Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

ukulele: the hawaiian jumping flea

i dont really need to pick up a new hobby, but whatever - i just bought a ukulele! i love it so far, but my fingers are yelling at me and i'm a bit annoyed at how quickly it falls out of tune. hopefully my skin will toughen up soon and i'll figure out how the little instrument works!

here are some inspirational tunes played on the ukulele.

first, listen to the legenadary hawaiian musician Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole sing somehwere over the rainbow.




and one from pearl jam's front man, eddie vedder, who released an album of ukulele songs earlier this year. here is his tune called can't keep.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

playing with balls

sorry about the title of the post, but i really couldnt think of anything else more appropriate to describe these two completely different demonstrations of incredible ball skills:



Sunday, August 21, 2011

the tim tam slam

a tim tam is a very popular and tasty australian biscuit/cookie composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit that surround a chocolatey cream filling, and completely covered in a thin layer of chocolate.


tim tams were first created in the 1960s and named after an american thoroughbred racehorse.

the packaging is unique in that each biscuit ("biccie" in aussie slang) has its own little compartment and there are precisely 11 biscuits per package.


i have developed a tim tam habit while observing at the australian astronomical observatory. very early in the morning, when i start to get sleepy and exhausted from working all night, i like to perform a tim tam slam (or two) to help me stay awake (and because they are so yummy)!!

to perform a tim tam slam, you need a tim tam and a mug of hot beverage such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate.


first, take small bites off opposite corners of the tim tam, or daintily bite off both ends (my preferred method).


the next few steps happen in rapid succession, so get ready...

hold the tim tam tight between your fingers and place one of the nibbled off bits in your mouth. submerge the other side in the beverage and suck, suck, suck!


as soon as you get the *hit* of liquid through the tim tam straw, pop it directly into your mouth!


if you wait too long, the whole thing turns into sludge and can easily drop out of your hand, so its best to eat it quickly.


every time i do the slam, it tastes better than i expect :)

UPDATE: in response to this post, some fine fellas in cardiff decided to demonstrate a similar technique using a twix, which they call tea-twix-tubes!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

pancake machine

spotted in the qantas lounge!

off to Canberra to feel a couple days of winter and give a talk!

Monday, August 15, 2011

what a "shooting star" looks like from space

ever wonder what a meteor might look like from space?

here's the view from the international space station during last night's persied meteor shower, as the earth passed through the space dust left over from comet swift-tuttle.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

zombie bowling

in order to advertise a german horror TV channel, a group designed a series of bowling balls that look like chopped off heads which they are calling 13th Street Bowlingheads. spray paint artist Oliver PaaƟ helped to make them look fairly convincing! they put these bowling balls (and a few other designs) in several bowling alleys around germany...


do they remind anyone else of classic garbage pail kids?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

dirty space news: juno launches to jupiter

yesterday the juno spacecraft launched into space aboard an Atlas V rocket, headed for a mission to analyze jupiter. apparently i wasnt the only one who thought the event qualified as dirty space news!

right??


juno will arrive at jupiter in july 2016 in order to study many still mysterious aspects of the giant planet's existence. astronomers are hoping juno will help our understanding of whether jupiter has a solid core, how much water and ammonia are deep in jupiter's atmosphere, what exactly jupiter's strong magnetic fields look like, and observe jupiter's auroras in detail.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

cat's map of the bed

horizontal milky way

i'm out at siding springs observatory again this week hanging out with some telescopes and kangaroos. this first night of observing has been a hectic one, getting the quirks of the telescope worked out and debugging some new code issues.

luckily, things are running mostly smoothly now, we are collecting spectra of 400 galaxies each hour, and a fellow observer managed to get outside for a few minutes to capture this lovely image of the milky way laying across the night sky :)


Photo Credit:  Maritza Lara-Lopez