Category: Science and Technology

An ‘Opportunity’ to Criticize

Once again Mars is in the news.  Once again we have sent a rover to explore our solar neighbor.  The photographs have already started to flow in.  Even though the robotic explorer has not done much exploring, or moving around, we are still getting some interesting photographs.  These high quality images are the next best thing to being there in person.  Already though, there are critics of the photography coming back.  There are complaints about the lack of High Def detail, and the mega pixel count is a bit low by the standards of others.  For still others it is the optics that aren’t quite up to snuff.

For these nay-sayers…these arm-chair engineers…these back of the room photographers…I just have this to say:

“It’s on %$#@* Mars!”



2012 is Almost Here

Tonight is the passing of the winter solstice.  At roughly 11:30pm cst, the clock begins to count down for that fabled showdown with the Mayan Calendar.  Will it be doomsday?  What will I wear?  What will I do?  That’s right folks, get your affairs in order…you only have 366 shopping days until the end of the world.  So as we approach the end of this busy holiday season, keep that in mind, and stock up on those essential survival supplies at bargain basement prices.

In the meantime though, check out another post of mine on this very subject from January 7th of this year.

With the recent events with black birds and drum fish in Arkansas, I thought it might be time to visit the notion of the end of the world happening on December 21, 2012.  Yep the winter solstice this year was awesome with a total lunar eclipse.  Does good old Earth plan to upstage that spectacle with something of its own next year? More…

All Shook Up

Do you remember yesterday’s post? I wrote about how you could use some nifty word visualization sites to generate some very creative word clouds.  That certainly isn’t all they can be used for.  Beyond artistic means, they can have practical applications as well.

No doubt when you arrived here you noticed my little play on words above.  This is another spin on word visualization created by Jeff Clark.  He is a very brilliant guy who has a background in applied physics and mathematics according to his blog.  He is able to take data of from all sorts of outlets and condense it down into a visual representation.  He has a number of tools that show preference for words in news media, and on twitter.

I was watching some news last night, and the earthquake in Virginia was all over the news.  It was mentioned on every channel I could find.  Not one of these channels was talking about the other headline maker of the day in the Midwest.  Yes Colorado experienced a similar magnitude earthquake just before midnight on the on the night before.  In light of all the rumbling and shaking that has gone on in the past day or two, I thought it would be interesting to take one of the tools that Jeff Clark has created out for a spin.  It is called News Spectrum (he has one for twitter too called Twitter Spectrum).  I wanted to see if what I was hearing on the news was maybe just me, or whether it was true that much more emphasis was placed on the east coast trembler.

The site is pretty simple to use.  You enter two words, or phrases and the site will sift through the web looking for instances of them being discussed.  What comes back on the screen is a visual representation of that search.  If you look at the graphic I created for this, you will see that it would appear that I was correct in my initial view.  The Colorado earthquake just wasn’t “newsy” enough for the media to keep it’s attention for long.  The blue side was clearly dominating this visualization.  By the way the twitter tool was even MORE one-sided in favor of the east coast.

So there you have it, an artistic way to discuss a scientific subject with political overtones.  Not bad for a Wednesday eh?  I urge you to try your own word visualization searches using the tools above.  Maybe you will be surprised at what you find too.