Monday, April 30, 2007

The ISS is nice, I suppose. But what do they even do up there on it? Do you know? I don't know. It's probably useful stuff. Learning more about long-term space habitation is always good.

The Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (image from NASA)

But what I do know is what the Hubble Telescope does: it gives us enormous amounts of information about the universe by showing us detailed visuals we otherwise wouldn't have. It helped is measure the Hubble constant much better, it taught us about black holes, galaxies, the early universe, future universal expansion, extrasolar planets, nearby planets and what happens when a comet crashes into a planet... Hundreds of important papers have been published based on images from Hubble Space Telescope.

Second to going to the Moon, this thing is probably NASA's greatest success, and that's pretty darn good. Did we go to the Moon once and then say 'Okay, that's all'? No, we went back again and again, because we were still learning new stuff. Eventually we stopped. The budget was shrinking, probably because it got to be old hat in the eyes of many Americans. The alternative would have been to kick it up a notch: build a base, head on to Mars, or, oh!, how about putting a big telescope on the surface of the Moon? No atmosphere there, eh? But, no. We let that die for the time being. Moved on to other things. Such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

That they want to let the telescope die isn't what bothers me. I can't even grok that bit of news. What irks me is that they haven't sent up an entire array of more powerful orbital telescopes appals me. It's time to kick the Hubble Space Telescope up a notch. It's still giving us good information, but it can only point in one direction at once, and there's a lot of stuff out there for us to study. Let's build some more telescopes and start looking around. (Can't afford it? We could stop so many things like the B-2 Spirit [2 100 000 000USD a pop])

Sunday, April 29, 2007

There's a train that runs behind our house. Well, behind the woods behind the huge lot behind our house. You can hear it when it drives by. Plus, it likes to toot its horn.

Anyway, it always goes by at 1am. Only I've been wondering lately whether it does any more. I tune it out, and I'm usually asleep at that time.

But I hear it now. It's there. And tooty.

I don't mind trains. Trains come by and then are gone. Cars on the highway, however, are intermittent and just don't stop coming.

(Hello, train. I said you come by and then are gone. You can stop tooting now. Jeez.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

A pile of cinderblocks
The mission: investigate the claim that the Great Pyramid of Giza is roughly 146 meters tall.
The method: In the famous Mythbusters tradition, I will attempt to replicate the feat myself. If I don't succeed within ten minutes, the myth will be busted.

Step one: I'll take the blocks from there and pile them over here.

A cinderblock pyramid
After roughly fifteen minutes of non-stop construction, my pyramid is as big as it's going to get. The time limit has been reached.

Luca Masters sitting atop his cinderblock pyramid.
I've never visited Egypt, but I imagine it must be something like this.

Luca Masters next to his cinderblock pyramid.
Alas, after fifteen minutes of construction, the pyramid is not even two meters tall. This proves conclusively that if the Great Pyramid of Giza exists, it's a lot shorter than people claim. Probably just a lie the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism likes to spread.

Wikipedia claims that the Great Pyramid of Giza stood 146.6 meters tall when the Egyptians built it in 2570bce.

Convinced this was a myth, I headed outside and attempted to construct such a pyramid of my own. After over ten minutes of trying, however, my attempt at a perfect replica was still under two meters heigh. Thus, we now have scientific proof that the Great Pyramid of Giza does not exist, or that if it does, it's a lot shorter than they claim.

Another myth busted. Now where's my tv series?

Okay, so I took over a hundred photos at the recent FLT gathering (homeschooling group). Lots of kids. I should be able to post those without anyone getting upset (though I know people who would be upset if I posted photos of them). How about labelling who each person is? With their full name? And address?

Okay, I'm not including the addresses, and usually I only know the first name. Surely /that/ much is fine, right?

These people are mostly sensible. They won't care, I suspect.