I like Edupage, but I wish they had a way to view the up-to-date issue of their newsletter without making me subscribe to yet another mailing list.
I’ve been poking around with Birth Sky stuff again. The basic idea is finding planetary ephemeris data on the web and then plotting it automatically, maybe every day. I’m using MATLAB to generate the chart: here’s an early example. I’ve found several good ephemeris sites.
- Your sky is good. They’re in Switzerland and have a secondary server in the .to domain, but it seems pretty flaky.
- Web MICA, run by the US Naval Observatory, is also good, but doesn’t permit URL hacking to call the program. It’s all form driven, which doesn’t do me any good from an automation point of view.
- Heavens Above, hosted in Germany, is one of the nicest and most complete stargazing sites.
Unfortunately, none of these sites seems to give me a way to use a single URL to return planet positions at an arbitrary time. More about this later.
By the way, “Your sky” has a particularly nice “illuminated Earth” clock page that is definitely worth a visit.
A first-person account of the nearly disastrous Amercian Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami: acme’s Journal (189). Before blogging came along, it’s hard to think of a way this would have appeared so quickly without being mediated by journalists.
Check out this cool picture of the Himalayas taken from the space station: Himalayan Horizon From Space. I continue to be amazed at the high quality and highly-linked content put together by the folks at NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day”.
My oldest brother, bless his heart, celebrates his birthday today, making it fully four days closer to Christmas than my own birthday. This means that, while I can bemoan my fate at having a birthday so close to Christmas, I still get to chuckle at him, because his is positively hiding in the shadow of Christmas. Poor miserable pudknocker.
This reminds me of something I wrote a few years back around this time of year. Think of Christmas not as what it masquerades to be, but what it is: a force of nature… a hurricane… think of Christmas as… well, read on.
The Taxonomy browser at NCBI looks cool, but I can’t figure out how to use it. In case you forgot, the complete taxonomic nomenclature for humans goes like this: Eukaryota; Metazoa; Chordata; Craniata; Vertebrata; Euteleostomi; Mammalia; Eutheria; Primates; Catarrhini; Hominidae; Homo sapiens.
Every time I go back to Matt Welch’s warblog, I find more good stuff. Read his recent essay about how blog coverage of this war is beating the big media coverage. Fun reading.
Nice spoken-word commentary on life in Afghanistan from photojournalist James Hill at The New York Times
Play Pong on the side of a German building with Blinkenlights Interactive.