I’m currently at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, TX. I’m here for just two days, and due to meetings, my coverage may be somewhat limited, but I’m going to do what I can to cover press conferences.
The last couple meetings I’ve been at, I’ve found myself tweeting and not blogging. Now, with Google+ a new option exists and I’m going to try an experiment. In the mo+ment, I’m going to work writing short stories on Google+ and then link them to this post.
Here are the things I’m going to try and follow. I’ll add links as I attend them.
You can follow me directly on Google+ at http://gplus.to/starstryder
(All times are GMT-6 / Central time)
9:30 a.m.: THROUGH A LENS DARKLY
Mapping Dark Matter with the CFHT Lensing Survey
Ludovic Van Waerbeke (Univ. of British Columbia) & Catherine Heymans (Univ. of Edinburgh)
My Notes On Google+ * Press Release * Related Awesome Simulation
A New Probe of the Distribution of Dark Matter in Galaxies
Sukanya Chakrabarti (Florida Atlantic Univ.)
My Notes on Google+ * Paper on arXiv
11:45 a.m.: HOW TO BUILD A MILKY WAY
New Insights on our Galaxy from SDSS-III SEGUE
Constance M. Rockosi (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz)
My notes on Google+ * Press Release
APOGEE: SDSS-III’s Other Milky Way Experiment
Steven R. Majewski (Univ. of Virginia)
My notes on Google+ * Press Release
2:00pm: Astronomy Cast Records live!
Topic: How we know how old things are
10:00 a.m.: GALAXY CLUSTERS ACROSS THE COSMOS
The Most Massive Known Galaxy Cluster at High Redshift
John Patrick Hughes (Rutgers Univ.)
My Notes on Google+ * no online press release
A Protocluster Candidate at Redshift z~8
Michele Trenti (Univ. of Colorado)
My notes on Google+ * Press Release
A Galaxy Cluster Merger in Unexplored Phase-Space
William Dawson (Univ. of California, Davis)
My notes on Google+ * Paper on arXiv
2:30 p.m.: AN INFRARED EXTRAVAGANZA
A Herschel Survey of the Magellanic Clouds
Margaret Meixner (Space Telescope Science Institute)
The Cygnus-X Spitzer Legacy Survey
Joseph L. Hora (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
WISE and the Evolution of Massive Star-Forming Regions
Xavier Koenig (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
SOFIA: Science at 41,000 Feet
Erick T. Young (Universities Space Research Association)
Got sucked into web updates.
More to come I hope!
Hi!, Dr. Pamela Gay.
I hope you’re enjoying the 219th meeting.
Well, it is my fault, I know, but only two days ago I heard about and read your so good blog. I’m sorry, but, at least, now I’m here to say that the section I like most is “Environment”. As you are so intelligent, I would like you have a “Cosmology” section, my prefered science. But I keep “Environment”, mainly because I don’t agree with most of what is written about that, elsewhere, what I take as a challenge to my ignorance.
I am an old Brazilian journalist who would love to have a conversation with someone young, like you, and, if you agree and wont cut me out, let me start saying that, in my opinion, every day is more difficult to believe that humanity will remain two thousand years more of the “Christ Era”, here, on Earth. In my sense, it is not the fact that this world rejects us, subjecting us to a life confined to some few places on its surface, and responding with the fury of malaria, ebola, AIDS etc., whenever we put a shy finger on its forests. Earth, yes, as you know, treats us badly, but nothing indicates that it will throw us out. And, either, I’m not writing about the case of the threat that we will destroy ourselves, depleting our life chances. This danger, of course, exists, but we wont succeed. So, the best chance is that, if we’re not going to stay here forever, it will be due to our own desire. Before being killed by diseases or by a big disaster, we will dismiss this world, voluntarily. As we will not be extinguished, Earth will stay healthy, turning in its space, as it always did. But will be useless to us. Do you agree?
I think that this is the most logical thought we are led to, whenever we examine the history and dynamics of development of human beings, without passion for catastrophes. When we do this with serenity and based on good evidences and facts, we can predict a successful future for humanity. And we are driven by the results of our achievements, by the addition and multiplication of a positive knowledge accumulated since ancient times. And, as, today, we have begun to awaken to the practice of energy conservation and environmental respect, further, we will build awareness of the need to preserve, not just some individuals or species, for example, the elephant, but rather the biosphere at large. And we will live very well in our last years of hosting. In the same sense, as our progress seems to be inevitable, the other best idea is that, in year 1000/1500, 100% of the diseases that afflict us today will have already been banned. It is true that others may come, because, in this order, the inventory of virulence of the Earth seems to be far from exhausted. But, at the same time, what we call the sanitation, environmental hygiene, will also no longer be just a privilege, but so widespread that its benefits will join the discoveries of new chemical drug, to extend to we all the reach of a lucid longevity, beyond 150 years old. What you think? Am I right?
As I’m not a dreamer, within what is reasonable to imagine, all of which was related above is predictable and can be reached. Yes, but there will always remain an anxiety, because the search for perfection is the only real perpetual motion of mankind. Then there will be a time when our worries about the future will be more advanced, with a focus on achievements and rewards too far from the mindset of today. Let me tell you a good example: We will be alert to possibilities for further development of our species, fueling expectations that the geological conditions of the Earth – that reproduce and evolve, yes, but taking an irritating slowness, in total disagreement with the urgency that we will desire – will not satisfy us, entirely. The Earth can always be so fertile and reproductive as we humans can be. But this does not apply to the power of transmutation that living organisms, like us, use to achieve better forms of life, which, in that future, will need to be appropriated by humans with more urgency than Earth can provide. It may be truth that, around this time, we’ll have won all stages of adaptation and of the knowledge of extraction of the reserves that the Earth’s environment offers. Of course, the planet will not have exhausted its sources of natural resources, since it can not be accused of negligence or misconduct. Nature, people say, is wise. But we will have refined our biology and our technology to the point we start to demand assets unavailable in terrestrial nature. This is the way humanity goes, driven by the relentless indifference that is dedicated to us, considering the benefits offered by the planet to other animals. For these ones, Earth provides all the natural means necessary for survival. They are born knowing where to get food, what to eat or not, do not poison voluntarily and instinctively know the way to find water. We, on the contrary, from nature, have only primary products that we have to manufacture, which, within a certain time ahead, will be insufficient, considering the degree that we will achieve in the animal scale. Earth forces us to develop an entire knowledge, through a time consuming and tedious human effort – a sacrifice that many people still attaches to that original biblical curse. So, thanks to the evolution provided by our effort, there will be a time when we’ll begin to suspect that, like Earth’s geography, also our physical constitution will appear to us as a difficulty to a major development, based on the “miracle” of transmutation. Today, we present ourselves as more body than mind, fighting for the sustainability of flora and fauna, as well as the ozone shield and several other physical challenges. In that future, we will be more mind than body, with our health, thinking and feeling organized, and our eyes will be turned into ourselves, to our internal environment. Well, then, inevitably, we’ll have to look for new places in the universe, other regions of the cosmos, more tolerant and generous, where the limitations that are imposed on us in this world – among them the weakness of gravity, the small amount of matter, the tight organization of atoms, mass, weight and… the rejection – do not act to prevent our march to a different nature, more ethereal, bordering on the immaterial and, therefore, more docile and flexible, less painful. As for the part concerning to us, Earth will have more than fulfilled its role, and will continue with its creative work in other terms and directions, without our presence, engendering new life forms unimaginable to us today. Look: when this happen, the designations of “Earthlings” or “human” will not make sense anymore. The more correct to call us will be “Celestians”. Oh, no,it is not what you’re thinking. It is not that we’ll claim to be heavenly, in a religious sense, but because, for the people who, by chance, already live there, and for those who will be our descendants from then on, we will no longer originate from clay, but, rather, from the sky.
If you – who, like me, doesn’t have sympathy for the calamity – agree with me; I mean, if our and Earth’s future will really be glorious, can you, please, explain to me, with reasonable, acceptable arguments, why should I contribute to the preservation of the environment and rare animals? My point is: nothing extinguishes nature more than nature. Remember that it was not human beings who eliminate the dinosaurs. Remember that 99% of the life that existed long before us, in ancient times, have already been destroyed… by nature! Of course, we must not contribute to destroy, on the contrary, but look: every month a language disappears from Earth. A language is not a fish, or a bird, or a monkey, but represents a cosmology of a people, a knowledge, it is history, our history. And where are we reading about that? Who cares? So, consider that the fight for the preservation of environment and animals may be a diversion of effort, because Earth can take care of them and of itself. Now, tell me: wouldn’t it be much more correct to let Earth be in peace, doing its very good, millennial work of destruction and reconstruction of life, in which it already has proved to be wise and very well succeed, even though its destiny is to end like Mars, while we start, seriously, taking a deep look at our intimate, internal environment? Well, I’m asking you, just to have a conversation, because I know why this is impossible.
PS: Please, write me to: email@example.com – if you want.
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But we will have refined our biology and our technology to the point we start to demand assets unavailable in terrestrial nature. This is the way humanity goes, driven by the relentless indifference that is dedicated to us, considering the benefits offered by the planet to other animals. egress system
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