Friday, July 27, 2007

Mars is NOT Good This August

Sheesh, that stupid Mars email is going around again. Just late the past few years. I dont' want to write about it, so I will direct you to a page on my astronomy club's site...

So go over there, read it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Science is Sexy

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was on The Daily Show yesterday, and had some great lines. Here are a few...

Stewart: "Isn't it unknowable? Isn't the trouble with your job (astrophysics and outreach) not knowing?"
Tyson: "That is not the trouble. That is the seduction."
Stewart: "You just blew my mind."

Tyson: "We know that Mars was wet and fertile before Earth was."
Stewart: "Why is it when you talk about science... I get horny?"
Tyson: "It's exciting stuff."

Tyson: "You keep pushing it, and you reach the boundary of our knowledge. That is the ignorance that attracts us all."
Stewart: "
Tyson: "You realize that this offers you a cosmic perspective, because so many among us have such huge egos, that you look out in the Universe and you can't possibly sustain such self-importance in the face of what the Universe tells you. For example, how important are you when you then learn that one centimeter length of your colon contains more bacteria living and working there than the number of people who have ever lived on earth."
Stewart: "All I can say is this. Thank God the opposite isn't true."
Tyson: "There are more stars in the Universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. There are more stars in the Universe than sounds and words ever uttered by everyone who has ever lived. Venus is so hot it will cook a 16-inch pepperoni pizza out on the windowsill in nine seconds."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Must-See Movie

Continuing the theme from Friday's post, there is a documentary coming out in the theaters in September that should be on every space enthusiasts' calendar.

It's called "In the Shadow of the Moon" and is a film about the Apollo program. The director interviewed many of the surviving Apollo astronauts (but not Neil, of course. Too bad) about their missions, their view, and their experiences.

Here is a link to the film's website...

It's supposed to be released September 7th in the USA. Let's hope it's a "wide release."

Friday, July 20, 2007

One Small Step Years Ago

Mankind first set foot on the moon. I remember seeing it live when I was a kid.

I'm glad we are going back, but we never should have left. It was a big mistake on the part of the politicians back then.

I have written about it on a blog I write for my local astronomy club, so head on over and check that one out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Carnival of Space #12

The newest version of the "famed in song and story" Carnival of Space is up and available for viewing and adoration, hosted this week by Bruce at his Music of the Spheres site.

So head on over, and revel in the space news by the best the blogging world has to offer.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Romantic Astronomy Part 2

Back in May I posted a little ditty about Romance in Astronomy. It engendered a couple of comments from the blogger community, which is nice. Glad to see that I'm not writing this for myself.

But I had also posted this on my myspace page (my myspace? oh oh. :) ) and my friend Sasha commented on it there. I'll skip most of her comment, but I wanted to share this part...
Now, I also have to be a bit cheesy here and say that Romantic astronomy is not dead. (wait for it, the cheesy part is coming...) Now things may be automated and some of the fun may be lost by the technology, but I'll tell you what...I am head over heels in love with our night sky. (Yes, that's the cheesy part.) I may be just starting out, but my gaze has always been at the sky...and it is a rush to see something new, or learn something new every time I look through a telescope. (Thanks to you no less!:) Teaching newbies, and getting people excited about astronomy is something that you do very well. To me, teaching something that you are passionate about only fuels the fire for other people to become passionate as well. You my friend are keeping the romance alive.
It's nice to know that when you make the attempt to widen the horizons of others, sometimes it works. I spend countless hours preaching the word of astronomy and science to both friends and strangers, and often wonder if my words have any effect. Mind you, I'm not looking for glory or the like; I just want people to be able to appreciate the universe they live in. And when I can impart a little expertise to someone, and they take it up and go further, that's what it's all about.

This past weekend we had a public night at our club's observatory. Of the hundred or so people there, a few visitors were really into learning about the night sky. So much, in fact, that they were there after our "closing time." I was still moving the telescope around to various objects, showing them off, when one of the people said "oh, it's okay, we don't want to keep you." I replied "you're not. That's what I'm here for", and it's true.

If someone is really interested in astronomy (or away from the observatory, anything else I'm talking about) I will make the time to talk to them more: to give them more information, insight, and experiences. Because what good is having knowledge when you can't share it?

And that's the big thing; sharing what you know.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Greatest Toon Ever

I was going to post my second part in my ongoing ranting about media, but something much more important crossed by virtual desktop, courtesy of Phil Plait and his Bad Astronomy site.

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Warner Brothers cartoon "What's Opera, Doc?" And I must agree with him, it's the best cartoon ever. I rank it up there with other WB cartoons, including Duck Dogers, all the Marvin the Martian, and other Bugs toons. As I wrote in the comments on Phil's site...
All hail the almighty Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc!!

There's a CD that came out a few years ago called "Bugs Bunny on Broadway" and it includes this, Rabbit of Seville, and a bunch of others. We played it one night for a guy we know who professes himself as a "classical music expert." As the first strains of Wagner came up, he was "ahhh yes!!!" and was "air-conducting" along with the music. But as soon as heard Elmer Fudd, he got really ticked off: "ohh!! how dare they!!!!" We just laughed and laughed.

And to prove I have true geek moments, I've been know to - when a storm is coming - run outside and quote "Arise storms... North winds blow, south winds blow... Typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, SMOG!.. Flash lightning strike the rabbit!" :)
Ahh, my day has been made. :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Random Synapse Firing

I'm going to rant again about the callous attitude of the local media in a while, but here are a few quickie things...

  • It's going to be frackin' hot today. Yeah, perhaps not as hot as out west, but here we get the humidity as well. At 6.45am the temperature was 78 with a dewpoint of 69. That's muggy. High today should be in the middle 90's. And the humidity will stay.
  • Last night I observed Comet C/2006 VZ13 (LINEAR). That might not be news to anyone else, or mean anything to anyone else, but it was the 49th comet I have seen in my short life. Maybe when I see 50 I'll get a set of steak knives!!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Wow!! Look at the date!!! It's 07/07/07!!!! Isn't it cool?

Big frackin' deal. It's Saturday, July 7, 2007. That's all.

If you have bought into the special significance of today by the media, you are a mindless drone. I feel sorry for you.

It's just another day here on earth as we swing around the sun. The only thing special about 07/07/07 was that at midnight Universal Time, the earth was at aphelion.

Some of these idiots who believe today is a special day -- pregnant women are having labor induced, so their babies are born today!!! And couples are flocking to wedding chapels (especially Vegas) to get married today!!! All because they think it will be lucky.

Just because a particular date comes around, is not the basis for making life decisions. These people have serious issues. My god, YOU ARE IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!