Astronomy

Apr. 5th, 2017 10:16 pm
dewline: (space exploration)
Noticed the existence of this community [community profile] astronomy, which seems to have lain fallow for about 4 years. Those of us with a shared interest in such things might want to kick the tires, so to speak, and find out which other Dreamwidth users might be interested in reviving the conversations...?
dewline: (Default)
Planning to watch Hidden Figures at the cinema tonight. Not for nostalgia, but to learn something I didn't know before about who helped build what we now have in the worlds we (hope to) live on.
dewline: (Canada)
Okay, so you've watched the video of that interview, right?

One of those stories, "Lost in Space", that he and Candy Palmater discussed had a premise that got me thinking. Conclusion I reached: someone, someday, is going to be the first of each of their peoples to go to space. Be they Haida, Inuit, nêhiyawak/Cree, Omàmiwininiwak/Algonquin, Mikmaq...each of them is going to have a first space traveller someday.

Mr. Hayden Taylor might get them thinking that way too. And planning ahead for it. Not a bad thing.
dewline: (Sketching)
A Tor.com report on SF&F in Nairobi.

From Regina: a story about the consequences of not properly funding the details of international justice...within Canada. (No, I did not make a mistake using "international". There is at least one treaty involved here.)

David Brin asks - and is not alone in asking - when did optimism become Uncool?

Pete Evans at CBC News gets to the heart of the dispute between Canada Post Corp. and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers: the need of workers to avoid starvation in retirement. Even if Evans doesn't frame it with that language.

Also, we note Jason Kenney's quest to save Alberta from civilization. (This is not Mr. Kenney's POV about his goals, to be sure. But as Stephen Colbert once noted, reality does have a certain bias about these matters.)

Congratulations to NASA's Juno team for getting their probe into Jovian orbit yesterday. I won't call what you did "conquering" Jupiter, mind you, because of colonial-mindedness in the undertones of that. But what you did is a positive achievement!
dewline: (Canada)
Tonight's topic of interest: wondering what lies on what Trekkers would call the border between Beta and Delta Quadrants of our Galaxy. I don't need exact coordinates of specific object to within a tenth of a light-year, but a general sense of what "landmarks" of interest to astronomers there are in that area.
dewline: (Canada)

A friend of mine reminded me of an anniversary this month. A sad one.

Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the deaths of the "Challenger Seven".

I remember the circumstance by which I learned the news. I'd just gotten home from marketing classes at Algonquin College for the day, I was tired, and I wanted to go to my room to decompress or whatever it was we called recovering from classes back then. When I got there, I turned on the TV, and that was it.

I remember sadness, having to plough onward with my studies because those weren't going to wait on anything. Mostly, I just kept going. Kept an eye on the news as best I could in those days before the internet was a thing the general public could really use for news-tracking. My "internet" back then was the public library and the library at Woodroffe Campus. Not much else, really. Not like it was with Columbia in 2003, barely a month after my own father had died.

In January 2003, I was angrier. In large part because of the timing of it. These were still strangers to me for the most part, but I valued - still value - the work they did, and because of that and the timing, I was angrier about those deaths. Maybe being able to learn more, faster, about the whole thing added to it. I can't say for certain.

But it's been thirty years since Challenger as of tomorrow. And those of us still here after the passage of those thirty years have done a lot of living, and learning. Hopefully, a lot of the latter in particular.

But the exploration hasn't stopped either, and I am grateful for that above all. To those who've kept going, wherever you are on or off this planet, I thank you all for that.

Please. Keep going.

dewline: (Canada)
exoplanet.eu reports 2030 exoplanets on their catalogue as of tonight.

Also, there's this item from the International Astronomical Union:

http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1514/
dewline: (Canada)
We have an anniversary today, and it's a big one. Bigger than the Star Trek item mentioned earlier today.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/iss-anniversary-1.3299644

Col. Hadfield pointed this out: everyone under age 15 has never known a time without that station being up there, operational and crewed.

Never.

Maybe raise a toast of your favourite tonight to that over dinner?
dewline: (Sketching)
Okay.

I voted on Friday night.

Then I went to see Paul Gross's new movie Hyena Road, which was - as expected - disorienting. I don't know that it'll compare to the greats of the genre, but I did get a sense of what the latest Afghan War's been like for Canadians serving in the middle of it. Which, aside from making back the money spent on it, was all that Gross really wants out of it. I figured if I didn't see it ASAP - premiere night, as it turned out - I wasn't going to have much chance beyond that. I've mentioned before that Canadian movies tend to get short attention from our movie theatre chains, and fully expect this to be no different, even though it should be.

Hyena Road, people. If you've got violence-trauma triggers, be warned. The fight scenes are bloody. But I do believe it's worth the time and money to see at least the once.

Come to think of it, not being patient was exactly why I voted at the advance poll on Friday after work too. I just didn't want to cope with any more pressure to vote "strategically". One acquaintance has accused me of maintaining "purity", but I can't trust a party that turns its back on several of its best contributions to Canadian life to avoid the inevitable false accusations of terrorist sympathy. And those accusations were trotted out by the incumbents anyway on other excuses.

Anyway. A more positive note...

Today, I listened to Chris Hadfield's Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can for the first time, having picked up the album at Compact Music yesterday. As you might expect from Hadfield, there's more of a country/folk vibe off the album. You may consider that either ironic or totally expected given that this was the first ever album with the vocals recorded Up There.

There's a certain exceptionalist satisfaction I get from that. Admitted freely. It took a Canadian to do this. No one from anywhere else thought of it.

And now I'm headed off to see the 6 PM showing of The Martian. I bought, read and enjoyed the book after looking at the first trailer. I figure they've got enough good raw material to work with. If my brains are working properly after getting home again, I'll let you know what I got out of it later tonight.

Later, all!

And for the Canadians reading this? Please vote. I don't need to know for whom, I don't need to be able to approve of your choice(s) before or after the fact. Ever.

Just vote.
dewline: (canadian music)
Chris Hadfield, known as much for his musical acumen now as for his exploration work, speaks to the legacy of Ray Bradbury.

And in respect to the start of the Pan An Games here in Canada tonight, I give you - with the help of CBC Music - Serena Ryder and accompanying musicians:



The essay and the song should be linked more closely in our minds than I have words for at the moment.
dewline: (edutainment)
Gizmodo points out a possible venue for the Budapest story that Natasha and Hawkeye allude to during the Battle of New York. Photography is absolutely haunting...and the history of the place? Heartbreaking in its way.

Turns out there's a name for what happened in the movie Gravity: the Kessler Syndrome. It's something that people are planning preventive and remediating measures for, and that's a good thing.

(Also, the source of that article, Space Safety Magazine, is a real thing. If we want those shipyards, hotels, and whatever else we decide to build outside atmo...)
dewline: (compliment)
Uploaded to YouTube by one Bill Margol.

dewline: (Canada)
On a more positive note...stumbled across this on YouTube tonight...



Getting the sense that this is what Drexler, Okuda and company were aiming for in their work on the 2150's travel pod cockpit designs for Enterprise.

Trouble is, I worry that such design choices could backfire on the crews of Orion-type mission vehicles. One sufficiently nasty solar flare...? But surely, the designers of this real-'verse cockpit have already anticipated such things?
dewline: (Sketching)
Stuff to watch out for if you ever get the chance to do photography up in the wild black yonder...

dewline: (Sketching)
Some links to start the weekend with:

Over at Spacing Toronto, John Lorinc suspects the Ford family as viewing Toronto in general and Etobicoke in particular as being their rightful feudal holding.

Over at CBC, Mark Gollom wonders about what kind of baggage Doug Ford's brought with him to the mayoral election in Toronto.

On a more constructive note, NASA's unveiled a new size of welding torch for construction projects.

The European Space Agency announced a cleverphone app for tracking GAIA's galaxy-mapping progress. Also, GAIA's found its first supernova!

Charlie Stross mused a bit about the Scottish Referendum and what he hopes will happen following a "yes" vote, and more importantly, why. It's an interesting argument, although in Canada's case, I think I'd prefer a redrawing of our internal borders rather than a breakup. There's some internal inequities hereabouts that internal restructuring might be better suited to solve.
dewline: (Sketching)
An accurate distance to the Pleiades star cluster, at long last? Maybe? I can think of at least one role-playing game supplement in need of the info.

Some commentary on possible consequences of the Tim Horton's/Burger King deal being allowed to process unopposed. David Olive might be worth heeding on this point in particular.

On TVO's The Agenda: Ray Jayawardhana interviewed by Piya Chattopadhyay - known to CBC listeners from her work on The Current and Q - on the subject of the great neutrino hunt. Open this one only if you plan to spend a half-hour with it.

From Reuters: Putin's making "stay out of my way, I got nukes" noises. Insert any sarcastic remark you can imagine me making in reply to this. Also, Gwynne Dyer's noticing the changes in the situation.

Speaking of Prof. Dyer, and getting back to interstellar matters, he's holding forth on the subject of humans naming planets outside of Sol system as well. I think he's right about being outnumbered by Star Wars fandom on this one, and also not sanguine about "Tatooine" being the best choice for us to bestow upon an extrasolar planet...despite being a fan of Star Wars to some degree myself.

More anon...
dewline: (edutainment)
Jakeet Singh muses about our PM's issue with people who "commit sociology". I would advise against reading the comments on this one. Some of the writers of those would seem to be "astro-turfing".

Some interesting photography from the Curiosity rover on Mars.

Growing eyes? Maybe, maybe not. Might be worth keeping watch on this project, though.

For those of you interested in public transit history in Ottawa: a trip back in time to 1959. They had at least one design to look at on the streets of the day.

The Ottawa Citizen's Kelly Egan comments on what we may be missing when we look at crime stats. There is a certain art as much as science to that work.

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