...except, I haven't really been here. I've gone on some mini-trips (awesome), and I've been job hunting (same old, same old). I probably won't be around much for a good, long while still - at least not until the new season of Chuck starts, which is really the only show I care about anymore. I'll still watch Heroes - sure. But I haven't been interested in the fandom for several months now. If you only friended me for updates about that, no hard feelings if you want to un-friend me (or is it de-friend? Oh well).

This weekend I finished reading Lonesome Dove and was utterly blown away by it. It truly was an epic book, and I never wanted it to end. ::sigh:: I picked up the sequel from the library today - I'm looking forward to another good read. I also finished a story called St. Agnes' Stand. It was also a western, and it was a good action-adventure story with two interesting characters (a loner and a nun - yes, really!). If you are ever inclined to read it, fair warning on some gory moments; I admit to being pretty squeamish, and I lost my appetite a few times while reading. Luckily, it only took me a day and a half to read (or not so luckily - I could stand to eat less!).

Tomorrow morning, around 1:30 AM Eastern time, there's a shuttle launch scheduled that I plan to try to stay up for. This mission is STS-128, and for those keeping track, it's the one that's going to carry the treadmill named after Stephen Colbert to the ISS.

Finally, good luck, Discovery crew!

Tonight I'm going to look over some new work by [livejournal.com profile] seraphtrevs! ::rubs hands together in glee:: But first:

Meet your future robotic overlords' new weapons to spy on us and keep us in line!

Here's the Festo company website.

Maybe it's the glowing blue eyes on the penguins that makes them both kinda creepy and totally awesome.

Oh god, I love science. Even if it's going to spell out our inevitable demise. :D

* Mentos are a product of Brazil

* Uranus has 27 known moons, two of which are called Miranda and Ariel (::geeks out::)

* The US Department of Agriculture recommends one to two bee colonies per acre of watermelon crop for sufficient pollination of the plants. They are also hydrating and delicious (watermelons, that is - not bees).

* My house is close enough to Wallops Island, VA to see rocket launches from NASA's Flight Facility there. I got to see the contrail of the Minotaur I rocket that launched TacSat-3 [PDF] last Tuesday.


Happy Memorial Day, folks! I hope everyone is enjoying their day and maybe even getting the chance to talk to some vets. Most of the people in my family who served are dead now, but it's still a good reminder of everything they did for us.

Yesterday was a freaking fantastic day for me because I got to tune in and watch the livestream of the space shuttle Atlantis return from its mission. They're playing highlights of the mission and the landing on the NASA TV page. It was amazing to first see the computer-model approach the shuttle was taking in real-time over the Pacific Ocean and hear the announcer live call the velocity and altitude. I mean, these were mind-blowing numbers - over 3,000 miles per hour and 300,000 feet at times. The shuttle went from Hawaii to California in minutes. Seriously, you should just let the video play.

Sometimes I think we take the space program for granted, especially since they'd already gone to the moon and all that before a lot of us were even born, so it's something that's always been around. I gained a better appreciation of the shuttle program when I listened to an episode of Astronomy Cast. It was an episode from February, and it literally gave me goosebumps. Goosebumps, I tell you. You can listen to the mp3 here.

No bird-of-prey streaming video collection is complete without this one of a red-tailed hawk nest on the side of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It actually made the evening news the other night, and with the three adorable chicks in the nest, it's easy to see why. :)

It looks like the eagle cam I linked to below has been having technical difficulties (we've been having a hell of a windy week or so here in the east, and I'm thinking it's been knocked around some). It seems like that now it's been reset, the resolution is at a lower quality and the picture has zoomed out, so you'll have to take my word for it that the eaglets (there are two now) are really fluffy and cute.

Luckily, my dad found a link for another livestream of an eagle's nest located out west (British Columbia). It's much clearer, and it also has sound:

Jellyfish gone wild ruin tourist spots, report says.

So when we have been conquered by our evil jellyfish overlords, is there going to be an influx of tentacle porn? Because that's totally what I thought of when I read "Jellyfish gone wild."

Clearly, I have spent too much time on the internet. :P

So we've battened down the hatches here at my house, not because of any threat of a hurricane (though we desperately need rain here - a rain shower has become something of a hazy memory around these parts), but because they're spraying for mosquitoes tonight.

Yeah, we're in the middle of a drought, and they're spraying for mosquitoes.

The reason is because our neck of the woods has been inundated with cases of West Nile Virus, which, while possibly deadly for the very young and the very elderly, is not something we generally need to be worrying over. Most people who become infected don't show any symptoms, and for those who do, it's somewhat flu-like.

What's more worrying is the fact that we've had to cover our vegetables and our tiny fish pond because the chemical they're spraying is very toxic. Granted, the dosage is a very small quantity, but it's extraordinarily deadly for bees (and our whole nation is in danger of losing our native bees) and, apparently, it's toxic to fish. Poor little guys. :(

Whatever happened to not letting your infants and grandparents sit out among the mosquitoes? Is it really necessary to be spraying toxic chemicals over us via airplanes? Really?

New favorite show: NOVA scienceNOW on PBS. I watched it for the first time last night, and it reminded me of Reading Rainbow for adults - of which I heartily approve.

Trufax: I sometimes loop the Reading Rainbow theme song on my mp3 player because I am a geek. A children's librarian geek, but a geek all the same.

So, anyway, I was really impressed with the show, especially the story about the geneticist who essentially figured out how to make sense of the genetic code enough to find where mutations occurred over time in humans. That... is all kinds of cool. And I'm not just saying that because I find genetics to be mind-bending anyhow (what do you call someone who gets only C's in her core cellular/genetics/chemistry classes? Someone who still manages to walk away with a B.S., is full of bs, and is called... [livejournal.com profile] marenpaisley!), but the applications-!

Plus, they had a story where a 12-year-old girl figured out how to extract CO2 from the air using a fish pump and a test tube containing sodium hydroxide for her science project. Seriously, I didn't learn the first thing about chemistry until the 11th grade.

Yeah, so I geeked out last night. Long story short, watch this show! Neil deGrasse Tyson will win you over to the geek side with his awesomeness and explanations made of win. :D

Holy potatoes, it's windy. It's just absolutely howling out there - you can't tell if it's the wind at first, or low-flying aircraft. But since military planes usually don't fly low over the neighborhood at night, you realize it's the wind a half second later. The winds tomorrow are supposed to be 20-30 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Couple that with a daytime high temp of 33F, that makes for nasty windchills. I'm betting the kids have indoor recess tomorrow, too. Joy!

On the other hand, today was a great day to just sleep in, do laundry, eat cookies, and watch DS9 episodes all day. I'm re-evaluating my opinion on Sisko after having watched the sixth season episode Waltz. That was a damn fine episode. These DVDs were a great investment. Ah, geekery! It beats the hell out of reality all the time, at any rate. :D

Yay, Halloween! It's a gorgeous night here, too. :D

Also, has anyone else seen Comet 17p Holmes? I've seen it the last two nights, especially now that the moon is well into waning and is rising later. It's pretty nifty. :D

November 2012

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