Category Archives: space

Manhattan, Brooklyn, Somerville

Chrysler building in the hazeThere are times when I think Boston is too expensive, too crowded, too full of East Coast angst, too fast, and I feel like bagging it all for somewhere where there are hills where there are trees and space and things are cheap and pretty and you can smell trees.

But now I work at a company whose headquarters is in NYC. All the people I’ve been crammed in an office with, roughly three to a desk, all live in tiny upper west side apartments they basically can never hope to afford. As Terri and I were walking up the hill home from the Davis Square T stop last night, I remembered: I have a yard, I have hedges, I have trees. It puts things in perspective.

If I lived in New York, I don’t know where I would live. The village is crawling with stockbrokers: it just isn’t what it was 50 years ago. It isn’t even what it was 30 years ago. Brooklyn is the most like Somerville, but there’s just something more nauseating about Brooklyn hipsters than there is about Somerville hipsters. Maybe it’s just the sheer concentration of them.

I walked around Davis Square today while Terri was getting her prescriptions refilled just in case the transition to new healthcare leaves us without insurance for a couple of weeks. I got a burrito at Anna’s Taqueria and it felt like home.

Space pants and monkey pants

I have been resisting the urge to just post links, but I can’t not point to this auction of monkey space pants on eBay. via Boing Boing

It’s offered to your attention the “space pants” for macaque small monkey to wear it during the experimental space flight. This pants has been used for animals (monkeys) experiments in 1950-s – 1960-s in the USSR Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP, Moscow). The monkey’s “space pants” are designed with many clasps to fit bigger or smaller monkey. Below are the front and the back views.

More space news: new planet

From the NASA press release:

The planet’s temporary name is 2003 UB313. A permanent name has been proposed by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of this body before announcing the name. Stay tuned!

I’m thinking Minerva. I prefer Athena, but they tend to go with the Roman names. Now that I think about it, how did they pass her by for so long? Cthulu is my second choice.

Space is the place

It was another weekend chock full of house guests and out-of-town visitors, so it was not until yesterday that I heard that the guy shot in the tube station last week was not, in fact, a bomber. When there were no statements from the police after the first few hours, only eyewitness testimonials from other commuters, I sort of expected this. I mean, after the guy was dead, you have to think it was pretty obvious whether or not he had a bomb, and if there is a bomb, why wait to talk about it?

It put me in a pretty arch mood, so I was in a vulnerable moment when I saw this plea on Slashdot to donate to The Planetary Society to help fund their project to save a chunk of NASA’s data from Pioneer from being destroyed, and I sent them a chunk of money. While Bush’s proposal last year to put a permanent base on the moon as a stepping stone to Mars is a bit misguided and politically motivated, it wasn’t a stupid move. I do believe in space exploration in general as a way to bring humanity together, to foster a perspective of life which makes it difficult to even think about blowing other people up.

And it seems like there has been a lot of space news since then, too. Besides the successful shuttle launch, another Slashdot story pointed to some weird sounds from Saturn. You really should check them out; they’re creepy creepy creepy. They’re not really ‘sounds’ per se, but radio emissions related to auroras near the north and south poles of the planet, recorded by the Cassini probe (a joint project between NASA (the Cassini part) and the ESA (the Huygens part)), and tweaked to be human-audible.