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Snippets #60, Wednesday, 14.Jul.2004     (ISSN 1530-9622)


_______________S N I P P e T S

_________________________from James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door

___________________________________#60, Wednesday, 14.Jul.2004

_____________________________________________ISSN 1530-9622



__________0. CONTeNTS

_____1. Lake Vostok in Antartica

_____2. Do You Know What GAO Stands For?

_____3. Today's Quotation




Sometimes USA today has an interesting article. This is one of those times. They reported recently on Lake Vostok in Antarctica.

Now, you think you understand lakes? This one stretched my imagination.

Imagine a lake that is about 120 miles long, covers about 5,400 square miles and has depths up to 3,200 feet. Do you have that picture in your brain?

Now imagine that the lake is frozen. On top of the lake is a sheet of ice. Still have that picture in your brain.

Now imagine that the sheet of ice is two miles thick. THAT is Lake Vostok.

Turns out this lake, discovered in 1996, has been isolated from the rest of the world by this ice sheet for hundreds of thousands of years. It is a "fossil lake". Scientists want to study it but also don't want to contaminate it.

The Los Angeles times wrote:

"No one knows how this lake stays liquid in a region where the temperature recently fell to minus 132 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest ever recorded on earth. The temperature has not risen above freezing for millions of years.

"No one knows how any organism, cut off from air, sunlight or any apparent source of life-sustaining energy, could survive in its frigid currents or under such crushing pressure--more than 360 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level."

every now and then I encounter an article like this one in USA Today. As I research it more, it fascinates me. It continually reminds me of how much we still don't know.


USA Today: Two parts of lake under Antarctic ice may hold different kinds of life

Reprint of LA Times Article

Flash Animation Showing Lake and Ice Flow

Aerial Photo Showing "Flat Ice" Over Lake Vostok

Diagrams of the Lake

High Resolution http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~mstuding/new_vostok_cartoon_high.gif

Lower Resolution




established in 1921, the General Accounting Office has been around for a while. It is commonly called the investigative arm of Congress or the Congressional watchdog. Congress asks GAO to study the programs and expenditures of the federal government.

Well, it seems GAO just got a new name. GAO will now stand for Government Accountability Office.

Let's see. New logo, new seal, new website, new stationary for each individual, new business cards, new embroidered rug in the lobby ...

I wonder if GAO will issue a report outlining how much it will cost to change the name.


Washington Post Article

GAO Website



__________3. TODAY'S QUOTATION

There is no try. Only do. --- Yoda


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