Grand Geyser

Grand Geyser

After way too long, I’ve finally gotten the photos from our trip to Yellowstone National Park on my flickr. We had a great time and I will never, ever tire of seeing that place. It is literally one of the most fascinating places on earth and everyone should go see it. It had been 9 years since I last saw it, and while reading some of the information plaques I realized that some major geologic changes had taken place just since the last time I was there. The place is just teeming with hydrothermal activity and is always changing. Not to mention that the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. So please go take a look at the photos. We also visited Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Grand Teton Park, and came back by driving through Colorado and New Mexico, making a quick stop at Philmont. Not only was the land beautiful, but we also got to see a pretty nice light show in the sky almost every night we were in Yellowstone. The Perseid meteor shower peaked while we were there, and with the absence of light pollution from cities, we could see them quite well. (That is, until the gibbous Moon rose around 11pm…) Literally, we could look up at any given time between sunset and Moonrise and see a meteor within a minute.

Some other random scientific tidbits:

A team of Swedish scientists, with the help of some other Chinese researchers, have discovered a very exact location and date for the birthplace of dogs. Apparently dogs originated from a group of tamed wolves about 16,000 years ago in an area of China south of the Yangtze River. Sadly, it’s also thought that those dogs met their fate in the stomachs of humans. (Via EurekAlert)

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple’s new OS Snow Leopard. It’s not a total upgrade, since the last major update was called Leopard, but it is a significant advance in how the computer utilizes those multiple-core processors that have become standard over the past few years. It all boils down to the OS providing a way for applications to run multiple processes in parallel, or at the same time. Gizmodo has an article that explains it quite well, and I suggest reading it. I’ll probably be upgrading to Snow Leopard pretty soon.

And now I’m simply going to leave you with this incredibly creepy video using time-lapse footage of a rotting apple. No pun on the previous paragraph intended. (Via Kottke)

After hearing 1 track from Belle & Sebastian frontmant Stuart Murdoch’s new soundtrack God Help the Girl, I’m totally sold on getting it. Check out this A.V. Club review of this soundtrack for his yet-to-be-filmed musical of the same title. I think I’m gonna fall in love with this album/soundtrack based on the review and listening to the new version of the single Funny Little Frog from B&S’s last album. I’ll let you know once I have it. I foresee a trip to Grimey’s in my near future to pick up both that and the Those Darlins album. Speaking of them… the track Red Light Love has just been posted over at Nashville Cream. Go grab it.

I’ve been a little lacking in the science department lately, so here’s a good chunk of science news and goodness for you.

NASA just launched a probe bound for the moon. The mission is called LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), and its purpose is to check for frozen water on the surface or just below it, as well as more accurately map the surface. This is all to help us better prepare for our eventual permanent base on the moon. More at Space.com.

Virgin Galactic is hard at work building the much-anticipated Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert. Check out the website for some cool renderings of what it will look like.

This bit of news has been floating around for at least a week now, but it’s still pretty significant and worth posting. We now have absolute, rock-solid evidence of an ancient lake on Mars. We’ve been pretty damn sure water once flowed on the surface of Mars for at least 5 years now, but this latest observation of an ancient shoreline by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has erased all doubt. The Daily Galaxy has more on this, as well as this eye-gasm of a photograph taken from the International Space Station as it passed over Sarychev Volcano while it was erupting on June 12th:

Awesoments and psychics

December 22, 2008

So New York was a blast. I’ll post a link on here to the pics once I go through them and get them uploaded. It snowed about 4 inches in the city on friday, which was beautiful. CSS rocked Webster Hall thur. night, and Prabir & the Substitutes rocked Sullivan Hall Sat. night. The Met was awesome sunday, and the American Museum of Natural History was naturally awesome on Friday.

Today I bring you pure awesomeness in the form of the Periodic Table of Awesoments. It’s a list of all things that can be described as “awesome.” The awesomeness of this awesome table cannot be overstated. I just tried to say “awesome” as many times as I could in that paragraph. Awesome.

Stereogum did some digging around and found the earliest known appearance of Zooey Deschanel in film. It’s an old Offspring music video. Classic.

In this video (1 of many… I haven’t yet watched all of them), Richard Dawkins and Derren Brown talk about the techniques used by psychics and astrologers to fool people into thinking they actually know something about their life or the problems they’re going through. Just watch. If you’re someone who even slightly believes in the so-called “powers” of psychics or palm-readers, etc… hopefully this video will help you see the light. Via Boing Boing.

Spaceport America now has clearance from the FAA to conduct spaceflight from its soon-to-be built facility in New Mexico. In a time when severe budget cuts loom for NASA, the era of commercial spaceflight can’t come soon enough. I seriously doubt we’ll ever see our government have as much interest in space exploration as it did in the 60’s, so we’re going to have to turn to the private sector to see any serious, well-funded endeavours into manned spaceflight. Hopefully NASA can eventually work out a deal with one or some of the many private spaceflight companies that are currently testing/building rockets and spacecraft. Hell, they already contract out many aspects of space shuttle maintenance and launches.

Obama has assembled a kickass team of real scientists to tackle the energy crisis, global warming, and hopefully create a lot of new, secure jobs in the process, thus helping to revitalize the economy. Jan. 20th can’t come soon enough!

Universe Today takes on the 2012 comet/distaster/end-of-the-world bullshit head-on in this article. Nothing is going to happen, people! As the article says, there is nothing more profitable than fear. This is no more evident than in the upcoming movie, 2012. These people will be making millions, even billions, off your fear. Don’t do it!