No Child Left Inside Plan

Today, while in a meeting for the International Year of Astronomy, someone mentioned hearing someone state that we need a goal of no child left inside. Instead of just showing them imaged stars with robot telescopes across the Internet, we need to send them outside to look up. Instead of just giving them synthetic experiences in virtual realities, we need to send them outside to lookup. Instead of just bringing them real data that comes from data archives, we need to send them outside to look up.

There are places for Internet-based learning tools, but while we prepare our virtual experiences and aim for large impact, we also need to get everyone – everyone – to just go outside and look up.

Leave no child inside. When the skies are clear, take a little one by the hand and go outside and look up.

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Getting to Hawaii is…

…made easier when the airline over compensates for mistakes by bumping you to first class

…made less pleasant by the lack of outlets in St Louis and LA airports

…made easier with good astronomy on the other end

…made harder by the need to prepare to present at the other end

… accomplished in one piece. I’m here. I’m in my room. I’m ready to blog. I have a meeting for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (friend them on MySpace!) tomorrow, and a got talked into giving a talk on Sunday by a fellow EPO person I ran into on the bus from the airport to the hotel. The main event starts Sunday night.

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Carnival Time

It’s that time of week again: There is a Space Carnival in progress over at Universe Today. Make sure you get there while the news is fresh and check out all the free links – Some of them just might take you out of the universe.

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A Brown Dwarf, A Black Hole, and 4 Jets …

A Brown Dwarf, A Black Hole, and 4 Jets …

phot-24-07-preview.jpgOpening my press release email folder this morning, I found what could have been the beginning of a good joke if I were actually a skilled humorist. So a black hole and a brown dwarf both start to form. As the black hole consumes his parent star, he shots powerful gamma ray jets off to announce his arrival. At the same time, a little brown dwarf, with a not so little planet, works to spring out of its proto-stellar cloud, and it blows with its feeble little jets as hard as it can to announce its arrival. The black hole looks at the brown dwarf and laughs and says “[insert something witty and demeaning]”. The brown dwarf, not one to be discouraged, just smiles and states “[Something thoughtful and witty that puts the black hole in his place]”

Not being a good humorist, I will not try to fill in the blanks. I will simply work to explain how two such very different objects can announce their formation via the same physical process.

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Death by a 1000 paper boxes

Death by a 1000 paper boxes

boxes.jpgIt all started back in the 1890s. Catalogues came to farmers. Farmers sent their money. Good arrived in boxes. Those goods — everything from watches to carriages to entire houses in kits — came from Sears, Roebuck and Company. The goods were often things that couldn’t be bought locally at reasonable prices or with a reasonable selection and Sears et al was able to earn business by offering greater selection at lower prices with free delivery. I’m not sure what the farmers did with their Sear’s boxes. Probably reused them for something, but… but eventually I’m guessing most of them found their way into the garbage pile along with the rest of the packing materials.

Right now there is a box of boxes on my back stoop that is human-sized in volume, and almost human massed (see picture: note single serving Silk yogurt for scale). It is the result of shopping online where the selection is higher, the prices are often lower, and sometimes there is free delivery. Amazon, Drs. Foster and Smith, and eBay are all to blame. As much as I hate the mega-malls, the strip malls, and, well, even the local mall, I have to wonder if their isn’t a more eco-friendly way to purchase the things that can’t be acquired on a walk through the mom and pop stores of main street?

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