Thursday, February 24, 2011

Space Shuttle Discovery and STS-133

I just watched the live feed of Space Shuttle Discovery taking off for the last time with the lift off of STS-133.  It was a little bittersweet in my opinion.  This will be Discovery's last venture into space. 

It is Discovery's 39th flight, 35th to the ISS.

It is the 164th American manned mission to space.

The 20th mission since the Columbia disaster and the 108th mission since the Challenger disaster.

Let's hope this is a safe trip and everything goes as planned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chess and Music (or musical chess)

Using a bit of algebra and some slightly esoteric musical theory (well esoteric to me), blogger Jonathan Stokes mapped chess moves into piano music.  Using the algebraic notation used in recording chess games, he mapped the chess moves into musical notes.  Then he added a little extra to the games in terms of music to make it all wrap together.  This is really cool.

Monday, February 14, 2011

NASA and Love

Just in time for Valentine's Day, NASA posted a fun little picture on their NASA Image of the Day page.  Nothing says geek love like a giant ring of black holes!  Let the awesome geek jokes about black hole rings commence!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The things kids say...

Scene: Little Berserker Spawn is sitting on the toilet talking to his mother, Beautiful Wife.

LBS: Mommy, I love you. (ahh... isn't that sweet, didn't even have to force him to say it)
BW: Thank you, I love you too.
LBS: I love you because I love sharks and whales.  (Ummm... WHAT?  I now feel the need to point out to BW that her son compares her to sharks LOL!)

Scene: I, Berserk Father, have just finished whipping up a batch of brownies with LBS.  We are in the kitchen cleaning LBS up, since I let him get all full of brownie mix licking the batter off the spoon.

LBS: Daddy, are you brownie? (Again, HUH? He does this a lot, asking if you are something or another, nothing terribly new)
BF: What?  No, I am Daddy.
LBS: Nooo.... you're not Daddy, you're dirt! <All with a big giant loving grin> (once again, WTF?  And he says it in this weird loving way... does it mean he loves dirt as much as me?  Or better yet, he loves me as much as he loves dirt?  Kids are weird)

Scene: LBS and BW are on the couch getting to ready to watch the first Harry Potter movie.  The living room is a wreck as LBS and his sister Sweet Little Hellion have gone insane and tore out every toy in the house and put it in the living room.  Nobody knows why.  This is what I hear as I walk up the stairs.

LBS: Mommy, are we going to watch a movie?
BW: Yes.
LBS: Are you sure?  You sure have a lot to do around the house - you will be very busy.
BF (walking up the stairs): BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHA! 

So, I don't know what weird little thoughts run through LBS's brain, but it sure looks like a fun place to visit!  This is all from the same day.  It is only 1:45 pm here.  Lots of time for more LBS insanity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fatherhood blogs?

So, I am an avid reader and enjoy meandering through the endlessness that is the interwebz.  I read a bunch of blogs regularly.  But they are almost all written by women.  Which is cool and all, since I try my best to understand the fairer sex. 

So, here I would like to highlight some great blogs about Fatherhood.  Why you ask?  Well, because Fathers are awesome too!  Who else lets you sneak cookies when Mom isn't looking?  Or lets you climb that tree WAY higher than you should.  Its not that we are stupid, but we are Dads.  Most of us (if you will let me speak for us all) think it is important to know your boundaries.  You can't find those boundaries unless you go right to the edge and fall off sometimes.  Plus, I know I learned best from the lessons that hurt.  Just don't die, ok?  Plus being a Dad is fun! 

So, I want to celebrate all the Dads on the interwebz who take the time to share their lives with the great horde of crazy that is the inhabitants of the interwebz.  Who put themselves, their experiences and their insanity out there for all to see.

The great Dad blogs that I know of:
GeekDad - name says it all
Straight Dope Dad - Just a regular guy with a kid who writes about it with honesty and realism
My Dad Blog - Straightforward, analytical and down to Earth blog about Fatherhood

So, does anyone have any other favorites?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NASA Aeronautics News

In a bill before the Senate this week, a proposed change to the long standing leadership of NASA in the area of aeronautics has died. The initial bill had language which would transfer the leadership of aeronautics research in the US from NASA to the FAA.

An amendment passed with a vote of 96-1 to drop the language concerning aeronautics research from the bill and keep NASA in charge of aeronautics research in the US.

I view this as a smart move. Why add more bureaucracy to an already extremely bureaucratic issue? Well done Senate.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Train wrecks

There is a fellow postdoc where I work who was a student of my adviser's good friend, Prof. K. Did you follow that? Moving forward, my adviser (call him Prof. J) and Prof. K are completely diametrically opposed personalities. Prof. J is super professional. Prof. K is extremely casual. Prof. J is a very classic gentleman. Prof. K is very frank and brutally honest. They are both quite bright and successful researchers.

Well, my fellow postdoc loves to regal us with stories of his adventures with Prof. K. My favorite story, however, is one I was directly involved in. Prof. K and my fellow postdoc (then grad student) were visiting Prof. J and our research group. The whole research group was all out to lunch at a little deli in town.

Somehow the topic of movies came up and somehow (the details are still blurry to all involved and all attempts to reconcile the events in a logical order fail and descend into insanity quickly) the topic of favorite actresses comes up. Favorite in the "looks good in a tight dress" kind of favorite.

Prof. J: "K, stop talking about this, it is not appropriate - there are women at the table"
Prof. K: "Oh, J, don't be such old puss"

Yes, he said "old puss." I laughed anxiously. Prof. K's student (now my postdoc friend), talks about Angelina Jolie being hot, etc. etc. Prof. K says he has no taste and that she is old and fake. Meanwhile, prim and proper Prof. J is slowly trying to shrink down into his chair and disappear.

Prof. K goes on to explain his favorite is a certain actress, whose name I cannot recall. He also goes on to explain, in some very interesting language, about his reasoning.

Prof. K: "Well, you see, she was quite beautiful. She was also a well known mathematician who worked on code algorithms for the Army during one of the world wars."

We all found that quite interesting and some discussion took place about cryptography and related subjects. But now it gets fun.

Prof. K: "And she was the first actress to masturbate on screen."

He just throws that out there, nonchalantly. WHAT THE @#$%??? I mean, remember, this is a gathering of research scientists. Mainly physicists and mathematicians. We are not some ex-frat guys at a business lunch in suits and ties. We are the somewhat nerdy, like talking about cryptography and quantum mechanics group. This is a group of 7 or so PhD students and researchers. Seriously, first actress to masturbate on screen... what the *$%^?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Excellent Valentine's Day Cards for that special snarky geek in your life!

Check out this great Snarky Valentine's Day cards from ThinkGeek.  Excellent thinks like: Big dinners make me drowsy so let's do the sex part first. Hilarious!

I have absolutely no affiliation with thinkgeek or with whoever produces, markets, creates, or whatever these cards. I simply found them funny!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Video game co-play is big benefit for girls

Geek Dad over at has a great little piece on the benefit of video gaming with parents for girls.  It is a great read.  So, game with your kids.  Especially those daughters out there.  It matters.
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