Friday, January 14, 2005

Huygens lands on Titan!

More later, gotta go pick up the children.

[edit] I lied. I decided not to make more of these. The team at ASU can do it. I can demonstrate patience.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Global Citizenship

Sort of light on posting, recently. Guess I've been putting time in on other things.

I've sent an invitation out to a pretty large group of people, to come to a brainstorm seesion about what a sustainability project could look like. I've had three responses, but I'm looking for about 8 people to show up.

I'm very much in shock over the loss of life from the tsunami. I'm very much pleased with the initial rush of global citizenship. There was a similar rush after 9-11, but then the response to that act by a few bad people got warped into an attack against a sovereign nation. I already see similar twists applied to this natural disaster. I know there are lots of people on the planet who need to point fingers and blame, but why does it seem they end up being the most vocal and able to pull the longest strings?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Iapetus, ring-thief?

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft sent pics of the odd place, Iapetus. There was a pic last year that showed some odd, equatorial mountains on its far side, and the new set shows there's an equatorial ridge that wraps around at least half the moon. Here's a view:

My idea is that this is a record of an ancient ring-eating event. The scientists are arguing over whether this is a chain of volcanoes, or compression fractures. Someone on the team will propose its ring emplaced, you watch. How tall is the ridge? It has been reported to be 20km high, on a worldlet only 1400km in diameter. If you stood on top of this ridge, you'd see the curvature of Iapetus. You'd be able to look out over 75,000 square km, about 150km in all directions. Something the same proportions on the Earth would be 180km tall (roughly 115 miles, or more than 40 miles higher than SS1's hop).

If there were Saturnian Rings as far out as Iapetus' orbit, they'd be enormous. Viewed from Earth, they would have been about 2/3 the width of our moon's diameter.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Bonfante Gardens

Although she looks weird in this picture in the maze, Caitlan approved this image.

Sustainability also means having fun with less stuff. Sometimes your child needs a new bicycle. But sometimes they need a new experience. Last year I took the family to a concert as my Christmas present to them. This year I took them to Bonfante Gardens for the Christmas themed Holiday Lights. We bring home memories, instead of tomorrow's trash.

We've never been, and it was great fun. A little too gentle, it's like one big Bunny Slope instead of a full ski resort, but with all the pressure that usually surrounds this time of year, it's very sweet to step into a gentler place and wean your body off its constant adrenaline rush.

Memorable moments: discovering the Circus Trees and their story, driving the little cars with children who don't really understand steering, the powerful smell of garlic growing at the spinning Garlic Twist ride; Caitlan's brave embarrassment twice: once on the toddler ride "Artichoke Dip" (oh, so painfully tame, safer than sitting on a log surrounded by cushions) and again when she got caught singing a roll appreciation song in the buffet line, and tried to cover by letting us know there was a roll appreciation dance, too, but we weren't going to get to see it; Nicholas riding the giant Mushroom Swing and really enjoying the Traditional Christmas Dinner; discovering the maze and having a great time getting lost; Xena's smirking grin as she got "lost" and the children called out directions to help rescue her.

And finally, how bitterly cold it becames as the night aged. We were sort of prepared, but if we go again we'll bring mittens and another layer. We window shopped in the gifts shops, just getting warmed up.