Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Science Joke Walks Into a Bar...

I get all the jokes...do you?

New Years Planets

A little cloudy here this morning, but just enough breaks to get Venus, the crescent Moon and Mercury.


Venus is at the top, the Moon beneath it and Mercury is in the lower left. Tomorrow morning the Moon will be slightly beneath Mercury. Mercury is nice and bright and easy to find...well, easy to find for Mercury!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Morning Planets and Moon

If you get a nice grouping of Venus, the Moon and Mercury, you would expect lots of people to blog about it and see it...unless it is in the pre-dawn sky in late December! I managed to get up this morning and get the camera setup.


I like the effect of bright Venus and the Moon poking through the trees. The Moon is a waning crescent but overexposed in this pic so you don't see that effet well. In order to get a better picture of the Moon, I reduced the exposure time. Of course then you don't see as many stars.


But I haven't shown you Mercury yet. There's a reason for that you can see in the next picture.


Just above the clouds you will see a star with an orange tint. That is Antares, the heart of Scorpio. Mercury is just to the lower left of Antares...in other words, right behind the clouds!

Tomorrow the Moon will have moved closer to Mercury and Sunday the VERY thin crescent will be just below Mercury. Your best best to see Mercury is probably about 45 minutes before sunrise. I am hoping for clear skies here the next couple of mornings!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Open Blog - New Year's Weekend


May your New Year be filled with peace, prosperity, health and happiness.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year End Sunset

It was a cold day for Tucson. A big winter storm passed through leaving the mountains coated in snow and daytime temperatures only in the 40's. Late in the afternoon, I noticed the sky had started clearing and decided to try sunset pictures. I am glad I did.

There were some low clouds in the area so I wasn't quite sure what I would get. I would not see the Sun behind the mountains. Let me show you a wide view of what I was dealing with.


Under such circumstances, prospects for a green flash are usually not seem as too good. Let's zoom in at the top of the Sun.


Yep, I caught a rare cloud-top green flash. I saw it as well as captured it with a camera. Not the brightest green flash I had ever seen, but not difficult to see either. I kept shooting and got a bonus a couple of shots later.


Lookey there...it turned blue! I did not see the blue visibly but got the picture. A cloud top blue flash!

Blue flashes are more rare since Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light more than green light. The blue light is usually scattered too much to see a blue flash. You need a very clear atmosphere with very few pollutants (both natural and human caused) to get a blue flash. Sometimes a nice storm system is just the ticket to clear things out enough to get that elusive blue flash.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Women and HD Television

Here is an interesting topic I found while browsing around today....

Craig Koplien, a local t.v. newsman/meteorologist, posted a light humor/casual blog about his recent purchase of HD television. His question was whether women can fully appreciate the difference. He states his wife still sometimes watches regular television, despite the fact that the same program is on an HD channel.


I'm really curious to see if he follows up on this with a news segment with input from professionals. Do women see things (literally) different than men do? Or, maybe we are interested
more in content, than graphics?

Personally, I have to agree with his wife. I found myself doing the same thing. I only hit the HD channels now to prevent the shadowboxing and shrinking of the image. I don't see the big-deal difference either. I have to admit, I'd be really ticked if you men were seeing something much more spectacular than we are! :o


I do know for a fact that during the motherhood years, women grow that third eye in the back of our heads, and our hearing becomes equally as keen as a dog.... but that is another story for another time! ;>


Here is the link to his blog. There have been comments from both men and women supporting his theory.


http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/craigkoplien/womenhd.html

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Irregular Football Final

Here are the final standings in The Irregular Football League. Congratulations go to The Debate Team.

He sent the league the following message:

Subject: Where is my irregular trophy?

Make with the cash and prizes.


While I am very pleased to have made it to the finals, winning the whole shebang would have been sweet. And, in contrast, I like to think I would have been a humble winner.....

Sorry to all of you, I tried my best. The odds were stacked against me; two last minute replacements were needed to my team due to injuries.... drat!

Snow up to our arses......

KK's post made me think I haven't shared any new pictures of our snow...

This is what 33+ inches of snow looks like!


We're all adults here so....

You know how Celebs and Athletes like to tell the public all the good info on how to stay healthy7 and the like, well scientists are trying to debunk the worst of them like;


"It's actually very good for a man to have unprotected sex as long as he doesn't ejaculate. Because I believe that all that semen has a lot of nutrition. A tablespoon of semen has your equivalent of steak, eggs, lemons and oranges. I am reabsorbing it into my body and it makes me go raaaaahh," he said.


Oh yeah, I'd be going "raaaaahh!" alright.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_science_celebrities;_ylt=AgDxADty4_i8ve4JuJNBPhOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNxam4xcGw5BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTAxMjI5L3VzX3NjaWVuY2VfY2VsZWJyaXRpZXMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM5BHBvcwM2BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5faGVhZGxpbmVfbGlzdARzbGsDcXVvdHNjaWVuY2Vz

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my pretty penguins! How are you? Did you have a merry little Christmas, or a merry big one? Junior and I stayed home on Christmas Eve and had a very nice chat with Santa later on. I only get to see him once a year. Santa is just as jolly as they say he is. He is such a wonderful guy. Santa gave us each a present – nothing fancy, the recession has hit the North Pole, too. And then he was off in the twinkle of an eye. Ahem, let me admit here, if that man wasn’t happily married, I might make a play for him myself. Oh my!

Racine was graced with that holiday lake effect snowstorm, too. Aren’t we lucky? Thank you, Mother Nature, for your gifts.

And thank you, Green Bay Packers, for your stellar performance against the New York Giants. Aaron Rodgers was in especially fine form last Sunday. I’m overjoyed that he is back, although Matt Flynn proved himself a reliable quarterback, too. This coming Sunday our mighty Packers meet their archrivals, the Chicago Bears, at Lambeau Field. Go Pack, go on the attack! May you maul the Bears.

Just two more days till New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year to all of my wonderful Irregulars and to all of my other readers. Madame Zoltar bestows her blessing on each of you! May you prosper in the year to come and enjoy health and happiness. I love you all.

For New Year’s, I thought I would toss out a few predictions of things to expect in the months ahead. I have consulted my crystal ball carefully, and I am quite sure of the veracity of these forecasts:

1) iMoney. In a merger of government and private enterprise, the US Treasury will join with Apple to run our economy. After decades of difficulty with capitalism, our government will simply throw up its hands and say, “Let Steve Jobs run it. He always makes a profit.” My visions have not been very clear on how exactly iDollars and iCents will work, but I’m sure they will be very stylish.

2) Who’s Your President? Mr. OrbsCorbs noted in a recent comment that he thought electing our representatives through reality TV shows would be the logical progression of things. Guess what, Mr. OrbsCorbs? You are 100% correct. Who’s Your President?, of course, will only be broadcast every four seasons, but various local versions of the show (such as Who’s Your Mayor? or Who’s Your Governor?) will be broadcast as needed. Once again, it is a blending of government with private enterprise, this time the entertainment industry. Win-win for the networks and the electorate.

3) WWC: World Wrestling Congress. The WWC will start as a spin-off of the Who’s Your President?-type reality shows. After years of acrimonious debate and near constant gridlock, the members of the US Congress will join the WWC to fight legislative battles in the wrestling ring. All the conventional trappings and showmanship of professional wrestling will remain, only the wrestlers will change. Fans will be able to root on their favorite representatives at ringside or via TV. All the hokum and bunk of the US Congress will remain, too. Again, win-win. A cheap show for the networks to produce, and cheap entertainment for an involved citizenry.

4) Closer to home, I predict a major UFO event taking place in Racine. A large craft will be spotted hovering directly above City Hall. Its appearance will cause a sensation in the country, but the big news to Racine residents will be that Mayor John Dickert is an alien. On second thought, perhaps some people will not be so surprised.

5) Finally, I predict that you will send a message to madamezoltar@jtirregulars.com. In that message, you will ask about the future, and I will tell it to you.

Thank you for reading my blog this week, sweethearts. They say we’re getting our January thaw on New Year’s Eve. Watch out for flash floods, my dears. Fallaciloquence!

Paul Zerdin, Ventriloquist, at Comedy Rocks



I don't know why that gadget strikes me as so funny, but it does. Steve does a good job as the dummy.

Open Blog - Wednesday


Today is so big, it's trademarked.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

hale-Bopp

And no mention or credit to ya either.

http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/650b31d2-12f1-11e0-b1f1-001cc4c03286.html

A Rube Goldberg Holiday

I just found this today...it's still the holiday season so I am posting it.

Advertising and The JT Irregulars

The admins of the JTI received the following correspondence from one of our own: Madame Zoltar. Seems that her inbox is continually bombarded by advertisers, spammers, etc.

Oh my, why do I always get these kind of emails?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Susan Mcdermott (edit/omission)
Date: Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 6:14 AM
Subject: Website Advertisement
To: madamezoltar@jtirregulars.com


Dear madamezoltar

I surfed on to your site (http://www.jtirregulars.com/) and I see that you have a very nice site. I have a similar site and I am requesting a link from your site to my site. I am willing to pay a small fee for this service.

I request you to kindly provide a link to my site

Best regards,
Susan

I returned this email to our illustrious Madame Z:

My dearest Madame:

I am assuming that visitors to the JTI are confused that you are the sole proprietor of this website by your prominent (and might I say totally gorgeous!) picture on the sidebar. I believe the picture must stay intact, in situ....

I have moved the contact information, and also tweaked it a bit, to include the name of the sheriff, as someone concrete to contact.

I hope this helps.

kkdither


I post this for you all to ponder..... Are we becoming a big enough deal to consider something like this? Is it worth the effort? Is it worth selling out for, or contaminating our website with advertisements? We've talked about this briefly before....

We certainly seem to do well on our own. Our finances never inhibit a very, very, very good time at our parties and get-togethers.

BUT.......... is there really dough out there for the taking???? Hmmmm...


P.S. That name really rings a bell. Isn't that a pseudo/trademark name for a direct marketing giant?

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday to Lizardmom....
our cheerleader!



Monday, December 27, 2010

Zero Views

We share popular youtube videos here quite a bit. What about the other end of the spectrum? The videos that don't get many views. Let's take it even further...videos that don't get ANY views. Not from their friends, not from their families, not from their own mothers, not even from themselves!

A few weeks ago, On the Media featured a segment about Colin Fitzpatrick's site 0 Views. And he makes sure that the videos aren't ones that have just been posted that no one has seen. He makes sure they have been up a while and no one has seen them. Seems almost inconceivable with the number of searches that someone should click on everything sooner or later, but it happens...at least until the videos make his site...then they get some views.

I got to post one of the videos...a bunch of kids lip syncing the song "Having Fun Isn't Hard/When you have a library card".



Just something fascinating about the videos that no one sees!

Blizzard Videos

A couple of neat videos of the blizzard. First up, the NASA GOES 13 satellite captured great images of its formation and movement up the east coast.


video

Moving right along, Michael Black took a neat time lapse of the snowfall. I love the way he had to keep moving the clock and add measuring devices!

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Any Soap Opera Fans Out There?

If so, one of my former students, Sarah Glendening just joined the cast of All My Children as Marissa. Today was here first episode. I have it on my DVR and just fast forwarded through it to catch a few of her scenes. She looks fantastic and I love seeing her do well and get roles. This is the first role I have seen her in on television where she didn't end up murdered (I saw the Law & Order: Criminal Intent and an episode of Cold Case where she was Corpse of the Week...Cold Case was really cool as she was the lead playing a hot shot female pilot in WWII).

We both did shows in local community theaters and we did a couple of shows together in our copius free time, including My Fair Lady and a revue called Broadway Rock and Roll.

So you go Sarah...I am looking forward to bigger and better things in the future!

Hey Orbs! Did you miss the Pope's speech?

Here is a letter written in response....


This is an Open Letter to Pope Benedict on behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse by catholic priests; on behalf of all catholic people, and all honorable catholic clergy; on behalf of every media outlet under the sun; and on behalf of The Holy Spirit.

Sir,

Some burning questions arise from the following statement you made in your Christmas address to your cardinals on December 20th regarding how it came to pass that the house of The Holy Spirit became a haven for criminals of a sexual nature.

"In the 1970's pedophilia was theorized [by the church] as something fully in conformity with man and even with children."

Please deign to respond to this letter directly and personally and put aside all the pomp and titles and so-called 'proper channels' -- all of which belong not in the 21st century but the 12th and are unbecoming of Christ.

Exactly who held the theory that pedophilia was fully in conformity with man and with children?

Please give us their names.

Exactly when did they hold this theory?

Exactly when if ever did they cease holding the theory?.

Why was this information not given to victims?

Why was it never given to any commissions of inquiry or civil authorities?

Why in all the years since these scandals broke out was yesterday the first mention of this information?

It is highly disrespectful of the victims that you would throw this out as an aside remark and not present yourself for questioning on such a very serious piece of information which would be key in the potential recovery of the church.

The Holy Spirit requires you to familiarize yourself with honesty and respect if you retain any desire to salvage the remains of the church which has been ruined by its being allowed to live by its own laws and not God's

~ Sinéad

Open Blog - Monday


Don't be Grumpy; instead be Happy.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

U3-X Personal Mobility Prototype



Oh yeah, I want one. I don't even know what I would do with it, but I want one.

This video may explain why music plays throughout the above one - they're a little noisy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4jnl8D_Qts

Champagne brunch in Racine.

Where? Do we even have one? If more than one, which is the best, second best, worst? I want to throw a small(?) B-day party for family and a few close friends, but darn if I know Racine anymore. I figure to make it a philanthropic party and each couple will have to give me a bag of non perishable food for the food pantry. I know I could just give a donation to the food pantry, but then I don't get a party, and I'm not feeling that philanthropic.