Archive for month: February, 2003

Listen to the engineers…

February 27, 2003 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

CNN is running a story today entitled – Shuttle engineers warned of burning wing – Feb. 27, 2003. It appears that serious doubts about the original analysis of wing damage to the shuttle were made right up until reentry, including a recomendation that they examine the damage prior to reentry via an EVA and […]

The Music Industry

February 24, 2003 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was reading a Slashdot article this morning entitled A Music Industry Case Study, and was suddenly struck by the apparent absurdity of the term the Music Industry. People never discuss “the Drawing Industry” or the “Sculpture Industry”. Why is music singled out in being labelled an Industry? My online dictionary defines “industry” thusly: in.dus.try […]

Space Object Identified!

February 20, 2003 | News | By: Mark VandeWettering

In a previous article, I posted pictures taken by my friend Phil of the Orion Nebula and hypothesized that they were of a geosynchronous satellite. Afterwards, I posted a plea on sci.astro.satellites.visual-observe, and got a very nice response from Ed Cannon (who also took the trouble to post here, but I missed it! Doh!) identifying […]

Bird Pictures

February 16, 2003 | My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

Carmen noticed some interesting raptors perched on our back fence and asked me where my binoculars were. I have a pair of nice Celestron 7×50 binos that I use for astronomy, but I also have a nice tripod mounted set of WWII 10×50 spotting binoculars. We spied on the bird for a while, and I […]

Smoke Detector Can Save Your Life!

February 15, 2003 | Public Service | By: Mark VandeWettering

Some things you just don’t think about until they save your life. On Valentine’s Day my wife and I were awoken at 3:30 by our smoke detector going off. Yours truly, idiot that he is, had gone to bed and left a candle burning on the mantlepiece downstairs. Some hot wax had melted off and […]

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

February 12, 2003 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

On February 12, 1809, Charles Darwin was born. I think a strong argument could be made that Darwin is the most influential scientist of all time. He postulated that the complex biosphere we observe is the result of understandable physical processes that we can study and observe at work throughout the long history of life […]

It’s important to have an opinion…

February 10, 2003 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that most people believe that it is more important to have an immediate and distinct opinion rather than an actual informed opinion. This was brought home to me in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster, when various newsgroups like were flooded with premature speculations and cries for the […]


February 9, 2003 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

I like to peruse sweetcode, a very nice website that contains pointers to interesting but perhaps not very well known software projects. During a recent browse, I noticed a link to a project called nntp//rss. Interestingly enough, it provided a gateway that allowed you to access RSS feeds via NNTP from your favorite newsreader. For […]

Man vs. Machine

February 8, 2003 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

Kasparov fights to a draw in a six game match against Deep Junior. I’m not a very good chess player myself, but I spent a fair amount of time as an undergraduate studying heuristic search, so I am always interested when matches such as this occurs. Whenever such matches occur, there is a flood of […]

Behind the Curtain of Java

February 7, 2003 | Link of the Day | By: Mark VandeWettering

INTERNALMEMOS.COM has a nifty article written by a colleciton of Sun Software engineers about the inappropriateness of Java on the Solaris platform. I think it illustrates how businesses fail to succeed because of their inability to prioritize properly on reliable rather than glitzy software. I rather like the Java language and would almost certainly choose […]

Strange Space Objects

February 3, 2003 | Amateur Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

My friend Phil sent me these pictures he took using a Canon D60 through a small wide angle telescope. He sent me these pictures to ask what the streaks are. My best guess is a geosynchronous satellite. To verify this, I was thinking of first of all plotting the direction of the trail. Assuming they […]

Shuttle Columbia Lost over Central Texas

February 1, 2003 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

I woke up around 8:30 Pacific Time today, and flipped on the television to watch my usual lineup of Looney Tunes cartoons to start my Saturday, but flipped through a news report that began with the words “unable to survive an accident at that altitude” while displaying a picture of the Space Shuttle. I had […]