Archive for category: Science

I got my boarding pass!

October 22, 2014 | Science, Space | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, it’s mostly just a lark: sending your name aboard the first test flight of the Orion space vehicle (scheduled for Dec 4.) but it’s kind of fun.

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SpaceX launch wasn’t as smooth and carefree as it might have seemed…

October 8, 2012 | Science, Space | By: Mark VandeWettering

Yesterday was an important day in the history of space flight: for the first time a commercial entity launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station. I thought it was a pretty big deal, but you’d never have known by watching the news yesterday. ABC news cut away from their coverage of politics and […]

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Curiosity down safe on Mars!

August 5, 2012 | Science, Space | By: Mark VandeWettering

Today, around 10:31 Pacific Time, Curiosity successfully landed in the Gale crater on the surface of Mars, and has already sent back a couple of small black and white images. Carman and I were watching it on a combination of Nasa TV on our laptops and the CNN coverage. Thrilling stuff. Here are some of […]

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First ever image of fourth-order rainbow

October 6, 2011 | Amateur Science, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Long time readers of my blog may remember that I’m interested in rainbows (not unicorns, just rainbows). A while ago, I wrote a simple simulation that showed the formation of the primary and secondary rainbows by simulating the refraction of water inside a single raindrop. These two bows appear opposite the sun in the sky. […]

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Contrail Science Overflow

November 10, 2010 | Bad Science, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

The intertubes are all a-twitter (is Twitter a-twitter?) with the video of what appeared to be a missile launch off the coast of Los Angeles yesterday. It did look pretty weird, but the evidence is mounting that this was not any kind of missile launch, but in fact just the contrails of flight AWE808 from […]

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Lightning, slowed down by a factor of 300…

August 27, 2010 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

0.3 seconds of real time, stretched out to 90 seconds of video. Very cool.

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Great Science Videos: Sixty Symbols

April 22, 2010 | Astronomy, Physics, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

While mucking around this morning, I bumped across the Sixty Symbols website, something I hadn’t seen before. It describes itself thusly: Ever been confused by all the letters and squiggles used by scientists? Hopefully this site will unravel some of those mysteries. Sixty Symbols is a collection of videos about physics and astronomy presented by […]

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The Straight Dope: How does a siphon work?

July 20, 2009 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Last night’s reading reminded me that I have never really been satisfied with my understanding of how siphons work. Apparently I’m not the only one, since there was this interesting exchange on Straight Dope which pointed out some of the disconcerting issues that surround explanations of their actions. I’m still not convinced I have a […]

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The Barrel-Ponics Manual

July 19, 2009 | Science, Sustainable Technology | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve been interested in hydroponics for quite some time. It’s part of a growing interest that I have in sustainable and decentralized production of food and energy. At the Maker’s Faire, there was a display of a system which integrated both hydroponics and aquaculture: fish were grown in a tank, whose water circulated back to […]

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Milhouse wins against Cake!

May 4, 2009 | Checkers, My Projects, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, before I get too excited, I’ll disclose that Cake was set to a time limit of around 1 second, which limited it to just a few ply (maybe 9 typically) and I was letting MIlhouse think a little harder (still taking less than 10 seconds typically). Still, it’s good: it means that sparring matches […]

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3000th Post! And Gratzel Cells…

April 1, 2009 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Wow…. this is the 3000th post that I’ve made to my blog since it’s inception. Huzzah. I really need to get a hobby. In any case, Bill Meara over at the Soldersmoke blog mentioned this video about constructing solar cells from donuts and tea. httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVwzJEhMmD8 It sounds like a joke, but it’s not. It turns […]

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February 22, 2009 | Amateur Satellite, Science, Space | By: Mark VandeWettering

Earlier, I blogged about the collision between Iridium 33 and the defunct COSMOS 2251 satellite. Today, I noticed that Celestrak had orbital elements for 134 fragments resulting from the collision. I was curious what the resulting pattern would look like, so I wrote a bit of code to suck them all in and plot them […]

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Mystery of Sodium Acetate

January 16, 2009 | Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

You can find some occasionally surprising stuff on youtube. I’d seen a number of videos illustrating rapid crystallization of supersaturated mixtures of sodium acetate, but this is something a little different that I hadn’t seen before. Does anyone know what’s really going on here? httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNvZLTkj2kw P.S. It’s “iodized” salt, not “ionized”.

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Bouncing ball analog computer – Hack a Day

January 7, 2009 | Amateur Science, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Courtesy of hack-a-day, check out the following video illustrating an analog computer that implements the dynamics of a bouncing ball, not using a microprocessor, but just a circuit involving analog operational amplifiers. Bouncing ball analog computer – Hack a Day. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt6RVrmvh-o

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Space Weather Radio: News and information about sunspots, solar flares and meteor showers

January 3, 2009 | Amateur Radio, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Thanks to Joanne, K9JKM for pointing out that Space Weather Radio is piping audio of Ursid Meteors crossing the radar fence which guards our country from the Ruskies. If you tune in, occasionally you’ll hear a rapid descending tone, caused by the radar bouncing off the ionized trails of meteors. Pretty cool.

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