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Showing posts from May, 2011

Memorial Day at Hermosa Beach

Telescope Time Lapse

These are the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescopes (VLT). Each of the four large telescopes has an 8.2 meter (diameter) primary mirror, and they can be used individually, or they can be combined together to form a much larger telescope through a process called interferometry.

This video also shows the wonders of the Southern Sky. As our Aussie readers can attest, there is a much higher density of stars visible south of the equator owing to the orientation of the Earth relative to the Galactic plane. I've observed once on the Magellan telescopes at Las Companas, Chile, and I can't wait to go back one day soon.

The orange streak emanating from one of the telescopes at 2:44 is the laser guide star adaptive optics system. The laser excites sodium atoms in the atmosphere and forms a fake star above the telescope. The light emitted from this fake star traverses back down through the atmosphere and a sensor on the telescope measures the deviation of the light from …

It is not a matter of if—but when

Via Savage Love, Mayor Bloomberg's recent speech on marriage equality (full speech here):

When the Village erupted in protest 42 years ago next month, New York—and every other state in the union, save one—still had laws on the books that made same-sex relationships a crime. A couple could go to prison for years, just for being intimate in the privacy of their own home. For men and women of that era, an era many of us remember well, being in a gay relationship meant living in fear:Fear of police harassment.Fear of public humiliationFear of workplace discrimination.Fear of physical violence.Today, in some places, those fears still linger. But as a nation, we have come a long way since Stonewall. Today, two women in a committed relationship—who years ago would have hidden their relationship from family and friends—will instead take part in a wedding ceremony in front of their family and friends. Today, two men who are long-time partners—who years ago would never even have en…

Awesome Cover of Angry Birds Theme Song

It's so personal

The state of Minnesota is facing the same budget crisis that every other state is facing, with major cuts to social services, public education, and huge unemployment numbers. The solution?
Minnesota Gay Marriage Ban Amendment On 2012 Ballot

Minnesota lawmakers on Saturday night approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, sending it to voters for their approval, the Star-Tribune reported.Yes, apparently the best way to solve your state's budget crisis is to make sure that a portion of your citizens are banned from marrying. To be clear: gays and lesbians are not currently allowed to marry in Minnesota. This ban would be a preventative measure just in case they should get all uppity push the issue during a year of non-apocalyptic budget woes.

This directly affects two of our closest friends, Liz and Lindsay, who live in Minneapolis. They have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for fourteen years (4 years longer than Erin and I). They are high-school sweethearts…

On Science Talks and the End of my Tour

Thinking back to my time as a postdoc in Hawaii, I can remember waiting around for invitations to give science talks at other institutions. My thesis work had fully matured, was yielding exciting results, and was promising to lead to even more exciting research directions. On top of that, I was following the advice I had received by branching out into other projects of my own design. I was eager to go out and share my science with other astronomers.

Unfortunately, the phone rang very infrequently. I gave talks at JPL here in Pasadena, and another at the University of Washington. Both were excellent experiences and confirmed my feelings that I was ready for other big stages. I later recognized that I should have been inviting myself to various places, but at the time I was feeling discouraged that I wasn't able to book good gigs, so to speak. After all, how was I going to get recognized as a good faculty candidate? How was I going to move to the next stage if I couldn't show off…

First Bingo

Owen: "This is my first bingo in a row!"

"Outside" for 63 points. "Ouch!" says Dad.

goobers

More fun with words

Speaking of fun with with words, more from The Books: