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Showing posts from November, 2007

A Jewel for the Northern Crown

On approximately May 18 each year, the constellation Corona Borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Crown, is directly overhead as viewed from Berkeley, California (slightly North of zenith as viewed from my parents' place in Pasadena). I have to admit that I never paid much attention to this fairly inconspicuous constellation until about a year ago. But around the Summer 2006 I noticed that one of the stars in the constellation, designated kappa by the German astronomer Johann Bayer in the early 1600's, did something really interesting. From about 2004 to 2005 the star was steadily accelerating away from the Earth. This is not unusual, stars commonly do this as they are tugged by the gravity of other stars. But in 2005 kappa Coronae Borealis turned around and started heading back toward us. If it performed another of these turns anytime within the next 10 years, it would indicate that the star has a planet orbiting it.

I try not to get my hopes up too much when it comes to potential pl…

momomo date night

it's been awhile since we had a night out, so our pals watched owen and we headed out for some japanese food! we decided to go to momomo, another izakaya, which john reported would be a little more on the "schmancy" side. the interior was really minimalist and beautiful. black and red stylings and special rooms on the side where you sit on pillows.

we started with the sake sampler & the chef's choice of sashimi. mo...
then shrimp with mayonnaise sauce (the taste was far better than the name, kind of a miso mayo). by the time the deep fried calamari arrived, we were feeling happy. we then upgraded our sake to yaegaki "mu". the menu's description was as follows: From your first sip you'll be satisfied by brilliantly aromatic and complex flavor of yunamai daiginjo (the type of sake i think). our expert opinion was that it tasted just like flowers... in a good way, not in the way where you sniff too much of granny's perfume. OH, i almost fo…

a hawaiian thanksgiving

while some (karin) may be disappointed to hear that there was no
pineapple on our thanksgiving table, perhaps the okinawan sweet
potato casserole will prove that our thanksgiving was indeed,
hawaiian.

we stayed home this year for turkey day, and decided to host a potluck
for some new friends and their families. 11 adults and 6 children under
the age of 3 filled our home with food and fun!

here was the lineup, in order of appearance:

ahi poke
artichoke dip
red alert hummus
stuffed mushrooms
mixed green salad with glazed pecans
butter lettuce with spicy sprouts, feta and maui onion dressing
mashed potatoes, cauliflower & carrots
green bean casserole
brussel sprouts with bacon and apples
okinawan sweet potato casserole with pecan topping
white bread stuffing
jalapeno cornbread stuffing
pumpkin sausage cranberry stuffing
corn on the cobb
glazed ham
roast turkey (i love to brine!)
whole cranberry orange relish
homemade rolls and pecan sticky buns

after dinner we all headed out for a nice walk around the
neighbo…

Oh Snap!

Thanks to Quinn for sending this pic!

Facebook

I recently read that you're no one if you're not on Facebook. Apparently it's the new Friendster, which was the new Emailor something. Seeing as I don't know what Friendster is, I'm officially way out of the loop because I just hit Send a mere 5 minutes ago. Who knows, maybe all of the kids have already left Facebook and are now setting up camp in DiaryKey or Faceblag, or where ever the kids webhang these days (also known as bhanging. Okay, I just made that up.).

Bottom line: I'm getting old. I'm about 2 years away from walking with a cane and telling kids to get off my lawn. In an attempt to fight off Alzheimer's and old-person-smell, I just spent 30 minutes of my ever-shortening life to set up a Facebook account. Am I supposed to feel different?

bcuz i dnt fl dfrnt :):):)

o no, its hapnng...aaaaarrrrggggg!!111! :P

(looking up lolcats in a UH computer lab)

Stuck in my head: Broken Social Scene

Back in The Day, which was around 1987 for me, one's music collection was a well-defined entity comprised of discrete, easily counted units. For example, one might have 20 cassettes from one's favorite artists. Everything was predictable and if you wanted new music you turned to the radio. But since it was radio, there were rarely musical surprises that came out of nowhere. Especially not at 1 AM while working on your computer, as was the case for me last night. But more on that just a bit later.

These days music collections are vast, sprawling things kept on compact hard drives and portable music players. My MP3 collection takes up 30 Gigs, and this is pretty small compared to most people's iTunes music directories. So last night I had my iTunes set to shuffle-all and up popped a wonderful surprise. I recognized the band as Broken Social Scene, one of my favorite Canadian rock bands (described on Wikipedia as an "indie rock supergroup"). But the song was complete…

Be like Sol

Below is a link to an announcement of the latest extrasolar planet discovered by the research team that I'm a part of. We recently found a fifth planet orbiting the nearby, Sun-like star 55 Cancri (can-cree). This is the first star other than the Sun known to harbor 5 planets, and the architecture of the planetary system is remarkably similar to the Solar System, with a large outer planet and four smaller planets closer to the star.

The new planet is 45 times the mass of Earth (about 3 times the mass of Neptune or half of a Saturn) and resides in an Earth-like orbit with a period of about a year.

Click on the link below and watch the streaming video interview of Geoff Marcy from the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

Science!

fun with the sprinkler

there aren't many things better in life than spending an
afternoon with your buddies, running through a sprinkler.
i know, it's november and we're still playing in the water.
i'm not trying to rub it in, i promise.


owen's going for it


finn & owen


owen cracks up


proud of himself for getting wet

When pirates need funding

I was traveling Keck Observatory with my collaborator and friend, Josh Winn, this past April. We were standing at the rental counter and he was trying to downsize his car to a cheaper model. We had the following exchange when the agent stepped aside:

Me: "Why worry about a couple bucks a day? You're charging it to your grant, right?"
Josh: "Because there's only a finite amount of money in my grant and it has to last 5 years. This is something you'll learn when you move out from under your advisor's wing."

As is usually the case, Josh was spot on. I was used to working for a famous astronomer with deep, deep pockets. Chevy Cavalier? Why not get the midsize? Hell, go for the convertible.

I thought I had been fairly careful with my advisor's money while I was a grad student. But now, a mere 7 months later, I'm on my own and I can recognize that I could have been more thrifty in the past. I now rush to get rental cars back by the appointed check-in …

who is halloween really for, anyway?

like many two-year-olds, owen is TOTALLY not into costumes.
after an unfortunate incident with his firefighter costume, i set
to work constructing a costume that would look cute, yet still
feel just like regular clothes. i was partially successful. he
wore his black-widow spider costume for about 2 hours, but i
can't really say he liked it. here are a couple photos
from our adventure to kahala mall (where everyone else
on the island happened to be last night due to the torrential
Autumn rain)!



even spiders have to make phone calls


candy is CRAZY! That's his buddy Scarlett on the right.


owen kept saying "making two owens"
as he'd see his reflection



recovering from the mall-trip
with a banana flavored lollipop