Getting Ready for AAS

It is just a few short weeks until the Astronomy Cast crew (that would be Fraser, Rebecca and I) as well as the Bad Astronomer (that would be Phil) all head down to Austin, Texas for this year’s winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society. It should be a great meeting. We have funds to livecast the conference. This means we’ll be doing a video walking tour of the exhibit hall, audio and video interviews, and lots of live blogging all through out the meeting. Content will be getting fed to you through this site, Astronomy Cast, Universe Today, Bad Astronomy, and YouTube. Phil, Fraser, and I will probably schedule a meetup time that I’ll post before Friday here and on Astronomy Cast. Would any of you be interested in seeing us in Austin if...

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Of Bathrooms and Underware

Ok, I have to admit that is a title I never thought I’d use, but it was a weird day. Somehow, bathrooms/toilet rooms, and underware just kept coming up as topics. For instance at lunch… We’d wandered onto a nauseating topic, so I mentioned, to distract things, that my husband and I spent the weekend tiling our bathroom (we’re still repairing from this*), and somehow this lead to much discussion involving Thomas Crapper, his (it turns out non-)discovery of the flush toilet, and how while toilets have been around since the 1730s, my 1893 house wasn’t built with any bathrooms (leading to much weirdness in design, since three were subsequently added). It is a curious mystery as to how the first US patent for a flush toilet was granted in...

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Another Breakup: Comet Boethin forces Deep Impact to turn its eyes elsewhere

The holiday season is hard on everyone. There is the stress of trying to find the right gifts, trying to get the house ready for guests, trying to get finals graded, (trying to recover from the most malevolent case of the sniffles encountered in many years), and so many other stresses. It never surprises me to hear about breakups around the holidays, and NASA’s latest breakup news had plenty of foreshadowing. That’s right, even though everything was a glow back in 1986, and plans for a quiet rendezvous over the Holidays in 2008 had been all but solidified, Comet Boethin decided it would rather break up than face an encounter with the Deep Impact space probe. Perhaps it was pent up anger over what Deep Impact had done to Comet Tempel 1, or perhaps (and...

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Carnival

While it started yesterday, it’s not too late to enjoy this week’s space carnival over at Universe Today.

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Finals Week

Finals Week

It’s final week here. This means faculty are wondering around, hyped up on caffeine and glee that the semester is almost over while the giggle while writing exams and cry while grading them (okay, maybe that’s just me). Writing finals is almost a religious act. We all have our own personal philosophies on why finals should exist, how much they should be worth, and how to write them. There are places where finals are required and they are required to be cumulative. There are places where exams aren’t required at all. There are places where finals are at the students leisure (I’ve heard that at Mt Hoyloke, students are on the honor system and can take their finals when they feel like it), and places where 4 finals can nail a student in 24...

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