Dear flist, Astronomy camp is a blast. Wish you were here . . .
The first day of the workshop has waxed and waned, and we discussed scales of the universe, seasons and lunar phases, common misconceptions thereof, and went over math; Jerry Oltion went over the Drake Equation and showed us how to do quick and dirty “back of the envelope” calculations. I have to admit that I wish they’d scheduled the math part earlier in the day. The benefits from the copious amount of caffeine I’d ingested in the AM had long passed by then, and I was having a hard time focusing on the numbers. But I got enough that I can do it if I need to . . . probably.
In closing, we had a sing-a-long of the “Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life before breaking for dinner. And that night, we reconvened to watch Armageddon in order to mock it mercilessly for it’s craptacular science. There will be more formal mocking this morning. (Jerry O. made up a two-page list of the things wrong with just the science as we watched, not even incorporating all the bad writing. Just the science, ma’am.)
During class, Vonda McIntyre crochets sea creatures (sea slugs? Marine flatworms?) out of yarn (see here for examples of their close relations made out of beads) which is fabulous to watch. Y’know, this is totally what happens when a brilliant science fiction writer crochets. You don’t get afghans or scarves, you get alien/marine critters. Hee!
They’re feeding us fabulously. When we broke for dinner, I wasn’t hungry at all from everything I’d eaten at breakfast and lunch (and we get snacks too!). A bunch of us hung out while Scott Humphries grilled hot dogs in the little courtyard behind the apartments and brought out his huge stash of booze to ply folks with. I didn’t partake of either the hot dogs (obviously) or the booze, but I did snarf down some potato chips. samhenderson spotted a bunny, and we admired it for quite a while. It was a very laid back bunny, not inclined to bolt away unless you approached it with a decent amount of determination. I think it might’ve been hoping for a handout.
In honor of Day 1 of the Launch Pad workshop, I give you Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song”: