Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Giant Space Laser Time-Lapse

Gemini North Telescope and its adaptive optics laser, with the Canada France Hawaii telescope in the background. 38 minutes of real time crammed into 6 seconds of video. :) I'll blog soon about how I talked my Rebel XT into being the world's cheapest intervalometer.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

UH88 Timelapse

A short timelapse of the University of Hawaii 88-inch (2.2-meter) telescope on Mauna Kea, shot during gradually brightening morning twilight. Each frame of video is a 30-second exposure, with 1 frame shot each minute.

UH88 with Star Trails

A colleague asked if I could come up with some desktop wallpaper of UH88 with star trails, so I took a couple long (12-15 minute) exposures, with star trails and a little bit of dome tracking movement. This shot happened to contain a couple possible meteors from the Lyrid shower - 1 long and 1 short streak are visible at most resolutions, and at higher resolutions, a second, fainter long streak may be noticed above the first.  It is, of course, not cleared for commercial use.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And in other news...

The U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier strike group (carrier, cruiser, frigate, destroyer, 80 or so planes, 6,500 or so sailors, etc.) to conduct a couple months of "exercises" off the coasts of a bunch of countries that haven't complied with its demands that they sign an agreement pledging not to turn Americans over to the International Criminal Court... and one nation that's already expecting an invasion.

No pressure, guys!

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor bank robberies...

 I just read in the the old-stomping-grounds paper that a mail carrier back in Burlington -- quite possibly the one who delivered our mail during the years we lived there -- was instrumental in the quick apprehension of a bank robber a couple months back. He had a good eye for the way things were supposed to be (not surprising, since he walks the same route all the time) and called the police when something wasn't right. Good for him!

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Return of the Breezy House

Our modest home is on the windward side of a tropical island (a mighty fine place for a home to be, I might add!).  This means it gets nice breezes most of the time.  Unfortunately, certain small creatures (my daughter and her neighborhood friends) have, from time to time, done a number on the windowscreens.  Further on the topic of unfortunate things, this activity has made it possible for smaller creatures (of the six-legged, and possibly four-legged, variety) to get into the house.

A couple days ago, after having to catch and kill a rat that had spent the night in my daughter's bedroom, I once again fixed the screen on the porch window, just in case it had gotten in that way.  And at lunchtime today, I decided that I wanted the breeze to actually make it all the way through the house for a change, and replaced both of the screens in her room, which she had shredded quite some time ago in a fit of little-kid pique.  So any holes big enough to be a problem are now gone, and since there's a pleasant breeze today, the house is pleasantly breezy.

While I was being handy, I walked over to the hardware store and picked up a pair of vise-grips, which I used to remove the remaining mechanical bits of my daughter's formerly spinny stool (she had spun it so much that the hole where the top was screwed on got enlarged and it came apart).  A little bit of wood glue and some optional screws, and it will soon be reborn as a stool of the non-spinning variety.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Pakistan Rebuilds Balakot - the Smart Way

The BBC reports that Pakistan is going to rebuild the city of Balakot, which was devastated by a magnitude-7.6 earthquake last October.  Home to over 300,000 people before the quake, the city sat on a major seismic fault.  The quake killed more than 70,000 throughout the region, and left 3,000,000 homeless.

But Pakistan is being smart about this.

Balakot will be rebuilt - but it will be rebuilt to modern, earthquake-resistant standards.

Even more importantly, it will be rebuilt somewhere safer.

Hey, New Orleans, are you listening?

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Workaholics Anonymous

At present, I've got somewhere between two and four part-time jobs, depending on how one defines "job." All of them are fairly sporadic. I also have some volunteer activities.

Now, I've gone and applied for something with a fairly regular schedule... something that might be considered "full time," depending on how one defines that. The regular schedule would be something like 3-by-15 - fifteen-hour shifts on three consecutive days away from home, followed by six days off at home, then repeat.

In a sense, that would be "working one-third of the time" which would suit me just fine. But I realized that much of my other work tends to come in fairly small chunks of 2, 3, or 4 days, and the rest is also often in chunks of not more than a week or so. So it's entirely possible that I might be able to continue doing some or all of the work I already have!

The possible impact of all this on my copious free time would be highly objectionable if I didn't think that all my current jobs, and the one I'm now applying for, were very interesting and worth keeping.

Why I'm leaving Twitter.

I've stuck it out and continued participating on Twitter while Elon Musk has run it into the ground, made it progressively more inhospit...