December 30th, 2014

#4515: Waking up happy

It's not something that happens to me very often, regardless of circumstance. Normally when I wake up, I return to consciousness first, and then my emotional state resolves. Sometimes it takes a few minutes.

Today, though, I woke up happy, from a dream that ended with this song playing:

Bernward Koch's "Flight Being", which came up on my Pandora "Bluetech" channel a few weeks ago, and I thumbs-upped almost immediately.

The song reminds me of certain anime BGM from series that I loved, though I can't put my finger on exactly which series or song. It may simply be that its gentle, relaxed, pleasant feeling reminds me of a scene or two that have a similar ethos or bouquet.

I don't even remember what the dream was about, worse luck. I remember events in the dream that were tense and full of conflict, but the end--no idea how it ended, except for that music playing.

The good mood lasted about as long as it took for me to read through today's headlines, but I'll take what I can get.

* * *

Guess what? The oceans are not becoming more acidic. Turns out that the change in oceanic pH has been modeled to be in decline, rather than being actually, y'know, observed to decline.

A grad student ("PhD candidate") named Mike Wallace noticed this:
While studying a chart produced by [climatologists] Feely and Sabine, apparently showing a strong correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels, Wallace noticed that some key information had been omitted.

Mysteriously, the chart only began in 1988. But Wallace knew for a fact that there were oceanic pH measurements dating back to at least 100 years earlier and was puzzled that this solid data had been ignored, in favour of computer modelled projections.


When Wallace emailed his query to Feely and Sabine, however, he found them less than helpful.

Sabine replied that it was inappropriate for Wallace to impugn the "motives or quality of our science" and warned that if he continued in this manner "you will not last long in your career." Having provided Wallace with a few links – all of which turned out to be useless – he concluded his email by saying "I hope you will refrain from contacting me again."
When you ask a question, and your question is answered by something approximating BECAUSE SHUT UP, THAT'S WHY, IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU!!, it usually means you have asked a highly inconvenient question of someone who has something to hide.

Someone who is not doing science but creating propaganda.

* * *

As for me, I do believe I'm over my cold. I still have the cough as the body attempts to mop up after the war, but it no longer feels like razor blades when I do. The glands in my neck are back to approximately normal size and I feel a lot better than I did a week ago.

* * *

Last week, at work, I was walking past the Sony display and something on one of the TVs caught my eye. It was a trailer for the impending release of a game called No Man's Sky.

It's going to be, apparently, an MMORPG set in a procedurally-generated galaxy, and any place you can see you can go visit. It looks gorgeous. As far as I can tell its release date is "Coming in 2015!"

We'll see if it's actually anything to write home about.

#4516: When the moon hits your eye, it must be FIRST LIGHT!!!

About those Christmas presents, the ones I didn't mention....

I got underwear and socks, things which any man over the age of 30 is almost always in need of. She got me a new laptop bag, one that's nicer and has more room in it than my old Targus bag, vintage 1998. A few other gewgaws, like the 20-sider candy dish and a kinetic sculpture.

The big one, the one she couldn't pick turned out to be a telescope.

It's a Celestron Powerseeker 127 EQ, a 5-inch Newtonian reflector with a 1,000 mm focal length. Equatorial mount, with fine adjustment screws that can be connected to a motorized drive for automatic tracking, interchangeable objectives, a camera mount, a bunch of other stuff I haven't had the time to dope out yet. This is a beginner's telescope, but it nonetheless can be used as a serious scientific instrument.

Mrs. Fungus had removed it from the box it was shipped in, but not the shipping box it was packed in from the factory. I had to remove that before I saw what it was, and when I saw the actual box, I was utterly gobsmacked.

Part of my complete dumbfoundedness came from knowing what telescopes cost, but she assured me that she got a very good deal on it and told me not to worry. I don't really want to know what she paid for it, regardless, because it's a gift, but even so--

My eyes went wide and stayed wide, and it's a good thing it was the last present opened here in the bunker on Christmas because I immediately began assembling the thing.

Needless to say, I loved it the instant I had it out of the box, and when I went to bed that night, I--like Ralphie clutching his Red Ryder etc--laid me down with visions of what I could do with this telescope. (I did not actually go to bed with it because getting lint and cat hair in the optics--never mind.)

...and of course it's the cloudiest December in a coon's age, and every night the sky was obscured with a thick layer of opaque water vapor.

Until tonight.

Tonight, after we got home from running errands, I immediately lugged the thing out into the front yard and trained it on the moon, and the thing knocked my socks right the hell off my feet. I have never seen the Moon at that kind of magnification; it filled the eyepiece and every crater and rill was laser-frickin'-sharp. When I pulled my eye away from the objective, I noticed that the field of vision in that eye was noticeably darker than the other eye, because the moon is so bright seen through the telescope. Same effect as when you get spots in your eyes after a flashbulb goes off, but to a lesser extent--the brightness of the moon seen through the telescope ruined my night vision.


As I said, I haven't had time to sit down with the thing and learn all the ins and outs. The telescope is not balanced yet, nor have I worked out how to get the latitude set or any of the other finagly things--I haven't even mounted the spotter scope yet, because it has to be aligned--but that time will come soon enough. Tonight it's too frickin' cold outside for me to spend a lot of time stargazing, anyway, particularly since I'm just getting over a cold. I just wanted to try it.

But I can tell right now that I am going to be using this thing a lot. It's powerful enough for me to see the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter; there are other features in the night sky that I've always wanted to get a better look at, and this will do that quite nicely.

In fact, I'm already thinking that if I can get my hands on a decent DSLR for not a lot of money, and get the appropriate adaptors, I could start taking pictures...but there'll be plenty of time to get fancy later on. First I have to learn how to use the thing.

This is going to be fun.