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The BIG Reason

Music, opinions, and portfolio of Mark Eagleton, musician and web developer in Northern CA.

Link List

Comentary about things I have found around the web.

  1. A view of the earth from the Hubble Space Telescope. Which I nearly broke.

    If you didn’t already just love astronaut Mike Massimino to death, he goes and writes something like this.

    The first thing I had to do was to remove a handrail from the telescope that was blocking the access panel. There were two screws on the top, and they came off easily. And there was one screw on the bottom right and that came out easily. The fourth screw is not moving. My tool is moving, but the screw is not. I look close and it’s stripped. And I realize that that handrail’s not coming off, which means I can’t get to the access panel with these 117 screws that I’ve been worrying about for five years, which means I can’t get to the power supply that failed, which means we’re not gonna be able to fix this instrument today, which means all these smart scientists can’t find life on other planets.

    And I’m to blame for this.

    It’s people like this that make me proud to be human.

  2. Just the BAFacts

    Phil Plait tweets cool astronomy facts with the hash tag #BAFacts on Twitter. Most of them link to detailed articles he has written on the subject. Last week he compiled all of his BAFacts for the year in a single post. Even if you have been reading the Bad Astronomy blog since it started in 1382, there is some amazing stuff in there for you to get lost in! I’ve been stuck in it for three days.

  3. Game Shop

    I watched them all last night and got hooked. New episode every Wednesday.

  4. Base 12

    Today is December 12, 2012, 12/12/2012, or 12/12/12. Or if you use the dozenal system, 10/10/11ƹ8!

  5. Lagunitas Expanding to Chicago

    This totally news to me.

    In 2010, it was the nation's 17th largest craft brewer, according to the Brewers Association, an industry trade group. If it produced 1.2 million cases — its full capacity after the expansion — Lagunitas would have been the second-largest craft brewer in the United States last year, behind only The Boston Beer Co., which makes Samuel Adams.

    I knew Lagunitas was having trouble meeting increased demand, but I had no idea how big they were getting. Good for them, and good for the United States.

  6. My Traditional Bluegrass Pandra Station

    I’ve been rocking this bad boy for three years. It’s pretty well seasoned now. You’ll hear lots of Stanley Brothers, Vern Williams, Flatt & Skruggs and Bill Monroe. I tend to favor older recordings over modern ones. I recommend listening to it on your tiny smart phone speaker.

  7. Ididums

    Dummies messing up common idioms on Twitter, by the incomparable @vinniefranco. A great resource for hilarious cologne typos as well. I’m keeping this open all day. You couldn’t care more.

  8. Possible Super-Earth Could Harbor Life

    A possible super–earth–sized planet (between the mass of Earth and a gas giant) has been discovered 40 light years away that orbits its ~4.5 billion year old star in the habitable zone. This is a very good candidate for life if its size pans out.

  9. Phil Plait Sees JWST's Primary Mirror

    Or mirrors, as it were. And they are smooth!

    The figure of each mirror (the technical term for the shape of the surface) is incredibly accurate: the bumps in the surface are on average smaller than 25 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter… to give you an idea of how small this is, a typical human hair is 400 times thicker than the deformities in the mirror.


    I’ll add that mirrors like this – the size they are, made of beryllium, figured to this accuracy – has never been accomplished before. And that’s only part of it, since of course all 18 mirrors must act as one once JWST is in orbit.

    The James Webb Space Telescope will launch in 2018 if we are lucky. I can’t wait to see what we find!

  10. Tisha UnArmed

    Tisha is awesome. Of course all of us people with arms want to know how people without arms do everyday things. Does that make us petty? Maybe, but Tisha doesn’t care. She happily indulges our curiosities and answers all the questions we would otherwise be too shy to ask.

    It helps that she is also extremely charming.

  11. The “Oh Shit” Circuit

    Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker:

    The [anterior cingulate cortex] is typically associated with the perception of errors and contradictions—neuroscientists often refer to it as part of the “Oh shit!” circuit—so it makes sense that it would be turned on when we watch a video of something that seems wrong, even if it’s right.

  12. Respect

    Spencer Mulesky guest posts on the Friendly Athiest:

    The highest respect one can pay to another’s idea is to scrutinize it and explain what might be wrong.

    Just writing this down to remember it now.

  13. Warehouse Jobs Suck

    Mac McClelland recently did some investigative warehouse job reporting in the mid west for Mother Jones. I worked at a place like this for ten years. My wife and I got to know each other while applying price labels to CD orders for Hastings, Borders Books and Music, and Amazon when they first started selling music back in the 90s. This was before the Internet really killed the brick and mortar stores, but we still had an 80% turnover rate, worked 10 to 12 hour days 6 to 7 days a week, and were under similar pressure to make our numbers. I still have nightmares about bending over 10,000 times a day.

    I made it out to the IT department by the time they implemented all the totes, scanners, conveyers and really ramped up production, though. Picking and shipping large 1,000 to 10,000 item orders requires much less logistics than millions of 1 to 3 item orders.

    This article hits a little too close to home for me. I think it may have soiled my day.

  14. Phil Plait Describes Enormity Well

    His modesty is as charming as his nerdery.

    And once again, we’ve reached the point where I’m out of words. Our puny brains, evolved to count the number of our fingers and toes, to grasp only what’s within reach, to picture only what we can immediately see — balk at these images.

    But… we took them. Human beings looked up and wondered, looked around and observed, looked out and discovered. In our quest to seek ever more knowledge, we built the tools needed to make these pictures: the telescopes, the detectors, the computers. And all along, the power behind that magnificent work was our squishy pink brains.

    Oh, and wholly crap! I 150,000 megapixel image of 1 billion stars!!!