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New year, new existential crisis January 9, 2009

Posted by Sarah in random.
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I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while now. I wasn’t sure how the experiment would turn out – but I’m actually enjoying myself on here. Which brings me to the name of my blog. I always intended to change it at some point but never got round to it. But then the folks over on Cosmic Variance came up with a whole list of cool blog names aimed to aspire to a wider audience than just wanting to read about astronomy. I wish I’d had their inspiration 6 months ago: (more…)

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My green flight(s) of shame December 31, 2008

Posted by Sarah in me.
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mytravel3

Inspired by Stuart, I decided to work out how much I’ve travelled in the course of 2008, and place this distance in some kind of “planetary perspective”. Well, I can say that it doesn’t look pretty! In total, I seem to have travelled over 40,000 km – and coincidentally that’s pretty much the circumference of the Earth. Yikes. Must do better next year.*

To solidify my good intentions, I booked my first trip of 2009 – a very convoluted one in 3 countries- all by train. It was definitely more expensive than flying. What’s up with that?

And speaking of the environment, Alexis Madrigal put together a list of the top 10 green technology breakthroughs of 2008. It’s an interesting read, go take a look. Madrigal is actually writing a book on the history of green technologies in the US, he’s keeping his research notes in a blog,  here.

* Oh no. My Dopplr profile tells me I have 43,000 km of travel lined up already in 2009, and I have the velocity of a duck. That’s a bit terrifying. Quack!

Red skies in the evening December 15, 2008

Posted by Sarah in random.
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Today’s APOD is very pretty and fits in with my mood today.

Image credit: Terry Holdsclaw

The costs of science December 4, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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On the back of today’s news conference at NASA, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait wrote a pretty scathing post on NASA record of cost overruns. I didn’t see this bit of the conference, but apparently NASA big boss Mike Griffin tried to convince the gathered press, and unsuccessfully I gather, that the James Webb Space Telescope project is *not* suffering overruns at a current cost of $4.5 billion. Its original estimated cost was $900 million. Interesting…

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Netherlands ♥ the European Extremely Large Telescope November 28, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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ESO)

Artsy impression of the E-ELT

Good news! The Dutch government announced today that it will invest 18.8M euros in research and development for instrumentation for the European Extremely Large Telescope in the next decade. Around 8 million will be spent in the next 3 years, with the remaining 10M covering the period beyond 2012. The money was awarded to NOVA, the Dutch Research School for Astronomy, an umbrella partnership of the five Dutch astronomy institutes – Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, Nijmegen and Utrecht.

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