Posts By: Mark Alexander

The Fact…

…that Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, yet Pat Robertson is still alive and continuing to blather on about “sin” is all the proof I need that there is no God.

Less Well Known Pieces of Astrophotography


Here are a couple of the less well-known pieces of astrophotography.

These two images were originally sent back to Earth from the Soviet Venera program probes (I believe these specific two came from Venera 13, though I don’t have the citation to hand).

That’s right – that barren rocky wasteland is Venus.

These images are particularly notable because Venus has a surface temperature of over 460 Celsius and a pressure of around 90 bars. That atmosphere is also pure poison. The clouds you can see aren’t water vapour; they’re composed of droplets of sulphuric acid. The ‘air’ itself is 94% carbon dioxide, with most of the rest being nitrogen and a lot of weird nasties.

None of the Venera landers remained operational for more than a couple of hours once on Venus’s surface. But frankly, given how unbelievably hostile the surface conditions are there, it’s a miracle they were able to function at all.

Why I am an Apple Fanboy

Two words: customer service.

The other day Ben discovered that his MacBook display had been chipped at some point. He suspects one of this little darlings had jammed a pencil or other implement into it when he wasn’t looking. Neither one of us thought this would be covered under AppleCare since it wasn’t a manufacturing defect, and what is permissible display replacement under the program for iPhones/iPads is distinctly different for MacBooks. Nevertheless, yesterday we made a trip to the Genius Bar in hopes that one of the Genii would take pity upon him and somehow make it covered damage. If it wasn’t covered, we were looking at a $400 repair, something that just wasn’t in our budget. He tweeted:

It turns out he didn’t need to flirt with the Genius. The chipping was classified as “pixel foreign material on display” and was covered under AppleCare. It was even ready a day earlier than promised.

This is why I will be an Apple Fanboy for life.