Category Archives: Updates

Items that don’t belong in any other category.
This is the default category.
Usually set aside for updates that don’t fall into other categories.

Possible habitable zone planet is a mere 12 light years away

An artist’s conception of the potential planet.

Most of the exoplanets we’ve discovered thus far have been found because they’re easy to spot—Jupiter-sized giants orbiting close in to their host stars. But the Kepler mission has been providing a huge catalog of exoplanets and with it we’ve obtained a very different perspective, finding that planets in general are common and most of them are far smaller than the gas giants first identified. This new perspective has raised the prospect that we can identify some orbiting nearby stars, following identification with direct observations searching for signs that the planet’s atmosphere is shaped by life.

More recently, astronomers have started making progress towards identifying planetary candidates that are close enough that we could eventually image them with an orbiting telescope. Just in October, astronomers announced there was a hint of a signal from an exoplanet in the light from one of the closest stars, Centauri B. Today the astronomers have released a paper that suggests there are several planets around the nearby star Tau Ceti, and one of them is likely to be within the star’s habitable zone.

It’s important to note the signals of the planets are buried deep in a variety of optical noise, both from the telescopes and instruments, and from the star itself. Further observations are going to be needed to confirm that the signals appear consistently. But this work certainly suggests those follow-up observations are going to be a high priority.

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via Ars Technica http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/possible-habitable-zone-planet-a-mere-12-light-years-away/

David Carr on Brian Lam and Wirecutter

Really enjoyed this piece by David Carr on former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam’s recent and very different Wirecutter, but this bit stuck out:

Mr. Lam’s revenue is low, about $50,000 a month, but it’s doubling
every quarter, enough to pay his freelancers, invest in the site
and keep him in surfboards. And now he actually has time to ride
them. In that sense, Mr. Lam is living out that initial dream of
the Web: working from home, working with friends, making something
that saves others time and money.

In what way is $50K/month — doubling every three months — “low” for a site with a small staff? I’d say that’s great revenue, and eye-popping growth.

via Daring Fireball http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/business/media/buffeted-by-the-web-but-now-riding-it.html?_r=0

50 Heartbreaking Movie Moments

This is by far one of the best supercuts in recent memory. Unlike most others, this is truly an emotional force. You have seen most of these movies. You will remember most of these scenes. This is one youtube video that will move you. Take 8 minutes out of your day to feel slightly uncomfortable and dig deeper into the human condition.

Labor Day

Rain was the main attraction this year at the lake for Labor Day. This morning it was overcast and a little humid, but the temperature was comfortable enough. I’d even say it felt nice outside since the temperature never got above about 85.
Around noon is when the weather started heading downhill. The clouds began to grown, darken, and look much more potent. The wind started to blow; a soft breeze turned into heavier gusts. Rain was imminent.

Full rush mode happened. Traditionally, we pull the boats from the water on Labor Day as a last sign of summer ending. This year, we flew up and down the pier, hastily pulling knots, and slinging rope in order to get the boats back onto their trailers and onto land.
The pontoon was first, followed closely by the v-hull. Both on their respective trailers, on land, strapped down.
The jet ski was last. It lives in the boat house most of the year. The trailer is attached to a wench inside, making it easier to take it out. This set-up also makes it much harder to take it in for service as the jet-ski must be launched from the boat house and docked. The trailer must be lowered and pulled by hand from the boat house, under the pier, to the ramp. It was at this time we realized our time was up.

I could feel the first strike of lightning. It was close, so much so that the hair on my arm raised. The storm it was from made no other sounds before this strike of lightning. I went inside, quickly.
I was supposed to grill chicken. This was changed to baking. We ate lunch and packed the rest of the house. The rain is still falling now.

Loving this time at the lake

I have really enjoyed my time at the lake this season with Erika and Thomas. I wish we could come up here more, but I should also feel lucky that I have been able to spend as much time up here as I have.
Some of the best moments are when he is playing in the little pool we got him.

Labor day tomorrow, looking forward to the day.

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Britannica Stops the Presses

In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools.

I disagree with a lot of the reasons given in this article about the validity of the printed version over the web version except for one tiny fact: The printed version provides the best way to track human knowledge over history. It shows how our thoughts and understanding has evolved into what it is today.

via After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses – NYTimes.com.