bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Summer Solstice

  • Kinesthetic Astronomy lessons are great for some people, but they only serve to make me dizzy.

  • Longhair cats do have more chance of having litterbox mishaps.

  • There was a fascinating woman in New Orleans in the early 19th Century named Marie Laveau, who was a spiritual and community leader, and this is the first time I've really been interested in New Orleans history.

  • Managing to find the sun on a helioscope is a surprisingly satisfying experience.

  • Pluto is reddish, and it also has a surface made mostly of nitrogen ice.

  • The dwarf planet Eris was given the informal designation "Xena" before it got its official name. But even when it was renamed, its discoverer, Mike Brown, named its moon "Dysnomia," which is a lesser entity associated with Eris. It also doesn't hurt that "dysnomia" means "lawless," so he still managed to slide a Xena reference in there.

  • Kittens are expensive.

  • Saturn's moon Phoebe is constantly spraying another moon, Iapetus, with particles, accounting for Iapetus's weird coloration.

  • Sourdough bread needs a starter, which you can make with flour, a tiny bit of sugar, water, and either wild or bread yeast.

  • Doing the Super Jump 100 times in a row in Super Mario RPG unlocks a badass bit of armor called the Super Suit. Also, I HAVE A SUPER SUIT NOW.

  • The Martian totally lives up to the hype.

  • When making fireballs for science demos, don't test your spritz bottle on the carpet because you might wind up having to stomp out some green fire.

  • Gnomes have a gestational period of 12 months. For some reason I always thought it was 11.

  • Training a parrot to wear a flight harness is not easy.

  • Navajo really is that difficult a language.

  • There is a theory, put forth by a researcher named Kazunori Asada, that Vincent Van Gogh was color blind, and his unusual pallettes were a result of his inability to distinguish certain colors. Comparing paintings with and without a color blind filter reveals a lot about his work, but I also just like this theory because I kind of love Theories About Artists' Perception.*

  • There is a reason the fabric store I go to always looks a bit run-down.

  • Jupiter's moons of Europa, Io, and Ganymede have a 1:2:4 resonance, so for every one orbit Europa completes around Jupiter, Io goes around twice and Ganymede four times. Neat!

  • Being a grownup is busy.



*Partly this is due to a running gag between me and my siblings about pioneering artists who think they're being realistic. Favorite examples include Claude Monet Was Just Painting What He Saw and Philip K. Dick Was Writing A Memoir.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
The Book: The Martian by Andy Weir, a breakaway hit. Maybe you've heard of it.

The Basics: Things have not gone well for the third manned mission to Mars. Just six sols into their thirty-sol mission, a dust storm threatens their ascent vehicle to such an extent that that they have to abort. But as they're fleeing to the vehicle, the storm takes out the communications array, and its collapse kills astronaut Mark Watney super fucking dead. Unable to go back for his body, the crew is forced to leave it behind. And thus, the crew is going to spend the ten-month trip back to Earth very dispirited.

But not nearly as dispirited as Watney is when he WAKES THE FUCK UP STRANDED ALONE ON MARS.

OH SHIT: Yeah, so, he may not be as dead as previously indicated.

So, What Now?: Obviously, Mark's situation is the definition of hopelessly dire: he's on a planet with a very thin atmosphere, enough food to last six people seventy days, living in basically a high-tech tent. It will be four years until anybody can rescue him, but because they think he's dead and he has no way to contact them and tell them otherwise, even that is a longshot. He's clearly going to die.

Except that Mark Watney is an awesome astronaut type person, so after his initial Oh Shit response, he immediately begins considering ways he can survive. Using resourcefulness, creativity, humor, and lots of math, he immediately gets to work making his impossible situation possible. Every time an obstacle is flung in his way, he figures his way around it with duct tape or potatoes or something, and you find yourself looking forward to finding out how he's going to get through THIS completely insurmountable mess.

Sometimes NASA Butts In: And the switch from Mark's first-person log entries to the third-person NASA bits is Weir's weakness. Those portions feel a little like a screenplay or script, and the characters seem a bit stock-Hollywood. One particular character, Mindy, does have an arc, but it's an oddly clunky one. Still, it's got some fun stuff--NASA's eventual realization that Something Is Up is pretty entertaining.

Favorite Bit Of Survivaling: The part where he builds water. Yes, he survives some more immediate and alarming things, true, although his water building is explosive as hell. But I just love that he can fucking BUILD WATER out of its components.

Space Place Book Club Time!: So for some reason a whole bunch of us Space Placers independently decided to start reading this last week. I did because my sister's been after me to read it. I think the others did because the movie is coming out. I waited to finish the book before watching the trailer. And while Matt Damon does not look at all like the Mark Watney in my head, hot DAMN I want to see the movie now.

In Conclusion: I am really pleased that OMGSCIENCE! is becoming so popular in media recently. Especially when the stories are as great as this one. I hope the pendulum doesn't swing away from this too fast, because I want more things like The Martian. Go check it out!


DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do Hindus really say "Oh, gods"? I appreciate him diversifying his cast, but I'm seriously wondering if that's a thing.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Spring Equinox

  • Being head of a household is time-consuming, but rewarding.

  • Smart Watches are pretty dang fun.

  • Getting a business license is an annoying process.

  • If you fill a ping-pong ball with one hole in it with liquid nitrogen and then drop it into a pan of room temperature water, it'll flail around like a groundflower.

  • Kittens are busy.

  • They also flail around like groundflowers if you put collars on them.

  • A holomictic lake is one in which the layers of water mix at least once a year. A meromictic lake's water layers never mix.

  • You may actually be able to feel pneumonia in your lungs. Weird.

  • Dandelion champagne has a nice bite to it.

  • I can wear a cocktail dress if I get some leggings.

  • Carroll Spinney/Big Bird was almost slated to go into orbit, but the costume was too big. Which means he didn't get to go for his scheduled ride on ... the Challenger shuttle.

  • Being the "coach" for shows is almost as nerve-wracking as being the student.

  • There is such a thing as Nutella-flavored gelato.

  • The name "Saoirse" is pronounced "SEER-shuh."

  • Nikki Akuma-Bird needs to star in her own action space opera.

  • The term for oxygen-carrying blood cells is "erythrocyte."

  • At 3:00 a.m. or so in early June I can see the Milky Way unaided if I concentrate!

  • Kidney failure is one of the most common ailments of senior cats.

  • Trimming grape vines is a nice meditative process. You trim a lot, but it does grow back.

  • The bearded vulture is the only known warm-blooded osteophage--it eats actual bones. It has one tough gut.

  • A "ginger bug" is like a starter for sodas that makes use of wild yeasts.

  • Sun conures really are friendly little buggers. And loud. So loud.

  • And not all of them are really into toys. Some just want to chill on your shoulder.

  • Unless you're chewing something. Then they will bite your ear.

  • They can be potty trained after a fashion, though. Which is nice.

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrom is another weird disorder that leads to things like oversized bones, stretchy skin, extreme flexibility, and other such strange effects.

  • Social change is messy, slow and difficult, but it does not do to get discouraged.

bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Madness)
Had an audience member in the Dome today ask if the Dome program had "all the star names," because his family bought some star names on "the registry."

Um. Sorry, buddy. I have some bad news for you about your star names.

Yeah, don't waste your money, guys. It would be just as official if you went outside and just gave whatever names you liked to the stars,* and much cheaper. Or you can help name exoplanets. But stars? Nope.

Not sure how you'd break that to someone who's already bought a star name, though. I guess "You learned something today!" is about as good as it gets.


*Not that I'm discouraging that. I'm working out a whole astrological system for a constructed culture, which is ... exactly as accurate as our own astrological systems. But it's really fun to come up with new ways to name the stars.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
I still don't get why people care so much about this, but some of these tweets did make me laugh.


"Yeah! Next is EARTH! I'm gonna demote EARTH! YEAH, YOUR WORST NIGHTMARES ARE COMIN' TRUE!"

Even at the beginning I was completely baffled by the backlash. I myself was pleased that we had reclassified it, since it showed that we are discovering more things and fine-tuning our understanding of classifications. We were creating more order.

But we get these protests all the time at the Space Place. It's crazy. A lot of these kids weren't even born when they changed Pluto's status. But we've made such a big deal that kids identify with the underdog.

So I've started to combat that. I've been explaining that Pluto's like the Ugly Duckling.

That's right, the story by Hans Christian Anderson about a little duckling who was, frankly, really bad at being a duck. Duckhood was beyond him, and he was weird and left out. At least he was until he realized something--he wasn't a duck at all, dammit, he was a SWAN, and presumably he was a lot better at being a swan.*

Same thing with Pluto, I tell the kids. It was really weird and bad at being a planet--until we figured out that it wasn't a planet at all! It was a DWARF PLANET, and there were other dwarf planets it could be friends with, and it was a forerunner for the new category and probably was a lot happier now, god dammit.

Hey, it's another story kids identify with. Maybe this will be enough to make them happy.

Or maybe the New Horizons photos will. I dunno. Pluto's not my thing, but it's still gonna be fun to see what it looks like. Just a few more months!


Discussion Question: Do you guys know the difference between a solar system and a galaxy? I'm always surprised at how many people don't. NDT isn't the only one who is quite used to getting that confusion.


*Though having been raised by ducks, he probably wasn't really exemplary at swanning, but he did find himself in a unique position to be able to bridge the gap between ducks and swans in the neverending duck/swan conflicts and perhaps lead the way toward peace between all waterfowl. But that's getting a bit esoteric for a fable about scientific reclassification.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
SO I SAW INTERSTELLAR Y'ALL.

I ... hmmm.

Um ...

Huh.

That sure was a movie, that was.

I guess I hadn't really considered the fact that, as a Christopher Nolan movie, the thing could conceivably be made entirely of climaxes. Or that, like pretty much all the Nolan movies I've seen, I'd come away not with a big picture, but a sort of composite of Things I Liked and Things I Didn't Like. And as far as the story goes, the bits I was interested in (I really love the humanistic message that we can transcend ourselves) were fused inextricably with bits that just kind of annoyed me (no, seriously, you are fucking with causality like you're a goddamn Star Trek episode).

It was overwrought. I got really tired of the long, drawn-out climaxes and Hans Zimmer's All-Heartstring Orchestra Score. It was a huge oversell. But then, it's not hard to sell me on OMG SPACE!--I already am all about going and checking it out.* However, I know a lot of The Public is not interested in "wasting" (FUCK YOU) money on space, so I hope it does what it was trying to and inspires some people who aren't so into our spacey future to rethink that stance, because getting to space is ultimately going to be necessary (and awesome) for us. Ultimately I think that's probably a good thing.

But, uh, for my money? Erik Wernquist's three-and-a-half-minute video Wanderers was far more inspiring than this three-hour blockbuster. I am glad others have been inspired by it. But me, I'll stick with those Wanderers.



(Although I may have shrieked in excitment when, almost at the end, Matthew McConaughey sees a thing. ) Those things are cool.)


*Though not with Mars One. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED that Mars One's plans do not appear to be all that well-thought-out?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
Tonight we had our first neighborhood party of the year. When it started to get dark, I pointed upward.

ME: Hey, look! It's Jupiter!
NEIGHBOR KID I HADN'T MET BEFORE: Oh! And there's also a hot dog in the sky! Canis Minor!
ME: ... What grade are you in?
KID: Sixth!
ME: Have you perchance been to the Space Place?
KID: Yeah!
KID'S DAD: You work there! I knew your voice sounded familiar!
ME: And I am just pleased somebody remembered one of the things I told you about the sky!
KID: Yup! Also Betelgeuse will explode!
ME: You are exactly correct!

See, this is why I basically do stand-up astronomy. If you make dumb jokes, like saying that the two bright stars of Canis Minor seem more like a hot dog than an actual dog, kids will remember it! And then you'll feel proud and a little surreal that they do.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Awesome)
DAD: Off to work, then?
ME: Yup! Dome shows today.
DAD: I don't know if I ever told you this, but when I was about eleven or twelve, we came down to visit Salt Lake City, and I got to go to the old planetarium.
ME: Did they have the dome running?
DAD: Oh, YEAH. Now, remember, this was the time when I was really into model rockets and had written a letter to NASA requesting information about spaceflight.* So then I get to this theater, and--you know how it feels like you're moving?
ME: I have to assure people they aren't actually moving in all my intros.
DAD: Well, it was like that. And it just--BLEW. ME. AWAY.
ME: No kidding! I always try to get that feeling for the kids in my shows!
DAD: They even let me take the remote that drove to different stars! I WAS LIKE CAPTAIN KIRK!
ME: That's cool! I wonder how they did that with the old projectors. It's all computers now.
DAD: It was absolutely AMAZING. ... Of course, it turned out later that day that my leg was septic from a scrape I had and I had to go to the hospital, so I could have just been delirious, but it was still life-changing.
ME: Hey, don't knock it. I am pretty sure most of the kids oohing and ahhing in my dome aren't battling blood infections.
DAD: Anyway, MY POINT IS, and now you're doing these shows. It's like I have a legacy.
ME: Oh, man, so I'm like Dome Trek: The Next Generation? I'm like Picard? I'LL TAKE IT.


*You'd think that NASA would've had some sort of ready-made information package available for kids at that point, what with the Space Race and how they were insisting to kids (well, boys) across the nation that they had to bone up on science and math and engineering in order to beat those darn commies into space, but apparently whoever got Dad's letter at NASA was taken totally by surprise that a kid actually WANTED any information. He got back a package consisting of a whole bunch of random rocket specs and technical information that seemed to be cobbled together from whatever copies they had lying around.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
Cool news today on the science (or even just science fiction) front: really old planetary systems!

Following exoplanet news is like getting all the ideas for your sci-fi story at once. I love living in This Day And Age.

Good Things

Jan. 4th, 2015 09:40 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Walken)
Happy Earth Closest To The Sun Day, y'all! I love teaching kids about this. They get to feel all smart when they tell everyone about how we're actually closest to the sun in (Northern Hemisphere) winter!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I've Learned Since The Fall Equinox

  • Finnish-speakers play havoc with their own crazy case system, because there are so many different dialects.

  • Enameled copper can offer some bright colors to your chainmaille, but boy is it soft!

  • My original query letter was probably better than the revamped one.

  • Hatching birds' wings look ridiculously flippery and adorable.

  • Flu shots do not make you invincible.

  • There actually is a way to fix the digestive issues I've had since getting rid of the chestburster. Figures I'd take 14 months to actually think to ask my doctor about it.

  • I apparently don't remember the periodic table at all. Everything I thought I knew turned out to be wrong.

  • Body cameras on cops apparently wouldn't help, as grand juries will see videos of cops committing homicide and still not indict.

  • Remember to oil your bottle capper or it will lock up annoyingly.

  • There really were some Chuck E. Cheese murders back in the day, which might be what Five Nights At Freddy's is based on.

  • Upon going to schools for Space Place Outreach, I realized that all of those damn posters all over the wall are a huge problem for me because I have to read them. The other person has to keep snapping me out of a daze. God, I must have been so overstimulated as a student.

  • Gifted education is a lot more difficult than I expected.

  • I am okay at making lecture plans, but activity plans are beyond me.

  • Surface tension keeps your tears stuck to your face out in space.

  • After you've poured boiling water on your fingers, you might have to drain your blisters just to keep them from exploding when you flex your fingers.

  • Checking out sunspots with solar filters is pretty dang cool.

  • Suddenly becoming a de facto homeowner is a daunting prospect.

  • There is methane on Mars! HMMM.

Discovery!

Dec. 17th, 2014 09:52 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
Hey, this is pretty cool: Curiosity found a big burst of methane on Mars!

Because my brain is wired for sci-fi, my natural first response is "COULD THAT BE LITTLE FARTING MICROBES," which is only one possibility out of a lot of "probably not life" possibilities, so this isnt conclusive. But it sure is interesting, isn't it?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
Did anyone in the right regions get to see the solar eclipse today? I thought I wasn't going to because paradoxically I was stuck in the Space Place Dome Theater for a shift,* but nobody showed up for one of the shows because THERE WAS AN ECLIPSE GOING so I had time to run out and hang with the Space Place Eclipse Party for a bit and look through the filtered telescopes and through the filtered glasses and DEAR GOD PLEASE DON'T LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT A FILTER PEOPLE.

So yeah, we partied like Space Place people, by which I mean a bunch of nerds stood around and tried to see who could explain space the loudest while peering through telescopes. And now I've got mylar-filtered glasses so I can check out the sun with impunity WHENEVER I DAMN WELL PLEASE and every time I'll feel a little bit defiant. TAKE THAT, THE SUN!

Then I had to go back to Dome Jail. But it was clouding up anyway, so that was fine. I'm just glad I got to see it.


*I suppose on the plus side I could always simulate the eclipse ...
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
Oh, hey, guys, don't forget--about 9 hours from now (4-5 a.m. my Mountain Daylight Time) there's gonna be a total lunar eclipse. If you're in a place where the moon's still visible at that point you'll be able to see it turn a terrifying blood red for a while. Perfect Halloween moon, no?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Summer Solstice:

  • [livejournal.com profile] childthursday really exists! AND SHE IS AWESOME

  • SO IS HER WIFE

  • Piano dissassembly is an undertaking fraught with peril, what with the large number of wires under high tension.

  • African wild dogs have gorgeous coats.

  • The cilantro wars are a bit one-sided: 90% of people can't taste the particular aldehydes that mimic bleach (read: POISON)

  • Fifty Shades of Grey is even more awful than I thought, so that not even a good sporking can make me an antifan.

  • The first regular African-American character in a Saturday morning cartoon show was Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats.

  • While I love watching horror movies, playing horror games is apparently one degree too close for my fragile amygdala.

  • But, as it turns out, I love watching horror game playthroughs by other people.

  • It is upsetting when the deserts of Southern Utah have a layer of green over them.

  • There is a Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago!

  • Even if they have much higher mass, sub-brown dwarf stars are generally roughly the same radius as Jupiter, due to complicated interactions of various pressure factors.

  • THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A CANDY BAR STUFFED WITH CAKE MIX

  • Astronauts do drop stuff all over the place when they come back from a stint in space. (As somebody said, "NOBODY GIVE HIM A BABY.")

  • T-rex's puny arms were still attached to tons of muscle and could probably take you apart pretty easily.

  • Amercan police departments have somehow turned into terrifying supervillain organizations.

  • Terrifying, racist supervillain organizations.

  • It's important to get the correct generic brand of your Fukitol unless you want to enjoy days of simulating life on a pirate ship.

  • The Tinker Bell movies actually might have better messages than the books, what with the way Tinker Bell herself is a straight-up mechanical engineer in the movies, rather than a "pots-and-pans-talent fairy" of the books. Dude, she can be girly AND an engineer!

  • I apparently do very well teaching toward gifted kids, and less well teaching toward other kids. I tend to forget that not everyone can keep up. STORY OF MY LIFE.

  • There are varying categories of anemia depending on how the shortage of hemoglobin comes about--either impaired production, increased destruction, or straight blood loss.

  • The water level of the Chicago River is lower than that of Lake Michigan and has to be kept that way with harbor locks, because of some big engineering stunt to reverse the flow of the river back in the day. THE TRIUMPH OF MAN!

  • I still love point'n'click games.

  • There are tons of extremely interesting methods of alternative construction available if one wants to, say, build a cost-effective eco-friendly hobbit hole at some point.

  • The most intriguing of which seems to be earth-sheltered building at the moment.  HMMMM ...

Level Up!

Sep. 18th, 2014 10:55 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Pintsize Party!)
My first Space Place live presentation went AMAZINGLY well! The guy who's been coaching me said the only thing I need to do is work through a few more just to get the feel for it, and other than that it was the best first time he'd ever seen. And bear in mind, this guy taught my acting classes when I was a kid, so that's GREAT to hear!

Man, I'm having a good week. Next up: Talk Like A Pirate Birthday!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
Gonna do my first live dome show tomorrow. Wish me luck!
bloodyrosemccoy: (ABCDEF Cookie Monster)
It is Day Camp Week at the Space Place! Oh, god, kill me now.

A few observations:

1. I have very little patience for rowdy third-grade boys. This might be unfair to them, but at least it makes me consistent, since I really had no use for rowdy third-grade boys back in third grade. I was the kid furiously wishing these other little fuckers would just settle the hell down so we could get some learning done or, ideally, so I could read my damn book in peace. Jeezus, school was exhausting.

2. Earnest nerd kids, though, are my favorite. The whip-smart ones who want to tell you all about X-TREME SPACE! or announce that their favorite planet is an exoplanet just make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

3. When I was a kid, I dreaded those scavenger hunt worksheets they sometimes gave you on field trips. They were a painful, anxiety-laced way to learn things. Now that I am older and wiser and able to observe younger kids, I can tell you that they still seem massively inefficient. The aforementioned rowdy kids are too busy hollering fart jokes at each other* to even pay attention to the exhibits, and the neurotic nerds get so hung up on filling out the sheet correctly that they miss the parts of the trip they'd otherwise find enthralling and thus secretly educational.

It did kill 20 minutes, though.

4. There's a nice teenage volunteer helping with the day camp. She has decided that we're friends. So she sits next to me, deep inside my personal space bubble, preferably at about my four o'clock. When I try to move--say, get up to get a drink of water and sit back down in a chair farther away from her, she immediately comes over and sits next to me in the new location. I think I'm managing to be nice, though I'm not sure. I have managed not to side kick her in the pelvis upon catching her over my shoulder AGAIN, so that's something.

5. Why the fuck does Pluto appeal so much to kids? These little bastards were still in diapers when it got reclassified as a dwarf planet, and yet they still say it's their favorite planet and that it's getting a bum rap. I always thought it was a space rock far less interesting than, say, Mars or Neptune, but kids seem to really identify with it or something.

And yes, I was glad when it was reclassified, mostly because of my sense of order. Its reclassification happened because we found a lot of other similar objects, which means that we are refining our definitions as further information comes to light. I found that highly satisfying. But when I talk to kids about it, I am more likely to say that I'm happy it's been reclassified because how would you like to go to a big family reunion and be the only kid at the grownups' table? That's boring! Maybe that's how Pluto felt when it was considered a planet, instead of a dwarf planet like its friends.

Anyway, yeah. That was Day 1. Tune in to Day 2, to see if I punt anybody through the wall! I just hope the nerds stay enthusiastic enough to counter that.


*Okay, yes, when I say "fart jokes," I pretty much exclusively mean they yell the word "fart" a lot.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
My friend had a baby today. Today, I want you to know, is an AWESOME day to have a baby because HOLY SHIT IT'S MOON-LANDING DAY. This is the anniversary of the first time humans put their feet on a not-Earth. Because they were romping around on the god damn MOON.

Maybe this baby's birthday is an auspicious sign and she will help us get BACK to the Moon! Or even beyond!

Happy Moonday, baby!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I've Learned Since The Spring Equinox

  • In an early script for The Little Mermaid Ursula was supposed to be Triton's sister. It kinda shines through.

  • Lily Tomlin played Miss Frizzle in the Magic School Bus show.

  • Annie Jump Cannon, who developed stellar classification, was ridiculously super-focused. She would spend each day painstakingly going through stars and categorizing them with spectroscopy. As someone who enjoys that sort of tedious infosifting, I am always glad when someone else who likes doing that gets recognized.

  • The modern white greasepaint clown look was invented by Joseph Grimaldi in the late 18th Century. I'd curse his name, but without him we wouldn't have the greatest comic book villain ever, so I salute you, you creepy clown!

  • Literary agents like to play musical agencies, so you're never sure which agency you've queried and which agent.

  • It turns out the "Augie's Great Municipal Band" song from The Phantom Menace was NOT intended to be a bouncy upbeat foreshadowing version of the Emperor's theme. I find this extremely disappointing. Here I was all "That's BRILLIANT!" and it was just a coincidence. The few points I give to the prequels must be deducted again.

  • Io's crazy volcanic activity is all due to the gravitational free-for-all between Jupiter and Jupiter's other big moons.

  • The latest theory about why lunar maria are only on the near side of the moon is that the moon was quickly tide-locked to Earth after they split, and the still-molten Earth kept the rock vaporized and blew things like aluminum to the far side of the moon and thus made the crust thicker. So it was a lot easier for the near side's crust to crack and bleed out the lava that hardened into those basaltic plains.

  • Handwriting is part of the Utah core curriculum--because of the neurological and developmental benefits. This is apparently unusual.

  • The great battle between British and French food hinges entirely on the quality of ingredients. The better your ingredients, the less need you have to complicate them with sauces and so forth. Rich People Food used to be blank chunks of meat. The Garbage Parts Of The Food only got popular as Rich People Food after everyone figured out how to make them good.

  • Antarctica's elevation is pretty high, bro.

  • Chainmaille weaving is hard on your back muscles.

  • The night sky on a planet inside a globular cluster would be pretty dang bright.

  • One of the most fun things to do with liquid nitrogen is to dump it out when you're done demonstrating its uses. POOF!

  • Balloons do not scare me if they are only partially blown up.

  • A lot of Catullus's poems were basically old-timey versions of hip-hop grudges.

  • The original difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is that ginger beer is brewed, with yeast and so forth, and ale is ginger syrup in carbonated water. That's the original difference. Nobody cares anymore, though.

  • The hipster soda section of the supermarket is terribly fun.

  • I can make an awesome rose ginger lemon soda, but it must be drunk within a week or two or it will turn beery.

  • There is such a thing as conductive thread. So you can sew LEDs into your clothing!

  • Astronomy dome theaters have great models of the skies of all sorts of other planets. You can watch Jupiter's phases from Europa, for crying out loud!

  • Unsurprisingly, nerds who work on the slides for spherical screens are more than willing to abuse their power. Science On A Death Star!

  • Sometimes you can take a chance with a new job and it turns out TOTALLY AWESOME.

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