Rethinking the Magellanic Clouds

Rethinking the Magellanic Clouds

I have to admit, there is a soft spot in my heart for conference proceedings. Once upon a time, when you wanted to quickly dive into a new area of astronomy you went to the university or observatory library and searched out the ASP or IAU conference proceedings on the topic of your passion, and then wandered off to read it cover-to-cover. As an undergrad, I got my introduction to pulsating variable stars that way, and in graduate school I am guilty of losing 4 cloudy nights of my life to a periodical on cataclysmic variable stars for no particularly good reason. Today, I teach at a small college that doesn’t have astronomy conference proceedings in its library, so when I want to get my fill of something new, I either have to fork over the cash, or wait on...

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Writing text with my voice

I’m playing with a bit of new technology. I’ve been doing so much typing lately that my wrists started to hurt. I love to write. I needed to find a solution, so I googled. Eventually I landed on some dictation software, MacSpeech. I’m attempting to write this blog post using that new software. I’ve been playing all day and I have to admit my friends have been very patient – More patient than I deserved. I accidentally rang up Chris on Skype, and while IMing to Fraser mass chaos ensued in a text window. Of course there is a certain irony in me talking to my Skype text message when I could just as easily ring him in Skype. And eventually we did just talk. And now I’m just talking to you. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t...

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Talk at Michigan State tomorrow

Talk at Michigan State tomorrow

Just a heads up on why I’ve gone quiet: Tomorrow I’m giving a talk at my alma mata, Michigan State University. I’ll be talking about the International Year of Astronomy and focusing on New Media projects. If you’re in the area and you can come, I’d love to see you Wednesday at 1:40PM in Room 1400 of the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building at MSU. Go Spartans 😉

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Q: Who killed the Star Formation? A: The AGN did it.

One of the neat things about being a professional astronomer is sometimes knowing the authors of neat papers. Submitted to the arXiv on Friday was one such neat paper with an author list full of people I respect from their work and 1 collaborator. So let’s just say this is all neat and move on to the science. So here is the paper. On a quick read, this is just another paper on what happens to gas when and star formation when an AGN gets involved. If you’ve listened to many episodes of Astronomy Cast, you might have heard me explain this before. AGN (short for Active Galactic Nuclei) are actively feeding black holes in the centers of galaxies. These giant monsters are capable of calmly devouring vast quantities of gas and dust with accretion rates (the...

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A Bit of Levity

In light of all my personal technical difficulties and the internets current cry of “The world is ending,” I decided that it was time for some levity. Way back when I was at Michigan State University I had a website on Physics and Astronomy humor that then migrated to U-Texas, and now I share the link with you. I am contemplating resurrecting that site here, but it requires a bit more content. Anyone have any good ones from the days of email forwards?

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