Monday, January 28, 2008

Astronomy Related Things

My UT output has been pretty lame as of late, with all of the school related stuff and the poor internet connection. I did, however, receive an honor that I've been dreaming of for a long time: Fraser mentioned my article about cancer and cosmic rays on Astronomy Cast. Of course, he doesn't say my name, but it still is hawesome. Here's the last week or so:

Regulating Traffic in Space - What should Space Law regulate, and do we need cops up there too?

Infrared Telescope Passes Flight Tests
- This is rad: an infrared telescope in a retrofitted jetliner.

Using GPS to help Warn for Tsunamis - Cool idea, and sounds somewhat easy to implement, given the system already exists

Japanese Astronaut to Test Boomerang in Space Station - I think this story is kinda funny, but really cool. And I got to explain the physics of a boomerang, which I hope I did clearly.

The picture below is of me at the last Astronomy Club meeting I went to. I'm talking to Radio Phillip (so called because he does radio astronomy in his garage and we have two other phillips in the group). And yes, I am drinking cider. I think this is always the highlight of my week. We got to observe for the first time evah!! Well, since I joined in November anyways. Then we had a general meeting and I volunteered to present a "Universe Today Digest" sometime in March. This means I get to translate my favorite articles on UT into French and talk about them for an hour. I'm kinda nervous about it, only because my French is just ok, and I'll have to look up words like "spectrograph", "Vegetation Red Edge" and such in French.

More Pictures

Busy, busy, busy bees.

The weird needle/telecommunications antenna near the stadium.

Josep is being silly! Apparently Catalans drink olive oil to get drunk

This Italian fixie was sooooooo cherry. Notice the gold flaking underneath the paint in this next picture. Shiny.

Barcelona Pictures

As promised, here are some pictures from Barcelona. More to come when Luke gives me a link to all of the pictures from Paris and Toulouse.

View of Barcelona from the Parc Güell, a huge park designed by the modernist architect Gaudi.

This is Barcelona from the Montjuic, a hill that has a huge castle on top.

Barcelona's famous Montjuic Fountain that they light up at night, playing classical music and such.

This cat was waaaaaaayyyy out on that limb, and it was a long drop. He didn't seem to be bothered by the fact.

Things I Hate about France

1. The weather. We had three days over the weekend where we could see the Sun, after about two weeks of rain. Now it's back to the unrelenting gray. Ugh. Snow is better.

2. The internet. Well, at least the connection at my school. I've had a host of problems with the network connecting to blogspot and also Wordpress (where, incidentally, I write all of my UT stories). This has been a pain in my ass for a while, and the "tech guy" at my school, who is actually just a former biology teacher that happens to be good at computers, isn't very helpful, even if he's a nice guy. This means I'm going to be spending much more time (and money) in the internet café, which sucks. I can't wait to have internet in my own place, someday when I grow up...

3. The students. Specifically, all of my new students that are in the "professional" school. They do technical stuff, but are a little older, and are more than a handful. Like, two handfuls and a full bucket. I've had to revamp a lot of my curriculum because it was too hard. These are the kids that look at me blankly when I say stuff like, "Hello. Good morning." Seriously.

Other than that, things are going along. Vacation in three weeks...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

UT Stories

I haven't been good about posting links to my UT Stories lately. True, because of the vacation I haven't written many over the last few weeks, but it's starting to pick up again. Here are the links to catch up the, like, one person who probably bothers to read them:

Space causes cancer! Well, probably not, but cosmic rays might.

MIT is designing a spacecraft to measure the Moon's gravity field.

Radio emissions from Saturn help to figure out it's rotation period.

Magnetic "ropes" connect the Earth to the Sun.

Organic molecules found outside our Solar System! This one's exciting.

The weather outlook on Saturn: cyclones at both poles.

The AAS (American Astronomical Society) meeting is in Austin, Texas this week, which means there will be a bunch of stories coming out soon on all sorts of exciting stuff. Astronomy Cast is covering this meeting live, and in full force.

Vacation in Brief

My vacation was pretty sweet. I went to Paris, Auch, Barcelona and Toulouse. Got to see Mike once again, and do ridiculous things in the streets of France. Now I'm back teaching the little ones how to properly say, "Happy New Year," and what percentage one should tip a server in a restaurant in the U.S.

Speaking of which, while we were discussing this one of my students said, "Like they were talking about in Reservoir Dogs?" Yes, exactly like that. But without all of the swearing. Or tearing people's ears off and lighting them on fire. Seriously, though, I was impressed that they'd seen it and could remember the content of that scene.