There be Dragons (& Voorwerps)

There be Dragons (& Voorwerps)

It’s 2 weeks to Dragon*Con and I’m going a bit insane. As I mentioned in my last post, a group of us are getting ready to launch a comic book at Dragon*Con. As I’ve twittered, there is a fundraiser for cancer research the night before Dragon*Con. What I haven’t mentioned is after a summer hiatus, Astronomy Cast is coming back full force and my non-profit, Astrosphere New Media Association, is launching a store selling all sorts of science goodies. Trying to pull all this stuff together has been, um, challenging. But we’re getting there. And I’m hoping you’ll be there as we bring everything to fruition. Consider this your formal invite to all of the following: Watch the Stars – Light the Night [buy tickets here]...

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Cape Town – You need to experience it

I think I need to change the theme of this blog from astronomy and academics to astronomy, academics and travel. I have to admit, somewhere in the past couple months I went from traveling a lot to traveling too much. I have acquired opinions about the wheels on luggage and the distribution of electrical outlets in different hotel rooms. I have visited cities spread across 4 continents and stumbled through eight times zones to the east and twelve timezones to the west. Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve gone with friends and we’ve worked to communicate astronomy to the world while drinking local beers and devouring local foods. IYA brought me countless experiences, a now full passport, 1000s of photos, and 20 pounds. Other than the 20 pounds (And sadly I...

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Monday Must Haves 1: Must Haves for the Rabid Traveler

Monday Must Haves 1: Must Haves for the Rabid Traveler

Okay, so this is a bit off topic, but … There are a series of questions I keep getting, “How do you stay connected while you travel?” “What is your recording set up?” “What books do you…?” “How do you…?” So, I’m going to (in a desperate attempt to force myself to blog better) work on launching “Monday Must Haves” posts centered on answering these questions. I travel a lot. In 2009 it was over 100,000 miles (sadly not all on one airline), and in 2008 it was about 50,000 miles (also, not all on the the same airline). With my time split between short 2-day dashes somewhere random in America, and longer trips to more distant destinations, I’ve developed a survival schema that...

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Dragon*Con Retrospective

Dragon*Con Retrospective

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Dragon*Con, where I slept too little and ran real hard. It was good, but I have to admit it is all a blur of images and emotions. When I try to think of those 4 days in Atlanta, my brain responds with flickering fragments of moments. I’ve posted many of my pictures on flickr. Others are doing the same. I’m sure the story is documented (perhaps too well), and if you have images, can you please share links through the comments? Fragments: A Full Moon for Cancer: On the Thursday night prior to D*C, Phil Plait and I took part in a charity star party to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This event was in memory of Jeff Medkeff, the Blue Collar Scientist. Jeff was a blogger and amateur astronomer I had...

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And on a personal note at IAU

And on a personal note at IAU

A few random comments: We just had a brief potential moment of food and drink. People from countries derived from the UK politely attempted to line up (queue), while others, um, did not. A few lucky people got food (including cake!), wine or beer, and even juice or soda by the can. They other 1300 people looked sad. This has been a regular occurrence, with the food and beverages providing only being sufficient for a few hundred (or far far fewer!) people. This is a serious problem that I have thwarted only by being a member of the press. The press room has a constant supply of bottled water. Anyway – On a more positive note, can I just say it is a blast seeing almost everyone in T-shirts and casual cloths? Kevin Marvel, Pres of the AAS, is in a Hawaiian...

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IAU First Impressions

Let the chaos begin! I’m currently at the XXVII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Rio de Janeiro. For the next two weeks, astronomers from all around the globe will converge on the SulAmerica Convention Center. I’m here to represent the USA in Special Session 2: The International Year of Astronomy. I have 12 minutes this afternoon to communicate all the IYA events in the USA, ranging from NASA events to Independent events to movie events, to everything else, including all of new media. In 12 minutes. I feel like I’m preparing as 12 course sampling menu, where no one item is enough to sate you, but taken together you feel a bit plump. I arrived mid-day yesterday, and I have to admit that I’m still trying to process...

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