I'm delighted to announce that in the July 2016 issue of Apex Magazine, released today, I have an interview with Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, about his new book "Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages." If you follow the first link above you can find out the rest of the contents and buy the issue for the incredibly low price of only $2.99.

(And you want this issue. I've already read some of the stories in here and they're most excellent.)
Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy, the day when the space shuttle exploded and NASA lost seven astronauts: Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. Their sacrifice is memorialized at Arlington National Cemetery.

For the people of my generation, the Challenger tragedy was our equivalent of the Kennedy assassination. Because a schoolteacher, McAuliffe, was on board, many schools had chosen to show the launch live to their students over television. The launch took place around 11:30 AM EST, and seventy-three seconds into the flight, the shuttle exploded. People were confused at first, but it soon became clear that NASA was experiencing what they euphemistically refer to as an LOCV: loss of crew and vehicle.

I didn't see the explosion live, but I still remember that day vividly. My own story is as follows. I was in 11th grade at the time at Hunter College High School. One of our school's Chemistry teachers, Francine Salzman, had applied for the Teacher-in-Space program but not been accepted. So we were all keenly aware of the meaning of the launch.

The school's lunch period took place from 11:10 AM to 12 noon, if I remember correctly, and after eating lunch I went to hang out in the school library with friends. I was sitting in the front area of the library when my friend Christina Sormani walked in and asked if I had heard the news about the shuttle. I said no, and she told me that it had blown up during the launch. I protested that she was kidding, and she assured me that she wasn't.

I realized she was serious and I started to cry. I cried so much that Tina thought I personally knew one of the astronauts. I didn't, of course; at the time, like all of us, the only one I could actually name was McAuliffe. But I was crying for them nevertheless, and for the dashed hopes and dreams of an entire human race that yearns to go to the stars. I knew that this would cause a major setback in our space program; and I could only hope that it wouldn't crush it entirely.

That afternoon, when we got home, there was an ironic coda. My father had been applying to the Journalist-in-Space program, and on that very day we received the postcard from NASA indicating that all his applications materials were in. And years later, in 2003, McAuliffe and my father were my own inspirations as I applied unsuccessfully to be an Educator Astronaut.

Today is the anniversary of the Challenger tragedy, the day when the space shuttle exploded and NASA lost seven astronauts: Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. Their sacrifice is memorialized at Arlington National Cemetery.

For the people of my generation, the Challenger tragedy was our equivalent of the Kennedy assassination. Because a schoolteacher, McAuliffe, was on board, many schools had chosen to show the launch live to their students over television. The launch took place around 11:30 AM EST, and seventy-three seconds into the flight, the shuttle exploded. People were confused at first, but it soon became clear that NASA was experiencing what they euphemistically refer to as an LOCV: loss of crew and vehicle.

I didn't see the explosion live, but I still remember that day vividly. My own story is as follows. I was in 11th grade at the time at Hunter College High School. One of our school's Chemistry teachers, Francine Salzman, had applied for the Teacher-in-Space program but not been accepted. So we were all keenly aware of the meaning of the launch.

The school's lunch period took place from 11:10 AM to 12noon, if I remember correctly, and after eating lunch I went to hang out in the school library with friends. I was sitting in the front area of the library when my friend Christina Sormani walked in and asked if I had heard the news about the shuttle. I said no, and she told me that it had blown up during the launch. I protested that she was kidding, and she assured me that she wasn't.

I realized she was serious and I started to cry. I cried so much that Tina thought I personally knew one of the astronauts. I didn't, of course; at the time, like all of us, the only one I could actually name was McAuliffe. But I was crying for them nevertheless, and for the dashed hopes and dreams of an entire human race that yearns to go to the stars. I knew that this would cause a major setback in our space program; and I could only hope that it wouldn't crush it entirely.

That afternoon, when we got home, there was an ironic coda. My father had been applying to the Journalist-in-Space program, and on that very day we received the postcard from NASA indicating that all his applications materials were in. And years later, in 2003, McAuliffe and my father were my own inspirations as I applied unsuccessfully to be an Educator Astronaut.
My annual holiday message:

Tomorrow, of course, is Christmas. If you're celebrating Christmas, may you have a merry one, full of happiness.

It's also Isaac Newton's birthday, something I always like to commemorate given my background in Physics.

And back in the month of November, I celebrated the festival of Chanukah. Let's take each of these in turn.

Read more... )

So that's it. To all my Christian friends, as I said before, may you have a merry and joyous Christmas. To all my Jewish friends, I hope you had a happy Chanukah. To all my friends who celebrate some other holiday of the season, may it be for good. And for those of my friends who celebrate no holiday at all, may you enjoy a good start to the Gregorian New Year of 2014.
Well, this is interesting... :-)

Event: Michael A. Burstein Imagines Technical Communication in 2073


From The New England Chapter of the Society of Technical Communication:

Live in the Northeast? Please join us in Burlington, MA!

Live elsewhere? Please connect through our webinar!

In the future – 2073, to be precise – will people still need to read procedures? Will they still have to read instruction sheets to put their furniture – or their spaceships? Will they still need to look stuff up?

Michael A. Burstein, a long-time member of SFWA, will share his ideas at the October meeting and webinar of the New England Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. Burstein has a Master’s in Physics and has published frequently in Analog magazine. He is a winner of the Campbell Award and a frequent Hugo and Nebula nominee for his short fiction. Find out more here.

A panel of seasoned technical communicators will respond:

Neil Perlin—A tech comm consultant with 20+ years’ experience, Neil is undaunted by any technical challenge, including the latest demands for mobile technical documents. His webinars and presentations on the theme “Beyond the Bleeding Edge” always bring technical writing up to the minute.

Marguerite Krupp—A technical writer, editor, and manager with many years’ experience, a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, Marguerite brings long experience, depth of understanding, and a great sense of humor to the challenges and changes of technical communication.

Steve Greffenius—A technical communicator with wide-ranging technical experience, who has held the full range of professional roles from writer to manager to STC New England President, Steve brings curiosity and insight to possibilities we can only glimpse now.

Please join us in person or through our webinar on October 16, 2013.

Webinar: $15.00
Sit-down dinner and program Burlington, MA: $25.00 for SFWA or STC members– use our membership rate and notify us that you’re from SFWA
A newspaper ad I saw this morning that used the phrase "quantum leap" to promote the company's new technology got me wondering about the origins of the flawed metaphorical meaning.

My background is in Physics, and in the world of science a "quantum leap" or "quantum jump" has a very specific meaning, in which an atom transitions from one energy state to another. The higher states take less energy to achieve, so in science a quantum leap is one that becomes less and less significant. I've always been amused (and bothered, I'll admit) that the metaphorical phrase has come to mean a very large advance, no matter what.

So I just checked the online Oxford English Dictionary, and found their earliest citation for the metaphorical meaning:


1956 H. L. Roberts Russia & Amer. i. 10 The enormous multiplication of power, the ‘quantum leap’ to a new order of magnitude of destruction, is something very real and comprehensible.


It may have been used before, but as far as the OED is concerned, the guilty party is one H.R. Roberts, who wrote a book called "Russia and America" that was published in 1956. However, a quick Google search turns up nothing significant about Mr. or Ms. Roberts.

Anyone know where I can find more?

(By the way, for those interested, the OED's official definition of "quantum leap" in its metaphorical meaning is "A sudden, significant, or very evident (usually large) increase or advance.")
As some of you already know, it was reported yesterday that Gary David Goldberg, the creator of the TV shows Family Ties and Brooklyn Bridge, had died. I read his autobiography "Sit, Ubu, Sit" when it came out in 2008, and the story he told on page 108 of how he finally earned his college degree stayed with me. I love this story so much that I have taken the time to type it up so I could share it with you. Enjoy.

From "Sit, Ubu, Sit" by Gary David Goldberg:

"...I am also scheduled to receive my B.A. and graduate next term. However, at the last minute, after one and a half years at San Diego, two years at Brandeis, three years at Hofstra, semesters scattered about at Long Beach State, UC Berkeley, and San Francisco State, after thirteen years in college, I am told I'm still short one unit of biology.

"I go to the head of the Biology Department, Dr. Claude Merzbacher, and explain my story. I've been in college since the presidency of John F. Kennedy. I have a family. Diana's going to be teaching at USC. I'm going up to L.A. with her to try to be a comedy writer. I love biology as much as the next guy, but I don't have time to make up this one unit.

"Dr. Merzbacher's great. He totally gets it, and tells me he'll give me the one unit. Three conditions. One: Go out in the backyard tonight and write a page or two about what I see and hear. Two: I have to promise that if I ever write about scientists in general, and biologists in particular, I will portray them in a positive light. And three: If I ever win an award or I'm asked to make a speech, I will give the audience one scientific fact to take home with them. I promise. I get my one unit, and I graduate.

"Three years later I will win the Writers Guild Award for Best Comedy Script for an episode of M*A*S*H. Nate Monaster will be in the audience. I have the privilege of thanking him publicly for all he's done for me. And then I tell those assembled: 'Photosynthesis is a process by which energy in sunlight is used to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen.'"
There's a photo making the rounds again on Facebook of a protestor holding up a sign that reads, "What Do We Want? Time Travel! When Do We Want It? It's Irrelevant!" Invariably, people share it with me, and I do appreciate it a lot (even if one of the Facebook pages that it comes from has a name with an obscenity in it).

However, I feel obliged to point out that when we want time travel *is* relevant. One of the standard questions that gets asked about time travel is, "If time travel is possible, where are all the time travelers?" As it is, our current understanding of how real, physically allowable time travel might work prohibits traveling back in time beyond the point at which the time machine is first invented. So, for example, if I invent a time machine on January 1, 2014, at 12:00 midnight, people downstream from that point in time would be able to travel back to 1/1/2014, but no farther.

So while I wouldn't mind receiving visitors from the future on 1/1/2014, I kind of wish time travel had been invented already, so I could explore my own personal past from today. When we get time travel is most certainly relevant.
Today, of course, is Christmas. If you're celebrating Christmas, may you have a merry one, full of happiness.

It's also Isaac Newton's birthday, something I always like to commemorate given my background in Physics.

And earlier in the month of December, I celebrated the festival of Chanukah. Let's take each of these in turn.

Read more... )

So that's it. To all my Christian friends, as I said before, may you have a merry and joyous Christmas. To all my Jewish friends, I hope you had a happy Chanukah. To all my friends who celebrate some other holiday of the season, may it be for good. And for those of my friends who celebrate no holiday at all, may you enjoy a good start to the Gregorian New Year of 2013.
In this week's The Brookline Parent column at Brookline Patch, I discuss Brookline Town Meeting's recent votes to ban polystyrene cups and plastic grocery bags.

What is the connection between these votes and Muffin and Squeaker? Read "Roots in the Future" to find out.

And if you're a fan of either Spider Robinson's Callahan's Bar stories or J. Michael Straczynski of "Babylon 5" fame, there's a little bonus for you.
As folks know, [livejournal.com profile] gnomi and I are very interested in science. Nomi's background is in Linguistics, and mine is in Physics. I've done scientific research, and there was a time in my life when I thought I would become a research physicist. Instead, I spent many years as a teacher of science, and currently I edit science curriculum materials for middle school and high school students.

In today's The Brookline Parent column for Brookline Patch, Nomi discusses some of what we've been doing to get our kids interested in science.

The fact is that children, being explorers of a world that is still new to them, are natural scientists. Nomi has written before about how Muffin and Squeaker are constantly asking "how" and "why"; they want to know how the world works and why it works that way.

A recent incident prompted Nomi to help Muffin and Squeaker set up what is in all likelihood their very first science experiment. Although we're not necessarily following all the steps of scientific inquiry as closely as we might, if you go read Stop! In the Name of Science! you'll see that Muffin has already developed a hypothesis or two to test. As Nomi points out, we're hoping to keep the girls interested in science pretty much for the rest of their lives.

Again, that link is Stop! In the Name of Science! There's even a picture of their first experiment.

Enjoy.
On September 29, 1988, over two years after the United States manned space program had been grounded due to the Challenger tragedy, mission STS-26 launched into space. The space shuttle Discovery, now retired, took our hopes and dreams back into space with it.

A few weeks later (I forget the exact date although I suppose I could look it up somewhere), I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut who went into space. Dr. Ride had been scheduled to give a talk at Radcliffe, and as the talk was open to everyone, including Harvard students, I made a point of attending. I was a sophomore Physics major, and also a space enthusiast, even if I had been born too late to appreciate the Apollo program and the Moon landings. Like many of my generation, the shuttle program was ours, and we followed it with the fervor a previous generation had followed Mercury and Gemini.

The auditorium was filled, of course, but not overflowing, and I was surprised that an astronaut of her stature had not brought out even more people. As it was, Dr. Ride was there to speak about the role of and opportunities for women in science, and her visit had been advertised mostly by posters in the Yard. It’s possible that some who might have attended just didn’t know, or weren’t interested in the topic. It’s too bad for them, for they missed an amazing and enthusiastic talk.

The first thing I remember about seeing Sally Ride was how incredibly, well, slight and tiny she was. Her presence had loomed large when the media reported on her. I recall that she was featured on the cover of People magazine, with huge 1980s-style hair, and I guess in my mind she was this towering figure. I was shocked to discover that she was so much smaller than I, given how insignificant I felt in her presence. But she more than made up for it with her eyes. One look into her eyes and you could tell this was an astronaut with the sharpest mind in the program.

Ride began her talk by apologizing, but given recent events she was less interested in sticking to the topic advertised and more interested in discussing the space program. And she did, using the launch of Discovery as a springboard to explain how important a manned space program was for the country and the human race in general.

There was a Q&A session at the end of the talk, and somehow I gathered up the courage to approach the microphone and ask her a question. I even recall my question, one quite fitting for the science fiction geek that I am. I asked Ride why NASA hadn’t chosen to refurbish Enterprise instead of spending the money to build a brand new shuttle; wouldn’t it have been cheaper? Ride gently explained to me that the Enterprise was actually little better than a balsa wood model and it would have taken even more money to make it ready for space.

After the talk ended, Dr. Ride said she would stick around for more questions, and I was one of a group that gathered closer for more conversation. Now comes the part I’ve always been proud of. Among the group of us was this guy, much larger than either Dr. Ride or myself, who kept trying to get her attention by calling her “Sally.” This annoyed me on her behalf. Perhaps he felt a certain familiarity with her because he felt he knew her from the media, but I thought it was disrespectful. This was a woman who had earned a Ph.D. from studying astrophysics and lasers; she deserved to be addressed properly. I spoke over this man, called her “Dr. Ride,” and I was pleased when he followed my lead and began calling her Dr. Ride as well. When that happened, she flashed me a quick smile, and I like to think I did a tiny bit that day to promote the cause of women in science.

I never met Dr. Ride again, but I continued to draw inspiration from her life story. I’ll be sure to share it with my daughters when they are old enough. I might not be a woman, but Dr. Ride was just as much as role model for me.

May she soar in peace.
Nomi and will miss the Transit of Venus this evening. We saw it back in 2004, and so the novelty is gone. We figure we'll catch the next one. :-)

In the meantime, here's my notes and observations from when we saw it eight years ago at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; they had opened up their roof for viewing, and had a 9-inch refractor in a dome for us to use.


Nomi and I got on line at 4:38 AM. We were soon joined by [livejournal.com profile] farwing. They brought us upstairs at a little after 5 AM. Nomi witnessed the sunrise first at 5:14 and then we started to observe Venus as a little dot on the Sun, at around the 4:30 position, at 5:21. At 5:28 AM I saw it projected onto a piece of paper with a telescope. At 5:37 AM I saw it through a refractor, and noted a lot of atmospheric haze. At 5:44 AM I saw it through the 9-inch refractor in the dome.

At 5:47 AM they sent us back downstairs. At 6:08 AM I saw it through eclipse shades. At 6:13 AM we saw it with binoculars, but by 6:35 AM the Sun was hidden by clouds, and remained that way for the rest of the transit.

At 7:02 AM we watched the webcast in Phillips Auditorium, live from the Canary Islands. They switched to the NASA feed from Athens, Greece at 7:15 AM. We saw Third and Fourth Contact, and the times were different for optical and the H-Alpha filter. By 7:23 the transit appeared done.


And here's the link to Nomi's post from that day:
http://gnomi.livejournal.com/82953.html
As I noted over on the [livejournal.com profile] savepluto LiveJournal blog, six years ago today the New Horizons spacecraft was launched toward Pluto. Hard to believe we're only three and a half years away from seeing Pluto up close...
Over on the [livejournal.com profile] savepluto blog, the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet (or SP3) marks the fifth anniversary of Pluto's demotion:

Five Years Ago Today, Pluto Was Demoted

Go read it and contemplate the universe we live in.
The landing of Atlantis early this morning got me thinking about a short story that Isaac Asimov published back in 1981. A newspaper called Today, which covered the Cape Canaveral area of Florida, contacted Asimov and asked him to write a story for him to commemorate the first launch of the space shuttle Columbia. They gave him the title, "The Last Shuttle," and told him to write whatever he wanted as long as it fit that title.

The story was published in the April 10, 1981 issue, two days before the launch. It was rather short; when it was collected in The Winds of Time and Other Stories, it only filled four pages. I wish I could share the story with you, but the estate still owns the rights, and my attempts to get it reprinted in a current electronic magazine were unsuccessful.

But I can summarize the story for you. Virginia Ratner is the pilot chosen for the last shuttle for the Terrestrial Space Agency. She's been piloting shuttles for 20 years, and the program is coming to an end. She doesn't want to be the last pilot, as she is nostalgic for the program, but she takes the job and pilots the last shuttle to leave planet Earth.

But the story, although bittersweet, is hopeful. For the reason this is the last shuttle is because the human race has colonized the rest of the solar system, and we're giving Earth back to nature:


Earth was returned to its wilderness and its wildlife by a humanity grateful to its mother planet and ready to retire it to the rest it deserved. It would remain forever as a monument to humanity's origin....

Earth was free! Free at last!


I imagine another universe, in which Asimov were still alive, and asked today to write a story about his thoughts as the last shuttle mission came to an end.

Somehow, I can't imagine him feeling as hopeful as he obviously did back when he wrote "The Last Shuttle."
Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy, the day when the space shuttle exploded and NASA lost seven astronauts: Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. Their sacrifice is memorialized at Arlington National Cemetery.

For the people of my generation, the Challenger tragedy was our equivalent of the Kennedy assassination. Because a schoolteacher, McAuliffe, was on board, many schools had chosen to show the launch live to their students over television. The launch took place around 11:30 AM EST, and seventy-three seconds into the flight, the shuttle exploded. People were confused at first, but it soon became clear that NASA was experiencing what they euphemistically refer to as an LOCV: loss of crew and vehicle.

I didn't see the explosion live, but I still remember that day vividly. My own story is as follows. I was in 11th grade at the time at Hunter College High School. One of our school's Chemistry teachers, Francine Salzman, had applied for the Teacher-in-Space program but not been accepted. So we were all keenly aware of the meaning of the launch.

The school's lunch period took place from 11:10 AM to 12noon, if I remember correctly, and after eating lunch I went to hang out in the school library with friends. I was sitting in the front area of the library when my friend Christina Sormani walked in and asked if I had heard the news about the shuttle. I said no, and she told me that it had blown up during the launch. I protested that she was kidding, and she assured me that she wasn't.

I realized she was serious and I started to cry. I cried so much that Tina thought I personally knew one of the astronauts. I didn't, of course; at the time, like all of us, the only one I could actually name was McAuliffe. But I was crying for them nevertheless, and for the dashed hopes and dreams of an entire human race that yearns to go to the stars. I knew that this would cause a major setback in our space program; and I could only hope that it wouldn't crush it entirely.

That afternoon, when we got home, there was an ironic coda. My father had been applying to the Journalist-in-Space program, and on that very day we received the postcard from NASA indicating that all his applications materials were in. And years later, in 2003, McAuliffe and my father were my own inspirations as I applied unsuccessfully to be an Educator Astronaut.
Last night, thanks to the Boston Skeptics organization, Nomi and I got to meet Mike Brown, the man who discovered Eris and indirectly led to the demotion of Pluto's status as a planet.



Nomi S. Burstein, Mike Brown, Michael A. Burstein Nomi S. Burstein, Mike Brown, Michael A. Burstein
Photo ©2011 D. Moskowitz. All rights reserved.



The Boston Skeptics had arranged for Mike Brown to give a talk last night at Tommy Doyle's in Cambridge. We had only found out about the talk on Tuesday morning, but thanks to a good friend who volunteered to put our kids to bed, we managed to clear our schedule to attend. But when the National Weather Service predicted a significant snowfall starting yesterday afternoon, we weren't sure if we were going to make it to the lecture.

The roads turned out to be clear, and we made it to the pub just as things were getting started at 7 pm. Brown was already there, and willing to sign books even before his talk began. We brought our copy of his book over to him and introduced ourselves. It turned out he had already heard of us and was as delighted to meet us as we were to meet him. He was very gracious and personable, and his talk demonstrated quite clearly why he had won a teaching award.

The space was somewhat small and crowded, and not designed very well for his talk, I'm afraid. The screen for his presentation slides didn't face the main body of the room, so it was hard for us to see. Having arrived just at 7 pm, Nomi and I had difficulty finding seating, but a nice scientist named Jason allowed us to sit at the table with him and his two friends.

Brown discussed his research in the outer solar system. He had a graphic that showed just how big in comparison all the planets are to each other and to the objects in the Kuiper Belt, making it clear why Pluto is such an outlier. He talked about the telescopes at Palomar Observatory that they use to photograph the sky, and how they look for those tiny objects that are so far away. Back when Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto, Tombaugh used a blink comparator, a device that allowed him to compare two photos of the same portion of sky from two different nights to see if any points of light had moved. Brown relied on something similar, except in his case a computer went through a slew of photos and would present him with likely candidates in his morning email. I wonder what Tombaugh would have thought of that.

Brown seemed very respectful of those of us who still feel that Pluto should be considered a planet. He understands where the impulse comes from, and in a way, if Pluto were still a planet it would be better for him. After all, he'd be able to go down in history as the discoverer of the tenth planet (and eleventh, and twelfth, and thirteenth, etc.) Instead, he's going to be the discoverer of a lot of astronomical bodies that he himself points out are rather insignificant to the solar system.

Although he feels that Pluto should not be a planet, it turns out we do have a few points of agreement. He and we both feel that the term "dwarf planet" is a bad one, and he also has issues with the way the term "planet" is currently being defined by the IAU.

Brown also spun a brief tale of alternate history that, as a science fiction writer, I found fascinating. He pointed out that the discovery of bodies like Pluto, Eris, and Sedna relies a lot on the good luck of looking in the right place at the right time. He suggested that had Eris's orbit been different, and had it been discovered only a few years after Pluto, that perhaps we wouldn't have this controversy over Pluto's status today. After all, when Ceres was discovered in 1801 it was thought to be a planet, but as soon as many other small bodies were discovered nearby it got demoted as well and became known as the largest asteroid instead. Had Tombaugh or others managed to find other Pluto-like objects in the outer solar system in the early twentieth century, then perhaps we wouldn't have this debate today. But, Brown acknowledges, he does prefer what really did happen, as otherwise he wouldn't have been the discoverer of Eris.

All in all, a lovely evening, and it was wonderful to have the chance to meet him.


Mike Brown's Message to Supporters of Pluto Mike Brown's Message to Supporters of Pluto
Photo ©2011 M. Burstein. All rights reserved.

As I noted over on the [livejournal.com profile] savepluto blog, Nomi and I plan to be at the Mike Brown lecture tomorrow night in Cambridge, assuming the weather cooperates.


Mike Brown, the astronomer who discovered Eris and who didn't necessarily want to kill Pluto but ended up doing so, will be speaking at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub & Restaurant at 96 Winthrop St. in Harvard Square tomorrow night starting at 7 pm. He will be lecturing on his new book "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming." The president and vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto As a Planet will be there to show our support for Pluto...and to get our copy of the book signed. :-)


People tend to assume we go to these talks with large signs protesting the demotion of Pluto. In reality, we know that in the end, people like Mike Brown and Neil deGrasse Tyson are on the same side as we are, at least for the important part, which is promoting astronomy among the general public. Tyson can testify to how respectful we were at his talk a few years ago, and how delighted we were to meet him. We're looking forward to meeting Mike Brown tomorrow night.
On this day in exactly 115 years, there will be a Transit of Venus visible from Earth.

If you can't wait that long, there will be one coming up on June 6, 2012.

Here's what Nomi and I did for the last Transit of Venus.

December 2016

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526 2728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:32 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios