Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sharp-lensed imager...

named MAHLI will yield similar views when it arrives on Mars (click to enlarge to full resolution):
The metal spheres seen in the test image are 2 mm in diameter, and I can clearly see both quartz and feldspar grains, as well as fragments of basalt and pumice.  The MAHLI camera (the Mars Hand Lens Imager) will be attached to the articulated arm on the Mars Science Laboratory, to be launched toward the red planet in 2011.

A 400 year old murder mystery...

Murder! Intrigue! Astronomers?

Spoiler: It was the astronomer's assistant, in the observatory, with mercury poison.

Astrobiology discovery news conference...

has been scheduled by NASA for Thursday, 2 December in order "to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life."

Hmm.  Has evidence for some weird form of life been discovered on Titan?

Monday, November 29, 2010

An absolutely surreal image of Phobos...

over Mars captured by the Mars Express orbiter (click to enlarge):
Note that this is a real image, and not the stuff of computer graphics.

Good question...

during the holiday season:  Which Shipping Company is Kindest to Your Packages?

One of the snowiest...

Novembers in eastern Washington is in the making, as evidenced by this shot behind my cottage in the forest:
Helen is quite happy playing in the snow:
And she's taken to cross-country skiing, too, following Rachel and me around the half-mile track we've created out the back door:
Maybe I should hang a bottle of whiskey around her neck during these winter adventures.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Manhunt in Moab...

is underway for a man who shot a ranger late Friday night.  Where are you, Anna Pigeon?

UPDATE:  Rifle found. The dude should just give it up.  He'll either get cliffed-out or have to swim the Colorado River.

UPDATED UPDATE:  Some images of the crime scene, and a bloody t-shirt found.

EVENING UPDATE:  Search for fugitive shooter scaled back for the night.  Overnight forecast calls for 38 °F and 60% chance of rain.

SUNDAY MORNING:  Search resumes.

MONDAY MORNING:  Suspect has been named and the search continues.

TUESDAY:  Search area narrows (with video).

28 NOV:  Moab ranger remains stabilized, search discontinued.  I believe the shooter is dead, hidden in a sandstone crevice, somewhere south of the potash mine.

Cometary blizzard...

surrounds Hartley 2 in this contrast-enhanced image taken by the EPOXI spacecraft during its recent flyby:

Read more here about the numerous carbon dioxide-jetting vents you can see in this amazing image.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's field work Friday...

on the Rathdrum Prairie in Idaho today, and I was able to finally measure groundwater levels in all the monitoring wells and the equipment functioned perfectly.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Playing with fire at the LHC...

First Antimatter Atoms Created and Trapped.

This can't possibly end well (I've seen the movie).

Image courtesy UPI and CERN.

I wish mine worked better...

Human Brain Has More Switches Than All Computers on Earth

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Field camp organizational meeting...

is being held this Thursday (18 Nov) at noon in SCI 110.  If you are an EWU geology student and are planning on enrolling in GEOL 490 - Geology Field Camp - during summer 2011 then you must attend this important meeting.

/end public service announcement

Friday, November 12, 2010

Coevolution of rocks and life...

My Grandson the Rock. And here's the paper that inspired the linked article: Mineral Evolution.

Hat tip: JT

Feds criticized...

in fight against killer bat disease.

Remember, bats need friends.

Wise words...

Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.

-- Albert Szent-Gyorgi

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Face off...

between Helen and Nadine, in Missoula, Montana this past weekend.

Misplaced priorities...

Bad Signs at EWU

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shuttle launch delayed...

yet again: Fuel Leak Delays Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.  Sunday is the new target date for lift off.

Meanwhile, while we wait, check out this nifty infographic about the STS.

UPDATE:  Forget about it until the end of the month.

Matrimony Spring saga continues...

State Denies Moab Man’s Application for Matrimony Spring Water Right

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kindergarten is the most important year...

of your life according to a new study.  Here's a bite from the abstract:
"Kindergarten test scores are highly correlated with outcomes such as earnings at age 27, college attendance, home ownership, and retirement savings."

Hmm.  Maybe I could have been more successful if I had only studied harder during the first year of my education.  Though I do remember seeing a geode and a dinosaur track in a sandstone slab in second grade, and that clearly left a mark on me.

Spectacular encounter with comet Hartley 2...

by the EPOXI spacecraft today yields fantastic early images (click to enlarge):
Here's the link to the EPOXI mission web site where there are more images of the venting comet.  And here's a nice short article: New Super Close-Up Images From Comet Flyby, and an informative video.

UPDATE:  Here are several of the best views in a NASA graphic (click to enlarge):
And here's a neato animation using the time sequenced images.

Autumn colors on display...

at the EWU campus, just a few steps outside my office (click to enlarge):

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alien initiative rejected by voters...

in Denver, Colorado.  Here's the web site for Initiative 300, and it has nothing to do with illegal and/or undocumented workers.

I guess the residents of Denver aren't ready for "the truth."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wise words...

One of the quickest ways to find out if you are wrong is to state what you believe.

--Penn Jillette

Monday, November 1, 2010