Archive for August 2012

Republican National Convention 2012   Leave a comment

So, the Republican National Convention in Tampa ended yesterday. Here are some highlights. Bizarre, horrifying highlights.

  • The convention was held in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is a publicly owned and publicly financed venue built with millions of taxpayers’ dollars. In other words, they didn’t build that.
  • Hurricane Isaac menaced and briefly shut down the convention.

    • A constitutional amendment banning abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest
    • A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
    • No support for gay civil unions
    • Arizona-style anti-illegal immigrant laws
    • A constitutional amendment requiring a congressional super-majority to aprove any new taxes – except taxes to support wars or national emergencies
    • Public display of the Ten Commandments and prayer in public schools
    • Expansion of stand-your-ground gun laws
    • Did I mention they want to force rape victims to give birth to their rapists’ babies?
  • The keynote speaker was Clint Eastwood. He gave a rambling, incoherent speech in which he had a pretend conversation with Barack Obama while talking to an empty chair. This event was the deliciously surreal icing on the seven-layer “What the hell???” cake that was the 2012 Republican National Convention.


Curiosity   Leave a comment

NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down successfully on Mars on Monday last week.

It was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011 at 10:02 EST and landed on Aeolis Palis in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC, after a harrowing decent pulled off with absolute precision.


Flight director Bobak Ferdowski, who gets a new hairstyle for each mission, and his famous mohawk.

Curiosity’s mission is called the Mars Science Laboratory. The SUV-sized rover is the largest ever sent to another planet, and it functions as a semi-autonomous explorer and mobile science lab. The purpose of its mission is “to search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life.” It’s equipped with cameras to take high-resolution photographs and video of the Martian surface, and spectrometers to determine the chemical composition of rocks and soil, radiation detectors, and environmental sensors to determine air and ground temperature, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed and direction.

Curiosity and older rovers - ScienceBlogs

A model of Curiosity (right) beside models of Opportunity/Spirit (twin rovers, 2004-2010/present) (left) and Sojourner (1997) (bottom)

Posted August 13, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in cool, geeky

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Summer, minigolf, Schoodic, and Anna   Leave a comment




Schoodic Point, Birch Harbor and Winter Harbor




Anna left to return home to Germany yesterday.

We had an awesome time with her this summer. I’m really going to miss having her around.

Posted August 7, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal, photography