Worst. Tech. Week. Ever.

For every good weekend, there is an equally bad one. Last weekend rocked. This one, um, did not. Preface – My laptop is at the Apple Store being repaired. This means my computer with all my best toys is not available for use. For those who have been following my twitter whining, here is the full story. 1) Yesterday I noticed starstryder was no longer googlable (is that a word), and asked for ideas 2) The wonderful Stuart Lowe noted that if I did a view source, many naughty and pharmaceutically related words appeared. 3) I realized I’d been hacked. As had my university computer (growl). Astronomy Cast was safe. 4) I restored my theme, removing all google ads and stuff, on this site and upgraded wordpress (this site is privately hosted. 5) I upgraded...

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NASA’s Manned Space Program; Dieing slowly?

NASA’s Manned Space Program; Dieing slowly?

The other day I had one of our first year graduate students ask me what I know about NASA. “I know some people on some of the science missions,” I said, and I asked him why he was asking. Truth be told, he, like so many other bright, athletic minds, wants to be an astronaut. At 22, with a number of nice accomplishments under his belt, he just might have a chance. He’s young enough. By the time he ‘s ready NASA may have manned space flight again. As for the dreamers of my generation? We’re pretty much… Well you know what word goes there. According to NASA, the average age of someone accepted into the astronaut core is 34 (my age). It then typically takes a few months to a year to be selected for a mission (if you ever are...

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Ghosts are NOT Dark Matter

Just a quick one tonight. At Dragon*Con (which I won’t mention again until next summer) some fascinatingly misguided person suggested that ghosts are made of Dark Matter. Dark matter is the missing 22% of the stuff the universe is made of. This is stuff – it is just stuff that doesn’t interact with the electromagnetic force in a noticeable way. This means it does not obscure light (like dust), it does not give off light (like stars), it does not chemically interact, or in fact it does not do anything other than move stuff with its mass via gravity. This means that if you can see something, it is not Dark Matter. This means that if you can detect something as a cold spot (which implies something happened to the heat energy in that spot), and if...

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Dragon*Con: There and back again

Dragon*Con: There and back again

I’m home from Dragon*Con and I feel like I’ve popped out of the Rabbit Hole. The past 4 days were an amazing adventure. On one hand, I was in Atlanta in much the same way that I attend many conferences – I was a scientist with presentations to give and a booth to man. On the other hand, I was a podcaster with fans who wanted to meet me, which was really cool (and evidence is shown in the picture at left). And on yet another hand (clearly borrowed from someone else), I was a fanchick meeting cool people I never imagined I’d get to transform from professional acquaintences to new friends. One of the surreal things about the field I’m in is it is occupied with folks that do really cool stuff that puts them in a special, “Wow, you...

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Dragon*Con: Day 3

Dragon*Con: Day 3

I seem to be spending a ton of time hanging out with Skeptics at this conference. It is fun. But before getting into the serious, I’m going to be silly (thus the image at left). I’ve been hanging out with (left to right) Richard Saunders and Phil Plait a lot, and here we are showing a little leg. Silly enough? (In general, this place is filled with people with truly killer shoes. We aren’t among those with awesome shoes, but mine are at least cute 😉 ) So, I was saying I’ve been sitting in on Skeptics sessions most of the weekend. Currently I’m sitting in on one that is about Dogma versus Skepticism. A very good point was just made by the speaker: He pointed out that someone who holds on to the Belief that God can not exist is just as...

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