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is a pretty common way to calculate a factor of safety (and happens to be the one Wikipedia has a formula image for). The numerator is the resisting forces; the denominator is the driving forces. If the top is smaller than the bottom, your factor of safety is less than one and you are experiencing slope failure.

That italic u is water pressure. Notice how it’s being subtracted; more water pressure means fewer resisting forces.

Sort of makes you understand why this earthquake swarm is being blamed on oil and gas wastewater injection (only at the bottom of the article, of course- I wonder if it’s hydrofracking.)


My brother sent me a link to a story on the Obama administration’s extrajudicial assassination program:

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s authorization of the assassination of U.S. citizens accused of terrorism links abroad… case on behalf of the father of Yemen-based Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki… tossed the case on jurisdictional grounds, ruling that Awlaki’s father did not have legal standing to bring a case concerning his son. But Bates said the case raises serious judicial questions, including: “How is it that judicial approval is required when the U.S. decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for electronic surveillance, but [not] when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for death?”

I can’t remember if it was my brother’s article that made this point but: when the Bush administration got its “enemy combatant” labeling power, it insisted it’d only be applied to international terrorists. Then Jose Padilla happened… I wonder how long that “abroad” in the first sentence will be an important distinction of the program.

I’ve been cleaning this evening and now I sort of wish I’d first filmed a music video for this song.


If taking an active interest in international news is grounds to prevent your getting a job with the State Department, is that really a job you want? The emergent theme from the cables for me so far has been the United States living up to every entitled bully stereotype you could fear— threatening our bilateral relationship with Spain over the 2009 Bush administration criminal probe, whining about Canadian television shows making villains of Americans, working with the emotionally needy British to stash illegal cluster bombs on UK soil… I really hope things as patently stupid as this social networking threat helps swing the zeitgeist in favor of Wikileaks. I maintain that it’s disingenuous to blather about theoretical, unproven blood on Assange’s hands when the policies being exposed lead to deaths direct and indirect daily.

Someone put that phrase into Google November 5th and ended up on our site, WordPress Site Stats lets me know. I yelled it over to Sam— her response? “Oh yeah… I think they’re TV characters. On a British show? Gay males.”

I tried it in Google but ended it up with nothing but the creepy (“MySpace – Devin {R.I.P. Sam, I love you, always} – 26 – Male “) and the pointless (“THE DEVIN’S ADVOCATE: WHAT WILL SAM RAIMI LEARN FROM DRAG ME TO HELL?“). Our brand identity remains intact.

Anyway, Googling yourself is so 00s. Everybody in the 10s knows the cool thing to do on the Internet is watch Al Jazeera documentaries:

This one’s about Indonesian sulfur laborers who battle raging heat and choking fumes to gather 100 kilogram loads from the mouth of an active volcano. It’s totally mesmerizing— well before the Johnnie Walker and Bon Jovi conversations.

Meanwhile, Anak Krakatoa, the new island growing in the crater left by the massive 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, has joined the list of active Indonesian volcanoes. It grows an average of a little over the height of a giraffe a year.

But, uh, er, yep— there’s your problem right there.

I mean— “DOJ amicus curiae brief against gene patenting!” Awesome; it’s great to see a sudden government break with tradition… maybe a lame duck shot across the bow?

Physicist prices sustainable Martian colony at $150 billion!” Cool; in high school, I wanted to write letters to dot-com insta-millionaires arguing they establish lasting fame through interplanetary colonization.

GOP leaders set sites on next target— Sarah Palin!” Haha; that is D-U-M dumb. Unless their goal is to make her more powerful than ever, crucifying her is probably the easiest way to energize her base.

War with Iran will save economy, Obama presidency!” Gr— wait, what? Excuse me?

Republican Senate candidates vocal with doubt for both anthropogenic global warming or even climate change whatsoever.” Well… anyway. The point was it’s not “all” shit.

Mindlessly scrolling the BBC News page, I noticed this little gem of a headline mere pixels above the page’s distant lower end:

Earth-sized planets ‘very common’

Here’s an article on Wired’s Science blog about it. I hope everybody kept their Drake equations in pencil.

Did you know that they’ve directly imaged exoplanets already?

55 Astronomical Units is farther out than Pluto— and 70 parsecs is about half the distance from here to the North Star. Lame analogy on the distance, I know, but I came up empty trawling the Internet for a better one and got far too distracted when I found this website with a table of “50 exoplanetary systems within 65 light years (20 parsecs):”

Meanwhile, back on Original Style Earth, Sam’s new phone just made a foreign sound that filled her with terror. I hope she didn’t let slip a “Code zero zero zero. Destruct. Zero.”