October 26, 2004

I need HELP! Er, from people with big brains!

Hi all!

In preparation for Nanowrimo, I find myself needing a few questions answered. Specifically, a few questions on high energy physics. I immediately thought of Winchell Chung, but I have no idea if this is his field or not. However, there are some engineering considerations involved as well. Just for the record.

So, if you're a physicist with some understanding of engineering or an engineer with a good grounding in physics... and in either case have some understanding of tremendously powerful explosions... I'd like to talk to you. You could potentially receive a wonderful... and completely worthless... acknowledgment in the book... as well as alcohol I'll gladly buy for you if we ever find ourselves in such a position.

(Extremely powerful explosions. Physics. Engineering. Alcohol. Why do I expect Casey Grimm and/or Andy Weir and/or Gav Bleuel to comedically appear?)

October 04, 2004

SpaceShip One did it.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

High Flight, Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

September 27, 2004

Of course, George Lucas would want to screen in Hayden Christensen's fa-- oh, screw it. I'm not going for the joke.

(From The Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for full sized interstellar gases.)

It's not that it's a gorgeous picture. It is. It's not that it isn't impressive. It is.

It's just... I can see the brush strokes.

Total fake, man. God's going to have to try harder if he's going to convince me.

September 06, 2004

No snarkiness on this -- this is just pretty!

(Taken from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for full sized galactic splendor!)

I know I tend to be a wiseass with the APOD pictures. Well, occasionally I need to just stop, stare slack jawed at one of them, and say "this is the universe we live in. We can see this, from our world." This is M51, a galaxy some 30 million light years away, that's over sixty thousand light years across. Which means this is the light M51 generated 30 million years ago. And yet, staring at it, it coalesces into a whole that looks immediate and eternal.

Someday, we're going to reach M51. We're going to see what's there. We're going to spread out throughout it. Someday, M51 will be ours, and we will look back at the Milky Way from it with a sense of wonder and awe not unlike what I feel looking at M51.

Sadly, this means one day WalMart will open stores through M51, driving local businesses out of business. Which reminds me, I need to go get a picture frame sometime today.

August 31, 2004

Mmm... crispy and latte soaked....

(From the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for full sized cinnamon goodness!)

Look, I can understand that occasionally NASA runs out of pictures. That's why we need to get the Hubble maintained -- we need an ever increasing number of high resolution pictures of the majesty of the universe. But still... taking a picture of cinnamon dusted pastries designed to be dunked in coffee, making it black and white, and writing a puff piece about the black dots on the dunes of Mars? I mean, come on.

August 26, 2004

Wow. There *is* a lot of Kryptonite out there....

(From The Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for full sized filaments!)

I love APoD, and pictures like this is why. Now, they say this is Cassiopeia A, a remnant of an ancient Supernova, but you can't fool me. This is clearly the remains of the destroyed planet Krypton. Just look at all the Kryptonite out there. And you can sort of make out where people used to live out by the Gold Volcano before they got blown to tiny bits by their whole planet.

One of my favorite bits about Babylon 5 was their use of real starscapes -- and the real beauty and majesty to be found in them -- in their space scenes. Star Trek would have us believe the universe is wholly made up of planets with green atmosphere and black space with pinprick stars. Babylon 5 knows that ILM can't begin to mock up sights as impressive as the Hubble takes pictures of in real life.

Hey look! The ruins of Argo City, chock full of dead Kryptonians because of meteor strikes! Up in the corner! You sort of have to squint to see it.