Reboot (maybe) and Getting Smarter

The Internet being what it is and life being nowadays a series of distractions, it has been a while since I posted anything here. When you’re consuming and consuming content, it doesn’t always occur to share it, particularly when the platforms on which you’re seeing whatever-it-is make it easier simply to echo within their site. I also see most of the interesting things I come across on Flipboard, and I haven’t figured out how to connect that with a blog (or microblog). We have a term — Luddite — for people who reject technology, but I don’t know if there is a term for people, like me, who simply don’t have time to adopt new tech (and honestly, who get a little confused by the fickle and ever-changing nature of the web tech landscape.) I can understand the motivation behind media consolidation — I, too, want a single place to do my social stuff. But until privacy is address and until I feel confident that I own my own thoughts (not Facebook), I’ll likely continue my mostly-silent patterns on such services.

In any case, some of what I have been consuming in the past couple of years is YouTube videos. Of course I’d known its potential for years. But probably the greatest single impetus for my spending time on YouTube has been science videos. Two channels — Veritasium and Getting Smarter Every Day — are so interesting, I could probably just sit all day watching those channels (and the related videos their content inspires or relates to). I wouldn’t at all be surprised if either host becomes a public television host. In fact, the host of Veritasium has done content for CBC that has appeared on PBS. But the rather home grown quality of both is, for me, part of the appeal.

So here are two videos, one from each channel.

Veritasium

 

SmarterEveryDay

Curiosity Mission

I watched the landing of the newest Mars rover Curiosity last night. It was fun being a part—if just an observer—of this event, and I was moved not only by the accomplishment (amazing!), but by the emotion in the room. It will be exciting to see how this mission unfolds over the next 2+ years.

And how about this? I had said to my family that there would be no pictures of the landing vehicle, since there are no cameras in this area of Mars. But I was wrong! The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance orbiter snapped a picture of it with chute deployed. Incredible.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Solar Dynamics Observatory

I’d heard of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), but it wasn’t until the Transit of Venus in June that I realized just how amazing were the publicly available resources NASA has provided. Amazing photos and video, the ability to construct time lapses from data, as well as all that they provide to researchers. It is truly gratifying that a small part of my income tax goes to support this amazing project. I wish that more of my tax dollars went to support this kind of research and access.

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Dr Who Meets Tesla

I didn’t go to Maker Faire, but a friend did and he saw this … um … creative use of a giant Tesla coil. (Buy one now! Two for the special low price of 1MeV! Farraday suit not included.) Of course this kind of thing is getting to be commonplace at alternative geek gatherings, but the theme music was (for me) a nice touch!