Setting up a quick and dirty EC2 LAMP stack

Setting up a quick and dirty EC2 LAMP stack

Ok, sometimes you just need a tiny computer to sit there and do something undisturbed where no one is going to turn it off. The problem I have at the moment is I’m traveling so my laptop is on again off again, so it can’t be trusted to have nice things processes. While I could ssh into my work computer, the building I work on is under-construction, so the power is not to be trusted. My home computer can not be gotten to from here… so, there is an app EC2 node for that. I just launched a happy little EC2 micro instance using the default Ubuntu AMI. I’m about to turn it into a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and then use it to do so very slow data mining of twitter. Amazon has some pretty good documentation to get you started. Once I...

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P.G. Holyfield: Bearing Witness to Life

P.G. Holyfield: Bearing Witness to Life

At roughly 11:20pm Wednesday August 20, 2014, author, podcaster, and father P.G. Holyfield died surrounded by love. I was one of the many there able to say good bye. I was there; I was sitting at the top of his bed stroking his hair. Both his hands were being held. His legs were clung to too, and his shoulder touched. We each let him feel that he was not alone. We wept as Viv’s words rang out, chanting the names of all those who had reached out to send their words of love. Her words rang out telling him we had accepted, we loved him, and it was ok to rest. Because of cancer I know the pain of laughter lines cracking from tears. When someone dies it seems like all you are left with is a world asking questions while you try ever so hard not to cry (while you try...

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The internet – this place I live – has a culture. Srsly.

The internet – this place I live – has a culture. Srsly.

Online culture needs to be recognized as a unique culture. (TL;DR version:  *The internet has its own valuable culture. Those of you who only see online media as a way to promote your projects to people who are wasting time online … please get off my lawn –  solicitors aren’t welcome.) To this audience this idea probably seems like stating the obvious, but I had this moment of clarity while talking to a colleague who works with “diverse” audiences; people working with people of a visibly different culture (skin tone, apparel, socioeconomic class) are careful to learn their audiences needs, but people who suddenly decide social media is important don’t make the same attempt to understand the online audience. Okay, that was a stupidly long...

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Can you help 365 Days of Astronomy get thru to 2012?

Can you help 365 Days of Astronomy get thru to 2012?

Back in 2008, while planning for the International Year of Astronomy, a group of us came up with the idea to do a daily podcast that gives voice to all the people around the world who are passionate about astronomy. This idea became the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast, and in 2009 this little show filled every day with content ranging from facts to poetry to singing to oral history telling. The success of community production earned the show the 2009 Parsec award for best “Infotainment.” Making 365 Days of Astronomy possible has been a steady stream of volunteer content, donations, and hard work from project manger Nancy Atkinson, audio producer Preston Gibson, weekly show producer Stuart Lowe, web content editor Kortney Hogan, development officers Georgia Bracey...

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Lunar phase visualization contest

Lunar phase visualization contest

Right now I’m sitting in the main ‘ballroom’* of the NASA Ames conference center. I’m here for the NASA Lunar Forums, which are hosted by the NASA Lunar Science Institute, which is housed at NASA Ames. (As one might guess, there are NASA meatballs everywhere). It is a good meeting, filled with good content, and all the latest good news from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The multi-hat wearing Nancy Atkinson is here writing stories for Universe Today and recording podcasts for 365 days of Astronomy. I’ll leave it to her to talk science. While she’s busy doing the fun stuff, I’ve been in and out of meetings, and working to plan great (I hope!) things for the future. Coming up on October 8, 2011 (and on TBD dates in...

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AAS Poster: Tweeting Astronomy

AAS Poster: Tweeting Astronomy

Back in October when AAS abstracts were due, I decided to submit something that would force me to think, program, and do something just for fun and not for grants. My original idea was to (utilizing Many Eyes and Processing) do a data visualization of how all the followers of many different astronomy tweeting groups are connected. Why? Two reasons: I wanted to know how much we are just talking to ourselves (if all of my followers follow Phil Plait, why RT?), and I wanted to know what side interests draw people together (Do people systematically follow all things Moon related?). My goal was to start with a group of selected users – NASA related folks, Zooniverse related folks, and people involved in Astrosphere’s projects (365 Days of Astronomy,...

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