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Red Screen of Very Much Bad

I was not surprised that MySpace was blocked on school computers. It should be. LiveJournal wasn’t and that’s all that mattered to me! But now LiveJournal is blocked so I can’t check it during my lunch hour or during little breaks during the day. (I usually went on around 4:30 as I was leaving work or before 8:00 – honest!) Toaster’s convinced they are monitoring my computer activity and that’s how it got blocked. I’m hoping that it just means LiveJournal is getting more successful so the school has just now caught on to them.

Anyway, today during my lunch hour (I still have five minutes –yay!) I tried to go to the Slacker Astronomy website (http://www.slackerastronomy.org/) - they have a great weekly podcast about current evens in astronomical news so go to iTunes right now and subscribe. Just don’t try to do that here from the college because I couldn’t get to it – it’s red screened. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to get there from work before so it can’t be me this time! But it’s a site by an astronomer at Harvard and two astronomers or astronomy relateders who are employed at the American Association of Variable Star Observers. They interview astronomers. They summarize journal articles and press releases by astronomical observatories and individual scientists! The pictures they post are of Mars or Saturn or the occultation of Pluto & Charon used to see if the moon has an atmosphere like Pluto. Why should that be blocked from view at a college?!?!?! Because the title has the word “slacker” in it? I wonder if they checked for content? What of serious titles for not-so-decent sites – would they get through? Yes, Slacker Astronomy does use humor in their stories but nothing vulgar. The worst are alcohol or drug references, the rest is pretty much just pop culture or sf/f humor. It’s actually pretty funny so you can laugh while you learn stuff.

Done ranting!

I just started listening to their extra feeds (they are an hour instead of just 4-10 minutes and much more rambling but still fun and interesting - that’s how I discovered the Heaven’s Above site for tracking satellites). Anyway, the one that I just finished listening to began with them playing one of my favorite SNL bits – Will Farrel as Cub’s announcer Harry Carey hosting a science show where he interviews “astronomer” Jeff Goldbloom. “What’s your favorite planet? Mine’s the sun!!” followed by insane giggling from the podcasters. I was laughing so hard in the car ride home I even slapped my leg a few times. Then it ended with the podcasters answering viewer mail. One of the questions was for them to recommend children’s books about astronomy. They didn’t know any but Travis’s roommate wandered in at that time and did a great impression of Christopher Walken reading “Goodnight Moon” and saying how children did not find him scary. It rivaled Reddheaded’s hubby, and his Walken impression is legend in our group.

I truly cannot rave enough about Slacker Astronomy. The technical quality of the show may not be great yet but they are doing it out of someone’s house and using donations from the listeners to pay for equipment and bandwidth so when you take that into consideration some volume issues (turn it up to hear her, turn it down to hear him, static, etc.) are worth enduring. That might even be the fault of my burning them all to a CD and listening to them in my car instead of via an iPod or computer like they intended. A warning if you do follow my lead on that… during one of the extra feeds I had a big “ooooow my ears” experience whenever Phil Plait’s used an S. And he never seemed to get through a complete sentence without one; he could use that as a super power. Perhaps he was struck by a gamma burst…

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