, just walk it off.

Monday, October 27, 2008

...And We're Back... A Few Snippets: Hawking (Alien), Jersey (Trash), Food (Expensive)

Slightly rested, slightly tan, and slightly in debt, EIGN is back after our quick tour of the Western Caribbean.

*A bit dated, but: Stephen Hawking believes alien life exists.... or at least he hopes it does: "'Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare,' he then quickly added: 'Some would say it has yet to occur on earth.'" (msnbc)

*There's a "Jersey smells like garbage" joke in here somewhere: New Jersey is using methane produced by more than 20 of it's landfills to make electricity. A lot of electricity. (AP via yahoo news)

*It's getting more expensive to feed yourself. Who knew? (sfgate)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Program Note - EIGN on Vacation

Your regular EIGN contributor, namely me, will be on vacation next week sitting on that beach and others like it. And maybe, just maybe, bringing back some fresh pictures of Mayan ruins, look for those after our return. You may see a post from EIGN co-founder pete, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

We'll see you back here with regular updates on October 27th. Have a great week.

New Scientist: Economy To Destroy Earth

We don't really talk much about the economy here at EIGN. Probably because everyone else is all. the. time. So we try and focus on the more obscure (and amusing). Or maybe it's because it's so serious it actually scares us too much to write about. Either way, when one of our favorite online science sites posted a piece about how our economy may lead to the end of the Earth and not just the end of Us we had to chime in.

Genetics, the wind, the sun, physics, lowering your own carbon footprint, sustainable energy, making plastic bags illegal, etc. "Are these efforts to save the planet doomed?" Asks an op-ed piece over at the fabulous New Scientist.

"A growing band of experts are looking at figures like these and arguing that personal carbon virtue and collective environmentalism are futile as long as our economic system is built on the assumption of growth. The science tells us that if we are serious about saving Earth, we must reshape our economy." (new scientist)
The piece also links to a number of interesting stories from a special issue of the mag about saving the planet using the economy as a starting point. It's an interesting read, so you should check it out.

Ancient Optimism Naivety
"In his Principles of Political Economy, published in 1848, [John Stuart Mill] predicted that once the work of economic growth was done, a "stationary" economy would emerge in which we could focus on human improvement: "There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress... for improving the art of living and much more likelihood of it being improved, when minds cease to be engrossed by the art of getting on."

Today's economists dismiss such ideas as naive and utopian, but with financial markets crashing, food prices spiralling, the world warming and peak oil approaching (or passed), they are becoming harder than ever to ignore." (new scientist)

Oh, silly John Stuart Mill.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Banning Plastic Bags Hurts Schools

In what might might be my favorite EIGN post to date, back in early August we wrote about Houston refusing to recycle. Today we award the city of Dallas the "Texas is full of idiots" award.

Dallas is not going to ban plastic bags
, like San Francisco just did, or tax them, like Seattle is about to.

One city council member "echoes the sentiments of the American Chemistry Council (which merged with the American Plastics Council in '02), which, in April, insisted a ban on plastic bags and food containers would 'have negative consequences on the local environment, the economy and the school system.'" (dallas observer)

Seriously? The SCHOOL SYSTEMS? Thank god Linda Koop is thinking of the children! Someone is finally thinking of the children!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Are Not Alone - Good News Wednesday XXV

Good news for those of you feeling a little isolated in these trying times. Try and remember: you are not alone: There are about 6,730,282,926 other people out there, just as sad and scared as you. (as of 10:13:43am EST, today)

For an updated count check out the US Census Bureau. And for more on this frightening number check out the world population entry over at wikipedia.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Snippets - Bombs, Hearing Loss, New Marine Life, and That Band Named After That River

*Bombs Away... 10 Hours Later:
A new bomb is being developed that can circle above a target for up to 10 hours is being developed in England. (

*Maybe you should put away the ipod and make a new friend:
Study shows that portable music devices can cause hearing loss. Haven't they been saying that since the walkman first came out in, what, 1854?

*Further proof that the ocean is bigger than we imagined:
Hundreds of new marine species have been found in the Southern Ocean.

*"Oh, that thing again":
The Science Channel is currently talking about the Large Hadron Collider creating black holes on television right now in the middle of some show about the universe. You can't escape this thing anywhere.

*Some lyrics from a new record I just purchased that have an EIGN theme and I have to mention because it's playing while I write this:
"and this book you once read / says there's less people dead / at this point now than those who are not."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Virgin Shark Gives Birth to Baby in Virginia

"In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female Atlantic blacktip shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center contained no genetic material from a male." (AP via

"'This first case was no fluke,' Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. 'It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion.'"

I wanted to suggest that maybe the poor shark was really ugly [like certain EIGN "reporters" -ed.] or had horrible social skills [like certain EIGN "reporters" -ed.] and that's why she couldn't land a boyfriend, but it turns out there were no male sharks at the aquarium she was staying in the entire 8 years she was there. Freaky! So we've got fish, sharks, some other animals, reproducing asexually. How long until women don't need men anymore. When that happens the earth will go nova for at least 49 percent of the world's population.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good News Wednesday XXIV: Teachers Take Your Guns To School

Good news if you're a teacher or staff working in the the Harrold Independent School District in Texas. You may soon be able to carry a concealed firearm to school to "deter and protect against school shootings." Because everyone knows that introducing more guns to any school environment surely reduces the amount of guns around children. (dallas morning news)

There are too many great quotes to even include here, so be sure to read the full story, but here are some of the best:

"In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls."

"'When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that's when all of these shootings started.' [Superintendent David Thweatt] said."

My favorite part? Forcing them to use ammunition designed to minimize ricochet in the hallways. That surely violates someones second amendment rights, doesn't it? Teachers/staff of this school district: stand up for yourselves! Use pro-ricochet bullets! And remember, only the liberal east coast elite allow the federal government to impose silly "gun control laws" like stopping you from carrying a deadly weapon in a school or preventing your recently paroled crazy uncle from buying more than three guns at a time.

We've talked about how stupid (some) Texans are before, but this clearly takes the cake.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One-Fourth of World’s Mammals Face Imminent Extinction

According to a new report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently, nearly one in four species of mammals are facing immediate extinction. And nearly half of the 5,487 known species of mammal (that number is not thought to include Big Foot or that monster in Loch Ness) have negative population growth. (Read: more of them are dying than are being born. Sort of like the population of Japan.) I wonder what category homo-sapiens fall into.

“The new study to assess the world’s mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500.” ( But apparently scientists suck at statistics, because “’The reality is that the number of threatened mammals could be as high as 36 percent,’ says Jan Schipper, of Conservation International and lead author in a forthcoming article in Science.” ( Either way, I don’t like those numbers.

The report reads like a who’s who in species that are E (endangered), CE (critically endangered, EIW (extinct in wild) or HNBSINFY (has not been seen in nearly forty years). However there is some good news, animals like the black footed ferret and golden lion tamarin (seen here) have been brought back from the brink. “The results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threatened mammals showing signs of recovery in the wild.” ( Well that’s a bit of good news.

Ah crap, looks like I spoke too soon… “But [biologist Jan Schipper] cautions that any conservation success is likely temporary unless the root problems of, for example, deforestation are addressed.” ( Oh well. Good try everyone.

[images courtesy of me]

Monday, October 6, 2008

Everything is Happy Underground (When You've Got Pyramids Around!)

I'm not sure if this story is super awesome or super scary. Awesome because we found more pyramids and other ancient ruins believed to have been built by the Nazca civilization over 2000 years ago. Scary because scientists apparently found them with satellites that can SEE UNDER GROUND.

Also, as we have talked about here at EIGN before, if there are still crazy things like great pyramids in the world that have yet to be discovered, why can't we accept the fact that there just might be a few big foots (big feet?) out there?

[image via national research council, italy]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

(Icey Roads + Salt ) - Salt = Crap!

Watch out for slippery roads this winter. There's apparently a salt shortage! OH MY GOD NOOOOOOOO!!!
In all seriousness though. I hope this AP article is an exaggeration because the drivers in my hometown are scary enough with salted snice (snow-ice) that i'm terrified to see what happens if it's missing. Yet another reason to hate winter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good News Wednesday XXIII: Africa Is Splitting At The Seams

Okay, so maybe that isn't good news. But for scientists that study the formation of oceans (people do that??) this is a rare event and therefor good news; Africa splits down the middle, water pours in. Ocean born.

"Africa is splitting apart at the seams—literally. From the southern tip of the Red Sea southward through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, the continent is coming unstitched along a zone called the East African Rift. This spectacular geologic unraveling, already under way for millions of years, will be complete when saltwater from the Red Sea floods the massive gash. Ten million years from now..." we might have a new ocean on the planet. (scientific america)

This is just another example of how short our time on earth is. And how ridiculous it is that we study this crap that won't take place until long after we disappear from this planet. But still, since EIGN readers are on the early side of this news story (sort of.) I suggest we get naming rights for this new ocean. Any suggestions? Put them in the comments. What better way to leave your mark on the world than naming a body of water that won't form for 10+ million years. Have at it.