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[ 20070529 ]

Any Old Blogger Can Donate Blood

UPDATE: Yikes! OK, the usual instructions are -- poke around a little while you're here; I particularly encourage reading the posts listed under "Important Stuff" in the left sidebar. Feedback is welcomed via the link above; first-time e-mailers will have to batter their way through Spam Arrest.

Like, you know, this guy. But I'm not just any old blogger; on Arcturus, you get to see the needle going in:

just a little pinprick

there is no pain, you are receding ...

the finished product, four minutes later

the rewards: colorful bandage, 10% cafeteria discount, pen, Sunny D, Oreos

For more information, locals should graze on over to the Community Blood Center website; and also note this upcoming opportunity.

Jay Manifold [4:13 PM]

[ 20070527 ]

How to Build a 22" Telescope

-- was the topic of the main presentation at last night's ASKC meeting. Here's presenter Fiske Miles demonstrating the finished product (click on images for full-size [640 × 480] versions):

putting the secondary assembly onto the trusses

adding the finderscope

... and the shroud

pointing out the battery box

a glimpse of the mirror assembly (at bottom)

The materials weren't too expensive -- maybe $7000, of which $4500 was the mirror, which he bought ready to install -- but the tools were something else: a full wood shop of goodies on the order of $20k. Graze on over to FiskeMiles.com for the complete presentation.

Now let's have some fun. Turning to page 45 of the Observer's Handbook 2007 and exercising some of the formulas found there, we have (with D = 560 mm):

  • Limiting Visual Magnitude m ≈ 2.7 + 5 log D = +16.4
  • Smallest Resolvable Angle α ≈ 116/D = 0.21"
  • Useful Magnification Range ≈ 0.2D to 2D = 110x to 1,100x

These are somewhat idealized values, given the reality of atmospheric conditions even at good sites (or great ones).

Oh, yeah: shortly before the meeting, your humble blogger got arm-twisted into running for a seat on the ASKC board. Elections are at the next meeting, Sat 23 Jun. I'd like to buy about a million dollars' worth of TV ads, so feel free to contact me via the link at the top of the page and send bundles of unmarked twenty-dollar bills. My platform:

  • clouds/rain in daytime only and clear high-pressure domes of air overhead every night
  • paint near side of Moon flat black so full Moon won't interfere with observation
  • install master dimmer switch for all outside lighting in KC metro area
  • a giant Dobsonian in every garage, a comet within 0.05 AU every calendar quarter, and a supernova within 1,000 light-years every year
  • tunnels to Arizona and Chile for quick weekend getaways to Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo

Hey, those are at least as realistic as most campaign promises ...

Jay Manifold [8:01 AM]

[ 20070505 ]

"Meteorite Capital" Hit by Tornado

Greensburg, KS, previously mentioned on Arcturus in Road Trip Report, Stained Glass from the Sky, and When the Stars Fall on Kansas, has been heavily damaged by a tornado.

UPDATE: Greensburg is now being described as "destroyed," and FOX 4 Meteorologist Joe Lauria in KC is reporting that the 1000-pound meteorite formerly on display in Greensburg, the world's largest Pallasite, is missing.

Relief information here.

2ND UPDATE: They're not kidding. And see photos 11 and 12 for what's left of the facility that housed the meteorite.

3RD UPDATE: Roxana Hegeman of the AP reports that the meteorite has turned up.

"Amid the rubble, one of the town's most locally famous features was recovered Monday. A museum volunteer searching the site of the town's Big Well museum found a missing 1,000-pound meteorite, one of the largest of its kind. The meteorite, a type called a pallasite, is insured for $1 million."

Jay Manifold [10:08 AM]

[ 20070503 ]

Genes and Culture

-- is the subject of my latest offering over on Chicago Boyz. Enjoy!

Jay Manifold [8:46 PM]