At long last, a redesign begins

At long last, I’ve begun the process of redesigning this hideous mess that is my website. The project goals: Semantic, properly-formed XHTML 1.0 Transitional with no use of tables for layout or over-use of classes or divs, at least two user-selectable CSS styles to choose from, separate styles for screen vs. print media types, accessibility to PDAs, mobile phones, text browsers, older browsers, and screen readers and Section 508 compliance, and an overall reduction in page size. I’ll be tinkering here: www.sanbeiji.com/blog/indexNEW.php

The Great Wall of Democracy

Mercury News: Over a Million Form Human Chain in Taiwan

1.2 million people joined hands in Taiwan to form a human chain of solidarity against Chinese aggression towards the island nation, on February the 28th – a date etched in Taiwan’s history that remembers the tragedy of a crackdown by the Chinese in 1947 that led to up to 28,000 Taiwanese killed in the name of suppression of Taiwanese nationalism. The human chain met, joined hands, turned to the east (with their backs facing China), and shouted “Taiwan Yes, China No!” 1.2 million people. Man, that’s a lot. Considering that the population of Taiwan is approximately 23 million, that means a little over 5% of the entire population of Taiwan was involved.

The elections in Taiwan are fast approaching. On the one hand is an incumbent president that stands for Taiwan’s sovereignty and identity. The main opposition ticket is a couple of mainland-born carpetbaggers who promise a return to the previous status quo of ambiguity but threaten to push Taiwan closer to annexation by the Chinese.

To hell with the status quo – it is time for Taiwan to stand up for itself for a change and stop bowing to pressure from foreign nations like China and the United States. The idea of strategic ambiguity is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – it is an idea based on false assumptions and serves the agenda of those that would like to subjugate Taiwan and profit on the mainland, and is wholly unfair to the people of Taiwan and an insult to world dignity.

Redshift

Universe Today – New Galaxy Beats Distance Record

An international team of astronomers have found what could be the most distant galaxy ever discovered. Located 13 billion light-years away, it’s being seen when the Universe was only 750 million years old. The object was found by combining the power of the Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck telescope; they also used the natural gravitational lensing effect of a relatively nearby galaxy, which focused the light of the more distant galaxy.

The photo on that article has a nice collection of objects that have been stretched by the gravitational lens. The article notes that the object “is so far away its visible light has been stretched into infrared wavelengths”, which could be more accurately described as because the objects light wavelengths have shifted to the infrared due to the fact that it is moving away from us at at a high speed. Due to the overall expansion of the universe, objects that are more distant from others tend to be moving away at a faster rate, expanding their light wavelengths and causing them to appear more reddish. (Imagine being at the center of an inflating balloon – the edges will recede faster than the space in your immediate vicinity.) The “redshift” effect can be used to determine the distance of the object. For lots more information on this subject, follow this link.

My friend Chris H. and I did a complete statistical analysis of near vs. distant stars for our Statistics class in college, showing the color properties of stars and how to measure distance and ages of them based on these properties. We put some hard time into that thing and still wound up having to pull an all-nighter the day before it was due, hammering out the text and formulas on an old 512k Mac and inserting the scatterplots here and there. The final page came out of the printer just minutes before the class started, we marched in, put the bastard on the top of the stack, and then I went home and passed out.