Wednesday, June 21, 2006

as promised, a stargazing report

This makes it official; I'm a geek. This is what happens when I get bored and have a pair of binoculars, a planisphere, a red-filter on a flashlight, and Excel.

Edit - Crap. I forgot how Blogger doesn't like tables. Keep scrolling down, I swear there's more to this post, including a table of all 110 Messier Objects and the ones I've seen. Looks best in Firefox (sorry IE folks). I'll try to fix it later, I just don't have the energy right now. *grumbles about Blogger and what it does with its mother*

Edit 2 - Since Blogger hates tables for some reason, so I made the table as an external HTML page.

Link to my Messier Obect Checklist (Will open in a new window).

This is definitely a sign of a woman who has too much time on her hands, and can't stand the daytime heat (it's 97 right now). I've seen everything checked off in binoculars (technically I could say I've seen every Messier Object, but somehow I don't think scanning the sky with the naked eye counts). After last night's session, which I added M15, M31, M32, M110, that makes the tally 23 down, 87 to go. Oh, plus I saw 2 satellites. Sadly, I didn't see any part of the June Lyrids that I can be certain about. The neurological damage causes me to see random lights on occasion, so I don't know if what I saw was a neurological hiccup, or a meteor in my peripheral vision. For the past week I've definitely seen about one meteor a night, but then I didn't have binoculars glued to my face then, either.

Here's the source of most of the data for my table/checklist. Complete with pretty pictures.

must. have. coffee.

It is by caffiene alone that I set my mind in motion.

It is by the beans of Java that the thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.

It is by caffiene alone that I set my mind in motion.

Yes, I was up all night stargazing (report to come later), and I'm currently running on 3 hours sleep. Going to be a fun day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

welcome to hurricane season 2006


Say hello to Alberto, the first tropical system to form in the Atlantic hurricane basin in 2006, and it's working on being a hurricane.

2006-6-12 alberto
National Hurricane Center (NHC) storm track, as of 1000CDT, 6-12-06.

2006-6-12 2315CDT alberto IR
Infrared satellite imagery of Alberto, 2315CDT 6-12-06.

If this is the first thing the Atlantic spawns for the season, it's not looking good for the rest of the season. Here's hoping any Katrinas stay well off-shore.

According to the National Hurricane Center, this season looks like it will be just as active as past seasons. Well, not as active as last year, but well above average. From 1995-2005, 9 of those seasons had above average activity and 7 of those 9 are classified as hyperactive. In other words, we're screwed. Again.

In an average year there are 11 named storms, 6 of those storms become hurricanes, and 2 of those hurricanes are major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The prediction for this year is for a total of 13-16 named storms with 8-10 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 4-6 of those hurricanes being major hurricanes. Compare this with 2005 which saw a record 28 storms (27 named and 1 unnamed storm), 15 of those becoming hurricanes (also a record), and 7 major hurricanes (the standing record is 8). (I'd put this in a table, but for some reason Blogger is hating tables right now.) For more statistics of 2005, check out this Wikipedia article.

Hmm, I moved to Alabama from Indiana in 1995... Yes, I'll admit, having grown up in the Midwest, I always wanted to experience a tropical system first-hand, but this is ridiculous.

Monday, June 12, 2006

adventures in spam

I swear by all that is holy, these are true subject lines from my current mountain of spam. This doesn't include the mountain of crap that is in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or any writing system aside from Latin.
  • Alcohol and calculus don't mix... Don't drink and derive - I think it would have made more sense if I had been drinking...
  • Need cash, pebble-shaped - I know I've been out of the loop a bit, but when did we go back to stones?
  • dear russian schoolgirl - Uh, last I checked I'm not Russian...
  • test xeg - WTF?
  • I burned sixty calories - So did I, deleting all my spam.
  • Message subject - Hint: this is where you put the subject. Good guess on what that box is for.
  • We bring Vegas to you! - Can you imagine the shipping costs?
  • Cash out, scale bug - Excuse me?
  • You don't have the guts to stay away from your refrigerator? - Actually, it's quite easy for me to stay away from the refridgerator. The last time I opened it, whatever is living in there told me to turn out the light.
  • Lower payments, hematin crystals - First our currency changes to pebbles, then hematin crystals? What is a hematin crystal, anyway?
  • Keep Sweden tidy, shoot a tourist - I'm pretty sure there's a law against that.
  • oscillotro 2504 - Sounds like something that's only 4 payments of $29.99, and will fix my dinner for me. Or something like that.
  • RE: 25 - I always thought it was 42...
Now, that doesn't include all the emails telling me how to get "lowe$t pr1ces on druug$", or links for "hot poorn". Although this week, for some reason the ol' spam folder is full of emails telling me how I can find "young bonnie lasses". Why the rash of Scottish porn? I don't care about the lasses anyway. I plea the Fifth on the sheep...