The Eclipse of the Century Part 1 of 3: There and back again

The Eclipse of the Century Part 1 of 3: There and back again

Waking up in my own bed today, I felt a little like Alice waking beside the rabbit hole, not sure if the adventure of my last week was real or not. Luckily I have pictures to confirm the reality of the past 10 days. On July 15th, I flew from St Louis, MO (38° 45′ N, 90° 23′ W) to Shanghai, China (31° 14′ N, 121° 29′ E), traveling 11 timezones and ~148 degrees around the globe. I was on my way to join the Eclipse of the Century tour group to board the Costa Allegra and chase what was the longest eclipse of this century, at just over 6 minutes. Along the way we would explore the South Korean island of Cheju (also spelled Jeju), and the Japanese cities of Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Kagoshima. After the last of these cities we...

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Getting ready for a Hungry Dragon

Getting ready for a Hungry Dragon

I’m currently in Shanghai, China. The city is undergoing a truly amazing amount of construction as it prepares for Expo 2010 (a version of the world’s fair I believe). Everywhere there are young trees and new landscapes growing up along roads still being built and building from ancient times that are being refurbished in a frenzy of labor. 20 million people in one place; it is amazing. There are the negatives: exceedingly aggressive beggers, horrible smog, frightening traffic. But at the same time there is an awesomeness to the sheer scale of humanity at this high a density. I’m here to see the July 22 Solar Eclipse. In Chinese lore this is a Dragon consuming the Sun. In pre-modern times, people would bang pots and launch fireworks and otherwise...

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Digital Divide and Novel Technologies

I’m in hardware Mecca. Their are massive monitors, coffee table touch displays that my coffee cup won’t destroy, universal wireless, and outlets in abundance. I’m at MS Faculty Summit – a program put on by MS Research’s Academic program. I am surrounded by other faculty from around the world and the top creative minds from MS, and we are attempting to engage in a dialogue about changing the environment, the global condition, and education through technology. In the opening session, Craig Mundie demonstrated an office of the future that brought together a pair of digital white boards, a MS Surface (so totally want), webcams for video meetings, and more. It was a fully realized holo-office for immersive design. Imagine if you will, a...

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Returning to my Windows grad school roots

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows “I am Mac.” In all reality, I am a linux person who adores Adobe Creative Suites and lives by MS Excel. In grad school I had a Mac for graphics from my adviser, a Sparcstation for research (from my other adviser) and I owned a Fujitsu lifebook. It was a cluttered life that after the advent of OS X got translated into “I am Mac.” My original switch was the result of my laptop, then a VIAO, getting sick one too many times. My beloved VIAO with its x-windows emulator allowed me to login to a Solaris server somewhere else and do my astronomy work. I had virus protection and always surfed safe. Then I discovered there are viruses that will swim up closed ports. I got series of viruses that wiped my hard...

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On the road again

As my mostly empty blog hints, life has gotten away from me. From Portal to the Universe in the fall to Galaxy Zoo in the winter to travel travel travel in spring and summer, I’ve been happily running amok online and on American Airlines for the past 10 months or so. I’ve reached the point of “Wow – it’s not going to calm down, is it?” and I’m going to try and force myself to budget time to blog since it is clear that free time no longer exists (or at least free time not spent with the newest member of our household – my horse Skye) In this first blog post (which will be followed in short order by at least two more posts on MS Faculty Summit and the upcoming Solar Eclipse I’m going to go see) I want to...

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