Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 3.03

March 2, 2010

The Mozilla folks have released a new version 3.0.3 of their E-mail client, Thunderbird.  This version fixes a couple of bugs that affected some users after they upgraded to  Thunderbird 3.x; the changes are detailed in the Release Notes, which also contain download links for the new version. Alternatively, versions for all platforms (Mac OS-X, Linux, and Windows) in many languages can be downloaded here.

Speeding Things Up

March 2, 2010

Have you been running a little behind schedule the last few days?  Now you can tell your boss or your spouse that it’s not your fault — it’s all because that earthquake in Chile shortened the day.  According to an article in the “Short Sharp Science” blog at New Scientist, a NASA geophysicist has calculated the impact of the quake on the earth’s rotation:

Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told Bloomberg that the 8.8-magnitude quake is likely to have moved the Earth’s axis by 2.7 milliarcseconds – about 8 centimetres – and shorted the day by about 1.26 microseconds.

The change occurs because the earthquake shifted the distribution of the Earth’s mass very slightly, which in turn affected its rotation.  The effect is analogous to what happens when a figure skater extends or pulls in her arms during a spin; her rotational speed changes so that angular momentum is conserved.

By comparison, the 2004 earthquake in Sumatra that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami measured 9.1 on the magnitude scale, and shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds.

Admittedly, you probably don’t need to reset all your clocks.

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