Monday, April 30, 2012

Images of Gallifrey

David Tennant's famous quote is: "The sky is a burnt orange, with the Citadel enclosed in a mighty glass dome, shining under the twin suns. Beyond that, the mountains go on forever... slopes of deep red grass, capped with snow..."

So I found pictures. I thought that even if we can't know exactly what it looks like, a combination of them all might give us a sense.

This one is just beautiful. I think this is the kind of image 10 had in his mind at the time of his quote.

This is pretty, with the snow, and the two suns. No red grass though.

Evil Time Lord overlooks his barren planet that is stricken by war. 
All of this images have an orange sky; but how do you make it look like it's not on fire?

It's interesting how the Doctor focuses on the citadel, and makes it seem so big, but compared to a planet, any citadel would be quite small. This picture makes it seem tiny... but giant at the same time.

It also looks like it's all about to go up in flames.

This is pretty, but somehow I can't imagine 10 and Rose going back and skipping through the fields of a planet that went up in flames and caused the Doctor so much distress.

This one is an interesting depiction, much more devoid of detail and more concept based. 
Also, the sky is orange, but obviously not on fire.

I like this one because it clearly depicts the two suns.
Also, this version of the planet has water.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Sad That These Pictures Still Seem A Little Bit Like Fiction

These are 5 of my favourite, more recent, pictures of the day from NASA.

Enceladus, Saturn's moon.


The Earth sparkles. But not like a vampire. 
Earth is way cooler than modern vampires.

I want to go to space.

The hand of God... or the hand of robot?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Book Thing

People are weird about books. I once visited a house that had none. I almost suffocated. I personally have over 300, but would like to have more. But the most interesting attitudes towards books are expressed in a variety of interesting ways. Such as...

...some people revere their books: 

...other people play with their books:

...others enjoy their books: 

...and others get angry. I feel that I fall more closely into this category:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nerd Blog Frog

Nerd Frog loves nerd blogs, so he's starting a Nerd Frog Blog. Our featured nerd blog of the day is Gary's Nerd Blog. He writes things about how to add Adzerk units to blogpot blogs (like mine), how to fix errors in code and things, and how to diagnose issues. He uses words like nodejs, postgres, Greasemonkey, Ubuntu, BIOS, GeSHi, and apc.php. If these words have any meaning to you, you might find Gary's Nerd Blog helpful and/or interesting.
He also uses a lot of screen shots. Like this:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weeping Angels

I think this may be the most terrifying statue I have ever seen, including all of the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. Although, for all we know, this is a Weeping Angel...

But I mean, take your pick.

(Doctor Who Weeping Angel)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why We Should Go to Space, Part 1

I am writing a paper about why I believe we should go to space, fund the space program, build up our private space industry, and put the best minds we have to work solving problems of physics, of faster than light travel, and of energy conservation. I will be sharing a compilation of my research as well as bits and pieces of the paper itself as it is written. You are all invited to participate: please comment, email me, Facebook me, share with me your thoughts; all perspectives are welcome.

Here is a gem I found on Yahoo Answers. All errors are depicted as presented on the site. I read this with a mixture of interest, disbelief, awe, and embarrassment for my fellow humans. Enjoy.

The question is as follows:

Is space travel waste time and money?

The best answer:
yes, why look for life out in space when we have people starving to death here on earth!

Other answers:

#1. mineing companys would get fat

#2. Applied research is easy to justify financially, because you have a goal going in that a venture capitalist sees as profitable. A lot of pure research (research done because scientists are curious) doesn't generate profits until centuries later. If not for Ben Franklin's kite experiment, mankind wouldn't have taken the first steps toward understanding electricity (controlled lightning).

#3. i wouldn't say so...that is an experience that few have the chance or the money to experience...i say if you have the time and money...go for it because i think that you would be one of the very few that would be able to say...'hey, i have been out in cool is that?'

#4. No way! It is critical and wonderful. If we stop spending all our money or war and maybe on looking after our planet and space travel...then we might save ourselves from our own destruction.

#5. redirected those dollars could mean our survival.

#6. No. The faster we unravel the wonders of outer space the faster we can Trek it!

#7. no, more money should be spent on it than spending money on junk

#8. No, why?

#9. It's not a waste of time. We find out about other things living out there in the world.

#10. You are on a computer. Thank the space program for many improvements in the things we have in life.

#11. the least thing would be go to space and watch our earth from inside the ship. But its about experience. it can't be measured. The great thing is its available to common man. Raher the question should be do i want this experince and if yes can i afford it. its not about 'HOW MUCH".. this is what i feel...u might feel different..

#12. I don't think so. Humans are curious, its no wonder we are so interested in discovering what is out there! Look at what we have here, imagine what else is out there. No harm in at least trying.

#13. imagine mars if full of oil!!!!
screw you iraq U.S.A U.SA!!! :-P

#14. Some space exploration is good for the sake of knowledge, but most of the manned plans have no use whatsoever, unless you consider tremendous waste of resources a use. Explore using robotics.

#15. yes, because it's so expensive. you could have give your money to the poor and those people who needed it most. You could have devoted your time by making good deeds. traveling in space can olny satisfy your imagination but if you help other people, it would give you joy within.

#16. Wasting time and money is impossible. 
Is someone moves away from Earth, the time that the person flew from would go faster until he or she could not tell the time.
About the money, they won't be lose as their still in the bank or in your houses.

#17. No. The technology we have gotten as a result of space exploration has more than paid for itself. 
As just one example: The Microwave Oven alone (a NASA invention) has saved this country more in electricity than we have ever spent on space travel.
Now let's talk electronics, food storage, solar cells, and metal alloys...
"It's raining soup; grab yourself a bucket" (D. D. Harriman)

#18. Hell no. Expand or die.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Ode to Writer's Block

Next time, watch for an Ode to the Shuttle Discovery and It's Last Flight Around Washington DC.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Universe is Awesome and So Are We

Today I am going to share with you a series of super cool pictures that you probably haven't seen before. I will also be kind, generous, and nice, and tell you what the picture is of, who is in it, and why I think it is cool.

This is Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans. In this image, he is retrieving a film canister during a space walk. Now think for a minute about the evolution of photography. He is in space--in 1972. First of all, going to space is an amazing accomplishment. At this time, however, not only have we been in space, but we've been to the moon, orbited, done all kinds of crazy, amazing things. In fact, we still look to these guys as the heroes of modern space technology. But, he's retrieving a film canister. Now, film canisters are for art majors--we have digital everything. I find this an interesting juxtaposition between a technology which was far beyond it's time, and a technology that was right on time.

Below you will see Dr. Robert Goddard at Clark University in Worchester, MA. Year: 1924. This was long before space travel. Dr. Goddard taught physics. In 1920 he had a paper published by the Smithsonian Institution, wherein he asserted that rockets could be used to send payloads to the moon. Of course, you know the press--they mocked him and began calling him "Moon Man." Eventually, when rocket science became real, scientists began to realize that it was nearly impossible to build a rocket or launch a satellite without acknowledging Dr. Goddard.

I think we should probably start listening to physics professors more often.

This is Harrison Schmitt, astronaut from Apollo 17, collecting Lunar Rock samples. That is also a giant moon rock. It's too bad he couldn't get the entire thing. Or maybe he did... 

At any rate, every time I look at this picture, I see that rock... and it's fantastic. December 14, 1972

This is James Irwin, saluting beside an American flag. Look at that giant space bug behind him. You know what has always awed me about their equipment? It looks like gold tinfoil. Their space vehicles aren't shiny and rock solid looking as scifi would have us believe. They're real. Every time I see them I am reminded that they're real.

This is the launch of the bumper V-2, a critical moment in the history of space travel. The bumper V-2 was the first ever rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. This two stage rocket (V-2 missile on the bottom with a WAC Corporal Rocket on the top) exploded from the ground, then detached from itself, and the top half could fly to nearly 400 kilometers, which is even higher than modern rockets can fly.

While you're thinking about that, look at those guys. Look at that equipment.It's incredible. It looks like equipment from the 1950s! Oh, did I mention? They sent this rocket up July 24, 1950. Amazing.

Below is the Lunar Prospector spacecraft on its way to the moon. I think that this picture is beautiful. You can't see the spacecraft, but you can see its tail and the Earth in the distance behind it. It's incredible. 1998.

This is a solar powered airplane. Amazing. It was tested in 2001. It looks so weird, like an alien space ship or something. No wonder people are always seeing UFOs. If I saw this, I would think aliens had landed, too.

This astronaut is floating in space. I want to float in space.
This astronaut is floating in space, having his picture taken next to Earth. I want to have my picture taken next to Earth. Instead, I will have to be satisfied with having my picture taken on Earth.

Below is a picture of the Eagle Nebula, also called the Pillars of Creation. This is one of my favourite nebulae; it is extremely photogenic, too. These pillars of dust are the birthplace of stars, although their star formation peaked several million years ago. The red represents low energy, the green represents medium energy, and the blue represents high energy.

I could stare at this all day.

 This is Earth. This is where we live. This is the thing that provides us everything we could ever possibly need and then some. This is what keeps us safe, and quite warm, as you can see. This image is a false colour depiction of long wave heat escaping from Earth. If the heat didn't escape, the Earth would become as hot as the sun. It's beautiful. And it's ours.

We live in an amazing universe. So let's explore.

You can find all these pictures and more here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Date Small Talk

I am not a fan of small talk. It is awkward and extremely boring. So, I have compiled a list of conversation starters for next time I go on a first date or for an awkward company car drive, or to use as vacation time killers or for random people on the street to start random-people-on-the-street conversations. These are questions you can ask me to peak my interest. These are not applicable to everyone. Make sure you actually can discuss the topic, however; otherwise, you will lose the game. Which I just lost. Also, most of these questions can be followed by the question "why?".

1. Who is your favourite Doctor Who character?
2. What is your favourite type of precipitation?
3. If you could go to any fictional planet, which one would you visit?
4. What do you think of outer space?
5. What do you think of the recent political changes affecting NASA?
6. What is your least favourite type of small talk?
7. What is your favourite word?
8. What word do you think best describes tornadoes? Spring? Space? Battlestar Galactica? Etc.?
9. Where is Carmen Sandiego?
10. Tell me about your family.
11. What do you think of rock walls?
12. Who is Rutherford the Unicorn-Sheep?
13. What methods do you think we as a society should enact to get to space?
14. Let's discuss asteriods.
15. Which is your favourite real planet?
16. What is your favourite non-profit organization? Why?
17. If you could pick three mythical creatures to be your roommates, which ones would you pick?
18. What is your favourite piece of theatrical lighting equipment?
19. Which do you like better: a Source4 Parcan or a PAR 64?
20. What was your favourite class in college?
21. Which King Arthur was your favourite: the one from The Sword in the Stone, Merlin, Cretien de Trois, or Gerald Morris' books (The Squire's Tales)?
22. If you could learn any language, which one would you pick?
23. What is your favourite memory of beekeeping?
24. Where's Waldo?
25. How do you plan to get to space?
26. Tell me about your cat.
27.  Which do you think is more important: society going to space or animal rights?

On the same note, a first date/car ride/vacation conversation/random-people-on-the-street conversation can be just as boring if the topic is unpleasant or awkward.

This is a list of things you should not ask me about:
1. Politicians.
2. Terrorism.
3. Rick Perry.
4. Hormones.
5. Sharia Law.
6. The number 4.
7. Country music.

Who wants to bet that next time Dave comes over his first comment will be, "So Ariele, I read this really fascinating article today, in which Rick Perry and a bunch of other politicians were discussing the interrelated nature of terrorism and Sharia law while listening to country music and complaining about their wives hormonal mood swings. Also, four. Four. Four, four..."

Nah. Dave would never use the phrase "in which". But he might just start chanting "four, four, four four..."