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New home July 16, 2009

Posted by Sarah in me.
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it was a little easier than this
It was a little easier than this

As I announced in my previous post, my blog has now moved to its own domain. The content here will stay up as it is now on the usual pages, but this is all replicated over on the new page. All new stuff will be posted there from now on too (July 2009).

Please update your feed readers and bookmarks.

Thanks!

Image: Tom Turnbull

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Onwards and upwards! July 11, 2009

Posted by Sarah in me.
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When I started writing this blog about a year ago I had no idea whether I, let alone anyone else, would enjoy it. But it’s been fabulous.

So I decided to quit my little two-by-two WordPress rental and move to somewhere more upmarket. I put down some cash, signed the papers and picked up the keys to my own domain. In the last few weeks I’ve been pimping the new pad and gradually moving in my stuff. A couple more vanloads and the move will be complete. Consider this, dear visitors, my two weeks’ notice.

Go take a look and please move across your bookmarks and feed reader thingies. Can you tell the difference?! This blog page will continue to exist in its current form, so you can still see old posts, but I’ll replace the front page with one linking to the new address. My twitter feed and tumblelog are still in the usual places.

Web 2.0 for Travellers February 2, 2009

Posted by Sarah in me.
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Dopplr is a social networking site for travellers that helps you keep track of your friends’ whereabouts. If your locations coincide, Dopplr flags it up for you and you can catch up for a drink. I find it a very useful quick-reference for myself to check where I’ll be at a particular time in the future, and my family and friends can import an iCal feed of my trips into their electronic calendars like Google Calendar to get automatic updates of my travel schedule.  As well as being a nifty tool for frequent travellers, Dopplr is also a very smart-looking site and I love their design! Very simple, a white background, plain font and simple bock colours.

Earlier this year the Dopplr team made annual travel reports for all its users, and I got mine in my inbox a couple of weeks back. It looks super nice so I thought I’d post it up here. To announce the reports, the Dopplr folks actually did an annual report for Barack Obama – check it out on their Flickr site and spot the swing states. Their calculation of my mileage in 2008 is also remarkably close to my own estimate!

Trivia: Dopplr CTO Matt Biddulph was the first to coin the term Silicon Roundabout for the Old Street area of London,  aptly enough on Twitter. Old Street these days is home to a number of hot internet start-ups – other favourites of mine, Last.FM and Moo.com are also based there (as well as one of my favourite sporting venues, but that’s another story!).  I love that they’ve found a fun name for such an ugly part of the city and it almost makes me remember Old Street fondly. Almost.

dopplr_report08_shop

Today I’m in….. January 19, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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The MIRI engineering model, ready for testing

The MIRI engineering model, ready for testing

Today, and for the rest of this week, I’m in the city of Leuven, Belgium. Together with some colleagues from the Catholic University of Leuven and various other institutes in Europe I’m spending a few days working on some aspects of calibration and testing for MIRI, the mid-infrared instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope. The JWST, although offcially its “successor”, will differ from Hubble in that it will be optimised for observations in the infrared, rather than the optical or ultraviolet. Although great science can be done at the shorter wavelengths, achieving top notch image quality is more demanding at shorter wavelengths – with the costs for JWST far exceeding initial estimates as it is, who knows what the budget would have had to be for an optical JWST?

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Wednesday Food for Thought January 14, 2009

Posted by Sarah in women.
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I’m currently reading The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. I have many thoughts about this book, some of them good and others not.

At one point she cites German philospher Friedrich Engels, who claimed that:

“When a woman displays scientific interest, then there is something out of order in her sexuality”.*

I’m going to sit here, at my desk, in a world-renowned astronomy department and be a little bit thankful.

*I’m not sure of the exact source of the quote. Wolf refrences it as cited in Ann Oakley, Housewife: High value/Low cost (London, Penguim Books, 1987), pp. 46-47