Launch Pad: Day 1, Monday

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”:

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7 Responses to Launch Pad: Day 1, Monday

  1. coronalrain says:

    Considering that I have a degree in astronomy and work in the science field it is kinda neat for me to hear about this workshop. I think it is awesome that you are doing this.

  2. gardenwaltz says:

    i think i wish that i were there too, that sounds fabulous!

    feel free to mock the science, and the writing of the movie, but i have a major soft spot for the singing. the scene where Ben Affleck sings ‘leaving on a jet plane’ is so awkward and uncomfortable that it is one of the most realistic parts of any movie that i have ever seen.

  3. ecmyers says:

    Glad you’re having such an awesome time! You should sing Yakko’s Universe from Animaniacs tonight!

  4. Wow, thanks for the update. Hope the astronomy and math doesn’t fry your brain. I can see the egg frying in your very own cautionary commercial now: This is ‘s brain on math!

  5. dean13 says:

    Oh that does sound like a good time! Armageddon needs to be ridiculed. Armageddon did great harm to my brain. I wonder how well the other similar movie, Deep Impact would fair under as hard scientific gaze.

  6. basletum says:

    “And that night, we reconvened to watch Armageddon in order to mock it mercilessly for it’s craptacular science.”

    Armageddon had science in it? Where? I must’ve missed it all while I was watching a ton of stuff get blown up (hehehe, blowing stuff up is cool! Yeahyeah, Cool!).

  7. terracinque says:

    I know this is random, but I love the way Eric Idle spits out the word “expanding” in that song.

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