Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Asteroid 2007 TU24 Passes the Earth

Asteroid 2007 TU24 Passes the Earth

Green Bank Radio Telescope,
Arecibo Radio Telescope

Asteroid 2007 TU24 passed by the Earth yesterday, posing no danger. The space rock, estimated to be about 250 meters across, coasted by just outside the orbit of Earth's Moon. The passing was not very unusual -- small rocks strike Earth daily, and in 2003 a rock the size of a bus passed inside the orbit of the Moon, being detected only after passing. TU24 was notable partly because it was so large. Were TU24 to have struck land, it might have caused a magnitude seven earthquake and left a city-sized crater. A perhaps larger danger would have occurred were TU24 to have struck the ocean and raised a large tsunami. This radar image was taken two days ago. The Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico broadcast radar that was reflected by the asteroid and then recorded by the Byrd Radio Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia. The resulting image shows TU24 to have an oblong and irregular shape. TU24 was discovered only three months ago, indicating that other potentially hazardous asteroids might lurk in our Solar System currently undetected. Objects like TU24 are hard to detect because they are so faint and move so fast. Humanity's ability to scan the sky to detect, catalog, and analyze such objects has increased notably in recent years.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

single most exciting moment in driving

Gigi Galli + perfect entry speed + opposite lock + feathered throttle = one dreamy corner, even with the handbrake pulled.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

in go(o)d company

Prof. Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996),
Prof. Stephen Hawking (1942 - ),
and Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - )
sit down together in this 1988 interview discussing the then-known universe. Not too much is different scientifically - we've learned a lot more but the big picture remains unchanged. Today Sagan is no longer with us. Clarke has one foot in the grave. Hawking is the one that looks half decent. Who would have thought?

I admire and respect these brilliant men, their vision and achievements on science and their effects on our way of perceiving the future. We need to have their equals in this generation.

download your video torrent there

A clip on youtube from the video:

Monday, January 21, 2008

easy absentee ballot

The US of A is a fucked-up country, so let's take responsibility.
Voter Registration on

--== absentee ballot ==--

There are no more excuses for expats to say it's too time consuming. So easy a 5-year-old child can do it. Register to have your say (absentee ballot on General Election) on one of these sites:


Democrats (also vote at Primary online)

Absentee Voting Assistance

--== general information ==--

2008 US Presidential Election timeline:
(Primary, Caucus, and General Election dates)

Candidates in a nutshell:


Friday, January 18, 2008

rare snow

We don't really get much snow in this part of Japan - once or twice in these three years. It started snowing a couple of nights ago, stopped, and picked up again this afternoon. Overall air temperatures have crept just above zero degree centigrade (~32F) after an overnight of subzero single-digits.

It looks like the kind of snow that I'm used to seeing on the East Coast - fluffy and a bit wet. I don't think we'll see more than a few centimeters of accumulation, judging from the ground not being cold enough for it to stick around for long.

I had a close call slow-speed skid (almost brushed oncoming traffic and a lamp post) in my car on my way home the night sleet fell, resulting in a set of spanking new tires (Bridgestone Playz for those who are into car parts) much needed since the initial purchase. It's mostly my fault but nonetheless a learning experience with my rear wheel drive roadster. I feel like we're growing to know each other a little more every step of the way. All in all a good ride with predictable behaviors.

In other news, I had my 31st birthday a few days ago. Yeah 31! Tell me about it. With our baby on his/her way and things falling into places this feels like my second, third, or fourth chance on life. Need I say more?