Arx Hereticus

Welcome to the ramblings of a merry heretic, an ex-pat (Tex-pat?) American living in Maryland after having spent six years in Germany. Arx Hereticus is part travelogue, part cooking, part budo, part socio-political commentary and mostly just me BSing.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


All the wonderful fluffy snow? Going ... slowly. Painfully.

It's raining. The snowpack this morning was more ice than snow, and it was raining as I shoveled the walk and drive. Sheesh.

How far away is Spring?

Well, it's certainly Spring-ish back in Texas, and Tom Delay, indicted in Austin, Texas on criminal charges of conspiracy to violate election laws has just gotten the GOP nod in primaries. Crazy world we live in.

Speaking of rain, apparently Cassini has discovered liquid water on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Ver' cool! Well, yeah, literally. Enceladus is tiny (not much more than 300 miles across) and is quite frozen. But the probe has recorded what appears to be outflows of liquid water coming from cracks in the icy crust. One step closer to finding something resembling life on another rock in our Solar system.

The conditions may be similar there to Lake Vida, in Antartica. It's a hyper-saline body of water buried beneath the ice cap, under some 19 meters of ice. Scientists have been drilling there and have found some amazing things, including ancient microbes that may have been sealed up some 2,800 years ago and that may represent a totally new type of ecosystem. They came to life when warmed, by the way ...

Between that and the life flourishing around the black smokers in the ocean deeps, we're discovering that life is weirder and more pervasive than we have ever though it to be.

The more we learn about Terrestrial life, and the extremes within which it can exist, the more confident I am that we'll find something similar on some of the other planets or moons in this wondrous place we call home.