Archive for January, 2012

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Astronomy Misconceptions in Literature

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Recently I highlighted an astronomical blunder by literary giant Ernest Hemingway in The Old Man and the Sea. He is far from unique. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, James Thurber, Edgar Allen Poe, and others of similar literary greatness, have all similarly blundered.  A lot of the mistakes involve the moon: “Till clomb above the […]

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Midweek Starlinks: Science, Education, Politics and more…

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

First, I participated in a Mind-Meld at sfsignal.com this week about our introduction reading genre. Interesting illustration of astronomical size scales. Special relativity for dummies (aka writers). Kentucky cuts education funding, but keeps tax breaks for a creationist theme park.  Ugh.  Really?! Republicans turn their backs on the enlightenment.  Chris Mooney tells us why.  Or […]

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Final Ebook Covers for Star Dragon and Spider Star

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Thanks to my friend Jessica Goldman for font help, as folks correctly pointed out my inexperience with handling fonts and made some good suggestions a few weeks ago when I posted my original cover concepts.  These new covers have text and art that are much more integrated and are still clear to read.  I’m getting […]

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Super Late Sunday Starlinks

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Some starlinks for this week.  I have a load more on another machine, mostly science/politics/education, and may post those later this week.  In the meantime, lots of interesting things: An old friend of mine now has a nice gig at Forbes.com and reports that NASA is relenting about releasing Richard Garriot’s science fiction film made […]

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New DC Comics have “Too Much Sex and Violence for the Kids” — Let’s Rant

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Here’s a link to an article describing the new DC comics line-up as relying on sex and violence to sell. I thought to myself, maybe that’s true.  For the last 30+ years comics having been getting more adult.  This reflects some symbiotic relationship involving the suppliers offering more complex material and older/more sophisticated readers.  The […]

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How Did I Miss THIS? Tyson to Channel Sagan in Cosmos for Fox

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Here’s one link, months old, to the story: So, it’s high time someone made a sequel to it, and now someone is! In partnership with Sagan’s colleagues Ann Druyan (who is also his widow) and Steven Soter, Seth MacFarlane — yes, that Seth MacFarlane — is going to produce a new 13-part series to serve […]

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Science Reporting too often a Game of Telephone

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Here’s the example I came across last week: Thousands of Mini-Black Holes Bombard the Earth Every Day, an article at the Mother Nature Network. I read that and said to myself, “WTF?” As an astronomer who studies black holes, teaches cosmology, and is generally well informed about science fictional news, I was surprised.  I continued […]

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The Observing Experience

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

I had a busy couple of days, and tonight I’m observing at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO).  I’m not sure I’ve blogged about observing before.  I know haven’t recently.  I thought I’d share a little bit of what it’s like, at least until we get closer to astronomical twilight here on Jelm Mountain. WIRO has […]

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A New Spider Star Cover

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Working from the feedback and mock-ups from a couple of weeks ago…I’ve got one cover I’m mostly happy with: Thanks for the helpful feedback, especially about the fonts.  I tried to make the letters here a little nebulous and fit in with the background more explicitly.  I could perhaps do better yet, but it’s in […]

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Science in Fiction: The Old Man and the Sea

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

There’s a fun, literary homework problem in the textbook I’m using this semester (Foundations of Astrophysics by Ryden and Peterson).  It’s a pretty good textbook overall, although it’s a bit calculus heavy for when some of our students take my course and it’s short on example problems.  One thing I do like is that the […]

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First Day of Classes

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Well, it was my first class of the spring semester this morning.  It’s a relatively big class for intro astronomy for majors: 22 students.  But that’s not a problem since they seem enthusiastic, motivated, and totally awesome. I had a few standouts last time I taught this class, but I think there’s going to be […]

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Saturday/Sunday Starlinks

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I’ve let these pile up too high, given the holidays, and some personal issues that have taken a lot of time and induced too much stress (I love my wife, but I don’t love the immigration process!). Let’s start with Phil Plait and Six Reasons Aliens would never Invade Earth. Still, some scientists say we […]

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