scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
1) Readercon has overturned the decision to ban harasser Rene Walling for only two years and has instead banned him for life, as they should have done to begin with. Their announcement and apology is professional, thorough, and completely appropriate, and my respect for the concom is enormous.

2) Last night, NASA successfully landed a rover the size of a Mini Cooper on the surface of Mars using an innovative system designed to protect the vehicle and allow it to start working immediately. I watched the whole thing online via the NASA web site. The sheer excitement about the event across the country was wonderful to behold, and watching the eruption of joy in the control room when a safe landing was confirmed was uplifting. I love that an enormous crowd filled Times Square to watch the event and chanted "Science! Science! Science!" in response to the success. These are things that give me hope for the future. Follow Curiosity on Twitter.

3) Lest we forget, Opportunity still roves the surface of Mars doing important science, five years after it first landed.

4) The trailer for the upcoming season of Doctor Who fills me with delight, even in the wake of last season's plot holes, logic problems, and irredeemable gaffes. I'll be there against all reason. I loves me the Doctor.

5) I am not sure what else to put here for a fifth thing. Ideas anybody? Questions for me? Thoughts?

Links and notes

Sun, Nov. 21st, 2010 10:49 am
scarlettina: (Autumn)
Tonight's moon is a blue moon. SPACE.com is running a really interesting story about this particular blue moon and the history of the blue moon in general.

Earlier this week, The New York Times ran an article about the origins of the song "Kumbaya," about which I've always wondered. Fascinating stuff, a study of a spiritual that underwent cultural appropriation. It's a shame, because the origins of the song suggest that, at its roots, it's a song from which people derived strength and courage.

Lastly, a list of things I want to write about here to help myself remember, in no particular order:

--Ripping my CD collection to my computer
--Sophie and Spanky--mainly some pictures because I haven't done that in a while
--The creation of art (words, pictures, or jewelry) (or lack thereof) in my life right now
--What comes next
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Meteorologists say it's going to be a wild winter in the Pacific Northwest this year. Oh joy. On the other hand, it might be the perfect excuse for me to buy a new winter coat. My old one is black and shapeless. Its main attributes are that it is warm and waterproof, certainly key advantages for this part of the world, but I admit to wanting something with a leeeetle bit more style. This idea also does not square with my hopes to be more frugal this year. Must find a happy medium.

NPR (with an excellent graphic), The New York Times, and everyone else on Earth is reporting the discovery of a new Goldilocks planet, Gliese 581-G. To be noted in the NY Times story, the planet, like all the others in that system, keeps the same face to the star all the time. This makes me skeptical of the fooforah being raised about the possibility of extraterrestrial life developing there. At the same time, aliens will be alien for a host of reasons, including different the rotation/revolution rates of their planets. I guess time and investigation will tell. Who knows what's possible, after all?

[livejournal.com profile] jackwilliambell and I are talking about taking his grandson out to a corn maze, possibly this weekend. I hope we get to do it. I love this sort of fall activity. I don't know why.

It looks like I may be visiting back east this spring. My brother is brewing Big Plans that may require my presence, a requirement I'd be delighted to fulfill. More news as things develop.

Work has been...challenging this week. At the same time, I have proved to myself that I have the resources to meet said challenges. That's reassuring.
scarlettina: (Default)
I ought to have had some protein with breakfast. As it is, breakfast was merely a hunk of holiday challah--not especially healthy but, oh, so tasty.

The New York Post is now following me on Twitter. I feel a compulsion to be extra topical and witty.

NASA plans to realize the vision that David Brin wrote about in Sundiver.

I did a little bit of Foolscap poster distribution in Redmond yesterday, but less than I planned. What happened to the game store that use to be out by the Bella Bottega movie theater?

I can't believe Foolscap is just two weeks away! Hope we get a good turn-out. We've worked so hard.

Checked on [livejournal.com profile] jackwilliambell's place yesterday as I have been doing periodically in his absence. How odd to not have a cat-sitter to do this sort of thing! (I suppose, however, that would require having cats.)

Work has been eating my life the last couple of weeks: day job, freelance. And, as is the way with these things, all this work has me looking around the house and saying, "Wow, I need to clean up around here."

Thursday's news about that crackpot Terry Jones and his threatened Qoran-burning event made me anxious all day, sure the world was about to succumb to a conflagration. I hate it that one attention-seeking asshole can hijack news cycles, provoke riots, and make the world less safe for not just Americans but for everyone. And then to try to use his airtime to stop the Park51 project! What a self-centered, power-hungry, close-minded little monster he is.

For those who didn't see it, here's the President's genuinely impressive Press Conference answer about mosques and Muslims. That sort of thought gives me hope.
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Bless me, LJ, for I have neglected thee. It's been three or maybe four days since last I posted. I am refining typing with one hand and a thumb to, if not a fine art, then at least to a fairly utilitarian skill. Beats the hell out of typing one-handed.

What have I been doing with my time? Well, let's see.

Science!: On Wednesday evening I had an entertaining and tasty dinner with [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot, [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter, miniBot, and Gnat. Afterwards, [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot, [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus and I headed to the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington to peer through its 118-year-old steampunk dream of a telescope and listen to a lecture about the Apollo space program. Sadly I have no photographs of the telescope (darn! Guess I'll just have to go back!). The thing is beautiful--large and slim and tapered, perfectly counterbalanced--with its clockwork counterweight system for tracking stars. I got to wind up the mechanism, which runs for 90 minutes at a time, and to view Saturn through its restored objective. What a wonderful experience! I'll have to plan a field trip back with folks when I'm at full operating capacity again to share.

Movie: [livejournal.com profile] jackwilliambell not only cooked me a wonderful steak dinner on Friday evening (with a mushroom, shallot, and pepper marinade to die for), but took me and his grandson R to see "How to Train Your Dragon" yesterday morning. The film was completely charming, extremely well-written, and featured some of the best character animation I've seen in a while. The story is your basic hero's journey, but it's done with both humor and compassion for its characters, and I was far more impressed with it than I expected to be. Lots of fun and really pretty fine storytelling.

Afterwards, we trolled through Daiso, where I purchased a little disply case that, upon returning home, I discovered to my dismay had a giant crack in it. We also made a stop at Costco, where I picked enough cat food, calcium, and light bulbs to last until Apocalypse.

In news of living single-handedly, I report that some paper plates can resist the onslaught of almost any food placed upon them. Plastic flatware isn't always as strong as one would hope. There are some things for which only ceramic dishware will do. Laundry is relatively easy to do one-handed; clipping cat claws is really, really not. Surprisingly, squeezing toothpaste from a tube is a pain in the butt with only one hand; tooth brushing is easy. And Spanky? Still too heavy to lift with one arm.

And now it's Sunday. I plan to do more freelance, shower, catch up on "Chuck" and "Doctor Who" and try to relax a bit.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot dreams of me in a funny and sadly accurate way. You'll be amused, really.
scarlettina: (UFO: Believe)
Sustainable Aliens: A New Theory On Why E.T. Hasn't Arrived Yet

What's interesting to me about this (and there are many, many elements about this that are interesting to me) is that I've been slowly, ever-so-slowly working on a piece about sustainability on an alien world, an idea that's grown at a glacial pace out of my trip to Africa two years ago....
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Scene: Local 7-11. I'm at the counter to pay. My purchases: 2 cans of cat food, one candy bar, latest issue of National Geographic sporting the headline and subhead, "Are We Alone? Searching the heavens for another Earth."

Attendant: (Picks up Nat Geo and examines) Another Earth? I don't think so.

Me: Really?

Attendant: Well, it's not in the Bible.

Me: So you don't think that in all the solar systems in all the galaxies in the universe there isn't another planet like ours?

Attendant: Well, maybe but God made 'em all and He's in charge. (Or something to this effect. His position was that God wrote the Bible and if it's not in there, it ain't so.)

Me: Well, that may be true. But maybe He hasn't seen fit to tell us everything.

Attendant: (laughs) Maybe so, maybe so.

The whole exchange was good natured and friendly. I've been a customer there for years and we know each other's faces. But I was so surprised by this exchange that I've been just sort of mulling it over ever since I left the place. I'm proud of myself that I didn't turn the conversation into a "Does God exist?" debate, or a "Is the Bible the infallible word of God" discussion because that would just have been counter-productive. I was able to provoke some thought without challenging this man's whole world view (and by extension his self-image and identity, which I really believe is a big part of the culture wars...on which more another time). It stayed respectful and pleasant. Win-win in my book.

Yeah, there really are people in the world who see it this way. I just so rarely encounter them here in the PNW that it took me off guard.

What a morning!

Fri, Oct. 9th, 2009 08:45 am
scarlettina: (Default)
NASA pounds the Moon for answers and President Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the Moon strike, I'm delighted to see how much interest it generated and I look forward to hearing what sorts of information it will garner. Though I'm pleased about today's other news, I'm sad that it overshadowed NASA's real success.

On the President's Nobel Prize, yep, that was a surprise. I think there are several elements at work here: 1) Obama's not Bush, and that right there is a goodness, 2) the world is pleased at the change in rhetoric coming from the White House, 3) the Nobel committee wants to encourage the president in the directions he's going. I'm glad that Obama took the tone and approach he did in his acceptance speech (article and video)(transcript)--that he didn't deserve it, that it belongs to everyone who works for peace, etc. The Republican response, with only one exception so far, seems to be criticism, ridicule, and sour-grapism. The one exception was a Republican from the Senate on the news this AM who congratulated the President and then said, "Now let's get back to work." At least he took a moment to be gracious. Limbaugh's calling it an embarrassment. Ah me, Mama's lessons in manners clearly didn't take.

In other news, it's a gorgeous morning here in Seattle, and I'm feeling pretty good physically. I'm thinking I might go and take a walk over by the canal to soak up some sun.
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Let's take a moment: We're living in the future. We have an International Space Station in orbit. Didn't we used to write books about this possibility? Wanna see it come together? Courtesy of a friend WINOLJ: Watch the Space Station assemble. A lovely animation--and it's science fact!
scarlettina: (Wonder)
I have to thank [livejournal.com profile] dianora2 for her delightful post tonight, which was filled with linky goodness and much pop culture squeeage. If you don't feel like clicking over there, here are a couple of the bits she shared most pleasing to me:

Milky Way galaxy 'tastes of raspberries': Raspberries and rum, apparently. See? If the religious right wanted to prove there's a God, they'd totally tell everyone that the universe tastes sweet and will make you a little tipsy. That's my kinda God right there. ::grin::

Can I ever love The X Files again?: A fan ponders whether or not the disastrous series finale and the most recent movie have forever poisoned the waters. I know exactly how he feels. Every now and then I pop an early-series X Files DVD into the player and feel that warm, lovely paranoia that Chris Carter created so well. It hurts to think about what came later.

The season finale of "Chuck" tonight made me happy as a clam. I recognized what was going on in the final sequence so that when Chuck uttered his last lines, I scared the cat with my outburst of laughter. I hope the series is renewed for next season. It's just terrific.

In other news, it appears that Seattle is about to be invaded by penguins. I have already written for an application and notified a number of artists of my acquaintance. Yes, I wish to be a penguin...or at least create a penguin to represent me.

On the subject of my little revolution of one, I wrote to the Fremont Universe blog, to Joel Connelly, and have mentioned it to several folks. A number of people have linked to the idea, mentioning it in their LJs. I also mentioned it on Facebook. With few exceptions, people seem to dig the idea. The question is: How to get businesses to buy into the idea. It has already been suggested that local business won't be willing to cut into its already razor-thin profit margin. Honestly, I'm not all that concerned about the short term. Local businesses who remember that my money--what little I have--is still legal tender even if I have less than usual will continue to get my enthusiastic business at full price when I return to work. Those who don't are likely to see less of me.

Spent the afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] brumbjorn and [livejournal.com profile] selinker enjoying the Pacific Science Center's exhibit on GPS technology and geocaching (using Entertainment Book coupons to help keep it affordable). It actually mimics the experience of geocaching very well and is a great deal of fun. It's a little text-heavy for this sort of interactive thing, but it's still entertaining. We spent some truly quality time in the butterfly house. (As [livejournal.com profile] brumbjorn said, if you go in there in a bad mood, there's no way you can leave without feeling better.) I smashed some coins (and am ready for trading!). We had lunch at T.S. McHugh's and then headed out.

Lots of walking, talking and catching up. I must sleep now, for I am beat.
scarlettina: (Default)
I am stretched out on the couch, a nineteen-year-old cat snoozing at my feet and a 14-pound cat perched upon my shoulder. I think that Spanky has decided that perching on me will allow him to impart healing vibrations via purring.

Although I have full range of motion in my shoulder, my physical therapist has referred me to the UW Athletic Medicine people to try to figure out why I still have pain despite months of physical therapy. Some might speculate that allowing a 14-pound pussycat to perch upon my shoulder might be one reason why the shoulder hasn't healed. I would note that this morning is only the fourth time in six months I've allowed such behavior (and he's just climbed off of me). It's been hard to deny him the pleasure of perching since he enjoys it so much. Such are the trials of the feline life.

Photoshop class is going well. Practiced this morning in a limited way with Elements. I'm looking forward to more practice at school in the computer lab with the full program (which, it turns out, I can purchase at a significant discount with my student ID--need to decide if that would be a sensible investment).

Had an idea for a short story this morning and have already started work. First time in longer than I care to consider. But getting it done is better than not.

Made many job contacts this week. Hope one of them pans out.

Apparently our little mag 4.6 temblor the other day overloaded reporting systems here in Washington state. "...computers were apparently overloaded with data from an expanded network of seismic instruments..." says the paper.

Bus fares in King County are going up 25 cents tomorrow. That's one way to celebrate the SuperBowl, I guess.

Delighted that the president bitch-slapped the Merrill Lynch guys for giving outrageous bonuses. It's about time someone did. Glad that Senator McCaskill spoke her mind on the subject as well.

Trying to figure out why Birmingham officials find the apostrophe so hard to figure out. It's really not that difficult, nor is its use "old fashioned." At least, not if clear communication's gone out of style.

Earthquake?

Fri, Jan. 30th, 2009 05:31 am
scarlettina: (Huh?)
Did anyone else feel the shaking? 5:24 AM--I have a couple of necklaces dangling from my bedroom mirror that started to knock against the mirror frame and I felt the bed shaking (that's why I'm awake). I've checked the earthquake tracking site but haven't seen a report yet.

ETA: Found it! The quake was near Mount Constitution in the San Juans. See the instrumental shaking record here.

ETA 2: Here's more. Mag 4.6 at a depth of 35 kilometers.
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
The New York Times reports that scientists have discovered what triggers the northern lights. They picked up the story from the journal Science, where you can read the original report. This, my friends, is pretty damn cool.

I admit, however, that the romantic in me is a little sad. Another mystery of the universe is no longer quite so mysterious. It's still cool, though. ::grin::
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
...and the theory is that it's ice. See pictures here at PC World. Would that not be cool (no pun intended)?
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
February 20, 2008: We'll have a total eclipse of the moon this week. Check the link for complete details and a map of totality. In the Pacific Northwest, if I'm reading the map right, we'll see the eclipse at moonrise, but my Back East Posse will be able to see the whole thing.

I love eclipses. They are magnificent reminders of our place in the universe and its beautiful mechanics. I hope we'll have a clear evening for viewing. I haven't seen a total eclipse in a very long time.

RadCon coverage will resume after I get a little rest.
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Shuttle Discovery launched this morning (link goes to MSN Video), sending back pictures of, among other things, the shuttle and its large fuel tank separating (link goes to MSN Video)--which I'd never seen before. What an amazing perspective. With the addition of the Harmony module to the space station, enabling the European and Japanese modules to connect to each other, the station will really be an international base. Very exciting stuff.
scarlettina: (Radio Scarlettina)
Today is the fifth anniversary of President Bush's signing the authorization for the US to go to war in Iraq. Of the many legacies Bush has left to the Middle East, one in particular struck me this morning while listening to NPR. Iraq, where education was so important, now has a generation of kids who have almost no schooling. This story covers refugees in Syria, but Iraqi refugees in Egypt are having similar difficulties. One more item on the list of gifts we've brought to the region.

In other news, Mount Kelud in Indonesia has been on the verge of eruption for weeks, apparently. Today, Indonesia started evacuating the area around the mountain in preparation for the eruption. Of course, I want everyone to get out alive and be protected, and for there to be as little lost materially as possible. But the part of me that's a volcano geek can't wait to see the mountain go.
scarlettina: (DrWho: Timey-wimey)
Picked this up off of a Doctor Who community, about a physicist who's working toward bending light to travel through time. We've met the Time Lords and they are us?
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Another cool link: Here's a slideshow of the preparation of the shuttle Atlantis for its most recent (current?) mission to the Space Station. Some of the shots are out of order, but the sequence includes ship and crew preparation, lift-off, and pictures both inside the shuttle and inside the space station. Just fantastic.

ETA: Link was busted but is now fixed. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus for letting me know.

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