the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

219/365: Touchdown

219/365: Touchdown

Being a night owl paid huge dividends last night as I very comfortably stayed up to witness Curiosity's arrival on Mars. A couple people in my Twitter feed turned me on to Eyes on the Solar System, which is just about the best thing ever--a realtime 3D computer simulation of pretty much everything in the solar system! So while the TV brought me live video of the excitement at JPL, my laptop brought me amazing visuals of the entry, descent, and landing of the rover, all perfectly timed and fed with real data streamed across the vast darkness of space as Curiosity flawlessly executed her audacious landing sequence.

Between this and Dragon, it's suddenly an exciting time to be a space geek.

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157/365: The Man of Tomorrow

The Man of Tomorrow

We were extremely fortunate on Tuesday that the cloudy, overcast skies cleared just in time to witness the historic 2012 transit of Venus. Liz had planned ahead and purchased eclipse glasses for all of us so that we could watch the tiny dot of our sister world pass between us and the sun.

Given the fashion-forward awesomeness of said glasses, I figured the time was right for me to indulge in a rare self-portrait, so I got out the tripod and struck my best Devo pose as I stared bravely into the sky.

Frankly, I'm just glad I managed to get myself in focus.

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146/365: How to Catch a Dragon

146/365: How to Catch a Dragon

I spent the day obsessively watching the live coverage of Dragon's arrival at the International Space Station, streaming it on the iPad while I tried to also get work done. In true nerd fashion, I had my phone playing Strauss's "Blue Danube" waltz on a loop the whole time.

Throughout the day, I was struck repeatedly by the profound realization of living in the future: I was watching history unfolding, in space, live, streamed across a vast global telecommunications network, and delivered wirelessly to a powerful hand-held computer.

Just take a moment and realize how amazing that is.

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Closing Tabs

Just closing some Safari tabs, and I'd rather link here than bookmark for some reason.

Hubble spies lord of the stellar rings (thanks to [info]gieves for the link)

Das Keyboard, which I think I might want to try out.

Sloganizer (thanks to [info]supercarrot for the link)

The Victorian Sex Cries Generator, stumbled upon through Neil Gaiman's journal. Mildly NSFW (some "naughty language").

Speaking of Neil, I ought to read We Can Get Them For You Wholesale at some point soon as the link is supposedly only good for this month or so.

I downloaded some nice Beethoven MP3's from the BBC.

On Friday I ran across this very cool online version of the Hitchhiker's Guide text adventure game, a highly excellent way to waste time at work.

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Some Light Reading

One of my coworkers who is a pretty serious space buff referred me to this interesting piece about how to get into space on the cheap. Good stuff; it really illustrates some of the reasons the Shuttle was such an engineering fiasco and maintenance nightmare.

It also begs the question--if we can get into space affordably, why don't we get off our butts and go?

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