Archive for May, 2011

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Friday Starlinks

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Starlinks early, as I’m headed out of town.  I expect to rendezvous with a supertyphoon in Tokyo on Sunday, unfortunately, and be delayed, but that’s what happens when you don’t buy tickets at the last second.  I will have internet during the trip, so email me as usual and I’ll blog when I can. Let’s […]

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Riding on Elevators with Nobel Prize Winners

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I just did a search and noticed that I did mention this incident 3-4 years ago on the blog, but only in passing.  It came up again last week when I was at a party and got me thinking about science some more.  Let me tell the story first. I was a graduate student at […]

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The Legacy of Carl Sagan: TV Scientists Today

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

We’ll probably never have another celebrity scientist quite like Carl Sagan, if only because stars aren’t as big any more. There are a hundred times as many tv channels, a thousand if we start looking at instant download venues like NetFlix, Youtube, Hulu, and more. Still, Cosmos was a sensation and showed that there was […]

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Left Behind Sunday Starlinks

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Miss me? I didn’t go anywhere, and neither did anyone else. It’s kind of crazy and stupid that idiots can get so much press that we all are aware of their superstitious crap. Kirk Cameron is still here, and needs a banana shoved into him — after all, it seems perfectly designed to fit inside […]

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The Scientific Method

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Over on his blog, Jay Lake posted a link to this flowchart showing the scientific process. LOVE IT! It’s funny because it’s true… Every astronomer I’ve shared it with has loved it (one I overheard laughing out loud two offices away). And I just finished working on a NASA proposal to study the hot dust […]

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The Roger Ebert of Science Fiction Movies

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Apparently it’s me: Call Michael Brotherton the Roger Ebert of science fiction movies. Known for his work relating to the study of supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies, he also diligently pursues another passion: checking if the science is right in movies. An associate professor of astronomy at the University of Wyoming, Brotherton […]

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Defensive in the Dark, the Woo Howls at Hawking and Hitchens

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Religion and spirituality tend to get a pass in the public sphere when they espouse crap, which they do regularly, and they tend to howl when someone points it out or points out the obvious and rational. I’m generalizing, but let me point to a few things that normally I’d save for Sunday Starlinks, but […]

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Proposal Deadline Looms

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

OK, I may have to postpone serious blogging until after my Friday deadline for a NASA grant proposal.  I have a great project idea that looks like it has already spawned one nice result that will give my group a quick paper, but the draft is lagging behind schedule.  Time to buckle down and make […]

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Some Great Astronomy News for Wyoming

Monday, May 16th, 2011

I’ve got some other topics I want to write about soon, but I wanted to share a bit of news I’m really excited about.  My department’s proposal for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program looks likely to be funded by the National Science Foundation. First let me tell what an REU program is.  Undergraduate […]

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Sunday Starlinks

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Pretty cool flowchart to decide which science fiction/fantasy tv series to watch on Netflix.  Thanks,! Anna Lee Newitz over at io9 has an article about science fiction movies that are really fantasy.  Similar themes to ones I talk about sometimes, and I agree completely with Star Wars topping her list. Another reminder that fundie […]

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Reason 798 to Love the Internet: Zombie Taylor Swift

Friday, May 13th, 2011

There are days when I really hate the internet. I’m addicted and checking my email in the bathroom (like 39% of smartphone users apparently). I’m getting into stupid fights with stupid strangers. I’m inside in front of a screen instead of outside in the beautiful sunlight. I’m reading about something horrible or sick I would […]

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Challenging Science Fiction Reads

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

This is the subject of a new Mind-Meld post over at, which I contributed to: Mike Brotherton Mike Brotherton is the author of the hard science fiction novels Spider Star (2008) and Star Dragon (2003), the latter being a finalist for the Campbell award. He’s also a professor of astronomy at the University of […]

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