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efaardvark

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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. It is snowing at Goldstone (California desert)!

    image001.thumb.jpg.cc4a65c3d7d0b85931ece705d243ede7.jpg

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      The thing about deserts is that there is no water.  There is no water in the air to make clouds or fog so the sun hits the ground full-force and heats everything up.  If there were water on the ground, either in the ground or in standing bodies or even in plants, then it could evaporate and cool things off a little, but there isn't.

      One other thing that water vapor in the air does is trap heat at the ground.  Since deserts have no water, at night all that heat collected during the day gets lost back to space.  It is not at all unusual for the temperature in a desert to go from below freezing before dawn to over 100F by noon.

      Snow in the desert is pretty unusual though.  In my area the deserts are deserts because mountains along the coast block all the moisture from the ocean from getting inland to the deserts.  Lately however  we've had strong winds pushing very cold, wet air over the mountains into the deserts.  We've been getting lots of rain on our side of the mountains as well, but conditions on the desert side this time turned it into snow instead.  Definitely unusual.

    2. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      Crazy stuff. So is it possible for new kinds of plants to start expanding there (e.g. through plants or seeds spread through the winds)? Would be interesting if in a few decades the desert turns into something else.

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Probably not likely.  Anything that blows in would have to deal with the desert conditions & coming from wetter areas they'd likely die.  Unless this is more of a permanent weather change of course.

      There are plants that are already there and adapted to the desert however.  Usually they lay low most of the time, waiting for the infrequent rains.  When the water does come, there's an explosion of activity as they do their thing while they have access to the water.  Some desert plants have seeds that can last for hundreds of years, then sprout, grow, flower, go to seed, and die in the course of a couple days or a week, and desert blooms are often quite impressive, though hard to catch.

    4. Show next comments  18 more
  2. So back in October a tree fell on my old car, a 2007-vintage Prius hybrid, necessitating the purchase of a new car.  I liked the old one a lot, but I always wished it'd had the option of charging the battery to function more like an electric vehicle.  I'm not sold on EV's due to the so-called range anxiety, and EVs are still pretty expensive anyway, so I didn't want a full EV just yet.  (I'm not actually worried about the range so much as the recharging times.  I'm always thinking of those people on the east cost when hurricane Sandy hit and everyone was told to evacuate at least 500 miles inland to avoid flooding and high winds.  People with gas cars could manage it, but even the best EVs can only go a few hundred miles before needing several hours to fully recharge.  Doh!)

    So anyway my new car is a also a hybrid, but this one is pluggable, with an electric range range that is plenty to cover the commute before the gas engine kicks in and it starts behaving more like my old car.  If I plug it in overnight at least every other day I pretty much never need gas, and I've been pretty good about plugging it in.  I'm approaching the 1,000-mile mark on the odometer and just recently dropped below the halfway point on the tank of gas I got from the dealership when I bought the car.

    Yep.. driving daily since October and I haven't had to visit a gas station even once!  :D  

    IMG_4188.thumb.JPG.4e4037a7db4ebdbe64c1eada10d6ad34.JPG

     

  3. Valentine's day viewing choices...

    493909158_ScreenShot2019-02-14at4_05_52PM.png.2f6747ce569aef8503244eaa0cebc4e2.png

    [mal type=anime id=14289]

    or maybe

    1742115407_ScreenShot2019-02-14at4_05_42PM.png.c323238d7b33f6c2572c76a559bd22ef.png

    [mal type=anime id=2476]

    Decisions, decisions.....

     

    JK... I went with 好きっていいなよ  :D 

  4. Looks like that's it for the Opportunity Mars rover.  Not a bad way to go though... taken out by a global dust storm - the biggest ever recorded - 15 years into a 90-day mission.

    1. CypherCode

      CypherCode

      Would had been super interesting if somehow it managed to take records of the storm from the inside, I bet the pics would be all blurry though!

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      "Opportunity" did manage to collect some data and transmit some pictures (like this and this) before it had to shut down to conserve battery power..

      The "Curiosity" rover also collected a bunch of pictures and other data.  It is nuke-powered so it didn't have any trouble surviving the storm.  There are also several spacecraft orbiting Mars that were collecting data during the storm.  This was the first (known) global dust storm since the 70s so the scientists were really interested in bringing all their instruments to bear and getting as much data as possible on this storm.

    3. CypherCode

      CypherCode

      Makes you think how crazy thick the storm must be to be able to cloud the sun like that

    4. Show next comments  18 more
  5. The plan for today was fixing the toilet and putting up shelves.  Fortunately both objectives were completed successfully.

    1. rlly_riah

      rlly_riah

      I hate building shelves. When I moved into my place here I had no furniture forever because I didn't feeeeeel like building itttt. Lol!! I procrastinated so hard. I now have shelves for all my books and such though...

    2. Beocat

      Beocat

      Erm...I still need to fix the toilet at home. Was too depressed this weekend to do it. My car's engine, which I went out of my way to properly maintain with all the recommended maintenance (even the optional crap) has somehow rusted out from the inside (essentially, someone didn't tighten up on the oil filter last time and a bunch of salt slush from the road got sucked up into it lubricating my engine, pretty sure my car insurance is going to laugh in my face with this one and the mechanics aren't admitting responsibility either). Guess I'll do it Saturday night.  At least my husband doesn't actually use that bathroom anymore. 

  6. For all you people thinking they'd like a Nerve Gear headset, this is current, state of the art reality.  It does appear that we're headed in that general direction.  OTOH, we're about as far from SAO as 10x6 pixels is from 4k UHD..

     

     

     

  7. Wasted a bunch of time today going through the MAL catalog and updating my list.  Final count: 536.  😮   There were also a bunch more that I didn't remember well enough to rate and/or that I dropped mid-watch.  I didn't bother to add those so that's just the "completed" count.  There's another couple dozen in my crunchy queue that I could put in the "plan to watch" category too.  (And another handful that could be "on hold" due to them disappearing from crunchy in the recent crunchy/funi breakup.)

    Now ask me how many books I've read.  :D  Actually, don't.  I wouldn't even know where to start.  I've got over 200 just on the bookshelves in my immediate vicinity as I type this, and even those are just the ones I felt were worthy enough and that I have the shelf space to keep.

  8. Well, they didn't get the bill passed.  Again.  Bosses are saying the furloughs start "next month", which is now only a few days away.  At this point it isn't D vs R, Congress vs Prez, or any of that.  The Ds have said they're willing to pass one of the old R bills that they wouldn't pass before, but the Rs won't go for it now simply because the Ds suggest it.  Spiteful b'tards.  The Senate won't even allow a re-vote on one of their own bills!  As for the Prez, he could simply not veto one of the R's old $200B spending bills if he wanted to end this.  Even if he keeps vetoing, the Congress could override his veto if they wanted.  Lots of ways to end this if anyone at the top was really interested in making it happen.  This is just a bunch of entitled asshats - I refuse to call them "leaders" - playing games with the little peoples' lives and running the country into the ground in the process.

    MAGA?  Drain the swamp?  HA!  This is worse than it's ever been.  Even Hillary would have been better.  New meaning for an old acronym: MAGA => my lawyer got arrested.

  9. Upgrading from Bionic Beaver to Cosmic Cuttlefish.  Should be a simple update but if things go horribly awry and you don't hear from me for a while you'll know what happened.

  10. From the same people who brought us New Horizons' mission to Pluto and Ultima Thule comes the Dragonfly mission to Titan...
     

     

  11. Any 賭ケグルイ fans in the audience?   So is Elon Musk apparently...

     

    Musk_compulsive_gambling.thumb.jpg.0720b20f895f2939b83191b606fe33d5.jpg

    1. SAO LILDOOP

      SAO LILDOOP

      I love Kakegurui, one of my fave manga series! 

  12.  
    Obscure and nerdy. I like it. :D
  13. Today a co-worker pointed out a 2-second pan-shot in the Cassini episode of the Netflix show "7 days out" that contained him, me, and another guy in the control room where we work.  Now I need to track down my brother so I can borrow his netflix account & see if I can snag a screen shot or something.  :D 

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Turns out I'm actually in there in a few different places.  One place you can barely see the back of my head, but @ 33:33 you can actually see my face, and @ 34:25 there's even a few seconds with a full-body shot of me talking to one of the other guys I work with.  (I'm the guy in the green shirt.)  I might as well be one of those animatronic Disneyland dolls, but I'm in there.  :) Kinda cool..

  14. Meanwhile, closer to home, はやぶさ2 prepares for a landing on another small body....
     
     
    There's also Osiris-REX that just went into orbit around Bennu..
     
     
     
    .. and the Chinese just landed a rover on the far side of the Moon...
     
     
     
    Just in case anyone was thinking space news was getting boring.  :) 
    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Nice summary of the above from Scott Manley...

       

  15. "New Horizons performed as planned today, conducting the farthest exploration of any world in history — 4 billion miles from the Sun," said Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "The data we have look fantastic and we're already learning about Ultima from up close. From here out the data will just get better and better!"

    It is going to take a while to play all the data collected during the flyby down to Earth however.  Ultima Thule is as far from Pluto as Saturn is from Earth, and the data rates possible from that far away are in the low kilobits per second.  The many gigabits of data that were recorded on the spacecraft during it's flyby are going to take 20 months - nearly 2 years! - to all be pulled down.  The first low-res pictures are already coming down, with more (and higher-res) scheduled to finish downloading on January 2nd and over the next few weeks and months.

    http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20190101

    1. Beocat

      Beocat

      I watched the flyby countdown last night and was on my phone this morning watching for the signal acquisition. Healthy spacecraft ^_^ The New Horizons team is truly an amazing group :)

  16. Just getting home from a swing shift.  Worked a mid shift Friday->Saturday.  I don't know if I want coffee or bed.  Guess I'll watch some anime while I decide.  :)

  17. Looks like another busy space year coming up!  Not all NASA-related either, which is cool because it means even Trump's Repugs can't screw it all up.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/rocket-launches-meteor-showers-2019-space-calendar-2018-11

  18. OMG.. osiris-rex @ bennu, tree on car, thanksgiving, insight (and marco) @ mars, and はやぶさ2 @リュウグウ all in a row.  Then new horizons' fly-by coming up in a couple weeks.  Happy New Year from Ultima Thule!  Love that name btw.  And of course the Christ mass-shopping experience that I (still!) have to work in sometime between now and xmas!  (Making sure I get the gifts that go to my brother's family in Wisconsin out in time.  Gift cards to all!  jk?  I hope.)  I haven't had a chance to watch any anime for weeks!  Next week or two doesn't look promising either.  AAAAAAAaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggthpt!  What would Itami do?  If I'm still sane when next year gets here I'm going to count that a win.  (Might already be too late.  :)  )

  19. What a week.  Went by like it was a couple hours.  Never enough time and always too much to do.  Looking back, it is hard to believe only a week has gone by.

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      This is too true! 

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