The Improbable Universe

The Improbable Universe

Slide Show + Audio (.mp4) Transcript: This is a talk I originally prepared to present as part of the 2206-2007 convocation series at Illinois College. Since then I have given it before several other audiences, and with every presentation I’ve had more people ask, will this be online. Finally, I can saw yes. Here’s the link. Please enjoy. In today’s crazy world, it is easy to get lost in the details of our overly busy lives. There are projects, deadlines, business meetings and family meetings all demanding our attention. I suspect at least some of your employers have led you to believe their project should be the most important thing in your life right now. And I suspect that at least one person in your family has led you to believe that being at...

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Mt Palomar and San Diego Fires

N.B. I just checked the Palomar Observatory website. They simply say the observatory is closed due to fire. I tried accessing the Hale webcam and my connection timed out. Nothing good comes from a firestorm. Perhaps this one will at least spare the telescopes.

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New Computers and Returning Carnivals

I got a new laptop. I’m currently trying to transplant my brain onto it and the surgery is taking longer than expected (although, so far there seem to be no complications). The surprise I had planned for yesterday it currently sedated, but I expect the patient to start to get out of bed tomorrow. In the interim, there is a carnival <a href=”http://sortingoutscience.net/2007/10/18/carnival_of_space_25/”> here </a> that is worth playing at.

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Making photometric data fit in a Standard System Using Excel

Making photometric data fit in a Standard System Using Excel

This entry goes out to all you amazing observers who want to do better science with your photometric data. Over on the AAVSO listervs I also see emails from folks asking for good comparison stars for variable stars, especially those one off variables – supernova and nova – that tend to go off once, or once in a lifetime. This discussion (based on the talk I gave at AstroFest Saturday) will help those of you wanting to come up with your own comp stars make the measurements you need. For those of you not wanting to get into the special details of photometry, rest assured tomorrow I’ll have a special online treat 🙂 Now onto the the nitty-gritty data analysis details… There are several different ways to obtain astronomical data. Perhaps the...

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AstroFest

I go to a lot of conferences. Some are good, some are bad, and most are just, well, a generic conference. In addition to the science content presented, I tend to judge conferences by three other criteria: Is it pleasant (are the hotel and conference center places I like being and within walking distance of things like good coffee), are we able to eat in a reasonable way (enough time and options), and is networking possible (are there people I want to talk to and is their time to actually talk to them)? This conference is a winner on all counts. [warning – this was written over a period of a couple days] Day 1, afternoon: I’m sitting in review talk on Mars polar regions that is presenting excellent science at just the right level for an audience of...

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