## Posts

Showing posts from 2012

### Galactic storm

My New Year's resolution #1: Take the boys to a dark site. We might not see something exactly like this, but I gotta give the boys a chance to see the night sky before its all lost to light pollution. http://epod.usra.edu/blog/2012/02/galactic-storm.html "The photo above showing the  Milky Way  stretching across the desert sky and a distant  monsoon   thunderstorm  on the horizon was captured just outside of  Dead Horse Point State Park  in Utah."

### The conservative candidate won

I was actually gearing up to write an open letter to downcast conservatives. But then William Saletan went out and did a much better job  than I could have done (at Slate.com). He argues that conservatives---not modern-day Republicans, but true conservatives--should take heart: Obama is the best moderate conservative candidate we've had in decades. Obama’s no right-winger. You might have serious issues with his Supreme Court justices or his moves on immigration or the Bush tax cuts. But you probably would have had similar issues with Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, or Gerald Ford. Obama’s in the same mold as those guys. So don’t despair. Your country didn’t vote for a socialist tonight. It voted for the candidate of traditional Republican moderation. What should gall you, haunt you, and goad you to think about the future of your party is that that candidate wasn’t yours. This is the thing that had me scratching my head for so long. Obama is pretty damn far from a liberal or pr

### Obama Wins

Erin and I switched from NBC to Fox News at 8pm. The pundits and newscasters were in the middle of a discussion about what would happen when  Obama becomes president. The conversation was so dour, so sad, so muted. Then 18 minutes later, they called it for Obama. What ever happened to the "squeaker?" What ever happened to neck-and-neck?

### Report from the voting lines

This morning after meeting with some of my students, I grabbed my voter guide and headed down to my local voting place, the Marlinda Convalescent home. In the era of Obamacare, you can imagine how crowded that place was, what with all the death panelists hovering around. After wading my way through the mobs of black and brown people committing in-person voter fraud (CA has no voter ID initiative! You can imagine the chaos.), I grabbed a stack of ballots and went to my booth. First up: CA has two propositions for funding state public education. Being a conservative, and a fairly well paid one at that, this was an easy call. No more welfare-addicted, single moms mooching on my tax dollars. NO and NO. Next: Repeal of the state death penalty. Um, no thanks. My policy is to execute 'em all and let Peter sort  'em out at the pearly gates. I didn't really understand the other ones. Nothing about gun rights, abortion or stopping teh gays, so I didn't have any horses lef

### A Guide to Introverts

Good advising means adapting your style to different advisees. I realize that I just wrote that that as if I'm an expert. But I'm learning about this all the time, especially since I'm a junior prof with a huge group . Fortunately, with the communication I encourage within my group, I get lots of advise from my advisees. Here's a beautiful illustrated guide to introverts (click to enlarge):

### Gender Parity: Ask a Scientist...

...but know that your answer will depend on the gender of said scientist: http://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/what-male-and-female-scientists-say-about-women-in Women are underrepresented in science in general, but the gender gap is bigger in some fields than others: physics, for instance, has a much lower percentage of women than biology. Researchers decided to ask scientists themselves why they thought this was — and male and female scientists turned out to have pretty different ideas.

### The Boys Prep for Halloween

Marcus is wearing his favorite shirt, featuring the Mars Science Laboratory. It's a size small, but we had to cut about a foot off the bottom. Also, he insists on wearing it backwards so he can see the cool rover.  This is now day 4 wearing the shirt. Fortunately, I got two, so he's now wearing the backup shirt while we wash the primary.

### Ouch

Football head injuries are receiving a lot of attention lately. So are Headbrick injuries. The criticism stings since I enjoy watching football so much. It's quite a moral quandr---whoa, did you see that one-handed catch by Jason Witten?!

### Marcus the Deer Hunter

We went on a Saturday afternoon family adventure up to Palomar Observatory yesterday. On our way up, we passed a couple of pickup trucks with several hunters in camouflage and guns milling about on the side of the road. Marcus and Owen had a lot of questions about the hunters and hunting. Erin was able to fill them in on the details since her father (Papi, as Owen and Marcus know him) and uncles are avid deer hunters. This morning, Marcus very authoritatively told me what he knows about deer hunting:

### When life hands you an imfamous email...

...make good-advice lemonade. Or something. Anyway, here's an excellent blog response by Lucianne Walkowicz, who is one of my favorite astronomers (picture at left). An excerpt: "There’s been a lot of conversation about an email sent to students in a certain astronomy department, which originally appeared here:   http://jjcharfman.tumblr.com/post/33151387354/a-motivational-correspondance   "While I certainly think the original email was problematic, with an eau d ’ 'we walked uphill both ways in the snow' about it, I also think there were seeds of good advice buried in it– both for students and those further along.  "In the following, I’ve tried to cultivate those seeds into some advice for being an astronomer, largely based on my own philosophy of course. I’m sure not everyone will agree with these points, and it should be noted that as I don’t have a permanent job yet, I don’t know whether these are “successful” strategies in the long term. Pe

### And Jesus said unto Peter: Shut up

More awesomeness from Dan Savage (toned down slightly for my blog). Don't read if your sensibilities are brittle. Here's the original. BTW, I believe that this is actually how Jesus rolled. Give up your wealth, help the poor, and if you act like a hypocritical whiner, tables are gonna get upturned and heads are gonna roll. ------------------------------ Peter LaBarbera is a conservative Christian, an anti-gay activist, and someone I follow on Twitter. Peter LaBarbera @ PeterLaBarbera Jimmy John's founder says Obamacare would cost him 50 cents per sandwich.  # tcot   # gop   # hhrs # ampat   # ocra 15 Oct 12 Reply Retweet Favorite This tweet of Peter's inspired me a new play—just my second: JESUS AND THE [A-HOLE] A new play by Dan Savage Curtain. Jesus Christ is sitting in a garden in quiet contemplation. One of Jesus's many followers, Peter, approaches Jesus. PETER: "Jesus?" JESUS: "Yes, my son?&quo