Tag Archive: science

WT3123E1) The analog clock. Not kidding. Just wait…schools will stop teaching the minute & second hands curriculum in the not-too-distant future. Why bother when elementary school kids are carrying around cell phones?

220px-Edison_bulb2) Incandescent light bulbs. Just this past year the government was debating banning the sale or manufacture…regardless of the date, I’m thinking this baby’s time is running out. No more burning our fingers, but dudes, what will we show our kids when they ask what Thomas Edison did?


3) Home phones. Dunno about you, but I already have plenty of friends who don’t bother with the standard landline.


4) Paper books. Authors & publishers alike either see the writing on the wall when they check e-book sales, or are hiding under their blankets with flashlights.


5) Cursive. Remember all those tedious hours in grade school learning penmanship? Good news for your kids…they’ll now be learning keyboarding. You might have to translate Aunt Ruth’s birthday card, though.


6) Paper maps. These may be around a bit longer than the other items on this list, but eventually, GPS and internet-printed directions will dominate.


7) The Post Office. 2000 offices already closed, and certainly more in the future. Private shipping agencies and online access to forms, bills, etc are drastically cutting into our need for snail mail.


8) Checkbooks. They’re less secure, less convenient, and more expensive than cards or electronic payments.


9) Cash registers. Don’t laugh…as self-checkout and electronic payments become more popular, cashiers can start looking for work elsewhere.


10) College textbooks. Books make this list twice, if only because of our generation’s permanent back problems. Remember paying $160 for your Economics book? You’ll still have to pay for downloads, but at least you won’t have to carry a 60-lb. backpack across campus.

Maybe it’s time let we go of the doomsday phobias?

Image(created by OnlinePsychologyDegree.net…thanks for the tip, Allison M!)

This image from Mars has been generating some controversy, mostly because NASA identified the shiny object as “part of the rock” while the rest of us squint and imagine loftier origins.

What’s your take?

130103-coslog-plastic-1215p.photoblog900(photo credit NBCnews.com)

Of course, this follows the last head-scratcher from October…NASA decided this must have been plastic that shook loose from Curiosity itself.

imagesizer(photo credit NBCnews.com)

Gotta wonder how many ‘unusual’ objects the rover isn’t picking up given what a tiny percentage of the surface it can examining.

Watch the ISS fly by today!

iss2_sts114Friday afternoon, December 14th, the ISS will fly high above the National Capital (DC) area, likely becoming the brightest object in the sky. The space station should be easily seen with the naked eye, even if there’s light cloud cover. ISS will appear as a bright moving point, perhaps similar in appearance to a distant airliner. Very distant, as she will come no closer than 318 miles, and will be moving 5 miles per second.

ISS will rise in the W/SW sky about 5:43 pm EST, moving up and to the right. About a minute later, she will pass about 11 degrees right of the very thin Moon at a low altitude. About two minutes later, she will be due West at an altitude of 35 degrees. A minute later, she will culminate fairly high in the northwest. Two minutes after culminating, ISS will disappear into the shadow of the Earth low in the northeastern sky.

It is not possible to give exact times of the passage, but these times should be plus/minus just a few minutes of the actual flyover. If you’re outside no later than 5:40pm and hang out for 10 minutes, you likely can’t miss it.

On a personal note, I’ve witnessed this flyover a couple of times. She looks like a bright sphere, kinda like a UFO. It is awe-inspiring to see for ourselves that we’re up there!

If you want to see the schedule for upcoming flyovers, you can enter your zip code here and get the local times to eye the sky.

Source: Internal email from NASA (not confidential)
Image from Astronomy Picture of the Day by NASA

Time to break out the hot chocolate and bundle up for a long night. Tonight is the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower (BBC News). This year should be even better since it coincides with the new moon. This is definitely worth braving the cold!

Take a look at UniverseToday’s map (below)…the red X marks the spot where the meteors will originate. Even if you can’t find the spot, keep your eyes on the east/northeast sky and you’re likely to catch the action. You might have 10 minutes without anything, but you might have 10 minutes with 30 meteors. Keep in mind a lot of your visibility can be affected by air and light pollution. Here’s Visual Astronomy’s tips on getting around that.

geminids-580x397Best times to be watching the sky is from twilight until the wee hours. 2pm is predicted (EarthSky) to be the best local time (anywhere you live) since it marks the point where Gemini is directly overhead of your location.

If you’d rather stay inside, NASA will be airing the shower live on their Ustream channel from Marshall Spaceflight Center (starting at dusk) as well as answering questions LIVE (starting 11pm EST) via NASA chat.

And if you’re a stargazing buff, check out the International Meteor Organization for all the boring data like vectors and radiants.