Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bacon Rocket is a great site. I didn't realize that there is also a YouTube channel.

One of my favorite rathergood videos:


Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

They are SO on my shit list ...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thoughts for Food

The 18th Annual Thoughts for Food Benefit is tomorrow night. Many great local bands will be playing this year. I am particularly on seeing Mean Jake and Lydon Moon. I may bring my camera and blog about this show. Hope to see you all there this year!

Thoughts for Food link

It's Beer Friday!

Finally Friday, and after this week, who couldn't use a tall cold one! If that's you I have just the thing! Tonight the Sturtevant Volunteer Fireworks Committee is holding a Micro Brew beer tasting from 6 pm to 9 pm! The ticket price includes sampling 24 different beers from 12 breweries and appetizers and a live band. Also a silent auction will be available. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door Tickets available at: JQ Foxes Bar and Restaurant, Hiawatha Bar, Village Liquor, Sturtevant Village Hall, Joey's on Lathrop, M&M Citgo. (I also have tickets)

Come to the village have a couple and support a great cause!


Seeming I brought up schlager in my last post I thought I would give an example.. I really only need to give one example as they are all built up pretty much the same. This is an artist named Carola and she is Sweden's sweetheart. She has been in the limelight since she was very young this was from a few years ago in the Eurovision Song contest, a contest that most countries in Europe send in one song that best represents their country and they compete against each other (a kind of musical Olympics), the country that wins gets the honor of hosting the event the next year. Anyways out of about 32 songs that the Swedes could choose from this is what was sent..

But alas Sweden didn't win that year this is what won: From Finland I give you Lordi

Swedish Music

I thought maybe I'd share a little Swedish music. Don't worry I wont post any ABBA. You can get quite a wide variety of music here in Sweden from the very bad to quite good of course depending on what your music taste is, but I would almost say no one would agree that the music style called Schlager is good music. For whatever reason it just will not disappear. Anyways here is a song called Under Ytan (Under the Surface) by a man named Uno Svenningsson. I liked this song even before I understood Swedish, but enjoyed it even more after I learned what the lyrics were saying, so I thought I would do my best to translate it..

Under the surface
there are big and small
under the surface
there is laughes and cries
there is much there that happens
that we do not understand
but we always find the answer
there in the bottom of ourselves
Under the surface

I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know

It laughs and it cheers
but it ends quickly in chaos
someone kicks and hits the wretch there
that is completely with a chance
I see that no one seems to care
neither do I
The fear is too big and strong
to do anything at all

Under the surface
I am ashamed for my self
Under the surface
the image burns me

I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know that you are there
I know, I know, I know

I think of you often
as if you were my own brother
then I have changed as well
to a monster without mercy
when I see all of this evil
that we people have let loose
the meaningless suffering
then I have difficulty understanding
that we all have been children
and helpless at sometime
loved without boundries
loved without force.

Under the surface
we are all small
under the surface
can a good soul perish

Four for Fridays

Good morning everybody! This week's blog is about a day in the life...

1) What's the first thing you do in the mornings?

2) What time do often get up?

3) Are you a planner or just spontaneous?

4) What time do you often go to bed?

Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bee-Boy Dance Crew

"When a honey bee returns to the hive after finding a good source of nectar, it will perform a unique dance for its hive mates, detailing the distance, quality and quantity of the new food supply."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GLOBE at Night on Local Television

My colleague talks about GLOBE at Night. You can see where I work (it was filmed in what is called the Scientific Interaction Room at NOAO, basically where you meet up over coffee to chat about projects and research).

Unforutnately, their embed code does not play nice with Blogger so you have to click the link to watch it.

Tin Hat alert. Im standing up!

Has anyone else gotten the American Community Survey? This is not the 10 question census, which I will gladly answer. This is in addition, and asks questions like name address and phone number for everyone in your residence, if you have plumbing, do you have a mental defect which limits you from working, can you walk upstairs, what time do you leave for work every day and how many people ride in the car, how much do you make and where have you lived each year over the last five years, along with 310 other intrusive questions. It says that you are required by law to fill this out. I am not going to. I have been doing research and 45% of people getting this have an issue with it.

I have had two surveys sent to me, and have had one person from the Census Bureau come to my door. The next time they come I will videotape it and politely ask them to leave my property.

I may be risking a 5000 fine and six months in jail, which is funny because the CB has no power to inforce this, only recommend to the justice department. Also, according to the constitution, all they are allowed to ask is the 10 question "How many people live here" enumeration. I will give them that answer. They can take the rest of the survey and pound sand.

Are you ready for two more feet of snow?

Post-Sentencing Message Site Quickly Erected for Gary Becker

Bird of the Week - Special Becker Edition

This special bird of the week award goes to our former pedo-mayor Gary (the sick bastard) Becker, soon to be known as prisoner #451245213 for getting what he deserves. Here's to you Gary! You wont be shopping in the girls department at Boston Store for a long time.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my red breasted robins! How are you? Mr. OrbsCorbs’ blog picture of the growing greenery and Mr. Drew’s and others’ comments on robins have kindled an early case of spring fever in me. Oh my, there is still plenty of snow on the ground and lots of nip in the air. It’s going to be awhile yet before the thaw and muck of March and April start coming up roses, literally. And all Wisconsinites have weathered late winter and early spring storms. But when the sun does shine now, it shines a little brighter and a little warmer. The days are a little longer, too. And some plants even have the audacity to start budding. Can baseball and/or love be far behind?

"When the Red Robin Comes Bobbin' Along" - ‘Whispering’ Jack Smith, 1926:

Sorry about jumping to video so soon in my blog, but, as I said, I have spring fever, and I feel joyous. I hope that each and every one of my Irregulars catches it soon, too. Mr. Hale-bopp has a vast understanding of the workings of the cosmos and can explain how our planet is rotating and tilting on its axis in orbit around our sun, which in turn is rotating and tilting on its axis, ad infinitum. The northern hemisphere of our planet is coming into spring. All that means to me is more sun, more green, more birds, more growth, more air. Warmer air. Warmer people. Warmer times.

Warmer climes, like the United Arab Emirates, where they just held their annual camel beauty

You can listen to some of the proceedings here:

And that’s why they call Wednesday “hump day.” Tee-hee, oh, I’m sorry, no. They call it that because I bust my hump to deliver my blog to you. And that’s because I love you and I enjoy spending quality time with you each week. I am so grateful that you take the time to read my blog. Thank you.

I see better times ahead for dear Racine, my friends, accompanied by better weather. Get out and enjoy some of it.

Please send your brightest ideas and darkest thoughts to:

Be careful! Melting ice is very slippery. Mind your steps, my dears. Imprimatur!


For the third time in the past two weeks, I cannot fall asleep. This is not like me. I usually fall asleep quite quickly.

I remember my father battling insomnia as he aged. He would tell me how much he envied me my sleep. He died when he was a year and a half older than I am now.

Do you ever get insomnia? If so, what, if anything, do you do about it?

Apparently, I post old David Bowie songs (with a tip of the hat to hale-bopp's previous blog about the Ole Miss Rebels):

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't Go to Ole Miss: IT'S A TRAP!

Those crazy kids at Ole Miss. See, their sports teams go by the name Rebels. So when they go looking for mascots, they think about famous rebels. At one point, they might have thought of Confederate warriors. Not this generation. Nope. There is a movement afoot to replace their current mascot with one other than Admiral Ackbar of Star Wars fame.

You might think this would cause all kinds of problems with Lucas, but maybe not. There was a post on the Star Wars Blog giving some encouragement although warning that, "Lucasfilm is flattered that our Star Wars fans at the University of Mississippi are considering electing Admiral Ackbar as their mascot. The last time we checked in with Admiral Ackbar he was leading the Rebel Alliance Fleet on a critical mission so it will be difficult for him to show up for the games!"

So go Rebels...but don't fall into any traps! I would love to see this guy on the sidelines!

Unfortunate Picture Placement

I am sure that the person who choose the picture and wrote the story just weren't talking to each other! Ouch!

GLOBE at Night 2010

It's that time of year again...time for our annual campaign to measure the levels of light pollution in our night skies. This year's GLOBE at Night campaign runs from March 3rd to the 16th. It is very easy to participate and contribute to our world wide map of light pollution.

All you have to do is go outside after it gets dark and find the constellation of Orion. Look closely at what you see in the sky and compare it to the magnitude charts. Here is what they look like.

You simply look at the sky and compare it to the charts. Pick the one that looks closest to what you see in the sky and you have your data point. You might notice that magnitude 7 has a lot of stars and magnitude 1 has very few. In astronomy, higher numbers mean dimmer stars (it's a long story).

You will also need to know your latitude and longitude. If you have a GPS system, great (many cell phone GPS systems will tell you your latitude and longitude). If not, no big deal...all you need is your address and you can find your latitude and longitude using sites such as iTouchmap. You can then use the form to report your measurements online. You can then use the mapviewer to see your data and data from around the world.

It's pretty easy. We are looking for lots of data. Last year, there were over 15,000 reports from around the world and we would love to top that this year. You can make more than one observation. You can make them from home, the grocery store, a park, the movie theater, pretty much anywhere you go at night and it just takes a couple of minutes. I try to go for several bike rides during GLOBE at Night. I have a Garmin Forerunner GPS on my wrist and record all my data using the voice recorder on my iPod. I go out several nights and bike a different direction each time, getting a dozen or so measurements each night. I live near the edge of Tucson, so I get very different results if I bike west (into Tucson) versus east (toward Saguaro National Park). That is exactly what we would like. Lots of data in different cities...from the densely populated and brightly lit downtown to the suburbs as they give way to the countryside.

So why should you care? Well, we are losing out night skies. Many people have never seen a truly dark sky or if they have, it is a childhood memory. Light pollution is wasted energy and hence money. Light pollution has many negative effects on wildlife as well.

Still not enough for you? How about your own health? Last summer, the American Medical Association passed resolution 516, "Advocating and Support for Light Pollution Control Efforts and Glare Reduction for Both Public Safety and Energy Savings" identifying light pollution as a human health concern. You can read the entire resolution here. In part it says

"Whereas, Light trespass has been implicated in disruption of the human and animal circadian rhythm, and strongly suspected as an etiology of suppressed melatonin production, depressed immune systems, and increase in cancer rates such as breast cancers 16,17,18,19,20,21,22; and

Whereas, Light trespass disrupts nocturnal animal activity and results in diminished various animal populations’ survival and health 23; therefore be it of energy efficient designs to reduce waste of energy and production of greenhouse gasses that result from this wasted energy use (New HOD Policy); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our AMA support light pollution reduction efforts and glare reduction efforts at both the national and state levels (New HOD Policy); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our AMA support efforts to ensure all future streetlights be of a fully shielded design or similar non-glare design to improve the safety of our roadways for all, but especially vision impaired and older drivers. (New HOD Policy)"

Now of course the solution is not to turn off all lights...that would be silly. Lights are needed at night for safety and security. The solution is well designed lighting the directs light where you need it, when you need it, and in the correct amount. Too much light can cause glare and make it more difficult to see which can be just as dangerous as not enough light.

So come on out and help us get our data and full up that map!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Good to Be an Olympic Athlete

It must be because the CBC is reporting there is an emergency shipment of condoms on the way to the Olypmic Villiage due to a condom shortage. It's not like they didn't give them any...they started out with 100,000 condoms for the 7,000 athletes. That's about 14 condoms per athlete for those keeping score at home (and that's 14 for every man AND woman athlete so if they are using them with each other, that means they have to engage in 28 acts requiring the use of a condom during the games, although some may be used with adoring fans).

I guess we now know what the Olympic Rings REALLY represent!

UPDATE: Well, maybe the Olypmpic Village is a little more calm than first thought. Clay Adams of Vancouver Coastal Health says they weren't just for athletes: "They were on the cruise ships that housed security, support staff and volunteers. They were in washrooms at public venues, including the downtown pavilions where visitors gathered for free concerts. They were handed out by volunteers and readily available in clinics."

The athletes only got 40,000 of the condoms according to CNN.

and the winners are...

In honor of the Olympics,
this months blogging winners are going
to be awarded the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Let the ceremony commence....

The Gold Medal for most blogs going to...

SER, our favorite Spuddy Buddy!
Just inching out our silver medalist by one blog...

The Silver Medal goes to Orbscorbs!!

Coming in closely behind...

The Bronze Medal goes to our very own

Congratulations guys!!!

I wish there were more medals,
honorable mentions go to...
kkdither, logjam, drew, and Mme. Z

Well done everybody!!!

This month we are taking time off of competitions.
Do think about this -
In April, I think it would be fun to have
one on one competitions.
Who would you like to challenge personally to try to out-blog?

A blogging dual, could be fun!!
Think about it, and be ready to challenge someone in April!!

Daylilies, March 1, 2010, Racine, Wisconsin


Green. Growing from the earth. In Racine. Even as you read this. Huzzah!

For me, this is better than the first robin of spring (which I usually see in July). Ma Nature is gonna come back for another try. She takes a licking, but she keeps on ticking.

The Magic of Aladdin...

I went to Disneyland last week and saw the Aladdin show at California Adventure. First, I will say that this is easily the best show I have seen in any theme park anywhere. It tells the story well and has very good production values with a talented cast. If you are there, it is a must see.

But the astronomy in the show is not so good. I snapped a pic during the show of the scene in Jasmine's quarters (no flash photography so I apologize if it is slightly blurry from camera shake).

There is one thing wrong with this picture and another that is, well, implausible at best. Look closely at the crescent Moon (ignore for the moment the fact that the Moon is WAY too big! You should be able to cover the Moon with your pinky held out at arm's length.) You can see stars inside the crescent! Although we see only a lit crescent, the rest of the Moon is still there (sometimes near sunset or sunrise you can dimly see the rest of the Moon due to Earthshine). The Moon should block out any stars that are behind it. The only way to see stars inside the crescent is if they are closer to Earth than the Moon. There are no stars closer to Earth than the Moon...and I am pretty confident none will be discovered there in the future!

The second issue is more subtle. The Moon depicted is a waning crescent (for viewers in the northern hemisphere and Agraba is in the northern hemisphere). A waning crescent Moon won't rise until well after midnight. Based on its phase, this Moon would probably come up at 3 or 4am. Now I know Aladdin isn't the brightest bulb in the circuit, but I doubt he would wait until four in the morning to go woo Jasmine...I mean, the Genie is giving him all kinds of advice and seems like a sensible guy who would say, "Hey, Al! Don't wait until four in the morning!"

But its worse than that. The waning crescent moon would rise with its "horns" pointing upward. Here they are distinctly pointing down. They point down when the waning crescent Moon sets. In this phase, the Moon sets sometime in the middle of the afternoon. Oops! The Sun should still be up.

Now this might seem like nitpicking, but they could have just as spent five minutes with me and gotten it correct. There is nothing in the plot (or even visually) that would be been diminished by a realistic depiction of the scene. Maybe I should offer my services to Disney as an astronomy consultant!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Circus Has Begun

"Becker to be sentenced this week"

"RACINE - Three days from now, former mayor Gary Becker will find out what his sentence will be for going to meet with an undercover agent who posed online as a 14-year-old girl.
"Join us at at noon Tuesday when reporter Janine Anderson hosts a live conversation about the Becker case. Readers can submit their comments about the case during the conversation. We will also bring you live coverage from the courtroom when Becker is sentenced, also available at


Once again, I propose that a citywide holiday be declared for Wednesday and that all bars open early. Does anyone know what kind of odds the bookies are giving? Does anyone know where I can place a bet?