T’was the Astronomer’s Sys Admin’s Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and clouds filled the sky Not an object was twinkling, not even Iota Tri; The telescope was parked in its dome with great care, In hopes of spying a star on which it could stare; My students were nested all snug in their beds While visions of data danced in their heads And I in my office, my Mac at my side, Was Googling for gifts – no bargain could hide. When on the network, there arose a great clatter, I popped up an xterm to ping what’s the matter Ping 74.208.25.93 “CONNECTION FAILED” was all it said back to me. The lamp on the screen of the Mac Book Pro Illuminated too many processes refusing to go. When, on what should my wandering eyes obsess, But a remote client, and eight shared processes!...

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Repeat: T’was the Astronomer’s Day Before Christmas

A couple years ago I wrote the following for “Slacker Astronomy.” Enjoy! (New adventures may be posted this evening). [Link To Audio] T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the dome Not a GUI was stirring, not even gnome. The CCDs were stored in their cases with care, In hopes that a super nova soon would be there; The astronomers nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of dark-matter danced in their heads; And I in my headphones, and my Mac in its place Had just settled in to a podcast writing pace, When out on the crest there arose such a clatter I sprang to the desk to see what was the matter. Away to the webcam (I tripped in my dash) I tore open the Windows and threw up the Flash The sun on the breast of the new-fallen snow...

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Austin Meetup Jan 8 at 8pm

Astronomy Cast and the Bad Astronomer his bad self are planning to have meetup for all you wonderful fans and friends out there who will be at the AAS meeting or who feel like driving to Austin. The place isn’t set in stone, but we’re thinking maybe the Iron Cactus downtown (the bar and grill within walking of the convention center – Anyone in Austin willing to do some footwork? Checking out if the Iron Cactus has a room and making reservations or similar?) Time is Tuesday at 8pm. We’d love to get some general sense of how many people are interested. If you are thinking of going, can you please pipe up? (There is also a thread set up on...

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Carnival of Space #34

Yes, it’s that time of the week again. This weeks carnival can be found over at Rainer Gerhards’ Spaceflight Blog

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Tis the Season for Cynicism

Tis the Season for Cynicism

It’s nearly Christmas. Everyday my email is getting blasted with messages from Amazon, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware reminding me exactly how long I have to order if I want gifts to arrive by Christmas. The neighborhood houses have grown luminous fur (whoever came up with the idea of icicle lights needs to be shot), and blow up Christmas decorations are doing bad things to my normally pretty historic district (I love this comic). Everywhere I look, there are signs of a secularized Christmas. One of the people I work with is so fed up with it that he won’t touch anything – not even free food! – that is associated with the holiday season. As someone who still needs to write Christmas cards, finish Christmas shopping, and clean the...

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