Archives for the month of: December, 2011

via Nerdist

Via the Atlantic:

A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5, 2011. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations as it sent up a cloud of ash that circled the globe. Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images

Lightning bolts strike around the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain near southern Osorno city, on June 5, 2011. Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

Volcanic activity in the sea off the Canary island of El Hierro, seen in this aerial photo taken on November 5, 2011. The regional government of the Canary Islands ordered the evacuation of homes and road closures near the southern tip of El Hierro after two earth tremors and increased offshore volcanic activity caused a buildup of malodorous debris floating on the sea. Seismic activity began in the area on July 17 and residents have since been rocked by more than 10,000 tremors, while underwater fissures have released an almost continuous flow of sulfurous gases, smoke and hot debris. AP Photo/Canary Islands Government

Tungurahua Volcano is seen from the town of Guadalupe, Ecuador, on November 28, 2011. Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP/Getty Images

With Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Jim Carrey

The spiral Antennae galaxies are one of the nearest and youngest examples of a pair of colliding galaxies.

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team, STScI/AURA-ESA/Hubble Collaboration – click to embiggen

During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed. [...] Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae image are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars. The orange blobs to the left and right of image center are the two cores of the original galaxies and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dust, which appears brown in the image. The two galaxies are dotted with brilliant blue star-forming regions surrounded by glowing hydrogen gas, appearing in the image in pink. The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like “arms” extending far out from the nuclei of the two galaxies, best seen by ground-based telescopes.

via the Atlantic’s Hubble Telescope Advent Calendar. More info about the Antennae Galaxies

Via Boing Boing:

unfinished Cinderella's Castle

David Gray, Reuters – click to embiggen

[...]Wonderland, an unfinished Disneyland clone outside of Beijing. Here, a farmer tends crops in a field now encompassing the abandoned Cinderella Castle-style building that was to be a centerpiece. Construction work at the park, promoted by developers as “the largest amusement park in Asia”, stopped around 1998; disagreements over property prices with the local government and farmers are cited as factors.

narwhal!

on the inner flap of my Trader Joe’s Candy Cane green tea

Oh my god. I don’t even know what to say. All I keep thinking is, “Jeeeeeesus. …JEEEESUUUUUSSSS.” The horror. Read it here. Excerpt below, but it really doesn’t do it justice.

Backstory: the recipient of this email thought the first date was ‘horrendous’ and wanted nothing more to do with this guy. I’m sure you will not be surprised by her decision after reading the email.

I suggest that we continue to go out and see what happens. Needless to say, I find you less appealing now (given that you haven’t returned my messages) than I did at our first date. However, I would be willing to go out with you again. I’m open minded and flexible and am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you would give me the benefit of the doubt too. If you don’t want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life.

Rainbow Fringe...

by Grover Schrayer – click to embiggen

via BuzzFeed

Oh the little rover that could! The Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, were only meant to last for 90 Martian-days (~92 Earth-days). Opportunity is still out there, exploring the surface of Mars (and soon to be joined by her cousin, the Mars Science Laboratory), but Spirit, five years and almost four months after landing on Mars, became stuck in a patch of soft ground. This video is composed of stills, and shows the rover traveling across Mars, conducting experiments, and finally, sadly, becoming stuck. I like to imagine that someday we’ll find Spirit, buried in the Martian soil, and once we clean off the solar panels and give her some power she’ll spring back to life.

Picture of Spirit taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

via Wikipedia – click to embiggen

Traverse maps


click to embiggen

If you enjoy Perez Hilton, or have heard of him, and also enjoy early American history, boy do I have a site for you. Making the rounds on Facebook and the rest of the blogosphere this week (crap I can’t believe I used the word ‘blogosphere’; I am such a cliché): Perez Hamilton. A (clean) example:

Learning = sexy

So FUNgasmic!! We’re already really smart, but can we go too?!?!

Now men in the New World have a place to go in Massachusetts if they want to formally learn. John Harvard donated his whole entire book collection and half of his fortune to the new college so the founders named it after him.

We could donate our favorite feather quill if they want to name it after us instead. Hamilton College sounds sooooo much better!

Just a thought!

Today’s image from the Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar:

click to embiggen, click again to super-embiggen

The Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302, is one of the brightest and most extreme planetary nebulae known. What resemble dainty wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour. A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. [...] The glowing gas is the star’s outer layers, expelled over about 2,200 years. The “butterfly” stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

More info about the nebula at HubbleSite

Via NOTCOT:

The window promised to house “ten sleazy ‘Lords a Leaping’, twelve ‘Wild haggis drumming’ to, three ‘Giant snails’ pretending to be French hens to a lone partridge in a cucumber plant”. [...] the display was a proper cabinet of curiosities featuring work from a number of artists all curated by Matthew Killick and including plenty of twists on James Halliwell’s 1842 classic Christmas carol.

the whole window display

12 haggis drummers drumming

My friend Lacey pointed me toward the Atlantic’s Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar, which I’m loving. Every day, Alan Taylor posts a beautiful photo taken by the Hubble space telescope. Yesterday’s image is of the Retina Nebula, a dying star.

click to embiggen, click again to super-embiggen

A dying star, IC 4406, dubbed the “Retina Nebula” exhibits a high degree of symmetry; the left and right halves of the Hubble image are nearly mirror images of the other. If we could fly around IC 4406 in a starship, we would see that the gas and dust form a vast donut of material streaming outward from the dying star. From Earth, we are viewing the donut from the side. This side view allows us to see the intricate tendrils of dust that have been compared to the eye’s retina. In other planetary nebulae, like the Ring Nebula (NGC 6720), we view the donut from the top. The donut of material confines the intense radiation coming from the remnant of the dying star. Gas on the inside of the donut is ionized by light from the central star and glows. Light from oxygen atoms is rendered blue in this image; hydrogen is shown as green, and nitrogen as red. The range of color in the final image shows the differences in concentration of these three gases in the nebula. Unseen in the Hubble image is a larger zone of neutral gas that is not emitting visible light, but which can be seen by radio telescopes. One of the most interesting features of IC 4406 is the irregular lattice of dark lanes that criss-cross the center of the nebula. These lanes are about 160 astronomical units wide (1 astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and Sun). They are located right at the boundary between the hot glowing gas that produces the visual light imaged here and the neutral gas seen with radio telescopes. We see the lanes in silhouette because they have a density of dust and gas that is a thousand times higher than the rest of the nebula. The dust lanes are like a rather open mesh veil that has been wrapped around the bright donut. The fate of these dense knots of material is unknown. Will they survive the nebula’s expansion and become dark denizens of the space between the stars or simply dissipate?

More info about the nebula at HubbleSite

Eric directed my attention to this excellent blog: Texts From Bennett.

These are text messages I exchange with my 17 year old cousin Bennett. He is a white boy that thinks he’s a Crip, works at Amoco, has a girlfriend named Mercedes, and is one of the most unintentionally funny and brilliant souls on the planet.

He has no idea I do this blog. Yes, this is 100% real.

Probably the cleanest one: