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Showing posts from August, 2010

Moth's Wings

Our dear friend Karin introduced us to this songand we are ever grateful. I'm not exaggerating when I say that we listen to it non-stop. It's always someone's request in the car, usually followed by backseat demands from Mar "Ah-nen" (again) or Owen "Please just ONE more time".

Here's a little impromptu jam over pbj sandwiches.

Freedom of...

One of the most important time periods of my life was the summer I spent in England with my family back in the early 90's. I was about 14 years old and my father went to England on a sort of "UK tour," for lack of a better term. The Brits, they loved Pastor Johnson and his family. It was a great trip.

One of my favorite stops among the many cities we visited was Bradford. When I say this to people who have been to England, they invariably scrunch up their faces and ask, "Really, Bradford?" But I loved that place. We stayed with a really kind family in a gigantic house up on a hill. I became close friends with one of the sons, Richard. I looked up to him because he was 3 years older than me and had a driver's license. He looked up to me because I was a genuine American...from California!

Memory is a funny thing. I have only vague, fuzzy outlines of much of my time in Bradford. I remember bombing down the long driveway as a passenger in the family's Ford, …

happy happenings

Seems like the big events just keep coming! In the last few weeks:

1. Owen turned 5. Woah, it still seems like we were just bringing him home!




2. Marcus started speaking in two & three word phrases "bye-bye daddy" "tank you mama", "hi owie", "mama back home" and, naturally, "NO! MINE!"

3. Owen started Spanish summer school & can now count to 29 without help. He loves to surprise us with new vocabulary and recently told me "Yo pongo el liston en mi cinturon." (I put the ribbon around my waist). Yesterday he drew a self portrait during his quiet time (in lieu of napping) and wrote "Yo me llamo Owen". Mid-September, he'll be in Kindergarten in a Spanish immersion program at a public school in our neighborhood. We're so excited for this!

4. Nonna Marie has come to visit and spends plenty of time drawing with Owen, reading to Marcus and cleaning the kitchen (she lives for the opportunity to clean our fridg…

Newly discovered planet has ability to make grown adults giggle like 10-year-olds

I was hoping the science aspect of my latest planet discoveries would catch on in the news and popular science magazines. And the science did pretty much stand on its own and and got some good play. But it turns out I also had a lowest-common-denominator aspect built into the press release. One of the planets is named 24 Sex c. Hehe. It's one Sex c planet (cue slide whistle).

Back in the News!

My collaborators and I recently discovered a pair of exoplanet pairs. Each pair orbits a subgiant star, or a "retired A star" as I've taken to calling them. And each pair is pretty special in that the planets are interacting with eachother because they are close enough to (strongly) feel each other's gravitational tugs, in addition to the tug of their parent stars.

One of the pairs, cleverly named HD200964b and HD200964c, are extremely close to one another. Astronomers like to quantify the closeness of planets (and moons) by the ratio of their orbital periods. The HD200964 planetary system has a period ratio of 4:3---the outer planet completes 3 orbits for every 4 orbits of the inner planet. The precise ratio of periods---exactly 4 to 3, as opposed to say 4.5 to 2.7---is no accident. The only way for the planets to get along is for them to do the old 4-to-3 step, a precise set of dance moves that allows them to stay stable over long periods of time. Otherwise, one of…