Sunday, April 18, 2004

From last night's Futurama

"Please, Fry--I don't know how to teach. I'm a professor!"

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Planetary debates

Great cartoon from "The Joy of Tech" recently. Especially funny to me because it closely tracks a discussion co-blogger Jeff (a planetary astronomer) and I had two weeks ago.

The background you need on this one is that an object, named Sedna, has been discovered orbiting the Sun, far beyond Pluto. Sedna's about 3/4 of Pluto's size, but that's pretty big for a minor planet. Probably an ice-ball, like most trans-Neptune objects, but it's red. There had been some debate as to whether to consider it a minor planet or a regular ol' planet. Now, it's almost certainly going to be considered only a minor planet, but this got some of the "Pluto's not a real planet, either!" crowd animated again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Rep. Davy Crockett, Constitutionalist

Excellent article by the Wall Street Journal's John Fund on Davy Crockett's insistence on limited government and following the Constitution. Man, I wish we could vote for him to represent us today!

As a Tennesseean, I've a fondness for him, anyway, but this really makes a strong case for him as a Congressman. I have always gotten a satisfied laugh out of his famous statement to his former constituents (after being narrowly voted out of Congress),

You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.

I've long been looking for a chance to use this line. ...except I'm not going to Texas anytime soon, and I don't have any reason to tell anyone to go to hades just now. Ahh, someday, someday...

Monday, April 12, 2004

Right Wing Watch

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch is being watched himself by the ever-vigilant eagle-eyes at Right Wing Watch, apparently because he spoke at the 2004 Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C.
As Spencer himself admits,

I will never forget the day that Right Wingers crashed martini-laden golf carts into the Pentagon and World Trade Centers, all the while shouting "Reagan Akhbar! We will make your buildings as flat as your taxes!"

Serious subject but good satire. I'm getting a decent laugh out of imagining that scene...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


Didn't get much practical work accomplished yesterday, although I was able to straighten out what I don't understand about a statistical test I'm using in this paper I've been writing for...over a year, anyway. I'm less and less convinced this portion of the paper is useful, and I'd rather cut it out.

In the midst of trying to concentrate on the calculation, I kept getting distracted by the 3 1/2 tons of loose papers and Post-it notes forming tough layers of sediment on top of my desk and, in fact, all over the floor. Travel reimbursement forms from the AAS conference in January are still waiting to be submitted, and the receipts are separated by type...also on the floor, sharing some real estate with a couple of 4" telescopes that should be taken down, since I haven't used them in months.

It's amazing, when there's work to be done, how clean my office gets! I stayed here for a few hours after everyone else had left, straightening things up. It worked, and now I can finally concentrate on that paper...if I ever get off the internet.

More on caffeine

Just to add on to what I posted below, the nearest Starbucks is over an hour's drive away, but it's often worth it for the white chocolate mocha they have. That's my regular cup whenever I go in there, now. I'm afraid I must fit into Professor Mendelsohn's "Marc Antony" category.

Of course, there's the local shop right next to campus, and they do a good job, so I'm fairly regular, there. But I've not found a comparable white mocha anywhere else.

Caffeine in higher education

I was alerted to this via friends back at NASA/Goddard. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education has a funny...and somewhat frightening...look at the use of caffeine among professors. And it's not just coffee that makes an appearance, but lots of Diet Coke, as well.

The author got the idea from The Volokh Conspiracy, where our conspirators have been debating the awakening potentialities of Diet Coke vs. regular Coke and coffee for a while, now.

I feel like I'm barely even in the minor leagues, compared to these guys! Read for yourself.