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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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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A New Month, A New Podcast

Well, I’m back from LPSC and have jumped straight from one kind of busy to a new kind of crazy. As some of you may know, Nick Rattenbury is leaving the Jodcast and the rest of the team (including the original Astronomy Blog author Stuart Lowe) are stupidly busy, soooooo Fraser Cain and I decided to help them out and adopt their show to make sure it keeps going. The first episode of the new Jodcast, under the new branding of Astronomy Cast, is now available. Check it out on the Jodcast Website.

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Making Research

Making Research

One of the joys, frustrations, most loved, and most hated parts of being a professor is attempting to do research. I say attempting because sometimes the data just doesn’t want to produce anything useful. There are good times. For instance, in about three months this summer and fall Fraser Cain and I, with the help of undergraduate Rebecca Bemrose-Fetter and graduate student Georgia Bracey, managed to do a quick a solid study on who listens to Astronomy Cast and responds to surveys. The paper is already published and you can find it here. That was fun, challenging to analyze in a “I need a brain but not a Nobel prize” kind of way. That’s the type of low-hanging-fruit every researcher likes to pick and munch every now and again. The...

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Looking for Questioning (HS) Teachers

Some of the coolest moments in teaching only occur when your students realize they can safely ask anything. On random days, at random times, (during some unpredictable moment) one student will suddenly raise their hand and ask a question along the lines of “What you just said reminds me of something on TV.” They will then explain what they saw and may not have understood, and will end with, “Can you explain?” or “Can you tell us more?” or something similar as they try and build connections. These random student questions can lead the class on wild rides (and I love rollercoasters). They give me a chance to answer a lot of questions involving space, astronomy, and spacecraft in my physics classes as we stray off topic into the...

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Dragon*Con, ASP, and Chaos

Dragon*Con, ASP, and Chaos

This is turning into one of those weeks. I’m in the midst of frantically trying to get ready to attend the ASP’s EPO Conference next week, and I’m trying to look forward to going to Dragon*Con this weekend, but life just keeps getting into the way. While I generally try to leave my personal life out of this blog, this one sentence description needs to be shared: My husband tried to replace a bathroom facet and managed to catch the wall on fire. I blog to you from the secondary story hallway floor outside the bathroom where I am sitting with a fire extinguisher (the pin is pulled). There is currently water coming out the ceiling of the kitchen below. Really. I’m not kidding. Ok. Now that I’ve got that out of my system…...

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