Water Pressure Experiment

Usually I'm blogging about astronomy, but the March issue of Science and Children had an article "Water Pressure in Depth" that covers an experiment that is part of the Webelos scientist activity pin, and something I have done with Webelos. They turn the simple demonstration activity into an inquiry activity. They also use plastic milk cartons which are easier to come by than the coffee cans I used (doh! why didn't I think of that then).

Easy Moon Phase Model

I just saw this one in the March issue of Science and Children, and it's something I definitely have to incorporate into the moon phase activities I do with the kids. The original comes from the Top Science web site, and while I've enjoyed their short ads in the magazine, I never looked at their web site. Definitely a good resource. (I'm resisting the urge to whip out the credit card and buy a bunch of stuff...for now anyway).

Perihelion Day!

Today is the day when Earth makes its closest approach to the Sun, around 2pm EST (New York time). If you live in the northern hemisphere, you might find it surprising that the Earth is closer to the Sun during winter than during summer, but it is. The difference in distance is "small," astronomically speaking, a bit under 5 million kilometers. Our most distant point from the Sun will happen on July 4th.

See also:

This Month in Physics History: Louie de Broglie

Every month I get the APS News (the dead-tree version, which I can carry on the subway), and the two parts I always read first are the Members in the Media (link is to Oct 2010 issue) and This Month in Physics History. Both of these sections help in putting a personal face on physics, and the history column helps set physics discoveries in the context of their historical setting which reads very differently from the typical text book description. This month is about Louis de Broglie.

ZIP Recovery Tools - Not *Exactly* an Endorsement

I was going to make this just a comment on my previous blog entry, but after spending a couple of hours trying various tools and making notes, the "comment" was getting longer than the original post. So it gets it's own entry.

I've kept poking at various tools to try to recover some of my data. It looks like most of it is
recoverable, at least with the right tool. The going price for zip
repair tools appears to be about $30. I haven't
forked over the money yet, as I'm still going over my options. If they
were under $20, I'd probably have already bought one, and if they were
$10-15 I might have bought a couple to try different things. But my
cheapness has paid off in that there is one free solution I've found
that appears to work well.

Windows XP Ate My Images

In order to save space on my Windows XP laptop, which I use for a lot of my imaging, I used the built-in compression to zip up the entire directory tree from the 2009 Summer Star Party. When all was done, the final archive was nearly 4 GB. Nearly, but not quite. To my horror, today, when I tried to unzip the archive to get at some of the files, I got a dreaded

The Compressed (zipped) Folder is invalid or corrupted.

Site upgrade rolled back

After fighting for a week, I've rolled back the Drupal upgrade. Since I posted nearly nothing in the past week (except some comments on the upgrade woes and one event listing which was more of a test), nothing was really lost. I'll be doing this upgrade the more traditional way which is by staging it internally first.

Life in the Fast Lane?

I don't think I'm actually in the fast lane, but it sort of feels like it. The past month has had me away for two weeks, one with the Cub Scouts in Alpine, NJ and another at the Summer Star Party in Savoy, MA. Between that and being in physical therapy three days each week since the shoulder surgery at the end of April, time is passing too quickly and I can't keep up. Fortunately, most of our bills are in autopay mode, so the only bad thing happening is that too much paperwork is piling up and not being recorded and filed.

Modeling the Moon's Phases

I originally built these models a couple of years ago, but didn't realize it was something "novel" until I got some comments at this past year's NEAF where I had brought them for the children's section. Quite frankly, I think it works well with adults, too, as I've heard some well-educated adults propagating common misconceptions about what causes the phases of the moon. The idea is simple enough. One side of the moon is illuminated by the Sun, the other is not.


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