Monthly Archives: July 2011

  • Countdown 7/25/2011

    Lots of astrobiology/planetary news lately…

    3… Scientists just discovered a new moon orbiting the dwarf planet Pluto.

    2… I know some of you have been nervous about rumored cuts to the NASA’s Astrobiology Program. Well, late last week the program announced their plan for the next few years in an email to PI’s (which was subsequently passed on to There’s really good news here: the plan is to make selections each of the next two years, and into the forseeable future.

    1… More NASA Astrobiology news! The due dates for the next NAI proposals were announced today. Put your teams together

  • The Countdown: 7/22/2011

    It’s hot, the A/C in my room is broken, and I’m writing this in a laptop. Needless to say, I have a vested interest in keeping things short tonight.

    3… Continents started to form by 3.0 billion years ago, according to a new study in Science.

    2… An “old” story only coming to my attention thanks now to a review in this week’s Science: the Earth’s continental glaciers (the ones that cause sea level rise when they melt) may not be melting as rapidly as we previously thought. This is excellent news if the work holds up.

    1… In case you didn’t turn

  • Countdown to exhaustion 7/21/2011

    I’m at a class on Program Management and Systems Engineering. That’s why I haven’t done any countdowns this week. I’m sneaking one in tonight before a short night’s sleep…

    3… Because I plan to wake up early to watch the last shuttle landing. If you’re reading this tonight GO TO BED so you can wake up to watch the landing, which is scheduled for 5:57 AM EDT on Thursday, July 21. In other words, 5-ish hours from right now…

    2… I missed this in my negligence the last couple of days. We put Dawn into orbit around Vesta… and are getting some

  • Belated Countdown 7/14/2011

    I watched Harry Potter Part VII Part 2 last night, and didn’t get home until nearly 3. So I’m doing the countdown now…

    3… JWST will need extra cash to launch by 2018. Needless to say, given the current plans to cancel the telescope in the House, this will be difficult to come by.

    2… Forests are even more important that previously thought in taking up atmospheric carbon, according to a recent report in Science.

    1… Dawn is scheduled to enter into orbit around Vesta late tonight. More on Dawn and Vesta soon, as this will be next week’s “mission of the

  • Silly rabbit, the Khan Academy isn’t just for kids

    If you haven’t checked out the Khan Academy before, you should. The story of its founding, and explanation of what it is goes like this: a calm, nice, whiz mathematician working at a hedge fund is tutoring some cousins, and decides to make some YouTube videos to help them out…. which then go viral because he’s really, really good at explaining things. So he keeps making videos, and they keep helping people learn math. Before you know it, he has a whole website built around the concept, including unique lesson plans, and tools for teachers to monitor students’ progress.

    I had