Imagine having lived at that point in history when the science of geology was in its infancy, and man was only just beginning to see the elaborate and wonderful patterns in the rocks, patterns of geomorphology and organic evolution, when the concept of deep time had not yet solidified into our current formal geological timescale. Back when antediluvian literally meant "before the flood." Of course, here on Earth, we're a good two centuries or more into the science of historical geology, but as regards the other planets, humans are just starting to (literally) scratch the surface. An international team of researches studing the new data coming back from the Mars Express spacecraft have constructed a three-part geologic timetable for Mars. And that's just too frelling cool. It's the beginning of understanding Mars' deep time and whatever secrets it holds, and there's always something profoundly magical for me in beginnings. David, if you could get this paper (in Science) as a PDF and e-mail it to me, I would be very grateful!
More on Mars later (naturally).
This afternoon, in a moment of boredom, I followed a link to a test at Salon.com purporting to measure a person's devotion to the philosophies of Machiavelli. I took the test. I scored 71, which the test assured me meant I was a "high Mach." Having never read much of Machiavelli's work and never having thought of myself as particularly Machiavellian, I admit this took me by surprise. Go figure.