A ship may be safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Cherry Hills Vil, CO
» More info.
The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
Thursday. 1.31.08 5:52 pm
I found a little movie showing the progress of Mercury MESSENGER towards Mercury. It will finally enter Mercury's orbit in 2011.
Mercury is a strange planet. It orbits the sun once every 88 earth days, but it rotates extremely slowly. The proximity to the sun makes days on Mercury into blisteringly hot affairs (up to 700 degrees F). There is also no atmosphere to buffer the heat loss and heat gain on the planet. However, this same effect means that Mercury also loses heat very quickly, making its night side among the coldest in the Solar System (-500 F).
However, while the Earth spins much faster than we could ever travel, you could ostensibly try and walk along Mercury's limb in order to stay in perpetual twilight or dawn, right around room temperature. See: The Chronicles of Riddick, Planet Crematoria. I was doing a calculation to see how fast you'd have to walk, but it's complicated, you see. If you go here then you can see how a day would look on the surface. Since Mercury rotates so slowly, the planet's position with respect to the sun is changing faster than it is rotating. In fact, at one point in its orbit, it would look like the sun is standing still, or even going backwards! That means that depending on the time of day and the time of year, you would need to move slower or faster to stay right at the right temperature.
It's the job of NASA-type people to think about these problems with regards to sending a lander to Mercury. Is it better to try and build a rover that can withstand the ridiculous temperature changes between night and day, or it is better to build a swift and nimble rover that can navigate across the surface at whatever speed NASA wants?
Naturally, you'd have to factor in Mercury's gigantic scarps, which can be up to a kilometer (~.62mi) high and thousands of kilometers long. It might take just a bit longer to navigate those on your way around the planet. Keep in mind that a typical one-way light time (the lag between when you send a command to your rover and when it recieves it) is about 10 minutes! No chance for last minute corrective maneuvers!
You can see how building and operating a Mercurian rover would be a Herculean effort. Just getting into orbit around this tiny planet instead of crashing into the sun will be a huge accomplishment. But we haven't even talked about Venus yet!
Monday. 1.28.08 12:15 pm
Thalweg and I took the opportunity of a couple of inches of snow yesterday to have a wild sledding adventure late in the night. She knows of an excellent hill and the snow was icy and ready for sliding. Being from South Florida, Thalweg was unaware of the multitude of dangerous possibilities that are time-honored traditions of the sport of sledding, namely: sled-trains and chains. Just wait until we can get the whole department out there....
I mean, Southern California be damned-- sledding is so much fun I can't believe I've gone so many years without it.
I heart Thalweg
Thursday. 1.24.08 11:35 pm
Discussion of Mercury will continue shortly, but for now, just one of the many reasons I love Thalweg, even though she schools me when we play Othello... that is, her emails:
Queen Laurentide, whose warm and caring heart may be the causeth of her thawing kingdom,
Indeed what Providence! I'm glad to hear of your fortuitous results!
My faculties too have been engaged in an orchestration of transcripts! Although crude, my printscreen/copy/paste manuevers have allowed the dean of admissions at a certain professional school in colorado to view my records! Although not encased securly in bubbles within cores, the dean was satisfied with the data and made some nice analysis of how to proceed forthwith.
yay to outcomes that augur a better future for the queens of 286,
" My powers detect that it is time to go home"
ps my manilla envelopes are at your disposal.... as for the boys, you will have to talk to ms kitty
Sent: Tue 1/22/2008 3:43 PM
Thalweg, Queen of Remoteness, Empress of Sensing:
My rheumatism is acting up and my physician has recommended some strong, clean Macmillan air to clear up my senses. I will make way to your fine country at 4:15 depending on the delays of my entourage, but should there be a significant delay, those responsible will be dealt with swiftly and cruelly. All I ask in return is the use of a single Manila slave-boy; I mean, envelope... if that's ok with you? :D
My transcripts have arrived!
Until such time as we may have the Providence to meet once more,
Laurentide Ice Sheet
Sent: Tue 1/22/2008 3:14 PM
Laurentide, Queen of Scotts of the Icy Kingdom du Nord,
Is there anyway that I can convince you to come over at around 4:15 to present my cover letter and resume to your court in my country? I think that it would be awkward to talk about these matters in the country from whence you come. awkward, like that sentence was awkward...
sailor mercury power,
Thalweg, queen of misplaced time and thought
Sent: Tue 1/22/2008 2:54 PM
If you come by I'll probably be in my office. I've been keeping the door closed to keep it warm and so I can play my music loud, but I'll put it so that it can be opened without a key.
-Laurentide Ice Sheet
Sunday. 1.20.08 5:59 pm
The surface of Mercury is a many-splendored thing. Let me put us into context: Mercury, the first planet in our Solar System, named for the messenger of the gods because of its fleet-footed movements across the sky.
Mercury is extremely difficult to view by telescope because it is so close to the sun. That means that whenever Mercury rises in the night sky, the sun is close behind it, or in front of it, making it extremely difficult to see. The giant, looming sun also poses the greatest difficulty in sending a spacecraft to the planet, which is the other reason that so little of it has been seen or mapped even though its existence has been known since thousands of years B.C. According to the people on the MESSENGER mission, the sun on Mercury would appear about three times as large as it does here on the Earth and would be 11 times as bright.
To send a spacecraft into orbit around Mercury requires incredible precision and a lot of planning. Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to view Mercury, was a flyby mission, meaning that it went into orbit around the sun at an orbit comparable to Mercury's, and then took pictures of the planet every time their two orbits intersected. This was over 30 years ago, and it was the first time that anyone had used the gravity of another planet (in this case Venus) to help the spacecraft along its way and to save the fuel it would take for course corrections.
It wouldn't take very long to fly a spacecraft straight at Mercury. However, by the time it arrived, it would be traveling at a tremendous speed, and the amount of fuel it would take to fight the ever-growing gravitational pull of the sun (which scales as a square to the inverse radius) would be unfeasible. Instead, the spacecraft travels towards Mercury in circles around the sun with ever lessening radii. In the case of MESSENGER, at the moment that the spacecraft was launched, it is traveling the same speed as the Earth, which is a little bit less than 70,000 mph. After making some changes in its speed and direction, it flies for a year before encountering the speeding Earth again. This time it uses the gravity well of the Earth to help modify its speed and direction, and it makes a slightly smaller circle which lines it up to intersect with the planet Venus. MESSENGER had two Venus flybys, each about a year apart and each modifying the trajectory just a bit, until it finally moved into the orbit of Mercury. You can control the way that a planet affects your flight path by planning how fast you will be going with respect to the planet (You can change this by changing your angle of approach) and how far away you are when you fly by (which changes the magnitude of the change that the planet can make in your trajectory).
On January 14th, the spacecraft flew by Mercury in the first of three flybys that it will complete before orbital insertion. Each flyby will slow down the spacecraft and prepare it to burn its thrusters and be captured by the gravity of the small planet. It is a great difficulty to avoid being drawn in by the immense gravity of the sun and to catch the gravity of the tiny planet Mercury.
um... I'll have to continue this later...
The Tour of the Solar System (coming soon)
Friday. 1.18.08 1:50 pm
At the moment I am up to my eyes in pictures of Mercury. Maybe up to about 6 ft above my head. But upon my return to Earth, I will explain all of Mercury's mysteries! Except for those which are under embargo, of course, and those secrets of the solar system that I am saving so as to become rich and famous in the future. Those being relative terms.
In fact, I think I will embark upon ZANZIBAR'S TOUR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM... starting at the first planet, Mercury, of course, and moving outwards. But every voyage needs a crew...
Wednesday. 1.16.08 6:15 pm
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