Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crazy Like a Person Who Doesn't Want a Plague

This fine Tuesday morning, August 28th, I woke to the uber-teen asking, "Well, it won't kill him will it?" in reference to making the uber-boyfriend the promised Philly cheese steak for lunch from leftovers that she forgot to refrigerate before going to bed. The sad thing is, he'll likely think about it just a second, shrug and eat it anyway.

This, just after waking the previous horrible (evil Monday) morning to pizza crust and Doritos strewn about the kitchen, the table full of unfolded laundry (and don't ya just know, shedding kitties lounging in the middle of it). I became very animated and said, "Oh my God, I can't live this way!" and would have run to choke down a "happy pill", were I one to partake in such. The uber-teen, leaning nonchalantly against the contaminated counter munching day old pizza crust, offered me the unwashed coffee cup I'd used the day before and cheerfully replied, "Oh, c'mon. Don't be so dramatic, it's not that bad. Have a cup of coffee! :)"

Last night, I dreamed I stabbed bacteria as big as your head with the new X-acto knife I'd purchased for a design project earlier in the evening. I was screaming, "4.0!" with every thrust of the blade.

However, all is not lost. This is just the beginning of my second week of this "back to school, working and parenting" thing. I will merely stay up 24-48 hours getting all my assignments completed early, don the space suit and spend the rest of the week religiously following correct contamination procedures and bulldozing my kitchen.

The uber-teen and uber-boyfriend however, ages 17 and 19, are happy as can be to continue on the dangerous path (leading to food poisoning) that they're on. They'll probably some day look back fondly upon these college years, writing happy songs/poetry about it even.

How do college students survive it all?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cool Stuff

See the Moon turn red

On August 28, the Moon will plunge through Earth's shadow, and the United States' West Coast sees the best show.

August 23, 2007
The spectacular eclipse occurs the morning of August 28. Circumstances favor observers west of the Mississippi, who missed out on the March lunar eclipse. Better still, this event marks the first central lunar eclipse since 2000.

A central eclipse is one where part of the Moon passes through the center of Earth's shadow. This results in a longer-lasting eclipse, and it likely will result in a more darkly colored Moon at totality. The Moon's northern edge passes through the shadow's center, which means its northern half will look noticeably darker than its southern half.

The penumbral part of the eclipse begins at 3:54 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The first hint of shadow won't be visible to East Coast observers until at least 4:30 a.m. Watch the Moon low in the southwest as the limb near Oceanus Procellarum gradually darkens.

Read more.

Check out an Unusually cool video.

More cool stuff-

Huge hole in universe surprises astronomers
It's the biggest known void in the cosmos

Two views of the hole in the universe: The left view shows a “cold spot” within the circle on a color-coded image of the full-sky cosmic microwave background, as seen by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. The right view shows the same region on the Very Large Array Sky Survey, with blue indicating low radio emissions.

The universe has a huge hole in it that dwarfs anything else of its kind. The discovery caught astronomers by surprise.

The hole is nearly a billion light-years across. It is not a black hole, which is a small sphere of densely packed matter. Rather, this one is mostly devoid of stars, gas and other normal matter, and it's also strangely empty of the mysterious "dark matter" that permeates the cosmos. Other space voids have been found before, but nothing on this scale.

Astronomers don't know why the hole is there.

"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said researcher Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota.

Rudnick's colleague Liliya R. Williams also had not anticipated this finding.

"What we've found is not normal, based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the universe," said Williams, also of the University of Minnesota.

The finding will be detailed in the Astrophysical Journal.

Read more.

Scientists found life on Mars back in the 70s

Mars could be home to “extremophiles”

The soil on Mars may indeed be teeming with microbes, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago.

The search for life on Mars appeared to hit a dead end in 1976 when Viking landers touched down on the red planet and failed to detect biological activity.

There was another flurry of excitement a decade later, when Nasa thought it had found evidence of life in a Mars meteorite but doubts have since been cast on that finding.

Today, Joop Houtkooper from Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, will claim the Viking spacecraft may in fact have encountered signs of a weird life form based on hydrogen peroxide on the subfreezing, arid Martian surface.

Read more.

Death-Defying Mars Rovers: Riders in the Storm

The martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity continue to successfully weather a series of severe dust storms that threaten to cut power to their solar panels, but it's still a day-to-day battle for survival, scientists say.

The pervasive dust in the martian atmosphere, as well as dust settling onto the machinery, impedes the ability of the rovers' solar panels to convert sunlight into enough electricity to supply the their needs. One critical need is to protect each rover's "vital organs" of internal computer, electronics, heaters and batteries from becoming so cold that something might, quite literally, snap.

Both robots are in position to pounce on exciting science targets: Spirit is ready to gather more evidence for long-past explosive volcanic activity in an area dubbed Home Plate; Opportunity is a mere 130 feet (40 meters) from the point where it will enter Victoria Crater.

Ride out the storm

The twin rovers landed on the planet in January 2004. They have wheeled across Mars for far longer than their original 90-day warranties. There's no doubt that the long-lived robots have a special connection to their operators.

"There is a very strong attachment. It has been for many of us our everyday work for years. There's a tremendous bond with them," said John Callas, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rovers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "We're just going to try to ride out this storm, he emphasized.

Read more.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Because I Can...

Sure I said I didn't have time to blog much today, but I changed my mind.

Instead of getting a head start on some work and next week's assignments, I decided to just grab that bottle of wine, pop some smooth tunes into the drive, and blog until hungry/sleepy (whichever happens first.)

Sounds fun, huh?

Then I found myself over at Public Pondering listening to sad songs thanks be to a Big White Hat challenge.

So now I'm halfway through a bottle of wine, watching my e-mail alert go off like a crazy Mexican Shi Tzu contemplating joining eHarmony with a tagline that reads: "If you solemnly pledge to be Mister Perfect for aprox. 2 months then cease to even pretend to be engaged in our relationship, never calling, rarely expressing any emotion whatsoever until I finally snap...please email, because I just can't get enough of THAT! Thanks." Probably get a ton of responses.

Last time I did something like that (for laughs, of course) it was more like, "Gold digger seeking wealthy elderly gentleman with no family to speak of. Will make the last moments of your life memorable." and you wouldn't believe how many responses that one earned. Oo


Give me happy songs, people! Sweet songs, paranoid, angry or maybe plain old fed up. Heck, maybe even sad in a pi**ed off in leather tight pants kinda way. Girl power?

But please, no more sad songs...

Back in Business, Baby!

Photo Update: OK, so I ended up being too busy to even post photos! You know how it is. (4.0...blogging...4.0...blogging. 4.0!!!)

Since time is an issue, I will just post a few of my personal favorites from the vacation photo files and y'all can just go to my Photobucket album if you'd like to see them all (and I'm still in the process of adding more, but even still, many more there to see). :)

First, I pit stopped in WV and while I was unable to catch up with (read: stalk) a close friend while there as I had hoped, I did manage to get a beautiful shot from the main overlook in Grandview, WV before dark, so the pit stop was not a complete wash -

Then, off to NYC! I look about as happy as one who packed one pair of platform sandals, one pair of 6 inch heels, one pair of leather boots, and one pair of open heeled Prada loafers can be after hiking all over NYC just to find themself holding that bull up at 4 am while attempting to teach a liberal how to shoot a photo that isn't blurry. (Goes something like, "Tap that button then shoot the photo, dammit!") Complicated stuff there, huh? Needless to say, this is the only photo of me (and it took 4 or 5 tries to get that). *g* -

Here, I'm pretty sure I stumbled upon Michael Jackson sitting a a bench in winter garb while it was no less than 95 degrees. Not the best focus ever but I was very far away so had to blow this one up in photoshop (which always results in a blurry photo). Even still, funny stuff!

Below we see a pretty funny character. I gave him a dollar and proceeded to share meaningful (and long) bits of wisdom about the virtues of education and hard work. I think he would have liked to give me everything in his collection bucket to just shut up and go away. He was super funny and a great sport about letting me take his photo though!

Once again, click here for more.

So, there you have it, my favorite photos. Hope you guys had a fabulous weekend!

No, really.

As you may have noticed, I temporarily lost control of PJ Max for a couple of weeks, but all's well that ends well.

Since I last posted- The uber-teen has begun college (still residing with me until spring though, yay!), I've gone back to school as well (though I'll still be doing what I do, I may as well have the degree to tape to my wall, huh?), I actually took a real vacation (not just in my head and thanks again, RT) and got some work done too.

So, while I have very little free time this week, I do have lots of photos to share. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for those!