Tuesday: finding respite from news media

Every so often I search for some Space Opera movie I haven’t yet seen or perhaps forgotten, and every time the list comes desperately short.
I ended up watching “forbidden planet” again last night, and an internet search this morning yielded zilch.
One story which will unfortunately never make it to the screen is one of my favorite sci-fi, Alfred Bester’s “the stars my destination” from 1956, itself an adaptation of “the Count of Monte Cristo“, and a pretty good one at that.
That said, we still have real life and the ISS, with footage helping us remember why NASA is so important, perhaps now more than ever. So, turn up the volume and bask in Ceiling Cat’s everlasting glory.

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California Academy of Sciences Part 3: The Rest of the Museum…Almost

I had been planning on posting part 3 of our trip to the California Academy of Sciences, but we had a fire to deal with. That was followed the next week, by a firm statement of where we stand in regards to our GLBT brothers and sisters. Now we’re back on track with part 3 of the California Academy of Sciences.

The California Academy of Sciences Part 1, was about the Steinhart Aquarium. Part 2 was about our visit to the Osher Rainforest. Part 3 includes parts of the Kimball Natural History exhibit and the Naturalist Center.

African Hall
African Hall

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California Academy of Sciences part 2: Traipsing Through the Trees

A couple of weeks ago, Lastech posted about the supermoon and the partial solar eclipse. The month of May was quite amazing this year. To top off the month, we went to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Last week, I posted California Academy of Sciences part 1: subaquatic trails. This week we go for a walk through the rainforest.

Osher Rainforest
Osher Rainforest

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California Academy of Sciences part 1: subaquatic trails

The month of May was full of adventures. We had a super moon and a partial solar eclipse and they were great fun, especially as the eclipse was my first. We capped off the science fun with a trip to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. We took so many photos that we had to divide them up. Part one begins with the Steinhart Aquarium.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex greets the visitors at the entrance
A Tyrannosaurus Rex greets the visitors at the entrance

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Blooming discoveries, Batman!

The month of May, when plants grow and bloom, has been spectacular this year. Ka-Pow!
Bookending a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park were a solar eclipse on the 20th preceded by the apparition of the Perigee (or Super) moon on the 5th. Whamo!Celestial events

Eclipse and Perigee

This trip to the Academy of Sciences was made even more enjoyable because of the San Francisco Neighborhood Free Days, making our visit free. Zing!

The California Academy of Sciences
The Academy of Sciences, earthbound spaceship…

Having said that, and after viewing all the exhibits, it is well worth the regular admission price. We will take you along on our trip in three segments. The fourth would have been the Planetarium, but since photographs were forbidden and the material copyrighted, we are left with the aforementioned celestial shows available to all (or most). Zoosh!

I have played with the solar eclipse pictures a bit as the originals look like this and are not sexy enough (crash!):

eclipse seen through pinhole and screen
Pinprick through cardboard equals…
partial solar eclipse
partial eclipse
Solar eclipse with clouds
Clouded eclipse
supermoon over water
Supermoon over the Bay
Supermoon looks like Mars
A Martian looking moon


Inside the museum
Follow us inside…

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Feline flatulence and the future of civilization

My argument is that science often attempts to recreate naturally occurring phenomena by technological means, and that the results often are subject to the “law of unintended consequences”.

Over the past several decades, Hollywood has been instrumental in ‘gently’ opening the lid of the Genie’s bottle, through movies and television series designed to familiarize people with what was just over the horizon. Today, web instruments, like memes for instance, are used with similar intent.

We see hints poop up everywhere until they tend to coalesce into messages picked up and disseminated further by mass media.

Case in point, as we’ve all read and heard: the internet is made of tubes… The internet is made of cats… Fear the cat butt… Photos of cats’ eyes glowing in the dark “assuming direct control”… And now, cat farts. Why? To get a sense as to where this all might lead, let’s first have a look at NASA’s recording of solar events to analyze their occurrences and effects, using technology developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The technology, developed to improve computer chips’ manufacturing specifications and performance, was used to great effect by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Below is a photo montage of slides taken by NASA’s vehicle:

Solar slides taken by NASA’s SDO

Now for comparative purposes is a now familiar capture of Miss Jenny’s fart using a mass spectrometer:

Jenny fart cloud
Mass spectrometer assisted photographic capture of cat poot.

While there do appear to be similarities, the shapes and energy releases (swirls and lightning) in the cat’s fart seem to display a more organized pattern, maybe even a design. But I’ll leave the potentially religious considerations to proponents of either Ceiling Cat or Basement Cat, and concentrate on the science.

The releases of energy, discovered by the LLNL scientists have been analyzed in conjunction with a researcher at Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), and have been shown to be ‘influenced’ by emissions of light particles popularly (and erroneously) referred to as “laser eyes”.

cat fart reacting to cat's eye photonic emission
Jenny’s fart cloud reacting to photonic emissions from Tito’s peepers

Notice the realigning of molecules and energy. An instrument developed jointly by LLNL and SLAC is used to measure the pulse by pulse levels of energy of an X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL).

Now, the XFEL’s ability to capture atoms and molecules in motion with minimal disruption led to another intriguing discovery at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) program: molecules in cats’ farts are imprinted with data and react to photonic emissions from their eyes (the cats’, not the molecules. And if you don’t stop cracking jokes in the back, you’ll get to stay after class).

My theory is that a cat farting on a human is simply an attempt to fully communicate with us, by ‘flagging’ all of our senses, and making us inhale information, so to speak. This process, or more accurately ‘collection of processes’ is now the subject of study for applications ranging from data storage and management to renewable energy (they cannot stop farting, it seems). So if the law of unintended consequences does apply, we may well end up with complete world domination by cats and find ourselves in the litter box… Remember:

He who controls the farts

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The Institute: palace of wonders and marvels

Some places remain within you forever, that is a fact. The Oceanographic Institute in Monaco Ville is so deeply embedded in my mind, I had no clue where this image I photoshopped came from, until reading an article recently:

The underwater palace

This year, I realized only this week,  marks the 100th anniversary of the Institute. The impressions it left upon me 40 years ago are much more than memories.

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