Thursday, April 21, 2016

Field Rations

Everything is on the internet. Or, at least, You Tube. Including "unboxing videos" for military field rations.

Potato Moon

Should a crewed expedition to Mars actually go to Phobos instead? What would be the advantages? The disadvantages? There's no money in it yet (let alone tin being bent), but people are (again) thinking about this.


Yes, another list! This time: military SF. Some good picks here, but we always seem to have the same titles over and over again. What of...C.J. Cherryh? And...others?

Gaming for Knowledge

A professor finds that his students are disengaged, introduces a new technique, and gets them excited about learning.

The students are military officers commanding hundreds of troops, the college is not your ordinary institution, and the tools used are not what many might consider. There are a few bumps, a few things to change, but what an interesting way of teaching? Can it be utilized elsewhere in the military? What about in other schools?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dream Mighty Things

Looking for Gamma

High above Earth, and slightly above the cargo bay of space shuttle Atlantis, the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory starts its mission.

Landing Stations

It's a busy day at humanity's orbiting spaceport. All the berths are currently occupied or about to be occupied.

#Protip: Click on the link and then click on the image. What a view.


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us back to Comet 252/P LINEAR, passing near globular cluster Messier 14 in the constellation of Ophiuchus. LINEAR underwent an outburst and was visible (barely) by naked eye.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tranquility Base

An image from the LROC on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows where humanity first stepped onto another sphere. See that nasty-looking crater to the right? The Eagle almost came down along the rim, possibly ending the mission in disaster.

Back to the Approach

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an image from the hard-working Cassini orbiter on approach to Saturn. Cassini is approaching the end of mission (and nothing is lined up to replace it). It'll be a sad day when we're not getting new images from the Lord of the Rings.

On the Edge

The Kepler space observatory (which successfully completed its primary mission) was being aligned to observe a new target when it seems to have gone into emergency mode. Fingers crossed!

Update: Recovered!

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the green flash. I've been told you only see this through the bottom of a Heineken bottle.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Quiet Sky

You know, every now and again you get an Astronomy Picture of the Day that just shows how dull the sky above can be.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lonely Dwarf

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte, a lonely dwarf galaxy. Named for three astronomers, one of the three has a connection with science fiction.

Gentlemen, We Have A Problem

Gentlemen, we have a problem. We behave badly. And when people point this out to us, we behave worse.

We need to do better. Like our hobby? Share it. If we keep it to our circle of white males, our hobby will die.

Also: Behave better when people point out our problem. There seems to be a lot of hissing online in reaction to this. Would you say some of those things to somebody face-to-face? Would you say some of those things and behave in such a fashion to your sister or mother or wife or partner? If so, grow up.

We need to be more tolerant and less of a tantrum-throwing toddler.

Here's the post that created the "controversy" and pointed out how we behave (not a secret, but too long we have ignored that behavior or supported it).

Luckily, there are some white males who are also pointing out our problem. It's a start. More of us need to confront this behavior and take it out.

(There's a reason I stopped going to gaming conventions. There's a reason I've been very careful with how my daughter interacts online and at events. We need to do better.)

Addendum: Another good podcast discussion of the issue, courtesy of The Dice Decide.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Electron Gun

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a very graphic illustration why crewed exploration of Jupiter space will be so difficult. A lot of shielding is going to be needed to keep that crew alive!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Beyond Venus

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing what exoplanet Cancri 55e might look like. Larger than Earth, tidally-locked and possibly the home of a gigantic diamond?