Wednesday, December 30, 2009


99942 Apophis is an asteroid named for the Egyptian god of destruction. It may hit Earth, so Russia's top space researchers are going to have a closed-door meeting to plan a mission to deflect it. Apparently Russians are sensitive about this because a meteorite hit Siberia in 1908 that knocked over about 80 million trees. And Apophis is three times the size of that one. That's 240 million trees! NASA has ruled out the possibility of a collision in 2029, claiming the asteroid will remain 18,300 miles above Earth's surface.

Anatoly N. Perminov is the head of Russia's space agency (RKA). In a radio interview, Perminov said, "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032. We're talking about people's lives here. It's better to spend several million dollars and create this system, which would not allow a collision to happen, than wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people."

I'm not going to compare NASA and RKA, but I will say that Perminov might want to start remembering things exactly before he spends several million dollars on a spaceship.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pies and Cakes

Saw this on the Transportation Security Administration's website:

Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Wikipedia is asking for donations. And why does a non-profit project that is created and edited by anyone with web access need money? According to Wikipedia (Haha, I've always wanted to write that.), the money goes to people and technology. The exact quote: "Even though Wikipedia is one of the top 5 most visited websites in the world, we employ fewer than 35 people." They took down the thermometer graphic they had up, but I believe their goal is $7.5 million for this year. And when I last saw it, it was up to $2.9 million. Seems like $2.9 million would be enough to support 35 people, especially when there's really no overhead. If everyone worked from home and were paid equally, that's an almost $83,000 salary. To create and edit Wikipedia. Which anyone with web access can do. And not get paid for.

The question to ask is: "Do you need Wikipedia?" If Wikipedia charged a small fee for use of its site, would you pay?

You may use Wikipedia a lot. In fact, instead of the thermometer image (likely because they don't want you to see how ridiculous the amount of money they're making is), they've now chosen to use banners with quotes from donors. Check this one out: "As a professional scientist, Wikipedia is my go-to source for ideas and concepts new to me. Donate for this? You bet!" I am officially scared.

I'm Not Even a Member.

PBJ club sandwiches are so messy, but so good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Learning Channel

I just discovered why TLC is no longer called The Learning Channel.  I just saw an ad on my screen for a new show called BBQ Pitmasters.  Here's TLC's synopsis of the newest episode:

As temperatures soar, it's not just the meat that's getting cooked when teams head to the desert for the Smokin' in Mesquite BBQ Championship for a taste of the $40,000 in cash and prizes.

I'm a little ashamed to live in a world where this is considered learning.