Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Couple of Good Reads

It's well known that I am a big fan of Science Friday. Last week's show had interviews with two authors that intrigued me.

The first interview was with Jeff Potter, author of the soon to be released Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food. There is a Cooking for Geeks website where you can learn things like how to make ice cream in 30 seconds.

Be sure to check out the blog for all the latest geek cooking tips.

The second interview is with Danica McKellar and covers the next book in her series of math books for girls, Hot X: Algebra Exposed. McKellar first gained fame as Winnie on the Wonder Years before earning a degree in math and appearing on the West Wing. She keeps chugging along and I am already trying to avoid coming up with semi-crude names for the inevitable Calculus Books (can anyone say Calculus Coed? That's one of the milder things that crossed my mind!)

They are both entertaining interviews. If you'll excuse me, I am hungry!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Max Headroom Comes to DVD (FINALLY!)

One of those cult classic television shows from the '80s is finally making its debut on DVD: Max Headroom. I have been waiting for this one for a long time.

I remember watching it in the spring of '87 in college. It came on in the fall of '87 on Friday nights, but was low rated (competing against Miami Vice which I hated). It was cancelled but they aired the remaining episodes in the spring opposite the Cosby show which led to me and some of my friend staking out a dorm television and refusing to change the channel to the outrage of Cosby show fans who had to walk all of 100 feet to the next dorm.

In many ways, Max was ahead of its time. Remember that popular shows included the Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains and other gentle family friendly shows. Max Headroom was gritty, fast paced, cynical, biting, snarky and satirical, riffing on cultural trends that are still relevant today. The show's ominous tagline is "20 Minutes Into the Future."

The protagonist is investigative journalist Edison Carter and his computer generated alter ego Max Headroom. The world is dominated by the major network television players. Ratings are monitored by the second and it is illegal to turn off your television...and televisions are everywhere. Carter deals with shady characters known as Blanks, referring to the fact that they have managed to erase all computer records of their existence (i.e. they have no papers!) to expose the truth.

I watched the show again in the early 2000's on the now defunct Tech TV network. Although the effects and fashions look dated, the stories held up surprisingly well and foretold many trends we see today (including being surrounded by televisions in public we cannot turn off or escape from). The first episode deals with the newtork's attempt to stop channel surfing during commercials, closely mirroring modern advertisers attempts to figure out how to create a commercial that will generate interest even when we fast forward through it with out DVRs. Another episode dealt with a terrorist organization staging bombings on live television. Hacking, piracy, body banks that harvest organs, and designer babies are among other topics the show took on which are just as timely today as they were over 20 years ago.

It comes out officially on Tuesday...I have my pre-order in on Amazon already and am watching the mailbox!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Rally Car Nearly Kills Photographer"

Wow. And like a true photographer, his first instinct is to take a picture, then he runs to help. Personally, my pants would have been too full . . .

And where was the video camera perched, so close to the action, but unaffected?

Science For Monks

Arizona Public Media has a weekly show called Arizona Spotlight. This week's show is on program called Science For Monks. The show focused on the participation of U of Arizona astronomer Chris Impey in the program.

Unfortunately, Arizona Public Media's embed code does not play nicely with Wordpress, so you can watch it here.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine who works with Chris contacted me about this project. She was asking about observing targets for the Galileoscope because they were going to use Galileoscopes in the program this year. So now there are some monks in northern India with Galileoscopes. Unfortunately, the report was that it was too cloudy while he was there to do any observing with them. I hope they are being put to good use.

Anyway, it sounds like an interesting program. From everything I have heard, the Monks are an enthusiastic audience who really enjoy science.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Are you Ready.........

Are you ready for some football!
It's an Irregular Party!
This the Commish Stu,
Ready to get your League started.
The invite are out,
New players would be nice
All my irregular friends
will feel the Mongrels Bite!

Check your emails everyone that played last year, and if you are new to our site, or didnt play last year and want to play some fantasy football with a bunch of goof balls that just do this for fun (Except KK, she gets fired up!) just comment below. Good luck to all!

Open Blog - Weekend Version

Good morning, sunshine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Basil Marceaux : The Next Governor of Tennessee"

I saw this video a couple of days ago and was going to post it, but then I thought that some people might think I was making fun of their political beliefs. Today, I saw on YouTube that Basil Marceaux was on Jimmy Kimmel Live: As Jimmy says, he’s national news now, so I don’t mind posting this.

Here is Basil Marceaux’s website:

This is an official campaign video:

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my succulent succulents! How are you? Have you been having fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun? (Except for Ms. kk, of course, who is too fair of complexion to withstand the onslaught of cosmic rays emanating from Sol.) Did you see the Northern Lights last night? I did. At the source. Oh my. They are a glorious shimmering and glimmering. All lit up, and everywhere to go.

Although the Great Recession has hit my business hard (like many others), I’ve been staying very active with all of the fun events in and around Racine this summer. Madame Zoltar is always on the go, go, go. I’ve also tried to increase the number of home visits I make to my wealthier clients. In such troubled economic times, the well-endowed sometimes need someone to lean on, someone to assure them that their futures hold hope. I try to be that someone. My hourly rates are quite reasonable when you consider that I offer a look into the unknown.

My product line has suffered considerably, however. People simply aren’t going to plunk down $14.95 for a lucky amulet when they’re worried about paying their rent. Our sales are off a solid 40%, more in some areas, and President Obama earmarked no stimulus money for the psychic industry. I hate to let people go, but what can I do? It’s the domino effect. All of my products are made right here in Racine, using as many local suppliers as I can. I also hire local workers. Or, I should say, hired. What’s a small business owner to do?

Well, I don’t want to dwell on the negative, my dears, you know me: always a ray of sunshine. In that vein, and with well wishes for everyone who reads my blog, I herewith present the upbeat and vibrant “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” performed by The 5th Dimension:

Wow, that was trippy. It reminded me of simpler times and honorable minds.

That’s my blog for this week, my dears. I want to get back out into the sun and fun. Thank you each and every one for commiserating with me today. I love you, you know.

Send pictures of your summer vacation and dream destinations to:

Watch out for sunspots, my sun worshippers. Keep your sunny side up and your sunny attitudes shining. Don’t forget the sun block and sunglasses, too. Zenzizenzizenzic!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Beautiful music, sad lyrics.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brett Favre to retire...... again, no really seriously this time, for real.... (I think)

Brett Favre says he will retire.... again. What do you think?

What is your feelings on Brett Favre's possible retirement (Again)
Give him a year away, then retire his #
Good, time to heal Packer Nation
Brett Who?
He's doing this again to miss training camp. He will still play for the Viqueens. free polls


Did you know the constipated mathematician worked it out with a pencil?

Monday, August 2, 2010


"Lindsay Lohan Released From Jail"

That was the top story on Google News today. It was posted above news about the oil well in the Gulf and President Obama’s remarks on Iraq.

This self-centered alcoholic/addict train wreck bimbo has been garnering headlines for months because she is publicly pooping the pants of her career. She is as addicted to attention as she is to any substance, so the press just gives her more and more of what she craves. She is obviously a sick, twisted puppy, but the media a-holes who keep pimping her personal meltdown to the rest of the world are sicker yet.


More Planets...

Just wanted to post one more from San Diego to keep tracking the night to night movement. Took slightly shorter exposures tonight to reduce the sky glow.

Next photos could come from Boulder, Colorado and the ASP meeting.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Open Blog - Monday

Rise and shine.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


This is the second round of Classic Cars.

This is the second group of Classic cars.

A Day at the Fair

It's midsummer now. I have been taking advantage of the weekend time to go and do things. This weekend I went to the Racine County Fair in Union Grove. Although it was hot and humid out, I had a great time doings things there like:

Seeing small animals,



Some old Case Tractors...

Rode on rides...

Ate some delicious cheese curds...

And saw a demolition derby...

Well, I spent a wad of money and got a a little sun burnt. The crowds were a little hectic at times. All in all, I had a great time. I drove home with a smile on my face....looking forward to next year's fair.

Is This Typical Police Behavior in Sweden, Why Not?

What a talented policeman.

Three Planets from San Diego

Yes, I know I was just up in Sonoma County a few days ago (and for those keeping score at home, I am going to Boulder for the ASP meeting on Monday as soon as I finish up here at the Optics and Photonics meeting). I got lucky and they upgraded me to a harbor view room with a balcony. Therefore, I didn't even have to leave my hotel room...just go out on the balcony and shoot tonight.

Unfortunately, I was dodging clouds as you can see. This is the best of the pics I got tonight (click to embiggen).

Notice a few nights ago that Saturn was almost directly above Mars. Now Saturn is now above and to the right of Mars.

You might notice some lights at the bottom of the picture. I took a zoomed in shot a little before this one..

That would be the USS Nimitz stationed across the bay.

Hoping for clear skies tomorrow night so I can try again.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.