Lesson #263: The Lunar Eclipse

I watched a program on the History Channel last week about solar eclipses and how because Earth’s moon is roughly 400,000 km from Earth and the sun is roughly 400x the distance from the Earth to the moon, it creates a unique  situation (in our solar system at least, though possibly in our galaxy) that allows for complete solar eclipses. This is actually (mostly) unimportant except to prove that I learned something interesting even though I’m not posting because of the dire computer situation.

Anyway, this early morning was the first full lunar eclipse in nearly three years.* By happenstance, it is also the first eclipse to happen on the winter solstice since 1638. So I stayed up and watched. Its peak was at 3:17am my time, which is still peak time for me to be awake. Lunar eclipses, it turns out, all kind of look the same. Not that they’re not awesome. Just that at one point, I actually thought, “it would be very strange to see the whole moon blow up right now.”

Seriously though, the concept is awesome. One massive body suspended in space gets between the sun and another massive body suspended in space and casts a shadow on the first. And that’s pretty cool. It was not red or anything, like I was informed it might be (though admittedly that was dependent on the amount of particles in the atmosphere), which was somewhat disappointing, but it was still cool.**

A bit of personal business: a happy end of semester to Drs. B., C., M., and O’. Dr. B. had a student conveniently forget to cite sources for his (or her) term paper*** and was beating his head against his desk last week, Dr. C. had a student fail to cite a source for a research paper because “all of this is my opinion”, and Dr. M.’s wife (my old college roommate) had their first baby on the 4th, which is very exciting for everyone, including me who gets to buy baby S. all my favourite children’s books.

*And to my frustration, one of the girls I went to college with — though in fairness, she didn’t last past our first semester — posted two hours before peak that she had been waiting her whole life to see an eclipse (what?) and it was “the most amazing sight ever.” SERIOUSLY?!? This makes me question your ability to read anything. EVERYTHING I read stated prominently that 3:17 am was peak on the East Coast. And I get that it’s cool, I really do. Because it is. But you’ve been waiting your whole life? You’re 30 years old. Since you were 20, you’ve had AT LEAST three other opportunities.

**For more, see:  NASA, space.com, the BBC and CBC.

***As I understand it the conversation went something like this: “Well, I guess I forgot to cite my sources.” “Well, I guess you fail.” Before I knew his response, I actually asked him with a fair amount of incredulity, “for the whole paper?” I simply do not understand how, having been taught to cite things since grade 7, anyone could simply forget to include citations over the course of 20 pages.

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The Excuse

I’m not slacking intentionally. I promise I am still learning things. For example, yesterday, I learned there’s such a thing as a Yoda Bat. And it totally looks like Yoda.

But, as it closes in on a year since I last replaced my hard drive, the current one has decided it has had enough of being dragged across an ocean and moved up and down the stairs about a gazillion (that’s just an estimate) times and yesterday, after the second hard drive reformatting in a month, I got the dreaded blue screen of death.

I’m now looking at new computers. Except that I can’t afford them because I have no job. But I can’t job search without a computer. You see the dilemma? So I’m using the computer even more sparingly than before.

The result? No lessons for a while until I either a. get a new computer or b. learn something mindblowingly interesting.

Lessons #262 and more: There and Back Again

I’ve returned from the best Thanksgiving ever that didn’t involve inviting complete strangers off the street in a foreign country (no lie).

I’m notorious for not really enjoying family holidays. Not because I hate my family (I don’t), but because it’s never not stressful. I was all set to just hang out at the house, make some risotto, watch football, have a beer or two and completely avoid having to spend the holiday with my local friends, but I’m really glad I got out of town.

I had a blast…then again, whenever I get to spend time with my oldest friend, there is fun involved. We hung out and goofed around and read kids books to each other before bed (again, no lie) and watched TV and ate and drank and giggled at every single sexual innuendo that was intentionally or unintentionally made, like we were 15, and goofed around some more. He had a couple of his friends from the southernmost state (where he lives) up with him and his brother had some friends round and there was a ton of food and a whole lot of laughs.

We also learned some stuff. Mostly from the marathon of ‘Pawn Stars’ we watched on Friday, but there was other stuff too. We learned that each 15 degrees  of longitude is one hour of time. And that his vouching for us having gone to high school together does not mean the waiter will bring me beer when I have accidentally left my wallet at the house. And that an authentic body for a Shelby Cobra (unfinished and literally just the shell) goes for $60k. And that the weather in the largest city in the southeast can go from 70 degrees on Thanksgiving to 45 on Black Friday.*

*Apparently, it was snowing there today.