Great tribute image by NASA, ISS science officer Samantha Cristoforetti, and Star Trek designer Michael Okuda. I’ll let slide the Next Generation communicator pin and it’s too-high placement on the tunic, and just enjoy the Enterprise NCC-1701 no bloody A, B, C, OR D! floating outside the window. I would say the shirt is the wrong shade of blue, but with the recent flap about the color of clothing flying around the Internet these days, I’ll just let it pass.
March 3, 2015
August 27, 2014
Since most people know more about astrology than astronomy (and, no, they’re not the same thing), this nonsense has been making the rounds on Facebook recently. Needless to say (at least to anyone who paid attention in junior high school science class), Mars will not appear to be as big as the Moon.
The absolute closest distance the Earth and Mars can theoretically ever come to each other is 33.9 million miles. We’ve never observed that, due to the elliptical nature of the orbits of planets. An approach that close requires a coincidental alignment of orbits that is exceedingly rare. So rare, that it’s not been observed in human history.
For comparison, the orbits of Venus and the Earth can come within 24 million miles of each other. The diameter of Venus is 3,032 miles, while Mars is 4,212 (not much difference in the grand scheme of planets). Earth’s diameter is 7,918 miles. (give or take. It’s a bit more at the equator, less at the poles, due to the spin of the planet on it’s axis.) Venus, even at it’s closest approach, 10 million miles closer than Mars ever gets, never appears as more than a bright star in the morning or evening sky, so the idea that Mars will look like our Moon is, simply, hooey. Never going to happen.
If you ever do see something in the sky as big as the Moon (that’s not the Moon), we’re in deep shit. That’s either the Death Star, or Gallifrey.
Either one of those, and we’re screwed.
June 19, 2014
April 21, 2014
April 18, 2014
Visalia’s City Council recently invoked severe water use restrictions for landscaping and car washing.
Here’s the info on the rules, now in effect in Visalia, brazenly appropriated from the City’s own website:
Odd = Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
Even = Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8)
September 28, 2013
On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the local newspaper, The Visalia Times Delta, published in the print edition an article I wrote on September 18 and posted to my blog “Alternating Currents” (where I post as one of three community bloggers on their website. You can read “Hate in a small town” here). Partially visible is another Times Delta article from 1996 that mentions me and other HAM radio operators as we were preparing for Field Day. The two identical looking plaques are the 2012 and 2013 proclamations issued by the City of Visalia, proclaiming June LGBT Pride Month in the city. These proclamations were signed by the Mayor Shuklian and the four other City Council members. (Take that, Porterville!) Also on the wall is my certificate from the Visalia Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, issued in May 1999. Down in the corner is my Starfleet Academy diploma, certifying my status as an officer in good standing in the Federation Starfleet. Not visible are documents and diplomas that are work related, including POST training certificates, Dispatcher of the Year (2005), my HAM radio license, and other work related items.