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.

Keeping the Eye on the Prize

Ben and I are both ready to walk out of our jobs. I’m actually surprised how similar our respective careers have become. We’re both dealing with behaviorally-challenged individuals for whom there is no repercussion for their actions; the only difference being the ages of our respective charges.

Neither one of us can actually afford to do walk out, but knowing that in 156 days the truck’ll be packed and we’ll be on the road back to Phoenix has produced quite a “fuck this bullshit” attitude in both of us.

To that end, I’m focusing on all the good things we have to look forward to upon our return to Valley of the Sun:

◆ Being close to friends again
◆ Jobs that we will actually look forward to going to in the morning
◆ No. Fucking. Snow.
◆ Whataburger
◆ Sane (or at least insane in a manner we can relate to) drivers
◆ Copperstar Coffee
◆ Downtown photowalks that don’t require donning a parka
◆ An photographically interesting downtown
◆ Stumpy’s Pizza
◆ Blue Fin
◆ Year-round shorts weather
◆ Yolo’s Chicken ‘n Waffles
◆ Fry’s Electronics
◆ The Desert Botanical Garden
◆ Reconnecting with all my previous healthcare providers
Good Mexican food
◆ Streets that for the most part don’t change names as they go from Point A to Point B
◆ Left turn signals that make sense

And lastly, seeing Ben smile again.

53 Lessons You Learn From Watching Too Much HGTV

Via Buzzfeed:

1. Home renos WILL lead to arguments.
2. And possibly divorce.
3. Or, at least, some of those couples should definitely break up…
4. Basically, happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (h/t Leo Tolstoy)
5. Countertops can only be made from two materials: granite or marble.
6. Counter space is ESSENTIAL, even if you know you don’t ever cook.
7. And you better banish the thought of renovating a kitchen without adding an island.
8. The larger your kitchen cabinets are, the better a person you are. It’s a fact.
9. There are no two people in the world who can successfully share a bathroom in the morning.
10. Literally, EVERY time two people attempt to gather over one sink, the world threatens to implode.
11. If only every bathroom had double sinks, world peace would be achievable.
12. Showers that can fit multiple people are totally necessary.
13. Even though no one will acknowledge the only situation in which that would even matter.
14. Sex. I mean sex.
15. Although, again — some of these couples are clearly not ~getting it on~.
16. No matter your budget, the only option is to renovate a fixer-upper.
17. No matter your budget, there is a 0% chance that it will cover everything you hope to do.
18. Computerized renderings of interior design are way more exciting than they should be.
19. Carpet is the devil.
20. Hardwood floors are an angel sent from heaven to rectify our sins.
21. Tile floors are kind of in between, like the purgatory of flooring options.
22. The only word that can be used to describe floors is “flowing,” as in “Let’s install some beautiful hardwoods flowing throughout the open-concept first floor.”
23. Any time there is more than one person working on something at once, there will be heavy sexual tension between those people.
24. Literally, no matter who the people are, it will be there.
25. To specify: Love It or List It is actually not a show about home renovation, but is the slowly developing tale of the greatest love story of all between Hilary and David.
26. And you know what, Hilary and lead contractor Eddie have some chemistry going on as well.
27. No one in the world is able to monitor their children successfully without an open-concept floor plan.
28. For real, before the idea of the open concept took hold, 99% of children died due to their parents being unable to care for them properly.
29. Knob and tube electrical wiring is the worst atrocity that has ever occurred.
30. Structural changes are actually wicked expensive.
31. And apparently no one has ever built a home up to code unless the process was televised.
32. Essentially, your home is probably a death trap just waiting for you to fall prey to its merciless, murderous ways.
34. If you don’t have a patio outside, it is impossible to enjoy your backyard.
35. Only men are able to mow the lawn. It’s just science.
36. Only women have enough clothing to fill an entire closet. Again, science.
37. If a home doesn’t have an entire room to do laundry in, you might as well just smear mud on all of your clothing and wear it like that.
38. And having laundry in the basement is perhaps worse than having no laundry room at all.
39. Unfinished basements are where the ghosts live, you know?
40. Every single person in the world needs a home office.
41. And also a guest bedroom.
42. But those two rooms may NEVER be one and the same.
43. The wooden framing that’s used to create walls is sometimes blue, and that’s actually pretty damn cool.
44. That foam insulation that you spray on seems like it would make a fun toy.
45. You have a previously undiscovered desire to take a sledgehammer and just pound it against whatever surfaces you can find.
46. You have a previously undiscovered desire to simply watch the Property Brothers take a sledgehammer to whatever surfaces they can find.
47. No one likes both Property Brothers equally. Even their parents definitely have a favorite.
48. At least once during every home renovation, one of the homeowners must express dismay over the designer’s choice of wall color.
49. Because, as we all know, wall color is an irreversible decision.
50. Children are able to vanish into thin air during the entire renovation period and then return once the renovation is over.
51. And no one will question where the children have been this entire time.
52. You physically can’t watch a home renovation show without spending the entire time planning out your own imaginary reno that will likely never happen.
53. No matter how annoying they can get, you’ll never be able to stop watching home renovation TV.

Once Again, Critics Prove…

…that they don’t know shit.

Jupiter Ascending is a marvelous, visually stunning film. Yeah, there were a few plot holes, but it was by no means the hot mess that reviewers have been painting it to be. If anything, it could’ve used a bit more character development in the first act, but other than that I found it wholly original, fun, and—unlike the majority of critics—I had no trouble following along with the storyline.

And speaking of visually stunning, it also didn’t hurt that Channing Tatum was half-naked for a quarter of the film…

Just sayin’.

I give it 9 out of 10 and one I’ll probably add to my library once it’s available on BluRay

Quote of the Day

“We see a connection to the world around us… Ham sees only sin. Turns out you can learn a lot when your library consists of more than just a single book.” ~ Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, in response to Ken Ham of the Creationist Museum blowing a gasket over Carnival Cruise Lines embracing evolution in their Super Bowl ad.

Fucking Mayans

Just a small sampling of some of the bullshit I ran across online today:

◆ A conservative sports group is warning that Bruce Jenner’s transition to a woman will “embolden” athletes to “defy Biblical standards”.

◆ John McCain is “still outraged” by last week’s Henry Kissinger protesters at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

◆ Val Kilmer may forgo treating a tumor in his throat because of his Christian Scientist religion.

◆ Hawaii state Rep. Bob McDermont is still trying desperately to ban same-sex marriage in the Aloha State.

◆ Senator Rand Paul says Vaccinations Can Lead to “Profound Mental Disorders.”

◆ Harlem Hate Pastor to hold march against “Sodomite Cannibals.”

◆ Lawmaker proposes bill to keep police body cam footage private.

◆ And lastly, to be filed under: what a surprise.

This Made Me Smile

Don’t know why I liked this so much. Maybe it’s because it’s such an off-the-wall rendition of such a well-known composition.

I couldn’t embed the video (bastards!) but if you click on the image you’ll be taken to the YouTube source.