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I think the best bit about watching the 50th anniversary special in the theater was looking around and seeing all these kids who weren't born when my Doctors were on the air.

I remember the day a friend came into the dining hall in college to tell us that Doctor Who was cancelled. "But they can't!" we said. "They just can't!"

They couldn't!

Also a delight seeing it start with the opening sequence of the first-ever episode redone in color and 3D. (Not to mention the original opening credits.) And of course the cameo(s).

I suppose I should really sit down and catch up on the new series, with their manpain, "sexed up" companion-Doctor ships and all. I'm so out of touch; I hadn't seen Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's daughter, and she's great.

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/196898.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Oh Joy...

... budding musician in the apartment complex across from my home office is learning to play the clarinet.

I approve of musicians and understand that drills are necessary, but I am rapidly becoming less fond of "Sakura, Sakura" than I was a day ago.

Also, I have rather frequent headaches now due to eyestrain, so... rrrrrgh.

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/191170.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Saturn and moon playing peekaboo

I really really REALLY wish I had a camera I could clamp onto a good telephoto lens AND tripod, or else a camera that fit my ancient backyard scope.

Holding a point-and-shoot camera against the scope's eyepiece and trying not to breathe yielded these:

(Contrast boosted on most of them to try and make it more visible)

It seemed awfully dim after the first bright snap (top left).

Then I looked at the nearly full moon, and even it seemed awfully dim:

What was going on? Oh, right. Clouds. This is what I saw when I stopped trying to leave the shutter open long enough to collect a little light:

I'll have to try Saturn again on another night. Still can't expect much without the right equipment, but it's at a really good angle right now to catch the sun on the rings.

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/188813.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Success! (Comet Panstarrs)

I really, really need a camera for astrophotography.

Holding a point-and-shoot camera over the lens of my wee beginner telescope is not, repeat, NOT the way to do this. So these photos are not great. BUT!

It's a comet.

my Pan-starrs photosCollapse )

Taken at Orange County Great Park, almost exactly 8PM. I heard coyotes howling in the distance, which I find beautiful.

(black strips are some sapling treetops in foreground, which I was using to help me find the comet after spotting it with binocs.)

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/186226.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Monday's earthquake was wimpy, but useful.

An earthquake early warning system being tested in California gave seismologists in Pasadena up to 30 seconds to prepare for Monday morning’s temblor in the desert of Riverside County.
“It was right,” said Kate Hutton, a seismologist with Caltech. “I sat really still to see if I could feel it and it worked.”
-- LA Times

This system can't predict earthquakes, but it can transmit an "Earthquake... incoming!" signal out from the epicenter faster than the ground waves propagate, giving people more than 20 miles away enough seconds to drop and cover, hit the brakes on the train, move away from the window, etc. Japan has had a national system like this for several years, and California is looking into implementing one.

By the way... for those of you who don't live in earthquake country, this is Dr. Kate Hutton:

She is southern California's Earthquakes SpokesExpert. Whenever a quake triggers news coverage, whether it be national TV or a local radio broadcast, chances are we'll hear the reassuring tones of Captain Kate explaining it all to us.

Outside of entertainers, she's probably one of the most visible out lesbians in the world. Unsurprisingly, she is a dyke icon in California.

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/185886.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.

...because at some point, you'll be moderating fellow members, not only trolls that need to be flicked away.

To think, I once enjoyed this kind of thing. Now I just want to fricking RUN AWAY.

rantCollapse )

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/185569.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.



So I went out to the Great Park tonight to look for Comet PanStarrs, after failing last night because of fog on the ocean. I even got a new app, SkySafari, which lets you look up comets and everything else (Comet C/2011 L4 = Panstarrs)!, and then it draws a green arrow pointing to whatever the heck you're trying to find. IT'S OVER THERE, YOU TWIT!

Pannstars is tricky. It should be naked-eye by now, but it's hanging so close to the sun that there's only a very short window after the sun goes down and the sun-glare fades before Panstarrs, also, sets.

I had nearly given up when, suddenly, through the horizon haze, I spotted it (or so I thought) with binocs. YES! YES! THERE IT WAS! Fuzzy little ball with faintish wisp going up.

Except that after writing my "I saw Comet Panstarrs!" post, I found this photo taken five days ago, and now realize that I accidentally a different comet. What I saw looked more like "Lemmon" in this picture: the distinct snowball on the end.

By Juri Beletsky, Observatorio de Las Campanas, Chile [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nevertheless, comet Panstarrs SHOULD be visible to the naked eye this week -- barely -- and quite visible with binoculars.

How to find comet PANSTARRS (visible March 10-20 or so)Collapse )

I will be trying again all week. There's an astronomy club demo at the Great Park on Friday with big telescopes, but the lines are always looooong. So, we'll see.

I sure hope comet ISON survives its close encounter with the sun later this year and puts on a show for us in November. If it doesn't melt away completely during its swing around the sun, it should be easy to see with the naked eye. Unfortunately, it's cutting the turn really fine -- only 100,000 miles above the sun's surface! -- so it could get vaporized. But if it survives, it may be the brightest comet since the 1600s.

This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/184814.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Built-in Voice Recognition in Mac OS

Mac voice recognition (video link, includes sound) has been built into the system since 1993.

I used it years ago, but it was much more primitive then and not ready for prime time. My wrists are now very, very grateful that I have activated it.

What it can do:
  • Switch between programs, play/pause, use voice commands for copy/paste and move up/down.
  • Create voice aliases for your most-used files and programs. (Say "Google Chrome" to open Chrome, e.g.)
  • Assign voice commands that trigger any keyboard shortcuts.
  • Create application-specific commands for macros or other application function.
  • With Universal Access > Enable access for assistive devices turned on, you can use your voice to select menu items, browser bookmarks, browser tabs by speaking their names.</ul>

    What it can't do (yet):
    • Take dictation / transcribe everything you say. For that, you need third party software.
    • Answer questions, Siri style. For that, go to google.com (which you can set as a voice bookmark) and click the microphone icon.

    Ways I'm using it:
    • Web browser navigation. Boy howdy, web browser navigation. (E.g. "sepdet friends" [checking dreamwidth], "new tab" or "was that an earthquake?")
    • Closing all the windows I've opened, quitting all the applications I've left running.
    • Cut and paste.
    • Flipping between programs.
    • Opening files I use for work.
    • Activating macros.
    • Nearly everything I used to use the mouse or trackpad for.

    Custom commands/macros I've made:
    • "Photoshop" "MS Excel" because who bally wants to say, "Open Adobe Photoshop CS5" or "Switch to Microsoft Excel"
    • "Scroll north" "scroll down" because apparently I'm so congested that "move up" and "move down" sound about the same. Bleh, sinuses.
    • "View next tab" for command-right-arrow to flip between tabs in my browser. OMFG useful.
    • Also, in speech settings, I went into the "commands" area and turned off exact matches so that it'll take "close this" for "close this window" and "what's today?" for "what is the date?"

      This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/182415.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.
  • Tags:

    Russian meteor videos / links roundup

    So, a round-up, partly so I can find this stuff later.

    Excellent summary from Sky & Telescope.

    Two astounding video compilations, more links about actual SCIENCE of this thingCollapse )

    This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/182063.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.


    Yeah, yeah, I know, first world problems. But think of the trees!

    P.S. If you agree with me that phone book deliveries should be OPT IN, there's a petition for that. I added my signature.

    This entry originally posted at http://sepdet.dreamwidth.org/181684.html, where it has comment count unavailable comments.

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