What is a photocopier?  
That seems like such a simple question.  
But last year, a lawyer in a public-records case being heard by the Ohio Supreme Court had a hard time getting a $64,000-a-year Cuyahoga County worker to say whether the county recorder's office had a photocopier.  
The effort consumes nearly 10 pages of a court transcript.
While space junk threatens most space operators, few have a real incentive to do anything about it. If a significant threat arises, it's usually possible to move a satellite out of the way. That's much cheaper than actually clearing the junk.  
The result is a "tragedy of the commons" situation, where a common resource is exploited to the point where it becomes unusable.  
Which is where a government agency like NASA comes in. Various ideas have been floated for removing space junk, most of them hugely expensive.  
Today, James Mason at NASA Ames Research Center near Palo Alto and a few buddies describe a much cheaper option.
I recently acquired a two-volume set by Charles H. Baker, Jr. - The Gentleman's Companion. Of particular interest here is Volume II, Being an Exotic Drinking Book or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask  
Most of us can only dream about sailing around the world once – let alone spend fourteen years and three trips like the inestimable Charles H. Baker, Jr. But I’m going to have a great time mixing the drinks here and hopefully I shall live to tell the story. My goal here: to spare no cost in mixing all 267 of the aforementioned potations and reflecting on my experiences along the journey.
PRETEND for a moment that you are Google’s search engine.  
Someone types the word “dresses” and hits enter. What will be the very first result?  
There are, of course, a lot of possibilities. Macy’s comes to mind. Maybe a specialty chain, like J. Crew or the Gap. Perhaps a Wikipedia entry on the history of hemlines.  
But J.C. Penney?!?
To start, this isn't the first time I've heard this. I'm mostly a vegetarian, minus a piece of fish once in a while, but my friend is an austere vegetarian who admits that even she can't resist stealing a piece of bacon once in a while. Last week NPR explored bacon as a gateway drug. Why is this the meat that even hardcore meat haters find pleasure in? Scientifically speaking, it may be more our noses than anything else.
One hundred million years ago, the Earth was in the grip of an extreme Greenhouse Effect.  
The polar ice caps had all but melted; in the south, rainforests inhabited by dinosaurs existed in their place.  
These Antarctic ecosystems were adapted to the long months of winter darkness that occur at the poles, and were truly bizarre.  
But if global warming continues unabated, could these ancient forests be a taste of things to come?
Michel Dozois is pinning the success of his two-year old company on the dubious thrills of watching ice melt.  
When courting new clients, Dozois, the owner of Los Angeles's Névé Luxury Ice Company, sits them down for a simple experiment. He fills two Old Fashioned glasses with ice—the first with conventional cubes, the second with his company's "ice rock," a single large cube, which takes up about 50 percent of the glass—and tops them with a dram of good whisky (his spirit of choice is Laphroig). Dozois then asks the potential clients to sit back and wait, allowing nature to take its course.  
About every seven minutes, he asks the client to take a sip—first of the conventional drink where the ice is rapidly melting, then of the drink made with the sturdy opaque brick of Névé ice. The second shows minimal dilution; it's essentially whisky served neat, but much, much colder.  
cc: some dude/some chick
It's not the "aflockalyptic" fallout from a secret US weapon lab as some have theorized. But the government acknowledged Thursday that it had a hand in one of a string of mysterious mass bird deaths that have spooked residents in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky in the last month.
It's a tale that has all the trappings of a cult 1960s sci-fi movie: Scientists bring back ancient salt crystals, dug up from deep below Death Valley for climate research. The sparkling crystals are carefully packed away until, years later, a young, unknown researcher takes a second look at the 34,000-year-old crystals and discovers, trapped inside, something strange. Something ... alive.  
Thankfully this story doesn't end with the destruction of the human race, but with a satisfied scientist finishing his Ph.D.  
cc: history
According to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Tunisian government appears to be breaking into the Facebook, Google, and Yahoo accounts of dissidents and journalists. Hackers with unusual levels of access to Tunisia's state-control network infrastructure have managed to gain access to Facebook accounts belonging to individuals such as journalists Sofiene Chourabi of al-Tariq al-Jadid (New Path; a newspaper affiliated with the opposition Movement Ettajdid party) and independent video journalist Haythem El Mekki, while gaining the passwords of others.
For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.  
We now celebrate that rise to power–and let’s face it, nerds pretty much run everything now–with w00tstock, a special event for geeks of every stripe.
Never have Republican values been so brazenly apparent than in holding the unemployed to ransom for the Bush tax cuts
Three weeks after 19-year-old rifleman Craig Wood proposed to his 17-year-old girlfriend Vicky Swales, he was blown up by a wire-detonated roadside bomb on his first patrol back in Afghanistan.  
Too tasteless to file under some dude/some chick
You want to know the alcohol, calories and ingredients in your wine, beer and liquor? Good luck.  
Some alcohol drinks label some of this, but so inconsistently that it's hard to make sense of it. The alcohol beverage industry prefers that you not think about what's in their products. And Congress does not want alcohol marketed as nutritious.
It’s a sign of the desperation of American retailers that they even have to market something called “Black Friday.” This used to be an obscure term used by retailers to identify the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers came to the malls in droves to begin their Christmas shopping, thus guaranteeing retailers would be “in the black” (profitable) for the rest of the year. Most Americans don’t even know this, and are right to think there is something sinister about Black Friday, coming so soon as it does after another great American marketing campaign – Halloween. For every person shopping on Black Friday, two or three consumers stayed home, intimidated by the crowds, or disgusted with the commercial boosterism that has now overwhelmed Christmas. How, they wonder, did things get so out of hand?  
cc: shopping, the good ol' days