Saturday, February 12, 2011


I am pretty excited about observing Saturn tonight. Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll have a picture to post from the club, perhaps even some video. And the weather looks to be good, it will be mostly clear, with some clouds around 1 AM. And a relatively warm 30 degrees.

What the goal tonight is, is to resolve this massive storm on Saturn. That link shows probably what Saturn will look through the observatory's C14. The storm is that massive white smear on the northern hemisphere. It is several times larger then the Earth, and you thought you were having bad weather this winter. Here is an older close up taken by Cassini, taken on Christmas Eve, just when the storm was first starting out.

An the more literal side, Saturday really is named after Saturn! Father of Jupiter, Neptune, and a bunch of other celestial bodies. God something... and leader of the Titans, which is fitting, with the majestic rings, and 62 moons, traditionally named after other Titans.

In related news, Saturn-day is Caturday! Here's a picture of our cat Reyn:

Friday, February 11, 2011


Possibly one of the best days of the week. I'm not really sure what to talk about yet, but I still wanted to make a post today. And my post last night was a bit lucid on the internet, but whatever. I'll try working to some ultimate point.

There are a couple of things that I do want to say. I mentioned the NoteSlate late last night/early this morning, and I'm considering making that a Friday thing. That is, to mention some exciting gadget out there that looks interesting to me. No, I won't be getting paid to plug them or anything, I just think new gizmos are cool.

On the topic of gizmos though, my mom just got a big one. Her van got old and in the recent snow storms, she hit a barrier and bent the axles, so she just got a new car today. A 2008 Honda Accord that pretty much has everything thing. It's pretty exciting, a sweet car. I personally still like my old beat up truck, but a car like that would be nice once my truck goes into the grave.

In the news, I would also like to mention, Egypt has finally succeeded in its revolution, thrown out Mubarak. I hope the Egyptians don't screw it up though. There is the call for democracy, but I am wary that some other group might take power with an equal or less democratic tone then Mubarak's regime. There is a delicate balance in Egypt, and a slower, more progressive change in leadership might have been better. But then the Egyptians risk the new power just being another western puppet. So while the revolution might be over, the changes are just beginning. It will be interesting to see just who takes power, who will be left out, and ultimately what this does for regional stability. There could be reams and reams of information to be said about this, and it already has been. So, those are probably better sources to with, but I just wanted to mention something about this historic event.

For anyone reading in Maryland, specifically the Harford County area, the HCAS is having their open house at the HCC observatory tomorrow night. Everyone is welcome, the weather should be decent. And if the weather holds, after the open house we will be observing the storm on Saturn. All exciting things. I am hoping to get an astrobiology kit from the Night Sky Network next week and start working on that project too. Oh yeah, I also earned a Night Sky Network Outreach pin through the HCAS for the work I have done.

I guess that is a good update for now. I plan to add links to some great astronomy sources on the sidebar soon.


NoteSlate /// intuitively simple monochrome paper alike tablet device

I just thought I would add this now. The Noteslate looks to be an incredibly handy piece of technology, and I'm wondering why it hasn't been done yet. It looks to be real, but we'll find out in June. And all the features it promises for just $99 would make it a powerhouse. Here's hoping its not to good to be true.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Other Side

The last time I had gone into why I chose the 'Habitable Zones' part of the name for my blog. The connection to astronomy and astrobiology, two topics I am really enthusiastic about. Today, I am going to delve into the other side, 'the Internet.' And maybe try to build some obscure connection between them. There doesn't seem like much other then a cool sounding name.

Obviously this blog is on the internet, and so are all blogs, that is the nature of a blog. They are all mostly run by people. And even those that might be bots had to be set up by someone, and sometimes people run multiple blogs. And outside of blogging you have social networks, news sites, news aggregators, message boards, search engines, personal websites, game websites, picture websites, and the list goes on. On top of that you have video games, e-mail, and instant messengers that use the internet The internet is fully and totally inhabited. It has been built, run, and grown by people. It really is a great social undertaking, and there really isn't that much anti-social about it despite what some critics may say. It has probably risen to the greatest social tool in the history of human civilization.

But it isn't just a social tool, it is a research and development tool, a problem solving tool, an information tool. Despite its social qualities, the internet is still used to research large populations of people, such as what Google does. There aren't really very many free things on the internet*, usually when individuals get something for free, its not because they are the target consumer, it is because they are the product. To Google and Facebook, and probably even Blogger, I as an individual am a product, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The result is that we have created an interesting ecosystem on the internet. It is full of big players, individuals, and the curiosities we create. This includes all the viruses, worms, and trojans that all act on their own. The hackers, crackers, and leakers with their individual agendas. And you. All part of this infosphere, a growing augmentation to the limits of our own Earth, a repository of information. A sign of our intelligence and a culmination of life inhabiting our planet. It is something that, barring utter catastrophe, will grow with human evolution. I am willing to say that any other life out there would have an infosphere just like we do.

And that's where I'm leaving off for tonight, there leaves much to be said, but it will all come in the future. Next time I am considering a few things. Maybe gadgets, maybe astronomy, who knows. I am pretty excited for Saturday night though. I am going out with the Harford County Astronomical Society (HCAS) for their monthly open house and then after that we are going to observe Saturn and its current mega storm. We will attempt photos and maybe some video, if the weather holds out for us.

*There are many amazing open source projects on the internet, and probably the best free product is Linux.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Plan

So I am still thinking about how to set this all up, it's a bit of a learning experience. And I also currently have no readers, so mostly I am writing to myself and future readers. I will probably start advertising my blog on Facebook and Twitter in a couple days, I want to write some content and post it. I think I have a decent layout to start and will always be willing to take suggestions and critique on how to change it. There are probably better templates out there too. I also want to get some graphics, like a banner or something.

Anyways, I think the name is a good one too. 'Habitable Zones of the Internet'. It's supposed to pull to mind astrobiology, as in the habitable zone around a star and in a galaxy. The region where life is capable of inhabiting, something that is being searched for actively and with enthusiasm in astronomy right now. Some recent and exciting news in this is the massive amount of planets, over 1200, discovered by the Kepler mission. One or two of them appear to be in ideal conditions for life, while another dozen or so are also possibilities.

The great part about this is that the project is still on going. Kepler is still looking for more planets around stars, and the longer it runs, the more likely it will be to find Earth-like candidates. And on an even more exciting scale, there is so much data that astronomers cannot go through it all on their own. They have asked citizen scientists (i.e. YOU) to help out. A site called has been set up to make it easy for anyone and everyone to participate in the search for planets orbiting around other stars. I encourage who ever reads this to go give it a shot.

That's all for now, maybe I will get into the 'Internet' side of the title next time... we'll see.

And Now I Begin

So, this is my first post, and it is rather late. I have been fiddling with Blogger most of the night, and just wanted to at least make one post before I went off to sleep. I should probably put a little bit of an introduction as to goal of this blog.

I want to use it primarily just to talk about whatever random subject I may want. And maybe take reader input and try to answer whatever questions or discuss whatever topics may be brought up. I do want to keep it a little bit active. Most I would like to stick to astronomical topics, what astronomers are discovering and space related current events. I have a special interest in astrobiology and astronomy outreach. But I also have a wide and varying field of interests, so don't be surprised to see some mention of computers and gadgets, music and movies, video games, computer and web security, and whatever else. And even though I have an interest in politics and international relations, I will try to keep that to a minimum.

So, good night, and I hope people take an interest in my blog.